A trumpet sounded in the court-yard. With the cessation of the call, the gallery was cleared of the soldiery; many of whom, as they dared not appear in the ranks with visible plunder in their hands, flung what they had upon the floor, until it was strewn with articles of richest virtu. When Judah descended, the formation was complete, and the officer waiting to see his last order executed.
The mother, daughter, and entire household were led out of the north gate, the ruins of which choked the passage-way. The cries of the domestics, some of whom had been born in the house, were most pitiable. When, finally, the horses, and all the dumb tenantry of the place, were driven past him, Judah began to comprehend. the scope of the procurator’s vengeance. The very structure was devoted. Far as the order was possible of execution, nothing living was to be left within its walls. If in Judea there were others desperate enough to think of assassinating a Roman governor, the story of what befell the princely family of Hur would be a warning to them, while the ruin of the habitation would keep the story alive.
The officer waited outside while a detail of men temporarily restored the gate.
In the street the fighting had almost ceased. Upon the houses here and there clouds of dust told where the struggle was yet prolonged. The cohort was, for the most part, standing at rest, its splendour, like its ranks, in nowise diminished. Borne past the point of care for himself, Judah had heart for nothing in view but the prisoners, among whom he looked in vain for his mother and Tirzah.
Suddenly, from the earth where she had been lying, a woman arose and started swiftly back to the gate. Some of the guards reached out to seize her, and a great shout followed their failure. She ran to Judah, and, dropping down, clasped his knees, the coarse black hair powdered with dust veiling her eyes.
“O Amrah, good Amrah,” he said to her, “God help you; I cannot.”
She could not speak.
He bent down, and whispered, “Live, Amrah, for Tirzah and my mother. They will come back, and- ”
A soldier drew her away; whereupon she sprang up and rushed through the gateway and passage into the vacant court-yard.
“Let her go,” the officer shouted. “We will seal the house, and she will starve.”
The men resumed their work, and when it was finished there, passed round to the west side. That gate was also secured, after which the palace of the Hurs was lost to use.
The cohort at length marched back to the Tower, where the procurator stayed to recover from his hurts and dispose of his prisoners. On the tenth day following he visited the Market-place.
A GALLEY SLAVE.
NEXT day a detachment of legionaries went to the desolated palace, and, closing the gates permanently, plastered the corners with wax, and at the sides nailed a notice in Latin: