Read CHAPTER XI of "Unto Caesar", free online book, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, on ReadCentral.com.

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”-St. Matthew X.

A timid voice roused Taurus Antinor from his dream: 

“My gracious lord, thy litter is here!”

He started as a man suddenly wakened from sleep, and once or twice his eyes closed and opened again ere they rested finally on the broad back bent in a curve before him.

“Methought my gracious lord was waiting,” continued the speaker in the same timid voice, “and mayhap did not see the litter among the shadows.”

“I fear me I was dreaming, my good Folces,” said the praefect with a sigh, “for truly I did know that thou wast here.  Is the girl Nola with thee?”

“Aye, gracious lord.  She waits on thy pleasure, and thy bearers -”

“Nay, did I not tell thee that I would have no bearers?”

“The way is long, gracious lord -”

“I told thee that I would walk.”

“But my lord -”

“Silence now,” he said with some of his habitual impatience; “send my litter and bearers home; bring me the mantle I required, and do thou and Nola follow me.”

Reluctantly the old man obeyed.

“My gracious lord will be footsore-the way is long and ill-paved -” he muttered, half audibly, even as he made his way to the rear of the bosquet of lilies where a group of slaves stood waiting desultorily.

Anon he returned carrying a mantle of dark woollen stuff, and Taurus Antinor, having wrapped himself in this, slowly turned to walk down the hill.

Leaving the imperial palaces behind him, he went rapidly along the silent and deserted street.  It wound its tortuous way at first on the crest of the hill, skirting the majestic temple of Magna Mater with its elevated portico and noble steps that lost themselves in the shadows of labyrinthine colonnades.

The street itself-narrow and unpaved-was in places rendered almost impassable by the piles of constructor’s materials and rubbish that encumbered it at every step-debris or future requisites of the gigantic and numberless building operations which the mad Emperor pursued with that feverish energy and maniacal restlessness that characterised his every action.  Palaces here and temples there, a bridge over the Forum, a new circus, new baths, the constant pulling down of one edifice to make room for the construction of another:  all this work-commenced and still unfinished-had changed the whole aspect of the great city, turning it into a wilderness of enormous beams and huge blocks of uncut marble and stone that littered its every way.

But Taurus Antinor paid no heed to the roughness and inaccessibility of the road.  Unlike the rich patricians of the time he hated the drowsy indolence of progress in a litter, and after the fatigues of a nerve-racking day, the difficulties of ill-paved roads were in harmony with his present mood.

Assuring himself that old Folces and the girl Nola were close at his heels, he stepped briskly along the now precipitous incline of the hill.  The rapid movement did him good.  The air came to him from across the gardens of the palaces, sweetly scented by late lilies and clumps of dying roses.

Soon he had left the great circus behind him too, and now he started climbing again, for his way led him upwards on the slope of the Aventine Hill.  The silence here seemed more absolute than among the dwellings of the rich, for there, at times, a night watchman would emerge from a cross-road and give challenge to the belated passer-by, whilst a certain bustle of suspended animation always reigned around the palace of the Emperor even during the hours of sleep; some of his slaves and guard were always kept awake, ready to minister to any fancy or caprice that might seize the mad Caesar in the middle of the night.

But here where there were no palaces to guard, no insane ruler to protect, no one came to question the purpose of the benighted wanderers, nor did sudden outbursts of laughter or good cheer pierce the mud walls of the humble abodes that lay scattered on the slope of the hill.

The waning moon had hidden her light behind a heavy bank of clouds, a dull greyness pervaded the whole landscape, causing it to look weird and forlorn in the gloom.  The few trees dotted about here and there looked starved and gaunt on the barren hill-side, with great skeleton-like arms that waved mournfully in the breeze; the ground uneven and parched-after the summer’s drought-rose and sank in fantastic mounds and shapes like tiny fortresses of ghosts or ghouls; the street itself soon became merged in the general surroundings, only a tiny footway, scarcely discernible in the gathering darkness, wound upwards to the summit of the hill.

From time to time a solid block of what appeared only as impenetrable blackness loomed up from out the shadows, with all the grandeur of exaggerated size which the darkness of the night so generously lends.  Soon it would reveal itself as a small mud-covered box, with four bare walls and a narrow doorway facing toward the south.  Herein lived and suffered a family of human beings-freedmen and women without the stigma of slavery, but with all the misery of destitution and often of complete starvation.

