Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Arachne — Volume 08
Author: Ebers, Georg
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Arachne — Volume 08" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



ARACHNE

By Georg Ebers

Volume 8.



Hermon, filled with longing, went down toward evening to the shore.

The sun was setting, and the riot of colours in the western horizon
seemed like a mockery of the torturing anxiety which had mastered his
soul.

He did not notice the boat that was approaching the land; many travellers
who intended to go through Arabia Petrea landed here, and for several
days--he knew why--there had been more stir in these quiet waters.

Suddenly he was surprised by the ringing shout with which he had formerly
announced his approach to Myrtilus.

Unconsciously agitated by joy, as if the sunset glow before him had
suddenly been transformed into the dawn of a happy day, he answered by a
loud cry glad with hope.  Although his dim eyes did not yet permit him to
distinguish who was standing erect in the boat, waving greetings to him,
he thought he knew whom this exquisite evening was bringing.

Soon his own name reached him.  It was his "wise Bias" who shouted, and
soon, with a throbbing heart, he held out both hands to him.

The freedman had performed his commission in the best possible manner,
and was now no longer bound to silence by oath.

Ledscha had left him and Myrtilus to themselves and, as Bias thought he
had heard, had sailed with the Gaul Lutarius for Paraetonium, the
frontier city between the kingdom of Egypt and that of Cyrene.

Myrtilus felt stronger than he had done for a long time, and had sent him
back to the blind friend who would need him more than he did.

But worthy Bias also brought messages from Archias and Daphne.  They were
well, and his uncle now had scarcely any cause to fear pursuers.

Before the landing of the boat, the shade had covered Hermon's eyes; but
when, after the freedman's first timid question about his sight, he
raised it again, at the same time reporting and showing what progress he
had already made toward recovery, the excess of joy overpowered the
freedman, and sometimes laughing, sometimes weeping, he kissed the
convalescent's hands and simple robe.  It was some time before he calmed
himself again, then laying his forefinger on the side of his nose, he
said: "Therein the immortals differ from human beings.  We sculptors can
only create good work with good tools, but the immortals often use the
very poorest of all to accomplish the best things.  You owe your sight to
the hate of this old witch and mother of pirates, so may she find peace
in the grave.  She is dead.  I heard it from a fellow-countryman whom I
met in Herocipolis.  Her end came soon after our visit."

Then Bias related what he knew of Hermon's uncle, of Daphne, and
Myrtilus.

Two letters were to give him further particulars.

They came from the woman he loved and from his friend, and as soon as
Bias had lighted the lamp in the tent, at the same time telling his
master in advance many items of news they contained, he set about the
difficult task of reading.

He had certainly scarcely become a master of this art on board the Hydra,
yet his slow performance did all honour to the patience of his teacher
Myrtilus.

He began with Daphne's letter, but by the desire of prudent Archias it
communicated few facts.  But the protestations of love and expressions of
longing which filled it pierced the freedman's soul so deeply that his
voice more than once failed while reading them.

Myrtilus's letter, on the contrary, gave a minute description of his mode
of life, and informed his friend what he expected for him and himself in
the future.  The contents of both relieved Hermon's sorely troubled
heart, made life with those who were dearest to him possible, and
explained many things which the reports of the slave had not rendered
perfectly clear.

Archias had gone with Daphne to the island of Lesbos, his mother's native
city.  The ships which conveyed travellers to Pergamus, where Myrtilus
was living, touched at this port, and Bias, to whom Hermon had confided
the refuge of the father and daughter, had sought them there, and found
them in a beautiful villa.

After being released from his oath, Myrtilus had put himself into
communication with his uncle, and just before Bias's departure the
merchant had come to Pergamus with his daughter.  As he had the most
cordial reception from the Regent Philetaerus, he seemed inclined to
settle permanently there.

As for Myrtilus, he had cast anchor with Ledscha in the little Mysian
seaport town of Pitane, near the mouth of the Caicus River, on which,
farther inland, was the rapidly growing city of Pergamus.

She had found a hospitable welcome in the family of a seafarer who were
relatives, while the Gaul continued his voyage to obtain information
about his tribe in Syria.  But he had already returned when Bias reached
Pitane with the two talents intended for him.  Myrtilus had availed
himself of Ledscha's permission long before and gone to Pergamus, where
he had lived and worked in secrecy until, after the freedman's return
from Ledscha, who at once left Pitane with the Gaul, he was released from
his oath.

During the absence of Bias he had modelled a large relief, a triumphal
procession of Dionysus, and as the renown of his name had previously
reached Pergamus, the artists and the most distinguished men in the city
flocked to his studio to admire the work of the famous Alexandrian.

Soon Philetoerus, who had founded the Pergamenian kingdom seven years
before, and governed it with great wisdom, came to Myrtilus.

Like his nephew and heir Eumenes, he was a friend to art, and induced the
laurel-crowned Alexandrian to execute the relief, modelled in clay, in
marble for the Temple of Dionysus at Pergamus.

The heir to the throne of Philetaerus, who was now advancing in years,
was especially friendly to Myrtilus, and did everything in his power to
bind him to Pergamus.

He succeeded, for in the beautiful house, located in an extremely
healthful site, which Eumenes had assigned for a residence and studio to
the Alexandrian artist, whose work he most ardently admired, and whom he
regarded as the most welcome of guests, Myrtilus felt better physically
than he had for years.  Besides, he thought that, for many reasons, his
friend would be less willing to settle in Alexandria, and that the
presence of his uncle and Daphne would attract him to Pergamus.

Moreover, Hermon surely knew that if he came to him as a blind man he
would find a brother; if he came restored to sight, he would also find a
brother, and likewise a fellow-artist with whom he could live and work.

Myrtilus had told the heir to the throne of Pergamus of his richly gifted
blind relative, and of the peculiarity of his art, and Eumenes eagerly
endeavoured to induce his beloved guest to persuade his friend to remove
to his capital, where there was no lack of distinguished leeches.

If Hermon remained blind, he would honour him; if he recovered his sight,
he would give him large commissions.

How deeply these letters moved the heart of the recovering man!  What
prospects they opened for his future life, for love, friendship, and, not
least, for his art!

If he could see--if he could only see again!  This exclamation blended
with everything he thought, felt, and uttered.  Even in sleep it haunted
him.  To regain the clearness of vision he needed for his work, he would
willingly have submitted to the severest tortures.

In Alexandria alone lived the great leeches who could complete the work
which the salve of an ignorant old woman had begun.  Thither he must go,
though it cost him liberty and life.  The most famous surgeon of the
Museum at the capital had refused his aid under other circumstances.
Perhaps he would relent if Philippus, a friend of Erasistratus, smoothed
the way for him, and the old hero was now living very near.  The ships,
whose number on the sea at his feet was constantly increasing, were
attracted hither by the presence of the Egyptian King and Queen on the
isthmus which connects Asia and Africa.  The priest of Apollo at Clysma,
and other distinguished Greeks whom he met there, had told him the day
before yesterday, and on two former visits to the place, what was going
on in the world, and informed him how great an honour awaited the eastern
frontier in these days.  The appearance of their Majesties in person must
not only mean the founding of a city, the reception of a victorious naval
commander, and the consecration of a restored temple, but also have still
deeper causes.

During the last few years severe physical suffering had brought the
unfortunate second king of the house of Ptolemy to this place to seek
the aid of the ancient Egyptian gods, and, besides the philosophy, busy
himself with the mystic teachings and magic arts of their priesthood.

Only a short period of life seemed allotted to the invalid ruler, and the
service of the time-honoured god of the dead, to whom he had erected one
of the most magnificent temples in the world at Alexandria, to which
Egyptians and Hellenes repaired with equal devotion, opened hopes for the
life after death which seemed to him worthy of examination.

For this reason also he desired to secure the favour of the Egyptian
priesthood.

For this purpose, for the execution of his wise and beneficent
arrangements, as well as for the gratification of his expensive tastes,
large sums of money were required; therefore he devoted himself with
especial zeal to enlarging the resources of his country, already so rich
by nature.

In all these things he had found an admirable assistant in his sister
Arsinoe.  As the daughter of the father and mother to whom he himself
owed existence, he could claim for her unassailable legitimacy the same
recognition from the priesthood, and the same submission from the people
rendered to his own person, whom the religion of the country commanded
them to revere as the representative of the sun god.

As marriages between brothers and sisters had been customary from ancient
times, and were sanctioned by religion and myth, he had married the
second Arsinoe, his sister, immediately after the banishment of the first
Queen of this name.

After the union with her, he called himself Philadelphus--brotherly love
--and honoured his sister and wife with the same name.

True, this led the sarcastic Alexandrians to utter many a biting, more or
less witty jest, but he never had cause to regret his choice; in spite of
her forty years, and more than one bloody deed which before her marriage
to him she had committed as Queen of Thrace and as a widow, the second
Arsinoe was always a pattern of regally aristocratic, dignified bearing
and haughty womanly beauty.

Though the first Philadelphus could expect no descendants from her, he
had provided for securing them through her, for he had induced her to
adopt the first Arsinoe's three children, who had been taken from their
exiled mother.

Arsinoe was now accompanying her royal husband Philadelphus to the
eastern frontier.  There the latter expected to name the city to be newly
founded "Arsinoe" for her, and-to show his esteem for the priesthood--to
consecrate in person the new Temple of Tum in the city of Pithom, near
Heroopolis.

Lastly, the monarch had been endeavouring to form new connections with
the coast countries of eastern Africa, and open them to Egyptian
commerce.

Admiral Eumedes, the oldest son of Philippus and Thyone, had succeeded in
doing this most admirably, for the distinguished commander had not only
founded on the Ethiopian shore of the Red Sea a city which he named for
the King "Ptolemais," but also won over the princes and tribes of that
region to Egypt.

He was now returning from Ethiopia with a wealth of treasures.

After the brilliant festivals the invalid King, with his new wife, was to
give himself up to complete rest for a month in the healthful air of the
desert region which surrounded Pithom, far from the tumult of the capital
and the exhausting duties of government.

The magnificent shows which were to be expected, and the presence of the
royal pair, had attracted thousands of spectators on foot or horseback,
and by water, and the morning after Bias's return the sea near Clysma was
swarming with vessels of all kinds and sizes.

It was more than probable that Philippus, the father, and Thyone, the
mother of the famous returning Admiral Eumedes, would not fail to be
present at his reception on his native soil, and therefore Hermon wished
to seek out his dear old friends in Heroopolis, where the greeting was to
take place, and obtain their advice.

The boat on which the freedman had come was at the disposal of his master
and himself.  Before Hermon entered it, he took leave, with an agitated
heart and open hand, of his Amalekite friends and, in spite of the mist
which still obscured everything he beheld, he perceived how reluctantly
the simple dwellers in the wilderness saw him depart.

When the master and servant entered the boat, in spite of the sturdy
sailors who manned it, it proved even more difficult than they had feared
to make any progress; for the whole narrow end of the arm of the sea,
which here extended between Egypt and Arabia Petrea, was covered with war
galleys and transports, boats and skiffs.  The two most magnificent state
galleys from Heroopolis were coming here, bearing the ambassadors who, in
the King's name, were to receive the fleet and its commander.  Other
large and small, richly equipped, or unpretending ships and boats were
filled with curious spectators.

