`Yes,' I said, `there is a Greece; and, just now, is it once more a people.* Yet the Greeks of to-day are not what the Greeks of the old time were, and Greece herself is but a mockery of the Greece that was.'

`So! The Hebrews, are they yet at Jerusalem? And does the Temple that the wise king built* stand, and if so, what God do they worship therein? Is their Messiah come, of whom they preached so much and prophesied so loudly, and doth He rule the earth?'

`The Jews are broken and gone, and the fragments of their people strew the world, and Jerusalem is no more.* As for the temple that Herod built--'

`Herod!' she said. `I know not Herod. But go on.'

`The Romans burnt it, and the Roman eagles flew across its ruins, and now Judaea is a desert.'

`So, so! They were a great people, those Romans, and went straight to their end--ay, they sped to it like Fate, or like their own eagles on their prey!--and left peace behind them.'

`Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant,'* I suggested.

`Ah, thou canst speak the Latin tongue, too!' she said, in surprise. `It hath a strange ring in my ears after all these days, and it seems to me that thy accent does not fall as the Romans put it. Who was it wrote that? I know not the saying, but it is a true one of that great people. It seems that I have found a learned man--one whose hands have held the water of the world's knowledge. Knowest thou Greek also?'

`Yes, oh Queen, and something of Hebrew, but not to speak them well. They are all dead languages now.'

She clapped her hands in childish glee. `Of a truth, ugly tree that thou art, thou growest the fruits of wisdom, oh, Holly,' she said, `but of those Jews whom I hated, for they called me "heathen" when I would have taught them my philosophy. Did their Messiah come, and doth He rule the world?'

`Their Messiah came,' I answered with reverence; `but He came poor and lowly, and they would have none of Him. They scourged Him, and crucified Him upon a tree, but yet His words and His works live on, for He was the Son of God, and now of a truth He doth rule half the world, but not with an Empire of the World.'

`Ah, the fierce-hearted wolves,' she said, `the followers of Sense and of many gods--greedy of gain and factiontorn. I can see their dark faces yet. So they crucified their Messiah? Well can I believe it. That he was a Son of the Living Spirit would be naught to them, if indeed He was so, and of that we will talk afterwards. They would care naught for any God if he came not with pomp and power. They, a chosen people, a vessel of Him they call Jehovah, ay, and a vessel of Baal, and a vessel of Astoreth, and a vessel of the gods of the Egyptians--a high-stomached people, greedy of aught that brought them wealth and power. So they crucified their Messiah because He came in lowly guise--and now are they scattered about the earth. Why, if I remember, so said one of their prophets that it should be.* Well, let them go-- they broke my heart, those Jews, and made me look with evil eyes across the world, ay, and drove me to this wilderness, this place of a people that was before them. When I would have taught them wisdom in Jerusalem they stoned me, ay, at the Gate of the Temple those white-bearded hypocrites and Rabbis hounded the people on to stone me! See, here is the mark of it to this day!' and with a sudden move she pulled up the gauzy wrapping on her rounded arm, and pointed to a little scar that showed red against its milky beauty.

I shrank back horrified.

`Pardon me, oh Queen,' I said, `but I am bewildered. Nigh upon two thousand years have rolled across the earth since the Jewish Messiah hung upon His cross at Golgotha. How then canst thou have taught

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.