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The governor breaks the Roman seals; and then the priests break their own seals, which, after long argument, they too have been privileged to affix. From the coffer they take the robes, heavy with gold and precious stones. Without a word, farewell salutes are exchanged. The Jews depart, carrying the robes back to the temple.

Pilate's heart is hot within him. The pride of these Jews is the pride which apes humility! Rome has subjugated half the world. Will she never be able to conquer this small and weakly people? Five years and more he has ruled here in the name of the emperor, and although in his reports he speaks of tranquillity and obedience, he knows that beneath the surface a spirit of revolt is seething, ready at any moment to burst forth.

How preposterous it is that he cannot have the emperor's image stamped on the Jewish coins! What harm would the portrait of the emperor do to these lunatics? Though the emperor be honoured as a god, he is but emperor; where else in the world was a people whose god was king? What did they mean by their City of God? No one interfered with their customs in the temple; Rome had never forced her own gods upon the barbarians. Why, then, should there be this perpetual uproar about a few images, a few ideas?

When he had first taken up his post, he had sent, overnight, the banners with the emperor's silver shield to the Jerusalem garrison. Thereupon there had been a riot. The Jews had flocked in thousands to Cæsarea.

For five days and five nights they had camped outside the fortress. He had surrounded them with his soldiers, and had threatened to cut them all down if they did not go home. Thereupon they bared their necks for the stroke; they would rather die! What could he do? He had had to fetch back the eagles and the shield from the Holy City.

What they really cared about was the fees paid to the temple! Though they were always grumbling at the moderate Roman taxes, they paid the temple dues willingly enough. The only object of such revolts was to prevent Rome from controlling their money! What tricks might they not play with all the money brought by the pilgrims flocking to that hill over there? If there were any further disturbances in Jerusalem, if there was more rioting in Galilee, if the Romans should be worsted in some street affray, when the news of these matters reached Rome it would go hard with the governor.

Pilate's thoughts turned to Rome. He wondered whether his powerful patron, Sejanus, was still alive. Who could tell? Perhaps the emperor was dead! Pilate's wife had visions; made him anxious when she told him her dreams. The governor muses. He thinks of the emperor.

Tiberius, a lonely old man, dwelt at Capri. The lord of the world, the Roman emperor, had for years now been living in this little isle, far from the capital, neglecting the affairs of government, gloomy, morose, inactive. High up among the rocks he had built him

self a stronghold whence he looked down across the sea, passing the weary hours in mystical calculations. One day his mood would be indifferent; another day it would be cruel; one day he would pardon, another day he would kill; one day he would restrict the freedoms of the people, another day he would enlarge them. A sombre dictator was Tiberius, entrusting his powers into the hands of others, withdrawing these powers without notice—suspicious, dour, melancholy. Had he profited from the outpourings of blood for which he had been responsible? He had lost his only son, but had been unable to take vengeance. Feelings of hatred were universal. The pretorians distrusted Sejanus; the emperor distrusted the pretorians; every one distrusted the emperor. Only on this island of Capri could he be safe! Where else could the lord of the world seek refuge?

In philosophy perchance?

Seneca, in his last epistle, had written of Diogenes: "It is worth a kingdom to be, in a world of cheats, murderers, and kidnappers, the only person whom no one can injure!" The emperor sends for Seneca's new discourse and reads: "We have all erred, and on into our old age we shall continue to fail in our duty. The evil does not lie outside us; it is intertwined with our own entrails. The body is nothing but the burden and punishment of the spirit. The soul strives to return to the place whence it came. There waits eternal calm, and there, after the confusions of the world, lucidity prevails. The day is coming which will free

you from the tabernacle of this hateful life. To be fettered, mutilated, crucified-thèse are the signs of virtue."

That sounds akin to the strange faith of Jerusalem! The emperor's thoughts turn to the Jews, to whom in Rome he has entrusted so much business on his own behalf and on that of the State. He had sent munificent gifts to their temple, and had a bull and two lambs sacrificed there daily in honour of the Most High God. Who is the Most High God? Just as little as Seneca could the Jews limn his portrait or name his holy name. But did their god save them when he, their emperor, had suddenly withdrawn his favour from the tribe he had hitherto protected? No, their god had not extended a helping hand; but thousands of them had let themselves be sent to the penal legion rather than burn their sacred utensils. Strange people, these Jews! He had had his own son Drusus educated in the company of young Herod; the two lads had been fond of each other. When Drusus was murdered Herod had been sent away from the court, for his presence was a painful reminder to the emperor. Now the emperor had sent for Herod, had summoned him to Capri as the last witness of that crime. Tiberius wanted to see the young sprig of Jewish royalty once more before following his own son. Following whither? Seneca said that death was peace.

As he turned these things over in his mind, Pilate's thoughts flitted to and fro between Capri and Rome. If he had but been able to enrich himself, like Varus! Pi

late was no worse than another governor-though cruel at times, arrogant, and ill-tempered, as was natural to a man in the dull seclusion of colonial life. Like his predecessors, he had farmed out the customs dues and the taxes. What did it matter to him that the country groaned under the exactions of the tax-gatherers and the usurers, who extracted far more from the people than was handed over to the governor? The tax-gatherers were rascals to whose word no one gave credence in the courts. Pilate's own hands were clean.

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