What a gay, animated scene!  What brilliant, varied, strange, hitherto
unseen objects were gathered here: vessels of every form and size, sails
white, brown, and black, and on the state galleys and boats purple, blue,
and every colour, adorned with more or less costly embroidery!  What
rising and falling of swiftly or slowly moving oars!

"From Alexandria!" cried Bias, pointing to a state galley which the King
was sending to the commander of the southern fleet.

"And there," remarked Hermon, proud of his regained power of
distinguishing one thing from another, and letting his eyes rest on one
of the returning transports, on whose deck stood six huge African
elephants, whose trumpeting mingled with the roaring of the lions and
tigers on the huge freight vessels, and the exulting shouts of the men
and women in the ships and boats.

"After the King's heart!" exclaimed Bias.  "He probably never received at
one time before so large an accession to his collection of rare animals.
What is the transport with the huge lotus flower on the prow probably
bringing?"

"Oh, and the monkeys and parrots over yonder!" joyously exclaimed the
Amalekite boy who had been Hermon's guide, and had accompanied him into
the boat.  Then he suddenly lowered his voice and, fearing that his
delight might give pain to the less keen-sighted man whom he loved, he
asked, "You can see them, my lord, can't you?"

"Certainly, my boy, though less plainly than you do," replied Hermon,
stroking the lad's dark hair.

Meanwhile the admiral's ship had approached the shore.

Bias pointed to the poop, where the commander Eumedes was standing
directing the course of the fleet.

As if moulded in bronze, a man thoroughly equal to his office, he seemed,
in spite of the shouts, greetings, and acclamations thundering around
him, to close his eyes and ears to the vessels thronging about his ship
and devote himself body and soul to the fulfilment of his duty.  He had
just embraced his father and mother, who had come here to meet him.

"The King undoubtedly sent by his father the laurel wreath on his
helmet," observed Bias, pointing to the admiral.  "So many honours while
he is still so young!  When you went to the wrestling school in
Alexandria, Eumedes was scarcely eight years older than you, and I
remember how he preferred you to the others.  A sign, and he will notice
us and allow you to go on his ship, or, at any rate, send us a boat in
which we can enter the canal."

"No, no,"  replied  Hermon.  "My call would disturb him now."

"Then let us make ourselves known to the Lady Thyone or her husband," the
freedman continued.  "They will certainly take us on their large state
galley, from which, though your eyes do not yet see as far as a falcon's,
not a ship, not a man, not a movement will escape them."

But Hermon added one more surprise to the many which he had already
given, for he kindly declined Bias's well-meant counsel, and, resting his
hand on the Amalekite boy's shoulder, said modestly: "I am no longer the
Hermon whom Eumedes preferred to the others.  And the Lady Thyone must
not be reminded of anything sad in this festal hour for the mother's
heart.  I shall meet her to-morrow, or the day after, and yet I had
intended to let no one who is loyal to me look into my healing eyes
before Daphne."

Then he felt the freedman's hand secretly press his, and it comforted
him, after the sorrowful thoughts to which he had yielded, amid the
shouts of joy ringing around him.  How quietly, with what calm dignity,
Eumedes received the well-merited homage, and how disgracefully the false
fame had bewildered his own senses!

Yet he had not passed through the purifying fire of misfortune in vain!
The past should not cloud the glad anticipation of brighter days!

Drawing a long breath, he straightened himself into a more erect posture,
and ordered the men to push the boat from the shore.  Then he pressed a
farewell kiss on the Amalekite boy's forehead, the lad sprang ashore, and
the journey northward began.

At first the sailors feared that the crowd would be too great, and the
boat would be refused admission to the canal; but the helmsman succeeded
in keeping close behind a vessel of medium size, and the Macedonian
guards of the channel put no obstacle in their countryman's way, while
boats occupied by Egyptians and other barbarians were kept back.

In the Bitter Lakes, whose entire length was to be traversed, the ships
had more room, and after a long voyage through dazzling sunlight, and
along desolate shores, the boat anchored at nightfall at Heroopolis.

Hermon and Bias obtained shelter on one of the ships which the sovereign
had placed at the disposal of the Greeks who came to participate in the
festivals to be celebrated.

Before his master went to rest, the freedman--whom he had sent out to
look for a vessel bound to Pelusium and Alexandria the next day or the
following one--returned to the ship.

He had talked with the Lady Thyone, and told Hermon from her that she
would visit or send for him the next day, after the festival.

His own mother, the freedman protested, could not have rejoiced more
warmly over the commencement of his recovery, and she would have come
with him at once had not Philippus prevented his aged wife, who was
exhausted by the long journey.

The next morning the sun poured a wealth of radiant light upon the
desert, the green water of the harbour, and the gray and yellow walls of
the border fortress.

Three worlds held out their hands to one another on this water way
surrounded by the barren wilderness--Egypt, Hellas, and Semitic Asia.

To the first belonged the processions of priests, who, with images of the
gods, consecrated vessels, and caskets of relics, took their places at
the edge of the harbour.  The tawny and black, half-naked soldiers who,
with high shields, lances, battle-axes and bows, gathered around
strangely shaped standards, joined them, amid the beating of drums and
blare of trumpets, as if for their protection.  Behind them surged a vast
multitude of Egyptians and dark-skinned Africans.

On the other side of the canal the Asiatics were moving to and fro.  The
best places for spectators had been assigned to the petty kings and
princes of tribes, Phoenician and Syrian merchants, and well-equipped,
richly armed warriors.  Among them thronged owners of herds and seafarers
from the coast.  Until the reception began, fresh parties of bearded sons
of the desert, in floating white bernouse, mounted on noble steeds, were
constantly joining the other Asiatics.

The centre was occupied by the Greeks.  The appearance of every
individual showed that they were rulers of the land, and that they
deserved to be.  How free and bold was their bearing! how brightly and
joyously sparkled the eyes of these men, whose wreaths of green leaves
and bright-hued flowers adorned locks anointed for the festivals!  Strong
and slender, they were conspicuous in their stately grace among the lean
Egyptians, unbridled in their jests and jeers, and the excitable
Asiatics.

Now the blare of trumpets and the roll of drums shook the air like
echoing lightning and heavy peals of thunder; the Egyptian priests sang a
hymn of praise to the God King and Goddess Queen, and the aristocratic
priestesses of the deity tinkled the brass rings on the sistrum.  Then a
chorus of Hellenic singers began a polyphonous hymn, and amid its full,
melodious notes, which rose above the enthusiastic shouts of "Hail!" from
the multitude, King Ptolemy and his sister-wife showed themselves to the
waiting throng.  Seated on golden thrones borne on the broad shoulders of
gigantic black Ethiopians, and shaded by lofty canopies, both were raised
above the crowd, whom they saluted by gracious gestures.

The athletic young bearers of the large round ostrich-feather fans which
protected them from the sunbeams were followed in ranks by the monarch's
"relatives" and "friends," the dignitaries, the dark and fair-haired
bands of the guards of Grecian youths and boys, as well as divisions of
the picked corps of the Hetairoi, Diadochi, and Epigoni, in beautiful
plain Macedonian armour.

They were followed in the most informal manner by scholars from the
Museum, many Hellenic artists, and wealthy gentlemen of Alexandria of
Greek and Jewish origin, whom the King had invited to the festival.

In his train they went on board the huge galley on which the reception
was to take place.  Scarcely had the last one stepped on the deck when it
began.

Eumedes came from the admiral's galley to the King's.  Ptolemy embraced
him like a friend, and Arsinoe added a wreath of fresh roses to the
laurel crown which the sovereign had sent the day before.

At the same time thundering plaudits echoed from the walls of the
fortifications and broke, sometimes rising, sometimes falling, against
the ships and masts in the calm water of the harbour.

The King had little time to lose.  Even festal joy must move swiftly.
There were many and varied things to be seen and done; but in the course
of an hour--so ran the order--this portion of the festivities must be
over, and it was fully obeyed.

The hands and feet of the woolly-headed blacks who, amid loud
acclamations, carried on shore the cages in which lions, panthers, and
leopards shook the bars with savage fury, moved as if they were winged.
The slender, dark-brown Ethiopians who led giraffes, apes, gazelles, and
greyhounds past the royal pair rushed along as if they were under the
lash; and the sixty elephants which Eumedes and his men had caught in the
land of Chatyth moved at a rapid pace past the royal state galley.

At the sight of them the King joined in the cheers of thousands of voices
on the shore; these giant animals were to him auxiliaries who could put
to flight a whole corps of hostile cavalry, and Arsinoe-Philadelphus, the
Queen, sympathized with his pleasure.

She raised her voice with her royal husband, and it seemed to the
spectators on the shore as if they had a share in the narrative when she
listened to Eumedes's first brief report.

Only specimens of the gold and ivory, spices and rare woods, juniper
trees and skins of animals which the ships brought home could be borne
past their Majesties, and the black and brown men who carried them moved
at a breathless rate.

The sun was still far from the meridian when the royal couple and their
train withdrew from the scene of the reception ceremonial, and drove, in
a magnificent chariot drawn by four horses, to the neighbouring city of
Pithoin, where new entertainments and a long period of rest awaited them.
Hermon had seen, as if through a veil of white mists, the objects that
aroused the enthusiasm of the throng, and so, he said to himself, it had
been during the whole course of his life.  Only the surface of the
phenomena on which he fixed his eyes had been visible to him; he had not
learned to penetrate further into their nature, fathom them to their
depths, until he became blind.

If the gods fulfilled his hope, if he regained his vision entirely, and
even the last mists had vanished, he would hold firmly to the capacity he
had gained, and use it in life as well as in art.



CHAPTER XIV.

The messenger from Philippus appeared in the afternoon.  It was the young
hipparch who had studied in Athens and accompanied the commandant of
Pelusium to Tennis the year before.  He came charged with the commission
to convey the artist, in the carriage of the gray-haired comrade of
Alexander, to the neighbouring city of Pithom, where Philippus, by the
King's command, was now residing.

On the way the hipparch told the sculptor that the Lady Thyone had
recently done things unprecedented for a woman of her age.

She had been present at the founding of the city of Arsinoe, as well
as at the laying of the corner stone of the temple which was to be
consecrated to the new god Serapis in the neighbourhood.  The day before
she had welcomed her returning son before the entry of the fleet into the
canal, and to-day had remained from the beginning to the end of his
reception by the King, without being unduly wearied.

Her first thought, after the close of the ceremony, had concerned her
convalescing young friend.  New entertainments, in which the Queen
commanded her to participate, awaited her in Pithom, but pleasure at the
return of her famous son appeared to double her power of endurance.

Pithom was the sacred name of the temple precincts of the desert city of
Thekut--[The biblical Suchot]--near Heroopolis, where the citizens lived
and pursued their business.

The travellers reached the place very speedily.  Garlands of flowers and
hangings adorned the houses.  The sacred precinct Pithom, above which
towered the magnificently restored temple of the god Turn, was also still
adorned with many superb ones, as well as lofty masts, banners, and
triumphal arches.

Before they reached it the equipage passed the sumptuous tents which had
been erected for the royal pair and their attendants.  If Hermon had not
known how long the monarch intended to remain here, their size and number
would have surprised him.

