All was now ready. He stepped out: lo! in the east a dark speck on the face of the desert. He stood as if rooted to the ground; his eyes dilated; his flesh crept chilly, as if touched by something supernatural. The speck grew; became large as a hand; at length assumed defined proportions. A little later, full into view swung a duplication of his own dromedary, tall and white, and bearing a houdah, the travelling litter of Hindostan. Then the Egyptian crossed his hands upon his breast, and looked to heaven.
“God only is great!” he exclaimed, his eyes full of tears, his soul in awe.
The stranger drew nigh- at last stopped. Then he, too, seemed just waking. He beheld the kneeling camel, the tent, and the man standing prayerfully at the door. He crossed his hands, bent his head, and prayed silently; after which, in a little while, he stepped from his camel’s neck to the sand, and advanced towards the Egyptian, as did the Egyptian towards him. A moment they looked at each other; then they embraced- that is, each threw his right arm over the other’s shoulder, and the left round the side, placing his chin first upon the left, then upon the right breast.
“Peace be with thee, O servant of the true God!” the stranger said.
“And to thee, O brother of the true faith!- to thee peace and welcome,” the Egyptian replied, with fervour.
The new-comer was tall and gaunt, with lean face, sunken eyes, white hair and beard, and a complexion between the hue of cinnamon and bronze. He, too, was unarmed. His costume was Hindostani; over the skull-cap a shawl was wound in great folds, forming a turban; his body garments were in the style of the Egyptian’s, except that the aba was shorter, exposing wide flowing breeches gathered at the ankles. In place of sandals, his feet were clad in half-slippers of red leather, pointed at the toes. Save the slippers, the costume from head to foot was of white linen. The air of the man was high, stately, severe. Visvamitra, the greatest of the ascetic heroes of the Iliad of the East, had in him a perfect representative. He might have been called a Life drenched with the wisdom of Brahma- Devotion Incarnate. Only in his eyes was there proof of humanity; when he lifted his face from the Egyptian’s breast they were glistening with tears.
“God only is great!” he exclaimed, when the embrace was finished.
“And blessed are they that serve Him!” the Egyptian answered, wondering at the paraphrase of his own exclamation. “But let us wait,” he added, “Let us wait; for see, the other comes yonder!”
They looked to the north, where, already plain to view, a third camel, of the whiteness of the others came careening like a ship. They waited, standing together- waited until the new-comer arrived, dismounted, and advanced towards them.
“Peace to you, O my brother!” he said, while embracing the Hindoo.