12 January 2014

posted 10 Jan 2014, 21:25 by C S Paul

12 January 2014

Quotes to Inspire

  • In the end, life lived to its fullest is its own Ultimate Gift - Jim Stovall
  • "Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees." — J. Willard Marriott, Founder of Marriott Hotels
  • "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." — Edmund Hillary
  • "I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders." — Jewish Proverb
  • "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." — Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • "Ninety percent of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit." — Paul J. Meyer
  • "To be conscious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step to knowledge." — Benjamin Disraeli
  • "You are the one that has to make it happen." — Anon.
  • "Don't sacrifice your future on the altar of the immediate." — Anon.
  • “Success is the ability to embrace a worthwhile goal and employ all of your powers for the achievement of that goal.” — Anon.


Believe what you feel

 by Mitch Albom

On this day, Morrie says that he has an exercise for us to try. We are to stand, facing away from our classmates, and fall backward, relying on another student to catch us. Most of us are uncomfortable with this, and we cannot let go for more than a few inches before stopping ourselves. We laugh in embarrassment.

Finally, one student, a thin, quiet, dark-haired girl whom I notice almost always wears bulky, white fisherman sweaters, crosses her arms over her chest, closes her eyes, leans back, and does not flinch, like one of those Lipton tea commercials where the model splashes into the pool.

For a moment, I am sure she is going to thump on the floor. At the last instant, her assigned partner grabs her head and shoulders and yanks her up harshly.

“Whoa!” several students yell. Some clap. Morrie finally smiles. “You see”, he says to the girl, “you closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see. You have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too – even when you're in the dark. Even when you're falling."


Drawing Heaven

Akiane Kramarik, Child-prodigy

I caught a video on YouTube about a CNN report showcasing the story of a very gifted 12-year-old artist named Akiane Kramarik. There have been several young gifted artists in the past, but Akiane is rather fascinating.

What makes Akiane so unique is not so much how well she paints, but the subject of her work and her inspiration. When she was 4 she had many visions of meeting God. He told her that she needs to paint and help the less fortunate. He also noted that he’d be there to guide her along the way.

When she has a vision, she doesn't even know what the 'meaning' is. She says she sees millions of colors with her visions of heaven that our eyes haven't even seen yet on earth.

What makes her story even more bizarre is when you discover her mother is an Atheist and her father is a recovering Catholic. Religion was never discussed in the house and the kids are all homeschooled. Even her little brother is a talented, budding artist. Watch this short CNN Report below (3:22 min.):

Akiane was born in Mount Morris, Illinois. She is primarily a self-taught painter, but she states that she is taught by God. She started drawing at age four, painting at six, and writing poetry at seven. Her first completed self-portrait sold for $10,000.00. A large portion of the money generated from sales is donated by Akiane to charities. Her art, which depicts life, landscape, and people, is inspired by her visions of heaven, and her personal connection with the Christian God.

Here are some more interesting facts about Akaine...

• Born underwater at home, on July 9, 1994, in Mount Morris, Illinois, to the atheistic stay-at-home Lithuanian homemaker mother, and an American father, chef and dietary manager.

• Lived in Illinois, Missouri, Colorado and Idaho, experiencing poverty and affluence.

• Having attended both public and private schools, now is home-schooled with her four brothers, Delfini 18, Jean Lu 16, Ilia 8, and Aurelius 2 years old.

• Began drawing at 4, and painting at 6, teaching herself and learning mostly from her own keen observation and study.

• Speaks four languages: Lithuanian, Russian, English and Sign Language

• At 4, had a life-changing spiritual transformation, bringing the family to God.

• At age 7 began writing poetry and aphorisms.

• Her poems often arrive fully conceived.

• The inspiration for her art and literature comes from her visions, dreams, observations of people, nature and God.

• Paints from imagination, reference materials and models.

• Favorite size canvases: 48 x 60 inches.

• Considers her style: Akianism -a universal blend of realism and imaginism

• Wants people to find hope in her paintings.

• Has the same goal with each painting: to be an inspiration for others and to be the gift to God.

• Favorite medium: acrylics for full figures, and oil paints for large portraits.

• Rises at 4 a.m. five-six days a week to get ready to paint in the studio and write; works for about 4-5 hours each day.

• Often works over a hundred to two hundred hours on a painting, producing 8 to 20 paintings a year.

• Usually makes many sketches before painting.

• Works on one painting at a time.

• Favorite subject: people and spiritual subjects.

• Has "start-to-finish" demonstration videos of her painting.

• Favorite activities and hobbies: art, poetry, piano, reading and helping people.

• Likes about herself: "sensitivity to people".

• Does not like about herself: "impatience".

• Assesses her own character: "daring heart and cautious mind".

• Her biggest wish: "that everyone would love God and one another".

• Her life goal: to share her love for God and people around the world.


Bounced Check Letter
- Unknown
 
Below is an actual letter sent to a bank. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.

Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has only been in place for eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $50 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank. My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, prerecorded faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will, therefore and hereafter, no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete.

I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. Press buttons as follows:

1.- To make an appointment to see me.
2.- To query a missing payment.
3.- To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
4.- To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
5. -To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
6.- To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
7.- To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated at a later date to the Authorized Contact.
8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
9. To make a general complaint or inquiry.

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever-so-slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client


From Russia with love
Roger Darlington

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the communications trade union for which I then worked received several delegations from the emergent nations and we ran courses for them on how market economies operated and how free collective bargaining was conducted. As is my practice when lecturing to foreign audiences, I had my visual aids translated into the vernacular, so I used overhead slides in Russian, although of course I spoke in English and had an interpreter.

I cannot read the cyrillic alphabet and know very little Russian, so I just worked through my slides in order. However, there came a point when I could tell from the statistical data on the latest slide that, for the previous ten minutes, I had been speaking to the wrong slide. British students would have pointed this out in seconds, but none of the Russians had said a word.

I was perplexed and asked why nobody had told me that I had been speaking to the wrong slide. Eventually one brave soul volunteered an answer and the interpreter translated: "In our country, no one challenges the teacher".


Just for Laughs

The Dead Church 

A new Pastor in a small Oklahoma town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first services. 
       
The following Sunday the church was all but empty. Accordingly, the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone's duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon, the notice said. 
       
Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the "funeral." In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church. 
       
Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a "dead church," all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each "mourner" peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look. 
       
In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.


The Shipwreck Survivor 

One balmy day in the South Pacific, a navy ship espied smoke coming from one of three huts on an uncharted island. 
       
      Upon arriving at the shore they were met by a shipwreck survivor. He said, "I'm so glad       you're here! I've been alone on this island for more than five years!" 
       
      The captain replied, "If you're all alone on the island why do I see THREE huts." 
       
      The survivor said, "Oh. We'll, I live in one, and go to church in another." 
       
      "What about the THIRD hut?" asked the captain. 
       
      "That's where I USED to go to church."


Did You Know ?


  • The first steam car was invented in 1769 by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in France. 
  • The first gasoline automobile was made in 1885 by Karl Friedrich of Germany. 
  • The car that sold more than one million units in 1965, setting a record that even stands till date is the Chevrolet Impala. 
  • Tata Nano is now the cheapest car in the world and is expected to out-sell the Maruti 800 
  • The first auto insurance policy was purchased in in 1897 in Westfield, MA. 
  • Windshield wipers were introduced by a woman. 
  • An airbag moves up to 4500 mph within a second when triggered. A force of 200g is generated. They are designed to explode at an impact speed of 19 mph. The bag inflates within 40 milliseconds of a crash. 
  • In 1924 a Ford automobile cost $265. 
  • The word 'automobile' is a blend of French words 'auto' and 'mobile' which means self and moving respectively. 
  • Chevrolet Imphala was one such car that had enjoyed a breaking sales record of more than one million in 1965 
  • The Most expensive Car ever sold is 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe with price of  $87,00,000.
  • First Car Radio was invented by Paul Gavin in 1929.
  • Red Cars Are prohibited in Shanghai,China.
  • Being used in movie Gone in 60 seconds, 1967 Shelby Mustang GT-500 is recognizes as one of the most famous cars ever. 
  • 1906: Fisher and partners begin searching for speedway-suitable property. They?focus first on the resort town of ?French Lick, in southern Indiana. The French Lick 500: It’s got a nice ring to it.
  • 2 December 1908: The partners acquire 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis for $72,000. The basic 2.5-mile track design—developed with New ?York construction engineer Park T. Andrews—endures to this day.


BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Eight

Biblical references: Matthew 27:48-51, Mark 11:9-11, 14:51-52, Luke 23:26-46, John 12:12-18, 18:2-19:30

During the next three years, Jesus preaches his gospel around Galilee, and Ben-Hur becomes one of his followers. He starts to believe that Balthasar may be right, when he sees that Jesus chooses fishermen, farmers and similar people, considered "lowly", as apostles. Judah believes Jesus to be wasting valuable time by not proclaiming himself king immediately. Yet, he has seen Jesus perform miracles, and is convinced that the Christ really had come.

During this time Malluch, armed with the Hur fortune, has bought the old Hur house and renovated it, restoring it to splendor. He then invites Simonides and Balthasar, with their daughters, to live in the house with him, and they become regular occupants of the house. Judah Ben-Hur seldom visits the house. The day before Jesus plans to enter Jerusalem and, finally proclaim himself, Judah returns and gives them a full account of what has happened through the years he has followed Jesus. When he tells of the healing of ten lepers, Amrah realizes that Judah's mother and sister could be healed, and the next morning, alone, hurries to the lepers' cave to tell them the good news. The three wait along a road, and amidst all the rejoicing and din during the Triumphal Entry, they ask Jesus to heal them, and their request is granted. When they are cured, Judah sees them and Amrah and the family are finally re-united.

Several days later, Iras talks with Judah, saying he has trusted in a false hope, for Jesus had not started the expected revolution. She says that it is all over between them, saying she loves Messala. Ben-Hur remembers the "invitation of Iras" that led to the incident with Thord, and accuses Iras of betraying him and spying on him for Messala's gain. That night, he realizes how different Balthasar and his daughter are, and resolves to go to Esther.

While he is lost in thought, he sees a parade marching down the street, and falls in with it, confused. He notices that Judas Iscariot is leading the parade, and many of the temple priests and Roman soldiers are all marching together. They go to the olive grove of Gethsemane, which confuses Ben-Hur even more, and he sees, ahead of him, Jesus walking out to meet them. Ben-Hur understands the betrayal, is spotted by a priest who tries to take him into custody; he breaks away and flees. When morning comes, Ben-Hur learns that the Jewish priests have tried Jesus before Pilate, and although he was originally ruled "not guilty", has nevertheless been sentenced to crucifixion at the crowd's demand. Ben-Hur is shocked at how his legions have all deserted him in his time of need. They head to Calvary, and Ben-Hur resigns himself to watch the crucifixion of Jesus. The sky darkens. Ben-Hur offers Jesus wine vinegar to return Jesus' favor to him. Jesus utters his last cry.

Ben-Hur and his friends commit their lives to Jesus, who they now realize is not the earthly king they had previously hoped for, but a heavenly king and a savior of mankind.


PART VIII - CHAPTER I

"Esther--Esther! Speak to the servant below that he may bring me a cup of water."

"Would you not rather have wine, father?"

"Let him bring both."

This was in the summer-house upon the roof of the old palace of the Hurs in Jerusalem. From the parapet overlooking the court-yard Esthercalled to a man in waiting there; at the same moment another man-servantcame up the steps and saluted respectfully.

"A package for the master," he said, giving her a letter enclosed in linen cloth, tied and sealed.

For the satisfaction of the reader, we stop to say that it is the twenty-first day of March, nearly three years after the annunciation of the Christ at Bethabara.

In the meanwhile, Malluch, acting for Ben-Hur, who could not longer endure the emptiness and decay of his father's house, had bought it from Pontius Pilate; and, in process of repair, gates, courts, lewens, stairways, terraces, rooms, and roof had been cleansed and
thoroughly restored; not only was there no reminder left of the tragic circumstances so ruinous to the family, but the refurnishment was in a style richer than before. At every point, indeed, a visitor was met by evidences of the higher tastes acquired by the young
proprietor during his years of residence in the villa by Misenum and in the Roman capital.

Now it should not be inferred from this explanation that Ben-Hur had publicly assumed ownership of the property. In his opinion, the hour for that was not yet come. Neither had he yet taken his proper name. Passing the time in the labors of preparation in Galilee, he waited patiently the action of the Nazarene, who became daily more and more a mystery to him, and by prodigies done, often before his eyes, kept him in a state of anxious doubt
both as to his character and mission. Occasionally he came up to the Holy City, stopping at the paternal house; always, however, as a stranger and a guest.

These visits of Ben-Hur, it should also be observed, were for more than mere rest from labor. Balthasar and Iras made their home in the palace; and the charm of the daughter was still upon him with all its original freshness, while the father, though feebler in body,
held him an unflagging listener to speeches of astonishing power, urging the divinity of the wandering miracle-worker of whom they were all so expectant.

As to Simonides and Esther, they had arrived from Antioch only a few days before this their reappearance--a wearisome journey to the merchant, borne, as he had been, in a palanquin swung between two camels, which, in their careening, did not always keep the same step. But now that he was come, the good man, it seemed, could not see enough of his native land. He delighted in the perch upon the roof, and spent most of his day hours there seated in an arm-chair, the duplicate of that one kept for him in the cabinet over the store-house by the Orontes. In the shade of the summer-house he could drink fully of the inspiring air lying lightly upon the familiar hills; he could better watch the sun
rise, run its course, and set as it used to in the far-gone, not a habit lost; and with Esther by him it was so much easier up there close to the sky, to bring back the other Esther, his love in youth, his wife, dearer growing with the passage of years. And yet he was not unmindful of business. Every day a messenger brought him a despatch from Sanballat, in charge of the big commerce behind; and every day a despatch left him for Sanballat with directions of such minuteness of detail as to exclude all judgment save his own, and all chances except those the Almighty has refused to submit to the most mindful of men.

As Esther started in return to the summer-house, the sunlight fell softly upon the dustless roof, showing her a woman now--small, graceful in form, of regular features, rosy with youth and health, bright with intelligence, beautiful with the outshining of a devoted nature--a woman to be loved because loving was a habit of life irrepressible with her.

She looked at the package as she turned, paused, looked at it a second time more closely than at first; and the blood rose reddening her cheeks--the seal was Ben-Hur's. With quickened steps she hastened on.

Simonides held the package a moment while he also inspected the seal. Breaking it open, he gave her the roll it contained.

"Read," he said.

His eyes were upon her as he spoke, and instantly a troubled expression fell upon his own face.

"You know who it is from, I see, Esther."

"Yes--from--our master."

Though the manner was halting, she met his gaze with modest sincerity. Slowly his chin sank into the roll of flesh puffed out under it like a cushion.

"You love him, Esther," he said, quietly.

"Yes," she answered.

"Have you thought well of what you do?"

"I have tried not to think of him, father, except as the master to whom I am dutifully bound. The effort has not helped me to strength."

"A good girl, a good girl, even as thy mother was," he said, dropping into reverie, from which she roused him by unrolling the paper.

"The Lord forgive me, but--but thy love might not have been vainly given had I kept fast hold of all I had, as I might have done--such power is there in money!"

"It would have been worse for me had you done so, father; for then I had been unworthy a look from him, and without pride in you. Shall I not read now?"

"In a moment," he said. "Let me, for your sake, my child, show you the worst. Seeing it with me may make it less terrible to you. His love, Esther, is all bestowed."

"I know it," she said, calmly.

"The Egyptian has him in her net," he continued. "She has the cunning of her race, with beauty to help her--much beauty, great cunning; but, like her race again, no heart. The daughter who despises her father will bring her husband to grief."

"Does she that?"

Simonides went on:

"Balthasar is a wise man who has been wonderfully favored for a Gentile, and his faith becomes him; yet she makes a jest of it. I heard her say, speaking of him yesterday, 'The follies of youth are excusable; nothing is admirable in the aged except wisdom, and when that goes from them, they should die.' A cruel speech, fit for a Roman. I applied it to myself, knowing a feebleness like her father's will come to me also--nay, it is not far off.
But you, Esther, will never say of me--no, never--'It were better he were dead.' No, your mother was a daughter of Judah."

