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A halt being called now with design
Biscuit to bite and sip the wine,
The student saw the turbaned Druze
A courtesy peculiar use
In act of his accosting Vine,
Tho' but in trifle—as to how
The saddle suited. And before,
In little things, he'd marked the show


Of like observance. How explore
The cause of this, and understand?
The pilgrims were an equal band:
Why this preferring way toward one?
But Rolfe explained in undertone:
“But few, believe, have nicer eye
For the cast of aristocracy
Than Orientals. Well now, own,
Despite at times a manner shy,
Shows not our countryman in mold
Of a romanced nobility?
His chary speech, his rich still air
Confirm them in conjecture there.
I make slim doubt these people hold
Vine for some lord who fain would go
For delicate cause, incognito.—
What means Sir Crab?”—
In smouldering ire
The Elder, not dismounting, views
The nearer prospect; ill content,
The distance next his glance pursues,
A land of Eblis burned with fire;
Recoils; then, with big eyebrows bent,
Lowers on the comrades—Derwent most,
With luncheon now and flash engrossed;
His bridle turns, adjusts his seat
And holsters where the pistols be,
Nor taking leave like Christian sweet,
(Quite mindless of Paul's courtesy)
With dumb indomitable chin
Straight back he aims thro' Adommin,
Alone, nor blandly self-sustained—
Robber and robber-glen disdained.
As stiff he went, his humor dark
From Vine provoked a vivid spark—
Derisive comment, part restrained.


He passes. Well, peace with him go.
If truth have painted heart but grim,
None here hard measure meant for him;
Nay, Haytian airs around him blow,
And woo and win to cast behind
The harsher and inclement mind.
But needs narrate what followed now.
“Part from us,” Derwent cried, “that way?
I fear we have offended. Nay,
What other cause?”—
“The desert, see:
He and the desert don't agree,”
Said Rolfe; “or rather, let me say
He can't provoke a quarrel here
With blank indifference so drear:
Ever the desert waives dispute,
Cares not to argue, bides but mute.
Besides, no topographic cheer:
Surveyor's tape don't come in play;
The same with which upon a day
He upon all fours soused did roam
Measuring the sub-ducts of Siloam.
Late asking him in casual way
Something about the Tomb's old fane,
These words I got: ‘Sir, I don't know;
But once I dropped in—not again;
'Tis monkish, 'tis a raree-show—
A raree-show. Saints, sites, and stuff.
Had I my will I'd strip it, strip!’
I knew 'twere vain to try rebuff;
But asked, ‘Did Paul, embarked in ship
With Castor and Pollux for a sign
Deem it incumbent there to rip
From stern and prow the name and shrine?”
‘Saint Paul, sir, had not zeal enough;
I always thought so;’ and went on:


‘Where stands this fane, this Calvary one
Alleged? why, sir, within the site
Of Herod's wall? Can that be right?’
But why detail. Suffice, in few,
Even Zion's hill, he doubts that too;
Nay, Sinai in his dry purview
He's dubious if, as placed, it meet
“Why then do his feet
Tread Judah? no good end is won;”
Said Derwent.
“Curs need have a bone
To mumble, though but dry nor sweet.
Nay, that's too harsh and overdone.
'Tis still a vice these carpers brew—
They try us—us set carping too.”
“Ah well, quick then in thought we'll shun him,
And so foreclose all strictures on him.
Howbeit, this confess off-hand:
Amiss is robed in gown and band
A disenchanter.—Friend, the wine!”
The banker passed it without word.
Sad looked he: Why, these fools are stirred
About a nothing!—Plain to see
Such comradeship did ill agree:
Pedants, and poor! nor used to dine
In ease of table-talk benign—
Steeds, pictures, ladies, gold, Tokay,
Gardens and baths, the English news,
Stamboul, the market—gain or lose?
He turned to where young Glaucon lay,
Who now to startled speech was won:
“Look, is he crazy? see him there!”
The saint it was with busy care
Flinging aside stone after stone,


Yet feebly, nathless as he wrought
In charge imposed though not unloved;
While every stone that he removed
Laid bare but more. The student sighed,
So well he kenned his ways distraught
At influx of his eldritch tide.
But Derwent, hastening to the spot,
Exclaimed, “How now? surely, 'tis not
To mend the way?”
With patient look,
Poising a stone as 'twere a clod:
“All things are possible with God;
The humblest helper will he brook”
Derwent stood dumb; but quick in heart
Conjecturing how it was, addressed
Some friendly words, and slid apart;
And, yet while by that scene impressed,
Came, as it chanced, where unbecalmed
Mortmain aloof sat all disarmed—
Legs lengthwise crossed, head hanging low,
The skull-cap pulled upon the brow,
Hands groping toward the knees: “Then where?
A Thug, the sword-fish roams the sea—
The falcon's pirate in the air;
Betwixt the twain, where shalt thou flee,
Poor flying-fish? whither repair?
What other element for thee?
Whales, mighty whales have felt the wound—
Plunged bleeding thro' the blue profound;
But where their fangs the sand-sharks keep
Be shallows worse than any deep.”—
Hardly that chimed with Derwent's bell:
Him too he left.
When it befell
That new they started on their way;
To turn the current or allay,


He talked with Clarel, and first knew
Nehemiah's conceit about the Jew:
The ways prepared, the tilth restored
For the second coming of Our Lord.
Rolfe overheard: “And shall we say
That this is craze? or but, in brief,
Simplicity of plain belief?
The early Christians, how did they?
For His return looked any day.”