HotFreeBooks.com
Vergilius - A Tale of the Coming of Christ
by Irving Bacheller
Previous Part     1  2  3
Home - Random Browse

These were mostly the children of Hatred, each heart a lair of wild passions, each brain teeming with catlike gods. Here were they to be lifted up by the power of love—the heathen, the debased. What a gathering of the enemies of God and man! Crowding at the gates were gladiators from Greece and Rome; Arab chiefs upon camels, with horses trained for the race; troops of rich men with armed retainers; hunters bringing wild beasts in cages lashed upon heavy carts; squads of Roman cavalry; gamblers, peddlers, thieves, bandits, musicians, dancers, and singers, some walking, some riding horse or camel. Many had travelled far for one purpose—to behold the great king. Now solemn whispers of gossip had gone to every side of the city. Herod was ill, so said they, and had not long to live. That morning of the day before the games the old king had summoned Vergilius.

"I will not be cheated by God or man," said he, fiercely. "Tell the master of the games that I will have him entertain me here to-day, after the middle hour, in my palace court. Bid him bring beast and gladiator and the strong men of the prisons. Let him not forget the traitors. I would have, also, a thousand maids to sing and dance for me."

The king looked down, impatiently, at his trembling hands. He flung a wrathful gesture, and again that bestial voice: "Go, bid him bring them!"

So at the middle hour a wonderful scene was beginning in the great court of Herod's palace. The king sat on a balcony with Salome, Elpis, Roxana, Phaedra, and others of his kindred. On the circular terraces of a great fountain below and in front of them were rows of naked maidens. Circle after circle of this living statuary towered, with diminishing radii, above the court level, to an apex, where a stream of cool, perfumed water, broken to misty spray, rose aloft, scattering in the sunlight. So cunningly had they contrived to enhance the charm of the spectacle, those many graceful shapes were under a fine, transparent veil of water-drops lighted by rainbow gleams and sweet with musky odor. Circles were closely massed around the base of the fountain. They stood in silence, all looking down. The old king surveyed them. Within the palace a hundred harpers smote their strings, flooding the scene with music. Slowly each circumference began to move. Step and measure increased their speed. The circles were now revolving, one around another, with swift and bewildering motion. At a signal the silent figures broke into song. They sang of the glories of Jerusalem and the great king. Herod's hand was up—he would have no more of it. The song ceased, the circles, one by one, rolled into helices which, unbending into slender lines, vanished quickly beneath a great arch. Then a trumpet peal and a rattle of iron wheels. Brawny arms were pushing a movable arena. Swiftly it came into that ample space between the king and the great fountain. Behind its iron bars a large lion paced up and down. Two hundred mounted men of the cohort stood in triple rank some fifty paces from the scene. Vergilius, on a white charger, was in front of the column.

While Arab slaves pushed the arena into place, David came and touched the arm of the young tribune. He whispered, eagerly: "My sister, Cyran the Beloved, is here. She is waiting at the castle."

"Whence came she?" said the tribune, with astonishment.

"From the port of Ascalon, where she arrived by trireme with Appius. They were wrecked, finding shore in a far country. There the friend of Caesar, Probus Sulpicius Quirinus, discovered them on his way from Carthage, and brought them hither."

Appius, fearing Antipater, had waited by the sea while Cyran came to find her brother and Vergilius. The prince's threat and the words of Caesar had checked his feet with caution. He forbade Cyran to tell any one of the presence of Arria.

"And where is my friend?" Vergilius demanded.

"He waits on the ship to hear from you—whether it be safe to come. It seems Antipater has threatened him."

"Tell Cyran I would have her come to me. Then find my orderly and bid him bring Appius hither by the way of Bethlehem. If he arrives there before the end of the third watch he will see my fire-light on the hill."

David left the scene as a powerful Thracian, standing by the arena's gate, saluted the king. Entering, the gladiator engaged the lion with his lance. Incautiously he pressed his weapon too far, drawing blood. Before he could set his lance the wild foe was upon him. A leap into the air, a double stroke of the right fore-paw, and down fell the beast, while the man reeled, with rent tunic, and caught the side of the arena. In a twinkling, as he clung feebly, he reddened from head to toe. Three bestiarii had thrust in their lances and held the lion back; others opened a gate and removed the dying gladiator. Herod, leaning over, beckoned to the master of the games.