With half-formed tears, she kissed him, and said, "I am my mother's child."

"Yes, and my daughter--my daughter, who is to me all the Temple was to Solomon."
 
After a silence, he laid his hand upon her shoulder, and resumed: "When he has taken the Egyptian to wife, Esther, he will think of you with repentance and much calling of the spirit; for at last he will awake to find himself but the minister of her bad ambition.
Rome is the centre of all her dreams. To her he is the son of Arrius the duumvir, not the son of Hur, Prince of Jerusalem."

Esther made no attempt to conceal the effect of these words.

"Save him, father! It is not too late!" she said, entreatingly.

He answered, with a dubious smile, "A man drowning may be saved; not so a man in love."

"But you have influence with him. He is alone in the world. Show him his danger. Tell him what a woman she is."

"That might save him from her. Would it give him to you, Esther? No," and his brows fell darkly over his eyes. "I am a servant, as my fathers were for generations; yet I could not say to him, 'Lo, master, my daughter! She is fairer than the Egyptian, and loves thee better!' I have caught too much from years of liberty and direction. The words would blister my tongue. The stones upon the old hills yonder would turn in their beds for shame when I go out to them. No, by the patriarchs, Esther, I would rather lay us both with your mother to sleep as she sleeps!"

A blush burned Esther's whole face.

"I did not mean you to tell him so, father. I was concerned for him alone--for his happiness, not mine. Because I have dared love him, I shall keep myself worthy his respect; so only can I excuse my folly. Let me read his letter now."

"Yes, read it."

She began at once, in haste to conclude the distasteful subject.

"Nisan, 8th day.

"On the road from Galilee to Jerusalem.

"The Nazarene is on the way also. With him, though without his knowledge, I am bringing a full legion of mine. A second legion follows. The Passover will excuse the multitude. He said upon setting out, 'We will go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning me shall be accomplished.'

"Our waiting draws to an end.

"In haste.

"Peace to thee, Simonides.

"BEN-HUR."

Esther returned the letter to her father, while a choking sensation gathered in her throat. There was not a word in the missive for her--not even in the salutation had she a share--and it would have been so easy to have written "and to thine, peace." For the first time
in her life she felt the smart of a jealous sting.

"The eighth day," said Simonides, "the eighth day; and this, Esther, this is the--"

"The ninth," she replied.

"Ah, then, they may be in Bethany now."

"And possibly we may see him to-night," she added, pleased into momentary forgetfulness.

"It may be, it may be! To-morrow is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and he may wish to celebrate it; so may the Nazarene; and we may see him--we may see both of them, Esther."

At this point the servant appeared with the wine and water.Esther helped her father, and in the midst of the service Iras came upon the roof.

To the Jewess the Egyptian never appeared so very, very beautiful as at that moment. Her gauzy garments fluttered about her like a little cloud of mist; her forehead, neck, and arms glittered with the massive jewelry so affected by her people. Her countenance was suffused with pleasure. She moved with buoyant steps, and self-conscious, though without affectation. Esther at the sight shrank within herself, and nestled closer to her father.

"Peace to you, Simonides, and to the pretty Esther peace," said Iras, inclining her head to the latter. "You remind me, good master--if I may say it without offence-you remind me of the priests in Persia who climb their temples at the decline of day to send prayers after
the departing sun. Is there anything in the worship you do not know, let me call my father. He is Magian-bred."

"Fair Egyptian," the merchant replied, nodding with grave politeness, "your father is a good man who would not be offended if he knew I told you his Persian lore is the least part of his wisdom."

Iras's lip curled slightly.

"To speak like a philosopher, as you invite me," she said, "the least part always implies a greater. Let me ask what you esteem the greater part of the rare quality you are pleased to attribute to him."

Simonides turned upon her somewhat sternly.

"Pure wisdom always directs itself towards God; the purest wisdom is knowledge of God; and no man of my acquaintance has it in higher degree, or makes it more manifest in speech and act, than the good Balthasar."