A regular messenger and carrier-dove service had been established between
Alexandria and Pithom for the period of Ptolemy's relaxation; and the
sovereign was accompanied not only by several of the chief councillors
and secretaries, but artists and some of the Museum scientists with whom
he was on specially intimate terms, who were to adorn the festival on the
frontier with their presence, and cheer the invalid King, who needed
entertainment.  Singers and actors also belonged to the train.

As they passed the encampment of the troops who accompanied the
sovereign, the hipparch could show Hermon a magnificent military
spectacle.

Heroopolis was fortified, and belonged to the military colonies which
Alexander the Great had established throughout all Egypt in order to win
it over more quickly to Grecian customs.  A Hellenic phalanx and Libyan
mercenaries formed the garrison there, but at Pithom the King had
gathered the flower of his troops around him, and this circumstance
showed how little serious consideration the cautious ruler, who usually
carefully regarded every detail, gave to the war with Cyrene, in which he
took no personal part.  The four thousand Gauls whom he had sent across
the frontier as auxiliary troops promised to become perilous to the foe,
who was also threatened in the rear by one of the most powerful Libyan
tribes.

Therefore, the artist was assured by his military companion, Philadelphus
could let the campaign take its course, and permit himself the brief
period of rest in this strangely chosen place, which the leeches had
advised.

The house where the aged couple lived with their son, Admiral Eumedes,
was on the edge of the precincts of the temple.  It belonged to the most
distinguished merchant in the place, and consisted of a large open
courtyard in the form of a square, surrounded by the building and its
communicating wings.

When the hipparch led Hermon into this place a number of people had
already assembled there.  Soldiers and sailors stood in groups in the
centre, awaiting the orders of the old general and his subordinate
officers.  Messengers and slaves, coming and going on various errands,
were crossing it, and on the shady side benches and chairs stood under a
light awning.  Most of these were occupied by visitors who came to
congratulate the mother of the fame-crowned admiral.

Thyone was reclining on a divan in their midst, submitting with a sigh to
the social duties which her high position imposed upon her.

Her face was turned toward the large doorway of the main entrance, while
she sometimes greeted newly introduced guests, sometimes bade farewell to
departing ones, and meanwhile answered and asked questions.

She had been more wearied by the exertions of the last few days than her
animated manner revealed.  Yet as soon as Hermon, leaning on the young
hipparch's arm, approached her, she rose and cordially extended both
hands to him.  True, the recovering man was still unable to see her
features distinctly, but he felt the maternal kindness with which she
received him, and what his eyes could not distinguish his ears taught him
in her warm greetings.  His heart dilated and, after he had kissed her
dear old hand more than once with affectionate devotion, she led him
among her guests and presented him to them as the son of her dearest
friend.

A strange stir ran through the assembled group, nearly all whose members
belonged to the King's train, and the low whispers and murmurs around him
revealed to Hermon that the false wreaths he wore had by no means been
forgotten in this circle.

A painful feeling of discomfort overwhelmed the man accustomed to the
silence of the desert, and a voice within cried with earnest insistence,
"Away from here!"

But he had no time to obey it; an unusually tall, broad-shouldered man,
with a thick gray beard and grave, well-formed features, in whom he
thought he recognised the great physician Erasistratus, approached
Thyone, and asked, "The recluse from the desert with restored sight?"

"The same," replied the matron, and whispered to the other, who was
really the famous scientist and leech whom Hermon had desired to seek in
Alexandria.  "Exhaustion will soon overcome me, and how many important
matters I had to discuss with you and the poor fellow yonder!"

The physician laid his hand on the matron's temples, and, raising his
voice, said in a tone of grave anxiety: "Exhaustion!  It would be better
for you, honoured lady, to keep your bed."

"Surely and certainly!" the wife of the chief huntsman instantly
assented.  "We have already taxed your strength far too long, my noble
friend."

This welcome confession produced a wonderful effect upon the other
visitors, and very soon the last one had vanished from the space under
the awning and the courtyard.  Not a single person had vouchsafed Hermon
a greeting; for the artist, divested of the highest esteem, had been
involved in the ugly suspicion of having driven his uncle from
Alexandria, and the monarch was said to have spoken unfavourably
of him.

When the last one had left the courtyard, the leech exchanged a quick
glance of understanding, which also included Hermon, with Thyone, and the
majordomo received orders to admit no more visitors, while Erasistratus
exclaimed gaily, "It is one of the physician's principal duties to keep
all harmful things--including living ones--from his patient."

Then he turned to Hermon and had already begun to question him about his
health, when the majordomo announced another visitor.  "A very
distinguished gentleman, apparently," he said hastily; "Herophilus of
Chalcedon, who would not be denied admittance."

Again the eyes of Erasistratus and the matron met, and the former
hastened toward his professional colleague.

The two physicians stopped in the middle of the courtyard and talked
eagerly together, while Thyone, with cordial interest, asked Hermon to
tell her what she had already partially learned through the freedman
Bias.

Finally Erasistratus persuaded the matron, who seemed to have
forgotten her previous exhaustion, to share the consultation, but the
convalescent's heart throbbed faster as he watched the famous leeches.

If these two men took charge of his case, the most ardent desire of his
soul might be fulfilled, and Thyone was certainly trying to induce them
to undertake his treatment; what else would have drawn her away from him
before she had said even one word about Daphne?

The sculptor saw, as if through a cloud of dust, the three consulting
together in the centre of the courtyard, away from the soldiers and
messengers.

Hermon had only seen Erasistratus indistinctly, but before his eyes were
blinded he had met him beside the sick-bed of Myrtilus, and no one who
had once beheld it could forget the manly bearded face, with the grave,
thoughtful eyes, whose gaze deliberately sought their goal.

The other also belonged to the great men in the realm of intellect.
Hermon knew him well, for he had listened eagerly in the Museum to the
lectures of the famous Herophilus, and his image also had stamped itself
upon his soul.

Even at that time the long, smooth hair of the famous investigator had
turned gray.  From the oval of his closely shaven, well-formed face, with
the long, thin, slightly hooked nose, a pair of sparkling eyes had gazed
with penetrating keenness at the listeners.  Hermon had imagined
Aristotle like him, while the bust of Pythagoras, with which he was
familiar, resembled Erasistratus.

The convalescent could scarcely expect anything more than beneficial
advice from Herophilus; for this tireless investigator rarely rendered
assistance to the sick in the city, because the lion's share of his time
and strength were devoted to difficult researches.  The King favoured
these by placing at his disposal the criminals sentenced to death.  In
his work of dissection he had found that the human brain was the seat
of the soul, and the nerves originated in it.

Erasistratus, on the contrary, devoted himself to a large medical
practice, though science owed him no less important discoveries.

The circle of artists had heard what he taught concerning the blood in
the veins and the air bubbles in the arteries, how he explained the
process of breathing, and what he had found in the investigation of the
beating of the heart.

But he performed his most wonderful work with the knife in his hand as a
surgeon.  He had opened the body of one of Archias's slaves, who had been
nursed by Daphne, and cured him after all other physicians had given him
up.

When this man's voice reached Hermon, he repeated to himself the words
of refusal with which the great physician had formerly declined to devote
his time and skill to him.  Perhaps he was right then--and how
differently he treated him to-day!

Thyone had informed the famous scientist of everything which she knew
from Hermon, and had learned of the last period of his life through Bias.

She now listened with eager interest, sometimes completing Hermon's
acknowledgments by an explanatory or propitiating word, as the leeches
subjected him to a rigid examination, but the latter felt that his
statements were not to serve curiosity, but an honest desire to aid him.
So he spoke to them with absolute frankness.

When the examination was over, Erasistratus exclaimed to his professional
colleague: "This old woman!  Precisely as I would have prescribed.  She
ordered the strictest diet with the treatment.  She rejected every strong
internal remedy, and forbade him wine, much meat, and all kinds of
seasoning.  Our patient was directed to live on milk and the same simple
gifts of Nature which I would have ordered for him.  The herb juice in
the clever sorceress's salve proved the best remedy.  The incantations
could do no harm.  On the contrary, they often produce a wonderful effect
on the mind, and from it proceed further."

Here Erasistratus asked to have a description of the troubles which still
affected Hermon's vision, and the passionate eagerness with which the
leeches gazed into his eyes strengthened the artist's budding hope.
Never had he wished more ardently that Daphne was back at his side.

He also listened with keen attention when the scientists finally
discussed in low tones what they had perceived, and caught the words,
"White scar on the cornea," "leucoma," and "operation."  He also heard
Herophilus declare that an injury of the cornea by the flame of the torch
was the cause of the blindness.  In the work which led him to the
discovery of the retina in the eye he had devoted himself sedulously to
the organs of sight.  This case seemed as if it had been created for his
friend's keen knife.

What expectations this assurance aroused in the half-cured man, who felt
as if the goal was already gained, when, shortly after, Erasistratus, the
greatest physician of his time, offered to make the attempt in Alexandria
to remove, by a few little incisions, what still dimmed his impaired
vision!

Hermon, deeply agitated, thanked the leech, and when Thyone perceived
what was passing in his mind she ventured to ask the question whether it
would not be feasible to perform the beneficent work here, and, if
possible, the next day, and the surgeon was ready to fulfil the wish of
the matron and the sufferer speedily.  He would bring the necessary
instruments with him.  It only depended upon whether a suitable room
could be found in the crowded city, and Thyone believed that such a one
could not be lacking in the great building at her disposal.

A short conversation with the steward confirmed this opinion.

Then Erasistratus appointed the next morning for the operation.  During
the ceremony of consecrating the temple it would be quiet in the house
and its vicinity.  The preliminary fasting which he imposed upon his
patients Hermon had already undergone.

"The pure desert air here," he added, "will be of the utmost assistance
in recovery.  The operation is slight, and free from danger.  A few days
will determine its success.  I shall remain here with their Majesties,
only--" and here he hesitated doubtfully--" where shall I find a
competent assistant?"

Herophilus looked his colleague in the face with a sly smile, saying,
"If you credit the old man of Chalcedon with the needful skill, he is at
your disposal."

"Herophilus!" cried Thyone, and tears of emotion wet her aged eyes,
which easily overflowed; but when Hermon tried to give expression to his
fervent gratitude in words, Erasistratus interrupted him, exclaiming, as
he grasped his comrade's hand, "It honours the general in his purple
robe, when he uses the spade in the work of intrenchment."

Many other matters were discussed before the professional friends
withdrew, promising to go to work early the next morning.

They kept their word, and while the temple of the god Turn resounded with
music and the chanting of hymns by the priests, whose dying notes entered
the windows of the sick-room, while Queen Arsinoe-Philadelphus led the
procession, and the King, who was prevented by the gout from entering and
passing around the sanctuary at her side, ordered a monument to be
erected in commemoration of this festival, the famous leeches toiled
busily.

When the music and the acclamations of the crowd died away, their task
was accomplished.  The great Herophilus had rendered his equally
distinguished colleague the aid of an apprentice.  When Hermon's lips
again tried to pour forth his gratitude, Herophilus interrupted him with
the exclamation: "Use the sight you have regained, young master, in
creating superb works of art, and I shall be in your debt, since, with
little trouble, I was permitted to render a service to the whole Grecian
world."

