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Title: The Emperor — Volume 06
Author: Ebers, Georg
Language: English
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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 "The Emperor — Volume 06" ***

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By Georg Ebers

Volume 6.


Dame Hannah had watched by Selene till sunrise and indefatigably cooled
both her injured foot and the wound in her head.  The old physician was
not dissatisfied with the condition of his patient, but ordered the widow
to lie down for a time and to leave the care of her for a few hours to
her young friend.  When Mary was alone with the sick girl and had laid
the fresh cold handkerchief in its place, Selene turned her face towards
her and said:

"Then you were at Lochias yesterday.  Tell me how you found them all
there.  Who guided you to our lodgings and did you see my little brother
and sisters?"

"You are not yet quite free of fever, and I do not know how much I ought
to talk to you--but I would with all my heart."

The words were spoken kindly and there was a deep loving light in the
eyes of the deformed girl as she said them.  Selene excited not merely
her sympathy and pity, but her admiration too, for she was so beautiful,
so totally different from herself, and in every little service she
rendered her, she felt like some despised beggar whom a prince might have
permitted to wait upon him.  Her hump had never seemed to her so bent,
nor her brown skin so ugly at any other time as it did to-day, when side
by side with this symmetrical and delicate girlish form, rounded to such
tender contours.

But Mary felt not the smallest movement of envy.  She only felt happy to
help Selene, to serve her, to be allowed to gaze at her although she was
a heathen.  During the night too, she had prayed fervently that the Lord
might graciously draw to himself this lovely, gentle creature, that He
might permit her to recover, and fill her soul with the same love for the
Saviour that gave joy to her own.  More than once she had longed to kiss
her, but she dared not, for it seemed to her as though the sick girl were
made of finer stuff than she herself.

Selene felt tired, very tired, and as the pain diminished, a comfortable
sense stole over her of peace and respite in the silent and loving
homeliness of her surroundings; a feeling that was new and very soothing,
though it was interrupted, now and again, by her anxiety for those at
home.  Dame Hannah's presence did her good, for she fancied she
recognized in her voice something that had been peculiar to her mother's,
when she had played with her and pressed her with special affection to
her heart.

In the papyrus factory, at the gumming-table, the sight of the little
hunchback had disgusted Selene, but here she observed what good eyes she
had, and how kind a voice, and the care with which Mary lifted the
compress from her foot--as softly, as if in her own hands she felt the
pain that Selene was suffering--and then laid another on the broken
ankle, aroused her gratitude.  Her sister Arsinoe was a vain and thorough
Alexandrian girl, and she had nicknamed the poor thing after the ugliest
of the Hellenes who had besieged Troy.  "Dame Thersites," and Selene
herself had often repeated it.  Now she forgot the insulting name
altogether, and met the objections of her nurse by saying:

"The fever cannot be much now; if you tell me something I shall not think
so constantly of this atrocious pain.  I am longing to be at home.  Did
you see the children?"

"No, Selene.  I went no farther than the entrance of your dwelling, and
the kind gate-keeper's wife told me at once that I should find neither
your father nor your sister, and that your slave-woman was gone out to
buy cakes for the children."

"To buy them!" exclaimed Selene in astonishment.  "The old woman told me
too that the way to your apartments led through several rooms in which
slaves were at work, and that her son, who happened to be with her,
should accompany me, and so he did, but the door was locked, and he told
me I might entrust his mother with my commission.  I did so, for she
looked as if she were both judicious and kind."

"That she is."

"And she is very fond of you, for when I told her of your sufferings the
bright tears rolled down her cheeks, and she praised you as warmly, and
was as much troubled as if you had been her own daughter."

"You said nothing about our working in the factory?" asked Selene

"Certainly not, you had desired me not to mention it.  I was to say
everything that was kind to you from the old lady."

For several minutes the two girls were silent, then Selene asked:

"Did the gate-keeper's son who accompanied you also hear of the disaster
that had befallen me?

"Yes, on the way to your rooms he was full of fun and jokes, but when I
told him that you had gone out with your damaged foot and now could not
get home again, and were being treated by the leech, he was very angry
and used blasphemous language."

"Can you remember what he said?"

"Not perfectly, but one thing I still recollect.  He accused his gods of
having created a beautiful work only to spoil it, nay he abused them"
Mary looked down as she spoke, as if she were repeating something ill to
tell, but Selene colored slightly with pleasure, and exclaimed eagerly,
as if to outdo the sculptor in abuse:

"He is quite right, the powers above act in such a way--"

"That is not right," said the deformed girl reprovingly.

"What?"  asked the patient.  "Here you live quietly to yourselves in
perfect peace and love.  Many a word that I heard dame Hannah say has
stuck in my mind, and I can see for myself that you act as kindly as you
speak.  The gods no doubt are good to you!"

"God is for each and all."

"What!" exclaimed Selene with flashing eyes.  "For those whose every
pleasure they destroy?  For the home of eight children whom they rob of
their mother?  For the poor whom they daily threaten to deprive of their

"For them too, there is a merciful God," interrupted dame Hannah who had
just come into the room.  "I will lead you to the loving Father in Heaven
who cares for us all as if we were His children; but not now--you must
rest and neither talk nor hear of anything that can excite your fevered
blood.  Now I will rearrange the pillow under your head.  Mary will wet a
fresh compress and then you must try to sleep."

"I cannot," replied Selene, while Hannah shook her pillows and arranged
them carefully.  "Tell me about your God who loves us."

"By-and-bye, dear child.  Seek Him and you will find Him, for of all His
children He loves them best who suffer."

"Those who suffer?"  asked Selene, in surprise.  "What has a God in his
Olympian joys to do with those who suffer?"

"Be quiet, child," interrupted Hannah, patting the sick girl with a
soothing hand, "you soon will learn how God takes care of you and that
Another loves you."

"Another," muttered Selene, and her cheeks turned  crimson.

She thought at once of Pollux, and asked herself why the story of her
sufferings should have moved him so deeply if he were not in love with
her.  Then she began to seek some colorable ground for what she had heard
as she went past the screen behind which he had been working.  He had
never told her plainly that he loved her.  Why should he, an artist and a
bright, high spirited young fellow, not be allowed to jest with a pretty
girl, even if his heart belonged to another.  No, she was not indifferent
to him: that she had felt that night when she had stood as his model, and
now--as she thought--I could guess, nay, feel sure of, from Mary's story.

The longer she thought of him, the more she began to long to see him whom
she had loved so dearly even as a child.  Her heart had never yet beat
for any other man, but since she had met Pollux again in the hall of the
Muses, his image had filled her whole soul, and what she now felt must be
love--could be nothing else.  Half awake, but half asleep, she pictured
him to herself, entering this quiet room, sitting down by the head of her
couch, and looking with his kind eyes into hers.  Ah! and how could she
help it--she sat up and opened her arms to him.

"Be still, my child, he still," said Hannah.  "It is not good for you to
move about so much."

Selene opened her eyes, but only to close them again and to dream for
some time longer till she was startled from her rest by loud voices in
the garden.  Hannah left the room, and her voice presently mingled with
those of the other persons outside, and when she returned her cheeks were
flushed and she could not find fitting words in which to tell her patient
what she had to say.

"A very big man, in the most outrageous dress," she said at last, "wanted
to be let in; when the gatekeeper refused, he forced his way in.  He
asked for you."

"For me," said Selene, blushing.

"Yes, my child, he brought a large and beautiful nosegay of flowers, and
said 'your friend at Lochias sends you his greeting.'"

"My friend at Lochias?"  murmured thoughtfully Selene to herself.  Then
her eyes sparkled with gladness, and she asked quickly:

You said the man who brought the flowers was very tall."

"He was."

"Oh please, dame Hannah, let me see the flowers?"  cried Selene, trying
to raise herself.

"Have you a lover, child?"  asked the widow.

"A lover?--no, but there is a young man with whom we always used to play
when we were quite little--an artist, a kind, good man--and the nosegay
must be from him."

Hannah looked with sympathy at the girl, and signing to Mary she said:

"The nosegay is a very large one.  You may see it, but it must not remain
in the room; the smell of so many flowers might do you harm."

Mary rose from her seat at the head of the bed, and whispered to the sick

"Is that the tall gate-keeper's son?"  Selene nodded, smiling, and as the
women went away she changed her position from lying on one side,
stretched herself out on her back, pressed her hand to her heart, and
looked upwards with a deep sigh.  There was a singing in her ears, and
flashes of colored light seemed to dance before her closed eyes.  She
drew her breath with difficulty, but still it seemed as though the air
she drew in was full of the perfume of flowers.

Hannah and Mary carried in the enormous bunch of flowers.  Selene's eyes
shone more brightly, and she clasped her hands in admiration.  Then she
made them show her the lovely, richly-tinted and fragrant gift, first on
one side and then on the other, buried her face in the flowers, and
secretly kissed the delicate petals of a lovely, half-opened rose-bud.
She felt as if intoxicated, and the bright tears flowed in slow
succession down her cheeks.  Mary was the first to detect the brooch
stuck into the ribbons that tied the stems of the flowers.  She
unfastened it and showed it to Selene, who hastily took it out of her
hand.  Blushing deeper and deeper, she fixed her eyes on the intaglio
carved on the stone of the love god sharpening his arrows.  She felt her
pain no more pain, she felt quite well, and at the same time glad, proud,
too happy.  Dame Hannah noted her excitement with much anxiety; she
nodded to Mary and said:

"Now my daughter, this must do; we will place the flowers outside the
window so that you may see them."