To end the parley, he raised the cup and drank.

The Egyptian turned to Esther a little testily.

"A man who has millions in store, and fleets of ships at sea, cannot discern in what simple women like us find amusement. Let us leave him. By the wall yonder we can talk."

They went to the parapet then, stopping at the place where, years before, Ben-Hur loosed the broken tile upon the head of Gratus.

"You have not been to Rome?" Iras began, toying the while with one of her unclasped bracelets.

"No," said Esther, demurely.

"Have you not wished to go?"

"No."

"Ah, how little there has been of your life!"

The sigh that succeeded the exclamation could not have been more piteously expressive had the loss been the Egyptian's own. Next moment her laugh might have been heard in the street below; and she said "Oh, oh, my pretty simpleton! The half-fledged birds
nested in the ear of the great bust out on the Memphian sands know nearly as much as you."

Then, seeing Esther's confusion, she changed her manner, and said in a confiding tone, "You must not take offence. Oh no! I was playing. Let me kiss the hurt, and tell you what I would not to any other--not if Simbel himself asked it of me, offering a lotus-cup of the spray of the Nile!"

Another laugh, masking excellently the look she turned sharply upon the Jewess, and she said, "The King is coming."

Esther gazed at her in innocent surprise.

"The Nazarene," Iras continued--"he whom our fathers have been talking about so much, whom Ben-Hur has been serving and toiling for so long"--her voice dropped several tones lower--"the Nazarene will be here to-morrow, and Ben-Hur to-night."

Esther struggled to maintain her composure, but failed: her eyes fell, the tell-tale blood surged to her cheek and forehead, and she was saved sight of the triumphant smile that passed, like a gleam, over the face of the Egyptian.

"See, here is his promise."

And from her girdle she took a roll.

"Rejoice with me, O my friend! He will be here tonight! On the Tiber there is a house, a royal property, which he has pledged to me; and to be its mistress is to be--"

A sound of some one walking swiftly along the street below interrupted the speech, and she leaned over the parapet to see. Then she drew back, and cried, with hands clasped above her head, "Now blessed be Isis! 'Tis he--Ben-Hur himself! That he should appear while I had such thought of him! There are no gods if it be not a good omen. Put your arms about me, Esther--and a kiss!"

The Jewess looked up. Upon each cheek there was a glow; her eyes sparkled with a light more nearly of anger than ever her nature emitted before. Her gentleness had been too roughly overridden. It was not enough for her to be forbidden more than fugitive dreams
of the man she loved; a boastful rival must tell her in confidence of her better success, and of the brilliant promises which were its rewards. Of her, the servant of a servant, there had been no hint of remembrance; this other could show his letter, leaving her
to imagine all it breathed. So she said,

"Dost thou love him so much, then, or Rome so much better?"

The Egyptian drew back a step; then she bent her haughty head quite near her questioner.

"What is he to thee, daughter of Simonides?"

Esther, all thrilling, began, "He is my--"

A thought blasting as lightning stayed the words: she paled, trembled, recovered, and answered,

"He is my father's friend."

Her tongue had refused to admit her servile condition.

Iras laughed more lightly than before.

"Not more than that?" she said. "Ah, by the lover-gods of Egypt, thou mayst keep thy kisses--keep them. Thou hast taught me but now that there are others vastly more estimable waiting me here in Judea; and"--she turned away, looking back over her shoulder--"I
will go get them. Peace to thee."

Esther saw her disappear down the steps, when, putting her hands over her face, she burst into tears so they ran scalding through her fingers--tears of shame and choking passion. And, to deepen the paroxysm to her even temper so strange, up with a new meaning
of withering force rose her father's words--"Thy love might not have been vainly given had I kept fast hold of all I had, as I might have done."

And all the stars were out, burning low above the city and the dark wall of mountains about it, before she recovered enough to go back to the summer-house, and in silence take her accustomed place at her father's side, humbly waiting his pleasure. To such duty it seemed her youth, if not her life, must be given. And, let the truth be said, now that the pang was spent, she went not unwillingly back to the duty.

to be continued




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