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not my reveries, nor once uttered a word, till at length weary of myself and my thoughts, I asked him if the cameldriver were taking us on the most direct route to BethHarem, for it seemed to me that we were keeping too much to the sea.
“ It is by no means,” replied my companion, entering eagerly the door I had opened, “ the most direct way; but it is a safer way than any other, and agrees by reason of its solitariness with the wish, which but yesterday you declared, to avoid, as much as might be, the more thickly peopled districts, seeing that you felt but little in the mood of mingling or conversing with any - a poor temper truly for a traveller; for what shall he know more of a new people or country, than before he saw them, who keeps the company only of his thoughts? He may, indeed, publish the fact, that here he crossed a river, and there a mountain, and there passed through a city or town, but of what the people are, who are of more account than hills or rocks, he will know no more than his mule. A country is but a larger city, and how, my young Hebrew, should I know the name and the affairs of every man in Cæsarea, as praised be the gods I do, if I went about like thee, with a shut mouth and a frost-bitten visage? If thou wouldst know what is in man, the tongue is better than instruments of torture to find it out. Used with discretion, and as need shall be with cunning, and no corner of the heart shall keep its secrets. There be few in Cæsarea, Greek, Jew or Roman, but by the use of this gift of nature I am familiar as well with their hearts as their faces. Pilate, the dark Pilate, hath not escaped me.”
“ How," I asked, interrupting the stream of words, “ have you approached the inaccessible Pilate?”
Pilate,” he replied, “hath Procla, and Procla hath Cataphilus, and through these two Syracusan glasses, properly adjusted, do I read his soul. No man, not Pilate even, is wholly himself; others possess a part, more or less; he must let out into one ear or another, else, as a
wine-skin, would he burst with the inward ferment. So that by a careful spying, you without difficulty learn the way through one into another, and thus by direction or indirection do you obtain universal knowledge. The sight of a man, truly considered, is more in his tongue than his eyes; the sight, I say, that sees more than trees, clouds, or hills. But for thee, if thou wouldst travel secretly and unobserved, and without using thy true eyes, this way which we take is the better; and, as I said, it is also safer, and for that reason chiefly is it that I have chosen it out of many. There may be those in Cæsarea who would gladly do thee an ill turn; for be it now known to thee, that in the affray at the synagogue, at that moment when Philip and Anna fell, and thou didst then plunge into the thickest of the fight, many of the Romans, and some of consideration too, Greeks also as well as Romans, bit the dust; and by many has thy life been with oaths devoted. This way is therefore best for thee; it lies among these hills of Megiddo, a part of the Carmel ridge, as thou seest, and is least likely of any to have been chosen as the path to Beth-Harem. Here then thou canst linger and muse at thy leisure, and dream or sleep. Yet before I leave thee should I say, that by and by, turning toward the east and leaving the hill country, thou wilt suddenly find thyself at the gates of Samaria ; but being a Jew, thou mayst not choose to pass among Samaritans."
Forgetting my new character, I informed Zeno with some little energy that I was a Roman, and cared not whom I travelled among; Jew and Samaritan were alike. At this he laughed heartily, amusing himself at great length with the ease with which I was first a Roman, then a Jew, as the occasion or circumstances seemed to require.
Thus we travelled on, Zeno having found me a listener again, and overwhelming me with a flood of words, till the sun was well up, and the chill air of the morning was giving way before the heats of an unclouded Syrian day, when he declared that, with whatever reluctance, he must part from me and return to the cooler retreats of the city. I commended to him the mother of Philip and Anna, should she ever seek again the precincts of Cæsarea, and besought him, if such a step would give her pleasure, to afford her every aid she might require to enable her to reach Rome, and take up her dwelling with my mother. This he promised to do; and should such an event take place, I am sure, my mother, it will be grateful to thee as well as to myself. The Greek then turning his horse's head, and giving me his best wishes and the blessing of his gods, was soon lost sight of, on his way to the city. I must confess a sadness at his departure, notwithstanding he so often proved a vexation through the mass and the strangely assorted varieties of matter, which, without pause, he would pour into any ear that remained open. But what was a sensible relief under such inflictions was the circumstance that he rarely required sign of assent or dissent on the part of the listener; it was enough if there were tokens of so much life as proved him to be awake.
Being now left to myself, I took more note of the country through which my road lay, and of the nearer and more distant objects by which I was surrounded. It was a region very full of beauty of every sort; and I was not sorry, though I truly lamented the loss of the Greek as one who had befriended me, to be alone in the midst of it. Hills of considerable height, like the lower ridges of the Apennines, which here and there shoot out on either side to the Adriatic and the Tuscan seas, were on my right and left, some bare and rocky, but for the most part clothed with verdure, and showing, perched upon elevations far above the path I travelled, the dwellings of the inhabitants surrounded by their vineyards, for which they win a place where to a stranger's eye there seems little else than cliffs of rock. But wherever the ground opened, and the hills drew back a space, the cottages of the peasantry were thickly set together, buried beneath the foliage of the rich, fruit-bearing trees of these climes, or encompassed by fields covered with the best products of the season, or by plantations of the olive and the fig. The tall and majestic date tree was here and there to be seen overtopping all others, and giving a sure sign of a neighbouring habitation. But chiefly was the eye pleased with the vineyards, in which, as with us, the vines are led from tree to tree and shrub to shrub, where these natural supports are at hand, so forming a thousand shady retreats from the noon-day sun.
The vintage was already in progress, and descending the craggy steeps, or winding along the road, or standing at the wine-presses, were mules and asses heavy-laden, and almost hidden from the sight by the overhanging burden of the red grapes of Judea. Merry and noisy with the wild songs of the country were many of the troops of labourers, as we met them coming and going with their fragrant loads. “Peace be with you," was the good wish often bestowed upon me with free gifts of the ripe fruit they were bearing along. All that met my sight or hearing was proof of a happy and contented people, for whom the earth yielded with bounty what was needful to their support, and between whom and a prosperity such as few lands could boast, no hindrance seemed to stand but this slavery to Rome; this dependence not, indeed, so much on Rome as on her servants, who, oftener than is known to the powers at home, thrive by the oppression and injury of the subject province. More and more, my mother, the more I know and see of our tribe, do I find myself drawn to them. Not forever should a people like this dwell thus in subjection to a foreign power. Yet have they now continued for so many years subject in this manner to Rome, and so accustomed are they to the insults and injuries of a state of slavery, that they perceive not the evil of their condition; just as the limbs long bound by chains come at length to be so hardened, that iron is as any other substance. Many have forgotten that they are slaves. So long have they borne the exactions of the tax-gatherer, that they see in him the messenger of a lawful power. Especially is this so among these hilly and remote regions, where they witness no other tokens of their dependent state besides the stated visitations of the publican; dwelling otherwise in security and peace, enjoying the religion transmitted to them by their fathers, and the various customs which distinguish them from every other people.
When we had journeyed on several hours, and the heat had grown to be burdensome both to ourselves and our beasts, we looked around for a cool and pleasant spot, where we might shelter ourselves from the fierce rays of the sun, and obtain the rest and refreshment which were now greatly needed. This, after passing over a barren and sandy tract, we soon found; for upon leaving it and entering again beneath the dark shadows of some trees, which from their kinds denoted habitations at hand, we perceived not far before us, beneath a spreading mulberry, one of the humbler dwellings of which we had passed so many.
No ray of the sun seemed to penetrate the high roof of the mulberry and some lofty palms that were stretched over it. The signs not of poverty, though the house was small and low, were before us, but of comfort that springs from simple habits of life, and natural wants which the fruitful earth abundantly supplied. At the door, turning the mill to the sound of their voices and that of a spring which tumbled from a rock at the side of the house and fell sparkling into a rude basin below, sat two young girls so separated from all other things by their labour, the noise of the stones, their music and laughter and the tumbling rivulet, that our approach was not observed till we were quite near them, when suddenly ceasing from their work, while one shrunk backward within the door of the cottage the other at once arose, and advancing toward me, besought me in reply to my inquiries for refreshment to alight and rest myself during the heats of the day, while herself and her sister would draw