"Already," said Selene, in a regretful tone, and she broke off a few
violets and roses from the crowded mass.  When she was alone again, she
laid the flowers down and once more tenderly contemplated the figures on
the handsome gem.  It had no doubt been engraved by Teuker, the brother
of Pollux.  How fine the carving was, how significant the choice of the
subject represented!  Only the heavy gold setting disturbed the poor
child, who for so many years had had to stint and contrive with her
money.  She said to herself that it was wrong of the young fellow, who,
besides being poor, had to support his sister, to rush into such an
outlay for her.  But his gift gave her none the less pleasure, out of her
own possessions nothing would have seemed too precious to give him.  She
would teach him to be saving by-and-bye.

The women presently returned after they had with much trouble set up the
nosegay outside the window, and they renewed the wet handkerchief without
speaking.  She did not in the least want to talk, she was listening with
so much pleasure to the fair promises which her fancy was making, and
wherever she turned her eyes they fell on something she could love,  The
flowers on her bed, the brooch in her hand, the nosegay outside the
window, and never dreaming that another--not the man she loved--could
have sent it to her, another for whom she cared even less than for the
Christians who walked up and down in Paulina's garden, under her window.
There she lay, full of sweet contentment and secure of a love that had
never been hers--of possessing the heart of a man who never once thought
of her, but who, only a few hours since, had rushed off with her sister,
intoxicated with joy and delight.  Poor Selene!

And her next dreams were of untroubled happiness, but the minutes flew
after each other, each bringing her nearer to waking--and what a waking!

Her father had not come, as he had intended, to see her before going to
the prefect's house with Arsinoe.  His desire to conduct his daughter to
Julia in a dress worthy of her prospects had detained him a long time,
and even then he had not succeeded in his object.  All the weavers, and
the shops were closed, for every workman, whether slave or free, was
taking part in the festivities, and when the hour fixed by the prefect
drew near, his daughter was still sitting in her litter, in her simple
white dress and her modest peplum, bound with blue ribbon, which looked
even more insignificant by day than in the evening.

The nosegay which had been given to Arsinoe by Verus gave her much
pleasure, for a girl is always pleased with beautiful flowers--nay, they
have something in common.  As she and her father approached the prefect's
house Arsinoe grew frightened, and her father could not conceal his
vexation at being obliged to take her to the lady Julia in so modest a
garb.  Nor was his gloomy humor at all enlivened when he was left to wait
in the anteroom while Julia and the wife of Verus, aided by Balbilla
chose for his daughter the finest colored and costliest stuffs of the
softest wool, silk, and delicate bombyx tissue.  This sort of occupation
has this peculiarity, that the longer time it takes the more assistance
is needed, and the steward had to submit to wait fully two hours in the
prefect's anteroom, which gradually grew fuller and fuller of clients and
visitors.  At last Arsinoe came back all glowing and full of the
beautiful things that were to be prepared for her.

Her father rose slowly from his easy seat, and as she hastened towards
him the door opened, and through it came Plutarch, freshly wreathed,
freshly decked with flowers which were fastened to the breast-folds of
his gallium, and lifted into the room by his two human crutches.  Every
one rose as he came in, and when Keraunus saw that the chief lawyer of
the city, a man of ancient family, bowed before him, he did likewise.
Plutarch's eyesight was stronger than his legs were, and where a pretty
woman was to be seen, it was always very keen.  He perceived Arsinoe as
soon as he had crossed the threshold and waved both hands towards her, as
if she were an old and favorite acquaintance.

The sweet child had quite bewitched him; in his younger days he would
have given anything and everything to win her favor; now he was satisfied
to make his favor pleasing to her; he touched her playfully two or three
times on the arm and said gaily:

"Well pretty Roxana, has dame Julia done well with the dresses?"

"Oh! they have chosen such pretty, such really lovely things!"  exclaimed
the girl."

"Have they?"  said Plutarch, to conceal by speech the fact that he was
meditating on some subject; "Have they? and why should they not?"

Arsinoe's washed dress had caught the old man's eye, and remembering that
Gabinius the curiosity-dealer had that very morning been to him to
enquire whether Arsinoe were not in fact one of his work-girls, and to
repeat his statement that her father was a beggarly toady, full of
haughty airs, whose curiosities, of which he contemptuously mentioned a
few, were worth nothing, Plutarch was hastily asking himself how he could
best defend his pretty protege against the envious tongues of her rivals;
for many spiteful speeches of theirs had already come to his ears.

"Whatever the noble Julia undertakes is always admirably done," he said
aloud, and he added in a whisper: "The day after to-morrow when the
goldsmiths have opened their workshops again, I will see what I can find
for you.  I am falling in a heap, hold me up higher Antaeus and Atlas.
So.--Yes, my child you look even better from up here than from a lower
level.  Is the stout man standing behind you your father?"


"Have you no mother?"

"She is dead."

"Oh!"  said Plutarch in a tone of regret.  Then turning to the steward he

"Accept my congratulations on having such a daughter Keraunus.  I hear
too that you have to supply a mother's place to her."

"Alas sir! she is very like my poor wife, since her death I live a
joyless life."

"But I hear that you take pleasure in collecting rare and beautiful
objects.  This is a taste we have in common.  Are you inclined to part
with the cup that belonged to my namesake Plutarch?  It must be a fine
piece of work from what Gabinius tells me."

"That it is," replied the steward proudly.  "It was a gift to the
philosopher from Trajan; beautifully carved in ivory.  I cannot bear to
part with such a gem but," and as he spoke he lowered his voice.  "I am
under obligations to you, you have taken charge of my daughter's outfit
and to offer you some return I will--"

"That is quite out of the question," interrupted Plutarch, who knew men,
and who saw from the steward's pompous pretentiousness that the dealer
had done him no injustice in describing him as overbearing.  "You are
doing me an honor by allowing me to contribute what I can towards
decorating our Roxana.  I beg you to send me the cup, and whatever price
you put upon it, I, of course, shall pay, that is quite understood."

Keraunus had a brief internal conflict with himself.  If he had not so
sorely needed money, if he had not so keenly desired to see a young and
comely slave walking behind him, he would have adhered to his purpose of
presenting the cup to Plutarch; as it was he cleared his throat, looked
at the ground, and said with an embarrassed manner and without a trace of
his former confidence:

"I remain your debtor, and it seems you do not wish this business to be
mixed up with other matters.  Well then, I had two thousand drachmae for
a sword that belonged to Antony."

"Then certainly," interrupted Plutarch, "the cup, the gift of Trajan,
must be worth double, particularly to me who am related to the
illustrious owner.  May I offer you four thousand drachmae for your
precious possession?"

"I am anxious to oblige you, and so I say yes," replied the steward with
much dignity, and he squeezed Arsinoe's little finger, for she was
standing close to him.  Her hand had for some time been touching his in
token of warning that he should adhere to his first intention of making
the cup a present to Plutarch.

As the pair, so unlike each other, quitted the anteroom, Plutarch looked
after them with a meaning smile and thought to himself: "That is well
done.  How little pleasure I generally have from my riches!  How often
when I see a sturdy porter I would willingly change places with him!
But to-day I am glad to have as much money as I could wish.  Sweet child!
She must have a new dress of course for the sake of appearance, but
really her beauty did not suffer from the washed-out rag of a dress.
And she belongs to me, for I have seen her at the factory among the
workwomen, of that I am certain."

Keraunus had gone out with his daughter and once outside the prefect's
house, he could not help chuckling aloud, while he patted his daughter on
the shoulder, and whispered to her:

"I told you so child!  we shall be rich yet, we shall rise in life again
and need not be behind the other citizens in any thing."

"Yes, father, but it is just because you believe that, that you ought to
have given the cup to the old man."

"No," replied Keraunus, "business is business, but by and bye I will
repay him tenfold for all he does for you now, by giving him my painting
by Apelles.  And Julia shall have the pair of sandal-straps set with cut-
gems that came off a sandal of Cleopatra's."

Arsinoe looked down, for she knew what these treasures were worth, and

"We can consider all that later."

Then she and her father got into the litters that had been waiting for
them, and without which Keraunus thought he could no longer exist, and
they were carried to the garden of Pudeus' widow.

Their visit came to interrupt Selene's blissful dreams.  Keraunus
behaved with icy coldness to dame Hannah, for it afforded him a certain
satisfaction to make a display of contempt for every thing Christian.
When he expressed his regret that Selene should have been obliged to
remain in her house, the widow replied:

"She is better here than in the street, at any rate."  And when Keraunus
went on to say that he would take nothing as a gift and would pay her for
her care of his daughter, Hannah answered:

"We are happy to do all we can for your child, and Another will reward

"That I certainly forbid," exclaimed the steward wrathfully.

"We do not understand each other," said the Christian pleasantly.  "I do
not allude to any mortal being, and the reward we work for is not gold
and possessions, but the happy consciousness of having mitigated the
sufferings of a fellow-creature."

Keraunus shrugged his shoulders, and after desiring Selene to ask the
physician when she might be taken home, he went away.

"I will not leave you here an instant longer than is necessary," he said
as urgently as though she were in some infected house; he kissed her
forehead, bowed to Hannah as loftily as though he had just bestowed an
alms upon her, and departed, without listening to Selene's assurances
that she was extremely happy and comfortable with the widow.

