Ilderim read the letters a second time, and refolded them in the linen wrap, and put the package under his girdle.
The exercises in the field continued but a little longer--in all about two hours. At their conclusion, Ben-Hur brought the four to a walk, and drove to Ilderim.
"With leave, O sheik," he said, "I will return thy Arabs to the tent, and bring them out again this afternoon."
Ilderim walked to him as he sat on Sirius, and said, "I give them to you, son of Arrius, to do with as you will until after the games. You have done with them in two hours what the Roman--may jackals gnaw his bones fleshless!--could not in as many weeks. We will win--by the splendor of God, we will win!"
At the tent Ben-Hur remained with the horses while they were being cared for; then, after a plunge in the lake and a cup of arrack with the sheik, whose flow of spirits was royally exuberant, he dressed himself in his Jewish garb again, and walked with Malluch on into the Orchard.
There was much conversation between the two, not all of it important. One part, however, must not be overlooked. Ben-Hur was speaking.
"I will give you," he said, "an order for my property stored in the khan this side the river by the Seleucian Bridge. Bring it to me to-day, if you can. And, good Malluch--if I do not overtask you--"
Malluch protested heartily his willingness to be of service.