"A noble lion!" said he, his voice trembling. "Save him for the battle of the pit."

Now, in pursuance of the order of the king, a pit had been dug and walled with timber near that place where the fighter had met his death. A score of slaves forthwith lowered the arena into the pit with ropes. Herod and all who sat with him could see the open top of the barred space, but the beast was beyond their vision.

Another trumpet-call. A band of prisoners have entered the court. Antipater, tall and erect in exomis of plain gray, right arm and shoulder bare, walked in the centre of the front rank. Traitors of the betrayed council were there beside him. Slowly they about to die came forth and stood in even rank and bowed low before the king. Herod beat his palms upon the golden rail before him and muttered hoarsely. Then with raised finger and leering face he taunted them.

"Outlaws!" he croaked. "I doubt not ye be also cowards."

All drew back save Antipater and a huge Scythian bandit. They drew broadswords and rushed together, fighting with terrific energy. The Scythian fell in a moment. One after another four conspirators came to battle with their chief, but each went down before his terrible attack. Some asked for mercy as they fell, but all perished by the hand of him they had sought to serve. Held for the battle of the pit, the young Roman whom Vergilius had recognized in the council chamber advanced to meet Herod's son. He had won his freedom in the arena and lost it in the conspiracy of the prince. He was a tall, lithe, splendid figure of a man. The heart of the young commander was touched with pity as he beheld the comely youth. This game, invented by Antipater himself, was a test of strength and quickness. Nets were the only weapons, strong sinews and a quick hand the main reliance of either. Each tried to entangle the other in his net and secure a hold. Then he sought to rush or drag his adversary to the edge of the pit and force him down. Weapons lay on every side of the arena below. The unfortunate had, therefore, a chance to defend himself against the lion.

On the signal to begin, Jew and Roman wrestled fiercely, their weapons on their arms, but neither fell. Suddenly Antipater broke away and flung his net. Nimbly the other dodged. Down came the net, grazing his head. Swiftly he sprang upon the Jew, striving to entangle him. Antipater pulled away. Again the Roman was upon his enemy and the two struggled to the very noses of the cohort. Hard by the centre of the column, where sat Vergilius on his charger, the powerful prince threw his adversary, and, choking him down, secured the net over his head. Swiftly he began to drag the fallen youth. Vergilius, angered by the prince's cruelty, could no longer hold his peace.

"'Tis unfair," said he, pointing at Antipater. "In the name of the fatherly Augustus, I protest."

The prince, still dragging his foe, answered with insulting threats. The young commander leaped from his horse and ran to the side of Antipater. The latter released his captive and drew sword. Swiftly Vergilius approached him and the two met with a clash of steel.

Now the first battle in that war of the spirit, which was to shake the world with fury had begun.

Back and forth across the court of Herod they fought their way—the son of light and the son of darkness. Sparks of fire flew from their weapons while a murmur in the cohort grew to a loud roar and the old king and his women stood with hands uplifted shrieking like fiends of hell. Hand and foot grew weary; their speed slackened. Slowly, now, they moved in front of the cohort and back to the middle space. They were evenly matched; both began to reel and labor heavily, their strength failing in like degree. The end was at hand. Now the angel of death hovered near, about to choose between them. Suddenly Antipater, pressing upon his man, fell forward. At the very moment Vergilius, who had been giving quarter, reeled a few paces and was down upon his back. Prince and tribune lay apart some twenty cubits. Both tried to rise and fell exhausted. Half a moment passed. Antipater had risen to his elbow. Slowly he gained a knee, while the other lay as one dead. He rested, staring with vengeful eyes at his enemy. Stealthily he felt for his weapon. The right hand of Vergilius began to move. A hush fell upon the scene. Swiftly, from beside the cohort a fair daughter of Judea, in a white robe, ran across the field of battle. She knelt beside Vergilius and touched his pale face with her hands. Then she called to him: "Rise, O my beloved! Rise quickly! He will slay you!"

"Cyran!" he whispered.

Antipater had gained his feet and now ran to glut his anger. Cyran rose upon her knees and put her beautiful body between the steel and him she loved. The sword seemed to spring at her bosom. She seized it, clinging as if it were a thing she prized. Vergilius had risen. Swiftly sword smote upon sword. The young Roman pressed his enemy, forcing him backward. From dying lips he heard again the old chant of faith:

"Let me not be ashamed—I trust in Thee, God of my fathers; Send, quickly send the new king" . . .

The words seemed to strengthen his arm. He fought as one having power above that of men. On and on he forced his foe with increasing energy. He gave him no chance to stop or turn aside. Yells of fury drowned the clash of steel. The tumult grew. The son of Herod was near the pit. He seemed to tempt the Roman to press him. Suddenly he leaped backward to the very edge. The Roman rushed upon him. Before their swords met, Antipater sprang aside with the quickness of a leopard. In cunning he had outdone his foe. Unable to check his onrush, Vergilius leaped forward and fell out of sight. A booming roar from the startled lion rose out of the pit and hushed the tumult of the people. Herod, pointing at his son, shrieked with rage as he bade the soldiers of the cohort to seize and put him in irons.

A score of slaves hastened to the mouth of the pit. They caught the ropes and quickly lifted the arena. As it came into view the tumult broke out afresh. There far spent, resting on his bloody weapon, near the middle of the arena stood Vergilius, and the lion lay dead before him.

Slaves opened the iron gate. Vergilius ran to the still form of the slave-girl. He knelt beside her and kissed her lifeless hand.

"Poor child of God!" he whispered. "If indeed you loved me, I have no wonder that you knelt here to die."

The master brought a wreath of laurel to the young tribune, saying: "'Tis from the king." Vergilius seemed not to hear. Tenderly he raised the lifeless body of Cyran in his arms. The spectators were cheering. "Hail, victor!" they shouted.

"Hail, victor!" he whispered, looking into the dead face. "Blessed be they who conquer death."



CHAPTER 25

The day was near its end. Soldiers of the cohort, bearers of the dead, harpers and singers filed through the gate of Herod's palace. Hard by, in Temple Street, were many people. An old man stood among them, his white beard falling low upon a purple robe, his face turned to the sky. He sang as if unconscious of all around him. Often he raised his hand, which trembled like a leaf in the wind. Horses, maidens, and men halted to hear the words:

"Now is the day foretold of them who dwell in the dust of the vineyard. Bow and be silent, ye children of God and ye of far countries. Consider how many lie low in the old, immemorial vineyard. Deep—fathom deep—is the dust of the dead 'neath the feet of the living.

"Gone are they and the work of their hands—all save their hope and desire have perished. Only the flowers of the heart have endured— only they in the waste of the ages, Ay—they have grown, but the hewn rock has crumbled away and the temples have fallen. Bow, haughty people; ye live in the day of fulfilment—the day everlasting. Soon the plough of oppression shall cease and the ox shall abandon the furrow. Ready the field, and I sing of the sower whose grain has been gathered in heaven.

"Now is he come, with my voice and my soul I declare him. Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

The flood of inspiration had passed. The singer turned away. "It is Simeon," said a voice in the crowd. "He shall not die until his eyes have beheld the king of promise."

Those departing from the games of Herod resumed their march. At the gate of the castle of Antonia, Vergilius, with David and two armed equites, one bearing colors, left the squadron. They rode slowly towards the setting sun. Now there was not in all the world a city so wonderful as Jerusalem. Golden dome and tower were gleaming above white walls on the turquoise blue of the heavens.

"Good friend, I grieve for her who is dead," said Vergilius to David.

"She died for love," the other answered as one who would have done the same.

Vergilius looked not to right nor left. His dark, quivering plume was an apt symbol of thought and passion beneath it. His blood was hot from the rush and wrath of battle, from hatred of them who had sought his life. He could hear the cry of Cyran; "Rise, rise, my beloved!" Again, he was like as he had been there on the field of battle. He could not rise above his longing for revenge. He hated the emperor whose cruel message had wrung his heart; he hated Manius, who had sought to destroy him; he despised the vile and stealthy son of Herod, who had plotted to rob him of love and life; he had begun to doubt the goodness of the great Lawgiver.

No sooner had he found an enemy than his God was become a god of vengeance. The council, the continued failure of his prayers, the cruelty of impending misfortune, the death of Cyran had weakened the faith of Vergilius. He had begun to founder in the deep mystery of the world. The voice of the old singer had not broken the spell of bitter passion. Vergilius trembled with haste to kill. He feared even that his anger would abate and leave him unavenged. There were memories which bade him to forgive, and of them was the gentle face of Arria, but he turned as one who would say "Begone!" He had not time even to consider what he should do to oppose the will of the emperor. As they rode on, his companion addressed the young commander.

