In the midst of the exercises, and the attention they received from all the bystanders, Malluch came upon the ground, seeking the sheik.

“I have a message for you, O sheik,” he said, availing himself of a moment he supposed favourable for the speech- “a message from Simonides, the merchant.”

“Simonides!” ejaculated the Arab. “‘Ah! ’tis well. May Abaddon take all his enemies.”

“He bade me give thee first the holy peace of God,” Malluch continued; “and then this despatch, with prayer that thou read it the instant of receipt.”

Ilderim standing in his place, broke the sealing of the package delivered to him, and from a wrapping of fine linen took two letters, which he proceeded to read.

[No. 1.]

“Simonides to Sheik Ilderim.

“O friend! “Assure thyself first of a place in my inner heart.

“Then- “There is in thy dowar a youth of fair presence, calling himself the son of Arrius; and such he is by adoption.

“He is very dear to me.

“He hath a wonderful history, which I will tell thee; come thou to-day or to-morrow, that I may tell thee the history, and have thy counsel.

“Meantime, favour all his requests, so they be not against honour. Should there be need of reparation, I am bound to thee for it.

“That I have interest in this youth, keep thou private.

“Remember me to thy other guest. He, his daughter, thyself, and all whom thou mayst choose to be of thy company, must depend upon me at the Circus the day of the games. I have seats already engaged.

“To thee and all thine. peace.

“What should I be, O friend, but thy friend?


[No. 2.]

“Simonides to Sheik Ilderim.

“O friend! “Out of the abundance of my experience, I send you a word.

“There is a sign which all persons not Romans, and who have moneys or goods subject to despoilment, accept as warning- that is, the arrival at a seat of power of some high Roman official charged with authority.

“To-day comes the Consul Maxentius.

“Be thou warned! “Another word of advice.

“A conspiracy, to be of effect against thee, O friend, must include the Herods as parties; thou hast great properties in their dominions.

“Wherefore keep thou watch.

“Send this morning to thy trusty keepers of the roads leading south from Antioch, and bid them search every courier going and coming; if they find private despatches relating to thee or thy affairs, thou shouldst see them.

“You should have received this yesterday, though it is not too late, if you act promptly.

“If couriers left Antioch this morning, your messengers know the byways, and can get before them with your orders.

“Do not hesitate.

“Burn this after reading.

“O my friend! thy friend.


Ilderim read the letters a second time, and refolded them in the linen wrap, and put the package under his girdle.