“Are you pleased with your new home, daughter?” he asked presently.
“My grandfather, it is beautiful,” she answered. “Never have I dreamed of such a place as this. Say, may I work my art in one of these great rooms?”
“Miriam,” he answered, “of this house henceforth you are the mistress, as in time to come you will be its owner. Believe me, child, it was not needed that so many and such different men should demand from me sureties for your comfort and your safety. All I have is yours, whilst all you have, including your faith and your friends, of whom there seem to be many, remains your own. Yet, should it please you to give me in return some small share of your love, I who am childless and friendless shall be grateful.”
“That is my desire,” answered Miriam hurriedly; “only, grandsire, between you and me——”
“Speak it not,” he said, with a gesture almost of despair, “or rather I will speak it—between you and me runs the river of your parents’ blood. It is so, yet, Miriam, I will confess to you that I repent me of that deed. Age makes us judge more kindly. To me your faith is nothing and your God a sham, yet I know now that to worship Him is not worthy of death—at least not for that cause would I bring any to their death to-day, or even to stripes and bonds. I will go further; I will stoop even to borrow from His creed. Do not His teachings bid you to forgive those who have done you wrong?”
“They do, and that is why Christians love all mankind.”
“Then bring that law into this home of ours, Miriam, and love me who sorrow for what I did in the blind rage of my zeal, and who now in my old age am haunted by its memory.”
Then for the first time Miriam threw herself into the old man’s arms and kissed him on the brow.
So it came about that they made their peace and were happy together.
Indeed, day by day Benoni loved her more, till at length she was everything to him, and he grew jealous of all who sought her company, and especially of Nehushta.
THE RING, THE NECKLACE AND THE LETTER
So Miriam came to Tyre, where, for many months, her life was peaceful and happy enough. At first she had feared meeting Caleb, who she knew from her grandfather was dwelling there; but as it chanced, he had left the city upon business of his own, so for the while she was free of him. In Tyre were many Christians with whom she made friends and worshipped, Benoni pretending to know nothing of the matter. Indeed, at this time and place it was the Jews rather than the Christians who were in danger at the hands of the Syrians and Greeks, who hated them for their wealth and faith, threatening them continually with robbery and massacre. But as yet that storm did not burst, and in its brewing the Christians, who were few, humble, and of all races, escaped notice.