Here and there the little house would be surrounded by a vestibule-a mere projection from the roof supported on a few rough beams-but never a garden, scarcely a tree to cast a cooling shade on hot summer afternoons, or clump of lilies or mimosa to sweeten the air that came dank and fetid from over the marshes beyond the hill.

Not a sound now disturbed the stillness of the night save when a bat fluttered overhead, or when furtive footsteps-on unavowable errand bent-glided softly off the beaten track and quickly died away among the shadows.

The praefect walked on, heedless of his surroundings.  The mood that had been on him ever since he left Caius Nepos’ house still caused his mind to wander restlessly in the illimitable regions of perplexity and doubt.  He scarcely looked where he was going, for he kept his eyes fixed upon the starlit canopy above him and upon the crest of the hill which lost itself in the darkness overhead.

Suddenly, out of the gloom, two pairs of hands emerged, and without warning fastened themselves on the praefect’s throat:  thin, claw-like hands they were, and above them gaunt arms, mere bones covered with wrinkled flesh that proclaimed starvation and misery.

The old slave from the rear uttered a cry of terror; Nola clung to him paralysed with fear.  The slopes of the Aventine were noted for the gangs of malefactors that infested them, and defying the power of the aediles, rendered them unsafe for wayfarers even in the light of day.

Taurus Antinor, instantly brought back from the land of dreams, had no great difficulty in freeing himself from the claw-like grasp.  With a quick gesture of his own powerful hands, he had in a moment succeeded in dragging the gaunt fingers from off his throat, and, holding the thin wrists with a firm grip, he gave them a sudden sharp twist, which elicited two cries of pain and brought two pairs of knees in hard contact with the ground.

It had all occurred in the space of a few seconds, and now a bundle of soiled rags seemed to be lying huddled up under the praefect’s foot, and he looked like some powerful desert beast that has placed a massive paw on a pair of puny rats.

The thin arms wriggled like worms in his mighty grasp.

“Pity, my lord!  Pity!” came in hoarse murmurs from the bundle of rags under his foot.

“Pity?  Of that have I in plenty,” he replied gruffly.  “But methinks ’twas not pity ye sought by trying to strangle me.”

“Pity, my lord, my children are starving....”

“Pity, my lord, I have not tasted food to-day -”

“Pity, my lord!” retorted the praefect with a grim laugh, and mimicking the wretched man’s words, “I would have murdered you had I had the power.”

Then he relaxed his grip, and with his foot pushed the bundle of dirt further away from him.  He groped in his wallet and drew out some silver coins.  These he threw, one by one, into the midst of the shapeless rags, and he stooped forward, striving in the darkness to see something of the faces that were wilfully hidden from him, something of the mouths that had uttered the pitiable groans.

Vaguely he discerned the outline of cadaverous cheeks, of sunken temples, of furtive eyes veiled by thin lids; he saw the glances half of fear, wholly of doubt, that were thrown on the silver coins, heard the muttered oaths, the incipient quarrel over the distribution of the unexpected hoard.

Then did the strange perplexities which had assailed him throughout this night find expression in bitter words.  He threw down a few more coins and said slowly: 

“These are for pity’s sake, and in the name of One Whom mayhap ye will know one day.  He died that ye should live!  Bear that in mind and ponder on it.  Mayhap ye will find the solution to that riddle.  That such as you should live in eternity, therefore did He die....  When ye have understood this and can explain the value of your lives as compared with His, come and tell it to the praefect of Rome and he will shower on you wealth beyond your dreams.”

Then, without waiting to hear protestations, or heeding the ironical laughter that came from the bewildered night-prowlers, he turned on his heels and resumed his interrupted walk along the slope of the hill.

The footpath-scarce more than a beaten track-soon disappeared altogether.  Presently Taurus Antinor paused and called to Folces to come up to him.

“Methinks we must be near the house,” he said.

“Aye, gracious lord,” replied the man, “just on thy right, some two hundred steps from here.  The way is very dark, wilt permit me to walk by thy side?”

“Walk by my side an thou wilt.  Thou canst direct me more easily; but as to the darkness I can see through it well.”

“But my gracious lord did not see those evil malefactors that set upon him.”