The ground had long burnt under his feet, and the money in his pocket,
he was now possessed of ample means to acquire a good new slave, perhaps,
if he threw old Sebek into the bargain, they might even suffice to
procure him a handsome Greek, who might teach the children to read and
write.  He could direct his first attention to the external appearance of
the new member of his household, if he were a scholar as well, he would
feel justified in the high price he expected to be obliged to pay for

As Keraunus approached the slave-market he said, not without some
conscious emotion at his own paternal devotion:

"All for the credit of the house, all, and only, for the children."

Arsinoe carried out her intention of staying with Selene; her father was
to fetch her on his way home.  After he was gone, Hannah and Mary left
the two sisters together, for they supposed that they must wish to
discuss a variety of things without the presence of strangers.

As soon as the girls were alone Arsinoe began: "Your cheeks are rosy,
Selene, and you look cheerful--ah!  and I, I am so happy--so happy!"

"Because you are to fill the part of Roxana?"

"That is very nice too, and who would have thought only yesterday morning
that we should be so rich today.  We hardly know what to do with all the


"Yes, for father has sold two objects out of his collection for six
thousand drachmae."

"Oh!"  cried Selene clasping her hands, "then we can pay our most
pressing debts."

"To be sure, but that is not nearly all."


"Where shall I begin?  Ah! Selene, my heart is so full.  I am tired, and
yet I could dance and sing and shout all day and all the night through
till to-morrow.  When I think how happy I am, my head turns, and I feel
as if I must use all my self-control to keep myself from turning giddy.
You do not know yet how you feel when the arrow of Eros has pierced you.
Ah! I love Pollux so much, and he loves me too."

At these words all the color fled from Selene's cheeks, and her pale lips
brought out the words:

"Pollux?  The son of Euphorion, Pollux the sculptor?"

"Yes, our dear, kind, tall Pollux!"  cried Arsinoe.  "Now prick up your
ears, and you shall hear how it all came to pass.  Last night on our way
to see you he confessed how much he loved me, and now you must advise me
how to win over my father to our side, and very soon too.  By-and-bye he
will of course say yes, for Pollux can do anything he wants, and some day
he will be a great man, as great as Papias, and Aristaeus, and Kealkes
all put together.  His youthful trick with that silly caricature--but how
pale you are, Selene!"

"It is nothing--nothing at all--a pain--go on," said Selene.

"Dame Hannah begged me not to let you talk much."

"Only tell me everything; I will be quiet."

"Well, you have seen the lovely head of mother that he made," Arsinoe
went on.  "Standing by that we saw each other and talked for the first
time after long years, and I felt directly that there was not a dearer
man than he in the whole world, wide as it is.  And he fell in love too
with a stupid little thing like me.  Yesterday evening he came here with
me; and then as I went home, taking his arm in the dark through the
streets, then--Oh, Selene, it was splendid, delightful!  You cannot
imagine!--Does your foot hurt you very much, poor dear?  Your eyes are
full of tears."

"Go on, tell me all, go on."

And Arsinoe did as she was desired, sparing the poor girl nothing that
could widen and deepen the wound in her soul.  Full of rapturous memories
she described the place in the streets where Pollux had first kissed her.
The shrubs in the garden where she had flung herself into his arms, her
blissful walk in the moonlight, and all the crowd assembled for the
festival, and finally how, possessed by the god, they had together joined
the procession, and danced through the streets.  She described, with
tears in her eyes, how painful their parting had been, and laughed again,
as she told how an ivy leaf in her hair had nearly betrayed everything to
her father.  So she talked and talked, and there was something that
intoxicated her in her own words.

How they were affecting Selene she did not observe.  How could she know
that it was her narrative and no other suffering which made her sister's
lips quiver so sorrowfully?  Then, when she went on to speak of the
splendid garments which Julia was having made for her, the suffering girl
listened with only half an ear, but her attention revived when she heard
how much old Plutarch had offered for the ivory cup, and that her father
proposed to exchange their old slave for a more active one.

"Our good black mouse-catching old stork looks shabby enough it is true,"
said Arsinoe, "still I am very sorry he should go away.  If you had been
at home, perhaps father would have waited to consider."

Selene laughed drily, and her lips curled scornfully as she said:

"That is the way! go on! two days before you are turned out of house and
home you ride in a chariot and pair!"

"You always see the worst side," said Arsinoe with annoyance.  "I tell
you it will all turn out far better and nicer and more happily than we
expect.  As soon as we are a little richer we will buy back the old man,
and keep him and feed him till he dies."

Selene shrugged her shoulders, and her sister jumped up from her seat
with her eyes full of tears.  She had been so happy in telling how happy
she was that she firmly believed that her story must bring brightness
into the gloom of the sick girl's soul, like sunshine after a dark night;
and Selene had nothing to give her but scornful words and looks.  If a
friend refuses to share in joys it is hardly less wounding than if he
were to abandon us in trouble.

"How you always contrive to embitter my happiness!"  cried Arsinoe.  "I
know very well that nothing that I can do can ever be right in your eyes;
still, we are sisters, and you need not set your teeth and grudge your
words, and shrug your shoulders when I tell you of things which, even a
stranger, if I were to confide them to her, would rejoice over with me.
You are so cold and heartless!  I dare say you will betray me to my

But Arsinoe did not finish her sentence, for Selene looked up at her with
a mixture of suffering and alarm, and said:

"I cannot be glad--I am in too much pain."  As she spoke the tears ran
down her cheeks and as soon as Arsinoe saw them she felt a return of pity
for the sick girl, bent over and kissed her cheeks once, twice, thrice;
but Selene pushed her aside and murmured piteously:

"Leave me--pray leave me; go away, I can bear it no longer."  She turned
her face to the wall, sobbing aloud.  Arsinoe attempted once more to show
her some marks of affection, but her sister pushed her away still more
decidedly, crying out loudly, as if in desperation: "I shall die if you
do not leave me alone."

And the happier girl, whose best offerings were thus disdained by her
only female friend, went weeping away to await her father's return
outside the door of the widow's house.

When Hannah went to lay fresh handkerchiefs on Selene's wounds she saw
that she had been crying, but she did not enquire into the reason of her
tears.  Towards evening the widow explained to her patient that she must
leave her alone for half an hour, for that she and Mary were going out to
pray to their God with their brethren and sisters, and they would pray
for her also.

"Leave me, only leave me," said Selene, "as it is, so it is--there are no

"Gods?"  replied Hannah.  "No.  But there is one good and loving Father
in Heaven, and you soon shall learn to know him."

"I know him, well!"  muttered the sick girl with keen irony.

No sooner was she alone than she sat up in bed, and flung the flowers,
which had been lying on it, far from her across the room, twisted the pin
of the brooch till it was broken, and did not stir a finger to save the
gold setting and engraved stone when they fell between the bed and wall
of the room.  Then she lay staring at the ceiling, and did not stir
again.  It was now quite dark.  The lilies and honeysuckle in the great
nosegay outside the window began to smell more strongly, and their
perfume forced itself inexorably on her senses, rendered painfully acute
by fever.  She perceived it at every breath she drew, and not for a
minute would it let her forget her wrecked happiness, and the
wretchedness of her heart, till the heavy sweetness of the flowers became
more unendurable than the most pungent odor, and she drew the coverlet
over her head to escape this new torment; but she soon cast it off again,
for she thought she should be suffocated under it.  An intolerable
restlessness took possession of her, while the pain in her injured foot
throbbed madly, the cut in her head seemed to burn, and her temples beat
with an agonizing headache that contracted the muscles of her eyes.
Every nerve in her body, every thought of her brain was a separate
torture, and at the same time she felt herself without a stay, without
protection, and wholly abandoned to some cruel influence, which tossed
and tore her soul as the storm tosses the crowns of the palm-trees.

Without tears, incapable of lying still and yet punished for the
slightest movement by some fresh pain, racked in every joint, not strong
enough in her bewilderment to carry through a single connected thought,
and yet firmly convinced that the perfume she was forced to inhale at
every breath was poisoning her--destroying her--driving her mad--she
lifted her damaged foot out of bed, dragged the other after it, and sat
up on her couch regardless of the pain she felt, and the warnings of the
physician.  Her long hair fell dishevelled over her face, her arms, and
her hands, in which she held her aching head; and in this new attitude
the excitement of her brain and heart took fresh development.

She sat gazing at the floor with a freezing gaze, and bitter enmity
towards her sister, hatred towards Pollux, contempt for her father's
miserable weakness, and her own utter blindness, rang wild changes in her
soul.  Outside all lay in peaceful calm, and from the house in which
Paulina lived the evening breeze now and again bore the pure tones of a
pious hymn upon her ear.  Selene never heeded it, but as the same air
wafted the scent of the flowers in her face even stronger than before,
she clutched her hair in her fingers and pulled it so violently that she
actually groaned with the pain she gave herself.

The question as to whether her hair was less abundant and beautiful than
her sister's suddenly occurred to her, and like a flash in the darkness
the wish shot through her soul that she could fling Arsinoe to the ground
by the hair, with the hand which was now hurting herself.

That perfume! that horrible perfume!