Hermon spent seven long days and nights full of anxious expectation in a
darkened room.  Bias and a careful old female slave of the Lady Thyone
watched him faithfully.  Philippus, his wife, and his famous son Eumedes
were allowed to pay him only brief visits; but Erasistratus watched the
success of the operation every morning.  True, it had been by no means
dangerous, and certainly would not have required his frequent visits, but
it pleased the investigator, reared in the school of Stoics, to watch how
this warm-blooded young artist voluntarily submitted to live in accord
with reason and Nature--the guiding stars of his own existence.

But Hermon opened his soul to his learned friend, and what Erasistratus
thus learned strengthened the conviction of this great alleviator of
physical pain that suffering and knowledge of self were the best
physicians for the human soul.  The scientist, who saw in the arts the
noblest ornament of mortal life, anticipated with eager interest Hermon's
future creative work.

On the seventh day the leech removed the bandage from his patient's eyes,
and the cry of rapture with which Hermon clasped him in his arms richly
rewarded him for his trouble and solicitude.

The restored man beheld in sharp, clear, undimmed outlines everything at
which the physician desired him to look.

Now Erasistratus could write to his friend Herophilus in Alexandria that
the operation was successful.

The sculptor was ordered to avoid the dazzling sunlight a fortnight
longer, then he might once more use his eyes without restriction, and
appeal to the Muse to help in creating works of art.

Thyone was present at this explanation.  After she had conquered the
great emotion which for a time sealed her lips, her first question, after
the physician's departure, was: "And Nemesis?  She too, I think, has fled
before the new light?"

Hermon pressed her hand still more warmly, exclaiming with joyous
confidence: "No, Thyone!  True, I now have little reason to fear the
avenging goddess who pursues the criminal, but all the more the other
Nemesis, who limits the excess of happiness.  Will she not turn her swift
wheel, when I again, with clear eyes, see Daphne, and am permitted to
work in my studio once more with keen eyes and steady hand?"

Now the barriers which had hitherto restricted Hermon's social
intercourse also fell.  Eumedes, the commander of the fleet, often
visited him, and while exchanging tales of their experiences they became
friends.

When Hermon was alone with Thyone and her gray-haired husband, the
conversation frequently turned upon Daphne and her father.

Then the recovered artist learned to whom Archias owed his escape from
being sentenced to death and having his property confiscated.  Papers,
undeniably genuine, had proved what large sums had been advanced by the
merchant during the period of the first Queen Arsinoe's conspiracy, and
envious foes had done their best to prejudice the King and his sister-
wife against Archias.  Then the gray-haired hero fearlessly interceded
for his friend, and the monarch did not remain deaf to his
representations.  King Ptolemy was writing the history of the conqueror
of the world, and needed the aged comrade of Alexander, the sole survivor
who had held a prominent position in the great Macedonian's campaigns.
It might be detrimental to his work, on which he set great value, if he
angered the old warrior, who was a living source of history.  Yet the
King was still ill-disposed to the merchant, for while he destroyed
Archias's death sentence which had been laid before him for his
signature, he said to Philippus: "The money-bag whose life I give you was
the friend of my foe.  Let him beware that my arm does not yet reach him
from afar!"

Nay, his resentment went so far that he refused to receive Hermon, when
Eumedes begged permission to present the artist whose sight had been so
wonderfully restored.

"To me he is still the unjustly crowned conspirator," Philadelphus
replied.  "Let him create the remarkable work which I formerly expected
from him, and perhaps I shall have a somewhat better opinion of him, deem
him more worthy of our favour."

Under these circumstances it was advisable for Archias and Daphne to
remain absent from Alexandria, and the experienced couple could only
approve Hermon's decision to go to Pergamus as soon as Erasistratus
dismissed him.  A letter from Daphne, which reached Thyone's hands at
this time, increased the convalescent's already ardent yearning to the
highest pitch.  The girl entreated her maternal friend to tell her
frankly the condition of her lover's health.  If he had recovered, he
would know how to find her speedily; if the blindness was incurable, she
would come herself to help him bear the burden of his darkened existence.
Chrysilla would accompany her, but she could leave her father alone in
Pergamus a few months without anxiety, for he had a second son there in
his nephew Myrtilus, and had found a kind friend in Philetaerus, the
ruler of the country.

From this time Hermon daily urged Erasistratus to grant him entire
liberty, but the leech steadfastly refused, though he knew whither his
young friend longed to go.

Not until the beginning of the fourth week after the operation did he
himself lead Hermon into the full sunlight, and when the recovered artist
came out of the house he raised his hands in mute prayer, gushing from
the inmost depths of his heart.

The King was to return to Alexandria in a few days, and at the same time
Philippus and Thyone were going back to Pelusium.  Hermon wished to
accompany them there and sail thence on a ship bound for Pergamus.

With Eumedes he visited the unfamiliar scenes around him, and his newly
restored gift of sight presented to him here many things that formerly he
would scarcely have noticed, but which now filled him with grateful joy.
Gratitude, intense gratitude, had taken possession of his whole being.
This feeling mastered him completely and seemed to be fostered and
strengthened by every breath, every heart throb, every glance into his
own soul and the future.

Besides, many beauties, nay, even many marvels, presented themselves to
his restored eyes.  The whole wealth of the magic of beauty, intellect,
and pleasure in life, characteristic of the Greek nature, appeared to
have followed King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoe-Philadelphus hither.
Gardens had been created on the arid, sandy soil, whose gray and yellow
surface extended in every direction, the water on the shore of the canal
which united Pithom with the Nile not sufficing to render it possible to
make even a narrow strip of arable land.  Fresh water flowed from
beautiful fountains adorned with rich carvings, and the pure fluid filled
large porphyry and marble basins.  Statues, single and in groups, stood
forth in harmonious arrangement against green masses of leafage, and
Grecian temples, halls, and even a theatre, rapidly constructed in the
noblest forms from light material, invited the people to devotion, to the
enjoyment of the most exquisite music, and to witness the perfect
performance of many a tragedy and comedy.

Statues surrounded the hurriedly erected palaestra where the Ephebi every
morning practised their nude, anointed bodies in racing, wrestling, and
throwing the discus.  What a delight it was to Hermon to feast his eyes
upon these spectacles!  What a stimulus to the artist, so long absorbed
in his own thoughts, who had so recently returned from the wilderness to
the world of active life, when he was permitted, in Erasistratus's tent,
to listen to the great scholars who had accompanied the King to the
desert!  Only the regret that Daphne was not present to share his
pleasure clouded Hermon's enjoyment, when Eumedes related to his parents,
himself, and a few chosen friends the adventures encountered, and the
experiences gathered in distant Ethiopia, on land and water, in battle
and the chase, as investigator and commander.

The utmost degree of variety had entered into the simplicity of the
monotonous desert, the most refined abundance for the intellect and the
need of beauty appeared amid its barrenness.

The poet Callimachus had just arrived with a new chorus of singers,
tablets by Antiphilus and Nicias had come to beautify the last days of
the residence in the desert--when doves, the birds of Aphrodite, flew
with the speed of lightning into Pithom, but instead of bringing a new
message of love and announcing the approach of fresh pleasure, they bore
terrible tidings which put joy to flight and stifled mirthfulness.

The unbridled greed of rude barbarians had chosen Alexandria for its
goal, and startled the royal pair and their chosen companions from the
sea of pleasure where they would probably have remained for weeks.

The four thousand Gauls who had been obtained to fight against Cyrene
were in the act of rushing rapaciously upon the richest city in the
world.  The most terrible danger hung like a black cloud over the capital
founded by Alexander, whose growth had been so rapid.  True, General
Satvrus asserted that he was strong enough, with the troops at his
disposal, to defeat the formidable hordes; but a second dove, sent by the
epitropus who had remained in Alexandria, alluded to serious disaster
which it would scarcely be possible to avert.

The doves now flew swiftly to and fro; but before the third arrived,
Eumedes, the commander of the fleet just from Ethiopia, was already on
the way to Alexandria with all the troops assembled on the frontier.

The King and Queen, with the corps of pages and the corps of youths,
entered the boats waiting for them to return, drawn by teams of four
swift horses, to Memphis, to await within the impregnable fortress of the
White Castle the restoration of security in the capital.

The Greeks prized the most valiant fearlessness so highly that no shadow
could be suffered to rest upon the King's, and therefore the monarch's
hurried departure was made in a way which permitted no thought of flight,
and merely resembled impatient yearning for new festivals and the earnest
desire to fulfil grave duties in another portion of the kingdom.

Many of the companions of the royal pair, among them Erasistratus,
accompanied them.  Hermon bade him farewell with a troubled heart, and
the leech, too, parted with regret from the artist to whom, a year
before, he had refused his aid.



CHAPTER XV.

Hermon went, with Philippus and Thyone, on board the ship which was to
convey them through the new canal to Pelusium, where the old commandant
had to plan all sorts of measures.  In the border fortress the artist was
again obliged to exercise patience, for no ship bound to Pergamus or
Lesbos could be found in the harbour.  Philippus had as much work as he
could do, but all his arrangements were made when carrier doves announced
that the surprise intended by the Gauls had been completely thwarted, and
his son Eumedes was empowered to punish them.

The admiral would take his fleet to the Sebennytic mouth of the Nile.

Another dove came from King Ptolemy, and summoned the old general at once
to the capital.  Philippus resolved to set off without delay and, as the
way led past that mouth of the Nile, met his son on the voyage.

Hermon must accompany him and his wife to Alexandria, whence, without
entering the city, he could sail for Pergamus; ships bound to all the
ports in the Mediterranean were always in one of the harbours of the
capital.  A galley ready to weigh anchor was constantly at the disposal
of the commandant of the fortress, and the next noon the noble pair, with
Hermon and his faithful Bias, went on board the Galatea.

The weather was dull, and gray clouds were sweeping across the sky over
the swift vessel, which hugged the coast, and, unless the wind shifted,
would reach the narrow tongue of land pierced by the Sebennytic mouth of
the Nile before sunrise.

Though the general and his wife went to rest early, Hermon could not
endure the close air of the cabin.  Wrapped in his cloak he went on deck.
The moon, almost full, was sailing in the sky, sometimes covered by dark
clouds, sometimes leaving them behind.  Like a swan emerging from the
shadow of the thickets along the shore upon the pure bosom of the lake,
it finally floated into the deep azure of the radiant firmament.
Hermon's heart swelled.

How he rejoiced that he was again permitted to behold the starry sky, and
satiate his soul with the beauty of creation!  What delight it gave him
that the eternal wanderers above were no longer soulless forms, that he
again saw in the pure silver disk above friendly Selene, in the rolling
salt waves the kingdom of Poseidon!  To-morrow, when the deep blue water
was calm, he would greet the sea-god Glaucus, and when snowy foam crowned
the crests of the waves, white-armed Thetis.  The wind was no longer an
empty sound to him; no, it, too, came from a deity.  All Nature had
regained a new, divine life.  Doubtless he felt much nearer to his
childhood than before, but he was infinitely less distant from the
eternal divinity.  And all the forms, so full of meaning, which appeared
to him from Nature, and from every powerful emotion of his own soul, were
waiting to be represented by his art in the noblest of forms, those of
human beings.  There were few with whose nature he had not become
familiar in the darkness and solitude that once surrounded him.

When he began to create again, he had only to summon them, and he
awaited, with the suspense of the general who is in command of new
troops on the eve of battle, the success of his own work after the
great transformation which had taken place in him.

What a stress and tumult!

