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Title: The Emperor — Volume 03
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 "The Emperor — Volume 03" ***

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THE EMPEROR, Part 1.

By Georg Ebers

Volume 3.



CHAPTER X.

While anxiety and trouble were brooding over the steward's dwelling,
while dismay and disappointment were clouding the souls of its
inhabitants, the hall of the Muses was merry with feasting and laughter.

Julia, the prefect's wife, had supplied the architect at Lochias with a
carefully-prepared meal,--sufficient to fill six hungry maws, and
Pontius' slave--who had received it on its arrival and had unpacked it
dish after dish, and set them out on the humblest possible table had then
hastened to fetch his master to inspect all these marvels of the cook's
art.  The architect shook his head as he contemplated the superabundant
blessing, and muttered to himself:

"Titianus must take me for a crocodile, or rather for two crocodiles,"
and he went to the sculptor's little tabernacle, where Papias the master
was also, to invite the two men to share his supper.

Besides them he asked two painters, and the chief mosaic worker of the
city, who all day long had been busied in restoring the old and faded
pictures on the ceilings and pavements, and under the influence of good
wine and cheerful chat they soon emptied the dishes and bowls and
trenchers.  A man who for several hours has been using his hands or his
mind, or both together, waxes hungry, and all the artists whom Pontius
had brought together at Lochias had now been working for several days
almost to the verge of exhaustion.  Each had done his best, in the first
place, no doubt, to give satisfaction to Pontius, whom all esteemed, and
to himself; but also in the hope of giving proof of his powers to the
Emperor and of showing him how things could be done in Alexandria.  When
the dishes had been removed and the replete feasters had washed and dried
their hands, they filled their cups out of a jar of mixed wine, of which
the dimensions answered worthily to the meal they had eaten.  One of the
painters then proposed that they should hold a regular drinking-bout, and
elect Papias, who was as well known as a good table orator as he was as
an artist, to be the leader of the feast.  However, the master declared
that he could not accept the honor, for that it was due to the worthiest
of their company; to the man namely, who, only a few days since, had
entered this empty palace and like a second Deucalion had raised up
illustrious artists, such as he then saw around him in great numbers, and
skilled workmen by hundreds, not out of plastic stone but out of nothing.
And then--while declaring that he understood the use of the hammer and
chisel better than that of the tongue, and that he had never studied the
art of making speeches--he expressed his wish that Pontius would lead the
revel, in the most approved form.

But he was not allowed to get to the end of this evidence of his skill,
for Euphorion the door-keeper of the palace, Euphorion the father of
Pollux, ran hastily into the hall of the Muses with a letter in his hand
which he gave to the architect.

"To be read without an instant's delay," he added, bowing with theatrical
dignity to the assembled artists.  "One of the prefect's lictors brought
this letter, which, if my wishes be granted, brings nothing that is
unwelcome.  Hold your noise you little blackguards or I will be the death
of you."

These words, which so far as the tone was concerned, formed a somewhat
inharmonious termination to a speech intended for the ears of great
artists, were addressed to his wife's four-footed Graces who had followed
him against his wish, and were leaping round the table barking for the
slender remains of the consumed food.

Pontius was fond of animals and had made friends with the old woman's
pets, so, as he opened the prefect's letter, he said:

"I invite the three little guests to the remains of our feast.  Give them
anything that is fit for them, Euphorion, and whatever seems to you most
suitable to your own stomach you may put into it."

While the architect first rapidly glanced through the letter and then
read it carefully, the singer had collected a variety of good morsels for
his wife's favorites on a plate, and finally carried the last remaining
pasty, with the dish on which it reposed, to the vicinity of his own
hooked nose.

"For men or for dogs?"  he asked his son, as he pointed to it with a
rigid finger.

"For the gods!"  replied  Pollux.  "Take it to mother; she will like to
eat ambrosia for once."

"A jolly evening to you!"  cried the singer, bowing to the artists who
were emptying their cups, and he quitted the hall with his pasty and his
dogs.  Before he had fairly left the hall with his long strides, Papias,
whose speech had been interrupted, once more raised his wine-cup and
began again:

"Our Deucalion, our more than Deucalion--"

"Pardon me," interrupted Pontius.  "If I once more stop your discourse
which began so promisingly; this letter contains important news and our
revels must be over for the night.  We must postpone our symposium and
your drinking-speech."

"It was not a drinking-speech, for if ever there was a moderate man--"
Papias began.  But Pontius stopped him again, saying:

"Titianus writes me word that he proposes coming to Lochias this evening.
He may arrive at any moment; and not alone, but with my fellow-artist,
Claudius Venator from Rome, who is to assist me with his advice."

"I never even heard his name," said Papias, who was wont to trouble
himself as little about the persons as about the works of other artists.

"I wonder at that," said Pontius, closing the double tablets which
announced the Emperor's advent.

"Can he do anything?"  asked Pollux.

"More than any one of us," replied Pontius.  "He is a mighty man."

"That is splendid!"  exclaimed Pollux.  "I like to see great men.  When
one looks me in the eye I always feel as if some of his superabundance
overflowed into me, and irresistibly I draw myself up and think how fine
it would be if one day I might reach as high as that man's chin."

"Beware of morbid ambition," said Papias to his pupil in a warning voice.
"It is not the man who stands on tiptoe, but he who does his duty
diligently, that can attain anything great."

"He honestly does his," said the architect rising, and he laid his hand
on the young sculptor's shoulder.  "We all do; to-morrow by sunrise each
must be at his post again.  For my colleague's sake it will be well that
you should all be there in good time."

The artists rose, expressing their thanks and regrets.  "You will not
escape the continuation of this evening's entertainment," cried one of
the painters, and Papias, as he parted from Pontius, said:

"When we next meet I will show you what I understand by a drinking-
speech.  It will do perhaps for your Roman guest.  I am curious to hear
what he will say about our Urania.  Pollux has done his share of the work
very well, and I have already devoted an hour's work to it, which has
improved it.  The more humble our material, the better I shall be pleased
if the work satisfies Caesar; he himself has tried his hand at
sculpture."

"If only Hadrian could hear that!"  cried one of the painters.  "He likes
to think himself a great artist--one of the foremost of our time.  It is
said that he caused the life of the great architect, Apollodorus--who
carried out such noble works for Trajan--to be extinguished--and why?
because formerly that illustrious man had treated the imperial bungler as
a mere dabbler, and would not accept his plan for the temple of Venus at
Rome."

"Mere talk!" answered Pontius to this accusation.  "Apollodorus died in
prison, but his incarceration had little enough to do with the Emperor's
productions--excuse me, gentlemen, I must once more look through the
sketches and plans."

The architect went away, but Pollux continued the conversation that had
been begun by saying:

"Only I cannot understand how a man who practises so many arts at once
as Hadrian does, and at the same time looks after the state and its
government, who is a passionate huntsman and who dabbles in every kind
of miscellaneous learning, contrives, when he wants to practise one
particular form of art, to recall all his five senses into the nest from
which he has let them fly, here, there, and everywhere.  The inside
of his head must be like that salad-bowl--which we have reduced to
emptiness--in which Papias discovered three sorts of fish, brown and
white meat, oysters and five other substances."

"And who can deny," added Papias, "that if talent is the father, and meat
the mother of all productiveness, practice must be the artist's teacher!
Since Hadrian took to sculpture and painting it has become the universal
fashion here to practise these arts, and among the wealthier youth who
come to my workroom, many have very good abilities; but not one of them
brings anything to any good issue, because so much of their time is taken
up by the gymnasium, the bath, the quail-fights, the suppers, and I know
not what besides, so that they do nothing by way of practice."

"True," said a painter.  "Without the  restraint and worry of
apprenticeship no one can ever rise to happy and independent
creativeness; and in the schools of rhetoric or in hunting or fighting no
one can study drawing.  It is not till a pupil has learned to sit steady
and worry himself over his work for six hours on end that I begin to
believe he will ever do any good work.  Have you any of you seen the
Emperor's work?"

"I have," answered a mosaic worker.  "Many years ago Hadrian sent a
picture to me that he had painted; I was to make a mosaic from it.
It was a fruit piece.  Melons, gourds, apples, and green leaves.  The
drawing was but so-so, and the color impossibly vivid, still the
composition was pleasing from its solidity and richness.  And after all,
when one sees it, one cannot but feel that such superfluity is better
than meagreness and feebleness.  The larger fruits, especially under the
exuberant sappy foliage, were so huge that they might have been grown in
the garden of luxury itself, still the whole had a look of reality.  I
mitigated the colors somewhat in my transcript; you may still see a copy
of the picture at my house, it hangs in the studio where my men draw.
Nealkes, the rich hanging-maker, has had a tapestry woven from it which
Pontius proposes to use as a hanging for a wall of the work-room, but I
have made a fine frame on purpose for it."

"Say rather for its designer."

"Or yet rather," added the most loquacious of the painters, "for the
visit he may possibly pay your workshops."

"I only wish the Emperor may come to ours too!  I should like to sell him
my picture of Alexander saluted by the priests in the temple of Jupiter
Ammon."

"I hope that when you agree about the price you will remember we are
partners," said his fellow-artist smugly.

"I will follow your example strictly," replied the other.

"Then you will  certainly not be a loser," cried Papias, "for Eustorgius
is fully aware of the worth of his works.  And if Hadrian is to order
works from every master whose art he dabbles in, he will require a fleet
on purpose to carry his purchases to Rome."

"It is said," continued Eustorgius, laughing, "that he is a painter among
poets, a sculptor among painters, an astronomer among musicians, and a
sophist among artists--that is to say, that he pursues every art and
science with some success as his secondary occupation."

As he spoke the last words Pontius returned to the table where the
artists were standing round the winejar; he had heard the painter's last
remark and interrupted him by saying:

"But my friend you forget that he is a monarch among monarchs--and not
merely among those of today--in the fullest meaning of the word.  Each of
us separately can produce something better and more perfect in his own
line; but how great is the man who by earnestness and skill can even
apprehend everything that the mind has ever been able to conceive of, or
the creative spirit of the artist to embody!  I know him, and I know that
he loves a really thorough master, and tries to encourage him with
princely liberality.  But his ears are everywhere, and he promptly
becomes the implacable enemy of those who provoke his resentment.  So
bridle your restive Alexandrian tongues, and let me tell you that my
colleague from Rome is in the closest intimacy with Hadrian.  He is of
the same age, resembles him greatly, and repeats to him everything that
he hears said about him.  So cease talking about Caesar and pass no
severer judgments on dilettanti in the purple than on your wealthy
pupils, who paint and chisel for the mere love of it, and for whom you
find it so easy to lisp out 'charming,' or 'wonderfully pretty,' or
'remarkably nice.'  Take my warning in good part, you know I mean it
well."