"Saw you Manius in the balcony of Herod?"

"No."

"As I passed beneath it I saw him by the side of Salome, and I heard her say: 'Not until you slay him shall I be your wife.' I fear she means you ill, good friend."

"She-cat!" exclaimed Vergilius. "'Tis a yowling breed that haunts the house of Herod."

They came soon to where a throng was gathered thick, so for a little they saw not a way to pass. In the midst were three men sitting upon tall, white camels, their trappings rich with colored silk and shining metal.

"They speak, to the people," said David. "It must be their words are as silver and gold."

"I doubt not they be story-tellers from the desert," said one behind.

The press parted; the camels had begun to move slowly. One of their riders hailed the young commander, saying, in a voice that rang like a trumpet:

"Where is he that is born king of the Jews?"

"I would I knew," was the answer of Vergilius.

"So shall ye soon," said the stranger. "We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him."

The camels passed with long, stately strides. The horsemen resumed their journey.

"Strange!" thought Vergilius, turning his charger and looking back. "They be surely those who have travelled far."

The squad of cavalry, under plume and helmet, moved on, passing the Joppa gate and riding slowly down a long hill.

"See the glowing clouds yonder," said Vergilius, pointing westward.

"Ay, they be fair as the tents of Kedar," was the answer of David.

"There is a great beauty in the sky and the blue hills," Vergilius remarked, thoughtfully.

"And you would kill, look not upon them—they are so fair."

"If I close my eyes, then, I do see a thing more fair."

"What?"

"The face of one I love. It is a love greater than all other things—fame or king or fatherland."

"Or revenge?" inquired David.

For a little Vergilius made no answer; but presently he said: "I am a Roman; who seeks my life shall lose his own."

They came upon a ewe lying in the roadway. She looked up with a mute appeal, but moved not. She seemed to reckon upon the kindness of them approaching. The squad parted, passing on either side. All drew rein, and one, dismounting, stood a moment looking down at her. Then laying hold of her fleece, he moved the ewe tenderly aside.

"A sign and a wonder!" said the Roman knight, as they continued their journey. "That old fighter has no hand for kindness."

"But mark this miracle of God," said the friend of Vergilius. "He softens the heart of those with young and makes gentle the hand that touches them. Ay, has he not softened the heart of the world? 'Tis like a mother whose time is near."

Soon a purple dusk had overflooded the hills and risen above the splendor of Jerusalem. The old capital was now like a dim, mysterious, golden isle in a vast, azure sea. Vergilius thought, as he went on, of those camel-riders. He seemed to hear in the lift and fall of hoofs, in the rattle of scabbards, that strange cry: "Where is he that is born king of the Jews?"

Darkness fell upon those riding in silence on the lonely road. Suddenly they drew rein, listening.

Said Vergilius, whispering: "I thought I heard voices."

"And I," said David, his words touched with awe. "'Twas like tens of thousands singing in some distant place."

Again they listened, but the song, if song it was, had ceased.

Then, boldly, as one who would put down his fear, the color-bearer spoke up; "'Tis a band of shepherd folk on some far hill. Never saw I so dark a night. By the curtains of Solomon, I cannot see my horse!"

"There is no star in the sky," said another.

Then said the young commander, whist with awe: "Look yonder! A light on the hills! I saw it appear."

Amazement was in the tone of David: "Nay, 'tis a window of paradise! Or maybe that time is come when the three great stars should gather side by side. Do you not remember the talk of the astrologers?"

"I say 'tis a light on the hills." Vergilius now spoke in a husky, solemn whisper. "See, 'tis larger; and I would think it near the village of Bethlehem."

After a moment of silence he added, with a laugh: "Why stand we here and whisper, like a lot of women? Let us move on."

Again he seemed to hear peals of song in the sky and their rhythm in hoof and scabbard. It put him in mind of that strange, mysterious chant of the old singer.

Soon he drew rein, saying: "Halt and listen!" They stopped, conscious only of the great silence of the night. Vergilius felt for the arm of his friend.

"What think you?" said he, his voice full of wonder. "I doubt not the sound is in our fancy."

"See! The star! It grows!" said David, eagerly. "'Tis like a mighty lantern hung in the dome of the sky."

