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21
THE PLAGUE AND THE MERCHANTS.

"Men of Athens," he said, "ye wonder that we seem unmoved in the midst of this dreadful plague, and ye think that we have some charm or drug wherewith we defend ourselves from the infection. But we indeed are careless, because death by the pestilence seems to us no worse than the doom with which we are threatened if we escape. We come from a country beyond Egypt, and are the descendants of a remnant of Greeks who for many generations have been held in honourable captivity by the powerful princes of the land. We have preserved our own customs, and as ye see, our own language, and we have served as priests to our masters. And often the daughters of our race have been chosen as queens, and till a little time ago everything went well with us. Then certain Greeks appeared, who aroused the envy of our king and his princes by telling of the glories of Athens,