THE IMPERIAL PASS
 THE bulk of the exiles naturally chose the Ostian
route. Then, as now, it was much cheaper to travel by
sea than by land. The wheat ships, too, offered
passages eastward at very cheap rates. They were the
most commodious ships afloat, and they made the return
voyage mostly in ballast, for the exports from Rome
were commonly insignificant, and never, certainly,
equivalent to the huge imports of wheat. There was,
therefore, ample room for passengers, though the
quarters provided for them would hardly have satisfied
travellers accustomed to the luxuries of modern liners.
Then they were largely owned, or chartered, by Jews,
and their destination was in most cases Alexandria, the
second capital of the Hebrew race. But it is with some
of the few who took the more direct route by
Brundisium, the chief point of departure for the
eastward-bound, that we are at present concerned.
Raphael had called on Seneca and had made a
 very favourable impression on the philosopher. The
young Jew was a well educated man, and took a wide
outlook on life; while, at the same time, the
peculiarities of his birth and upbringing had left
something highly distinctive on his character and
bearing. It was the first time that Seneca had come in
contact with a Jew of the better type, and the meeting
interested him intensely as a student of human nature.
Then, again, he was attracted in his character of a
philosopher. Seneca was a Stoic in his belief, and a
Stoic had more things in common with the Jew, as
regarded God and the ordering of the world, than any
other kind of thinker. Lastly Seneca was a great
capitalist who had his investments all over the
civilized world, and unless he has been very much
belied, was somewhat fond of money, impoverishing the
provinces, it was confidently asserted, by his usury.
Anyhow he was greatly taken by the shrewdness and wide
knowledge of the young Jew, in whom he recognized the
acuteness and readiness of an expert in finance.
The conversation of course speedily turned to the
subject which was the cause of Raphael's visit.
"I was much concerned," said Seneca, "to hear of your
father's condition. How is he going on?"
 "Wonderfully well, for an old man," replied Raphael,
"but the time is very short, and we are exceedingly
"I can receive him here, where he would have every
comfort of nursing and attendance. Any one whom he
might desire to bring with him would be welcome. The
authorities would make no objection. In fact the decree
of banishment would be suspended as far as he and his
party are concerned. So much I can promise; I have an
assurance from the Empress that it shall be so. I
understand, of course, that he must be waited upon by
his own people. His attendants, therefore, would
include any physician that may be in charge of him."
"You are kindness itself, sir, but unfortunately the
difficulty is not removed, and I am afraid is not
removable. You see—well, my father—is well, shall I say
old-fashioned? He keeps rigidly to the Law, and the
Law as it has been expounded and fortified by the
ingenuity of generations of professional interpreters.
As for myself I can't hold with these ways. As long as
we were in a country of our own they were all well, we
could live as we pleased, and fix the conditions of
life for ourselves. If a stranger did not choose to
conform to them he could keep away. But that is
changed. We are scattered all over the world,
 and I venture to think it absurd that we should try to
carry all these safeguards and prohibitions with us
wherever we may go. The curious thing—I know, sir, that
you are interested in these matters—is that it is since
this dispersion that these rules have been made so
detailed and, if I may say it, impracticable. All this,
however, is beside the mark just now. The fact is that
my father would object as strongly to coming under the
roof of a Gentile host, as he would to being attended
by a Gentile nurse. And if he were to consent, which I
may frankly say is impossible, then his attendants
would object. No, I am at my wits' end. He must travel,
whatever his condition, for there is simply no place
where he can stay. His own house, or indeed any Jewish
house, is impossible, is it not, sir?"
"Yes," said Seneca, after a moment's thought, "I don't
think that any Jewish house could be exempted from the
operation of the edict."
"And it must be in a Jewish house that he stays, if he
is to stay anywhere. That is my dilemma, and I don't
see any escape from it. He must go, and if he goes, I
very much doubt whether he will live to see
Seneca reflected. After a pause he said, "Well, as he
must go, there is nothing to be done but to ease his
going. Of course there will be a
 considerable crush on the Brundisium road during the
next ten days. Well, I will get a pass
for your father and you and such attendants as he will
absolutely want. I should recommend you to send the
others by the Ostia route. My friend Burrhus, who
commands, as you know, the Praetorians, will, I am
sure, oblige you in this matter. Your father, I
suppose, does not object to using one of our public
carriages—of course he will have it all to himself and
his own people."
"We are greatly obliged to you, sir," said Raphael.
"This makes our way as plain as it can be made."
"One thing more," Seneca went on, as his visitor rose
to make his farewells. "You remember the line—one of
the wise utterances of the Pythian priestess, if I
remember right—'Fight thou with silver spears, and rule
the world,' but I dare say that your own wise men have
said something of the same kind."
 "Yes, indeed," replied Raphael with a smile; "as the
wise King has it, 'A man's gift maketh room for him;'
and room, I take it, is exactly what will be pretty
scarce on the eastward road."