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Some faint image of a hermit's cell, a bare lodging in a back street of Antioch, a class-room full of earnest students, remained in Hermas' memory.

God be praised! the craftiest thief can now rob me of nothing save my sheepskin." Stephanus would have thanked him, but he took Hermas by the hand, and led him out into the open air. For some time the two men walked in silence over the clefts and boulders up the mountain side.

Hermas was taller than his companions; he could look easily over their heads and survey the sea of people stretching away through the columns, under the shadows of the high roof, as the tide spreads on a calm day into the pillared cavern of Staffa, quiet as if the ocean hardly dared to breathe. The light of many flambeaux fell, in flickering, uncertain rays, over the assembly.

She quitted her hard bed before daybreak to refill the old man's pitcher, and to chatter to him about Hermas. She was a willing servant to Stephanus because as often as she went to him, she could hear his son's name from his lips, and he rejoiced at her coming because she always gave him the opportunity of talking of Hermas.

Let me go, Caecilia, or you will fall down as naughty Nikon did the other day." By this time she had reached the steps; she turned suddenly, and with outstretched arms she stopped the way of the narrow stair on which Hermas was standing, gazing open-mouthed at the merry scene above his head.

Every wish brought its own accomplishment. Wealth, honour, beauty, peace, love it was an abundance of felicity so great that the soul of Hermas could hardly contain it. Strangely enough, it began to press upon him, to trouble him with the very excess of joy. He felt as if there were something yet needed to complete and secure it all.

Paulus collected all the overflow of the old man's heart in one sentence, and called out his blessings through his two hands as a speaking-trumpet, after his friend's son as he departed to battle. Hermas understood; but deeply as he was touched by this farewell he answered only by dumb signs. A father can find a hundred words of blessing sooner than a son can find one of thanks.

"You hear him!" said his friends one to another. "How he puts us all to shame! He is more watchful, more eager, than any of us. Our master, John the Presbyter, does well to be proud of him. He is the best man in our class." While they were talking the door opened and Hermas stepped out.

Suddenly he drew himself up and nodded decisively; he would make an attempt to save Hermas, and faithful to his own nature, action trod on the heels of resolve. Where the little level ended the road divided, one path continued to lead upwards, the other deviated to the valley and ended at the quarries.

But all this Hermas had renounced. He cleft his way through the crowd slowly, like a reluctant swimmer weary of breasting the tide. At the corner of the street where the narrow, populous Lane of the Camel-drivers crossed the Colonnades, a story-teller had bewitched a circle of people around him.