“No, Folces, I was dreaming as I walked.  They came upon me unawares.”

“And my gracious lord allowed them to go.  They were notorious miscreants.”

“They were the embodiment of a strange riddle, good Folces.  They helped to puzzle me-and Heaven knows that I was puzzled enough ere I saw those miserable wretches.  Mayhap some day I’ll understand the riddle which their abject persons did represent.  But now tell me, is this the house?”

The wanderers had struck to their right and walked on some two hundred paces.  Now they paused beside one of those square mud-walled boxes, of which they could only discern the narrow door made of unplaned wood, and through the chinks of which a faint light glimmered weirdly.  Two or three steps fashioned in the earth itself led down toward the threshold.  Taurus Antinor descended these and knocked boldly on the door.

It was opened from within, and under the rough lintel there appeared the figure of a man of short stature, clad in a long grey tunic.  His head, which he held forward in an attempt to peer through the darkness, looked almost unnaturally large, owing to the mass of loose greyish hair that fell away from his forehead like a mane, and the long beard that straggled down upon his breast.

“May we enter, friend?” asked Taurus Antinor.

At the sound of the voice the man drew aside, and through the narrow doorway was now revealed the interior of the house-a straight, square room, with a few wooden seats disposed about, and at the top end an oblong table covered with a snow-white cloth.  An aperture in the wall appeared to lead to an inner chamber, which must indeed have been of diminutive size, for the central room seemed to occupy almost the whole of the interior of the house.  Suspended by an iron chain from the ceiling above there hung a small lamp in which flickered a tiny flame fed by some sweet-smelling oil.  It threw but little light around and left deep and curious shadows in the angles of the room.

From out these, as the praefect entered, there emerged the figure of an old woman, with smooth grey hair half-hidden beneath a kerchief of strange oriental design, and straight dark robe, foreign in cut and appearance to those usually seen in the streets of Rome.

The massive figure of Taurus Antinor seemed almost to fill the entire room, but he stood to one side now disclosing the old slave and the girl Nola.

“This,” he said, addressing the woman, “is the child of whom I spoke to thee.  She is friendless and motherless, but she is free, and I have brought her so that thou mayest teach her all thou knowest.”

In the meanwhile the man with the leonine head had closed the door on the little party.  He came forward eagerly, and raising himself on the tips of his toes, he put his hands on Antinor’s shoulder, and with gentle pressure forced him to stoop.  Then he kissed him on either cheek.

“Greeting to thee, dear friend,” he said cheerily.  “Thou hast done well to bring the girl.  My mother and I will take great care of her.”

“And ye will teach her your religion,” said Taurus Antinor earnestly; “because of that did I bring her.  She is young and will be teachable.  She’ll understand as a child will, that which hardened hearts are unable to grasp.”

“Nay, friend,” said the man simply, “there is not a great deal to teach, nor a great deal to understand.  Love and faith, that is sufficient ... and, as our dear Lord did tell us, love is the greatest of all.”

For the moment the praefect made no reply.  The man had helped him to cast off his heavy mantle, and he stood now in all the splendour of barbaric pomp, a strangely incongruous figure in this tiny bare room, both to his surroundings and to his gentle host and hostess with their humble garb and simple, timid ways.

She-the woman-had drawn Nola with kindly gesture to her.  The child was crying softly, for she was half-frightened at the strangeness of the place, and also she was tired after her long walk up and down the rough road.  The woman, with subtle feminine comprehension, soon realised this, and also understood that the girl, reared in slavery, felt awed in the presence of so great a lord.  So, putting a kindly arm round the slender form of the child, she led her gently out of the main room to the tiny cubicle beyond, where she could rest.

The three men were now left alone.  Folces, squatting in a dark corner, kept his eyes fixed upon his master.  He took no interest in what went on around him; he cared nothing about the strangeness of the surroundings, his master was lord and praefect of Rome, and could visit those whom he list.  But Folces, like a true watch-dog, remained on the alert, silent and ever suspicious, keeping an eye on his master, remaining obedient and silent until told to speak.

The man, in the meanwhile, had asked the praefect to sit.

“Wilt rest a while, O friend,” he said, “whilst I make ready for supper.”

