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For The Temple by G. A. Henty

Chapter 2: A Storm On Galilee.

One day, after the midday meal, John said:

|Mary, Raphael and his brother have taken the big boat, and gone off with fish to Tiberias; and have told me that I can take the small boat, if I will. Ask my mother to let you off your task, and come out with me. It is a fortnight since we had a row on the lake, together.|

|I was beginning to think that you were never going to ask me again, John; and, only I should punish myself, I would say you nay. There have you been, going out fishing every afternoon, and leaving me at home to spin; and it is all the worse because your mother has said that the time is fast coming when I must give up wandering about like a child, and must behave myself like a woman.

|Oh, dear, how tiresome it will be when there will be nothing to do but to sit and spin, and to look after the house, and to walk instead of running when I am out, and to behave like a grown-up person, altogether!|

|You are almost grown up,| John said; |you are taller, now, than any of the maids except Zillah; but I shall be sorry to see you growing staid and solemn. And it was selfish of me not to ask you to go out before, but I really did not think of it. The fishermen have been working hard, to make up for the time lost during the harvest; and I have really been useful, helping them with their nets, and this is the last year I shall have my liberty.

|But come, don't let's be wasting time in talking; run in and get my mother's permission, and then join me on the shore. I will take some grapes down, for you to eat; for the sun is hot today, and there is scarce a breath of wind on the water.|

A few minutes later, the young pair stood together by the side of the boat.

|Your mother made all sorts of objections,| Mary said, laughing, |and I do think she won't let me come again. I don't think she would have done it, today, if Miriam had not stood up for me, and said that I was but a child though I was so tall; and that, as you were very soon going to work with your father, she thought that it was no use in making the change before that.|

|What nonsense it all is!| John said. |Besides, you know it is arranged that, in a few months, we are to be betrothed according to the wishes of your parents and mine. It would have been done, long ago, only my father and mother do not approve of young betrothals; and think it better to wait, to see if the young ones like each other; and I think that is quite right, too, in most cases -- only, of course, living here, as you have done for the last three years -- since your father and mother died -- there was no fear of our not liking each other.|

|Well, you see,| Mary said, as she sat in the stern of the boat, while John rowed it quietly along, |it might have been just the other way. When people don't see anything of each other, till they are betrothed by their parents, they can't dislike each other very much; whereas, when they get to know each other, if they are disagreeable they might get to almost hate each other.|

|Yes, there is something in that,| John agreed. |Of course, in our case it is all right, because we do like each other -- we couldn't have liked each other more, I think, if we had been brother and sister -- but it seems to me that, sometimes, it must be horrid when a boy is told by his parents that he is to be betrothed to a girl he has never seen. You see it isn't as if it were for a short time, but for all one's life. It must be awful!|

|Awful!| Mary agreed, heartily; |but of course, it would have to be done.|

|Of course,| John said -- the possibility of a lad refusing to obey his parents' commands not even occurring to him. |Still it doesn't seem to me quite right that one should have no choice, in so important a matter. Of course, when one's got a father and mother like mine -- who would be sure to think only of making me happy, and not of the amount of dowry, or anything of that sort -- it would be all right; but with some parents, it would be dreadful.|

For some time, not a word was spoken; both of them meditating over the unpleasantness of being forced to marry someone they disliked. Then, finding the subject too difficult for them, they began to talk about other things; stopping, sometimes, to see the fishermen haul up their nets, for there were a number of boats out on the lake. They rowed down as far as Tiberias and, there, John ceased rowing; and they sat chatting over the wealth and beauty of that city, which John had often visited with his father, but which Mary had never entered.

Then John turned the head of the boat up the lake and again began to row but, scarcely had he dipped his oar into the water, when he exclaimed:

|Look at that black cloud rising, at the other end of the lake! Why did you not tell me, Mary?|

|How stupid of me,| she exclaimed, |not to have kept my eyes open!|

He bent to his oars, and made the boat move through the water at a very different rate to that at which she had before traveled.

|Most of the boats have gone,| Mary said, presently, |and the rest are all rowing to the shore; and the clouds are coming up very fast,| she added, looking round.

|We are going to have a storm,| John said. |It will be upon us long before we get back. I shall make for the shore, Mary. We must leave the boat there, and take shelter for a while, and then walk home. It will not be more than four miles to walk.|

But though he spoke cheerfully, John knew enough of the sudden storms that burst upon the Sea of Galilee to be aware that, long before he could cross the mile and a half of water, which separated them from the eastern shore, the storm would be upon them; and indeed, they were not more than half way when it burst.

The sky was already covered with black clouds. A great darkness gathered round them; then came a heavy downpour of rain; and then, with a sudden burst, the wind smote them. It was useless, now, to try to row, for the oars would have been twisted from his hands in a moment; and John took the helm, and told Mary to lie down in the bottom of the boat. He had already turned the boat's head up the lake, the direction in which the storm was traveling.

The boat sprang forward, as if it had received a blow, when the gale struck it. John had, more than once, been out on the lake with the fishermen, when sudden storms had come up; and knew what was best to be done. When he had laid in his oars, he had put them so that the blades stood partly up above the bow, and caught the wind somewhat; and he, himself, crouched down in the bottom, with his head below the gunwale and his hand on the tiller; so that the tendency of the boat was to drive straight before the wind. With a strong crew, he knew that he could have rowed obliquely towards the shore but, alone, his strength could have done nothing to keep the heavy boat off her course.

The sea rose, as if by magic, and the spray was soon dashing over them; each wave, as it followed the boat, rising higher and higher. The shores were no longer visible; and the crests of the waves seemed to gleam, with a pallid light, in the darkness which surrounded them. John sat quietly in the bottom of the boat, with one hand on the tiller and the other arm round Mary, who was crouched up against him. She had made no cry, or exclamation, from the moment the gale struck them.

Illustration: On the Sea of Galilee.

|Are we getting near shore?| she asked, at last.

|No, Mary; we are running straight before the wind, which is blowing right up the lake. There is nothing to be done but to keep straight before it.|

Mary had seen many storms on the lake, and knew into what a fury its waters were lashed, in a tempest such as was now upon them.

|We are in God's hands, John,| she said, with the quiet resignation of her race. |He can save us, if He will. Let us pray to him.|

John nodded and, for a few minutes, no word was spoken.

|Can I do anything?| Mary asked, presently, as a wave struck the stern, and threw a mass of water into the boat.

|Yes,| John replied; |take that earthen pot, and bale out the water.|

John had no great hope that they would live through the gale, but he thought it better for the girl to be kept busily employed. She bailed steadily but, fast as she worked, the water came in faster; for each wave, as it swept past them, broke on board. So rapidly were they traveling that John had the greatest difficulty in keeping the boat from broaching to -- in which case the following wave would have filled, or overturned, her.

|I don't think it's any use, John,| Mary said, quietly, as a great wave broke on board; pouring in as much water, in a second, as she could have baled out in ten minutes.

|No use, dear. Sit quietly by me but, first, pull those oars aft. Now, tie them together with that piece of rope. Now, when the boat goes down, keep tight hold of them.

|Cut off another piece of rope, and give it me. When we are in the water, I will fasten you to the oars. They will keep you afloat, easily enough. I will keep close to you. You know I am a good swimmer and, whenever I feel tired, I can rest my hands on the oars, too.

|Keep up your courage, and keep as quiet as you can. These sudden storms seldom last long; and my father will be sure to get the boats out, as soon as he can, to look for us.|

John spoke cheerfully, but he had no great hopes of their being able to live in so rough a sea. Mary had still less, but she quietly carried out John's instructions. The boat was half-full of water, now, and rose but heavily upon the waves.