He spoke the last words with a cordial, manly feeling, of which his voice
was peculiarly capable, and which was always certain to secure him the
confidence even of the recalcitrant.

The artists exchanged greetings and hand-shakings and left the hall; a
slave carried away the wine-jar and wiped the table, on which Pontius
proceeded to lay out his sketches and plans.  But he was not alone, for
Pollux was soon at his side, and with a comical expression of pathos and
laying his finger on his nose, he said:

"I have come out of my cage to say something more to you."

"Well?"

"The hour is approaching when I may hope to repay the beneficent deeds,
which, at various times, you have done to my interior.  My mother will
to-morrow morning, set before you that dish of cabbage.  It could not be
done sooner, because the only perfect sausage-maker, the very king of his
trade, prepares these savory cylinders only once a week.  A few hours ago
he completed the making of the sausages, and to-morrow morning my mother
will warm up for our breakfasts the noble mess, which she is preparing
for us this evening--for, as I have told you, it is in its warmed-up
state that it is the ideal of its kind.  What will follow by way of
sweets we shall owe again to my mother's art; but the cheering and
invigorating element--I mean the wine that I drives dull care away, we
owe to my sister."

"I will come," said Pontius, "if my guest leaves me an hour free, and I
shall enjoy the excellent dish.  But what does a gay bird like you know
of dull care?"

"The words fit into the metre," replied Pollux.  "I inherit from my
father--who, when he is not gate-keeping, sings and recites--
a troublesome tendency whenever anything incites me to drift into
rhythm."

"But to-day you have been more silent than usual, and yet you seemed to
me to be extraordinarily content.  Not your face only, but your whole
length--a good measure--from the sole of your foot to the crown of your
head was like a brimming cask of satisfaction."

"Well, there is much that is lovely in this world!"  cried Pollux,
stretching himself comfortably and lifting his arms with his hands
clasped far above his head towards heaven.

"Has anything specially pleasant happened to you?"

"There is no need for that!  Here I live in excellent company, the work
progresses, and--well, why should I deny it?  There was something
specially to mark to-day; I met an old acquaintance again."

"An old one?"

"I have already known her sixteen years; but when I first saw her she was
in swaddling clothes."

"Then this venerable damsel friend is more than sixteen, perhaps
seventeen!  Is Eros the friend of the happy, or does happiness only
follow in his train?"  As the architect thoughtfully said these words to
himself, Pollux listened attentively to a noise outside, and said:

"Who can be passing out there at this hour?  Do you not hear the bark of
a big dog mingle with the snapping of the three Graces?"

"It is Titianus conducting the architect from Rome," replied Pontius
excitedly.

"I will go to meet him.  But one thing more my friend, you too have an
Alexandrian tongue.  Beware of laughing at the Emperor's artistic efforts
in the presence of this Roman.  I repeat it: the man who is now coming is
superior to us all, and there is nothing more repellant to me than when a
small man assumes a strutting air of importance because he fancies he has
discovered in some great man a weak spot where his own little body
happens to be sound.  The artist I am expecting is a grand man, but the
Emperor Hadrian is a grander.  Now retire behind your screens, and
tomorrow morning I will be your guest."



CHAPTER XI.

Pontius threw his pallium over the chiton he commonly wore at his work
and went forward to meet the sovereign of the world, whose arrival had
been announced to him in the prefect's letter.  He was perfectly calm,
and if his heart beat a little faster than usual, it was only because he
was pleased once more to meet the wonderful man whose personality had
made a deep impression on him before.

In the happy consciousness of having done all that lay in his power and
of deserving no blame, he went through the ante-chambers and chief
entrance of the palace into the fore-court, where a crowd of slaves were
busied by torch-light in laying new marble slabs.  Neither these workmen
nor their overseers had paid any heed to the barking of the dogs and the
loud talking which had for some little time been audible in the vicinity
of the gate-keeper's lodge; for a special rate of payment had been
promised to the laborers and their foremen if they should have finished a
set piece of the new pavement by a certain hour, to the satisfaction of
the architect.  No one who heard the deep man's-voice ring through the
court from the doorway guessed to whom it belonged.

The Emperor had been delayed by adverse winds and had not run into the
harbor till a little before midnight.

Titianus, who was watching for him, he greeted as an old friend with
heartfelt warmth, and with him and Antinous he stepped into the prefect's
chariot, while Phlegon the secretary, Hermogenes his physician, and
Mastor with the luggage, among which were their campbeds, were to follow
in another vehicle.  The harbor watchmen hastened to array themselves
indignantly to oppose the chariot, as it rolled noisily along the street,
and the huge dog that destroyed the peace of the night with its baying;
but as soon as they recognized Titianus they respectfully made way.  The
gate-keeper and his wife, obedient to the prefect's warning, had remained
up, and as soon as the singer heard the chariot approaching which bore
the Emperor, he hastened to open the palace-gates.  The broken-up
pavement and the swarms of men engaged in repairing it, obliged Titianus
and his companions to quit the chariot here and to pass close to the
little gate-house.  Hadrian, whose observation nothing ever escaped which
came in his way and seemed worth noticing, stood still before Euphorion's
door and looked into the comfortable little room, with its decoration of
flowers and birds and the statue of Apollo; while dame Doris in her
newest garments, stood on the threshold to watch for the prefect.  And
Titianus greeted her warmly, for he was wont whenever he came to Lochias
to exchange a few merry or wise words with her.  The little dogs had
already crept into their basket, but as soon as they caught sight of a
strange dog they rushed past their mistress into the open air, and dame
Doris found herself obliged, while she returned the kindly greeting of
her patron, to shout at Euphrosyne, Thalia and Aglaia more than once by
their pretty names.

"Splendid, splendid!" cried Hadrian, pointing into the little house.
"An idyl, a perfect idyl.  Who would have expected to find such a smiling
nook of peace in the most restless and busy town in the empire."

"I and Pontius were equally surprised at this little nest, and we
therefore left it untouched," said the prefect.

"Intelligent people understand each other, and I owe you thanks for
preserving this little home," answered the Emperor.  "What an omen, what
a favorable, in every way favorable augury, it offers me.  The Graces
receive me here into these old walls, Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne!"

"Good luck to you, Master," old Doris called out to the prefect.

"We come late," said Hadrian.

"That does not matter," said  the old woman.  "Here at Lochias for the
last week we have quite forgotten to distinguish day from night, and a
blessing can never come too late."

"I have brought with me to-day an illustrious guest," said Titianus.
"The great Roman architect Claudius Venator.  He only disembarked a few
minutes since."

"Then a draught of wine will do him good.  We have in the house some good
white Mareotic from my daughter's garden by the lake.  If your friend
will do us humble folks so much honor, I beg he will step into our room;
it is clean, is it not sir?  and the cup I will give him to drink it out
of would not disgrace the Emperor himself.  Who knows what you will find
up in the midst of all the muddle yonder?"

"I will accept your invitation with pleasure," answered Hadrian.  "I can
see by your face that you have a pleasure in entertaining us, and any one
might envy you your little house."

"When the climbing-rose and the honey-suckle are out it is much
prettier," said Doris, as she filled the cup.  "Here is some water for
mixing."

The Emperor took the cup carved by Pollux, looked at it with admiration,
and before putting it to his lips said:

"A masterpiece, dame; what would Caesar find to drink out of here where
the gate-keeper uses such a treasure?  Who executed this admirable work,
pray?"

"My son carved it for me in his spare time."

"He is a highly-skilled sculptor," Titianus explained.

When the Emperor had half emptied the cup with much satisfaction he set
it on the table, and said:

"A very noble drink!  I thank you, mother."

"And I you, for styling me mother: there is no better title a woman can
have who has brought up good children; and I have three who need never be
ashamed to be seen."

"I wish you all luck with them, good little mother," replied the Emperor.

"We shall meet again, for I am going to spend some days at Lochias."

"Now, in all this bustle?"  asked Doris.

"This great architect," said Titianus, in explanation, "is to advise and
help our Pontius."

"He needs no help!"  cried the old woman.  "He is a man of the best
stamp.  His foresight and energy, my son says, are incomparable.  I have
seen him giving his orders myself, and I know a man when I see him!"

"And what particularly pleased you in him?"  asked Hadrian, who was much
amused with the shrewd old woman's freedom.

"He never for a moment loses his temper in all the hurry, never speaks a
word too much or too little; he can be stern when it is necessary, but he
is kind to his inferiors.  What his merits are as an artist I am not
capable of judging, but I am quite certain that he is a just and able
man."

"I know him myself," replied Caesar, "and you describe him rightly; but
he seemed to me sterner than he has shown himself to you."

"Being a man he must be able to be severe; but he is so only when it is.
necessary, and how kind he can be he shows himself every day.  A man
grows to the mould of his own mind when he is a great deal alone; and
this I have noticed, that a man who is repellant and sharp to those
beneath him is not in himself anything really great; for it shows that he
considers it necessary to guard against the danger of being looked upon
as of no more consequence than the poorer folks he deals with.  Now, a
man of real worth knows that it can be seen in his bearing, even when he
treats one of us as an equal.  Pontius does so, and Titianus, and you who
are his friend, no less.  It is a good thing that you should have come--
but, as I said before, the architect up there can do very well without
you."

"You do not seem to rate my capacity very highly, and I regret it, for
you have lived with your eyes open and have learned to judge men keenly."

Doris looked shrewdly at the Emperor with her kindly glance, as if taking
his mental measure, and then answered confidently:

"You--you are a great man too--it is quite possible that you might see
things that would escape Pontius.  There are a few choice souls whom the
Muses particularly love and you are one of them."

"What leads you to suppose so?"

"I see it in your gaze--in your brow."

"You have the gift of divination, then?"

"No, I am not one of that sort; but I am the mother of two sons on whom
also the Immortals have bestowed the special gift, which I cannot exactly
describe.  It was in them I first saw it, and wherever I have met with it
since in other men and artists--they have been the elect of their circle.
And you too--I could swear to it, that you are foremost of the men among
whom you live."

"Do not swear lightly," laughed the Emperor.  "We will meet and talk
together again little mother, and when I depart I will ask you again
whether you have not been deceived in me.  Come now, Telemachus, the
dame's birds seem to delight you very much."

These words were addressed to Antinous, who had been going from cage to
cage contemplating the feathered pets, all sleeping snugly, with much
curiosity and pleasure.

