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For The Temple by G. A. Henty

Chapter 16: The Subterranean Passage.

For a few days after the capture of the lower city, the Jews had a respite. Titus knew that famine was sapping the strength of the defenders, and that every day weakened their power of resistance. He saw that the assault upon their strong position would be attended with immense difficulty, and loss, and he was desirous of saving the city from destruction. He ordered, therefore, a grand review of the troops to take place; and for four days the great army at his command -- the splendid cavalry, the solid masses of the Roman infantry, and the light-armed troops and cavalry of the allies, defiled before him. The Jews from the height of the city watched, with a feeling of dull despair, the tremendous power assembled against them; and felt the hopelessness of further resistance.

An intense desire for peace reigned, throughout the multitude, but John of Gischala and Simon had no thought of yielding. They believed that, whatever mercy Titus might be ready to grant to the inhabitants of the town, for them and their followers there was no hope, whatever, of pardon; and they were firmly resolved to resist until the last. Titus, finding that no offers of submission came from the city, sent Josephus to parley with the defenders.

He could not have made a worse choice of an ambassador. Divided as the Jews were, among themselves, they were united in a common hatred for the man whom they regarded as a traitor to his country; and the harangue of Josephus, to the effect that resistance was unavailing, and that they should submit themselves to the mercy of Titus, was drowned by the execrations from the walls. In fact, in no case could his words have reached any large number of the inhabitants; for he had cautiously placed himself out of bow shot of the walls, and his words could scarcely have reached those for whom they had been intended, even if silence had been observed. His mission, therefore, was altogether unavailing.

Illustration: Misery in Jerusalem During the Siege by Titus.

John felt his own resolution terribly shaken, by the sights which he beheld in the city. The inhabitants moved about like specters, or fell and died in the streets. He felt, now, that resistance had been a mistake; and that it would have been far better to have thrown open the gates, when Titus appeared before them -- in which case the great proportion, at least, of those within would have been spared, and the Temple and the city itself would have escaped destruction. He even regretted that he had marched down to take part in the defense Had he known how entirely exhausted were the granaries, he would not have done so. He had thought that, at least, there would have been sufficient provisions for a siege of some months, and that the patience of the Romans might have been worn out.

He felt, now, that the sacrifice had been a useless one; but although he, himself, would now have raised his voice in favor of surrender, he was powerless. Even his own men would not have listened to his voice. Originally the most fervent and ardent spirits of his band, they were now inspired by a feeling of desperate enthusiasm, equal to that which animated Simon and John of Gischala; and his authority would have been at once overthrown, had he ventured to raise his voice in favor of surrender.

Already, he had once been made to feel that there were points as to which his influence failed to have any effect, whatever. He had, the morning after they retired to the upper city, spoken to his men on the subject of their store of grain. He had urged on them the horrors which were taking place before their eyes -- that women and children were expiring in thousands, and that the inhabitants were suffering the extreme agonies of starvation -- and had concluded by proposing that their store should be distributed among the starving women. His words had been received in silence, and then one of the captains of the companies had risen.

|What you say, John, of the sufferings which the people are undergoing is felt by us all; but I, for one, cannot agree to the proposal that we should give up our store of food. Owing to the number of us that have fallen, there are still well-nigh fifty pounds a man left, which will keep us in health and strength for another two months. Were we to give it out, it would not suffice for a single meal, for a quarter of the people assembled here, and would delay their death but a few hours; thus it would profit them nothing, while it will enable us to maintain our strength -- and maybe, at a critical moment, to hurl back the Romans from the very gates of the Temple.

|It would be wickedness, not charity, to part with our store. It would defeat the object for which we came here, and for which we are ready to die, without any real benefit to those on whom we bestowed the food.|

A general chorus of approval showed that the speaker represented the opinion of his comrades. After a pause, he went on:

|There is another reason why we should keep what we, ourselves, have brought in here. You know how the soldiers of Simon persecute the people -- how they torture them to discover hidden stores of food, how they break in and rob them as they devour, in secret, the provisions they have concealed. I know not whether hunger could drive us to act likewise, but we know the lengths to which famished men can be driven. Therefore, I would that we should be spared the necessity for such cruelties, to keep life together. We are all ready to die, but let it be as strong men, facing the enemy, and slaying as we fall.|

Again, the murmur of approval was heard; and John felt that it would be worse than useless to urge the point. He admitted to himself that there was reason in the argument; and that, while a distribution of their food would give the most temporary relief, only, to the multitude, it would impair the efficiency of the band. The result showed him that, implicit as was the obedience given to him in all military matters, his influence had its limits; and that, beyond a certain point, his authority ceased.

