Simonides let fall his hands, and, turning to Esther, said, "A seat for the master, daughter."
She hastened, and brought a stool, and stood, with suffused face, looking from one to the other--from Ben-Hur to Simonides, from Simonides to Ben-Hur; and they waited, each declining the superiority direction would imply. When at length the pause began to be embarrassing, Ben-Hur advanced, and gently took the stool from her, and, going to the chair, placed it at the merchant's feet.
His eyes met hers--an instant only; but both were better of the look. He recognized her gratitude, she his generosity and forbearance.
Simonides bowed his acknowledgment.
"Esther, child, bring me the paper," he said, with a breath of relief.
She went to a panel in the wall, opened it, took out a roll of papyri, and brought and gave it to him.
"Thou saidst well, son of Hur," Simonides began, while unrolling the sheets. "Let us understand each other. In anticipation of the demand--which I would have made hadst thou waived it--I have here a statement covering everything necessary to the understanding required. I could see but two points involved--the property first, and then our relation. The statement is explicit as to both. Will it please thee to read it now?"
Ben-Hur received the papers, but glanced at Ilderim.