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Julian Hawthorne
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about Idolatry.

Verily, the Reverend Manetho has much forgotten himself.  The issue might have been disastrous, had not Helen, in the crisis of the affair, lost consciousness, and fallen a dead weight in his arms.  He laid her gently on the bench, fumbled for a moment in the bosom of her dress, and drew out the diamond ring.  Just then is heard the solid step of Thor, striding and whistling along the path.  Manetho snaps the golden chain, and vanishes with his talisman; and he is the first to appear, full of sympathy and concern, when the distracted husband shouts for help.

Next morning, two little struggling human beings are blinking and crying in a darkened room, and there is no mother to give them milk, and cherish them in her bosom.  There sits the father, almost as still and cold as what was his wife.  She did not speak to him, nor seem to know him, to the last.  He will never know the truth; Manetho comes and goes, and reads the burial-service, unsuspected and unpunished.  But Salome follows him away from the grave, and some words pass between them.  The man is no longer what he was.  He turns suddenly upon her and strikes out with savage force; the diamond on his finger bites into the flesh of the gypsy’s breast; she will carry the scar of that brutal blow as long as she lives.  So he drove his only lover away, and looked upon her bright, handsome face no more.

Here Doctor Glyphic—­or whoever this sleeping man may be—­turns heavily upon his face, drawing his hand, with the blood-stained ring, out of sight.  We are glad to leave him to his bad dreams; the air oppresses us.  Come, ’t is time we were off.  The eastern horizon bows before the sun, the air colors delicate pink, and the very tombstones in the graveyard blush for sympathy.  The sparrows have been awake for a half-hour past, and, up aloft, the clouds, which wander ceaselessly over the face of the earth, alighting only on lonely mountain-tops, are tinted into rainbow-quarries by the glorious spectacle.

III.

A may morning.

King Arthur, in his Bohemian days, carried an adamantine shield, the gift of some fairy relative.  Not only was it impenetrable, but, so intolerable was its lustre, it overthrew all foes before the lance’s point could reach them.  Observing this, the chivalric monarch had a cover made for it, which he never removed save in the face of superhuman odds.

Here is an analogy.  The imaginative reader may look upon our enchanted facet-mirror as too glaringly simple and direct a source of facts to suit the needs of a professed romance.  Be there left, he would say, some room for fancy, and even for conjecture.  Let the author seem occasionally to consult with his companion, gracefully to defer to his judgment.  Bare statement, the parade of indisputable evidence, is well enough in law, but appears ungentle in a work of fiction.

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