She could bear it no longer.  She stood up on her uninjured foot, and
with very short steps she dragged herself half crying to the window, and
flung the nosegay with the great jar of burnt clay down on to the ground.
The vessel was broken.--It had cost poor Hannah many hardly-saved pieces
not long since.  Selene stood on one foot, leaning, to recover herself,
against the right-hand post of the window-opening, and there she could
hear more distinctly than from her couch, the voice of the waves as they
broke on the stone quay just behind dame Hannah's little house.  The
child of the Lochias was familiar with their tones, but the clashing and
gurgling of the cool, moist element against the stones had never affected
her before as they did now.  Her fevered blood was on fire, her foot was
burning, her head was hot, and hatred seemed to consume her soul as in a
slow fire; she felt as if every wave that broke upon the seawall was
calling out to her: "I am cool, I am moist, I can extinguish the flame
that is consuming you.  I can refresh and revive you."

What had the world to offer her but new torment and new misery?  But the
sea--the blue dark sea was wide, and cold, and deep, and its waves
promised her in insidious tones to relieve her at once of the rage of her
fever, and of the burden of her life.  Selene did not pause, did not
reflect; she remembered neither the children whom she had so long cared
for as a mother, nor her father, whose comfort and support she was--vague
voices in her brain seemed to be whispering to her that the world was
evil and cruel, and the abode of all the torment and care that gnawed at
her heart.  She felt as if she bad been plunged to the temples in a pool
of fire, and, like some poor wretch whose garments have been caught by
the flames, she had an instinct to fly to the water, at the bottom of
which she might hope to find the fulfilment of her utmost longing, sweet
cold death, in which all is forgotten.

Groaning and tottering she pushed her way through the door into the
garden and hobbled down to the sea, grasping her temples in her hands.


The Alexandrians were a stiff-necked generation.  Only some phenomenal
sight far transcending their every-day experience could avail to make
them turn their heads to stare at it, but just now there was something to
look at, at every moment and in every street of the city.  To-day too
each one thought only of himself and of his own pleasure.  Some
particularly pretty, tall, or well-dressed figure would give rise to a
smile or an exclamation of approval, but before one sight had been
thoroughly enjoyed the inquisitive eye was seeking a fresh one.

Thus it happened that no one paid any special attention to Hadrian and
his companions who allowed themselves to be unresistingly carried along
the streets by the current of the crowd; and yet each one of them was, in
his way, a remarkable object.  Hadrian was dressed as Silenus, Pollux as
a faun.  Both wore masks and the disguise of the younger man was as well
suited to his pliant and vigorous figure as that of the elder to his
powerful stately person.  Antinous followed his master, dressed as Eros.
He wore a crimson mantle and was crowned with roses, while the silver
quiver on his shoulder and the bow in his hand clearly symbolized the god
he was intended to represent.  He too wore a mask, but his figure
attracted many gazers, and many a greeting of "Long live the god of love"
or "Be gracious to me oh! son of Aphrodite" was spoken as he passed.

Pollux had obtained all the things requisite for these disguises from the
store of drapery belonging to his master.  Papias had been out, but the
young man did not deem it necessary to ask his consent, for he and the
other assistants had often used the things for similar purposes with his
full permission.  Only as he took the quiver intended for Antinous,
Pollux hesitated a little for it was of solid silver and had been given
to his master by the wife of a wealthy cone-dealer, whom he had
represented in marble as Artemis equipped for the chase.

"The Roman's handsome companion," thought the young artist as he placed
the costly object in with the others in a basket, which a squinting
apprentice was to carry behind him--"The Roman's handsome companion must
be made a splendid Eros--and before sunrise the useless thing will be
hanging on its hook again."

Indeed Pollux had not much time to admire the splendid appearance of the
god of love he had so richly adorned, for the Roman architect was
possessed by such thirst for knowledge and such inexhaustible curiosity
as to the minutest details that even Pollux who was born in Alexandria,
and had grown up there with his eyes very wide open, was often unable to
answer his indefatigable questioning.

The grey-bearded master wanted to see every thing and to be informed on
every subject.  Not content with making acquaintance with the main
streets and squares the public sites and buildings, he peeped into the
handsomest of the private houses and asked the names, rank and fortunes
of the owners.  The decided way in which he told Pollux the way he wished
to be conducted proved to the artist that he was thoroughly familiar with
the plan of the city.  And when the sagacious and enlightened man
expressed his approval, nay his admiration of the broad clean streets of
the town, the handsome open places, and particularly handsome buildings
which abounded on all sides, the young Alexandrian who was proud of his
city was delighted.

First Hadrian made him lead him along the seashore by the Bruchiom to the
temple of Poseidon, where he performed some devotions, then he looked
into the garden of the palace and the courts of the adjoining museum.
The Caesareum with its Egyptian gateway excited his admiration no less
than the theatre, surrounded with pillared arcades in stories, and
decorated with numerous statues.  From thence deviating to the left they
once more approached the sea to visit the great Emporium, to see the
forest of masts of Eunostus, and the finely-constructed quays.  They left
the viaduct known as the Heptastadion to their right and the harbor of
Kibotus, swarming with small merchant craft, did not detain them long.

Here they turned backs on the sea following a street which led inland
through the quarter called Khakotis inhabited only by native Egyptians,
and here the Roman found much to see that was noteworthy.  First he and
his companions met a procession of the priests who serve the gods of the
Nile valley, carrying reliquaries and sacred vessels, with images of the
gods and sacred animals, and tending towards the Serapeum which towered
high above the streets in the vicinity.  Hadrian did not visit the
temple, but he inspected the chariots which carried people along an
inclined road which led up the hill on which was the sanctuary, and
watched devotees on foot who mounted by an endless flight of steps
constructed on purpose; these grew wider towards the top, terminating in
a platform where four mighty pillars bore up a boldly-curved cupola.
Nothing looked down upon the temple-building which with its halls,
galleries and rooms rose behind this huge canopy.

The priests with their white robes, the meagre, half-naked Egyptians
with their pleated aprons and headcloths, the images of beasts and the
wonderfully-painted houses in this quarter of the city, particularly
attracted Hadrian's attention and made him ask many questions, not all of
which could Pollux answer.

Their walk which now took them farther and farther from the sea extended
to the extreme south of the town and the shores of lake Mareotis.  Nile
boats and vessels of every form and size lay at anchor in this deep and
sheltered inland sea; here the sculptor pointed out to Hadrian the canal
through which goods were conveyed to the marine fleet which had been
brought down the river to Alexandria.  And he pointed out to the Roman
the handsome country-houses and well-tended vineyards on the shores of
the lake.

"The bodies in this city ought to thrive," said Hadrian meditatively.
"For here are two stomachs and two mouths by which they absorb
nourishment; the sea, I mean, and this lake."

"And the harbors in each," added Pollux.

"Just so; but now it is time we should turn about," replied Hadrian, and
the party soon took a road leading eastward; they walked without pause
through the quiet streets inhabited by the Christians, and finally
through the Jews' quarter.  In the heart of this quarter many houses were
shut up, and there were no signs to be seen of the gay doings which
crowded on the sense and fancy in the heathen part of the town, for the
stricter among the Hebrews held sternly aloof, from the holiday
festivities in which most of their nation and creed who dwelt among the
Greeks, took part.

For a third time Hadrian and his companions crossed the Canopic way which
formed the main artery of the city and divided it into the northern and
southern halves, for he wished to look down from the hill of the Paneum
on the combined effect as a whole of all that he had seen in detail.  The
carefully-kept gardens which surrounded this elevation swarmed with men,
and the spiral path which led to the top was crowded with women and
children, who came here to see the most splendid spectacle of the whole
day, which closed with performances in all the theatres in the town.
Before the Emperor and his escort could reach the Paneum itself the crowd
suddenly packed more closely and began exclaiming among themselves, "Here
they come!"  "They are early to-day!"  "Here they are!"

Lictors with their fasces over their shoulders were clearing the broad
roadway, which led from the prefect's on the Bruchiom to the Paneum, with
their staves and paying no heed to the mocking and witty speeches
addressed to them by the mob wherever they appeared.  One woman, as
she was driven back by a Roman guardian of the peace, cried scornfully,
"Give me your rods for my children and do not use them on unoffending

"There is an axe hidden among the faggots," added an Egyptian letter-
writer in a warning voice.

"Bring it here," cried a butcher.  "I can use it to slaughter my beasts."
The Romans as they heard these bandied words felt the blood mounting to
their faces, but the prefect, who knew his Alexandrians well, had
counselled them to be deaf; to see everything but to hear nothing.  Now
there appeared a cohort of the Twelfth Legion, who were quartered in
garrison in Egypt, in their richest arms and holiday uniforms.  Behind
them came two files of particularly tall lictors wearing wreaths, and
they were followed by several hundred wild beasts, leopards and panthers,
giraffes, gazelles, antelopes, and deer, all led by dark-colored
Egyptians.  Then came a richly-dressed and much be-wreathed Dionysian
chorus with the sound of tambourines and lyres, double flutes and
triangles, and finally, drawn by ten elephants and twenty white horses,
a large ship, resting on wheels and gilt from stem to stern, representing
the vessel in which the Tyrrhenian pirates were said to have carried off
the young Dionysus when they had seen the black-haired hero on the shore
in his purple garments.  But the miscreants--so the myth went on to say--
were not allowed long to rejoice in their violence, for hardly had the
ship reached the open sea when the fetters dropped from the god, vines
entwined the sails in sudden luxuriance, tendrils encumbered the oars and
rudder, heavy grapes clustered round the ropes, and ivy clung to the mast
and shrouded the seats and sides of the vessel.  Dionysus is equally
powerful on sea and on land; in the pirates' ship he assumed the form of
a lion, and the pirates, filled with terror, flung themselves into the
sea, and in the form of dolphins followed their lost bark.

