“Now,” went on Saturius, “I must be going, for there are one or two little things which need attention, and time presses. Shall we balance that account, friend Demetrius?”
“Certainly,” said Caleb, and taking a roll of gold from a drawer he pushed it across the table.
Saturius shook his head sadly. “I laid it at twice as much,” he said. “Think how you hate him and how richly your hate will be fed. First disgraced unjustly, he, one of the best soldiers and bravest captains in the army, and then hacked to death by cutthroats in the doorway of his own house. What more could you want?”
“Nothing,” answered Caleb. “Only the man isn’t dead yet. Sometimes the Fates have strange surprises for us mortals, friend Saturius.”
“Dead? He will be dead soon enough.”
“Good. You shall have the rest of the money when I have seen his body. No, I don’t want any bungling and that’s the best way to make certain.”
“I wonder,” thought Saturius, as he departed out of the office and this history, “I wonder how I shall manage to get the balance of my fee before they have my Jewish friend by the heels. But it can be arranged—doubtless it can be arranged.”
When he had gone, Caleb, who, it would seem, also had things which needed attention and felt that time pressed, took pen and wrote a short letter. Next he summoned a clerk and gave orders that it was to be delivered two hours after sunset—not before.
Meanwhile, he enclosed it in an outer wrapping so that the address was not seen. This done, he sat still for a time, his lips moving, almost as though he were engaged in prayer. Then, seeing that it was the hour of sunset, he rose, wrapped himself in a long dark cloak, such as was worn by Roman officers, and went out.
HOW MARCUS CHANGED HIS FAITH
Caleb was not the only one who heard the evil tidings of the ship Luna; it came to the ears of the bishop Cyril also, since little of any moment passed within the city of Rome which the Christians did not know.
Like Caleb, he satisfied himself of the truth of the matter by an interview with the captain of the Imperatrix. Then with a sorrowful heart he departed to the prison near the Temple of Mars. Here the warden told him that Marcus wished to see no one, but answering “Friend, my business will not wait,” he pushed past the man and entered the room beyond. Marcus was standing up in the centre of it, in his hand a drawn sword of the short Roman pattern, which, on catching sight of his visitor, he cast upon the table with an exclamation of impatience. It fell beside a letter addressed to “The Lady Miriam in Tyre. To be given into her own hand.”
“Peace be with you,” said the bishop, searching his face with his quiet eyes.
“I thank you, friend,” answered Marcus, smiling strangely, “I need peace, and—seek it.”