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Once the Patriarch and I, scrambling on foot down a short-cut, think we see a Bedouin waiting for us behind a rock, with his long gun over his shoulder; but it turns out to be only a brown little peasant girl, ragged and smiling, watching her score of lop-eared goats. As the valley descends the landscape becomes more and more arid and stricken. The heat broods over it like a disease.

At the pressing summons of Amrou, their patriarch Benjamin emerged from his desert; and after the first interview, the courteous Arab affected to declare that he had never conversed with a Christian priest of more innocent manners and a more venerable aspect.

Do you know what lies before you, if it should be discovered that you have covered the escape of the prey whom the patriarch already sees in his net? Have you considered that Benjamin, the most implacable and most powerful hater among the Jacobites, will pursue you as his mortal foe with all the fearful means at his command?" "I have considered it," replied Orion.

Nothing but snow between the Col and the Dent du Jaman, but snow at its very best, hard and dry. Just before we reach the top we come upon a huge drift frozen hard and slippery. We might have gone round, but we decided to try and climb. The Patriarch of course was first, and achieved the task triumphantly. Others followed, and then came the Chancery Barrister.

"And to think," he mused reproachfully, "that I could have doubted him for a single instant he certainly hung one on me that time." The Patriarch reached into the drawer of the table beside him, took out a slate and pencil, scratched a few words on the slate and handed both pencil and slate to Madison. "Your name is Madison, isn't it?" Madison read. "From New York? Hiram told me about you."

The march was opened by the military officers at the head of their troops: they were followed in long order by the magistrates and ministers of the civil government: the person of the emperor was guarded by his eunuchs and domestics, and at the church door he was solemnly received by the patriarch and his clergy.

And when he remembered that over a quarter of a million families, within a space of about six years, have made their homes on what was an absolute desert ten years ago, and that these men and women were stirred with the same spirit as the old patriarch, he felt, as he had said, that the conserving of the mountain streams was work worth while.

It was with the deepest pity that he thought of that poor, grief-stricken woman, and the idea flashed through his mind that the patriarch might have gone back to his mother to accuse him and to urge her to further revelations. Many minutes had passed since the patriarch had left him; Orion had allowed his illustrious guest to depart unescorted, and this could not fail to excite surprise.

Nor did the suspicion entertained by them of the troops of the church give them less uneasiness; not that the pope was their enemy, but because they saw those forces more under the sway of the patriarch, who was their greatest foe.

Perhaps the most powerful of Arab chiefs, the richest patriarch of ancient times, never counted such superb and numerous herds as roamed over the pasturage of the Hacienda del Venado. About an hour before sunset on that same day on which the travellers departed from La Poza two men, one on horseback, the other mounted on a mule, were seen traversing the plain in the direction of the hacienda.