All this Titianus had caused to be represented just as the Homeric hymns
described it, out of slight materials, but richly and elegantly
decorated, in order to provide a feast for the eyes of the Alexandrians,
with the intention of riding in it himself, with his wife and the most
illustrious of the Romans who formed the Empress' suite, to enjoy all the
Holiday doings in the chief streets of the city.  Young and old, great
and small, men and women, Greeks, Romans, Jews, Egyptians, foreigners
dark and fair, with smooth hair or crisp wool, crowded with equal
eagerness to the edge of the roadway to see the gorgeous boat.

Hadrian, far more anxious to see the show than his younger but less
excitable favorite, pushed into the front rank, and as Antinous was
trying to follow him, a Greek boy, whom he had shoved aside, snatched his
mask from his face, threw himself on the ground, and slipped nimbly off
with his booty.  When Hadrian looked round for the Bithyman, the ship-in
which the prefect was standing between the images of the Emperor and
Empress, while Julia, Balbilla, and her companion, and other Roman lords
and ladies were sitting in it--had come quite near to them.  His sharp
eye had recognized them all, and fearing that the lad's uncovered face
would betray them he cried out:

"Turn round and get into the crowd again."  The favorite immediately
obeyed, and only too glad to escape from the crowd, which was a thing he
detested, he sat down on a bench close to the Paneum, and looked dreamily
at the ground while he thought of Selene and the nosegay he had sent her,
neither seeing nor hearing anything of what was going on around him.

When the gaudy ship left the gardens of the Paneum and turned into the
Canopic way, the crowd pursued it in a dense mass, hallooing and
shouting.  Like a torrent suddenly swelled by a storm it rushed on,
surging and growing at each moment, and carrying with it even those who
tried to resist its force.  Thus even Hadrian and Pollux were forced to
follow in its wake, and it was not till they found themselves in the
broad Canopic way that they were able to come to a stand-still.  The
broad roadway of this famous street was bordered on each side by a long
vista of colonnade, and it extended from one end of the city to the
other.  There were hundreds of the Corinthian columns which supported the
roof that covered the footway, and near to one of these the Emperor and
Pollux succeeded at last in effecting a halt and taking breath.

Hadrian's first thought was for his favorite, and being averse to
venturing himself once more to mix with the crowd, he begged the sculptor
to go and seek him and conduct him safely.

"Will you wait for me here?"  asked Pollux.

"I have known a pleasanter halting place," sighed the Emperor.

"So have I," answered the artist.  "But that tall door there, wreathed
round with boughs of poplar and ivy, leads into a cook-shop where the
gods themselves might be content to find themselves."

"Then I will wait there."

"But I warn you to eat as much as you can, for the Olympian table' as
kept by Lykortas, the Corinthian, is the dearest eating-house in the
whole city.  None but the richest are his guests."

"Very good," laughed Hadrian.  "Only find my assistant a new mask and
bring him back to me.  It will not ruin me quite, even if I pay for a
supper for all three of us, and on a holiday one expects to spend

"I hope you may not live to repent," retorted Pollux.  "But a long fellow
like me is a good trencherman, and can do his part with the wine-jar."

"Only show me what you can do," cried Hadrian after him as Pollux hurried
off.  "I owe you a supper at any rate, for that cabbage stew of your

While Pollux went to seek the Bithyman in the vicinity of the Paneum, the
Emperor entered the eating house, which the skill of the cook had made
the most frequented and fashionable in Alexandria.  The place in which
most of the customers of the house dined, consisted of a large open hall,
surrounded by arcades which were roofed in on three of its sides and
closed by a wall on its fourth; in these arcades stood couches, on which
the guests reclined singly, or in couples, or in larger groups, and
ordered the dishes and liquors which the serving slaves, pretty boys with
curling hair and hand some dresses, placed before them on low tables.
Here all was noise and bustle; at one table an epicure devoted himself
silently to the enjoyment of some carefully-prepared delicacy, at another
a large circle of men seemed to be talking more eagerly than they either
eat or drank, and from several of the smaller rooms behind the wall at
the back of the hall came sounds of music and song, and the bold laughter
of men and women.

The Emperor asked for a private room, but they were all occupied, and he
was requested to wait a little while, for that one of the adjoining.
rooms would very soon be vacant.  He had taken off his mask, and though
he was not particularly afraid of being recognized in his disguise he
chose a couch that was screened by a broad pillar in one of the arcades
at the inner side of the court, and which, now that evening was beginning
to fall was already in obscurity.  There he ordered, first some wine and
then some oysters to begin, with; while he was eating these he called one
of the superintendents and discussed with him the details of the supper
he wished presently to be served to himself and his two guests.  During
this conversation the bustling host came to make his bow to his new
customer, and seeing that he had to do with a man fully conversant with
all the pleasures of the table, he remained to attend on him, and entered
with special zeal into Hadrian's various requirements.

There was, too, plenty to be seen in the court, which roused the
curiosity of the most inquisitive and enquiring man of his time.  In the
large space enclosed by the arcades, and under the eyes of the guests, on
gridirons and hearths, over spits and in ovens the various dishes were
prepared which were served up by the slaves.  The cooks prepared their
savory messes on large, clean tables, and the scene of their labors,
which, though enclosed by cords was open to public gaze was surrounded by
a small market, where however only the choicest of wares were displayed.

Here in tempting array was every variety of vegetable reared on Greek or
Egyptian soil; here speckless fruits of every size and hue were set out,
and there ready baked, shining, golden-brown pasties were displayed.
Those containing meat, fish or the mussels of Canopus were prepared in
Alexandria itself, but others containing fruit or the leaves of flowers
were brought from Arsinoe on the shores of Lake Moeris, for in that
neighborhood the cultivation of fruit and horticulture generally were
pursued with the greatest success.  Meat of all sorts lay or hung in
suitable places; there were juicy hams from Cyrene, Italian sausages and
uncooked joints of various slaughtered beasts.  By them lay or hung game
and poultry in select abundance, and a large part of the court was taken
up by a tank in which the choicest of the scaly tribes of the Nile, and
of the lakes of Northern Egypt, were swimming about as well as the
Muraena and other fish of Italian breed.  Alexandrian crabs and the
mussels, oysters, and cray-fish of Canopus and Klysma were kept alive in
buckets or jars.  The smoked meats of Mendes and the neighborhood of Lake
Moeris hung on metal pegs, and in a covered but well-aired room,
sheltered from the sun lay freshly-imported fish from the Mediterranean
and Red Sea.  Every guest at the 'Olympian table' was allowed here to
select the meat, fruit, asparagus, fish, or pasty which he desired to
have cooked for him.  The host, Lykortas, pointed out to Hadrian an old
gentleman who was busy in the court that was so prettily decorated with
still-life, engaged in choosing the raw materials of a banquet he wished
to give some friends in the evening of this very day.

"It is all very nice and extremely good," said Hadrian, "but the gnats
and flies which are attracted by all those good things are unendurable,
and the strong smell of food spoils my appetite."

"It is better in the side-rooms," said the host.  "In the one kept for
you the company is now preparing to depart.  In behind here the sophists
Demetrius and Pancrates are entertaining a few great men from Rome,
rhetoricians or philosophers or something of the kind.  Now they are
bringing in the fine lamps and they have been sitting and talking at that
table ever since breakfast.  There come the guests out of the side room.
Will you take it?"

"Yes," said Hadrian.  "And when a tall young man comes to ask for the
architect Claudius Venato, from Rome, bring him in to me."

"An architect then, and not a sophist or a rhetorician," said mine host,
looking keenly at the Emperor.

"Silenus,--a philosopher!"

"Oh the two vociferous friends there go about even on other days naked
and with ragged cloaks thrown over their lean shoulders.  To-day they are
feeding at the expense of rich Josephus."

"Josephus! he must be a Jew and yet he is making a large hole in the

"There would be more swine in Cyrene if there were no Jews; they are
Greeks like ourselves, and eat everything that is good."

Hadrian went into the vacant room, lay down on a couch that stood by the
wall, and urged the slaves who were busied in removing the dishes and
vessels used by his predecessors, and which were swarming with flies.  As
soon as he was alone he listened to the conversation which was being
carried on between Favorinus, Florus, and their Greek guests.  He knew
the two first very well, and not a word of what they were saying escaped
his keen ear.

Favorinus was praising the Alexandrians in a loud voice, but in flowing
and elegantly-accented Greek.  He was a native of Arelas--[Arles]--in
Gaul, but no Hellene of them all could pour forth a purer flow of the
language of Demosthenes than he.  The self-reliant, keen, and vivacious
natives of the African metropolis were far more to his taste than the
Athenians; these dwelt only in, and for, the past; the Alexandrians
rejoiced in the present.  Here an independent spirit still survived,
while on the shores of the Ilissus there were none but servile souls who
made a merchandise of learning, as the Alexandrians did of the products
of Africa and the treasures of India.  Once when he had fallen into
disgrace with Hadrian, the Athenians had thrown down his statue, and the
favor or disfavor of the powerful weighed with him more than intellectual
greatness, valuable labors, and true merit.