"Is that your son?"  asked Doris.

"No, dame, he is only my pupil; but I feel as if he were my son."

"He is a beautiful lad!"

"Why,  the old lady still looks after the young men!"

"We do not give that up till we are a hundred or till the Parcae cut the
thread of life."

"What a confession!"

"Let me finish my speech.--We never cease to take pleasure in seeing a
handsome young fellow, but so long as we are young we ask ourselves what
he may have in store for us, and as we grow old we are perfectly
satisfied to be able to show him kindness.  Listen young master.  You
will always find me here if you want anything in which I can serve you.
I am like a snail and very rarely leave my shell."

"Till our next meeting," cried Hadrian, and he and his companions went
out into the court.

There the difficulty was to find a footing on the disjointed pavement.
Titianus went on in front of the Emperor and Antinous, and so but few
words of friendly pleasure could be exchanged by the monarch and his
vicegerent on the occasion of their meeting again.  Hadrian stepped
cautiously forward, his face wearing meanwhile a satisfied smile.  The
verdict passed by the simple shrewd woman of the people had given him far
greater pleasure than the turgid verse in which Mesomedes and his
compeers were wont to sing his praises, or the flattering speeches with
which he was loaded by the sophists and rhetoricians.

The old woman had taken him for no more than an artist; she could not
know who he was, and yet she had recognized--or had Titianus been
indiscreet?  Did she know or suspect whom she was talking to?  Hadrian's
deeply suspicious nature was more and more roused; he began to fancy that
the gate-keeper's wife had learnt her speech by heart, and that her
welcome had been preconcerted; he suddenly paused and desired the prefect
to wait for him, and Antinous to remain behind with the clog.  He turned
round, retraced his steps to the gatehouse and slipped close up to it in
a very unprincely way.  He stood still by the door of the little house
which was still open, and listened to the conversation between Doris and
her husband.

"A fine tall man," said Euphorion, "he is a little like the Emperor."

"Not a bit," replied Doris.  "Only think of the full-length statue of
Hadrian in the garden of the Paneum; it has a dissatisfied satirical
expression, and the architect has a grave brow, it is true, but pure
friendly kindness lights up his features.  It is only the beard that
reminds you of the one when you look at the other.  Hadrian might be very
glad if he were like the prefect's guest."

"Yes, he is handsomer--how shall I say it--more like the gods than that
cold marble figure," Euphorion declared.  "A grand noble, he is no doubt,
but still an artist too; I wonder whether he could be induced by Pontius
or Papias or Aristeas or one of the great painters to take the part of
Calchas the soothsayer in our group at the festival?  He would perform it
in quite another way than that dry stick Philemon the ivory carver.  Hand
me my lute; I have already forgotten again the beginning of the last
verse.  Oh! my wretched memory!  Thank you."

Euphorion loudly struck the strings and sang in a voice that was still
tolerably sweet and very well trained:

"'Sabina hail!  Oh Sabina!--Hail; victorious hail to the conquering
goddess Sabina!'  If only Pollux were here he would remind me of the
right words.  'Hail; victorious hail, to the thousand-fold Sabina!'--That
is nonsense.  'Hail, hail!  divine hail to thee O all-conquering Sabina.'
No it was not that either.  If a crocodile would only swallow this Sabina
I would give him that hot cake in yonder dish with pleasure, for his
pudding.  But stay--I have it.  'Hail, a thousand-fold hail to the
conquering goddess Sabina!'"

Hadrian had heard all he wanted; while Euphorion went on repeating his
line a score or more of times to impress it on his recalcitrant memory.
Caesar turned his back on the gate-house, and while he and his companions
picked their way not without difficulty through the workmen who squatted
here and there and everywhere on the ground, he clapped Titianus more
than once on his shoulder, and after he had been received and welcomed by
Pontius, he exclaimed:

"I bless my decision to come here now!  I have had a good evening, a
quite delightful evening."

The Emperor had not felt so cheerful and free from care for years as on
this occasion, and when in spite of the late hour he found the workmen
still busy everywhere, and saw all that had already been restored in the
old palace and what was being done for its renovation, the restless man
could not resist expressing his satisfaction, and exclaimed to Antinous:

"Here we may see that even in our sordid times miracles may be wrought by
good-will, industry, and skill.  Explain to me my good Pontius how you
were able to construct that enormous scaffold."



CHAPTER XII.

More pleasant hours were to follow on the amusing arrival of the Emperor
at his half-finished residence at Lochias that night.  Pontius proposed
to him to inspect several well-preserved rooms, which had in the first
instance been reserved for the gentlemen of his suite; and one of these
with an open outlook on the harbor, the town, and the island of
Antirrhodus he suggested should be provisionally furnished for the
Emperor's reception.  Thanks to the architect's foresight, to Mastor's
practised hand, and to the numbers of men employed in the palace who were
accustomed to all kinds of service--provision was soon made for the
night, for Hadrian and his companions.  The comfortable couch which the
prefect had sent to Lochias for Pontius was carried into the Emperor's
sleeping-room, and the camp-beds for Antinous and the suite were soon set
up in the other rooms.  Tables, pillows, and various household vessels
which had already been sent in from the manufactories of Alexandria, and
which stood packed in bales and cases in the large central court of the
palace were soon taken out, and so far as they were applicable for use
were carried into the hastily-arranged rooms.  Even before Hadrian, under
the prefect's guidance, had reached the last room in which restorations
were being carried out, Pontius was ready with his arrangements, and
could assure the Emperor that to-night he would find a good bed and very
tolerable quarters, and that by to-morrow he should have a really
elegantly-furnished room.

"Charming, quite delightful," cried the Emperor, as he entered his room.
"One might fancy you had some industrious demons at your command.  Pour
some water over my hands, Mastor, and then to supper!  I am as hungry as
a beggar's clog."

"I think we  shall find all  you  need,"  replied Titianus, while Hadrian
washed his hands and his bearded face.

"Have you eaten all that I sent down to Lochias to-day, my dear Pontius?"

"Alas! we have," sighed Pontius.

"But I gave orders that a supper for five should be sent."

"It sufficed for six hungry artists," answered the architect, "if only I
could have guessed for whom the food was intended!  And now what is to be
done?  There are wine and bread still in the hall of the Muses,
meanwhile"

"That must satisfy us," said the Emperor, as he wiped his face.  "In the
Dacian war, in Numidia, and often when out hunting, I have been glad if
only one or the other was to be obtained."

Antinous, who was very hungry and tired, made a melancholy face at these
words of his master, and Hadrian perceiving it, added with a smile:

"But youth needs something more to live upon than bread and wine.  You
pointed out to me just now the residence of the palace-steward.  Might we
not find there a morsel of meat or cheese, or something of the kind?"

"Hardly," replied Pontius.  "For the man stuffs his fat stomach and his
eight children with bread and porridge.  But an attempt will at any rate
be worth making."

"Then send to him; but conduct us at once to the hall where the Muses
have preserved some bread and wine for me and these good fellows, though
they do not always provide them for their disciples."

Pontius at once conducted the Emperor into the hall.  On the way thither,
Hadrian asked:

"Is the steward so miserably paid that he is forced to content himself
with such meagre fare?"

"He has a residence rent free, and two hundred drachmae a month."

"That is not  so very little.  What  is the man's name, and of what kith
and kin is he?"

"He is called Keraunus, and is of ancient Macedonian descent.  His
ancestors from time immemorial have held the office he now fills, and he
even supposes himself to be related to the extinct royal dynasty through
the mistress of some one of the Lagides.  Keraunus sits in the town
council and never stirs out in the streets without his slave, who is one
of the sort which the merchants in the slave market throw into the
bargain with the buyer.  He is as fat as a stuffed pig, dresses like a
senator, loves antiquities and curiosities, for which he will let himself
be cheated of his last coin, and bears his poverty with more of pride
than of dignity; and still he is an honorable man, and can be made
useful, if he is taken on the right side."

"Altogether a queer fellow.  And you say he is fat, is he jolly?"

"As far from it as possible."

"Ah, people who are fat and cross are my aversion.  What is this by way
of an erection?"

"Behind that  screen works Papias' best scholar.  His name is Pollux, and
he is the son of the couple who keep the gate-house.  You will be pleased
with him."

"Call him here," said the Emperor.

But before the architect could comply with his desire the sculptor's head
had appeared above the screen.  The young man had heard the approaching
voices and steps; he greeted the prefect respectfully from his elevated
position, and after satisfying his curiosity was about to spring down
from the stool on which he had climbed when Pontius called to him that
Claudius Venator, the architect from Rome, wished to make his
acquaintance.

"That is very kind in him, and still more kind in you," Pollux answered
from above, "since it is only from you that he can know that I exist
beneath the moon, and use the hammer and chisel.  Allow me to descend
from my four-legged cothurnus, for at present you are forced to look up
to me, and from all I have heard of your talents from Pontius, nothing
can be more absolutely the reverse of what it ought to be."

"Nay, stop where you are," answered Hadrian.  "We, as fellow-artists, may
waive ceremony.--What are you doing in there?"

"I will push the screen back in a moment and show you our Urania.  It is
very good for an artist to hear the opinion of a man who thoroughly
understands the thing."

"Presently, friend-presently; first let me enjoy a scrap of bread, for
the severity of my hunger might very possibly influence my judgment."

As he was speaking the architect offered the Emperor a salver with bread,
salt, and a cup of wine, which his own slave had carried to him.  When
Pollux observed this modest meal, he called out:

"That is prisoners' fare, Pontius; have we nothing better in the house
than that?"

"Possibly you yourself assisted in demolishing the dainty dishes I had
sent down for the architect," cried Titianus, pretending to threaten him.

"You are defacing a fair memory," sighed the sculptor, with mock
melancholy.  "But, by Hercules, I did my fair share of the work of
destruction.  If only now--but stay!  I have an idea worthy of Aristotle
himself! that breakfast, to which I invited you to-morrow morning, most
noble Pontius, is all ready at my mother's, and can be warmed up in a few
minutes.  Do not be alarmed, worthy sir, but the dish in question is
cabbage with sausages--a mess which, like the soul of an Egyptian,
possesses at the instant of resurrection, nobler qualities than when it
first sees the light."

"Excellent," cried Hadrian.  "Cabbage and sausages!"  He wiped his full
lips with his hand, smiling with gratification, and he broke into a
hearty laugh of amusement as he heard a loud "Ah!" of satisfaction from
Antinous, who drew nearer to the canvas screen.  "There is another whose
mouth waters and whose imagination revels in a happy future," said the
Emperor to the prefect, pointing to his favorite.

