So long as he denied its existence, he had recognised no being more powerful than himself; now that he again felt insignificant beside it, he knew himself to be stronger than ever before, that the greatest of all powers had become his ally. Now it was difficult for him to understand how he could have turned away from the deity. As an artist he, too, was a creator, and, while he believed those who considered the universe had come into existence of itself, instead of having been created, he had robbed himself of the most sublime model. Besides, the greatest charm of his noble profession was lost to him. Now he knew it, and was striving toward the goal attainable by the artist alone among mortals—to hold intercourse with the deity, and by creations full of its essence elevate the world to its grandeur and beauty.
One day, at the end of the second month of his stay in the desert, when the Amalekite woman removed the bandage, her boy, whose form he distinguished as if through a veil, suddenly exclaimed: “The white cover on your eyes is melting! They are beginning to sparkle a little, and soon they will be perfectly well, and you can carve the lion’s head on my cane.”
Perhaps the artist might really have succeeded in doing so, but he forbade himself the attempt.
He thought that the time for departure had now arrived, and an irresistible longing urged him back to the world and Daphne.
But he could not resist the entreaties of the old sheik and his daughter not to risk what he had gained, so he continued to use the shade of leaves, and allowed himself to be persuaded to defer his departure until the dimness which still prevented his seeing anything distinctly passed away.
True, the beautiful peace which he had enjoyed of late was over and, besides, anxiety for the dear ones in distant lands was constantly increasing. He had had no news of them for a long time, and when he imagined what fate might have overtaken Archias, and his daughter with him, if he had been carried back to the enraged King in Alexandria, a terrible dread took possession of him, which scattered even joy in his wonderful recovery to the four winds, and finally led him to the resolution to return to the world at any risk and devote himself to those whose fate was nearer to his heart than his own weal and woe.
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Forbidden the folly
of spoiling the present by remorse
Two griefs always belong to one joy
By Georg Ebers
Hermon, filled with longing, went down toward evening to the shore.
The sun was setting, and the riot of colours in the western horizon seemed like a mockery of the torturing anxiety which had mastered his soul.
He did not notice the boat that was approaching the land; many travellers who intended to go through Arabia Petrea landed here, and for several days—he knew why—there had been more stir in these quiet waters.