Florus agreed with Favorinus on the whole, and declared that Rome must be
freed from the intellectual influence of Athens; but Favorinus did not
admit this; he opined that it was very difficult for any one who had left
youth behind him, to learn anything new, thus referring, with light
irony, to the famous work in which Florus had attempted to divide the
history of Rome into four periods, corresponding to the ages of man, but
had left out old age, and had treated only of childhood, youth, and
manhood.  Favorinus reproached him with overestimating the versatility of
the Roman genius, like his friend Fronto, and underrating the Hellenic

Florus answered the Gaulish orator in a deep voice, and with such a grand
flow of words, that the listening Emperor would have enjoyed expressing
his approbation, and could not help considering the question as to how
many cups of wine his usually placid fellow-countryman might have taken
since breakfast to be so excited.  When Floras tried to prove that under
Hadrian's rule Rome had risen to the highest stage of its manhood, his
friend, Demetrius, of Alexandria, interrupted him, and begged him to tell
him something about the Emperor's person.  Florus willingly acceded to
this request, and sketched a brilliant picture of the administrative
talent, the learning, and the capability of the Emperor.

"There is only one thing," he cried eagerly, "that I cannot approve of;
he is too little at Rome, which is now the core and centre of the world.
He must need see every thing for himself, and he is always wandering
restlessly through the provinces.  I should not care to change with him!"

"You have expressed the same ideas in verse," said Favorinus.

"Oh!  a jest at supper-time.  So long as I am in Alexandria and waiting
on Caesar I can make myself very comfortable every day at the 'Olympian
table' of this admirable cook."

"But how runs your poem?"  asked Pancrates.

"I have forgotten it, and it deserved no better fate," replied Florus.

"But I," laughed the Gaul, "I remember the beginning.  The first lines,
I think, ran thus:

                  "'Let others envy Caesar's lot;
                    To wander through Britannia's dales
                    And be snowed up in Scythian vales
                    Is Caesar's taste--I'd rather not?'"

As he heard these words Hadrian struck his fist into the palm of his left
hand, and while the feasters were hazarding guesses as to why he was so
long in coming to Alexandria, he took out the folding tablet he was in
the habit of carrying in his money-bag, and hastily wrote the following
lines on the wax face of it:

                   'Let others envy Florus' lot;
                    To wander through the shops for drink,
                    Or, into foolish dreaming sink
                    In a cook-shop, where sticky flies
                    Buzz round him till he shuts his eyes
                    Is Florus' taste--I'd rather not?'

     [From verses by Hadrian and Florus, preserved in Spartianus.]

Hardly had he ended the lines, muttering them to himself with much relish
as he wrote, when the waiter showed in Pollux.  The sculptor had failed
to find Antinous, and suggested that the young man had probably gone
home; he also begged that he might not be detained long at supper, for
he had met his master Papias, who had been extremely annoyed by his long
absence.  Hadrian was no longer satisfied with the artist's society, for
the conversation in the next room was to him far more attractive than
that of the worthy young fellow.  He himself was anxious to quit the meal
soon, for he felt restless and uneasy.  Antinous could no doubt easily
find his way to Lochias, but recollections of the evil omens he had
observed in the heavens last night flitted across his soul like bats
through a festal hall, marring the pleasure on which he again tried to
concentrate it, in order to enjoy his hours of liberty.

Even Pollux was not so light-hearted as before.  His long walk had made
him hungry, and he addressed himself so vigorously to the excellent
dishes which rapidly followed each other by his entertainer's orders,
and emptied the cup with such unfailing diligence, that the Emperor was
astonished: but the more he had to think about, the less did he talk.

Pollux, to be sure, had had his answer ready for his master, and without
considering how easy it would have been to part from him in kindness, he
had shortly and roundly quitted his service.  Now indeed he stood on his
own feet, and he was longing to tell Arsinoe and his parents of what he
had done.

During the course of the meal his mother's advice recurred to his mind:
to do his best to win the favor and good will of the architect whose
guest he was; but he set it aside, for he was accustomed to owe all he
gained to his own exertions, and though he still keenly felt in Hadrian
the superiority of a powerful mind, their expedition through the city had
not brought him any nearer to the Roman.  Some insurmountable barrier
stood fixed between himself and this restless, inquisitive man, who
required so many answers that no one else had time to ask a question, and
who when he was silent looked so absorbed and unapproachable that no one
would have ventured to disturb him.  The bold young artist had, however,
tried now and again to break through the fence, but each time, he had at
once been seized with a feeling, of which he could not rid himself, that
he had done something awkward and unbecoming.  He felt in his intercourse
with the architect as a noble dog might feel that sported with a lion,
and such sport could come to no good.  Thus, for various reasons, host
and guest were well content when the last dish was removed.  Before
Pollux left the room the Emperor gave him the tablets with the verses and
begged him, with a meaning smile, to desire the gate-keeper at the
Caesareum to give them to Annaeus Florus the Roman.  He once more
urgently charged the sculptor to look about for his young friend and,
if he should find him at Lochias, to tell him that he, Claudius Venator,
would return home ere long.  Then the artist went his way.

Hadrian still sat a long time listening to the talk close by; but after
waiting for above an hour to hear some fresh mention made of himself, he
paid his reckoning and went out into the Canopic way, now brilliantly
lighted.  There he mingled with the revellers, and walked slowly onward,
seeking suspiciously and anxiously for his vanished favorite.


Antinous, searching for his master, had wandered about in the crowd.
Whenever he saw any figures of exceptional stature he followed them, but
each time only to discover that he had entered on a false track.  Long
and persistent effort was not in his nature, so as soon as he began to
get tired, he gave up the search and sat down again on a stone bench in
the garden of the Paneum.

Two cynic philosophers, with unkempt hair, tangled beards, and ragged
cloaks flung over their shivering bodies, sat down by him and fell into
loud and contemptuous abuse of the deference shown, 'in these days,' to
external things and vulgar joys, and of the wretched sensualists who
regarded pleasure and splendor, rather than virtue, as the aim and end of
existence.  In order to be heard by the by-standers they spoke in loud
tones, and the elder of the two, flourished his knotted stick as
viciously, as though he had to defend himself against an attack.
Antinous felt much disgusted by the hideous appearance, the coarse
manners, and shrill voices of these persons, and when he rose--as the
cynics' diatribe seemed especially directed against him--they scoffed
at him as he went, mocking at his costume and his oiled and perfumed
hair.  The Bithynian made no reply to this abuse.  It was odious to him,
but he thought it might perhaps have amused Caesar.

He wandered on without thinking; the street in which he presently found
himself must no doubt lead to the sea, and if he could once find himself
on the shore he could not fail to make his way to Lochias.  By the time
it was growing dark he was once more standing outside the little gate-
house, and there he learnt from Doris that the Roman and her son had not
yet returned.

What was he to do alone in the vast empty palace?  Were not the very
slaves free to-day?  Why should not he too for once enjoy life
independently and in his own way?  Full of the pleasant sense of being
his own master and at liberty to walk in a road of his own choosing, he
went onwards, and when he presently passed by the stall of a flower-
seller, he began once more to think eagerly of Selene and the nosegay,
which must long since have reached her hands.

He had heard from Pollux in the morning that the steward's daughter was
being tended by Christians in a little house not far from the sea-shore;
indeed the sculptor himself had been quite excited as he told Antinous
that he himself had peeped into the lighted room and had seen her.  'A
glorious creature' he had called her, and had said that she had never
looked more beautiful than in a recumbent attitude on her bed.

Antinous recalled all this and determined to venture on an attempt to see
again the maiden whose image filled his heart and brain.

It was now dark and the same light which had allowed of the sculptor's
seeing Selene's features might this evening reveal them to him also.
Full of passion and excitement, he got into the first litter he met with.
The swarthy bearers were far too slow for his longing, and more than once
he flung to them as much money as they were wont to earn in a week, to
urge them to a brisker pace.  At last he reached his destination; but
seeing that several men and women robed in white, were going into the
garden, he desired the bearers to carry him farther.  Close to a dark
narrow lane which bounded the widow's garden-plot on the east and led
directly to the sea, he desired them to stop, got out of the litter and
bid the slaves wait for him.  At the garden door he still found two men
dressed in white, and one of the cynic philosophers who had sat by him on
the bench near the Paneum.  He paced impatiently up and clown, waiting
till these people should have disappeared, and thus passing again and
again under the light of the torches that were stuck up by the gate.

The dry cynic's prominent eyes were everywhere at once, and as soon as he
perceived the peripatetic Bithynian he flung up his arm, exclaiming, as
he pointed to him with a long, lean, stiff forefinger--half to the
Christians with whom he had been talking and half to the lad himself:

"What does he want.  That fop! that over-dressed minion!  I know the
fellow; with his smooth face and the silver quiver on his shoulder he
believes he is Eros in person.  Be off with you, you house-rat.  The
women and girls in here know how to protect themselves against the sort
who parade the streets in rose-colored draperies.  Take yourself off, or
you will make acquaintance with the noble Paulina's slaves and clogs.
Hi! gate-keeper, here! keep an eye on this fellow."

Antinous made no answer, but slowly went back to his litter.

"To-morrow perhaps, if I cannot manage it tonight," he thought to himself
as be went; and he never thought of any other means of attaining his end,
much as he longed for it.  A hindrance that came in his way ceased to be
a hindrance as soon as he had left it behind him, and after this
reflection he acted on this occasion as on many former ones.  The litter
was no longer standing where he had left it; the bearers had carried it
into the lane leading to the sea, for the only little abode which stood
on the eastern side of it belonged to a fisherman whose wife sold thin
potations of Pelusium beer.