But he had misinterpreted the lad's exclamation, for it was the mere name
of the dish--which his mother had often set on the table of his humble
home in Bithynia--which reminded him of his native country and his
childhood, and transplanted him in thought back into their midst.  It was
a swift leap at his heart, and not merely the pleasant watering of his
gums, that had forced the "Ah" to his lips.  Still, he was glad to see
his native dish again, and would not have exchanged it against the
richest banquet.  Pollux had meanwhile come out of his nook, and said:

"In a quarter of an hour I shall set before you the breakfast which has
been turned into a supper.  Mitigate your worst hunger with some bread
and salt, and then my mother's cabbage-stew will not only satisfy you,
but will be enjoyed with calm appreciation."

"Greet dame Doris from me," Hadrian called after the sculptor; and when
Pollux had quitted the hall he turned to Titianus and Pontius and said:

"What a splendid young fellow.  I am curious to see what he can do as an
artist."

"Then follow me," replied Pontius, leading the way.

"What do you say to this Urania?  Papias made the head of the Muse, but
the figure and the drapery Pollux formed with his own hand in a few
days."

The imperial artist stood in front of the statue, with his arms crossed,
and remained there for some time in silence.  Then he nodded his bearded
head approvingly, and said gravely:

"A well-considered work, and carried out with remarkable freedom; this
mantle drawn over the bosom would not disgrace a Phidias.  All is broad,
characteristic and true.  Did the young artist work from the model here
at Lochias?"

"I have seen no model, and I believe that he evolved the whole figure out
of his head," replied Pontius.

"Impossible, perfectly impossible," cried the Emperor, in the tone of a
man who knows well what he is talking about.  "Such lines, such forms not
Praxiteles himself could have invented.  He must have seen them, have
formed them as he stood face to face with the living copy.  We will ask
him.  What is to be made out of that newly-set-up mass of clay?"

"Possibly the bust of some princess of the house of the Lagides.
To-morrow you shall see a head of Berenice by our young friend, which
seems to me to be one of the best things ever done in Alexandria."

"And is the lad a proficient in magic?"  asked Hadrian.  "It seems to me
simply impossible that he should have completed this statue and a woman's
bust in these few days."

Pontius explained to the Emperor that Pollux had mounted the head on a
bust already to hand, and as he answered his questions without reserve,
he revealed to him what stupendous exertions of the arts had been called
into requisition to give the dilapidated palace a suitable and, in its
kind, even brilliant appearance.  He frankly confessed that here he was
working only for effect, and talked to Hadrian exactly as he would have
discussed the same subject with any other fellow-artist.

While the Emperor and the architect were thus eagerly conversing, and the
prefect was hearing from Phlegon, the secretary, all the experience of
their journey, Pollux reappeared in the hall of the Muses accompanied by
his father.  The singer carried before him a steaming mess, fresh cakes
of bread, and the pasty which a few hours previously he had carried home
to his wife from the architect's table.  Pollux held to his breast a
tolerably large two-handled jar full of Mareotic wine, which he had
hastily wreathed with branches of ivy.

A few minutes later the Emperor was reclining on a mattress that had been
laid for him, and was making his way valiantly through the savory mess.
He was in the happiest humor; he called Antinous and his secretary,
heaped abundant portions with his own hand on their plates, which he bade
them hold out to him, declaring as he did so that it was to prevent their
fishing the best of the sausages out of the cabbage for themselves.  He
also spoke highly of the Mareotic wine.  When they came to opening the
pasty the expression of his face changed; he frowned and asked the
prefect in a suspicious tone, severely and sternly:

"How came these people by such a pasty as this?"

"Where did you get it from?"  asked the prefect of the singer.

"From the banquet which the architect gave to the artists here," answered
Euphorion.  "The bones were given to the Graces and this dish, which had
not been touched, to me and my wife.  She devoted it with pleasure to
Pontius' guest."

Titianus laughed and exclaimed:

"This then accounts for the total disappearance of the handsome supper
which we sent down to the architect.  This pasty-allow me to look at it--
this pasty was prepared by a recipe obtained from Verus.  He invited us
to breakfast yesterday and instructed my cook how to prepare it."

"No Platonist ever propagated his master's doctrines with greater zeal
than Verus does the merits of this dish," said the Emperor, who had
recovered his good humor as soon as he perceived that no artful
preparation for his arrival was to be suspected in this matter.  "What
follies  that spoilt child of fortune can commit!  Does he still insist
on cooking with his own hands?"

"No, not quite that," replied the prefect.  "But he had a couch placed
for him in the kitchen on which he stretched himself at full length and
told my cook exactly how to prepare the pasty, of which you are--I should
say, of which the Emperor is particularly fond.  It consists of pheasant,
ham, cow's udder and a baked crust."

"I am quite of Hadrian's opinion," laughed the Emperor; doing all justice
to the excellent pie.  "You entertain me splendidly my friend, and I am
very much your debtor.  What did you say your name is young man?"

"Pollux."

"Your Urania, Pollux, is a fine piece of work, and Pontius says you
executed the drapery without a model.  I said, and I repeat, that it is
simply impossible."

"You judge rightly, a young girl stood for it."

The Emperor glanced at the architect, as much as to say, I knew it!

Pontius asked in astonishment:

"When?  I have never seen a female form within these walls."

"Recently."

"But I have never quitted Lochias for a minute.  I have never gone to
rest before midnight, and have been on my legs again long before
sunrise."

"But still there were several hours between your going to sleep, and
waking up again," replied Pollux.  "Ah, youth--youth!"  exclaimed the
Emperor, and a satirical smile played upon his lips.

"Part Damon and Phyllis by iron doors, and they will find their way to
each other through the key-hole."

Euphorion looked seriously at his son, the architect shook his head and
refrained from further questions, but Hadrian rose from his couch,
dismissed Antinous and his secretary to bed, requested Titianus to go
home and to give his wife his kindly greetings, and then desired Pollux
to conduct him within this screen, since he himself was not tired and was
accustomed to do with only a few hours sleep.

The young sculptor was strongly attracted by this commanding personage.
It had not escaped him that the gray-bearded stranger greatly resembled
the Emperor; but Pontius had prepared him for the likeness, and in fact
there was much in the eyes and mouth of the Roman architect that he had
never traced in any portrait of Hadrian 'Imperator.'  And as they stood
before his scarcely-finished statue his respect increased for the new
visitor to Lochias; for, with earnest frankness, he pointed out to him
certain faults, and while praising the merits of the rapidly-executed
figure he explained in a few brief and pithy phrases his own conception
of the ideal Urania.  Then shortly but clearly, he stated his views as to
how the plastic artist must deal with the problems of his art.

The young man's heart beat faster, and more than once he turned hot and
cold by turns as he heard things uttered by the bearded lips of this
imposing man, in a rich voice and in lucid phrases, which he had often
divined or vaguely felt, but for which, while learning, observing, and
working, he had never sought expression in words.  And how kindly the
great master took up his timid observations, how convincingly he answered
them.  Such a man as this he had never met, never had he bowed with such
full consent before the superiority and sovereign power of another mind.

The second hour after midnight had begun, when Hadrian, standing before
the rough-cast clay bust, asked Pollux:

"What is this to be?"

"A portrait of a girl."

"Probably of the complaisant model who ventures into Lochias at night?"

"No; a lady of rank will sit to me."

"An Alexandrian?"

"Oh, no.  A beauty in the train of the Empress."

"What is her name?  I know all the Roman ladies."

"Balbilla."

"Balbilla?  There are many of that name.  What is she like, the lady you
mean?" asked Hadrian, with a cunning glance of amusement.

"That is easier to ask than to answer," replied the artist, who, seeing
his gray-bearded companion smile, recovered his gay vivacity, "But stay--
you have seen a peacock spread its tail--now only imagine that every eye
in the train of Hera's bird was a graceful round curl, and that in the
middle of the circle there was a charming, intelligent girl's face, with
a merry little nose, and a rather too high forehead, and you will have
the portrait of the young damsel who has graciously permitted me to model
from her person."

Hadrian laughed heartily, threw off his cloak, and exclaimed:

"Stand aside--I know your maiden--and if I mean a different one you shall
tell me."

While he was still speaking he had plunged his powerful hands into the
yielding clay, and kneading and pinching like a practised modeller,
wiping off and pressing on, he formed a woman's face with a towering
structure of curls, which resembled Balbilla, but which reproduced every
conspicuous peculiarity with such whimsical exaggeration that Pollux
could not contain his delight.  When at last Hadrian stepped back from
the happy caricature and called upon him to say whether that were not
indeed the Roman lady, Pollux exclaimed:

"It is as surely she, as you are not merely a great architect, but an
admirable sculptor.  The thing is coarse, but unmistakably
characteristic."

The Emperor himself seemed to enjoy his artistic joke hugely, for he
looked at it, and laughed again and again.  Pontius, however, seemed to
view it differently; he had listened with eager sympathy to the
conversation between Hadrian and the sculptor, and had watched the former
as he began his work; but as it went on he turned away, for he hated that
distortion of fine forms, which he often found that the Egyptians took a
special delight in.  It was positively painful to him to see a graceful,
highly-gifted and defenceless creature, to whom, too, he felt himself
bound by ties of gratitude, mocked at in this way by such a man as
Hadrian.  He had only to-day met Balbilla for the first time, but he had
heard from Titianus that she was staying at the Caesareum with the
Empress, and the prefect had also told him that she was the granddaughter
of that same governor, Claudius Balbillus, who had granted freedom to his
own grandfather, a learned Greek slave.

He had met her with grateful sympathy and devotion; her bright and lively
nature had delighted him, and at each thoughtless word she uttered he
would have liked to give her some warning sign, as though she were near
to him through some tie of blood, or some old established friendship that
might warrant his right to do so.  The defiant, half gallant way in which
Verus, the dissipated lady-killer, had spoken to her had enraged him and
filled him with anxiety, and long after the illustrious visitors had left
Lochias he had thought of her again and again, and had resolved, if it
were possible, to keep a watchful eye on the descendant of the benefactor
of his family.  He felt it as a sacred duty to shelter and protect her,
seeming to him as she did, an airy, pretty, defenceless song-bird.

The Emperor's caricature had the same effect on his feelings as though
some one had insulted and scorned, before his eyes, something that ought
to be regarded as sacred.  And there stood the monarch, a man no longer
young, gazing at his performance and never weary of the amusement it
afforded him.  It pained Pontius keenly, for like all noble natures, he
could not bear to discover anything mean or vulgar in a man to whom he
had always looked up as to a strong exceptional character.  As an artist
Hadrian ought not to have vilified beauty, as a man he ought not to have
insulted unprotected innocence.

