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west. “Peace be unto thee!” “And to thee also-till we meet again.” It was only the salutation of the country.
Now, on gaining the little height to the north of “Rachael's Tomb," Samson beheld to the east (not knowing what lay in wait for him) only the wilderness which led off to the Sea of Salt and the blue-black mountains beyond it. Glancing backwards, he saw the white, uplifted houses of rock-built Bethlehem. Turning forward yet again, and going but a little on
Yea, the city of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Saul and of David, and of the Lord God of Hosts.
The City of Messias !
But after a time he thought, “So long have I staid away from thee, O Jerusalem, I who should have been, these long sweet years, a priest within thy courts !”
After a time, growing bolder, he said with a cry, as he gazed on the snowy masses and glittering pinnacles of God's very mountain: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! If I forget thee, let my right hand forget her cunning: Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not-if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
And he said also, “Yonder! In the Hall of Polished Stones! It is there I shall be accepted as a priest of the Almighty.” He caught suddenly at the locket on his breast, believing that the precious thing had been lost. Before he found it, his knees were as water.
Then was his soul again exultant. He exclaimed and said: “I shall surely on a day see God. I shall hear His voice, and hearken to the sound of it also. Oh my God, my God!”
But after a time, he thought of what he would tell Abaddone about all these things.
Then, after a little more, he said: "Let me first become a priest in God's temple. Later, I will surely return unto thee, Abaddone, and also to Moloch, and, on a time yet later, unto Gillul and Dusares, and, on a time that is later still, to Emah and the crocodile, yea and also to Temunah.'
Then he ceased to remember, to know, to exist.
When he awoke, he was tied, face upward, on the back of a moving camel. A cloth of darkness lay over his eyes, a gag in his mouth.
He cursed within his soul. And he began to blame Trivialis for his wretched condition. “Thou wast right, Abaddone."
God gave the man over to a reprobate mind.
Now the lumbering caravan, of which the beast whereon he lay (as Samson knew from the myriad steps before and none behind) did form the rearward part, came suddenly to a stop. There was bargaining for awhile about the toll at the city gate. Then the caravan started again, entering the City of the Great King. But Samson-Solomon, which was also Simon, of Cyrene, though he had his own two eyes, yet beheld no glory of the place.
But he smelt the smell of the many burnt offerings which were being offered on The Hill. And suddenly there came the bright stentorian tones of trumpets, the trumpets of the Temple, blown by God's priests.
Ah the sweet, Hebraic brass!
"An alarm in the midst, with a plain note both before and after it.” So he had many times read, and so he now did find the calling of the trumpets. Then—“Thekiah, Theruah, Thekiah!” Seven times blown—"Thekiah, Theruah, Thekiah!”
He could even (in the chambers of his heart) behold the solemn priests, those holy happy men, with God's own trumpets at their sacred lips-blowing, blowing, blowing-calling, calling, calling God's people.
He was not among those priests, not even among God's people.
“Why hast thou blinded me, Jehovah ! Even as the ancient Samson at the mill was blinded by the trivial of earth, so am I blinded now. Wilt thou not take the bandage from mine eyes? Didst thou choose me for a monument unto thee, and shall the Lord God of Hosts have chosen his priests in vain! Give me again light!”
The sound of the trumpets ceased, and the Temple organ pealed forth. He heard in his soul the sound of sweetly solemn singing up, far up, on Mount Moriah.
The singing ceased, leaving a void, and he heard but the shifting scurry of the camels' feet. And the voices of all the people were silent, because, as it seemed, the singing up on Mount Moriah had left, within their souls also, an unutterable emptiness.
Then brake suddenly upon the Jew's ear a harsh, bold, impenitent cry—the cry of unspiritual Jerusalem. “Let me know my duty, and I will do it! Let me know my duty, and I will do it!"
Came a clap of hands, then the harsh voice once again: “I, even I, that is to say Parush, he that is wiser and better than all the Sopherim of the city, he that keepeth himself apart, whose very name denoteth separation. I, even I, the great Parush, the tenderhearted, will now give alms. Come and see. Come, all ye needy! To you, and to you, and to you. Forget not, anyone, him which doeth these good things-Parush, the man that is separate and apart and higher than all the other people, even scholars—and yet he doeth alms."
IN a well-hid bay of the island of Cypress, lay at anchor, as it were a drowsing boat. Barren mountains stood about the bay, like hostile sentinels. Never a path came to the water.
Out of the ranked holes in the galley, on each of the sides of the ship, ran forth three long banks of oars. But silence brooded as it were a sitting eagle round about the ship, and about the oar-holes thereof, and the places where the oars went into the water. Even the prow-figure (breast and shoulders of a man with head of horned bull) seemed steeped in everlasting, if martial, dreams.
On the top deck of the ship came never a fall of foot, never a syllable of speech.