John raised himself and looked round; in hopes that the wind might, unnoticed, have shifted a little and blown them towards the shore. As he glanced around, him he gave a shout. Following almost in their track, and some fifty yards away, was a large galley; running before the wind, with a rag of sail set on its mast.

|We are saved, Mary!| he exclaimed. |Here is a galley, close to us.|

He shouted loudly, though he knew that his voice could not be heard, many yards away, in the teeth of the gale but, almost directly, he saw two or three men stand up in the bow of the galley. One was pointing towards them, and he saw that they were seen.

In another minute the galley came sweeping along, close to the boat. A dozen figures appeared over her side, and two or three ropes were thrown. John caught one, twisted it rapidly round Mary's body and his own, knotted it and, taking her in his arms, jumped overboard. Another minute they were drawn alongside the galley, and pulled on board. As soon as the ropes were unfastened, John rose to his feet; but Mary lay, insensible, on the deck.

|Carry the damsel into the cabin,| a man, who was evidently in authority said. |She has fainted, but will soon come round. I will see to her, myself.|

The suddenness of the rescue, the plunge in the water, and the sudden revulsion of his feelings affected John so much that it was two or three minutes before he could speak.

|Come along with me, lad,| one of the sailors said, laying his hand on his shoulder. |Some dry clothes, and a draught of wine will set you all right again; but you have had a narrow escape of it. That boat of yours was pretty nearly water logged and, in another five minutes, we should have been too late.|

John hastily changed his clothes in the forecastle, took a draught of wine, and then hurried back again towards the aft cabin. Just as he reached it, the man who had ordered Mary to be carried in came out.

|The damsel has opened her eyes,| he said, |and you need not be uneasy about her. I have given her some woolen cloths, and bade her take off her wet garments, and wrap herself in them.

|Why did you not make for the shore, before the tempest broke? It was foolish of you, indeed, to be out on the lake, when anyone could see that this gale was coming.|

|I was rowing down, and did not notice it until I turned,| John replied. |I was making for the shore, when the gale struck her.|

|It was well, for you, that I noticed you. I was, myself, thinking of making for the shore although, in so large and well-manned craft as this, there is little fear upon the lake. It is not like the Great Sea; where I, myself, have seen a large ship as helpless, before the waves, as that small boat we picked you from.

|I had just set out from Tiberias, when I marked the storm coming up; but my business was urgent and, moreover, I marked your little boat, and saw that you were not likely to gain the shore; so I bade the helmsman keep his eye on you, until the darkness fell upon us; and then to follow straight in your wake, for you could but run before the wind -- and well he did it for, when we first caught sight of you, you were right ahead of us.|

The speaker was a man of about thirty years of age; tall, and with a certain air of command.

|I thank you, indeed, sir,| John said, |for saving my life; and that of my cousin Mary, the daughter of my father's brother. Truly, my father and mother will be grateful to you, for having saved us; for I am their only son.

|Whom are they to thank for our rescue?|

|I am Joseph, the son of Matthias, to whom the Jews have intrusted the governorship of this province.|

|Josephus!| John exclaimed, in a tone of surprise and reverence.

|So men call me,| Josephus replied, with a smile.

It was, indeed, the governor. Flavius Josephus, as the Romans afterwards called him, came of a noble Jewish family -- his father, Matthias, belonging to the highest of the twenty-four classes into which the sacerdotal families were divided. Matthias was eminent for his attainments, and piety; and had been one of the leading men in Jerusalem. From his youth, Josephus had carefully prepared himself for public life, mastering the doctrines of the three leading sects among the Jews -- the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes -- and having spent three years in the desert, with Banus the Ascetic. The fact that, at only twenty-six years of age, he had gone as the leader of a deputation to Rome, on behalf of some priests sent there by Felix, shows that he was early looked upon as a conspicuous person among the Jews; and he was but thirty when he was intrusted with the important position of Governor of Galilee.

Contrary to the custom of the times, he had sought to make no gain from his position. He accepted neither presents, nor bribes; but devoted himself entirely to ameliorating the condition of the people, and in repressing the turbulence of the lower classes of the great towns; and of the robber chieftains who, like John of Gischala, took advantage of the relaxation of authority, caused by the successful rising against the Romans, to plunder and tyrannize over the people.

