The bishop had a seat and voice in the council, but Fate itself had saved them from the dilemma of having to meet his remonstrances.
When Horapollo went out into the market-place he was received with acclamations, and as much gratitude as though he had already achieved the deliverance of the people and country.
What had he done?—Whether the work he had set going were to fail or to succeed he could not remain in Memphis, for in either case he would never have peace again. But that did not daunt him; it would certainly be very good for the two women to be removed from the perilous neighborhood of the Arab capital, and he was firmly determined to take them away with him. For his dear Philip, too, nothing could be better than a transplantion into other soil.
At the house of Rufinus he now learnt the fate that had fallen on Paula.
She was out the way, at any rate for the present; still, if she should be released to-morrow or the day after, or even a month hence, she would be as great a hindrance as ever. His plots against her must therefore be carried out. His own isolation provoked him, and what a satisfaction it would be if only he should succeed in stirring up the Egyptian Christians to the heathen deed to which he was endeavoring to prompt them.
If Paula should be condemned to death by the Arabs, the execution of the scheme would be greatly promoted; and now the first point was to ensure the favor of the black Vekeel, for everything depended on his consent.
Joanna and Pulcheria thought him more good-humored and amiable than they had ever known him; his proposal that he and Philippus should join their household was hailed with delight even by little Mary, and the women conducted him all over the house, supporting his steps with affectionate care. All he saw there pleased him beyond measure. Such neatness and comfort could only exist where there was a woman’s eye to direct and watch over everything. The rooms on the ground floor, which had been the master’s, should be his, and the corresponding wing on the other side could be made ready for Philippus. The dining-room, the large ante-chamber, and the viridarium would be common ground, and the upper story was large enough for the women and any guests. He would move in as soon as he had settled some business he had in hand.
It must be something of a pleasant nature, for as the old man spoke of it his sunken lips mumbled with satisfaction, while his sparkling eyes seemed to say to Pulcheria: “And I have something good in store for you, too, dear child.”
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Thin-skinned, like all up-starts in authority
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