He had controlled it since the first hour when he regained his full
vision.  He would fain have transformed the moon into the sun, the ship
into the studio, and begun to model.

He knew, too, what he desired to create.

He would model an Apollo trampling under foot the slain dragon of
darkness.

He would succeed in this work now.  And as he looked up and saw Selene
just emerging again from the black cloud island, the thought entered his
mind that it was a moonlight night like this when all the unspeakably
terrible misfortune occurred--which was now past.

Yet neither the calm wanderer above nor a resentful woman had exposed him
to the persecution of Nemesis.  In the stillness of the desert he had
perceived what had brought all this terrible suffering upon him; but he
would not repeat it to himself now, for he felt within his soul the power
to remain faithful to his best self in the future.

With clear eyes he gazed keenly and blithely at the new life.  Nothing,
least of all, futile self-torturing regret for faults committed, should
cloud the fair morning dawning anew for him, which summoned him to active
work, to gratitude and love.

Uttering a sigh of relief, he paced the deck--now brilliantly illuminated
by silvery light--with long strides.

The moon above his head reminded him of Ledscha.  He was no longer angry
with her.  The means by which she had intended to destroy him had been
transformed into a benefit, and while in the desert he had perceived how
often man finally blesses, as the highest gain, what he at first regarded
as the most cruel affliction.

How distinctly the image of the Biamite again stood before his agitated
soul!

Had he not loved her once?

Or how had it happened that, though his heart was Daphne's, and hers
alone, he had felt wounded and insulted when his Bias, who was leaning
over the railing of the deck yonder, gazing at the glittering waves, had
informed him that Ledscha had been accompanied in her flight from her
unloved husband by the Gaul whose life he, Hermon, had saved?  Was this
due to jealousy or merely wounded vanity at being supplanted in a heart
which he firmly believed belonged, though only in bitter hate, solely to
him?

She certainly had not forgotten him, and while the remembrance of her
blended with the yearning for Daphne which never left him, he sat down
and gazed out into the darkness till his head drooped on his breast.

Then a dream showed the Biamite to the slumbering man, yet no longer in
the guise of a woman, but as the spider Arachne.  She increased before
his eyes to an enormous size and alighted upon the pharos erected by
Sostratus.  Uninjured by the flames of the lighthouse, above which she
hovered, she wove a net of endlessly long gray threads over the whole
city of Alexandria, with its temples, palaces, and halls, harbours and
ships, until Daphne suddenly appeared with a light step and quietly cut
one after the other.

Suddenly a shrill whistle aroused him.  It was the signal of the flute-
player to relieve the rowers.

A faint yellow line was now tingeing the eastern horizon of the gray,
cloudy sky.  At his left extended the flat, dull-brown coast line, which
seemed to be lower than the turbid waves of the restless sea.  The cold
morning wind was blowing light mists over the absolutely barren shore.
Not a tree, not a bush, not a human dwelling was to be seen in this
dreary wilderness.  Wherever the eye turned, there was nothing but sand
and water, which united at the edge of the land.  Long lines of surf
poured over the arid desert, and, as if repelled by the desolation of
this strand, returned to the wide sea whence they came.

The shrill screams of the sea-gulls behind the ship, and the hoarse,
hungry croaking of the ravens on the shore blended with the roaring of
the waves.  Hermon shuddered at this scene.  Shivering, he wrapped his
cloak closer around him, yet he did not go to the protecting cabin, but
followed the nauarch, who pointed out to him the numerous vessels which,
in a wide curve, surrounded the place where the Sebennytic arm of the
Nile pierced the tongue of land to empty into the sea.

The experienced seaman did not know what ships were doing there, but it
was hardly anything good; for ravens in a countless multitude were to be
seen on the shore and all moved toward the left.

Philippus's appearance on deck interrupted the nauarch.  He anxiously
showed the birds to the old hero also, and the latter's only reply was,
"Watch the helm and sails!"

Yonder squadron, Philippus said to the artist, was a part of his son's
fleet; what brought it there was a mystery to him too.

After the early meal, the galley of Eumedes approached his father's
trireme.  Two other galleys, not much inferior in size, were behind, and
probably fifty smaller vessels were moving about the mouth of the Nile
and the whole dreary tongue of land.

All belonged to the royal war fleet, and the deck of every one was
crowded with armed soldiers.

On one a forest of lances bristled in the murky air, and upon its
southward side a row of archers, each man holding his bow in his hand,
stood shoulder to shoulder.

At what mark were their arrows to be aimed?  The men on board the Galatea
saw it distinctly, for the shore was swarming with human figures, here
standing crowded closely together, like horses attacked by a pack of
wolves; yonder running, singly or in groups, toward the sea or into the
land.  Dark spots on the light sand marked the places where others had
thrown themselves on the ground, or, kneeling, stretched out their arms
as if in defence.

Who were the people who populated this usually uninhabited, inhospitable
place so densely and in so strange a manner?

This could not be distinguished from the Galatea with the naked eye, but
Philippus thought that they were the Gauls whose punishment had been
intrusted to his son, and it soon proved that the old general was right;
for just as the Galatea was approaching the shore, a band of twenty or
thirty men plunged into the sea.  They were Gauls.  The light complexions
and fair and red bristling hair showed this--Philippus knew them, and
Hermon remembered the hordes of men who had rushed past him on the ride
to Tennis.

But the watchers were allowed only a short time for observation; brief
shouts of command rang from the ships near them, long bows were raised in
the air, and one after another of the light-hued forms in the water threw
up its arms, sprang up, or sank motionless into the waves around them,
which were dyed with a crimson stain.

The artist shuddered; the gray-haired general covered his head with his
cloak, and the Lady Thyone followed his example, uttering her son's name
in a tone of loud lamentation.

The nauarch pointed to the black birds in the air and close above the
shore and the water; but the shout, "A boat from the admiral's galley!"
soon attracted the attention of the voyagers on the Galatea in a new
direction.

Thirty powerful rowers were urging the long, narrow boat toward them.
Sometimes raised high on the crest of a mountain wave, sometimes sinking
into the hollow, it completed its trip, and Eumedes mounted a swinging
rope ladder to the Galatea's deck as nimbly as a boy.

Here the young commander of the fleet hastened toward his parents.  His
mother sobbed aloud at his anything but cheerful greeting; Philippus said
mournfully, "I have heard nothing yet, but I know all."

"Father," replied the admiral, and raising the helmet from his head,
covered with brown curls, he added mournfully: "First as to these men
here.  It will teach you to understand the other terrible things.  Your
Uncle Archias's house was destroyed; yonder men were the criminals."

"In the capital!" Philippus exclaimed furiously, and Hermon cried in no
less vehement excitement: "How did my uncle get the ill will of these
monsters?  But as the vengeance is in your hands, they will atone for
this breach of the peace!"

"Severely,  perhaps  too  severely,"  replied Eumedes gloomily, and
Philippus asked his son how this evil deed could have happened, and the
purport of the King's command.

The admiral related what had occurred in the capital since his departure
from Pithom.

The four thousand Gauls who had been sent by King Antiochus to the
Egyptian army as auxiliary troops against Cyrene refused, before reaching
Paraetonium, on the western frontier of the Egyptian kingdom, to obey
their Greek commanders.  As they tried to force them to continue their
march, the barbarians left them bound in the road.  They spared their
lives, but rushed with loud shouts of exultation toward Alexandria, which
was close at hand.

They had learned that the city was almost stripped of troops, and the
most savage instinct urged them toward the wealthy capital.

Without encountering any resistance, they broke through the necropolis
into Alexandria, crossed the Draco canal, and marched past the unfinished
Temple of Serapis through the Rhakotis.  At the Canopic Way they turned
eastward and rushed through this main artery of traffic till, in the
Brucheium, they hastened in a northerly direction toward the sea.

South of the Theatre of Dionysus they halted.  One division turned toward
the market-place, another toward the royal palaces.

Until they reached the Brucheium the hordes, so eager for booty, had
refrained from plunder and pillage.

Their whole strength was to be reserved, as the examination proved, for
the attack upon the royal palaces.  Several people who were thoroughly
familiar with Alexandria had acted as guides.

The instigator of the mutiny was said to be a Gallic captain who had
taken part in the surprise of Delphi, but, having ventured to punish
disobedient soldiers, he was killed.  A bridge-builder from the ranks,
and his wife, who was not of Gallic blood, had taken his place.

This woman, a resolute and obstinate but rarely beautiful creature, when
the division that was to attack the royal palaces was marching past the
house which Hermon had occupied as the heir of Myrtilus, pressed forward
herself across the threshold, to order the mutineers who followed her to
destroy and steal whatever came in their way.  The bridge-builder went to
the market-place, and in pillaging the wealthy merchants' houses began
with Archias's.  Meanwhile it was set on fire and, with the large
warehouses adjoining it, was burned to the foundation walls.

But the robbers were to obtain no permanent success, either in the
market-place or in Myrtilus's house, which was diagonally opposite to the
palaestra; for General Satyrus, at the first tidings of their approach,
had collected all the troops at his disposal and the crews of several war
galleys, and imprisoned the division in the market-place as though in a
mouse-trap.  The bands to which the woman belonged were forced by the
cavalry into the palaestra and the neighbouring Maander, and kept there
until Eumedes brought re-enforcements and compelled the Gauls to
surrender.

The King sent from Memphis the order to take the vanquished men to the
tongue of land where they now were, and could easily be imprisoned
between the sea and the Sebennytic inland lake.  They were guilty of
death to the last man, and starvation was to perform the executioner's
office upon them.

He, Eumedes, the admiral concluded, was in the King's service, and must
do what his commander in chief ordered.

"Duty," sighed Philippus; "yet what a punishment!"

He held out his hand to his son as he spoke, but the Lady Thyone shook
her head mournfully, saying: "There are four thousand over yonder; and
the philosopher and historian on the throne, the admirable art critic
who bestows upon his capital and Egypt all the gifts of peace, who
understands how to guard and develop it better than any one else--yet
what influence the gloomy powers exert upon him!"

Here she hesitated, and went on in a low whisper: "The blood of two
brothers stains his hand and his conscience.  The oldest, to whom the
throne would have belonged, he exiled.  And our friend, Demetrius
Phalereus, his father's noble councillor!  Because you, Philippus,
interceded for him--though you were in a position of command, because
Ptolemy knows your ability--you were sent to distant Pelusium, and there
we should be still--"

"Guard your tongue, wife!" interrupted the old general in a tone of grave
rebuke.  "The vipers on the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt symbolize
the King's swift power over life and death.  To the Egyptians the
Philadelphi, Ptolemy and Arsinoe, are gods, and what cause have we
to reproach them except that they use their omnipotence?"

"And, mother," Eumedes eagerly added, "do not the royal pair on the
throne merely follow the example of far greater ones among the immortal
gods?  When the very Gauls who are devoted to death yonder, greedy for
booty, attacked Delphi, four years ago, it was the august brother and
sister, Apollo and Artemis, who sent them to Hades with their arrows,
while Zeus hurled his thunderbolts at them and ordered heavy boulders to
fall upon them from the shaken mountains.  Many of the men over there
fled from destruction at Delphi.  Unconverted, they added new crimes to
the old ones, but now retribution will overtake them.  The worse the
crime, the more bloody the vengeance.