The expression of the face of Josephus was lofty and, at the same time, gentle. His temper was singularly equable and, whatever the circumstances, he never gave way to anger, but kept his passions well under control. His address was soft and winning, and he had the art of attracting respect and friendship from all who came in contact with him. Poppaea, the wife of Nero, had received him with much favor and, bravely as he fought against them, Vespasian and Titus were, afterwards, as much attached to him as were the Jews of Galilee. There can be no doubt that, had he been otherwise placed than as one of a people on the verge of destruction, Josephus would have been one of the great figures of history.

John had been accustomed to hear his father and his friends speak in tones of such admiration for Josephus, as the man who was regarded not only as the benefactor of the Jews of Galilee, but as the leader and mainstay of the nation, that he had long ardently desired to see him; and to find that he had now been rescued from death by him, and that he was now talking to him face to face, filled him with confusion.

|You are a brave lad,| Josephus said, |for you kept your head well, in a time when older men might have lost their presence of mind. You must have kept your boat dead before the wind; and you were quick and ready, in seizing the rope and knotting it round yourself, and the maid with you. I feared you might try and fasten it to the boat. If you had, full of water as she was, and fast as we were sailing before the wind, the rope would barely have stood the strain.|

|The clouds are breaking,| the captain of the boat said, coming up to Josephus, |and I think that we are past the worst of the gale. And well it is so for, even in so staunch a craft, there is much peril in such a sea as this.|

The vessel, although one of the largest on the lake, was indeed pitching and rolling very heavily; but she was light and buoyant and, each time that she plunged bows under, as the following waves lifted her stern high in the air, she rose lightly again; and scarce a drop fell into her deep waist, the lofty erections, fore and aft, throwing off the water.

|Where do you belong, my lad?| Josephus asked. |I fear that it is impossible for us to put you ashore, until we reach Capernaum; but once there, I will see that you are provided with means to take you home.|

|Our farm lies three miles above Hippos.|

|That is unfortunate,| Josephus said, |since it lies on the opposite side of the lake to Capernaum. However, we shall see. If the storm goes down rapidly, I may be able to get a fishing boat to take you across, this evening; for your parents will be in sore trouble. If not, you must wait till early morning.|

In another hour they reached Capernaum. The wind had, by this time, greatly abated; although the sea still ran high. The ship was soon alongside a landing jetty, which ran out a considerable distance, and formed a breakwater protecting the shipping from the heavy sea which broke there when the wind was, as at present, from the south.

Mary came out from the cabin, as the vessel entered the harbor, wrapped up from head to foot in the woolen cloths with which she had been furnished. John sprang to her side.

|Are you quite well, Mary?|

|Quite well,| she said, |only very ashamed of having fainted, and very uncomfortable in these wrappings. But, oh! John, how thankful we ought to be, to God, for having sent this ship to our aid, just when all seemed lost!|

|We ought, indeed, Mary. I have been thanking him, as I have been standing here watching the waves; and I am sure you have been doing the same, in the cabin.|

|Yes, indeed, John. But what am I to do, now? I do not like going on shore like this, and the officer told me I was, on no account, to put on my wet clothes.|

|Do you know, it is Josephus himself, Mary -- think of that -- the great Josephus, who has saved us! He marked our boat before the storm broke and, seeing that we could not reach the shore, had his vessel steered so as to overtake us.|

Mary was too surprised to utter more than an exclamation. The thought that the man, who had been talking so kindly and pleasantly to her, was the great leader of whom she had heard so much, quite took away her breath.

