"He is a Roman," said Malluch, without hesitation; "and I am of the tribe of Judah. I will help you. If you choose, put me under oath--under the most solemn oath."
"Give me your hand, that will suffice."
As their hands fell apart, Ben-Hur said, with lightened feeling, "That I would charge you with is not difficult, good friend; neither is it dreadful to conscience. Let us move on."
They took the road which led to the right across the meadow spoken of in the description of the coming to the fountain. Ben-Hur was first to break the silence.
"Do you know Sheik Ilderim the Generous?"
"Where is his Orchard of Palms? or, rather, Malluch, how far is it beyond the village of Daphne?"
Malluch was touched by a doubt; he recalled the prettiness of the favor shown him by the woman at the fountain, and wondered if he who had the sorrows of a mother in mind was about to forget them for a lure of love; yet he replied, "The Orchard of Palms lies beyond the village two hours by horse, and one by swift camel."
"Thank you; and to your knowledge once more. Have the games of which you told me been widely published? and when will they take place?"