Arrius surveyed the figure, tall, sinewy, glistening in the sun, and tinted by the rich red blood within- surveyed it admiringly, and with a thought of the arena; yet the manner was not without effect upon him: there was in the voice a suggestion of life at least partly spent under refining influences; the eyes were clear and open, and more curious than defiant. To the shrewd, demanding, masterful glance bent upon it, the face gave back nothing to mar its youthful comeliness- nothing of accusation or sullenness or menace, only the signs which a great sorrow long borne imprints, as time mellows the surface of pictures. In tacit acknowledgment of the effect, the Roman spoke as an older man to a younger, not as a master to a slave.
“The hortator tells me thou art his best rower.”
“The hortator is very kind,” the rower answered.
“Hast thou seen much service?”
“About three years.”
“At the oars?”
“I cannot recall a day of rest from them.”
“The labour is hard; few men bear it a year without breaking, and thou- thou art but a boy.”
“The noble Arrius forgets that the spirit hath much to do with endurance. By its help the weak sometimes thrive, when the strong perish.”
“From thy speech, thou art a Jew.”
“My ancestors further back than the first Roman were Hebrews.”
“The stubborn pride of thy race is not lost in thee,” said Arrius, observing a flush upon the rower’s face.
“Pride is never so loud as when in chains.”
“What cause hast thou for pride?”
“That I am a Jew.”
“I have not been to Jerusalem,” he said; “but I have heard of its princes. I knew one of them. He was a merchant, and sailed the seas. He was fit to have been a king. Of what degree art thou?”
“I must answer thee from the bench of a galley. I am of the degree of slaves. My father was a prince of Jerusalem, and, as a merchant, he sailed the seas. He was known and honoured in the guest-chamber of the great Augustus.”
“Ithanar, of the house of Hur.”
The tribune raised his hand in astonishment.
“A son of Hur- thou?”
After a silence, he asked, “What brought thee here?”
Judah lowered his head, and his breast laboured hard. When his feelings were sufficiently mastered, he looked the tribune in the face, and answered, “I was accused of attempting to assassinate Valerius Gratus, the procurator.”
“Thou!” cried Arrius, yet more amazed, and retreating a step. “Thou that assassin! All Rome rang with the story. It came to my ship in the river by Lodinum.”
The two regarded each other silently.
“I thought the family of Hur blotted from the earth,” said Arrius, speaking first, A flood of tender recollections carried the young man’s pride away; tears shone upon his cheeks.