At that moment Josephus, himself, came up.

|I am glad to see you have got your color again, maiden,| he said. |I am just going to land. Do you, with your cousin, remain on board here. I will send a woman down, with some attire for you. She will conduct you both to the house where I shall be staying.

|The sea is going down, and the captain tells me that he thinks, in another three or four hours, I shall be able to get a boat to send you across to your home. It will be late, but you will not mind that; for they are sure not to retire to rest, at home, but to be up all night, searching for you.|

A crowd had assembled on the jetty, for Josephus was expected, and the violent storm had excited the fears of all for his safety; and the leading inhabitants had all flocked down to welcome him, when his vessel was seen approaching.

|Isn't he kind and good?| Mary said, enthusiastically, as she watched the greeting which he received, as he landed. |He talked to me, just as if he had been of my own family.|

|He is grand!| John agreed, with equal enthusiasm. |He is just what I pictured to myself that a great leader would be; such as Joshua, or Gideon, or the Prince of the Maccabees.|

|Yes; but more gentle, John.|

|Brave men should always be gentle,| John said, positively.

|They ought to be, perhaps,| Mary agreed, |but I don't think they are.|

They chatted, then, about the storm and the anxiety which they would be feeling, at home; until an officer, accompanied by a woman carrying attire for Mary, came on board. Mary soon came out of the cabin, dressed; and the officer conducted them to the house which had been placed at the disposal of Josephus. The woman led them up to a room, where a meal had been prepared for them.

|Josephus is in council, with the elders,| she said. |He bade me see that you had all that you required. He has arranged that a bark shall start with you, as soon as the sea goes down; but if, by eight o'clock, it is still too rough, I shall take the maiden home to my house, to sleep; and they will arouse you, as soon as it is safe to put out, whatever the hour may be, as your friends will be in great anxiety concerning you.|

The sun had already set and, just as they finished their meal, the man belonging to the boat came to say that it would be midnight before he could put out.

Mary then went over with the woman; and John lay down on some mats, to sleep, until it was time to start. He slept soundly, until he was aroused by the entry of someone, with lights. He started to his feet, and found that it was Josephus, himself, with an attendant.

|I had not forgotten you,| he said, |but I have been, until now, in council. It is close upon midnight, and the boat is in readiness. I have sent to fetch the damsel, and have bidden them take plenty of warm wraps, so that the night air may do her no harm.|

Mary soon arrived; and Josephus, himself, went down with them to the shore, and saw them on board the boat -- which was a large one, with eight rowers. The wind had died away to a gentle breeze, and the sea had gone down greatly. The moon was up, and the stars shining brightly. Josephus chatted kindly to John, as they made their way down to the shore.

|Tell your father,| he said, |that I hope he will come over to see me, ere long; and that I shall bear you in mind. The time is coming when every Jew who can bear arms will be needed in the service of his country and, if your father consents, I will place you near my person; for I have seen that you are brave and cool, in danger, and you will have plenty of opportunities of winning advancement.|

With many thanks for his kindness, John and Mary took their places in the stern of the boat. Mary enveloped herself in the wraps that had been prepared for her, for the nights were chilly. Then the sail was hoisted, and the boat sailed away from the land. The wind had shifted round, somewhat, to the west, and they were able to lay their course across towards Hippos; but their progress was slow, and the master bade the crew get out their oars, and aid the sail.

In three hours they neared the land, John pointing out the exact position of the village; which was plainly enough marked out, by a great fire blazing on the shore. As they approached it, they could see several figures and, presently, there came a shout, which John recognized as that of Isaac.

|Any news?|

|Here we are, Isaac, safe and well.|

There was a confused sound, of shouts and cries of pleasure. In a few minutes, the boat grated on the shallow shore. The moment she did so, John leaped out over the bow and waded ashore, and was at once clasped in his mother's arms; while one of the fishermen carried Mary to the land. She received, from Martha, a full share of her caresses; for she loved the girl almost as dearly as she did her son. Then Miriam and the maids embraced and kissed her, while Isaac folded John in his arms.

|The God of Israel be thanked and praised, my children!| Martha exclaimed. |He has brought you back to us, as from the dead, for we never thought to see you again. Some of the fishermen returned, and told us that they saw your boat, far on the lake, before the storm burst; and none held out hope that you could have weathered such a storm.|

|Where is father?| John asked.