Henceforth he remained in the house, except when he went to his post on the walls immediately adjoining; and he therefore escaped being harrowed by the sight of sufferings that he could not relieve. Each day, however, he set apart the half of his own portion of grain; and gave it to the first starving woman he met, when he went out. The regulation issue of rations had now ceased. The granaries were exhausted and, henceforth, Simon's troops lived entirely upon the food they extorted from the inhabitants.

John of Gischala's followers fared better. Enormous as had been the destruction of grain, the stores in the Temple were so prodigious that they were enabled to live in comparative abundance, and so maintained their strength and fighting power.

But the sufferings of the people increased daily, and great numbers made their escape from the city -- either sallying out from unguarded posterns, at night; or letting themselves down from the lower part of the walls, by ropes. Titus allowed them to pass through; but John of Gischala and Simon, with purposeless cruelty, placed guards on all the walls and gates, to prevent the starving people leaving the city -- although their true policy would have been to facilitate, in every way, the escape of all save the fighting men; and thus to husband what provisions still remained for the use of the defenders of the city.

In the daytime, when the gates were open, people went out and collected vegetables and herbs from the gardens between the walls and the Roman posts; but on their return were pitilessly robbed by the rough soldiers, who confiscated to their own use all that was brought in. The efforts to escape formed a fresh pretext, to Simon and John of Gischala, to plunder the wealthy inhabitants who, under the charge of intending to fly to the Romans, were despoiled of all they had, tortured and executed.

Titus soon changed his policy and, instead of allowing the deserters to make their way through, seized them and those who went out from the city to seek food, scourged, tortured, and crucified them before the walls. Sometimes as many as five hundred were crucified in a single day. This checked the desertion; and the multitude, deeming it better to die of hunger than to be tortured to death by the Romans, resigned themselves to the misery of starvation.

For seventeen days, the Romans labored at their embankments, and only one attack was made upon the walls. This was carried out by the son of the King of Commagene, who had just joined the army with a chosen band, armed and attired in the Macedonian fashion. As soon as he arrived, he loudly expressed his surprise at the duration of the siege. Titus, hearing this, told him that he was at perfect liberty to assault the city, if he liked. This he and his men at once did, and fought with great valor; but with no success whatever, a great number of them being killed, and scarcely one escaping uninjured.

For a fortnight, John had bestowed the half of his ration upon a poor woman, whose child was sick; and who stood at the door of her house, every morning, to wait his passing. One day, she begged him to enter.

|I shall need no more food,| she said. |Thanks to God, who sent you to our aid, my child is recovered, and can now walk; and I intend to fly, tonight, from this terrible place.|

|But there is no escape,| John said. |The soldiers allow none to pass and, if you could pass through them, the Romans would slay you.|

|I can escape,| the woman said, |and that is why I have called you in.

|My husband -- who was killed by Simon's robbers, three months ago -- was for many years employed in working in the underground passages of the city, and in repairing the conduits which carry the water from the springs. As I often carried down his food to him, when he was at work, I know every winding and turn of the underground ways.

|As you know, the ground beneath the city is honeycombed by passages whence stone was, in the old time, obtained for buildings. There are many houses which have entrance, by pits, into these places. This is one of them, and my husband took it for that convenience. From here, I can find my way down to the great conduit which was built, by King Hezekiah, to bring the water from the upper springs of the river Gihon down into the city. Some of these waters supply the pool known as the Dragon Pool, but the main body runs down the conduit in the line of the Tyropoeon Valley; and those from the Temple could, in old times, go down and draw water, thence, should the pools and cistern fail. But that entrance has long been blocked up for, when the Temple was destroyed and the people carried away captives, the ruins covered the entrance, and none knew of it.

|My husband when at work once found a passage which ran, for some distance, by the side of some massive masonry of old time. One of the great stones was loose; and he prised it out, to see what might lie behind it. When he did so he heard the sound of running water and, passing through the hole, found himself in a great conduit. This he afterwards followed up; and found that it terminated, at the upper end of the Valley of Hinnom, in a round chamber, at the bottom of which springs bubbled up. There was an entrance to this chamber from without, through a passage. The outer exit of this was well-nigh filled up with earth, and many bushes grew there; so that none passing by would have an idea of its existence.