But Antinor would not sit down.  In his habitual way he leaned against the wall, watching with those earnest eyes of his every movement of his host, as the latter first passed a loving hand over the white cloth on the table and then smoothed out every crease on its satiny surface.  Anon he disappeared for a moment in the dark angle of the room, where a rough wooden chest stood propped against the wall.  From this he now took out a loaf of fine wheaten bread, also a jar containing wine and some plain earthenware goblets.  These things he set upon the table, his big leonine head bent to his simple task, his small grey eyes wandering across from time to time in kindliness on his friend.

Intuition-born of intense sympathy-had already told him that something was amiss with the praefect.  He knew every line of the rugged face which many deemed so fierce and callous, but in which he had so often seen the light of an all-embracing charity.

When Taurus Antinor used to visit his friend in the olden days he was wont to shed from him that mantle of rebellious pride with which, during the exercise of his duties in Rome, he always hid his real personality.  People said of the praefect that he was sullen and morose, merciless in his judgments in the tribunal where he presided.  They said that he was ambitious and intriguing, and that he had gained and held the Caesar’s ear for purposes of his own advancement.  But the man and woman who had come recently on the Aventine and who called the praefect of Rome their friend, knew that his rough exterior hid a heart brimming over with pity, and that his aloofness came from a mind absorbed in thoughts of God.

But to-day the praefect seemed different.  The look of joy with which he had greeted his friends had quickly faded away, leaving the face darkened with some hidden care; and as the man watched him across the narrow room, he seemed to see in the strong face something that almost looked like remorse.

Therefore, whilst accomplishing the task which he loved so well, he quietly watched his friend and resolved that he should not recross the threshold of this house without having unburdened his soul.

“Friend,” he now said abruptly, “I have a curious whim to-night.  Wilt indulge it?”

“If it be in my power,” responded the praefect, rousing himself from his reverie.

A look of deep affection softened for the moment the hard look on his face, as his deep-set eyes rested on the quaint figure of the man with the leonine head.

“What is thy whim?” he asked.

“Over in Judaea we were so little alone,” rejoined the latter, “and then we had such earnest things to talk about, that I have never heard from thy lips how it came to pass that thou didst hear our dear Lord preach in Galilee.”

“Yet I did tell thee,” said the praefect, “when first thou didst ask my confidence.”

“Then ’tis my whim to hear thee tell me again,” rejoined the man simply.  “All that pertains to our dear Lord doth lie so close to my heart, and ’tis long now since I have spoken of Him to one who hath seen and heard Him.  ’Tis great joy to me to hear of every impression which He made on the heart of those whose life was gladdened by a sight of His face.”

“Whose life was gladdened by a sight of His face!” repeated Taurus Antinor gently.  “Aye! there dost speak the truth, O friend! for my life too was gladdened by a sight of His face.  I was travelling through Judaea, on my way to Syria, and the Caesar had desired me to visit the proconsul.  Thus did I halt in Jerusalem one day.  Having done the Emperor’s bidding, I had time to kill ere I started further on my journey.  So I bethought me that I would like to see something of the Man from Nazareth of Whom I had heard speak.”

“And God prompted thee, friend, to go and hear Him.”

“God, sayest thou?” rejoined the praefect slowly.  “Aye! mayhap thou’rt right.  ’Twas God then that sent me.  Disguised in humble raiment I went forth one day and made my way to the desert lands of Galilee.”

“And didst see Him there?”

“I saw Him sitting on a low mound of earth with the canopy of blue above His head, and all around Him a multitude that hung entranced upon His lips.  He spoke to them of the Kingdom of Heaven-a Kingdom of whose existence, alas!  I had never dreamed.  But His words did wring my heart, and the majesty of His presence has ever since been before mine eyes.  To-day it all came back to me, the gentle face, the perfect mouth framing exquisite words.  Above Him a curtain of azure, and far away, the illimitable stretch of horizon merging into the water beyond.  The very air was still and listening to His words; from under jagged boulders tiny lizards peeped out, and on the branches of starved, gaunt trees the birds had stopped to rest.  Then it was that panther-like, sleek sleuth-hounds hovered round Him, trying to entangle Him in His talk.  They made their way close to Him, and with honeyed words and deft insinuations, spoke of allegiance and of the tribute due to Caesar.  I stood not far off and could hear what they said.  My very heart seemed to still its beating, for did not their questions embrace the whole riddle of mine own life.  God and Caesar!  I, the servant of Caesar-the recipient of rich gifts from his hands-should I forswear the Caesar and follow Jesus of Nazareth?”

