“What hast thou, this morning, O son of Paphos?” says the young Greek, looking at the boxes rather than at the Cypriote. “I am hungry. What hast thou for breakfast?”
“Fruits from the Pedius- genuine- such as the singers of Antioch take of mornings to restore the waste of their voices,” the dealer answers, in a querulous nasal tone.
“A fig, but not one of thy best, for the singers of Antioch!” says the Greek. “Thou art a worshipper of Aphrodite, and so am I, as the myrtle I wear proves; therefore I tell thee their voices have the chill of a Caspian wind. Seest thou this girdle?- a gift of the mighty Salome- ”
“The king’s sister!” exclaims the Cypriote, with another salaam.
“And of royal taste and divine judgment. And why not? She is more Greek than the king. But- my breakfast! Here is thy money- red coppers of Cyprus. Give me grapes, and- ”
“Wilt thou not take the dates also?”
“No, I am not an Arab.”
“That would make me a Jew. No, nothing but the grapes. Never waters mixed so sweetly as the blood of the Greek and the blood of the grape.”
The singer in the grimed and seething market, with all his airs of the court, is a vision not easily shut out of mind by such as see him; as if for the purpose, however, a person follows him challenging all our wonder. He comes up the road slowly, his face towards the ground; at intervals he stops, crosses his hands upon his breast, lengthens his countenance, and turns his eyes towards heaven, as if about to break into prayer. Nowhere, except in Jerusalem, can such a character be found. On his forehead, attached to the band which keeps the mantle in place, projects a leathern case, square in form; another similar case is tied by a thong to the left arm; the borders of his robe are decorated with deep fringe; and by such signs- the phylacteries, the enlarged borders of the garment, and the savour of intense holiness pervading the whole man- we know him to be a Pharisee, one of an organization (in religion a sect, in politics a party) whose bigotry and power will shortly bring the world to grief.
The densest of the throng outside the gate covers the road leading off to Joppa. Turning from the Pharisee, we are attracted by some parties who, as subjects of study, opportunely separate themselves from the motley crowd. First among them a man of very noble appearance- clear, healthful complexion; bright black eyes; beard long and flowing, and rich with unguents; apparel well-fitting, costly, and suitable for the season. He carries a staff, and wears, suspended by a cord from his neck, a large golden seal. Several servants attend him, some of them with short swords stuck through their sashes; when they address him, it is with the utmost deference. The rest of the party consists of two Arabs of the pure desert stock; thin, wiry men, deeply bronzed, and with hollow cheeks, and eyes of almost evil brightness; on their heads red tarbooshes; over their abas, and wrapping the left shoulder and the body so as to leave the right arm free, brown woollen haicks, or blankets. There is loud chaffering; for the Arabs are leading horses and trying to sell them; and, in their eagerness, they speak in high, shrill voices. The courtly person leaves the talking mostly to his servants; occasionally he answers with much dignity; directly, seeing the Cypriote, he stops and buys some figs. And when the whole party has passed the portal, close after the Pharisee, if we betake ourselves to the dealer in fruits, he will tell, with a wonderful salaam, that the stranger is a Jew, one of the princes of the city, who has travelled, and learned the difference between the common grapes of Syria and those of Cyprus, so surpassingly rich with the dews of the sea.