In the soul of the architect, who had hitherto been one of the Emperor's
warmest admirers, a slight aversion began to dawn, and he was glad, when,
at last, Hadrian decided to withdraw to rest.

The Emperor found in his room every requisite he was accustomed to use,
and while his slave undressed him, lighted his night-lamp and adjusted
his pillows, he said:

"This is the best evening I have enjoyed for years.  Is Antinous
comfortably in bed?"

"As much so as in Rome."

"And the big dog?"

"I will lay his rug in the passage at your door."

"Has he had any food?"

"Bones, bread and water."

"I hope you have had something to eat this evening."

"I was not hungry, and there was plenty of bread and wine."

"To-morrow we shall be better supplied.  Now, good-night.  Weigh your
words for fear you should betray me.  A few days here undisturbed would
be delightful!"

With these words the Emperor turned over on his couch and was soon
asleep.

Mastor, too, lay down to rest after he had spread a rug for the dog in
the corridor outside the Emperor's sleeping-room.  His head rested on a
curved shield of stout cowhide under which lay his short sword; the bed
was but a hard one, but Mastor had for years been used to rest on nothing
better, and still had enjoyed the dreamless slumbers of a child; but to-
night sleep avoided him, and from time to time he pressed his hand on his
wearily open eyes to wipe away the salt dew which rose to them again and
again.  For a long time he had restrained these tears bravely enough, for
the Emperor liked to see none but cheerful faces among his servants; nay,
he had once said that it was in consequence of his bright eyes that he
had entrusted to him the care of his person.  Poor, cheerful Mastor!
He was nothing but a slave, still he had a heart which lay open to joy
and suffering, to pleasure and trouble, to hatred and to love.

In his childhood his native village had fallen into the hands of the foes
of his race.  He and his brother had been carried away as slaves, first
into Asia Minor, and then as they were both particularly pretty fair-
haired boys, to Rome.  There they had been bought for the Emperor; Mastor
had been chosen to wait on Hadrian's person, his brother had been put to
work in the gardens.  Nothing was lacking to either except his liberty;
nothing tormented them but their longing for their native home, and even
this altogether faded away after he had married the pretty little
daughter of a superintendent of the gardens, a slave like himself.
She was a lively little woman with sparkling eyes, whom no one could
pass by without noticing.

The slave's duties left him but little time to enjoy the society of his
pretty partner and of the two children she bore him, but the
consciousness of possessing them made him happy when he followed his
master to the chase, or in the journeys through the empire.  Now, for
seven months he had heard nothing of his family; but a short letter had
reached him at Pelusium, which had been sent with the despatches for the
Emperor from Ostia to Egypt.  He could not read, and in consequence of
the Emperor's rapid travelling, it was not till he reached Lochias, that
he was put in possession of its contents.

Before going to rest Antinous had read him the letter, which had been
written for his brother by a public scribe, and its contents were enough
to wreck the heart even of a slave.  His pretty little wife had fled from
her home and from the Emperor's service to follow a Greek ship's captain
across the world; his eldest child, a boy, the darling of his heart, was
dead; and his fair-haired tender little Tullia, with her pearly teeth,
her round little arms, and her pretty tiny fingers that had often tried
to pull his close-cropped hair, and had fondly stroked and patted it, had
been carried off to the miserable refuge, under whose squalid roof the
children of deceased slaves were reared.  Only two hours since, and in
fancy he had possessed a home, and a group of human beings, whom he could
love.  Now, this was all over and with however hard a hand the deepest
woes might fall on him, he might not sob or groan aloud, or even roll
from side to side as again and again he was violently prompted to do,
for his lord slept lightly and the least noise might wake him.  At
sunrise he must appear before the Emperor as cheerful as usual, and yet
he felt as if he must himself perish miserably as his happiness had done.
His heart was bursting with anguish, still he neither groaned nor
stirred.



CHAPTER XIII.

The night had been almost as sleepless to Keraunus' daughter Selene as
it had been to the hapless slave.  Her father's vain wish to let Arsinoe
take a part with the daughters of the wealthier citizens had filled the
girl's heart with fresh terrors.  It was the final blow which would
demolish the structure of their social existence, standing as it did on
quaking ground, and which must fling her family and herself into disgrace
and want.  When their last treasure of any value was sold, and the
creditors could no longer be put off, particularly during the Emperor's
presence in the city, when they should try to sell up all her father's
little property, or to carry him off to a debtor's prison, was it not
then as good as certain that some one else would be appointed to fill his
place, and that she and the other children would fall into misery?  And
there lay Arsinoe by her side, and slept with as calm and deep a breath
as blind Helios and the other little ones.

Before going to bed she had tried with all the fervency and eloquence of
which she was mistress, to persuade, entreat, and implore the heedless
girl to refuse as positively as she herself had refused to take any part
in the processions; but Arsinoe had at first repulsed her crossly, and
finally had defiantly declared that means might yet very likely be found,
and that what her father permitted, Selene had no right to interfere in,
still less to forbid.  And when afterwards she saw Arsinoe sleeping so
calmly by her side, she felt as if she would like to shake her; but she
was so accustomed to bear all the troubles of the family alone, and to be
unkindly repelled by her sister whenever she attempted to admonish her,
that she forbore.

Arsinoe had a good and tender heart, but she was young, pretty, and vain.
With affectionate persuasion she might be won over to anything, but
Selene, when ever she remonstrated with her, made her feel her
superiority over herself, acquired from her care of the family and her
maternal character.  Thus, not a day passed without some quarrelling and
tears between these two sisters who were so dissimilar, and yet, both so
well disposed.  Arsinoe was always the first to offer her hand for a
reconciliation, but Selene would rarely have a kinder answer ready to her
affectionate advances than, "Let be," or "Oh yes, I know!"  and their
outward intercourse bore an aspect of coolness, which was easily worked
up to an outbreak of hostile speeches.  Hundreds of times they would go
to bed without wishing each other 'good-night,' and still more often
would they avoid any morning greeting when they first met in the day.

Arsinoe liked talking, but in Selene's presence she was taciturn; there
were few things in which Selene took pleasure, while her sister delighted
in every thing which can charm youth.  It was the steward's eldest
daughter who attended to the daily needs of the children, their food and
clothes; it was the second who superintended their games, and their
dolls.  The eldest watched and taught them with anxious care, detecting
in every little fault the germ of some evil tendency in the future, while
the other enticed them into follies, it is true, but opened their minds
to joyous impressions, and attained more by kisses and kind words than
Selene could by fault-finding.  The children would call Selene when they
wanted her, but would fly to Arsinoe as soon as they saw her.  Their
hearts were hers, and Selene felt this bitterly; it seemed to her to be
unjust, for she saw clearly that her sister could reap, from mere
frivolous play in her idle hours, a sweeter reward than she could earn by
the anxiety, trouble and exhausting toil, in which she often spent her
nights.

But children are not unjust in this way.  It is true that they keep an
account in their heart and not in their head.  Those who give them the
warmth of affection they pay back most honestly.

On this particular night it was not, it is certain, with very sisterly
feelings that Selene looked at the sleeping Arsinoe, and the words on the
girl's lips as she had dropped asleep, had sounded very unkind; but,
nevertheless, they felt warmly towards each other, and any one who should
have attempted to say a word against the one in the presence of the other
would soon have found out how close a bond held together these two
hearts, dissimilar as they were.  But no girl of nineteen can pass a
night altogether without sleeping, however sadly she may turn and turn
over and over again in her bed.  So slumber overmastered Selene every now
and then for a quarter of an hour, and each time she dreamed of her
sister.

Once she saw Arsinoe dressed out like a queen, followed by beggar
children and pelted with bad words--then she saw her on the rotunda below
the balcony romping with Pollux, and in their bold sport they broke her
mother's bust.  At last she dreamed that she herself was playing--as in
the days of her childhood--in the gate-keeper's garden with the sculptor.
They were making cakes of sand together, and Arsinoe jumped on the cakes
as soon as they were made, and trod them all into dust.

The pretty pale girl had for a long time ceased to know the refreshing,
dreamless, sound sleep of youth, for the sweetest slumbers are more apt
to seek out those who by day have some rest, than those who are worn out
by fatigue, and evening after evening Selene was one of these.  Every
night she had dreams, but tonight they were almost exclusively sad in
character, and so terrifying that she woke herself repeatedly with her
own groaning, or disturbed Arsinoe's peaceful sleep by loud cries.

These cries did not disturb her father, he--to-night, as every night--had
begun to snore soon after he had gone to rest, never to cease till it was
time to rise again.

Selene was always busy in the house before any one, even before the
slaves; and the approach of day this time seemed to the sleepless girl a
real release.  When she rose it was still perfectly dark, but she knew
that the rising of the December sun could not be long to wait for.

Without paying any heed to the sleepers, or making any special effort to
tread noiselessly, or to do what she had to do without disturbing them,
she lighted her little lamp, at the night-lamp, washed herself, arranged
her hair, and then knocked at the doors of the old slaves.

As soon as they had yawned out "directly," or a sleepy "very well," she
went into her father's room and took his jug to fetch him fresh water in
it.  The best well in the palace was on a small terrace on the west side;
it was supplied by the city aqueducts, and was constructed of five marble
monsters, bearing up on twisted fishtails a huge shell, in which sat a
bearded river-god.  Their horse-shaped heads poured water into a vast
basin, which, in the lapse of centuries, had grown full of a green and
filmy vegetation.

In order to reach this fountain, Selene had to go along the corridor
where lay the rooms occupied by the Emperor and his followers.  She only
knew that an architect from Rome had taken up his quarters at Lochias,
for, some time after midnight, she had been to get out meat and salt for
him, but in what rooms the strangers had been lodged no one had told her.
But this morning as she followed the path she was accustomed to tread day
by day at the same hour, she felt an anxious shiver.  She felt as if
everything were not quite the same as usual, and just as she had set her
foot on the cop step of the flight leading to the corridor, she raised
her lamp to discover whence came the sound she thought she could hear,
she perceived in the gloom a fearful something.  which as she approached
it resembled a dog, and which was larger--much larger--than a dog should
be.

Her blood ran cold with terror; for a few moments she stood as if
spellbound, and was only conscious that the growling and snarling that
she heard meant mischief and threatening to herself.  At last she found
strength to turn to fly, but at the same instant a loud and furious bark
echoed behind her and she heard the monster's quick leaps as he flew
after her along the stone pavement.