Antinous went down the green alley overarched with boughs of fig, to call
the negroes who were sitting in the dull light of a smoky oil-lamp.  Here
it was dark, but at the end of the alley the sea shone and sparkled in
the moonlight; the splashing of the waves tempted him onwards and he
loitered clown to the stone-bound shore.  There he spied a boat dancing
on the water between two piles and it came into his head that it might be
possible to see the house where Selene was sleeping, from the sea.

He undid the rope which secured the boat without any difficulty; he
seated himself in it, laid aside the quiver and bow, pushed off with one
of the oars that lay at the bottom of the boat and pulled with steady
strokes towards the long path of light where the moon touched the crest
of each dancing wavelet with unresting tremulous flecks of silver.

There lay the widow's garden.  In that small white house must the fair
pale Selene be sleeping, but though he rowed hither and thither,
backwards and forwards, he could not succeed in discovering the window of
which Pollux had spoken.  Might it not be possible to find a spot where
he could disembark and then make his way into the garden?  He could see
two little boats, but they lay in a narrow walled canal and this was
closed by an iron railing.  Beyond, was a, terrace projecting into the
sea, and surrounded by an elegant balustrade of little columns, but it
rose straight out of the sea on smooth high walls.  But there--what was
that gleaming under the two palm-trees which, springing from the same
root, had grown together tall and slender--was not that a flight of
marble steps leading down to the sea?

Antinous dipped his right oar in the waves with a practised hand to alter
the head of the boat and was in the act of pulling his hand up to make
his stroke against the pressure of the waves--but he did not complete the
movement, nay he counteracted the stroke by a dexterous reverse action; a
strange vision arrested his attention.  On the terrace, which lay full in
the bright moonlight, there appeared a white-robed figure with long
floating hair.

How strangely it moved!  It went now to one side and now to the other,
then again it stood still and clasped its head in its hands.  Antinous
shuddered, he could not help thinking of the Daimons of which Hadrian so
often spoke.  They were said to be of half-divine and half-human nature,
and sometimes appeared in the guise of mortals.

Or was Selene dead and was the white figure her wandering shade?
Antinous clutched the handles of the oars, now merely floating on the
water, and bending forward gazed fixedly and with bated breath at the
mysterious being which had now reached the balustrade of the terrace,
now--he saw quite plainly--covered its face with both hands, leaned far
over the parapet, and now as a star falls through the sky on a clear
night, as a fruit drops from the tree in autumn, the white form of the
girl dropped from the terrace.  A loud cry of anguish broke the silence
of the night which veiled the world, and almost at the same instant the
water splashed and gurgled up, and the moonbeams, cold and bright as
ever, were mirrored in the thousand drops that flew up from its surface.

Was this Antinous, the indolent dreamer, who so promptly plunged his oars
in the water, pulled a powerful stroke, and then, when in a few seconds
after her fall, the form of the drowning girl came to the surface again
quite close to the boat, flung aside the oar that was in his way?
Leaning far over the edge of the boat he seized the floating garment of
the drowning creature--it was a woman, no Daimon nor shade--and drew her
towards him.  He succeeded in raising her high out of the waves, but when
he tried to pull her fairly out of her watery bed, the weight, all on one
side of the boat, was too great; it turned over and Antinous was in the

The Bithyman was a good swimmer.  Before the white form could sink a
second time he had caught at it once more with his right hand and taking
care that her head should not again touch the surface of the water, he
swam with his left arm and legs towards the spot where he remembered he
had seen the flight of steps.  As soon as his feet felt the ground he
lifted the girl in both arms and a groan of relief broke from his lips as
he saw the marble steps close below him.  He went up them without
hesitation, and then, with a swift elastic step, carried his dripping and
senseless burden to the terrace where he had observed that there were
benches.  The wide floor of the sea-terrace, paved with smooth flags of
marble, was brightly lighted by the broad moonshine, and the whiteness of
the stone reflected and seemed to increase the light.  There stood the
benches which Antinous had seen from afar.

He laid his burden on the first he came to, and a thrill of thankful joy
warmed his shivering body when the rescued woman uttered a low cry of
pain which told him that he had not toiled in vain.  He gently slipped
his arm between the hard elbow of the marble seat and her head, to give
it a somewhat softer resting-place.  Her abundant hair fell in clammy
tresses, covering her face like a thick but fine veil; he parted it to
the right and left and then--then he sank on his knees by her side as if
a sudden bolt had fallen from the blue sky above them; for the features
were hers, Selene's, and the pale girl before whom he was kneeling was
she herself, the woman he loved.

Almost beside himself and trembling in every limb, he drew her closer to
him and put his ear against her mouth to listen whether he had not
deceived himself, whether she had not indeed fallen a victim to the waves
or whether some warm breath were passing the portals of her lips.

Yes she breathed!  she was alive!  Full of thankful ecstasy he pressed
his cheek to hers.  Oh! how cold she was, icy, cold as death!

The torch of life was flickering, but he would not--could not--must not
let it die out: and with all the care, rapidity and decision of the most
capable man, he once more raised her, lifted her in both arms as if she
were a child, and carried her straight to the house whose white walls he
could see gleaming among the shrubs behind the terrace.  The little lamp
was still burning in dame Hannah's room, which Selene had so lately
quitted; in front of the window through which the dim light came to
mingle with the moonbeams, lay the flowers whose perfume had so troubled
the suffering girl, and with them Hannah's clay jar, all still strewn on
the ground.

Was this nosegay his gift?  Very likely.

But the lamp-lighted room into which he now looked could be none other
than the sick-room, which he recognized from the sculptor's account.  The
housedoor was open and even that of the room in which he had seen the bed
was unfastened; he pushed it open with his foot, entered the room, and
laid Selene on the vacant couch.

There she lay as if dead; and as he looked at her immovable features,
hallowed to solemnity by sorrow and suffering, his heart was touched with
an ineffable solicitude, sympathy and pity; and, as a brother might bend
over a sleeping sister, he bent over Selene and kissed her forehead.  She
moved, opened her eyes, gazed into his face--but her glance was so full
of horror, so vague, glassy and bewildered, that he drew back with a
shudder, and with hands uplifted could only stammer out: "Oh! Selene,
Selene! do you not know me?"  and as he spoke he looked anxiously in the
face of the rescued girl; but she seemed not to hear him and nothing
moved but her eyes which slowly followed his every movement.

"Selene!" he cried again, and seizing her inanimate hand which hung down,
he pressed it passionately to his lips.

Then she gave a loud cry, a violent shiver shook her in every limb, she
turned aside with sighs and groans, and at the same instant the door was
opened, the little deformed girl entered the room and gave a shrill
scream of terror as she saw Antinous standing by the side of her friend.

The lad himself started and, like a thief who has been caught in the act,
he fled out into the night, through the garden, and as far as the gate
which led into the street without being stopped by any one.  Here the
gate-keeper met him, but he threw him aside with a powerful fling, and
while the old man--who had grown gray in his office--caught hold of his
wet chiton he tore the door open and ran on, dragging his pursuer with
him for some paces.  Then he flew down the street with long steps as if
he were racing in the Gymnasium, and soon he felt that his pursuer, in
whose hand he had left a piece of his garment, had given up the chase.

The gate-keeper's outcry had mingled with the pious hymns of the
assembled Christians in Paulina's villa, and some of them had hurried out
to help capture the disturber of the peace.  But the young Bithynian was
swifter than they and might consider himself perfectly safe when once he
had succeeded in mixing with a festal procession.  Half-willingly and
half-perforce, he followed the drunken throng which was making its way
from the heart of the city towards the lake, where, on a lonely spot on
the shore to the east of Nikropolis, they were to celebrate certain
nocturnal mysteries.  The goal of the singing, shouting, howling mob with
whom Antinous was carried along, was between Alexandria and Canopus and
far enough from Lochias; thus it fell out that it was long past midnight
when Hadrian's favorite, dirty, out of breath, and his clothes torn, at
last appeared in the presence of his master.


Hadrian had expected Antinous many hours since, and the impatience and
vexation which had been long seething in him were reflected plainly
enough in his sternly-bent brow and the threatening fire of his eye.

"Where have you been?"  he imperiously asked.

"I could not find you, so I took a boat and went out on the lake."

"That is false."

Antinous did not answer, but merely shrugged his shoulders.

"Alone?"  asked the Emperor more gently.  "Alone."

"And for what purpose?"

"I was gazing at the stars."


"And may I not, for once, tread in your footsteps?"

"Why not indeed?  The lights of heaven shine for the foolish as well as
for the wise.  Even asses must be born under a good or an evil star.  One
donkey serves a hungry grammarian and feeds on used-up papyrus, while
another enters the service of Caesar and is fattened up, and finds time
to go star-gazing at night.  What a state you are in."

"The boat upset and I fell into the water."  Hadrian was startled, and
observing his favorite's tangled hair in which the night wind had dried
the salt water, and his torn chiton, he anxiously exclaimed:

"Go this instant and let Mastor dry you and anoint you.  He too came back
with a bruised hand and red eyes.  Everything is upside clown this
accursed evening.  You look like a slave that has been hunted by clogs.
Drink a few cups of wine and then lie down."

"I obey your orders, great Caesar."

"So formal?  The donkey simile vexed you."

"You used always to have a kind word for me."

