Last Days of Pompeii eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 565 pages of information about Last Days of Pompeii.
to scorn alike the magic of human guile and the malice of human wrath.  As a Titan, on whom the mountains are piled, it roused itself from the sleep of years, it moved on its tortured couch—­the caverns below groaned and trembled beneath the motion of its limbs.  In the moment of his vengeance and his power, the self-prized demigod was humbled to his real clay.  Far and wide along the soil went a hoarse and rumbling sound—­the curtains of the chamber shook as at the blast of a storm—­the altar rocked—­the tripod reeled, and high over the place of contest, the column trembled and waved from side to side—­the sable head of the goddess tottered and fell from its pedestal—­and as the Egyptian stooped above his intended victim, right upon his bended form, right between the shoulder and the neck, struck the marble mass!  The shock stretched him like the blow of death, at once, suddenly, without sound or motion, or semblance of life, upon the floor, apparently crushed by the very divinity he had impiously animated and invoked!

‘The Earth has preserved her children,’ said Glaucus, staggering to his feet.  ’Blessed be the dread convulsion!  Let us worship the providence of the gods!’ He assisted Apaecides to rise, and then turned upward the face of Arbaces; it seemed locked as in death; blood gushed from the Egyptian’s lips over his glittering robes; he fell heavily from the arms of Glaucus, and the red stream trickled slowly along the marble.  Again the earth shook beneath their feet; they were forced to cling to each other; the convulsion ceased as suddenly as it came; they tarried no longer; Glaucus bore Ione lightly in his arms, and they fled from the unhallowed spot.  But scarce had they entered the garden than they were met on all sides by flying and disordered groups of women and slaves, whose festive and glittering garments contrasted in mockery the solemn terror of the hour; they did not appear to heed the strangers—­they were occupied only with their own fears.  After the tranquillity of sixteen years, that burning and treacherous soil again menaced destruction; they uttered but one cry, ‘the earthquakeThe earthquake!’ and passing unmolested from the midst of them, Apaecides and his companions, without entering the house, hastened down one of the alleys, passed a small open gate, and there, sitting on a little mound over which spread the gloom of the dark green aloes, the moonlight fell on the bended figure of the blind girl—­she was weeping bitterly.


Chapter I

The forum of the PompeiansThe first rude machinery by which the new era of the world was wrought.

Project Gutenberg
Last Days of Pompeii from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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