|He is out on the lake, as are all the fishermen of the village, searching for you.

|That reminds me, Isaac, set fire to the other piles of wood that we have prepared.

|If one of the boats returned, with any sure news of you, we were to light them to call the others back -- one fire if the news was bad, two if it was good -- but we hardly even dared to hope that the second would be required.|

A brand from the fire was soon applied to the other piles, and the three fires shone out across the lake, with the good news. In a quarter of an hour a boat was seen approaching, and soon came a shout:

|Is all well?|

|All is well,| John shouted, in reply, and soon he was clasped in his father's arms.

The other boats came in, one by one; the last to arrive towing in the boat -- which had been found, bottom upwards, far up the lake, its discovery destroying the last hope of its late occupants being found alive.

As soon as Simon landed, the party returned to the house. Miriam and the maids hurried to prepare a meal -- of which all were sorely in need, for no food had been eaten since the gale burst on the lake; while their three hours in the boat had again sharpened the appetite of John and Mary. A quantity of food was cooked, and a skin of old wine brought up from the cellar; and Isaac remained down on the shore, to bid all who had been engaged in the search come up and feast, as soon as they landed.

John related to his parents the adventure which had befallen them, and they wondered greatly at the narrowness of their deliverance. When the feasting was over, Simon called all together, and solemnly returned thanks to God for the mercies which He had given them. It was broad daylight before all sought their beds, for a few hours, before beginning the work of the day.

A week later Josephus himself came to Hippos, bringing with him two nobles, who had fled from King Agrippa and sought refuge with him. He had received them hospitably, and had allotted a home to them at Tarichea, where he principally dwelt.

He had, just before, had another narrow escape, for six hundred armed men -- robbers and others -- had assembled round his house, charging him with keeping some spoils which had been taken, by a party of men of that town, from the wife of Ptolemy -- King Agrippa's procurator -- instead of dividing them among the people. For a time, he pacified them by telling them that this money was destined for strengthening the walls of their town, and for walling other towns at present undefended; but the leaders of the evildoers were determined to set his house on fire, and slay him.

He had but twenty armed men with him. Closing the doors, he went to an upper room, and told the robbers to send in one of their number to receive the money. Directly he entered, the door was closed. One of his hands was cut off, and hung round his neck; and he was then turned out again. Believing that Josephus would not have ventured to act so boldly, had he not had a large body of armed men with him, the crowd were seized with panic and fled to their homes.

After this, the enemies of Josephus persuaded the people that the nobles he had sheltered were wizards; and demanded that they should be given up to be slain, unless they would change their religion to that of the Jews. Josephus tried to argue them out of their belief, saying that there were no such things as wizards and, if the Romans had wizards who could work them wrong, they would not need to send an army to fight against them; but as the people still clamored, he got the men privately on board a ship, and sailed across the lake with them to Hippos; where he dismissed them, with many presents.

As soon as the news came that Josephus had come to Hippos, Simon set out with Martha, John, and Mary, to see him. Josephus received them kindly, and would permit no thanks for what he had done.

|Your son is a brave youth,| he said to Simon, |and I would gladly have him near me, if you would like to have it so. This is a time when there are greater things than planting vineyards, and gathering in harvests, to be done; and there is a need for brave and faithful men. If, then, you and your wife will give the lad to me, I will see to him, and keep him near me. I have need of faithful men with me, for my enemies are ever trying to slay me. If all goes well with the lad, he will have a good opportunity of rising to honor.

|What say you? Do not give an answer hastily, but think it over among yourselves and, if you agree to my proposal, send him across the lake to me.|

|It needs no thought, sir,| Simon said. |I know well that there are more urgent things, now, than sowing and reaping; and that much trouble and peril threaten the land. Right glad am I that my son should serve one who is the hope of Israel, and his mother will not grudge him for such service. As to advancement, I wish nothing better than that he should till the land of his fathers; but none can say what the Lord has in store for us, or whether strangers may not reap what I have sown. Thus, then, the wisdom which he will gain, in being with you, is likely to be a far better inheritance than any I can give him.

