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And the raging crowd drew swords and clubs and rushed to the assistance of the Greek. But Samson, for a time, smote all as if they had had no weapons, and had stood but to drop at his pleasure. Then they grew more numerous. But never a man before had fought so enduringly. They compassed him around like bees, and a green mist thickened before him.
Then heard he, in the middle of that mist a strange yet friendly voice—the voice of Lampadephorus, the Greek—crying: “Nay, by all the gods, it shall not be. I love thee, Samson-Solomon of Cyrene,
And Solomon's head was next in the lap of the Greek, and the Greek did lave his temples both with water and with wine, and comforted him mightily, saying: “Never was such a dimachærus born
“ as thou, O lovely Samson-Solomon. Knowest thou not, in this affray, we did exchange our weapons ? So hath it happened. And where didst thou learn (a half-baked shepherd merely) the feint and the stroke that well-nigh sent me into Tartarus! Thou madest believe thou wouldst reach me on the head, but then didst come at my heart. By Friendship and Hercules! Nay, seek not to answer. Thy wounds are bounden, and now sleep."
THE STRUGGLES OF TRIVIALIS
AND Trivialis learned that Hostilis, the unfortunate man upon whom the Master, Shem, would have taken vengeance, had, on a long past day, got himself from out the island, and journeyed to far Athens, being in truth at the present moment a seller of oils and olives in that place and also high prosperous. Therefore said Trivialis, “I must follow, and set me up my shop beside him, and undersell him, and thereby ruin him, even as the Master told me he would that I should do."
Then remembered he the dream which he had had in the belly of the ship, when the Lord had spoken unto him, saying: “Trivialis, Trivialis !” And the man had answered and said unto Him, “Here, Lord, am I.” And the Lord had said again unto him, “Trivialis !” And Trivialis had answered yet again, and said: “Jehovah, here am I.” Then had the Lord said, “Trivialis, the thing which thou wouldst do is abhorrent unto me. Yet will I not mightily hinder thee from the end of the doing thereof.
“And behold! the levity of thy heart is known to me, so that
thou canst not be unto me as a priest, nor yet as a graven monument. And still I will shape thee and will use thee for a purpose all mine own. And when I have finished with thee, I will break thee and yet keep thee."
Then said Trivialis, “It is strange I had forgotten that dream till now. I am fain to laugh.' And laugh he did, though without cause, even in such wise that Dissolutio, who chanced to be passing, overheard him, then saw him, and then marched swiftly up to him, crying, in an ecstasy: "Accursed be that fellow Agonus, which did set us apart.'
But behold! Trivialis said not, “I am glad to see thee once more." But, instead: “Thou madest a gambler and a drunkard of me.” And, with that, he rushed upon the fellow, and might indeed have slain him, but that Dissolutio, being a more than sufficient fighter, got him a strangle-hold on Trivialis's neck, the which (though Trivialis did break the hold indeed) so pained and terrified the craven that he would no more come to quarters with his enemy, but gathered his feet together and ran, and so became clear of him. And finally, onto a ship which shortly weighed anchor, and left for Piræus—which is to say, the sea-port of Athens, where Hostilis abode.
And having come to Athens, he sought out the man upon whom his master had wished to be revenged, and, having found him, prosperous and growing richer day by day, and about to be married, he set up beside him another shop of a character like his own. And there, because of the monies which his principal had made him the master of, Trivialis undersold the man, and his business was broken up, and the man, of a certain night, departed, and was seen no more. Then said Trivialis, “Master, I have done thy wish. I have
I destroyed thine enemy and given thee revenge. Even as thy son, Samson, would have his revenge upon thy steward, so hath that steward gained thy revenge for thee, and for this, that thou wast mocked."
And he went each day and looked upon the empty shop of Hostilis, and thought on many things.
Each day he said within himself: “Behold, it is natural that every man should have a revenge. Did not even Cain this thing, and unto his own brother? But Hostilis was a good man, after all. Yet what so human as revenge, since all beasts cherish it? And why endeavor to root out that which is human? Yea thy choice for priest, O Jehovah, he hath also a revenge as against me, which he cherisheth, and which, on a day, he will take, to my destructionor so I truly believe."
Then, being heavy of heart and sore afeard also, he betook him to an oracle near by, inquiring: “What shall be the fate of me, Trivialis ?”
The prophetess answered, “He that hath tried to kill thee will surely see thee die."
The bowels of the man turned as it were to water and his knees smote, and he went back to his place of business, crying in his heart: “O Lord, I have sinned!"
And to all that came into the shop, therefore, he spake of Adonai, thinking so to propitiate the Lord. But much men scoffed, saying: “Thou! Thou a priest of any god! Why, thou art a man of busi
Dost thou not understand that no man liveth which can be both a priest and a merchant? Pah!”
Trivialis grew bitter at heart, and he said within him: “This Samson-Solomon of Cyrene, I would wager a skin full of new wine that, turned he man of business, he yet should be Jehovah's priest, and not a little shopful of people only, but all the world, would listen to him.
