Caesar's Column eBook

Ignatius Donnelly
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about Caesar's Column.

I could have wept over man; but I remembered that God lives beyond the stars.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

EUROPE

The next day we were flying over the ocean.  The fluctuous and changeable waves were beneath us, with their multitudinous hues and colors, as light and foam and billows mingled.  Far as the eye could reach, they seemed to be climbing over each other forever, like the endless competitions of men in the arena of life.  Above us was the panorama of the clouds—­so often the harbingers of terror; for even in their gentlest forms they foretell the tempest, which is ever gathering the mists around it like a garment, and, however slow-paced, is still advancing.

A whale spouted.  Happy nature!  How cunningly were the wet, sliding waves accommodated to that smooth skin and those nerves which rioted in the play of the tumbling waters.  A school of dolphins leaped and gamboled, showing their curved backs to the sun in sudden glimpses; a vast family; merry, social, jocund, abandoned to happiness.  The gulls flew about us as if our ship was indeed a larger bird; and I thought of the poet’s lines wherein he describes—­

     “The gray gull, balanced on its bow-like wings,
     Between two black waves, seeking where to dive.”

And here were more kindly adjustments.  How the birds took advantage of the wind and made it lift them or sink them, or propel them forward; tacking, with infinite skill, right in the eye of the gale, like a sailing-vessel.  It was not toil—­it was delight, rapture—­the very glory and ecstasy of living.  Everywhere the benevolence of God was manifest:  light, sound, air, sea, clouds, beast, fish and bird; we were in the midst of all; we were a part of all; we rejoiced in all.

And then my thoughts reverted to the great city; to that congregation of houses; to those streets swarming with murderers; to that hungry, moaning multitude.

Why did they not listen to me?  Why did rich and poor alike mock me?  If they had not done so, this dreadful cup might have been averted from their lips.  But it would seem as if faith and civilization were incompatible.  Christ was only possible in a barefooted world; and the few who wore shoes murdered him.  What dark perversity was it in the blood of the race that made it wrap itself in misery, like a garment, while all nature was happy?

Max told me that we had had a narrow escape.  Of the three messengers we had sent forth to General Quincy, but one reached him; the others had been slain on the streets.  And when the solitary man fought his way through to the armory he found the Mamelukes of the Air full of preparations for a flight that night to the mountain regions of South America.  Had we delayed our departure for another day, or had all three of our messengers been killed by the marauders, we must all have perished in the midst of the flames of the burning building.  We joined Mr. Phillips, therefore, with unwonted heartiness in the morning prayers.

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Caesar's Column from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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