Hitherto Hermon had listened to every word in silence, labouring for breath. He was transported as if by magic to the hour of his return from Pelusium; he saw himself enter Myrtilus’s studio and watch his friend scratch something, he did not know what, upon the ribbon which fastened the bunch of golden grain. It was—nay, it could have been nothing else —that very spider. The honoured work was not his, but his dead friend’s. How the exchange had occurred he could not now understand, but to disbelieve that it had taken place would have been madness or self-deception.
Now he also understood the doubts of Soteles and the King. Not he— Myrtilus, and he alone, was the creator of the much-lauded Demeter!
This conviction raised a hundred-pound weight from his soul.
What was applause! What was recognition! What were fame and laurel wreaths! He desired clearness and truth for himself and all the world and, as if frantic, he suddenly sprang from his cushions, shouting to the startled guests: “I myself and this whole great city were deceived! The Demeter is not mine, not the work of Hermon! The dead Myrtilus created it!”
Then pressing his hand to his brow, he called his student friend to his side, and, as the scholar anxiously laid his arm on his shoulder, whispered: “Away, away from here! Only let me get out of doors into the open air!”
Crates, bewildered and prepared for the worst, obeyed his wish; but Althea and the other guests left behind felt more and more impressed by the suddenly awakened conviction that the hapless blind man had now also become the victim of madness.
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
Aimless life of pleasure
*** End of the project gutenberg EBOOK Arachne, by Georg Ebers, V6 ***
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