And as he spoke, the vivacious but stout man, who had dropped on his knees, rose panting, left the lid of his strong box open, hurried up to the child, who had been standing at the window all the while, and bending over her from behind pressed a kiss on her curly head, saying with a laugh: “There, little pickpocket, that is my interest. But look out still, till I call you again.” He nimbly trotted back on his short little legs, wiping his eyes; took from the strong box a little bag of gold, which contained rather more than the desired sum, locked the chest again, looking at Mary with a mixture of suspicion and hearty approbation; then at last he called her to him. He emptied the money-bag before her, counted out the sum she needed, put the remainder of the coins into his girdle, and handed the bag to the little girl requesting her to count his “advance”, back into it, while he, with a cunning smile, quitted the room.
He presently returned and she had finished her task, but she timidly observed: “One gold piece is wanting.” At this he clasped his hands over his breast and raised his eyes to Heaven exclaiming: “My God! what a child. There is the solidus, child; and you may take my word for it as a man of experience: whatever you undertake will prosper. You know what you are about; and when you are grown up and a suitor comes he will go to a good market. And now sign your name here. You are not of age, to be sure, and the receipt is worth no more than any other note scribbled with ink—however, it is according to rule.”
Mary took the pen, but she first hastily glanced through what Gamaliel had written; the Jew broke out in fresh enthusiasm:
“A girl—a mere child! And she reads, and considers, and makes all sure before she will sign! God bless thee, Child!—And here come the tarts, and you can taste them before. . . . Just Heaven! a mere child, and such important business!”
By Georg Ebers
While Rustem, to whom Mary had entrusted the jeweller’s gold, was making his preparations for their journey with all the care of a practised guide, and while Mary was comforting her governess and Mandane, to whom she explained that Rustem’s journey was to save Paula’s life, a fresh trial was going forward in the Court of Justice.
This time Orion was the accused. He had scarcely begun to study the maps and lists he required for his undertaking when he was bidden to appear before his judges.
The members composing the Court were the same as yesterday. Among the witnesses were Paula and the new bishop, as well as Gamaliel, who had been sent for soon after Mary had left him.
The prosecutor accused the son of the Mukaukas of having made away, in defiance of the patriarch’s injunction, with a costly emerald bequeathed to the Church by his father.