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- Pearl-Maiden - 74/74 -

"From the dead am I arisen"

sang the voice, and there was something in the thrilling notes that went straight to the heart of Marcus, some tone and quality which were familiar.

Side by side with Cyril he climbed onwards across the rowing benches, and the noise of their stumbling footsteps reaching the singer's ears, caused her to pause in her song. Then stepping forward a little, as though to look, she came under the lantern so that its light fell full upon her face, and, seeing nothing, once more took up her chant:

"Oh ye faithless, from the dead am I arisen."

"Look, look!" gasped Marcus, clutching Cyril by the arm. "Look! It is Miriam, or her spirit."

Another instant and he, too, had come into the circle of the lamplight, so that his eyes met the eyes of the singer. Now she saw him and, with a little cry, sank senseless to the deck.

So the long story ended. Afterwards they learned that the tale which had been brought to Rome of the loss of the ship /Luna/ was false. She had met the great gale, indeed, but had sheltered from it in a harbour, where the skill of her captain, Hector, brought her safely. Then she made her way to Sicily, where she refitted, and so on to one of the Grecian ports, in which she lay for eight weeks waiting for better weather, till a favouring wind brought her somewhat slowly to Alexandria, a port she won only two days before the galley of Marcus. It would seem, therefore, that the vessel that had foundered in sight of the /Imperatrix/ was either another ship also called the /Luna/, no uncommon name, or that the mariners of the /Imperatrix/ had not heard her title rightly. It may have been even that the dying sailor who told it to them wandered in his mind, and forgetting how his last ship was called, gave her some name with which he was familiar. At the least, through the good workings of Providence, that /Luna/ which bore Miriam and her company escaped the perils of the deep and in due time reached the haven of Alexandria.

Before they parted that happy night all their tale was told. Miriam learned how Caleb had kept the promise that he made to her, although when he thought her dead his fierce and jealous heart would suffer him to tell nothing of it to Marcus. She learned also how it came about that Marcus had been saved from death at his own hand by Cyril and entered the company of the Christian brotherhood. Very glad were both of them to think in the after years that he had done this believing her to be lost to him in death. Now none could say that he had changed his faith to win a woman, nor could their own consciences whisper to them that this was possible, though even at the time he knew it not.

So they understood how through their many trials, dangers, and temptations all things had worked together for good to them.

On the morrow, there in the ship /Luna/, Marcus and Miriam, whom the Romans called Pearl-Maiden, were wedded by the bishop Cyril, the Captain Gallus giving the bride in marriage, while the white-haired, fierce-eyed Nehushta stood at their side and blessed them in the name of that dead mother whose command had not been broken.

Pearl-Maiden - 74/74

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