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If the gods help not our friend, he will be run away with by the Israelite. No, not yet. Look! Jove with us! Jove with us!"
The cry, swelled by every Latin tongue, shook the velaria over the consul's head.
5. If it were true that Messala had attained his utmost speed, the effort was with effect; slowly but certainly he was beginning to forge ahead. His horses were running with their heads low down ;, from the balcony their bodies appeared actually to skim the earth ; their nostrils showed blood-red in expansion ; their eyes seemed straining in their sockets. Certainly the good steeds were doing their best ! How long could they keep the pace? It was but the commencement of the sixth round. On they dashed. As they neared the second goal, Ben-Hur turned in behind the Roman's car.
The joy of the Messala faction reached its bound; they screamed and howled and tossed their colors, and Sanballat filled his tablets with wagers of their tendering.
6. Malluch, in the lower gallery over the Gate of Triumph, found it hard to keep his cheer. He had cherished the vague hint dropped to him by Ben-Hur of something to happen in the turning of the western pillars. It was the fifth round, yet the something had not come, and he had said to himself, the sixth will bring it ; but lo! Ben-Hur was hardly holding a place at the tail of his enemy's car.
7. Over in the east end, Simonides' party held their peace. The merchant's head was bent low. Ilderim tugged at his beard, and dropped his brows till there was nothing of his eyes but an occasional sparkle of light. Esther scarcely breathed. Tras alone appeared glad.
8. Along the home-stretch-sixth round-Messala
leading, next him Ben-Hur, and so close it was the old story:
“ First flew Eumelus on Pheretian steeds ;
With those of Tros bold Diomed succeeds;
Thus to the first goal, and round it. Messala, fearful of losing his place, hugged the stony wall with perilous clasp ; a foot to the left, and he had been dashed to pieces ; yet when the turn was finished, no man, looking at the wheel-tracks of the two cars, could have said here went Messala, there the Jew. They left but one trace behind them.
9. As they whirled by, Esther saw Ben-Hur's face again, and it was whiter than before.
Simonides, shrewder than Esther, said to Ilderim, the moment the rivals turned into the course, “ I am no judge, good sheik, if Ben-Hur be not about to execute some design. His face hath that look.”
To which Ilderim answered, “Saw you how clean they were and fresh ? By the splendor of God, friend, they have not been running! But now watch !"
A“ talent” (3) was a denomination of money. The Attic talent was worth about $1180; the Hebrew talent, from $1600 to $1900. “ Jove with us” (4) means “ Jove [another name for Jupiter, the chief god of the Romans) is on our side” ; “velaria” (4) is a Latin word meaning “ coverings, the awnings on the top of a theater." Malluch (6), Simonides (7), and Ilderim (9) are friends of Ben-Hur's; it is from Ilderim that the hero of the story borrows the horses for the race.
The lines beginning “First flew Eumelus,” etc., are from Homer's “Iliad.”
1. făc' tions(-shŭns); n. parties. | 3. sŭf füşęd'; v. overspread, as 2. în jŭņe' tion; n. command. with excitement. 2. băl'ús trāde; n. a row of | 3. por těnd'ěd; v. foretold.
small columns topped by a rail- | 3. Ar å mă' Ye; a. relating to ing.
the language of Syria and 3. în ěr' få bly; adv. in a man Mesopotamia.
ner not to be expressed in 5. străt' e ġġ; n. generalship. words.
6. mark_ỹ; a. dark.
The Chariot Race. Part III.
1. One ball and one dolphin remained on the entablatures; and all the people drew a long breath, for the beginning of the end was at hand.
First, the Sidonian gave the scourge to his four, and, smarting with fear and pain, they dashed desperately forward, promising for a brief time to go to the front. The effort ended in promise. Next, the Byzantine and Corinthian each made the trial, with. like result, after which they were practically out of the race. Thereupon, with a readiness perfectly explicable, all the factions except the Romans joined hope in Ben-Hur, and openly indulged their feeling.
“Ben-Hur! Ben-Hur!” they shouted, and the blent voices of the many rolled overwhelmingly against the consular stand.
2. From the benches above him as he passed, the favor descended in fierce injunction.
"Speed thee, Jew!"
"Let him not have the turn on thee again. Now or never!”
Over the balustrade they stooped low, stretching their hands imploringly to him.
3. Either he did not hear or could not do better, for half-way round the course and he was still following; at the second goal even still no change!
And now, to make the turn, Messala began to draw in his left-hand steeds, an act which necessarily slackened their speed. His spirit was high ; more than one altar was richer of his vows; the Roman genius was still president. On the three pillars only six hundred feet away were fame, increase of fortune, promotions, and a triumph ineffably sweetened by hate, all in store for him! That moment, Malluch, in the gallery, saw Ben-Hur lean forward over his Arabs and give them the reins. Out flew the many-folded lash in his hand ; over the backs of the startled steeds it writhed and hissed, and hissed and writhed again and again, and, though it fell not, there were both sting and menace in its quick report; and as the man passed thus from quiet to resistless action, his face suffused, his eyes gleaming, along the reins he seemed to flash his will ; and instantly not one, but the four as one, answered with a leap that landed them alongside the Roman's car. Messala, on the perilous edge of the goal, heard, but dared not look to see what the awakening portended. From the people he received no sign. Above the noises of the race there was but one voice, and that was Ben-Hur's. In the old Aramaic, as the sheik himself, he called to the Arabs :
4. “On, Atair! On, Rigel! What, Antares ! dost thou linger now ? Good horse—oho, Aldebaran! I hear them singing in the tents. I hear the children singing, and the women-singing of the stars, of Atair, Antares, Rigel, Aldebaran, victory !—and the song will never end. Well done! Home to-morrow, under the black tent-home!