She felt a violent shock, the pitcher flew out of her hand and was
shattered into a thousand fragments, and she sank to the ground under the
weight of a warm, rough, heavy mass.  Her loud cries of alarm resounded
from the hard bare walls, and roused the sleepers and brought them to her
side.

"See what it is," cried Hadrian to his slave, who had immediately sprung
up and seized his shield and sword.

"The dog has attacked a woman who wanted to come this way," replied
Mastor.

"Hold him off, but do not beat him," the Emperor shouted after him.
"Argus has only done his duty."  The slave hastened down the passage as
fast as possible, loudly calling the dog by his name.  But another had
been beforehand and had dragged him off his victim, and this was
Antinous, whose room was close to the scene of action, and who, as soon
as he had heard the dog's bark and Selene's scream, had hurried to hold
back the brute which was really dangerous when on guard and in the dark.

When Mastor appeared the lad had just succeeded in dragging the dog away
from Selene, who was lying on the stairs leading to the corridor.  Before
Antinous could reach her Argus was standing over her gnashing his teeth
and growling.  Argus, who was quickly quieted by his friends' tone of
kindly admonition, stood aside silent and with his head down while
Antinous knelt by the senseless girl on whom the pale light of early dawn
fell through--wide window.  The boy looked with alarm on her pale face,
lifted her helpless arm, and sought on her light-colored dress for any
trace of blood that might have been drawn, but in vain.  After he had
assured himself that she still breathed, and that her lips moved, he
called to Mastor:

"Argus seems only to have pulled her down, not to have wounded her; she
has lost consciousness however.  Go quickly into my room and bring me the
blue phial out of my medicine-case and a cup of water."

The slave whistled to the hound and obeyed the order as quickly as
possible.

Meanwhile Antinous remained on his knees by the senseless girl, and
ventured to raise her head with its long soft weight of hair.  How
beautiful were those marble-white, and nobly-cut features!  How touching
did the silent accent of pain that lay on her lips seem to him, and how
happy was the spoilt darling of the Emperor, who was loved by all who saw
him, to be able to be tender and helpful, unasked!

"Wake up, oh!  wake up!"  he cried to Selene--and when still she did not
move, he repeated more urgently and tenderly, "Pray, pray wake up."

But she did not hear him, and remained motionless even when, with a
slight blush, he drew over her shoulder her peplum, which the dog had
torn away.  Now Mastor returned with the water and the blue phial, and
gave them to the Bithynian.  While Antinous laid the girl's head in his
lap, the slave was hurrying away, saying: "Caesar called me."

The lad moistened Selene's forehead with the reviving fluid, made her
inhale the strong essence which the phial contained, and cried again loud
and earnestly, "Wake, wake."--And presently her lips parted, showing her
small, white teeth, and then she slowly raised the lids which had veiled
her eyes.  With a deep sigh of relief he set the cup and the phial on the
ground so as to support her when she slowly began to raise herself; but,
scarcely had he turned his face towards her, when she sprang up suddenly
and violently, and flinging both her arms round his neck, cried out:

"Save me, Pollux, save me!  The monster is devouring me."  Antinous much
startled, seized the girl's arms to release himself from their embrace,
but, she had already freed him and sunk back on to the ground.  The next
moment she was shivering violently as if from an attack of fever; again
she threw up her hands, pressed them to her temples, and gazed with
terror and bewilderment into the face that bent above her.

"What is it?  Who are you?"  she asked, in a low voice.

He rose quickly, and while he supported her as she attempted to rise and
stand upon her feet, he said:

"The gods be praised that you are still alive.  Our big hound threw you
down-and he has terrible teeth."  Selene was now standing up, and face to
face with the boy at whose last words she shuddered again.

"Do, you feel any pain?"  asked Antinous, anxiously.

"Yes," she said, dully.

"Did he bite you?"

"I think not--pick up that pin, it has fallen out of my dress."

The Bithynian obeyed her behest, and while the girl re-fastened her
peplum over her shoulders she asked him again:

"Who are you?  How came the dog in our palace?"

"He belongs--he belongs to us.  We arrived late last night, and Pontius
put us--"

"Then you are with the architect from Rome?"

"Yes, but who are you?"

"Selene is my name, I am the daughter of the palace-steward."

"And who is Pollux, whom you were calling to help you when you recovered
your senses?"

"What does that matter to you?"

Antinous colored, and answered in confusion:

"I was startled when you suddenly roused up, with his name so loudly on
your lips, when I brought you back to life with water and this essence."

"Well, I was roused--and now I can walk again.  People who bring furious
dogs into a strange place, should know how to take better care of them.
Tie the dog up safely, for the children--my little brothers and sisters--
come this way when they want to go out.  Thank you for your help--and my
pitcher?"

As she spoke she looked down on the remains of the pretty jar, which was
one her mother had particularly valued.  When she saw the fragments lying
on the ground, she gave a deep sob, but she shed no tears.  Then she
exclaimed angrily:  "It is infamous!"

With these words she turned her back on Antinous and returned to her
father's room, using her left foot, however, with caution, for it was
very painful.

The young Bithynian gazed in silence at Selene's tall, slight form, he
felt prompted to follow her, to say to her how very sorry he was for the
mischance that had befallen her, and that the hound belonged not to him
but to another man; but he dared not.  Long after she had disappeared
from sight he stood on the same spot.  At last he collected his senses,
and slowly went back to his room, where he sat on his couch with his eyes
fixed dreamily on the ground, till the Emperor's call roused him from his
reverie.

Selene had hardly vouchsafed Antinous a glance.  She was in pain not
merely in her left foot, but also in the back of her head where she found
there was a deep cut; but her thick hair had staunched the blood that
flowed from the wound.  She felt very tired, and the loss of her pretty
jug, which must also be replaced by another, vexed her far more than the
beauty of the favorite had charmed her.

She slowly and wearily entered the sitting-room, where her father was by
this time waiting for her and his water.  He was accustomed to have it
regularly at the same hour, and as Selene was absent longer than usual,
he could think of no better way of filling up the time than by grumbling
and scolding to himself; when, at last, his daughter appeared on the
threshold, he at once perceived that she had no jug, and said crossly:

"And am I to have no water to-day?"

Selene shook her head, sank into a seat, and began to cry softly.

"What is the matter?"  asked her father.

"The pitcher is broken," she said sadly.

You should take better care of such expensive things," scolded her
father.  "You are always complaining of want of money, and at the same
time you break half our belongings."

"I was thrown down," answered Selene, drying her eyes.

"Thrown down! by whom?"  asked the steward, slowly rising.

"By the architect's big dog--the architect who came last night from Rome,
and to whom we gave that meat and salt in the middle of the night.  He
slept here, at Lochias."

"And he set his clog on my child!" shouted Keraunus, with an angry glare.

"The hound was alone in the passage when I went there."

"Did it bite you?"

"No, but it pulled me down, and stood over me, and gnashed its teeth--oh!
it was horrible."

"The cursed, vagabond scoundrel!"  growled the steward, "I will teach him
how to behave in a strange house!"

"Let him be," said Selene, as she saw her father about to don the saffron
cloak.

"What is done cannot be undone, and if quarrels and dissentions come of
it, it will make you ill."

"Vagabonds! impudent rascals! who fill my palace with quarrelsome curs,"
muttered Keraunus without listening to his daughter, and as he settled
the folds of his pallium he growled "Arsinoe!  why is it that girl never
hears me."

When she appeared he desired her to heat the irons to curl his hair.

"They are ready by the fire," answered Arsinoe.  "Come into the kitchen
with me."

Keraunus followed her, and had his locks curled and scented, while his
younger children stood round him waiting for the porridge which Selene
usually prepared for them at this hour.

Keraunus responded to their morning greetings with nods as friendly as
Arsinoe's tongs, which held his head tightly by the hair, would allow.
It was only the blind Helios, a pretty boy of six, that he drew to his
side and gave a kiss on his cheek.  He loved this child, who, though
deprived of the noblest of the senses, was always merry and contented,
with peculiar tenderness.  Once he even laughed aloud when the child
clung to his sister, as she brandished the tongs, and said:

"Father, do you know why I am sorry I cannot see?"

"Well?" said his father.

"Because I should so like to see you for once with the beautiful curls
which Arsinoe makes with the irons."  But the steward's mirth was checked
when his daughter, pausing in her labors, said half in jest, but half in
earnest:

"Have you thought any more about the Emperor's arrival, father?
I smarten and dress you so fine every day--but to-day you ought to think
of dressing me."

"We will see about it," said Keraunus evasively.  "Do you know," said
Arsinoe, after a short pause, as she twisted the last lock in the
freshly-heated tongs, "I thought it all over last night again.  If we
cannot succeed any way in scraping together the money for my dress, we
can still--"

"Well?"

"Even Selene can say nothing against it."

"Against what?"

"But, you will be angry!"

"Speak out."

"You pay taxes like the rest of the citizens."

"What has that to do with it?"

"Well then, we are justified in expecting something from the city,"

"What for?"

"To pay for my dress for the festival which is got up for the Emperor,
not by an individual, but by the citizens as a body.  We could not accept
alone, but it is folly to refuse what a rich municipality offers.  That
is neither more nor less than making them a present."

"You be silent," cried Keraunus, really furious, and trying in vain to
remember the argument with which, only yesterday, he had refused the same
suggestion.  "Be silent, and wait till I begin to talk about such
matters."

Arsinoe flung the tongs on the hearth with so much annoyance that they
fell on the stone with a loud clatter; but her father quitted the kitchen
and returned to the sitting-room.  There he found Selene lying on a
couch, and the old slave-woman, who had tied a wet handkerchief round
the girl's head, pressing another to her bare left foot.

"Wounded!" cried Keraunus, and his eyes rolled slowly from right to left
and from left to right.

"Look at the swelling!" cried the old woman in broken Greek, raising
Selene's snow-white foot in her black hands for her father to see.
"Thousands of fine ladies have hands that are not so small.  Poor, poor
little foot," and as she spoke the old woman pressed it to her lips.

Selene pushed her aside, and said, turning to her father:

"The cut on my head is nothing to speak of, but the muscles and veins
here at the ancle are swelled and my leg hurts me rather when I tread.
When the dog threw me down I must have hit it against the stone step."

"It is outrageous!"  cried Keraunus, the blood again mounting to his
head, "only wait and I will show them what I think of their goings on."

"No, no,"  entreated  Selene,  "only  beg them politely to shut up the
dog, or to chain it, so that it may not hurt the children."