"Even the last must die, as my sovereign commands; only I shall determine
the mode of death according to my own judgment, and at the same time,
mother, feel sure of your approval.  Instead of lingering starvation,
I shall use swift arrows.  Now you know what you were obliged to learn.
It would be wise, mother, for you to leave this abode of misery.  Duty
summons me to my ship."  He held out his hand to his parents and Hermon
as he spoke, but the latter clasped it firmly, exclaiming in a tone of
passionate emotion, "What is the name of the woman to whom, though she is
not of their race, the lawless barbarians yielded?"

"Ledscha," replied the admiral.

Hermon started as if stung by a scorpion, and asked, "Where is she?"

"On my ship," was the reply, "if she has not yet been taken ashore with
the others."

"To be killed with the pitiable band there?" cried Thyone angrily,
looking her son reproachfully in the face.

"No, mother," replied Eumedes.  "She will be taken to the others under
the escort of trustworthy men in order, perhaps, to induce her to speak.
It must be ascertained whether there were accomplices in the attack on
the royal palaces, and lastly whence the woman comes."

"I can tell you that myself," replied Hermon.  "Allow me to accompany
you.  I must see and speak to her."

"The Arachne of Tennis?" asked Thyone.  Hermon's mute nod of assent
answered the question,  but she exclaimed: "The unhappy woman, who called
down the wrath of Nemesis upon you, and who has now herself fallen a prey
to the avenging goddess.  What do you want from her?"

Hermon bent down to his old friend and whispered, "To lighten her
terrible fate, if it is in my power."

"Go, then," replied the matron, and turned to her son, saying, "Let
Hermon tell you how deeply this woman has influenced his life, and,
when her turn comes, think of your mother."

"She is a woman," replied Eumedes, "and the King's mandate only commands
me to punish men.  Besides, I promised her indulgence if she would make a
confession."

"And she?" asked Hermon.

"Neither by threats nor promises," answered the admiral, "can this
sinister, beautiful creature be induced to speak."

"Certainly not," said the artist, and a smile of satisfaction flitted
over his face.



CHAPTER XVI.

A short row took Hermon and Eumedes the admiral's galley.  Ledscha had
already been carried ashore.  There she was to be confronted with the men
who were suspected of having showed the mutineers the way to the city.

Absorbed in his own thoughts, Hermon waited for the admiral, who at first
was claimed by one official duty after another.  The artist's thoughts
lingered with Daphne.  To her father the loss of his house, nay, perhaps
of his wealth, would seem almost unendurable, yet even were he beggared,
provision was made for him and his daughter.  He, Hermon, could again
create, as in former days, and what happiness it would be if he were
permitted to repay the man to whom he owed so much for the kindness
bestowed upon him!

He longed to give to the woman he loved again and again, and it would
have seemed to him a favour of fortune if the flames had consumed even
the last drachm of her wealthy father.

Completely engrossed by these reflections, he forgot the horrors before
him, but when he raised his eyes and saw the archers continuing their
terrible work he shuddered.

The admiral's galley lay so near the shore that he distinguished the
figures of the Gauls separately.  Some, obeying the instinct of self
preservation, fled from the places which could be reached by the arrows
of the archers on the ships, but others pressed toward the shafts.  A
frightful, heart-rending spectacle, yet how rich in food for the long-
darkened eyes of the artist!  Two brothers of unusual height, who, nude
like all their comrades in death, offered their broad, beautifully arched
chests to the arrows, would not leave his memory.  It was a terrible
sight, yet grand and worthy of being wrested from oblivion by art, and it
impressed itself firmly on his mind.

After noon Eumedes could at last devote himself to his young friend.
Although the wind drove showers of fine rain before it, the admiral
remained on deck with the sculptor.  What cared they for the inclement
weather, while one was recalling to mind and telling his friend how the
hate of an offended woman had unchained the gloomy spirits of revenge
upon him, the other, who had defied death on land water, listened to his
story, sometimes in surprise, sometimes with silent horror?

After the examination to which she had been subjected, Eumedes had
believed Ledscha to be as Hermon described her.  He found nothing petty
in this beautiful, passionate creature who avenged the injustice
inflicted upon her as Fate took vengeance, who, with unsparing energy,
anticipated the Nemesis to whom she appealed, compelled men's obedience,
and instead of enriching herself cast away the talents extorted to bring
down fresh ruin upon the man who had transformed her love to hate.

While the friends consulted together with lowered voices, their
conjecture became conviction that it was the Biamite's inextinguishable
hate which had led her to the Gauls and induced her to share the attack
upon the capital.

The assault upon the houses of Archias and Myrtilus was a proof of this,
for the latter was still believed to be Hermon's property.  She had
probably supposed that the merchant's palace sheltered Daphne, in whom,
even at Tennis, she had seen and hated her successful rival.

Only the undeniable fact that Ledscha was the bridge-builder's companion
presented an enigma difficult to solve.  The freedman Bias had remained
on Philippus's galley, and could not now be appealed to for a
confirmation of his assertions, but Hermon distinctly remembered his
statement that Ledscha had allowed the Gaul, after he had received the
money intended for him, to take her from Pitane to Africa.

When the short November day was drawing to a close, and the friends had
strengthened themselves with food and drink, the rain ceased and, as the
sun set, its after-glow broke through the rifts and fissures in the black
wall of clouds in the western horizon like blazing flames in the
conflagration of a solid stone building.  Yet the glow vanished swiftly
enough.  The darkness of night spread over the sea and the arid strip of
land in the south, but the greedy croaking of the ravens and vultures
echoed more and more loudly from the upper air.  From time to time the
outbursts of rage and agony of despairing men, and horrible jeering
laughter, drowned the voices of the flocks of birds and the roaring of
the tempestuous sea.  Sometimes, too, a sharp word of command, or a
signal heard for a long distance, pierced through the awful sounds.

Here and there, and at last everywhere on the squadron, which surrounded
the tongue of land in a shallow curve, dim lights began to appear on the
masts and prows of the ships; but darkness brooded over the coast.  Only
in the three fortified guardhouses, which had been hastily erected here,
the feeble light of a lantern illumined the gloom.

Twinkling lights also appeared in the night heavens between the swiftly
flying clouds.  One star after another began to adorn the blue islands in
the cloudy firmament, and at last the full moon burst through the heavy
banks of dark clouds, and shone in pure brilliancy above their heads,
like a huge silver vessel in the black catafalque of a giant.

At the end of the first hour after sunset Eumedes ordered the boat to be
manned.

Armed as if for battle, he prepared for the row to the scene of misery,
and requested Hermon to buckle a coat of mail under his chlamys and put
on the sword he gave him.  True, a division of reliable Macedonian
warriors was to accompany them, and Ledscha was in a well-guarded place,
yet it might perhaps be necessary to defend themselves against an
outburst of despair among the condemned prisoners.  On the short trip,
the crests of the tossing waves sometimes shone with a flickering light,
while elsewhere long shadows spread like dark sails over the sea.  The
flat coast on which both men soon stepped was brightly illumined by the
moonbeams, and the forms of the doomed men stood forth, like the black
figures on the red background of a vase, upon the yellowish-brown sand
on which they were standing, running, walking, or lying.

At the western end of the tongue of land a sand hill had been surrounded
by a wall and moat, guarded by heavily armed soldiers and several
archers.  The level ground below had been made secure against any attack,
and on the right side was a roof supported by pillars.

The officials intrusted with the examination of the ringleaders had
remained during the day in this hastily erected open hut.  The latter,
bound to posts, awaited their sentence.

The only woman among them was Ledscha, who crouched, unfettered, on the
ground behind the enclosure, which consisted of short stakes fastened by
a rope.

Without presenting any serious obstacle, it merely indicated how far the
prisoners might venture to go.  Whoever crossed it must expect to be
struck down by an arrow from the wall.  This earthwork, it is true,
menaced those held captive here, but they also owed it a debt of
gratitude, for it shut from their eyes the horrible incidents on the
sandy plain between the sea and the inland lake.

This spot was now made as light as day by the rays of the full moon which
floated in the pure azure sky far above the black cloud mountains, like a
white lotus flower on clear waters, and poured floods of silvery radiance
upon the earth.

Eumedes commanded the Macedonians who formed his escort to remain at the
fortress on the dune, and, pointing out Ledscha by a wave of the hand,
he whispered to Hermon: "By the girdle of Aphrodite!  she is terribly
beautiful!  For whom is the Medea probably brewing in imagination the
poisoned draught?"

Then he gave the sculptor permission to promise her immunity from
punishment if she would consent at least to explain the Gauls' connection
with the royal palaces; but Hermon strenuously refused to undertake this
or a similar commission to Ledscha.

Eumedes had expected the denial, and merely expressed to his friend his
desire to speak to the Biamite after his interview was over.  However
refractory she might be, his mother's intercession should benefit her.
Hermon might assure her that he, the commander, meant to deal leniently.
He pressed the artist's hand as he spoke, and walked rapidly away to
ascertain the condition of affairs in the other guardhouses.

Never had the brave artist's heart throbbed faster in any danger than on
the eve of this meeting; but it was no longer love that thrilled it so
passionately, far less hate or the desire to let his foe feel that her
revenge was baffled.

It was easy for the victor to exercise magnanimity, and easiest of all
for the sculptor in the presence of so beautiful an enemy, and Hermon
thought he had never seen the Biamite look fairer.  How exquisitely
rounded was the oval, how delicately cut the profile of her face, how
large were the widely separated, sparkling eyes, above which, even in the
pale moonlight, the thick black brows were visible, united under the
forehead as if for a dark deed to be performed in common!

Time had rather enhanced than lessened the spell of this wonderful young
creature.  Now she rose from the ground where she had been crouching and
paced several times up and down the short path at her disposal; but she
started suddenly, for one of the Gauls bound to the posts, in whom Hermon
recognised the bridge-builder, Lutarius, called her name, and when she
turned her face toward him, panted in broken Greek like one overwhelmed
by despair: "Once more--it shall be the last time--I beseech you!  Lay
your hand upon my brow, and if that is too much, speak but one kind word
to me before all is over!  I only want to hear that you do not hate me
like a foe and despise me like a dog.  What can it cost you?  You need
only tell me in two words that you are sorry for your harshness."

"The same fate awaits us both," cried Ledscha curtly and firmly.  "Let
each take care of himself.  When my turn comes and my eyes grow dim in
death, I will thank them that they will not show you to me again, base
wretch, throughout eternity."

Lutarius shrieked aloud in savage fury, and tore so frantically at the
strong ropes which bound him that the firm posts shook, but Ledscha
turned away and approached the hut.

She leaned thoughtfully against one of the pillars that supported the
roof, and the artist's eyes watched her intently; every movement seemed
to him noble and worth remembering.

With her hand shading her brow, she gazed upward to the full moon.

Hermon had already delayed speaking to her too long, but he would have
deemed it criminal to startle her from this attitude.  So must Arachne
have stood when the goddess, in unjust anger, raised the weaver's shuttle
against the more skilful mortal; for while Ledscha's brow frowned
angrily, a triumphant smile hovered around her mouth.  At the same time
she slightly opened her exquisitely formed lips, and the little white
teeth which Hermon had once thought so bewitchingly beautiful glittered
between them.