"Yes, yes, and I shall have them again, I shall have them again.  Only
not to-night--go to bed."

Antinous left him, but the Emperor paced his room, up and down with long
steps, his arms crossed over his breast and his eyes fixed on the ground.
His superstitious soul had been deeply disturbed by a series of evil
signs which he had not only seen the previous night in the sky, but had
also met on his way to Lochias, and which seemed to be beginning to be
fulfilled already.

He had left the eating house in an evil humor, the bad omens made him
anxious, and though on his arrival at home he had done one or two things
which he already regretted, this had certainly not been due to any
adverse Daimons but to the brooding gloom of his clouded mind.  Eternal
circumstances, it is true, had led to his being witness to an attack made
by the mob on the house of a wealthy Israelite, and it was attributable
to a vexatious accident that at this juncture, he should have met Verus,
who had observed and recognized him.  Yes, the Spirits of evil were
abroad this day, but his subsequent experiences and deeds upon reaching
Lochias, would certainly not have taken place on any more fortunate day,
or, to be more exact, if he had been in a calmer frame of mind; he
himself alone was in fault, he alone, and no spiteful accident, nor
malicious and tricky Daimon.  Hadrian, to be sure, attributed to these
sprites all that he had done, and so considered it irremediable; an
excellent way, no doubt, of exonerating oneself from a burdensome duty,
or from repairing some injustice, but conscience is a register in which a
mysterious hand inexorably enters every one of our deeds, and in which
all that we do is ruthlessly called by its true name.  We often succeed,
it is true, in effacing the record for a longer or a shorter period, but
often, again, the letters on the page shine with an uncanny light, and
force the inward eye to see them and to heed them.

On this particular night Hadrian felt himself compelled to read the
catalogue of his actions and among them he found many a sanguinary crime,
many a petty action unworthy of a far meaner soul than he; still the
record commemorated many duties strictly fulfilled, much honest work, an
unceasing struggle towards high aims, and an unwearied effort to feel his
way intellectually, to the most remote and exalted limits possible to the
human mind and comprehension.

In this hour Hadrian thought of none but his evil deeds, and vowed to the
gods--whom he mocked at with his philosophical friends, and to whom he
nevertheless addressed himself whenever he felt the insufficiency of his
own strength and means--to build a temple here, to offer a sacrifice
there, in order to expiate old crimes and divert their malice.  He felt
like a great man must who is threatened with the disfavor of his
superiors, and who hopes to propitiate them with gifts.  The haughty
Roman quailed at the thought of unknown dangers, but he was far from
feeling the wholesome pangs of repentance.

Hardly an hour since he had forgotten himself and had disgracefully
abused his power over a weaker creature, and now he was vexed at having
behaved so and not otherwise; but it never entered his head to humiliate
his pride or, by offering some compensation to the offended party,
tacitly to confess the injustice he had committed.  Often he deeply felt
his human weakness, but he was quite capable of believing in the
sacredness of his imperial person, and this he always found most easy
when he had trodden under foot some one who had been rash enough to
insult him, or not to acknowledge his superiority.  And was it not on the
contemners of the gods that their heaviest punishments fell?

To-day the terrestrial Jupiter had again crushed into the earth with his
thunderbolts, an overbold mortal, and this time the son of the worthy
gate-keeper was his victim.  The sculptor certainly had been so unlucky
as to touch Hadrian in his most sensitive spot, but a cordially
benevolent feeling is not easily converted into a relentless opposition
if we are not ourselves--as was the case with the Emperor--accustomed to
jump from one mood to the other, are not conscious--as he was--of having
it in our power directly to express our good-will or our aversion in

The sculptor's capacities had commanded the Emperor's esteem, his
fresh and independent nature had at first suited and attracted him,
but even during the walk together through the streets, the young man's
uncompromising manner of treating him as an equal had become unpleasing
to him.  In his workshop he saw in Pollux only the artist, and delighted
in his original and dashing powers; but out of it, and among men of a
commoner stamp, from whom he was accustomed to meet with deference, the
young man's speech and demeanor seemed unbecoming, bold, and hard to be
endured.  In the eating-house the huge eater and drinker, who laughingly
pressed him to do his part, so as not to make a present to the landlord,
had filled Hadrian with repulsion.  And after this, when Hadrian had
returned to Lochias, out of humor and rendered apprehensive by evil
omens, and even then had not found his favorite, he impatiently paced up
and down the hall of the Muses and would not deign to offer a greeting to
the sculptor, who was noisily occupied behind his screens.

Pollux had passed quite as bad an evening as the Emperor.  When, in his
desire to see Arsinoe once more, he penetrated to the door of the
steward's apartment, Keraunus had stopped his way, and sent him about his
business with insulting words.  In the hall of the Muses he had met his
master, and had had a quarrel with him, for Papias, to whom he repeated
his notice to quit, had grown angry, and had desired him then and there
to sort out his own tools, and to return those that belonged to him, his
master, and for the future to keep himself as far as possible from
Papias' house, and from the works in progress at Locluas.  On this, hard
words had passed on both sides, and when Papias had left the palace and
Pollux went to seek Pontius the architect, in order to discuss his future
plans with him, he learnt that he too had quitted Lochias a short time
before, and would not return till the following morning.

After brief reflection he determined to obey the orders of Papias and
to pack his own tools together.  Without paying any heed to Hadrian's
presence he began to toss some of the hammers, chisels, and wooden
modelling tools into one box, and others into another, doing it as
recklessly as though he were minded to punish the unconscious tools as
adverse creatures who had turned against him.

At last his eye fell on Hadrian's bust of Balbilla.  The hideous
caricature at which he had laughed only yesterday, made him angry now,
and after gazing at it thoughtfully for a few minutes his blood boiled up
furiously, he hastily pulled a lath out of the partition and struck at
the monstrosity with such fury that the dry clay flew in pieces, and the
fragments were strewed far and wide about the workshop.  The wild noise
behind the sculptor's screen made the Emperor pause in his walk to see
what the artist was doing; he looked on at the work of destruction,
unobserved by Pollux, and as he looked the blood mounted to his head; he
knit his brows in anger, a blue vein in his forehead swelled and stood
out, and ominous lines appeared above his brow.  The great master of
state-craft could more easily have borne to hear himself condemned as a
ruler than to see his work of art despised.  A man who is sure of having
done some thing great can smile at blame, but he, who is not confident in
himself has reason to dread it, and is easily drawn into hating the
critic who utters it.  Hadrian was trembling with fury, he doubled his
first as he lifted it in Pollux's face, and going close up to him asked
in a threatening tone:

"What do you mean by that?"

The sculptor glanced round at the Emperor and answered, raising his stick
for another blow:

"I am demolishing this caricature for it enrages me."

"Come here," shouted Hadrian, and clutching the girdle which confined the
artist's chiton, in his strong sinewy hand, he dragged the startled
sculptor in front of his Urania wrenched the lath out of his hand, struck
the bust of the scarcely-finished statue off the body, exclaiming as he
did so, in a voice that mimicked Pollux:

"I am demolishing this bungler's work for it enrages me!"

The artist's arms fell by his side; astonished and infuriated he stared
at the destroyer of his handiwork, and cried out:

"Madman! this is enough.  One blow more and you will feel the weight of
my fists."

Hadrian laughed aloud, a cold hard laugh, flung the lath at Pollux's feet
and said:

"Judgment against judgment--it is only fair."

"Fair?"  shrieked Pollux, beside himself.

"Your wretched rubbish, which my squinting apprentice could have done as
well as you, and this figure born in a moment of inspiration!  Shame upon
you!  Once more, if you touch the Urania again I warn you, you shall

"Well, what?"

"That in Alexandria grey hairs are only respected so long as they deserve

Hadrian folded his arms, stepped quite close up to Pollux, and said:

"Gently, fellow, if you value your life."

Pollux stepped back before the imposing personage that stood before him,
and, as it were scales, fell from his eyes.  The marble statue of the
Emperor in the Caesareum represented the sovereign in this same attitude.
The architect, Claudius Venator, was none other than Hadrian.

The young artist turned pale and said with bowed head, and in low voice
as he turned to go:

"Right is always on the side of the strongest.  Let me go.  I am nothing
but a poor artist--you are some thing very different.  I know you now;
you are Caesar."

"I am Caesar," snarled Hadrian, "and if you think more of yourself as an
artist than of me, I will show you which of us two is the sparrow, and
which the eagle."

"You have the power to destroy, and I only desire--"

"The only person here who has a right to desire is myself," cried the
Emperor, "and I desire that you shall never enter this palace again, nor
ever come within sight of me so long as I remain here.  What to do with
your kith and kin I will consider.  Not another word!  Away with you, I
say, and thank the gods that I judge the misdeed of a miserable boy more
mercifully than you dared to do in judging the work of a greater man than
yourself, though you knew that he had done it in an idle hour with a few
hasty touches.  Be off, fellow; my slaves will finish destroying your
image there, for it deserves no better fate, and because--what was it you
said just now?  I remember--and because it enrages me."

A bitter laugh rang after the lad as he quitted the hall.  At the
entrance, which was perfectly dark, he found his master, Papias, who had
not missed a word of what had passed between him and the Emperor.  As
Pollux went into his mother's house he cried out:

"Oh mother, mother, what a morning, and what an evening.  Happiness is
only the threshold to misery."


Happiness is only the threshold to misery
When a friend refuses to share in joys

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Emperor — Volume 06" ***

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