Her voice trembled with anxiety as she spoke the words, for the dread,
which, she knew not why, had so long been tormenting her lest her father
should lose his place, seemed to affect her more than ever to-day.

"What! civil words after what has now happened?"  cried Keraunus
indignantly, and as if something quite unheard of had been suggested to
him.

"Nay, nay, say what you mean," shrieked the old woman.  "If such a thing
had occurred to your father he would have fallen on the strange builder
with a good thrashing."

"And his son Keraunus will not let him off," declared the steward,
quitting the room without heeding Selene's entreaty not to let himself be
provoked.

In the ante-chamber he found his old slave whom he ordered to take a
stick and go before him to announce him to Pontius' guest, the architect,
who was lodging in the rooms in the wing near the fountain.  This was the
elegant thing to do, and by this means the black slave would meet the big
dog before his master who held him and all dogs in the utmost abhorrence.
As he approached his destination he found himself quite in the humor to
speak his mind to the stranger who had come here with a ferocious hound
to tear the members of his family.



CHAPTER XIV.

Hadrian had slept most comfortably; only a few hours it is true, but they
had sufficed to refresh his spirit.  He was now in his sitting-room and
had gone to the window, which took up more than half the extent of the
long west wall of the room, and opened on the sea.  The wide opening,
which extended downwards to within a few spans of the floor, was finished
at either side by a tall pillar of fine reddish-brown porphyry, flecked
with white, and crowned with gilt Corinthian capitals.

Against one of these the Emperor was leaning stroking the blood-hound,
whose prompt and vigorous watchfulness had pleased him greatly.  What did
he care for the terrors the dog might have caused a mere girl?

By the other pillar stood Antinous; he had placed his right foot on the
low window-sill, and with his chin resting on his hand and his elbow on
his knee, his figure was well within the room.

"This, Pontius, is really a first-rate man," said Hadrian, pointing to a
tapestry hanging across the narrow end of the room.  "This hanging was
copied from a fruit-piece that I painted some time since, and had
executed here in mosaic.  Yesterday this room was not even intended for
my use, thus the hanging must have been put up between our arrival and
this morning.  And how many other beautiful things I see around me!  The
whole place looks habitable, and the eye finds an abundance of objects on
which it can rest with pleasure."

"Have you examined that magnificent cushion?"  asked Antinous; "and the
bronze figures, there in the corner, look to me far from bad."

"They are admirable works," said Hadrian.  "Still, I would do without
them with pleasure rather than miss this window.  Which is the bluer, the
sky or the sea?  And what a delicious spring breeze fans us here, in the
middle of December.  Which are the more delightful to contemplate, the
innumerable ships in the harbor, which communicate between this flowery
land and other countries, and bless it with wealth, or the buildings
which attract the eye in whichever direction it turns.  It is difficult
to know whether most to admire their stately dimensions or the beauty of
their forms."

"And what is that long, huge dyke, which connects the island with the
mainland?  Only look!  There is a huge trireme passing under one of the
wide arches, on which it is supported--and there comes another."

"That is the great viaduct, called by the Alexandrians the Heptastadion,
because it is said to be seven stadia in length; and in the upper portion
it carries a stone water-course--as an elder tree has in it a vein of
pith-which supplies water to the island of Pharos."

"What a pity it is," said Antinous, "that we cannot overlook from here
the whole of the structure with the men and the vehicles that swarm upon
it like busy ants.  That little island and the narrow tongue of land that
runs out into the harbor with the tall slender building at the end of it,
half hide it."

"But they serve to vary the picture," replied the Emperor.  "Cleopatra
often dwelt in the little castle on the island with its harbor, and in
that tall tower on the northern side of the peninsula, round which, just
now, the blue waves are playing, while the gulls and pigeons fly happily
over it--there Antony retreated after the fight of Actium."

"To forget his disgrace!"  exclaimed Antinous.

"He named it his Timonareum, because he hoped there to remain unmolested
by other human beings, like the wise misanthrope of Athens.  How would it
be if I called Lochias my Timonareum?"

"No man need try to hide fame and greatness."

"Who told you that it was shame that led Antony to hide himself in that
place?"  asked the imperial sophist; "he proved often enough, at the head
of his cavalry, that he was a brave soldier; and though at Actium, when
all was still going well, he let his ship be turned, it was out of no
fear of swords and spears, but because Fate compelled him to subjugate
his strong will to the wishes of a woman with whose destiny his was
linked."

"Then do you excuse his conduct?"

"I only seek to account for it, and never, for a moment, could allow
myself to believe that shame ever prompted a single act in Antony.  I--
do you suppose I could ever blush?  Nay, we cease to feel shame when we
have lived to feel such profound contempt for the world."

"But why then should Marc Antony have shut himself up, in yonder sea-
washed prison?"

"Because, to every true man, who has dissipated whole years of his life
with women, jesters and flatterers, a moment comes of satiety and
loathing.  In such an hour he feels that of all the men under the lights
of heaven, he, himself, is the only one with whom it is worth his while
to commune.  After Actium, this was what Antony felt, and he quitted the
society of men in order to find himself for once in good company."

"It is that, no doubt, which drives you now and again into solitude."

"No doubt-but you are always allowed to follow me."

"Then you regard me as better than others," exclaimed Antinous joyfully.

"As more beautiful at any rate," replied Hadrian kindly.  "Ask me some
more questions."

But Antinous needed a few minutes pause before he could comply with this
desire.  At last he recollected himself and proceeded to inquire why most
of the vessels were moored in the harbor beyond the Heptastadion, known
as Eunostus.  The entrance there was less dangerous than that between the
Pharos and the point of Lochias which led into the eastern landing-
places.  And then Hadrian could give him information as to every building
in the city about which his companion evinced any curiosity.  But when
the Emperor had pointed out the Soma, under which rested the remains of
Alexander the Great, he became thoughtful, and said, as if to himself:

"The Great--We may well envy the young Macedonian; not the mere name of
Great, for many of small worth have had it bestowed on them, but because
he really earned it!"

There was not a question put by the handsome Bithynian that Hadrian could
not answer; Antinous followed all his explanations with growing
astonishment, exclaiming at last:

"How perfectly well you know this place--and yet you never were here
before."

"It is one of the greatest pleasures of travelling," replied Hadrian,
"that on our journeys we come to know many things in their actuality of
which we have formed an idea from books and narratives.  This requires us
to compare the reality with the pictures in our own minds, seen with the
inward eye, before we saw the reality.  It is to me a far smaller
pleasure to be surprised by something new and unexpected than to make
myself more closely acquainted with something I know already sufficiently
to deem it worthy to be known better.  Do you understand what I mean?"

"To be sure I do.  We hear of a thing, and when we afterwards see it we
ask ourselves whether we have conceived of it rightly.  But I always
picture people or places which I hear much praised, as much more
beautiful than I ever find the reality."

"The balance of difference, which is to the disadvantage of reality,"
answered Hadrian, "stands not so much to its discredit, as to the credit
of the eager and beautifying power of your youthful imagination.  I--I--"
and the Emperor stroked his beard and gazed out into the distance.  "I
learn by experience that the older I grow, the more often I find it
possible so to imagine men, places, and things that I have not seen as
that when I meet them in real life for the first time, I feel justified
in fancying that I have known them long since, visited them, and beheld
them with my bodily eyes.  Here, for instance, I feel as if I saw nothing
new, but only gazed once more at what has long been familiar.  But that
is no wonder, for I know my Strabo, and have heard and read a hundred
accounts of this city.  Still there are many things which are quite
strange to me, and yet as they come before me make me feel as if I had
seen or known them long ago."

"I have felt something like that," said Antinous.  "Can our souls have
ever lived in other bodies, and sometimes recall the impressions made in
that former existence?

"Favorinus once told me that some great philosopher, Plato, I think,
asserts that before we are born our souls are wafted about in the
firmament that they may contemplate the earth on which they are destined
subsequently to dwell.  Favorinus says too--"

"Favorinus!"  cried  Hadrian, evasively.  "That graceful elocutionist
has plenty of skill in giving new and captivating forms to the thoughts
of the great philosophers; but he has not been able to surprise the
secret of his own soul--besides, he talks too much, and he cannot
dispense with the excitement of life."

"Still you have recognized the phenomenon, but you disapprove of
Favorinus' explanation of it?"

"Yes, for I have met men and things as old acquaintances which never saw
the light till long after I was born.  Possibly my own interpretation may
not adapt itself to the consciousness of all--but in myself, I know for
certain, there dwells a mysterious something which stirs and works in me
independently of myself, which enters into me, and takes its departure at
its will.  Call it as you will, my Daimon, or even my Genius--the name
matters not.  Nor will this 'something' always come at my bidding, while
it often possesses me when I least expect it.  In those moments when it
stirs within me, I am master of much which is peculiar to the experience
and potentiality of that hour.  What is known to that Daimon always
appears to me the very same when I actually meet it.  Thus Alexandria is
not unknown to me, because my Genius has seen it in his flights.  It has
learnt and done much, both in me and for me; a hundred times, face to
face with my own finished works I have asked myself:  'Is it possible
that you--Hadrian--your mother's son-can have achieved this?  What then
is the mysterious power that aided you to do it?'  Now I also recognize
it, and can see it work in others.  The man in whom it dwells soon excels
his fellows, and it is most manifest in artists.  Or is it that mere
common men become great artists simply because the Genius selects them as
his temple to dwell in?  Do you follow me, boy?"

"Not altogether," replied Antinous, and his large eyes which had sparkled
brightly so long as he gazed with the Emperor on the city, were now cast
down and fixed wearily on the ground.  "Do not be angry with me, my Lord,
but I shall never understand such things as these, for there is no man
with whom your Genius, as you term it, has less concern than with me.
Thoughts of my own have I none, and it is difficult to me to follow the
thoughts of others; indeed I should like to know how I am ever to do
anything right.  When I want to work, to work something out, no Daimon
helps my soul; no--it feels quite helpless, and drifts into dreaminess.
And if I ever do complete anything, I am obliged to own to myself that I
certainly might have been able to do it better."

"Self-knowledge," laughed Hadrian, "is the climax of wisdom.  A man has
done something if he has only added a 'thing of beauty' to the joys of a
friend's imagination; what others do by hard work you do by mere
existence.  Be quiet, Argus!"  For,  while he was speaking, the hound had
risen, and had gone snarling to the door.  In spite of his master's
orders he broke into a loud bark when he heard a steady knock at the
door.  Hadrian looked round in bewilderment, and asked: "Where is
Mastor?"