“And didst hear what He answered, friend?”

“Aye!  I heard it.  And to-day when traitors spoke, it seemed as if the Divine Presence stood close to me amongst the shadows.  Once more I saw the bleak and arid land, the skeleton arms of the trees, the blue firmament above my head, I saw the multitude of simple folk around Him and the leer in the eyes of the tempters.  And above the din of drunken revelries to-night I heard again the voice that bade me then to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

The other sighed, a sigh of glad content.

“I thank thee, friend, for telling me this.  ’Tis a joy to hear thee speak of Him.  It is so long since we talked of this matter.  And-tell me yet again-thou wast in Jerusalem when He died?”

“I stood on Golgotha,” said the praefect slowly, “on that day before the Jewish Passover, seven years ago.  Once again wrapped in a dark cloak, one among a multitude, I gazed with eyes that I felt could never look on anything else again.  I saw the patient face smeared with blood, the God-like head crowned with thorns, the eyes-still brimming over with love-slowly closing in agony.  Overhead the heavens murmured, vivid flashes of lightning rent the canopy of the sky, and men around me mocked and jeered, whilst the Divine Soul fled upwards back to God.  At that moment, O friend!  I seemed to lose mine own identity.  I-even I alone-became the whole multitude.  I was no longer just mine own self, but I was all of us who looked, who heard and saw and did not yet understand....  A multitude was looking through my eyes ... a multitude heard through mine ears ...  I was the crowd of poor, of helpless slaves, and I was the whole of the patriciate of Rome.  I was barbarian and Italian, I was British and Roman, all in one ... and my voice was the voice of the entire world, as suddenly I cried out to Him:  ’Do not die now and leave us desolate!’”

His harsh voice broke down in a great sob that came from out the depths of an overburdened heart.  He took a few steps forward and slowly dropped on his knees right against the table, his clasped hands resting on the cloth, his forehead buried in his hands.

The man had listened to him silently and patiently with, in his heart, that subtle understanding for another’s sorrow, which his own mission had instilled into him.  And thus understanding he went up to that end of the table where knelt the rich and mighty praefect of Rome, the friend of Caesar, all-powerful in the land, with burning head buried in his hands, and eyes from which despite his will hot tears gushed up that would not be suppressed.

He placed a kindly hand on the bowed shoulder of his friend.

“Wilt tell me what troubles thee?” he said gently.

Taurus Antinor passed his hand across his forehead as if to chase away the brain-searing thoughts.  He raised himself from his knees and gratefully pressed the hand that had recalled him to himself.

“Nay, friend,” he said, “I’ll not do that.  Thy friendship is too precious a guerdon that I should jeopardise it by showing thee the blackness of my soul.”

“Dost talk at random,” said the other firmly; “my friendship doth not come and go like fleeting sunshine on a winter’s day.  I gave it thee on that self-same unforgettable day when I saw thee standing alone upon the hill after the crowd had departed and we who loved Him were lifting Him down from His Cross.”

“Thou didst take pity then on my loneliness.”

“I saw in thee one who had faith,” said the man simply.  “I grasped thy hand in friendship then, not knowing who thou wast.  When I knew, then did I follow thee to Rome, for I needed thy help.  My Master sent me here.  I do His work that He did enjoin on all His disciples.  Thy protection and friendship, O mighty praefect of Rome, hath been an infinite help to me.  Thy kindness and charity hath saved from want the many humble followers of Christ who have been forced to give up all for His sake.  Therefore whatever doth burden thy soul now, I pray thee share it with me, so that I might bear it with thee and mayhap ease thy load.”

“May God bless thee for these words.”

“And thy burden, friend?”

“Ask not to share it-’tis one of treachery.”

“Of treachery?...  Whose treachery?...”

“Mine.”

“Thine?...  I’ll not believe it....  Thou a traitor ... against Caesar?”

“No.”

“Against whom, then?”

“Against Him Whose death I witnessed seven years ago.”

“Then I’ll not believe it.  And ’tis sacrilege thus to jest.”

“Jest?” said Taurus Antinor, with a laugh that rang unnatural and hoarse.  “Jest! when for a day and a night my soul hath been on the rack and mocking demons have jeered at my torments?  Jest!  When ?”

