Caesar's Column eBook

Ignatius Donnelly
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about Caesar's Column.
struggling to his feet.  I saw the whip wind around his neck; and, letting go the horses’ heads, who were now brought to a stand-still, I sprang forward, and as the whip descended for a second blow I caught it, dragged it from the hand of the miscreant, and with all my power laid it over him.  Each blow where it touched his flesh brought the blood, and two long red gashes appeared instantaneously upon his face.  He dropped his lines and shrieked in terror, holding his hands up to protect his face.  Fortunately a crowd had assembled, and some poorly dressed men had seized the horses’ heads, or there would have been a run-away.  As I raised my hand to lash the brute again, a feminine shriek reached my ears, and I became aware that there were ladies in the open barouche.  My sense of politeness overcame in an instant my rage, and I stepped back, and, taking off my hat, began to apologize and explain the cause of the difficulty.  As I did so I observed that the occupants of the carriage were two young ladies, both strikingly handsome, but otherwise very unlike in appearance.  The one nearest me, who had uttered the shrieks, was about twenty years of age, I should think, with aquiline features, and black eyes and hair; every detail of the face was perfect, but there was a bold, commonplace look out of the bright eyes.  Her companion instantly arrested all my attention.  It seemed to me I had never beheld a more beautiful. and striking countenance.  She was younger, by two or three years, than her companion; her complexion was fairer; her long golden hair fell nearly to her waist, enfolding her like a magnificent, shining garment; her eyes were blue and large and set far apart; and there was in them, and in the whole contour of the face, a look of honesty and dignity, and calm intelligence, rarely witnessed in the countenance of woman.  She did not appear to be at all alarmed; and when I told my story of the driver lashing the aged beggar, her face lighted up, and she said, with a look that thrilled me, and in a soft and gentle voice:  “We are much obliged to you, sir; you did perfectly right.”

I was about to reply, when I felt some one tugging fiercely at my coat, and turning around, I was surprised to find that the beggar was drawing me away from the carriage by main force.  I was astonished also at the change in his appearance.  The aspect of decrepitude had disappeared, a green patch that I had noticed covering one of his eyes had fallen off, and his black eyes shone with a look of command and power that was in marked contrast with his gray hair, his crooked back, and his rags.

“Come,” he said, in a hoarse whisper, “come quickly, or you will be arrested and cast into prison.”

“What for?” I asked.

“I will tell you hereafter—­look!”

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Caesar's Column from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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