“I make you a present of it, Jew! Perhaps the villain who hung it to my chain may buy it back again. The chain was given to my great-grandmother by the saintly Theodosius, and rather than defile it by contact with that gift from a villain, I will throw it into the Nile!—You—you, poor, deluded judges—I cannot be wroth with you, but I pity you!—My Hiram...” and she looked at the freedman, “is an honest soul whom I shall remember with gratitude to my dying day; but as to that unrighteous son of a most righteous father, that man. . .” and she raised her voice, while she pointed straight at Orion’s face; but the young man interrupted her with a loud:
She tried to control herself and replied:
“I will submit. Your conscience will tell you a hundred times over what I need not say. One last word. . .” She went close up to him and said in his ear:
“I have been able to refrain from using my deadliest weapon against you for the sake of keeping my word. Now you, if you are not the basest wretch living, keep yours, and save Hiram.”
His only reply was an assenting nod; Paula paused on the threshold and, turning to Katharina, she added: “You, child—for you are but a child— with what nameless suffering will not the son of the Mukaukas repay you for the service you have rendered him!” Then she left the room. Her knees trembled under her as she mounted the stairs, but when she had again taken her place by the side of the hapless, crazy girl a merciful God granted her the relief of tears. Her friend saw her and left her to weep undisturbed, till she herself called him and confided to him all she had gone through in the course of this miserable day.
Orion and Katharina had lost their good spirits; they went back to the colonnade in a dejected mood. On the way she pressed him to explain to her why he had insisted on her making this declaration, but he put her off till the morrow. They found Susannah alone, for his mother had been sent for by her husband, who was suffering more than usual, and she had taken Mary with her.
After bidding the widow good-night and escorting her to her chariot, he returned to the hall where the Court was still sitting. There he recapitulated the case as it now stood, and all the evidence against the freed man. The verdict was then pronounced: Hiram was condemned to death with but one dissentient voice that of Nilus the treasurer.
Orion ordered that the execution of the sentence should be postponed; he did not go back into the house, however, but had his most spirited horse saddled and rode off alone into the desert. He had won, but he felt as though in this race he had rushed into a morass and must be choked in it.
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
Love has two faces: tender devotion and bitter
Self-interest and egoism which drive him into the cave
The man who avoids his kind and lives in solitude
You have a habit of only looking backwards