"No," Messala answered, "among men."
"Name him, name him!" they demanded.
"I will," he said, the next lull. "He who to the perfection of Rome hath added the perfection of the East; who to the arm of conquest, which is Western, hath also the art needful to the enjoyment of dominion, which is Eastern."
"Perpol! His best is a Roman, after all," some one shouted; and there was a great laugh, and long clapping of hands--an admission that Messala had the advantage.
"In the East" he continued, "we have no gods, only Wine, Women, and Fortune, and the greatest of them is Fortune; wherefore our motto, 'Who dareth what I dare?'--fit for the senate, fit for battle, fittest for him who, seeking the best, challenges the worst."
His voice dropped into an easy, familiar tone, but without relaxing the ascendancy he had gained.
"In the great chest up in the citadel I have five talents coin current in the markets, and here are the receipts for them."
From his tunic he drew a roll of paper, and, flinging it on the table, continued, amidst breathless silence, every eye having him in view fixed on his, every ear listening: