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Stories by

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THE LIBRARY
OF
THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES

.

^be MorlD's Stors idlers .

Brentano. and this Edition has been printed by permission of New York. Messrs. .The translations by Lefcadio Hearn of Gautier's Stories are Copyright in the United States of America.

STORIES BY THEOPHILE GAUTIER .

.

.

.

THE WORLD'S STORY TELLERS EDITED BY ARTHUR RANSOME STORIES BY THEOPHILE GAUTIER TRANSLATED BY LAFCADIO HEARN NEW YORK: E. BUTTON AND COMPANY 1908 . P.

.

CONTENTS PAGE INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xi CLARIMONDE I THE mummy's FOOT $2 KING CANDAULES 71 vU 1546040 .

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SUMMARISED CHRONOLOGY
TMophile Gautier zvas born at Tarbes ojt August 20, 181 1,
and taken to Paris in 1814. He was sent to school when he
was eight, but, being unable to bear his isolation, was taken
away and sent as a day-boy to the Lyc^e Charlemagne, though
he learned mostly from his father. He was introduced as
a youth to Victor Hugo, and took a prominent part in the
theatre battle between Classicists and Romanticists on the
His first
presentaii07i of Hernani, February 25, 1830.
his
second
same
in
the
was
year,
published
book, of poetry,
in 1832,
1833.

and Les Jeunes France, a book of spirited tales, in
Then, being asked for a sensational romance, he

wrote Mademoiselle de Maupin, almost under compulsion.
His father used to lock him up and tell him he should not
be let out till he

had written

ten pages.

The book was

Fro?n this time till his death he wrote
p7iblished in 1836.
the
papers, and published books almost every
continually for
year, of

which the most important are Emaux

et

Camees,

Romans et Contes, Le Capitaine Fracasse, Nouvelles, and
Le Roman de la Momie, and a series of volumes of travels.
died on June 23, 1872. His Histoire du Romantisme
was published after his death, as well as several volumes
made up of articles he had contributed to newspapers and

He

reviews.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY
The

East

is

an invention of the nineteenth century.

We

have only to look at the works of Voltaire or of
Goldsmith to see that the Orient did not exist before
the time of the

Romantic movement.

To

early writers

meant nothing but polygamy, moguls, elephants,
and 'bonzes,' and the eighteenth-century translation
of the Arabian Nights did little more than supply an
Even
entertaining form to an ironical philosopher.

it

when

it

Orientals

became
expose

fashion

the
the

follies

of

make

to

the

imaginary
West, the East

had not yet become alive for us. We find scarcely
a hint in the hundred and twenty letters of The Citizen
of the World that it meant more than a dialectical
to which you
expression for topsy-turvydom, a place
could refer as to Lilliput or to Brobdingnag, useful like
of algebra in illustrating the properties of other
The first glimmerings of discovery are in
things.

the

X

Beckford's

Vathek, an extravagant book,

a schoolboyish

humour— as when

the

belittled

by

Caliph plays

football with the rotund figure of the Indian Magician

— but written
mean some

by a man

to

sort of gorgeous

whom
dream.

the East did really

which he could build a world less entangled. Minds only mildly preferring one place to another when both are vague.INTRODUCTORY ESSAY XIV For the East not an expression of philosophy. and vein their phantom goddesses with blood. Fastidious detail. Godhead. most vigorously prefer one or other place when both are realised in vivid be readily compared. . . man whom time has It means lifted into has been given the compelling power I believe it was an invention made possible by the discovery of local colour. turn to have fallen as they have fallen in love with statues it. The East. did not care for the settings of their own fill out their dim Arcadias with were able to detail. With the emphasis of local colour came an emphasised difference in places. to leave their people for like a women of pictures. It was there like a many-coloured curtain behind. It of a religion. or with the beautiful more than itself. and can minds seeking the stage-properties could choose them in the booths of Men who lives of expression all the world. less unmanageable than his own. but of temperament that has led their its many homes for desert conventions into in love with it is tents. tastes of the the most when Gautier was growing up in the rich Romantic movement. a dream its people. Its newness sidering his use of must not be forgotten in conand in thinking of his use of it. was ready to supply delicious conventions. is or of geography. in the effort Men realities of life.

courtier. Sir Philip Gautier's attitude Sidney. and found expression in a thousand ways other than the speech of blank verse and heroic actions that had been so often represented in pictures of an annoying timidity of colouring. and so into had by magic. and turned from the the the very material for personal expression.INTRODUCTORY ESSAY Antiquity we must remember that xv was as novel as it the East. did not It mean Its metamorphosis was simultaneous with the birth of the East. The East and been touched as if the Antique together abstract into the concrete. and worked in an ideal atmosphere where . towards the East is not unlike that of the Elizabethans towards Arcadia. to Gautier what it meant to them. full-blooded life that worshipped simple. energetic gods. and busy statesman. Now the Antique was one of the cudgels with which the Classicists tried to beat the heads of the Romanticists in the battles of that time. and had almost the same cause. and shipwrecked princes. Insisting on local colour in places. wrote in terms of shepherds. soldier. shepherdesses. the Romanticists insisted also in humanity. but a warm. Cromwell was on local colour to be allowed to say that he had the parliament in his bag and the king in Caesar was to be allowed to talk like his pocket. a man and even to be one. from the heroic into human. So that for Gautier Antiquity meant not a cold inhumanity that had been beautiful.