“And who is this Samson of Cyrene? Is he not merely man? Larger he than I, yea and more enduring. But behold! he is very sad alway, and too earnest. But I-I am cheerful as a cricket in an early hedge. Thou shouldest have had a cheerful priest, O God. Yet, O Jehovah, thou hast preferred the Jew to me! He thy priest! Oh very well. I am sad enough now. ”
Then came into the shop one that said, “Thou art a pretty fellow." “For why?" asked Trivialis.
“For this, that thou hast done a terrible thing, having destroyed the business of Hostilis. And now he hath cut his throat.'
The messenger would have said more, but Trivialis, putting his fingers in his ears, ran away, crying (for at heart he was not all bad) “Would I had not done this thing! Oh, would to God I had not done it."
But when he had drunken his fill of Falernian wine, and was therefore not any longer fearful that he might hear reproaches, he returned to his shop, and sold out all the figs and the oil and the dates, and put these moneys with the others, saying: “It is thine, O son of my Master."
But, on the morrow (having slept ill, for that he had caused a fellow man's ruin and death) he went about again, drinking first in one caupona then another, until, at last, the night came down upon him, and, in a mist of mind, he went to sleep in a strange
place. Arising whenas the sun was again well up, he discerned he was robbed.
Then flew the man around in an agony of gross despair. “Where are the rubies and the emeralds which I bought me, and in which sweet form I would indeed have sent thy wealth unto thee, O Cyrenian Samson! Where are the little bright playthings which did truly
? belong to thee and which I, a fool"
He searched his girdle, his cloak, eke his pileus, time after time. Then dug wildly in the sand whereon he had lain, rushing from spot to spot like one with a demon. Wider and wider grew the circles
a wherein he sought, more and more rapid his motions. At length, beholding one that, staff in hand, did travel a near-by road, he flew to him, saying: “I prithee give me back my money. It was not indeed mine, but my master's—my master's son's. I prithee give it me back."
But the man did buffet him sorely, and, not having uttered a word, passed on.
Then ran Trivialis toward the city, which he descried at a little distance, and, seeing a man coming hitherward, attended by slaves, he ran quickly up, crying: “Give me, oh give me back my money! The jewels! The jewels thou didst steal from me yesternight as I lay a-drunken in yon corner.
Said the man to him, “Thou runaway slave and fool thou! Hast lost thy master's money, and gone a-crazed over it? Give him of good blows a plenty, O my servants, that hereafter he may remember and be more careful with the property of him that doth own him."
The servants beat Trivialis sore, and left him as one dead.
But, in the cool of the evening, he revived and went back into the city, saying to each and every man he met: “Give me, I prithee, back the money thou didst steal from me.
They thought him demented, and one said to another: "Is not this crazy fellow Trivialis, he that undersold Hostilis and so destroyed him? The gods have taken revenge.'
When he heard this, Trivialis slipt forth out of the city, and, for long days, wandered the roads of Attica and Sparta, pretending at one time to be a travelling sophist, at another a runaway slave (for so he did secure from them that were truly slaves both food and shelter) and again he played the simple parasite upon some yet simpler countryman.
On a day, he yawned very slowly. Then, being in a corner alone, he cried out: “Ah-hum! When a man is a homeless fool, he had better be married.”
THE LESSER SERPENT
AFTER their battle, the Greek, each day, taught the Jew the art of being a dimachærus, or two-handed swordsman. And there were those who were fools and who watched and stood at a little distance, mimicking the motions both of pupil and of master. But the pupil gathered strength and skill each day, and the heart of the Jew and the heart of the Greek were closely knit together each unto each, and wholly and forever ligamented.
Now, on a certain evening, when the Jew arose, there was no Greek beside him. Not till the figs and the dates had been all consumed, and the tents unstaked, and the bells set upon the horses' necks, did the Jew discover the whereabouts of his friend. At just a little journey from the camp, hidden therefrom by a ridge of turmoiled sand, he beheld Lampadephorus. Deep in talk he was with a strangely swaddled person, whose face the Jew could not in anywise discover. Yet the man did sit a little bowed on his tall black steed, and keep eternally his mantle about his head. It seemed for a moment as if this fellow might have been the hated Trivialis.
Then came Lampadephorus back, crying: “Ho! Ambidexter ! Why art thou downcast? Hast thou forgot the passes I taught thee yesterday! Thou art stubborn material, O Jew, but, like the Parian marble, thou wouldst retain forever the ideas that once were chiseled into thee.-But see! on the morrow we shall sight the walls of Jupiter Ammon, and so we shall journey well on into the daylit hours that we may reach that place and no more night be spent.—Dost thou remember how I showed thee to make the twisted lightnings about thy head with a single blade only, all the while the other, straight in straight out, did set the blood of thine enemies at liberty! Be of a piece with both thy blades, O marvellous ambidexter born, and live down into the wondrous tips thereof. Thou wilt not forget: Thou art the only perfect dimachærus on this earth."
Said Samson, “I will not forget. It may stand me in good stead in the day of my revenge. There are other things I have not forgotten."
At that he felt a calling forth of all the evil there was in him. And behold, on the morrow, a change came also over the face of the desert. For the sands grew much more wrinkled and far sharper and finer, and a wind arose—the ancient desert wind which had