|When the troubles here became great, he took me and showed me the conduit; and led me to the exit, saying that the time might come when I might need to fly from Jerusalem. The exit lies far beyond the camps that the Romans have planted on either side of the Valley of Hinnom; and by going out at night, I and my child can make our way, unseen, to the hills. Since you have saved our lives, I tell you of this secret; which is known, I think, to none but myself for, after showing me the place, my husband closed up the entrance to the passage -- which was, before, well-nigh filled up with stones.

|It may be that the time may come when you, too, will need to save yourself by flight. Now, if you will come with me, I will show you the way. See, I have mixed here a pot of charcoal and water, with which we can mark the turnings and the passages; so that you will afterwards be able to find your way for, without such aid, you would never be able to follow the path, through its many windings, after only once going through it.|

John thanked the woman warmly for her offer, and they at once prepared to descend into the pit. This was situated in a cellar beneath the house; and was boarded over so that plunderers, entering to search for provisions, would not discover it. Upon entering the cellar, the woman lit two lamps.

|They are full of oil,| she said, |and I have often been sorely tempted to drink it; but I have kept it untouched, knowing that my life might some day depend upon it.|

Rough steps were cut in the side of the pit and, after descending some thirty feet, John found himself in a long passage. The woman led the way. As they went on, John was surprised at the number and extent of these passages, which crossed each other in all directions -- sometimes opening into great chambers, from which large quantities of stone had been taken -- while he passed many shafts, like that by which they had descended, to the surface above. The woman led the way with an unfaltering step, which showed how thorough was her acquaintance with the ground; pausing, when they turned down a fresh passage, to make a smear at the corner of the wall with the black liquid.

Presently, the passages began to descend rapidly.

|We are now under the Palace of King Agrippa,| she said, |and are descending by the side of the Tyropoeon Valley.|

Presently, turning down a small side passage, they found their way arrested by a pile of stones and rubbish. They clambered up this, removed some of the upper stones, and crawled along underneath the roof. The rubbish heap soon slanted down again, and they continued their way, as before. Another turn, and they were in a wider passage than those they had latterly traversed.

|This is the wall of the conduit,| the woman said, touching the massive masonry on her right hand. |The opening is a little further on.|

Presently they arrived at a great stone, lying across a passage, corresponding in size to a gap in the wall on the right. They made their way through this, and found themselves in the Conduit of King Hezekiah. A stream of water, ankle deep, was running through it.

|We need not go further,| the woman said. |Once here, you cannot miss your way. It will take nigh an hour's walking through the water before you arrive at the chamber of the springs, from which there is but the one exit.|

|I will come down again with you, tonight,| John said, |and will carry your child to the entrance. You will both need all your strength, when you sally out; so as to get well beyond the Romans, who are scattered all over the country, cutting wood for their embankments. Moreover, I shall be able to see, as I come down with you, whether all the marks are plainly visible, and that there is no fear of mistake for, once lost in these passages, one would never find one's way again; and there would be the choice between dying of hunger, and of being found by the Romans -- who will assuredly search all these passages for fugitives, as they did at Jotapata.

|Truly, I thank you with all my heart; I feel you have given me the means of saving my life -- that is, if I do not fall in the fighting.|

As they made their way back to the house, John examined the marks at every turning, and added to those that were not sufficiently conspicuous to catch the eye at once. When they had gained the cellar, and replaced the boards, the woman said:

|Why should you not also leave the city, tonight? All say that there is no hope of resistance; and that John of Gischala and Simon are only bringing destruction, upon all in the city, by thus holding out against the Romans. Why should you throw away your life so uselessly?|

|I have come here to defend the Temple,| John said, |and so long as the Temple stands I will resist the enemy. It may be it is useless, but no one can say what is the purpose of God, or whether He does not yet intend to save his Holy Seat. But when the Temple has fallen, I shall have no more to fight for; and will then, if I can, save my life, for the sake of those who love me.|

That evening, on his return from the wall, John proceeded to the house of the woman. She was in readiness for the journey. The child, who was seven or eight years old, was dressed; and the mother had a little bundle with her valuables by her. As soon as they descended into the passage below, John offered to carry the child, but her mother refused.

