"How much?--ask him how much, Ferguson!--how much to take us all--eight of us, and you--to Bethsaida, yonder, and to the mouth of Jordan, and to the place where the swine ran down into the sea--quick!--and we want to coast around every where--every where!--all day long!--I could sail a year in these waters!--and tell him we'll stop at Magdala and finish at Tiberias!--ask him how much?--any thing--any thing whatever!--tell him we don't care what the expense is!" [I said to myself, I knew how it would be.]
Ferguson--(interpreting)--"He says two Napoleons--eight dollars."
One or two countenances fell. Then a pause.
"Too much!--we'll give him one!"
I never shall know how it was--I shudder yet when I think how the place is given to miracles--but in a single instant of time, as it seemed to me, that ship was twenty paces from the shore, and speeding away like a frightened thing! Eight crestfallen creatures stood upon the shore, and O, to think of it! this--this--after all that overmastering ecstacy! Oh, shameful, shameful ending, after such unseemly boasting! It was too much like "Ho! let me at him!" followed by a prudent "Two of you hold him--one can hold me!"
Instantly there was wailing and gnashing of teeth in the camp. The two Napoleons were offered--more if necessary--and pilgrims and dragoman shouted themselves hoarse with pleadings to the retreating boatmen to come back. But they sailed serenely away and paid no further heed to pilgrims who had dreamed all their lives of some day skimming over the sacred waters of Galilee and listening to its hallowed story in the whisperings of its waves, and had journeyed countless leagues to do it, and--and then concluded that the fare was too high. Impertinent Mohammedan Arabs, to think such things of gentlemen of another faith!