Last Days of Pompeii eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 565 pages of information about Last Days of Pompeii.

‘Peace be with thee!’ said he, saluting Apaecides.

‘Peace!’ echoed the priest, in so hollow a tone that it went at once to the heart of the Nazarene.

‘In that wish,’ continued Olinthus, ’all good things are combined—­without virtue thou canst not have peace.  Like the rainbow, Peace rests upon the earth, but its arch is lost in heaven.  Heaven bathes it in hues of light—­it springs up amidst tears and clouds—­it is a reflection of the Eternal Sun—­it is an assurance of calm—­it is the sign of a great covenant between Man and God.  Such peace, O young man! is the smile of the soul; it is an emanation from the distant orb of immortal light.  Peace be with you!’

‘Alas!’ began Apaecides, when he caught the gaze of the curious loiterers, inquisitive to know what could possibly be the theme of conversation between a reputed Nazarene and a priest of Isis.  He stopped short, and then added in a low tone:  ’We cannot converse here, I will follow thee to the banks of the river; there is a walk which at this time is usually deserted and solitary.’

Olinthus bowed assent.  He passed through the streets with a hasty step, but a quick and observant eye.  Every now and then he exchanged a significant glance, a slight sign, with some passenger, whose garb usually betokened the wearer to belong to the humbler classes; for Christianity was in this the type of all other and less mighty revolutions—­the grain of mustard-seed was in the heart of the lowly.  Amidst the huts of poverty and labor, the vast stream which afterwards poured its broad waters beside the cities and palaces of earth took its neglected source.

Chapter II

The noonday excursion on the Campanian seas.

But tell me, Glaucus,’ said Ione, as they glided down the rippling Sarnus in their boat of pleasure, ’how camest thou with Apaecides to my rescue from that bad man?’

‘Ask Nydia yonder,’ answered the Athenian, pointing to the blind girl, who sat at a little distance from them, leaning pensively over her lyre; ’she must have thy thanks, not we.  It seems that she came to my house, and, finding me from home, sought thy brother in his temple; he accompanied her to Arbaces; on their way they encountered me, with a company of friends, whom thy kind letter had given me a spirit cheerful enough to join.  Nydia’s quick ear detected my voice—­a few words sufficed to make me the companion of Apaecides; I told not my associates why I left them—­could I trust thy name to their light tongues and gossiping opinion?—­Nydia led us to the garden gate, by which we afterwards bore thee—­we entered, and were about to plunge into the mysteries of that evil house, when we heard thy cry in another direction.  Thou knowest the rest.’

Ione blushed deeply.  She then raised her eyes to those of Glaucus, and he felt all the thanks she could not utter.  ‘Come hither, my Nydia,’ said she, tenderly, to the Thessalian.

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Last Days of Pompeii from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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