He broke off abruptly and looked down with an earnest gaze on the upturned face of his friend.

“If thou wouldst tell me more it would ease thy heart,” said the man simply.

For a moment or two the praefect was silent.  His hand rested on his friend’s shoulder, and his eyes, with their deep furrow between the brows, were fixed on the kind face that invited confidence.

“For seven years,” he said abruptly, but speaking very slowly, “whilst I served the Caesar, every one of my waking thoughts and many of my dreams tended to that day in Jerusalem and the three hours’ agony which I had witnessed on Golgotha.  Yesterday did a woman cross my path-and now I have thoughts only of her.”

“Who is this woman?” asked the other.

“She is of the House of Caesar, pure and chaste as the lilies in my garden at Ostia, proud and unapproachable as the stars ... her heart is a closed book wherein man hath never read ... but since her eyes have mocked me with their smile, my heart is enchained to her service and I see naught but her loveliness.”

“Look upwards, man; a glowing Cross will blind thine eyes to all save to itself.”

“Have I not looked,” said the praefect, with a sharp, quick sigh, “until mine eyes have ached with trying to see that which once was so clear.  But now, between me and that sacred memory that methought had been branded into my very soul, there always rises the vision of a girl, tall and slender as the lilies, clad all in white as they.  She stands between me and memory, and mine eyes grow weary and dim trying to see beyond that vision, recalling to my mind the picture of that Cross, the thorn-crowned head, the pierced hands and feet.  She stands between me and memory, and with laughing eyes defies me not to see her, and I look and look, and the vision of the Cross grows more faint, and she stands there serene and white and silent, with blue eyes smiling on my treachery and scornful voice upraised, denying God and Christ.  She is of the House of Caesar and she is ignorant, and she laughs at my belief and scorns all thought of God, and I do find it in my treacherous heart to pity her and pitying her to kneel at her feet.  And all the while a thousand demons shout mockingly unto mine ear:  ’Thou art a traitor-a traitor to thy God-for were she to beckon, ’tis to her that thou wouldst go, forgetting all-thine immortal soul, thy crucified God...?’ And thus do devils mock me, and my soul grows darker and darker and greater and greater grows the mystery, for my heart, broken, miserably doubting and weak, cries out not with resignation, not in patience, but in a spirit of angry rebellion:  ’God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?’”

He raised his arms up to heaven as if in a last desperate appeal; but now he did not kneel-he stood beside his friend shamed and yet proud, and the look in his eyes was that of one who sees a vision that is exquisitely beautiful and dear.  The other saw the look, and with the kind indulgence taught by a sublime teacher, he found it in his heart to pity and to love.  Once more he placed his thin, wrinkled hand on the praefect’s shoulder, and his small eyes beamed with perfect faith and trust as he said gently: 

“Do not try and probe any mystery just now, O friend, the day has been long and thou art weary and sad.  Come and sit beside me here at table; my mother will join us and the girl Nola too, and the man who is thy slave, if thou wilt so allow it.  Together we’ll think of that day in Judaea seven years ago, and we’ll break bread and drink wine, and-without trying to understand anything-we’ll do it all together in memory of Him!”

For a moment Taurus Antinor was silent.  In the strong face every line told of the great storm within the innermost heart.

And slowly the man beside him repeated the most exquisite words that have ever been spoken to a troubled soul.

“Come unto Me all ye that travail and are heavy laden and I will refresh you.”

Taurus Antinor’s head fell upon his breast.  He closed his eyes, for not even his friend should see that they were wet with tears.  But even whilst the heartstrings were torn by the ruthless hand of passion, it seemed as if-when the man had finished speaking-the magic words had already left upon the soul their impress of infinite peace.

And without another word, he went slowly forward and took his place at the table.

At a call from the man, the old woman entered softly, her woollen shoes making no sound upon the wooden floor.  She had Nola by the hand who seemed comforted and rested.  The praefect beckoned to Folces, who silently obeyed and came forward to the table.

Then the five of them sat down and quietly partook of supper, sitting side by side, the disciple from Judaea and his mother, the two slaves and the praefect of Rome.  The Christians sat beside the pagans, the mighty lord beside his slave, and they broke bread and drank wine, all in memory of Him.