Then said Vergilius, a pagan fancy filling his mind: "It may be God is walking upon the earth."

A moment they rode on, looking up at the heavens. Suddenly Vergilius bade them halt again, saying: "Hist! What is that cry?"

Now they could hear a faint halloo far behind them.

Then the bearer of the colors remarked: "It might be the squad of Manius."

"God curse him!" said Vergilius, quickly, his heart filling with passion dark as the night around. He heard no more the great song, but only the smite of steel in deadly combat. He seemed to see his enemy fall bleeding at his feet. "I will take what Herod offers," he thought. "I will make war on the cats and the serpents."

He had forgotten everything now save his bitterness.

"See! 'Tis gone!" said his friend, in a loud whisper. "The star is gone! I saw it disappear as if a cloud were suddenly come over it."

All drew rein, looking into the sky. Many stars were now uncovered in the vault above them.

"'Twas a light on the hills," said Vergilius, with a vague fear in him. "Yonder I can see a smaller one. 'Tis a lantern. Look! It moves."

Suddenly they were startled by a mighty voice that seemed to travel far into dark and lonely caverns of the sky. Like a trumpet-call it resounded over the gloomy hills—-that cry of the camel-rider:

"Where is he that is born king of the Jews?"

Vergilius whispered, his awe returning: "They are coming—those men who rode the camels."

Said David, his voice trembling: "They are like many who have gone abroad with that ancient hope in them."

The horsemen now stood, breathing low as they listened. Vergilius was full of wonder, thinking of the awe which had fallen upon him and the others. He tried to throw it off. "We waste time," said he, starting his charger. "Come, good men, we have work to do."

Awhile they rode in silence, their eyes on the light of the lantern. Slowly they came near, and soon saw its glow falling upon rocks and moving shadows beneath it.

Then said David, turning to Vergilius: "The battle—suppose it goes ill with you?"

"Ill!" said the Roman, with rising ire. "Then Jehovah is no better than Mars."

They could now see people standing in the light of a lantern which hung above the entrance of a cave. Its opening was large enough to admit a horse and rider.

"Soldiers of Caesar!"—the whisper went from mouth to mouth there in the light of the lantern.

The horsemen halted.

"I shall soon be done with this traitor to friend and king," thought the tribune, dismounting and approaching the cave.

That group of people under the light, seeing symbols of Roman authority and hearing its familiar voice, fell aside with fear in their faces. A woman standing in the entrance of the cave addressed Vergilius, her voice trembling with emotion.

"Good sir," said she, "if you mean harm to those within I pray you go hence."

"I know not who is within," he answered, as both he and David passed her. Fearing treachery, they drew their swords. Just beyond the entrance of the cave both halted. A man stood before them, his face full of high authority, his hand raised as if to command silence. He was garbed like a toiler and somewhat past middle age, his beard and eyebrows long and gray. A lantern hung near his head, and well beyond him, resting peacefully on the farther floor of the cave, were horses, sheep, and oxen. The man spoke not save by the beckon of his hand. Without a word they followed him. The light of the lantern seemed now to glow with exceeding brightness. They stopped. On the straw before them lay a beautiful young maiden, a child upon her breast. Her arms, which encircled the babe, her hands, her head, her whole body, and the soul within had a glow of fondness. Nature had clothed her for its great event with a fulness of beauty wonderful and yet familiar. In her soft, blue eyes they saw that peace and love which are a part of the ancient, common miracle of God. They saw more, even the light of the world, but were not able to understand. Calmly she looked up at them. Waving strands and masses of golden hair lay above her shoulders and about the head of the child upon her bosom. It was lustrous, beautiful hair, and seemed to glow as the bearded man came near with the lantern. What was there in the tender, peaceful look of the mother, what in her full breasts, what in the breathing of the child, what in the stir of those baby hands to make the soldier bare and bow his head? He leaned against the rock wall of the cave and covered his eyes and thought of his beloved Arria, of his dream of home and peace and little children. The sword fell from his hand. A great sickness of the soul came on him as he thought of those evil days in Jerusalem and of his part in their bloody record. There and then he flung off the fetters of king and emperor.

He knew not yet who lay before him.

As he looked through tears upon them they seemed to be covered with light as with a garment. David knelt before the mother and child in adoration.

