The day had advanced, the sun was very warm. A shaft of light fell upon the cold stone floor, and in its fiery particles darted myriads of motes. Hyzlo followed their spiral flights, thinking all the while of humanity which flashes from out the dark void, plays madly in the light, only to vanish into the unknown night. His gaze was held by the smoothness of the flagging at his feet. Then it became transformed into marble, the walls of his cell widened, and he closed his eyes, so blinding were the long ladders of light....
He opened them ... the harbour with its army of galleys and pleasure craft lay in the burning sunshine, its surface a sapphire blue. Overhead the sky echoed this tone, which modulated into deeper notes of purple on the far-away hills whose tops were wreathed in mist. Under his sandalled feet was marble, back of him were the gleaming spires and towers of the great city, and at his left was a mountain of shining marble, the Pharos.
“Alexandria?” he called out as he was jostled by a melon-seller, and startled by the fluted invitations of a young girl—an antique statue come to life.
“Of course it is Alexandria,” replied a deep, harsh voice at his elbow. He turned. It was his friend Philo.
“You have at last emerged from your day-dream, Hyzlo! I thought, as our bark clove the water, that you were enjoying visions.” And it seemed to Hyzlo that he had just awakened from a bizarre dream of a monastic cell, to more beautiful sights and shapes and sounds. The pair now traversed the quay, past the signal masts, the fortified towers, pushing through the throng of sailors, courtesans, philosophers, fruitsellers, soldiers, beggars, and idle rich toward the spacious city. Past the palace to the wall of the Canal, along the banks of the Royal Port, they finally struck into a broad, deserted avenue. At its head was a garden wall. Philo introduced himself and his companion through a low door and presently they were both in an apartment full of parchments, glittering brass and gold instruments all reposing on a wide, long table.
“Hyzlo,” said the Jewish philosopher, in his slightly accented Greek, “I have long promised you that I would reveal to you my secret, my life work. I am downcast by sadness. Rome is full of warring cults, Greek, African, Babylonian, Buddhistic; the writings of the great teachers, the masters, Heraclitus, Zeno, Anaxagoras, Plato, Socrates, Epictetus, Seneca, are overlaid with heretical emendations. The religion of my fellow-countrymen is a fiery furnace, Jerusalem a den of warring thieves. The rulers of earth are weary and turn a deaf ear on their peoples. The time is ripe for revolt. Sick of the accursed luxury and debauchery, fearful of the threatening barbarians from Asia and the boreal regions, who are hemming the civilized world, waiting like vultures