Yet of a sudden rushed swiftly up and forth out of the forward hatch a rugged, wide-eyed fellow in bright coat of half mail, shouting: “Where art thou, O Master of Marines? Thinkest thou that thou art worthy leader of the forces of Captain Mastix ?”
Then partly rose one that had been asleep within the shadow of the hindmost sail, and, leaning on his elbow, “By the very soul of Morpheus," cried he, "dost thou mean to shatter the planks of the Babylonia! Or wilt thou, rather, call down upon us the people living in the depths of yonder hills ! If thou art helmsman, such remain. Chide not me who am master of the fighters on this ship.”
And he sank back on the deck, being asleep again.
The gubernator, or helmsman, therefore ran up to him, and kicked him, crying: “Wilt thou be a-drunken! Already hast slept a day and yet another. Awaken and arise, for Mastix will soon return. Even as he did say unto us, so cometh he back. And behold! the men that are under thee, are they in better state than thou?"
But the master of the soldiers said unto him, “Be accursed. Mastix will not return. He hath been killed, belike. And, if he come not back by morning, I will take over the ship, and be myself the captain. Am not I as good a thief as he? There now. Let me slumber.” Once again he snored.
Then came to the helmsman another that was friend unto the master of marines, and said: “Let him that sleepeth, sleep. Mastix will never return, and then the master of the marines, he shall be captain for us. For behold, our present captain hath done a foolhardy thing in that he hath gone unto Palestine to waylay men, and bring them down to Caesarea, thence by the dangerous ways of the sea until here. Better to have staid short-handed than to have walked into the jaws of Rome.-Come, therefore, Gubernator, and join our mutiny. We shall up with anchor, then, and sail to sweetest plunders and success."
But Gubernator looked at the man fiercely. “Traitor!" cried he.
Then set upon the gubernator, from behind, two others of the friends of the master of the marines, smiting him that he fell.
And yet was up again.
And all the soldiers both above deck and below began to become of either party, that of the master of the marines or else that of Mastix and the gubernator. And while the fighting was thickest, some one cried out: "Mastix! Mastix !”
And behold, the captain of the vessel was back among them. His arm was mighty. And there were other strong men with him. Soon, because of these, the fray was at an end.
Then brought Mastix, who was a great, black-bearded fellow, into the ship all the kidnapped men, which he had taken in Palestine, not for soldiers but for slaves, that they might labor at his oars in the belly of the ship. And he set them forward in the ship.
Then called he before him at the back of the ship all them which still were on life that had conspired against him.
And he adjudged them. And he had their ears cut off, and piled up in a heap upon the deck. And of some he put the eyes out also, with heated irons. And the rest he flayed alive, laughing without restraint at their screams.
Those that died he cast into the sea. But the others he set naked on the shore of the wild mountains.
Then gave he unto the master of the galley-slaves explicit instructions as about the new men the which he had just brought.
And Simon was the last to be taken down into the bowels of the ship.
Him they set down into the deepmost belly of the vessel, as the last slave on the left (which was the worser) side thereof, and ey chained him to his bench. “That is good enough for him," said that one which fastened his chains, “a dog of a Jew.” And they scourged him, and spat upon him, and kicked him mightily.
Then were all those new-brought rowers instructed how to row, and, that done, the anchor was lifted, and the hortator-he which sate at the front of the chamber, with a hammer over a soundingboard—began to strike the strokes which the oarsmen were to follow, and also to cry them out imperiously—“Un-us, du-o! Un-us, du-o!”
And all the slaves did pull in unison, and the vessel began to tremble, to move.
Then called Mastix, far up above, to set the sails, which was done, and the speed of the vessel continually increased.
Glanced Samson-Solomon about the slave-chamber. He saw that, on each side of the vessel, ran three long files of naked slaves, each ironed and carefully chained to his own bench. Under each bench he beheld a receptacle for filth, so that no slave at all did ever leave his bench, but slept, at the times that were ordered, by lying sidewise on his bench.
After a time, Samson ceased to watch the ever-bending and unbending hundreds of white backs of the rowers, and began to gaze dreamily through his port-hole, as a bird through the only opening in a solid cage. And ever as his head went forward and down, he looked out over the water to the land. Then he beheld that many high and solemn mountains ran down to the narrow channel. And up among those hills he saw villages, nestling and full of silent peace. In places the mountains overhung and were bare and sterile, in others they were rolling and covered with heavy timber and all sweet greenness.
Throughout the afternoon the galley throbbed and creaked and hummed and moaned in and out of an endless succession of narrow straits and confining sounds. Up above, the wind, a captive in the tense sails, labored continually.
After a while Samson-Solomon, deadened and weary and faint of heart and hopeless, ceased to watch the comings and the goings of the land, and began to notice the melancholy sing-song of the oars, as if there were human voices therein: “You-will nev-er leave this place-alive! you-will nev-er leave-this place-alive! You-will nev-er leave this place-alive!” And so on and on, and on and on and on.