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Theos listened, scarcely hearing. He was studying every line in Sah-luma's face and figure with fixed and wistful attention. Almost unconsciously he pressed the arm he held, and Sah-luma looked up at him with a half-smile.

Presently, however, Sah-luma managed to reach the nearest one of the two great fountains, which adorned either side of the Obelisk, and, springing as lightly as a bird on its marble edge, he stood erect there, his picturesque form presenting itself to the view like a fine statue set against the background of sun-tinted foaming water that dashed high above him and sprinkled his garments with drops of sparkling spray.

In the immediate interest of the moment, Sah-luma and his hot interference seemed to be almost forgotten, . . a few people, indeed, cast injured and indignant looks toward the corner where he dejectedly leaned, and once the wrinkled, malicious head of old Zabastes peered at him, with an expression of incredulous amazement, but otherwise no sympathy was manifested by any one for the popular Laureate's suffering and discomfiture.

She loved the IDEAL Sah-luma, . . the Sah-luma of her own pure fancies and desires, . . NOT the REAL man as he was, with all his haughty egotism, vainglory, and vice, vice in which he took more pride than shame.

Such is the message I am bidden to convey to thee, furthermore I am required to bear back again to the High Priestess thy faithful promise that her orders shall be surely and entirely obeyed. Thou art not wont".. and a pale sneer flitted over his features.. "to set her mandate at defiance." Sah-luma bit his lips angrily, and folded his arms above his head with a lazy yet impatient movement.

Half maddened by the shrieks and dying groans that resounded everywhere about him, and yet all the time feeling as though he were some spectator set apart, and condemned to watch the progress of a ghastly phantasmagoria in Hell, Theos was just revolving in his mind whether it would or would not be possible to make a determined climb for escape through one of the tall painted windows, some of which were not yet reached by the fire, when, with a sudden passionate exclamation, Sah-luma broke from his hold and rushed to the Sanctuary.

"I think ... I fancy ... I have heard a rumor of such doctrine ... but I know as little of it as ... as THOU, Sah-luma! ... I can tell thee no more ... than THOU hast said! ..." He paused and gaining more firmness of tone went on "It seems to me a not altogether impossible conception of Divine Benevolence, for if God lives at all, He must be capable of manifesting Himself in many ways both small and great, common and miraculous, though of a truth there are no miracles beyond what APPEAR as such to our limited sight and restricted intelligence.

He had however no time to analyze his emotion, for just then the Herald-in-Waiting, having performed a backward evolution from the throne to the threshold of the audience-chamber, beckoned impatiently to Sah-luma, who at once stepped forward, bidding Theos keep close behind him. The harp-bearer followed, . . and thus all three approached the dais where the King still stood erect, awaiting them.

Theos leaned forward breathlessly, his pulses beating with unwonted rapidity, . . what.. WHAT was it that Sah-luma sang? ... A Love-song! in those caressing vowel-sounds which composed the language of Al-Kyris, . . a love-song, burning as strong wine, tender as the murmur of the sea on mellow, moon-entranced evenings, an arrowy shaft of rhyme tipped with fire and meant to strike home to the core of feeling and there inflict delicious wounds! ... but, as each well-chosen word echoed harmoniously on his ears, Theos shrank back shuddering in every limb, . . a black, frozen numbness seemed to pervade his being, an awful, maddening terror possessed his brain and he felt as though he were suddenly thrown into a vast, dark chaos where no light should ever shine!

Half blinded by the extreme effulgence, and confused by the jostling to and fro of a multitude immeasurably greater than any he had ever seen or imagined, Theos instinctively stretched out his hand in the helpless fashion of one not knowing whither next to turn, . . Sah-luma immediately caught it in his own, and hurried him along without saying a word.