Like the astronomer who fixes his gaze and tries to imprint upon his
memory some rare star in the firmament which a cloud is threatening to
obscure, he now strove to obtain Ledscha's image.  He would and could
model her in this attitude, exactly as she stood there, without her veil,
which had been torn from her during the hand-to-hand conflict when she
was captured, with her thick, half-loosened tresses falling over her left
shoulder; nav, even with the slightly hooked nose, which was opposed to
the old rule of art that permitted only the straight bridge of the nose
to be given to beautiful women.  Her nature harmonized with the ideal.
even in the smallest detail; here any deviation from reality must tend to
injure the work.

She remained motionless for minutes in the same attitude, as if she knew
that she was posing to an artist; but Hermon gazed at her as if spell
bound till the fettered Gaul again called her name.

Then she left the supporting pillar, approached the barrier, stopped at
the rope which extended from one short stake to another, and gazed at the
man who was following her outside of the rope.

It was a Greek who stood directly opposite to her.  A black beard adorned
his grave, handsome countenance.  He, too, had a chlamys, such as she had
formerly seen on another.  Only the short sword, which he wore suspended
at his right side in the Hellenic fashion, would not suit that other; but
suddenly a rush of hot blood crimsoned her face.  As if to save herself
from falling, she flung out both arms and clutched a stake with her right
and her left hand, thrusting her head and the upper portion of her body
across the rope toward the man whose appearance had created so wild a
tumult in her whole being.

At last she called Hermon's name in such keen suspense that it fell upon
his ear like a shrill cry.

"Ledscha," he answered warmly, extending both hands to her in sincere
sympathy; but she did not heed the movement, and her tone of calm self-
satisfaction surprised him as she answered: "So you seek me in
misfortune?  Even the blind man knows how to find me here."

"I would far rather have met you again in the greatest happiness!" he
interrupted gently.  "But I am no longer blind.  The immortals again
permit me, as in former days, to feast my eyes upon your marvellous
beauty."

A shrill laugh cut short his words, and the "Not blind!" which fell again
and again from her lips sounded more like laughter than speech.

There are tears of grief and of joy, and the laugh which is an
accompaniment of pleasure is also heard on the narrow boundary between
suffering and despair.

It pierced the artist's heart more deeply than the most savage outburst
of fury, and when Ledscha gasped: "Not blind!  Cured!  Rich and possessed
of sight, perfect sight!" he understood her fully for the first time, and
could account for the smile of satisfaction which had just surprised him
on her lips.

He gazed at her, absolutely unable to utter a word; but she went on
speaking, while a low, sinister laugh mingled with her tones: "So this
is avenging justice!  It allows us women to be trampled under foot, and
holds its hands in its lap!  My vengeance!  How I have lauded Nemesis!
How exquisitely my retaliation seemed to have succeeded!  And now?  It
was mere delusion and deception.  He who was blind sees.  He who was to
perish in misery is permitted, with a sword at his side, to gloat over
our destruction.  Listen, if the good news has not already reached you!
I, too, am condemned to death.  But what do I care for myself?  Even less
than those to whom we pray and offer sacrifices for the betrayed woman.
Now I am learning to know them!  Thus Nemesis thanks me for the lavish
gifts I have bestowed upon her?  Just before my end she throws you, the
rewarded traitor, into my way!  I must submit to have the hated foe,
whose blinding was the sole pleasure in my ruined life, look me in the
face with insolent joy."

Hermon's quick blood boiled.

With fierce resentment he grasped her hand, which lay on the rope,
pressed it violently in his strong clasp, and exclaimed, "Stop, mad
woman, that I may not be forced to think of you as a poisonous serpent
and repulsive spider!"

Ledscha had vainly endeavoured to withdraw her hand while he was
speaking.  Now he himself released it; but she looked up at him in
bewilderment, as if seeking aid, and said sadly: "Once--you know that
yourself--I was different--even as long as I supposed my vengeance had
succeeded.  But now?  The false goddess has baffled every means with
which I sought to punish you.  Who averted the sorest ill treatment from
my head?  And I was even defrauded of the revenge which it was my right,
nay, my duty, to exercise."

She finished the sentence with drooping head, as if utterly crushed, and
this time she did not laugh, but Hermon felt his wrath transformed to
sympathy, and he asked warmly and kindly if she would let nothing appease
her, not even if he begged her forgiveness for the wrong he had done her,
and promised to obtain her life, nay, also her liberty.

Ledscha shook her head gently, and gravely answered: "What is left me
without hate?  What are the things which others deem best and highest to
a miserable wretch like me?"

Here Hermon pointed to the bridge-builder, bound to the post, saying,
"Yonder man led you away from the husband whom you had wedded, and from
him you received compensation for the love you had lost."

"From him?"  she cried furiously, and, raising her voice in a tone of the
most intense loathing: "Ask yonder scoundrel himself!  Because I needed a
guide, I permitted him to take me away from my unloved husband and from
the Hydra.  Because he would help me to shatter the new and undeserved
good fortune which you--yes, you--do you hear?--enjoyed, I remained with
him among the Gauls.  More than one Alexandrian brought me the news that
you were revelling in golden wealth, and the wretch promised to make you
and your uncle beggars if the surprise succeeded.  He did this, though he
knew that it was you who took him up from the road and saved his life;
for nothing good and noble dwells in his knavish soul.  He yearned for
me, and still more ardently for the Alexandrians' gold.  Worse than the
wolf that licked the hand of the man who bandaged its wounds, he would
have shown his teeth to the preserver of his life.  I have learned this,
and if he dies here of starvation and thirst he will receive only what he
deserves.  He knows, too, what I think of him.  The greedy beast of prey
was not permitted even to touch my hand.  Just ask him!  There he is.
Let him tell you how I listened to his vows of love.  Before I would
have permitted yonder wretch to recall to life what you crushed in
this heart--"

Here Lutarius interrupted her with a flood of savage, scarcely
intelligible curses, but very soon one of the guards, who came out
of the hut, stopped him with a lash.

When the Gaul, howling under the blows, was silenced, Hermon asked, "So
your mad thirst for vengeance also caused this suicidal attack?"

"No," she answered simply; "but when they determined upon the assault,
and had killed their leader, Belgius, yonder monster stole to their head.
So it happened--I myself do not know how--that they also obeyed me, and I
took advantage of it and induced them to begin with your house and
Archias's.  When they had captured the royal palaces, they intended to
assail the Temple of Demeter also."

"Then you thought that even the terrible affliction of blindness would
not suffice to punish the man you hated?" asked Hermon.

"No," she answered firmly; "for you could buy with your gold everything
life offers except sight, while in me--yes, in me--gloom darker than the
blackest night shrouded my soul.  Through your fault I was robbed of all,
all that is clear to woman's heart: my father's house, his love, my
sister.  Even the pleasure in myself which had been awakened by your
sweet flatteries was transformed by you into loathing."

"By me?" cried Hermon, amazed by the injustice of this severe reproach;
but Ledscha answered his question with the resolute assertion, "By you
and you alone!" and then impatiently added: "You, who, by your art, could
transform mortal women into goddesses, wished to make me a humiliated
creature, with the rope which was to strangle her about her neck, and at
the same time the most repulsive of creeping insects.  'The hideous,
gray, eight-legged spider!' I exclaimed to myself, when I raised my arms
and saw my shadow on the sunlit ground.  'The spider!' I thought, when I
shook the distaff to draw threads from the flax in leisure hours.  'Your
image!' I said, when I saw spiders hanging in dusty corners, and catching
flies and gnats.  All these things made me a horror to myself.  And
at the same time to know that the Demeter, on whom you bestowed the
features of the daughter of Archias, was kindling the whole great city
of Alexandria with enthusiasm, and drawing countless worshippers to her
sanctuary!  She, an object of adoration to thousands, I--the much-praised
beauty--a horror to myself!  This is what fed my desire for vengeance
with fresh food by day and night; this urged me to remain with yonder
wretch; for he had promised, after pillaging the royal palaces, to
shatter your Demeter, the image of the daughter of Archias, which they
lauded and which brought you fame and honour--it was to be done before my
eyes--into fragments."

"Mad woman!" Hermon again broke forth indignantly, and hastily told her
how she had been misinformed.

Ledscha's large black eyes dilated as if some hideous spectre was rising
from the ground before her, while she heard that the Demeter was the work
of Myrtilus and not his; that his friend's legacy had long since ceased
to belong to him, and that he was again as poor as when he was in Tennis
during the time of their love.

"And the blindness?"  she asked sadly.

"It transformed life for me into one long night, illumined by no single
ray of light," was the reply; "but, the immortals be praised, I was cured
of it, and it was old Tabus, on the Owl's Nest at Tennis, whose wisdom
and magic arts you so often lauded, who gave the remedy and advice to
which I owe my recovery."

Here he hesitated, for Ledscha had seized the rope with one hand and the
stake at her right with the other, in order not to fall upon her knees;
but Hermon perceived how terribly his words agitated her, and spoke to
her soothingly.  Ledscha did not seem to hear him, for while still
clinging to the rope she looked sometimes at the sand at her feet,
sometimes up to the full moon, which was now flooding both sky and earth
with light.

At last she dropped it, and said in a hollow tone: "Now I understand
everything.  You met her when Bias gave her the bridal dowry which was
to purchase my release from my husband.  How it must have enraged her!
I thought of it all, pondered and pondered how to spare her; but through
whom, except Tabus, could I return to Hanno the property, won in battle
by his blood, which he had thrown away for me?  Tabus kept the family
wealth.  And she--the marriage bond which two persons formed was sacred
and unassailable--the woman who broke her faith with her husband and
turned from him--was an abomination to her.  How she loved her sons and
grandsons!  I knew that she would never forgive the wrong I did Hanno.
From resentment to me she cured the man whom I hated."

"Yet probably also," said Hermon, "because my blighted youth aroused her
pity."

"Perhaps so," replied Ledscha hesitatingly, gazing thoughtfully into
vacancy.  "She was what her demons made her.  Hard as steel and gentle
as a tender girl.  I have experienced it.  Oh, that she should die with
rancour against me in her faithful old heart!  She could be so kind!--
even when I confessed that you had won my love, she still held me dear.
But there are many great and small demons, and most of them were probably
subject to her.  Tabus must have learned through them how deeply I
offended her son Satabus, and how greatly his son Hanno's life was
darkened through me.  That is why she thwarted my vengeance, and her
spirits aided her.  Thus all these things happened.  I suspected it when
I heard that she had succumbed to death, which I--yes, I here--had held
back from her with severe toil through many a sleepless night.  O these
demons!  They will continue to act in the service of the dead.  Wherever
I may go, they will pursue me and, at their mistress's bidding, baffle
what I hope and desire.  I have learned this only too distinctly!"

"No, Ledscha, no,"  Hermon  protested.  "Every power ceases with death,
even that of the sorceress over spirits.  You shall be freed, poor woman!
You will be permitted to go wherever you desire; and I shall model no
spider after your person, but the fairest of women.  Thousands will see
and admire her, and--if the Muse aids me--whoever, enraptured by her
beauty, asks, 'Who was the model for this work which inflames the most
obdurate heart?' will be told, 'It was Ledscha, the daughter of Shalit,
the Biamite, whom Hermon of Alexandria found worthy of carving in costly
marble."

Ledscha uttered a deep sigh of relief, and asked: "Is that true?  May I
believe it?"