Vergilius, full of astonishment, turned to look around him, and saw Manius, who stood near, trembling with superstitious awe. The wonders of the night, the great star and song in the heavens, the glowing cave, the mysterious child and mother had wrought upon him. Were they omens of death?

"Apollo save me!" he whispered, turning to go.

David rose and approached Manius, and spoke with lifted hand.

"Apollo cannot save you," said he. "Kneel! kneel before the sacred mother and put all evil out of your hearts!"

Vergilius knelt, and then his enemy. Manius began to weep.

"O God! who hast softened the heart of the world, give us peace!" said David.

Again they heard that voice which had greeted their ears in Jerusalem. It spoke now at the entrance of the cave, saying again: "Where is he that is born king of the Jews?"

David, going to the door of the cave, answered: "Here, within."

"Tis he—the new king!" the tribune whispered. "I thought kings were born in palaces, and here are they so near the beasts of the field."

Soon came David, and behind him, following in single file, three men, a God-sent majesty in step and countenance. Vergilius and Manius moved aside, saluting solemnly as the men passed. The young tribune turned to his friend and to Manius.

"Come," he whispered. "The Judge of all the earth is here, and, as for me, I dare not remain."

Softly, silently, they departed, their hearts lifted to that peace none may understand. Gently, gently, Vergilius took the hand of him who had been his enemy. They had forgotten their bitterness and the touch of awe had made them kin.

"All debts are paid, my brother," said Vergilius. "I forgive you."

He struck his sword deep in the earth. "Henceforth it shall be for a ploughshare," he added.

The assessor bowed low, kissing the hand of Vergilius, who quickly mounted horse.

Then said the latter, turning to his followers: "Come, let us make haste. Before the gold is shining in the great lantern of Shushan. I must be on my way to the sea."

"On your way to the sea!" said his friend.

As he answered, the voice of Vergilius had a note of longing and beloved memories: "Yes, for the day is come when I return to the city of Caesar. Nothing shall separate me longer from my beloved. But come, let us seek Appius at the beacon-fire."

On all sides the great shadow was now thick-sown with stars. The group of horsemen, with colors flying, rode swiftly down the broad way to Jerusalem. Suddenly they drew rein. Great surges of song were rolling in upon this rounded isle from off the immeasurable, mighty deep of the heavens. Beating of drums, and waving of banners, and trumpet-sounds, and battle-cries of them unborn were in that new song—so it seemed to those who heard it. Winding over the gloomy hills near them under the light of the great star, they could see a long procession of shepherds bearing crooks. Awhile the horsemen looked and listened. The host of the dead now seemed to cry unto the host of the living:

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good-will towards men."

Slowly the song diminished.

"The everlasting gates are lifted up," said David, thoughtfully. Then, thinking of the perils of the new king, he added: "I beseech you, say nothing of these things abroad."

The song had ceased. A cloud, with all its borders bright, now curtained the great star. Another band of horsemen were descending the hill from Bethlehem. Swiftly they came near and halted.

"God send you peace," said the voice of a maiden. "We seek one Vergilius, officer of the cohort."

"And who is he that you should seek him?" said the young tribune, dismounting quickly.

"My lover," said she, a note of trouble in her voice, "and I do fear his life is in peril."

Vergilius was at her side. Now the light of the great star shone full upon them.

"Blood of my heart!" he whispered, lifting the maiden from her horse.

"Oh, you that have made me love you with the great love!" she cried, pressing her cheek upon his. "I have been as one lost in the desert, and I thank the one God he has led me to you."

A moment they stood together and all were silent.

"God has answered my prayer," said he. "But how came you here?"

Then she whispered: "I came with Appius, and the emperor has written that we are to bring you home."

"And we shall live no more apart," said he. "'Tis a night of ten thousand years, dear love. The Christ is come."

"The Christ is come!" she repeated. "How know you?"

"Have you not seen his light in the heavens nor heard the mighty song?"

"Yes, and all the night we have been full of wonder. Listen!"

Again the air trembled with that peal of song:

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men."

Slowly it sank into silence. Vergilius drew the maiden close and touched her ear with his lips and whispered: "Love has opened our hearts to the knowledge of mighty things. It has led us to the Prince of Peace."

Then said the maiden: "Let us build a temple wherein to worship him, and make it a holy place."

"And call it home," said the young knight, as he kissed her.



THE END

Previous Part     1  2  3
Home - Random Browse