Antinous shouted the slave's name into the Emperor's bedroom, which was
next to the living-room, but in vain.  "He generally is always at hand,
and as brisk as a lark, but to-day he looked as if in a dream, and while
he was dressing me he first let my shoe fall out of his hand and then my
brooch."

"I read him yesterday a letter from Rome.  His young wife has gone away
with a ship's captain."

"We may wish him joy of being free again."

"It does not seem to afford him any satisfaction."

"Oh! a handsome lad like my body-slave can find as many substitutes as he
likes."

"But he has not done so.  For the present he is still smarting under his
loss."

"How wise!  There, some one is knocking again.  Just see who ventures--
but to be sure any one has a right to knock, for at Lochias I am not the
Emperor, but a simple private gentleman.  Lie down Argus, are you crazy,
old fellow?  Why the dog maintains my dignity better than I do, and he
does not seem altogether to like the architect's part I am playing."

Antinous had already raised his hand to lift the handle, when the door
was gently opened from outside, and the steward's slave stood on the
threshold.  The old negro presented a lamentable spectacle.  The
Emperor's dignified and awe-compelling figure, and his favorite's rich
garments made him feel embarrassed, and the hound's threatening growl
filled him with such terror that he huddled his lean negro-legs together,
and, as far as its length would allow, tried to cover them for protection
with his threadbare tunic.

Hadrian gazed in astonishment at this image of fear, and then asked:

"Well! what do you want, fellow?"

The slave attempted to advance a step or two, but at a loud command from
Hadrian he stood still, and as he looked down at his flat feet, he
ruefully scratched his short-cropped grey hair, some of which had fallen
off and left a bald patch.

"Well," repeated Hadrian, in a tone which was anything rather than
encouraging, as he relaxed his hold on the hound's collar in a somewhat
suspicious manner.  The slave's bent knees began to quake, and holding
out his broad palm to the grey-bearded gentleman, who seemed to him
hardly less alarming than the dog, he began to stammer out in fearfully-
mutilated Greek the speech which his master had repeated to him several
times, and which set forth that he had come "into the presence of the
architect, Claudius Venator, of Rome, to announce the visit of his
master, a member of the town-council, a Macedonian, and a Roman citizen,
Keraunus, the son of Ptolemy, steward of the once royal but now imperial
palace at Lochias."

Hadrian unrelentingly allowed the poor wretch to finish his speech,
rubbing his hands with amusement, while the sweat of anguish stood on the
old slave's face, and to prolong the delightful joke, he took good care
not to help the miserable old man when his unaccustomed tongue came to
some insuperable difficulty.  When, at length, the negro had finished the
pompous announcement, Hadrian said, kindly:

"Tell your master he may come in."

Scarcely had the slave left the room, when the sovereign, turning to his
favorite, exclaimed:

"This is a delicious joke!  What will the Jupiter be like, when the eagle
is such a bird as this!"

Keraunus was not long to wait for.  While pacing up and down the passage
outside the Emperor's room, his bad humor had risen considerably, for he
took it as a slight on the part of the architect, that he should allow
him--whose birth and dignities he would have learnt from his slave--to
wait several minutes, each of which seemed to him a quarter of an hour.
His expectation too, that the Roman would come to conduct him in person
into his apartment was by no means fulfilled, for the slave's message was
briefly--"He may come in."

"Did he say may?  Did he not say "please to come in, or have the goodness
to come in?" asked the steward.

"He may come in--was what he said," replied the slave.

Keraunus grunted out, "Well!" set his gold circlet straight on his head
which he held very upright, crossed his arms over his broad chest with a
sigh, and ordered the black man:

"Open the door."

The steward crossed the threshold with much dignity: then, not to commit
any breach of courtesy, he bowed low, and was about to begin to utter his
reprimand in cutting terms, when a glance at the Emperor and at the
splendid decoration which the room had undergone since the day previous,
not to mention the very unpleasant growling of the big dog, prompted him
to strike a milder string.  His slave had followed him and had sought a
safe corner near the door, between the wall of the room and a couch, but
he himself, conquering his alarm at the dog, went forward some distance
into the room.  The Emperor had seated himself on the window-sill; he
pressed his foot lightly on the head of the dog, and gazed at Keraunus as
at some remarkable curiosity.  His eye thus met that of the steward and
made him clearly understand that he had to do with a greater personage
than he had expected.  There was something imposing in the person of the
man who sat before him; for this very reason, however, his pride stood on
tiptoe, and he asked in a tone of swaggering dignity, though not so
sharply and abruptly as he had intended.

"Am I standing before the new visitor to Lochias, the architect Claudius
Venator of Rome?"

"You are--standing--" replied the Emperor, with a roguish side glance at
Antinous.

"You have met with a friendly reception to this palace.  Like my fathers,
who have enjoyed the stewardship of it for centuries, I know how to
exercise the sacred duties of hospitality."

"I am surprised to hear of the high antiquity of your family and bow to
your pious sentiments," answered Hadrian, in the same tone as the
steward.  "What farther may I learn from you?"

"I did not come here  to  relate history," said Keraunus, whose gall rose
as he thought he detected a mocking smile on the stranger's lips.  "I did
not come here to tell stories, but to complain that you, as a warmly-
welcomed guest, show so little anxiety to protect your host from injury."

"How is that?"  asked Hadrian, rising from his seat and signing to
Antinous to hold back the hound, which manifested a peculiar aversion to
the steward.  It no doubt detected that he had come to show no special
friendliness to his owner.

"Is that dangerous dog, gnashing its teeth there, your property?"  asked
Keraunus.

"Yes."

This morning it threw down my daughter and smashed a costly pitcher,
which she is fond of carrying to fetch water in the dawn."

"I heard of that misadventure," said Hadrian, "and I would give much if I
could undo it.  The vessel shall be amply made good to you."

"I beg you not to add insult to the injury, we have suffered by your
fault.  A father whose daughter has been knocked down and hurt--"

"Then, Argus actually bit her?"  cried Antinous, horrified.

"No,"  Keraunus replied.  "But as she fell her head and foot have been
injured, and she is suffering much pain."

"That is very sad," said Hadrian, "and as I am not ignorant of the
healing art, I will gladly try to help the poor girl."

"I pay a professional leech, who attends me and mine," replied the
steward, in a repellant tone, "and I came hither to request--or, to be
frank with you--to require--"

"What?"

"First, that my pardon shall be asked."

"That, the artist, Claudius Venator, is always ready to do when any one
has suffered damage by his fault.  What has happened--I repeat it--
grieves me sincerely, and I beg you tell the maiden to whom the accident
happened, that her pain is mine.  What more do you desire?"

The steward's features had calmed down at these last words, and he
answered with less excitement than before:

"I must request you to chain up your dog, or to shut it up, or in some
way to keep it from mischief."

"That is pretty strong!"  cried the Emperor.

"It is only a reasonable demand, and I must stand by it," replied
Keraunus decidedly.  "Neither I--nor my children's lives are safe, so
long as this wild beast is prowling about at pleasure."

Hadrian had, ere now, erected monuments to deceased favorites, both dogs
and horses, and his faithful Argus was no less dear to him, than other
four-footed companions have been to other childless men; hence the queer
fat man's demand seemed to him so audacious and monstrous, that he
indignantly exclaimed:

"Folly!--the dog shall be watched, but nothing farther."

"You will chain him up," replied Keraunus, with an angry, glare, "or
someone will be found who will make him harmless forever."

"That will be an evil attempt for the cowardly murderer!" cried Hadrian.
"Eh!  Argus, what do you think?"

At these words the dog drew himself up, and would have sprung at the
steward's throat if his master and Antinous had not held him back.

Keraunus felt that the dog had threatened him, but at this instant he
would have let himself be torn by him without wincing, so completely was
he overmastered by the fury born of his injured pride.

"And am I--I too, to be hunted down by a dog, in this house?" he cried
defiantly, setting his left fist on his hip.  "Every thing has its
limits, and so has my patience with a guest who, in spite of his ripe age
forgets due consideration.  I will inform the prefect Titianus of your
proceedings here, and when the Emperor arrives he shall know--"

"What?" laughed Hadrian.

"The way you behave to me."

"Till then the dog shall stay where it is, and really under due
restraint.  But I can tell you man, that Hadrian is as much a friend of
dogs as I am--and fonder of me than even of dogs."

"We will  see,"  growled  Keraunus,  "I  or the dog!"

"I am afraid it will be the dog then."

"And Rome will see a fresh revolt," cried Keraunus, rolling his eyes.
"You took Egypt from the Ptolemies."

"And with very good reason--besides that is a stale old story."

"Justice is never stale, like a bad debt."

"At any rate it perishes with persons it concerns; there have been no
Lagides left here--how many years?"

"So you believe, because it suits your ends to believe it," replied the
steward.  "In the man who stands before you flows the blood of the
Macedonian rulers of this country.  My eldest son bears the name of
Ptolemaeus Helios--that borne by the last of the Lagides, who perished as
you pretend."

"Dear, good, blind Helios!" interrupted the black slave; for he was
accustomed to avail himself of the hapless child's name as a protection,
when Keraunus was in a doubtful humor.

"Then the last descendant of the Ptolemies is blind!" laughed the
Emperor.  "Rome may ignore his claims.  But I will inform the Emperor how
dangerous a pretender this roof yet harbors."

"Denounce me, accuse me, calumniate me!"  cried the steward,
contemptuously.  "But I will not let myself be trodden on.  Patience--
patience!  you will live to know me yet."

"And you, the blood-hound," replied Hadrian, "if you do not this instant
quit the room with your mouthing crow--"

Keraunus signed to his slave and without greeting his foe in any way,
turned his back upon him.  He paused for a moment at the door of the room
and cried out to Hadrian:

"Rely upon this, I shall complain to the Council and write to Caesar how
you presume to behave to a Macedonian citizen."

As soon as the steward had quitted the room, Hadrian freed the dog, which
flew raging at the door which was closed between him and the object of
his aversion.  Hadrian ordered him to be quiet, and then turning to his
companion, he exclaimed:

"A perfect monster of a man! to the last degree ridiculous, and at the
same time repulsive.  How his rage seethed in him, and yet could not
break out fairly and thoroughly.  I am always on my guard with such
obstinate fools.  Pay attention to my Argus, and remember, we are in
Egypt, the land of poison, as Homer long since said.  Mastor must keep
his eyes open--Here he is at last."



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Have lived to feel such profound contempt for the world
In order to find himself for once in good company--(Solitude)
Never speaks a word too much or too little
They keep an account in their heart and not in their head





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