Were you there?” She shook her head. “No. I was here in Nain having a child.” “Then why do you weep as though you had part in his crucifixion? You had no part in it.” “I’d like nothing better than to think I would have remained faithful. But if those closest to him—his disciples, his own brothers—turned away, who am I to think I’m better than they and would have done differently? No, Marcus. We all wanted what we wanted, and when the Lord fulfilled his purpose rather than ours, we struck out against him. Like you. In anger. Like you. In disappointment. Yet, it is God’s will that prevails.” He looked away. “I don’t understand any of this.” “I know you don’t. I see it in your face, Marcus. You don’t want to see. You’ve hardened your heart against him.” She started to walk again. “As should all who value their lives,” he said, thinking of Hadassah’s death. “It is God who has driven you here.” He gave a derisive laugh. “I came here of my own accord and for my own purposes.” “Did you?” Marcus’ face became stony. Deborah pressed on. “We were all created incomplete and will find no rest until we satisfy the deepest hunger and thirst within us. You’ve tried to satisfy it in your own way. I see that in your eyes, too, as I’ve seen it in so many others. And yet, though you deny it with your last breath, your soul yearns for God, Marcus Lucianus Valerian.” Her words angered him. “Gods aside, Rome shows the world that life is what man makes of it.” “If that’s so, what are you making of yours?” “I own a fleet of ships, as well as emporiums and houses. I have wealth.” Yet, even as he told her, he knew it all meant nothing. His father had come to that realization just before he died. Vanity. It was all vanity. Meaningless. Empty. Old Deborah paused on the pathway. “Rome points the way to wealth and pleasure, power and knowledge. But Rome remains hungry. Just as you are hungry now. Search all you will for retribution or meaning to your life, but until you find God, you live in vain.
Why did you come in to-night with your heads in the air? 'Make way, we are coming! Give us every right and don't you dare breathe a word before us. Pay us every sort of respect, such as no one's ever heard of, and we shall treat you worse than the lowest lackey!' They strive for justice, they stand on their rights, and yet they've slandered him like infidels in their article. We demand, we don't ask, and you will get no gratitude from us, because you are acting for the satisfaction of your own conscience! Queer sort of reasoning!... He has not borrowed money from you, he doesn't owe you anything, so what are you reckoning on, if not his gratitude? So how can you repudiate it? Lunatics! They regard society as savage and inhuman, because it cries shame on the seduced girl; but if you think society inhuman, you must think that the girl suffers from the censure of society, and if she does, how is it you expose her to society in the newspapers and expect her not to suffer? Lunatics! Vain creatures! They don't believe in God, they don't believe in Christ! Why, you are so eaten up with pride and vanity that you'll end by eating up one another, that's what I prophesy. Isn't that topsy-turvydom, isn't it infamy?