|She can walk well,| she said, |for a time, and you could not carry her upon your shoulder; for the passages are, in many places, but just high enough for you to pass under without stooping. At any rate, she can walk for a time.|

It was not long, however, before the child, weakened by its illness, began to drag behind; and John swung her up on to his back. The marks, he found, were easily made out; and in half an hour they arrived at the entrance to the conduit. Here they were forced to walk, slowly. In some places the water, owing to the channel having sunk, deepened to the knee; at other times stones had fallen from the roof, and impeded their passage; and it was nearly two hours before they reached the arched chamber, at the termination of the conduit. There was a stone pavement round the edge of the pool, and upon this they sat down to rest, for an hour, for both John and the woman were exhausted by the labor they had undergone.

|It is time for me to be moving,| the woman said, rising. |It must be nigh midnight, and I must be some miles on my way before morning. The child has walked but a short distance, yet; and will do her best, now, when she knows that those wicked Romans will kill her -- and her mother -- if they catch them.

|Won't you, Mariamne?|

The child nodded. The Romans were the bogey with which Jewish children had, for the last five years, been frightened; and she announced her intention of walking till her feet fell off.

|I will carry you, as much as I can,| her mother said, |but it can only be for a short distance at a time; for I, too, am weak, and your weight is too much for me.

|And now, God bless you, my friend,| she said, turning to John; |and may He keep you safe through the dangers of the siege, and lead you to your home and parents again!|

They made their way to the end of the passage together; climbed over the rubbish, which nearly blocked the entrance; crawled through the hole, and found themselves in the outer air. Thick low bushes covered the ground around them, and no sound was to be heard.

John rose to his feet, and looked round. Behind him, at the distance of more than a quarter of a mile, the light of the Roman watch fires showed where the legions were encamped. Beyond and above could be seen, here and there, a light in the city. No sound was to be heard, save the occasional call of a Roman sentinel. On the other side, all was dark; for the working parties always returned to camp, at night, in readiness to repel any sortie the Jews might make against the camps or working parties.

|It is a very dark night,| John said, doubtfully. |Do you think you can find your way?|

|There are the stars,| the woman replied, confidently. |Besides, I was born at Bethlehem, and know the country well. I shall keep on west for a while, and then turn off into the deep valleys leading down towards Masada.

|God be with you!| and, taking the child's hand, she emerged from the bushes, and glided noiselessly away into the darkness.

John set out on his return journey -- which he found very much shorter than he had done coming, for the weight of a child for two hours, when walking over difficult ground, is trying even to a strong and active man. He carefully replaced the boards across the mouth of the pit, placed the lamps in a position so that he could find them in the dark and, upon going out of the house, closed the door carefully.

The next morning, that of the 29th of May, the Roman attack began. The Fifth and Twelfth Legions had raised embankments near the Struthion -- or Soapwort -- Pool, facing the Castle of Antonia; while the Tenth and Fifteenth raised theirs facing the great towers of Hippicus, Phasaelus, and Mariamne. They had not carried out their work unmolested, for the Jews had now learned the art of constructing and managing war machines; and had made three hundred scorpions for throwing arrows, and forty ballistae for hurling stones and, with these, they had caused terrible annoyance and great loss to the Romans.

But now, all was prepared. On the evening of the 28th, the last stroke had been given to the embankment; and on the following morning the engines were mounted, and the troops stood in readiness for the attack. Suddenly a smoke was seen, stealing up round the embankments facing Antonia; and the Roman officers called back their men, not knowing what was going to occur. Then a series of mighty crashes was heard. The great embankments, with their engines and battering rams, tottered and fell. Dense smoke shot up in columns, followed rapidly by tongues of fire, and soon the vast piles of materials, collected and put together with so much pains, were blazing fiercely; while the Jews laughed, and shouted in triumph, upon the walls.

The moment John of Gischala perceived where the Romans were going to construct their embankments, he had begun to run a mine from behind the walls towards them. When the gallery was extended under them, a great excavation was hollowed out; the roof being supported by huge beams, between which were piled up pitch and other combustibles. When the Romans were seen advancing to the attack, fire was applied and, as soon as the supports of the roof were burned away, the ground, with the embankments upon it, fell in.

Simon, on his side, was equally ready to receive the enemy, but he trusted rather to valour than stratagem; and as soon as the Roman engines facing the towers began to shake the walls, Tepthaus, Megassar, and Chagiras rushed out, with torches in their hands, followed by a crowd of Simon's soldiers. They drove the Romans before them, and set fire to the great machine.

The Romans crowded up to the assistance of the working parties but, as they advanced, they were received with showers of missiles from the walls; and attacked fiercely by the Jews, who poured out from the city in a continuous stream. The flames spread rapidly and, seeing no hope of saving their engines and embankments, the Romans retreated to their camp. The triumphant Jews pressed hard on their rear, rushed upon the intrenchments, and assailed the guards. Numbers of these were killed, but the rest fought resolutely, while the engines on the works poured showers of missiles among the Jews.

Careless of death, the assailants pressed forward, stormed the intrenchment; and the Romans were on the point of flight when Titus, who had been absent upon the other side, arrived with a strong body of troops, and fell upon the Jews. A desperate contest ensued, but the Jews were finally driven back into the city.

Their enterprise had, however, been crowned with complete success. The embankments, which had occupied the Romans seventeen days in building, were destroyed; and with them the battering rams, and the greater part of their engines. The work of reconstruction would be far more difficult and toilsome than at first, for the country had been denuded of timber, for many miles off. Moreover, the soldiers were becoming greatly disheartened by the failure of all their attacks upon the city.

Titus summoned a council, and laid before them three plans: one for an attempt to take the city by storm; the second to repair the works and rebuild the engines; the third to blockade the city, and starve it into surrender. The last was decided upon and, as a first step, the whole army was set to work, to build a trench and wall round the city. The work was carried on with the greatest zeal; and in three days the wall, nearly five miles in circumference, was completed. Thus there was no longer any chance of escape to the inhabitants; no more possibility of going out, at night, to search for food.

Now the misery of the siege was redoubled. Thousands died daily. A mournful silence hung over the city. Some died in their houses, some in the streets. Some crawled to the cemeteries, and expired there. Some sat upon their housetops, with their eyes fixed upon the Temple, until they sank back dead. No one had strength to dig graves, and the dead bodies were thrown from the walls into the ravines below.

The high priest Matthias, who had admitted Simon and his followers into the city, was suspected of being in communication with the Romans; and he and his three sons were led out on to the wall, and executed in sight of the besiegers, while fifteen of the members of the Sanhedrin were executed at the same time. These murders caused indignation even on the part of some of Simon's men, and one Judas, with ten others, agreed to deliver one of the towers to the enemy; but the Romans -- rendered cautious by the treachery which had before been practised -- hesitated to approach and, before they were convinced that the offer was made in good faith, Simon discovered what was going on, and the eleven conspirators were executed upon the walls, and their bodies thrown over.

Despair drove many, again, to attempt desertion. Some of these, on reaching the Roman lines, were spared; but many more were killed, for the sake of the money supposed to be concealed upon them. Up to the 1st of July, it was calculated that well-nigh six hundred thousand had perished, in addition to the vast numbers buried in the cemetery, and the great heaps of dead before the walls. Great numbers of the houses had become tombs, the inhabitants shutting themselves up, and dying quietly together.

But, while trusting chiefly to famine, the Romans had laboured steadily on at their military engines -- although obliged to fetch the timber for ten miles -- and, at the beginning of July, the battering rams began to play against Antonia. The Jews sallied out, but this time with less fury than usual; and they were repulsed without much difficulty by the Romans. All day long the battering rams thundered against the wall; while men, protected by hurdles and penthouses, laboured to dislodge the stones at the foot of the walls, in spite of the storm of missiles hurled down from above.

By nightfall, they had got out four large stones. It happened that these stones stood just over the part under which John of Gischala had driven his mine, when he destroyed the Roman embankments; and thus, doubly weakened, the wall fell with a crash during the night. John, however, had built another wall in the rear and, when the Romans rushed to the assault of the breach, in the morning, they found a new line of defence confronting them.

Titus addressed the troops, and called for volunteers. Sabinus, a Syrian, volunteered for the attack, and eleven men followed him. In spite of the storm of missiles he reached the top of the wall. The Jews, believing that many were behind him, turned to fly; but his foot slipped and he fell and, before he could regain his feet, the Jews turned round upon him and slew him. Three of his companions fell beside him, on the top of the wall; and the rest were carried back, wounded, to camp.

Two days later, in the middle of the night, twenty Roman soldiers, with a standard bearer and trumpeter, crept silently up to the breach, surprised, and slew the watch. The trumpeter blew the charge; and the Jews, believing that the whole Roman army was upon them, fled in a sudden panic. Titus at once advanced with his men, stormed the new wall, entered the Castle of Antonia, and then advanced along the cloisters which connected it with the Temple; but John of Gischala had by this time arrived at the spot, and opposed a desperate resistance to the assault; until Simon, crossing from the upper city by the bridge, came to his assistance; and John, finding that the Temple was attacked, also led his band across.

For ten hours, the struggle raged. Vast numbers fell, on both sides; till the dead formed a bank between the combatants. Titus, finding that even the courage and discipline of his troops did not avail, against the desperate resistance of the Jews, at last called them off from the assault -- well satisfied with having captured Antonia.

During the fight the Romans had, several times, nearly penetrated into the Temple. Indeed, a centurion named Julian -- a man of great strength, courage, and skill at arms -- had charged the Jews with such fury that he had made his way, alone, as far as the inner court; when his mailed shoes slipped on the marble pavement, and he fell; and the Jews, rushing back, slew him -- after a desperate resistance, to the end.

Titus commanded that the fortress of Antonia should be levelled to the ground; and then sent Josephus with a message to John of Gischala, offering him free egress for himself and his men, if he would come out to fight outside, in order that the Temple might be saved further defilement. John replied by curses upon Josephus, whom he denounced as a traitor; and concluded that he feared not that the city should be taken, for it was the city of God. Then Titus sent for a number of persons of distinction who had, from time to time, made their escape from the city; and these attempted, in vain, to persuade the people -- if not to surrender -- at least to spare the Temple from defilement and ruin. Even the Roman soldiers were adverse to an attack upon a place so long regarded as pre-eminently holy, and Titus himself harangued the Jews.

|You have put up a barrier,| he said, |to prevent strangers from polluting your Temple. This the Romans have always respected. We have allowed you to put to death all who violated its precincts; yet you defile it, yourselves, with blood and carnage. I call on your gods -- I call on my whole army -- I call upon the Jews who are with me -- I call on yourselves -- to witness that I do not force you to this crime. Come forth and fight, in any other place, and no Roman shall violate your sacred edifice.|

But John of Gischala, and the Zealots, would hear of no surrender. They doubted whether Titus would keep his promise, and feared to surrender the stronghold which was now their last hope. Above all, they still believed that God would yet interfere to save his Temple.

Titus, finding that the garrison were obstinate, raised his voice and called out:

|John -- whom I met near Hebron -- if you be there, bear witness that I have striven to keep my oath. I will strive to the end; but blame me not if, not through my fault, but by the obstinacy of these men, destruction comes upon the Temple.|

John, who was standing within hearing, called out:

|I am here, Titus, and I bear witness; yet, I pray you, strive to the end to keep the oath which you swore to me.|

|What is this oath, John?| Simon, who was standing close by, asked. |What compact have you with the Roman general?|

|We met in battle, alone,| John said, quietly, |and it chanced that he fell. I might have slain him, but it came to me that it were better to try to save the Temple, than to slay one of its enemies; and therefore swore him to save the Temple, if it lay in his power. He has offered to spare it. It lay with you, and John of Gischala, to save the Temple from destruction by accepting his terms. You have not done so. If the Temple is destroyed, it is by the obstinacy of its defenders, not by the cruelty of the Romans.|

|It would be madness to accept his offer,| Simon said, angrily. |Titus knows well that, in the plains, we should be no match for his troops. Did you ever hear, before, of a garrison giving up a position so strong that it could not be taken from them, and going out to fight beyond the walls? Besides, who can tell that the Romans will keep their promises? Once we are at their mercy, they might level the Temple.|

|In that case, the sin would be upon their heads. Besides, there is no occasion to retire beyond the walls. Why should not all the fighting men retire into the upper city, and leave the Temple to God? If it is his will that the Romans should destroy it, they will do so. If it is his will that they should respect it, they will do so. He can save, or destroy, at his will. If we retreat to the upper town, and break down the bridge after us, they could never take it.|

|And how long could we hold out?| Simon said, with a hard laugh. |Is there a day's food left, in the city? If there is, my men are less sharp than I give them credit for. No, we will fight here, to the end, for the Temple; and the sooner the Romans attack, the better, for if they delay many days, there is not a single man will have strength enough to lift a sword.|

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