"Lift him upon the table," the master said.
"Help him, Drusus, as the fair Nyone may yet help thee."
Drusus took the inebriate in his arms.
Then addressing the limp figure, Messala said, amidst profound silence, "O Bacchus! greatest of the gods, be thou propitious to-night. And for myself, and these thy votaries, I vow this chaplet"--and from his head he raised it reverently--"I vow this chaplet to thy altar in the Grove of Daphne."
He bowed, replaced the crown upon his locks, then stooped and uncovered the dice, saying, with a laugh, "See, my Drusus, by the ass of Silenus, the denarius is mine!"
There was a shout that set the floor to quaking, and the grim Atlantes to dancing, and the orgies began.
Sheik Ilderim was a man of too much importance to go about with a small establishment. He had a reputation to keep with his tribe, such as became a prince and patriarch of the greatest following in all the Desert east of Syria; with the people of the cities he had another reputation, which was that of one of the richest personages not a king in all the East; and, being rich in fact--in money as well as in servants, camels, horses, and flocks of all kinds--he took pleasure in a certain state, which, besides magnifying his dignity with strangers, contributed to his personal pride and comfort. Wherefore the reader must not be misled by the frequent reference to his tent in the Orchard of Palms. He had there really a respectable dowar; that is to say, he had there three large tents--one for himself, one for visitors, one for his favorite wife and her women; and six or eight lesser ones, occupied by his servants and such tribal retainers as he had chosen to bring with him as a body-guard--strong men of approved courage, and skillful with bow, spear, and horses.
To be sure, his property of whatever kind was in no danger at the Orchard; yet as the habits of a man go with him to town not less than the country, and as it is never wise to slip the bands of discipline, the interior of the dowar was devoted to his cows, camels, goats, and such property in general as might tempt a lion or a thief.