"He wanted to know the exact words. Were they TO BE or BORN TO BE? It appeared he was struck by a seeming difference in the effect of the two phrases."
Simonides settled back into his pose of listening judge.
"Then," said Malluch, "I told him Ilderim's view of the mystery--that the king would come with the doom of Rome. The young man's blood rose over his cheeks and forehead, and he said earnestly, 'Who but a Herod can be king while Rome endures?'"
"That the empire must be destroyed before there could be another rule."
Simonides gazed for a time at the ships and their shadows slowly swinging together in the river; when he looked up, it was to end the interview.
"Enough, Malluch," he said. "Get you to eat, and make ready to return to the Orchard of Palms; you must help the young man in his coming trial. Come to me in the morning. I will send a letter to IIderim." Then in an undertone, as if to himself, he added, "I may attend the Circus myself."
When Malluch after the customary benediction given and received was gone, Simonides took a deep draught of milk, and seemed refreshed and easy of mind.
"Put the meal down, Esther," he said; "it is over."