|What say you, Martha?|

|I say as you do, Simon. It will grieve me to part with him, but I know that such an offer as that which my lord Josephus makes is greatly for his good. Moreover, the manner in which he was saved from death seems to show that the Lord has something for his hand to do, and that his path is specially marked out for him. To refuse to let him go would be to commit the sin of withstanding God --

|Therefore, my lord, I willingly give up my son to follow you.|

|I think that you have decided wisely,| Josephus said. |I tarry here, for tonight, and tomorrow cross to Tiberias; therefore, let him be here by noon.|

Mary was the most silent of the party, on the way home. Simon and his wife felt convinced the decision they had made was a wise one and, although they were not ambitious, they yet felt that the offer of Josephus was a most advantageous one, and opened a career of honor to their son.

John, himself, was in a state of the highest delight. To be about the person of Josephus seemed, to him, the greatest honor and happiness. It opened the way to the performance of great actions, which would bring honor to his father's name; and although he had been, hitherto, prepared to settle down to the life of a cultivator of the soil, he had had his yearnings for one of more excitement and adventure; and these were now likely to be gratified, to the fullest.

Mary, however, felt the approaching loss of her friend and playmate greatly, though even she was not insensible to the honor which the offer of Josephus conferred upon him.

|You don't seem glad of my good fortune, Mary,| John said as, after they returned home, they strolled together, as usual, down to the edge of the lake.

|It may be your good fortune, but it's not mine,| the girl said, pettishly. |It will be very dull here, without you. I know what it will be. Your mother will always be full of anxiety, and will be fretting whenever we get news of any disturbances; and that is often enough, for there seem to be disturbances, continually. Your father will go about silently, Miriam will be sharper than usual with the maids, and everything will go wrong. I can't see why you couldn't have said that, in a year or two, you would go with the governor; but that, at present, you thought you had better stop with your own people.|

|A nice milksop he would have thought me!| John laughed. |No, if he thought I was man enough to do him service, it would have been a nice thing for me to say that I thought I was too young.

|Besides, Mary, after all it is your good fortune, as well as mine; for is it not settled that you are to share it? Josephus is all powerful and, if I please him and do my duty, he can, in time, raise me to a position of great honor I may even come to be the governor of a town, or a captain over troops, or a councilor.|

|No, no!| Mary laughed, |not a councilor, John. A governor, perhaps; and a captain, perhaps; but never, I should say, a councilor.|

John laughed good temperedly.

|Well, Mary, then you shall look forward to be the wife of a governor, or captain; but you see, I might even fill the place of a councilor with credit, because I could always come to you for advice before, I give an opinion -- then I should be sure to be right.

|But, seriously, Mary, I do think it great honor to have had such an offer made me, by the governor.|

|Seriously, so do I, John; though I wish, in my heart, he had not made it. I had looked forward to living here, all my life, just as your mother has done; and now there will be nothing fixed to look forward to.

|Besides, where there is honor, there is danger. There seem to be always tumults, always conspiracies -- and then, as your father says, above all there are the Romans to be reckoned with and, of course, if you are near Josephus you run a risk, going wherever he does.|

|I shall never be in greater risk, Mary, than we were, together, on the lake the other day. God helped us, then, and brought us through it; and I have faith that He will do so, again. It may be that I am meant to do something useful, before I die. At any rate, when the Romans come, everyone will have to fight; so I shall be in no greater danger than any one else.|

|I know, John, and I am not speaking quite in earnest. I am sorry you are going -- that is only natural -- but I am proud that you are to be near our great leader, and I believe that our God will be your shield and protector.

|And now, we had better go in. Your father will, doubtless, have much to say to you, this evening; and your mother will grudge every minute you are out of her sight.|

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