Such was the tent at the door of which we left Ben-Hur.
Servants were already waiting the master's direction. One of them took off his sandals; another unlatched Ben-Hur's Roman shoes; then the two exchanged their dusty outer garments for fresh ones of white linen.
"Enter--in God's name, enter, and take thy rest," said the host, heartily, in the dialect of the Market-place of Jerusalem; forthwith he led the way to the divan.
"I will sit here," he said next, pointing; "and there the stranger."
A woman--in the old time she would have been called a handmaid--answered, and dexterously piled the pillows and bolsters as rests for the back; after which they sat upon the side of the divan, while water was brought fresh from the lake, and their feet bathed and dried with napkins.
"We have a saying in the Desert," Ilderim began, gathering his beard, and combing it with his slender fingers, "that a good appetite is the promise of a long life. Hast thou such?"
"By that rule, good sheik, I will live a hundred years. I am a hungry wolf at thy door," Ben-Hur replied.
"Well, thou shalt not be sent away like a wolf. I will give thee the best of the flocks."