At the leave-taking, Simonides sat in his chair out on the terrace overlooking the river, and gave his farewell and the peace of the Lord with the impressment of a father. Esther went with the young man to the head of the steps.

“If I find my mother, Esther, thou shalt go to her at Jerusalem, and be a sister to Tirzah.”

And with the words he kissed her.

Was it only a kiss of peace? He crossed the river next to the late quarters of Ilderim, where he found the Arab who was to serve him as guide. The horses were brought out.

“This one is thine,” said the Arab.

Ben-Hur looked, and, lo! it was Aldebaran, the swiftest and brightest of the sons of Mira, and, next to Sirius, the beloved of the sheik; and he knew the old man’s heart came to him along with the gift.

The corpse in the atrium was taken up and buried by night; and, as part of Messala’s plan, a courier was sent off to Gratus to make him at rest by the announcement of Ben-Hur’s death- this time past question.

Ere long a wine-shop was opened near the Circus Maximus, with inscription over the door-

THORD THE NORTHMAN.


Ben-Hur Table of Contents of the On-Line Edition. Cf. Ben-Hur in Print, at Amazon