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Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 44 pages of information about Arachne Volume 06.
insect, not only because it is cleverly done, but because it reminded me of something”—­here she lowered her voice still more—­“that pleased me, though probably it would seem less flattering to the daughter of Archias, who perhaps is better suited to act as guide to the blind.  How bewildered you look!  Eternal gods!  Many things are forgotten after long months have passed, but it will be easy for me to sharpen your memory.  ‘At the time Hermon had just finished the Demeter,’ the spider called to me, ‘he scratched me on the gold.’  But at that very time—­yes, my handsome friend, I can reckon accurately—­you had met me, Althea, in Tennis, I had brought the spider-woman before your eyes.  Was it really nothing but foolish vanity that led me to the conviction that you were thinking of me also when you engraved on the ribbon the despised spider-for which, however, I always felt a certain regard—­with the delicate web beneath its slender legs?”

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

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