"As true," he answered warmly, "as that Selene, who promised to grant you
in her full radiance the greatest happiness, is now shedding her mild,
forgiving light upon us both."

"The full moon," she murmured softly, gazing upward at the shining disk.

Then she added in a louder tone: "Old Tabus's demons promised me
happiness--you know.  It was the spider which so cruelly shadowed it for
me on every full moon, every day, and every night.  Will you now swear to
model a statue from me, the statue of a beautiful human being that will
arouse the delight of all who see it?  Delight--do you hear?--not
loathing--I ask again, will you?"

"I will, and I shall succeed," he said earnestly, holding out his hand
across the rope.  She clasped it, looked up to the full moon again, and
whispered: "This time--I will believe it--you will keep your promise
better than when you were in Tennis.  And I--I will cease to wish you
evil, and I will tell you why.  Bend your ear nearer, that I may confess
it openly."  Hermon willingly obeyed the request, but she leaned her head
against his, and he felt her laboured breathing and the warm tears that
coursed silently down her cheeks as she said, in a low whisper: "Because
the moon is full, and will yet bring me what the demons promised, and
because, though strong, I am still a woman.  Happiness!  How long ago I
ceased to expect it!--but now-yes, it is what I now feel!  I am happy,
and yet can not tell why.  My love--oh, yes!  It was more ardent than the
burning hate.  Now you know it, too, Hermon.  And I--I shall be free, you
say?  And Tabus, how she lauded rest--eternal rest!  Oh dearest--this
sorely tortured heart, too--you can not even imagine how weary I am!"

Here she was silent, but the man into whose face she was gazing with
loving devotion felt a sudden movement at his side as she uttered the
exclamation.

He did not notice it, for the sweet tone of her voice was penetrating the
inmost depths of his heart.  It sounded as though she was speaking from
the happiest of dreams.

"Ledscha!" he exclaimed warmly, extending his arm toward her--but she had
already stepped back from his side, and he now perceived the terrible
object--she had snatched his sword from its sheath, and as, seized by
sudden terror, he gazed at her, he saw the shining blade glitter in the
moonlight and suddenly vanish.

In an instant he swung his agile body over the rope and rushed to her.
But she had already sunk to her knees, and while he clasped her in is
arms to support her, he heard her call his own name tenderly, then murmur
it in a lower tone, and the words "Full moon" and "Happiness" escape her
lips.

Then she was silent, and her beautiful head dropped on her breast like a
flower broken by a tempest.



CHAPTER XVII.

"It was best so for her and for us," said Eumedes, after gazing long at
Ledscha's touchingly beautiful, still, dead face.

Then he ordered her to be buried at once and shouted to the guards:
"Everything must be over on this strip of land early to-morrow morning!
Let all who bear arms begin at once.  Selene will light the men brightly
enough for the work."

The terrible order given in mercy was fulfilled, and hunger and thirst
were robbed of their numerous prey.  When the new day dawned the friends
were still on deck, engaged in grave conversation.  The cloudless sky now
arched in radiant light above the azure sea.  White seagulls came flying
from the right across the ship, and sportive dolphins gambolled around
her keel.

The flutes of the musicians, marking time for the rowers, echoed gaily up
from the hold, and, obedient to quick words of command, the seamen were
spreading the sails.

The voyage began with a favourable wind.  As Hermon looked back for the
last time, the flat, desolate tongue of land appeared like a line of gray
mist in the southeastern horizon; but over it hovered, like a gloomy
thundercloud, the flocks of vultures and ravens, whose numbers were
constantly increasing.  Their greedy screaming could still be heard,
though but faintly, yet the eye could no longer distinguish anything in
the fast-vanishing abode of horror, save the hovering whirl of dark
spots--ravens and vultures, vultures and ravens.

Whatever human life had moved there yesterday, now rested from bloody
greed for booty, after victory and defeat, mortal terror, fury, and
despair.

Eumedes pointed out the quiet grave by the sea to his parents, saying:
"The King's command is fulfilled.  Not even the one man who is usually
spared to carry the news remains out of the four thousand."

"I thank you," exclaimed Alexander's gray-haired comrade, shaking his
son's right hand, but Thyone laid her hand on Hermon's arm, saving:
"Where the birds are darkening the air behind us lies buried what
incensed Nemesis against you.  You must leave the soil of Egypt.  True,
it is said that to live in foreign lands, far from the beloved home,
darkens the existence; yet Pergamus, too, is Grecian soil, and there
I see the two noblest of stars illumine your path with their pure light
-art and love."

And his old friend's premonition was fulfilled.

                    .......................

The story of Arachne is ended.  It closed on the Nile.  Hermon's new life
began in Pergamus.

As Daphne's husband, under the same roof with the wonderfully invigorated
Myrtilus, his Uncle Archias, and faithful Bias, Hermon found in the new
home what had hovered before the blind man as the fairest goal of
existence in art, love, and friendship.

He did not long miss the gay varied life of Alexandria, because he found
a rich compensation for it, and because Pergamus, too, was a rapidly
growing city, whose artistic decoration was inferior to no other in
Greece.

Of the numerous works which Hermon completed in the service of the first
three art-loving rulers of the new Pergamenian kingdom, Philetaerus,
Eumenes, and Attalus, nothing was preserved except the head of a Gaul.
This noble masterpiece proves how faithful Hermon remained to truth,
which he had early chosen for the guiding star of his art.  It is the
modest remnant of the group in which Hermon perpetuated in marble the two
Gallic brothers whom he saw before his last meeting with Ledscha, as they
offered their breasts to the fatal shafts.

One had gazed defiantly at the arrows of the conquerors; the other,
whose head has been preserved, feeling the inevitable approach of death,
anticipates, with sorrowful emotion, the end so close at hand.
Philetaerus had sent this touching work to King Ptolemy to thank him for
the severity with which he had chastised the daring of the barbarians,
who had not spared his kingdom also.  The Gaul's head was again found on
Egyptian soil.

     [Copied in Th. Schrieber's The Head of the Gaul in the Museum of
     Ghizeh in Cairo.  Leipsic, 1896.  With appendix.  By H. Curschmann.]

Hermon also took other subjects in Pergamus from the domain of real life,
though, in most of his work he crossed the limits which he had formerly
imposed upon himself.  But one barrier, often as he rushed forward to its
outermost verge, he never dared to pass--moderation, the noblest demand,
to which his liberty-loving race subjected themselves willingly in life
as well as in art.  The whole infinite, limitless world of the ideal had
opened itself to the blind man.

He made himself at home in it by remaining faithful to the rule which he
had found in the desert for his creative work, and the genuine happiness
which he enjoyed through Daphne's love and the great fame his sculptures
brought him increased the strong individuality of his power.

The fruits of his tireless industry, the much-admired god of light,
Phoebus Apollo, slaying the dragons of darkness, as well as his
bewitching Arachne, gazing proudly at the fabric with which she
thinks she has surpassed the skill of the goddess, were overtaken by
destruction.  In this statue Bias recognised his countrywoman Ledscha,
and often gazed long at it with devout ecstasy.  Even Hermon's works of
colossal size vanished from the earth: the Battle of the Amazons and the
relief containing numerous figures: the Sea Gods, which the Regent
Eumenes ordered for the Temple of Poseidon in Pergamus.

The works of his grandson and grandson's pupils, however, are preserved
on the great altar of victory in Pergamus.

The power and energy natural to Hermon, the skill he had acquired in
Rhodes, everything in the changeful life of Alexandria which had induced
him to consecrate his art to reality, and to that alone, and whatever he
had, finally, in quiet seclusion, recognised as right and in harmony with
the Greek nature and his own, blend in those works of his successor,
which a gracious dispensation of Providence permits us still to admire
at the present day, and which we call in its entirety, the art of
Pergamus.

The city was a second beloved home to him, as well as to his wife and
Myrtilus.  The rulers of the country took the old Alexandrian Archias
into their confidence and knew how to honour him by many a distinction.
He understood how to value the happiness of his only daughter, the
beautiful development of his grandchildren, and the high place that
Hermon and Myrtilus, whom he loved as if they were his own sons, attained
among the artists of their time.  Yet he struggled vainly against the
longing for his dear old home.  Therefore Hermon deemed it one of the
best days of his life when his turn came to make Daphne's father a happy
man.

King Ptolemy Philadelphus had sent laurel to the artist who had fallen
under suspicion in Egypt, and his messenger invited him and Myrtilus, and
with them also the exiled merchant, to return to his presence.  In
gratitude for the pleasure which Hermon's creation afforded him and his
wife, the cause that kept the fugitive Archias from his home should be
forgiven and forgotten.

The gray-haired son of the capital returned with the Bithynian Gras to
his beloved Alexandria, as if his lost youth was again restored.  There
he found unchanged the busy, active life, the Macedonian Council, the
bath, the marketplace, the bewitching conversation, the biting wit, the
exquisite feasts of the eyes--in short, everything for which his heart
had longed even amid the happiness and love of his dear ones in Pergamus.

For two years he endeavoured to enjoy everything as before; but when the
works of the Pergamenian artists, obtained by Ptolemy, had been exhibited
in the royal palaces, he returned home with a troubled mind.  Like the
rest of the world, he thought that the reliefs of Myrtilus, representing
scenes of rural life, were wonderful.

The Capture of Proserpina, a life-size marble group by his son-in-law
Hermon, seemed to him no less perfect; but it exerted a peculiar in
fluence upon his paternal heart, for, in the Demeter, he recognised
Daphne, in the Proserpina her oldest daughter Erigone, who bore the name
of Hermon's mother and resembled her in womanly charm.  How lovely this
budding girl, who was his grand-daughter, seemed to the grandfather!  How
graceful, in spite of the womanly dignity peculiar to her, was the
mother, encircling her imperilled child with her protecting arm!

No work of sculpture had ever produced such an effect upon the old patron
of art.

Gras heard him, in his bedroom, murmur the names "Daphne" and "Erigone,"
and therefore it did not surprise him when, the next morning, he received
the command to prepare everything for the return to Pergamus.  It pleased
the Bithynian, for he cared more for Daphne, Hermon, and their children
than all the pleasures of the capital.

A few weeks later Archias found himself again in Pergamus with his
family, and he never left it, though he reached extreme old age, and was
even permitted to gaze in wondering admiration at the first attempts of
the oldest son of Hermon and Daphne, and to hear them praised by others.

This grandson of the Alexandrian Archias afterward became the master who
taught the generation of artists who created the Pergamenian works, in
examining which the question forced itself upon the narrator of this
story: How do these sculptures possess the qualities which distinguish
them so strongly from the other statues of later Hellenic antiquity?

Did the great weaver Imagination err when she blended them, through the
mighty wrestler Hermon, with a tendency of Alexandrian science and art,
which we see appearing again among us children of a period so much later?

Science, which is now once more pursuing similar paths, ought and will
follow them further, but Hermon's words remain applicable to the present
clay: "We will remain loyal servants of the truth; yet it alone does not
hold the key to the holy of holies of art.  To him for whom Apollo, the
pure among the gods, and the Muses, friends of beauty, do not open it at
the same time with truth, its gates will remain closed, no matter how
strongly and persistently he shakes them."



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Regular messenger and carrier-dove service had been established





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Arachne — Volume 08" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home