You are here

قراءة كتاب Continental Monthly , Vol. 6, No. 1, July, 1864 Devoted to Literature and National Policy.

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏اللغة: English
Continental Monthly , Vol. 6,  No. 1, July, 1864
Devoted to Literature and National Policy.

Continental Monthly , Vol. 6, No. 1, July, 1864 Devoted to Literature and National Policy.

No votes yet
دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

lives preserved after the terrible wounds inflicted by deadly fragments of shell and the still more deadly rifle bullet. Military surgery has attained a degree of proficiency during the experiences of the past three years which a layman cannot adequately describe; its results are, however, palpable.


[1] Since that article was written, some changes of detail have been made, but the principles remain the same.




Raising himself with an assumed air of careless indifference, in the hope of thereby concealing the momentary weakness into which his better feelings had so nearly betrayed him, Sergius strolled off, humming a Gallic wine song. Ænone also rose; and, struggling to stifle her emotion, confronted the new comer.

She, upon her part, stood silent and impassive, appearing to have heard or seen nothing of what had transpired, and to have no thought in her mind except the desire of fulfilling the duty which had brought her thither. But Ænone knew that the most unobservant person, upon entering, could not have failed at a glance to comprehend the whole import of the scene—and that therefore any such studied pretence of ignorance was superfluous. The attitude of the parties, the ill-disguised confusion of Sergius, her own tears, which could not be at once entirely repressed—all combined to tell a tale of recrimination, pleading, and baffled confidence, as plainly as words could have spoken it. Apart, therefore, from her disappointment at being interrupted at the very moment when her hopes had whispered that the happiness of reconciliation might be at hand, Ænone could not but feel indignant that Leta should thus calmly stand before her with that pretence of innocent unconsciousness.

'Why do you come hither? Who has demanded your presence?' Ænone cried, now, in her indignation, caring but little what or how she spoke, or what further revelations her actions might occasion, as long as so much had already been exposed.

'My lady,' rejoined the Greek, raising her eyes with a well-executed air of surprise, 'do I intrude? I came but to say that in the antechamber there is—'

'Listen!' exclaimed Ænone, interrupting her, and taking her by the hand. 'Not an hour ago you told me about your quiet home in Samos—its green vines—the blue mountains which encircled it—the little chamber where your mother died, and in which you were born—and the lover whom you left weeping at your cruel absence. You spoke of your affection for every leaf and blade of grass about the place—and how you would give your life itself to go back thither—yes, even your life, for you would be content to lie down and die, if you could first return. Do you remember?'

'Well, my lady?'

'Well, you shall return, as you desired. You have been given to me for my own; and whether or not the gift be a full and free one, I will claim my rights under it and set you free. In the first ship which sails from Ostia for any port of Greece, in that ship you may depart. Are you content, Leta?'

Still holding her by the hand, Ænone gazed inquiringly into the burning black eyes which fastened themselves upon her own, as though reading the bottom of her soul. She could not as yet believe that even if the Greek had actually begun to cherish any love for Sergius, it could be more than a passing fancy, engendered by foolish compliments or ill-judged signs of admiration, and therefore she did not doubt that the offer of freedom and restoration would be gratefully received. Her only uncertainty was with regard to the manner in which it would be listened to—whether with tears of joy or with loud protestations of gratitude upon bended knees; or whether the prospect of once again visiting that cottage home and all that had so long been held dear, would come with such unpremeditated intensity as to stifle all outward manifestations of delight, except, perhaps, that trembling of the lip or ebb and flow of color which is so often the surest sign of a full and glowing heart.

For a moment Leta stood gazing up into the face of her mistress, uttering no word of thanks, and with no tear of joy glistening in her eye, but with the deepened flush of uncontrollable emotion overspreading her features. And yet that flush seemed scarcely the token of a heart overpowered with sudden joy, but rather of a mind conscious of being involved in an unexpected dilemma, and puzzled with its inability to extricate itself.

'My mistress,' she responded at length, with lowered gaze, 'it is true that I said I would return, if possible, to that other home of mine. But now that you offer me the gift, I would not desire to accept it. Let me stay here with you.'

Ænone dropped the hand which till now she had held; and an agony of mingled surprise, suspicion, disappointment, and presentiment of evil swept across her features.

'Are you then become like all others?' she said with bitterness. 'Has the canker of this Roman life already commenced to eat into your soul, so that in future no memory of anything that is pure or good can attract you from its hollow splendors? Are thoughts of home, of freedom, of friends, even of the trusted lover of whom you spoke—are all these now of no account, when weighed against a few gilded pleasures?'

'Why, indeed, should I care to return to that home?' responded the girl. 'Have not the Roman soldiers trodden down those vines and uprooted that hearth? Is it a desolated and stricken home that I would care to see?'

'False—false!' cried Ænone, no longer regardful of her words, but only anxious to give utterance—no matter how rashly—to the suspicions which she had so long and painfully repressed. 'It is even more than the mere charms of this imperial city which entice you. It is that you are my enemy, and would stay here to sting the hand that was so truly anxious to protect you—that for your own purposes you would watch about my path, and ever, as now, play the spy upon my actions, and—'

'Nay, nay!' cried the Greek, her flashing eye and erect attitude in strong contrast with the softened tone in which, more from habit than from prudence, she had spoken. 'When have I played the spy upon you? Not now, indeed, for I have come in, not believing that I was doing harm, but simply because my duty has led me hither. I came to tell you that there is a stranger—an old man—standing in the court below, and that he craves audience with you. Is this a wrong thing for me to do? Were I to forbear performance of this duty, would not my neglect insure me punishment?'

Ænone answered not, but, by a strong effort, kept back the words that she would have uttered. Still angry and crushed with the sense of being deceived, and yet conscious that it was not a noble or dignified thing to be in disputation with her own slave, and that there was, moreover, the remote possibility that the girl was not her enemy, and might really dread returning to a desolated and devastated home, what could she say or do? And while she pondered the matter, the door again opened.

'And this is he of whom I spoke. Do you doubt me now?' exclaimed the Greek, in a tone in which a shade of malicious triumph mingled with soft reproach. And she moved away, and left the room, while Ænone, lifting her eyes, saw her father standing before her.

'A plague take the wench who has just left you!' he muttered. 'Did she not tell you that I was below? I sent