London or These in Edinburgh. the swallows fluttering Gautier. assurance given by lookes. and like him insist continually on the local in colour of their dreams. with ' love. hear. sitting to a quiet bay.' of an intenser more emotions vivid imagined and life more in and under the find easily their own expressed. ' two white when she hollows Je comprends tout ce quelles disent. him with the pastoral writers of to-day. Mais captif ses elans se brisent Centre un invisible rdseau ! . like the them spells ' cliffs. more congenial atmosphere. Celtic and Gaelic. or a thorn in a lamb's A sweet attractive kinde of grace. Car le po^te est un oiseau .INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xvi no cares were greater than foot. who like him Hft their emotions into a simpler. He. wings of the solander as she breasts the north wind. sees about the roofs and flying south in autumn. and are transported writers. massive and vividly could not persuade himself to be Parisian and contemporary. And Gautier. but always long ago. The lineaments of gospel bookes. half enclosed by curves. sitting in Paris. Continual comfort in a face. the cry of the curlew on the moor. Nor would it be extravagant to compare alive.' A full seemed to belong to that Golden Age which has never been now. without moving from their comfortable chairs. busy writer of articles and travel-books.

and clothes that it and ness disentangled helped him to make it real. hand took him talismans to help his mummy's foot. Pour voler Ik-bas avec elles Au soleil d'or. His He is ing. was a postern-gate to Heaven. of contemporary life. Field- does not copy the surface but cuts away all but in symbols whose strangepassion.INTRODUCTORY ESSAY Des ' ailes Comme ! des ailes dans des ailes ! xvii ! chant de Kuckert. or half revealed A curiosity shop the perfections that reality refused. or art is that of making not an observer of De Maupassant. and a merchant of antiquities held St. clipped when he most is beat against the feathers himself. strung like rare beads along the when he life is of an artist. so Gautier found dreams A to their desires. As the Christian fingers crucifix and is able to kneel upon the footsteps of of the his the throne. au printemps vert le ' ! That for cry wings the is passionately beautiful work. not projecting young men with a mathematical freedom of morals into a Western society . a marble to the times he loved. Enchanted to escape from Paris to the we hear He sought Islands. Richardson. B . The Enchanted Islands he had identified with the East. Peter's keys. and from the nineteenth century to the Golden Age. in those moments. bars. and the Golden Age was the time of the Pharaohs or making of the Venus. his like dreams come true. He existence . keynote When he of is most his at his best .

pounds of Bordeaux. Though from the world of in out of his work. one of whose proudest memories was a blow that and hundred instrument. Yeats Paris. and Gautier was not pure the world of his art was as far to express. brought alive by the love of a youth for the imprint her perfect breasts have left in molten lava. to and. .INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xviii women Beautiful tries. and is translating the scroll of papyrus buried until thousand three ago years with sarcophagus. He was a solid man. down on drops of the thousand sitting with their final The Pompeian day. he was not a seer. the thirty-two result of gory mutton He pounds daily with on registered an five automatic washing down five of red three bottles was a Porthos. as the from the world of London or Dublin. to Tahoser world of Mr. or a poet between whom and reality hung a veil of dreams. But it is too easy to construct a It is more interesting world with the the man the man of this liked to be. living him out step little harlot and takes him waiting for is his their tapes- come back blood. the compare man he would have man he chose dreamer. claims her weight. He is ill at ease in his most famous Rof/ian de la Momie he has finished with the Englishman and the doctor. was his boast. Princess Hermonthis foot that he has bought as a paperthe tomb of the Pharaohs to and the pre-adamite kings peoples him from to The of their graves. and the Gautier of that gorgeous barbaric figure. his stories.

his strength. come for me and Phidias. his scorn of the religion details on everything of sacrifice He he caressed. dressed like a Turk. fat.' he quotes the description with gratitude. * and explains gleefully that He bull-fights. heaven. cross-legged cushions. and sanguinary. colour. is caricature That was how and how he would interesting to know that for on only an exaggeration he liked to think of is like to be imagined. and delighted in astonishing his friends with outbursts of genius served He was not a up in a joyous obscenity. His olive skin. was never — these were of insisting that helped in this Oriental and Antique His hero projection of himself. who was always called by his Christian name. solidity. I find has not yet . man of wealth as his work suggests . traits he loved in himself were those that gave colour to his fiction. Maupin exclaims ' I : am a man Mademoiselle de in of the Homeric times do not understand the society about me.. The of the truth. . It he was a kindly bear of a man..' When a reviewer described him as a being. . is full Three things please me better than twilight. . and I I am I the as pagan earth Christ as Alcibiades as beautiful think that perfection of form and love a statue better than a phantom. . . his vitality. and the world where I live does not belong to I the tired : noon gold.' himself. me. splendour. as virtue. it to his refers begins a book ' : taste People have often caricatured us.INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xix The cherished as Porthos cherished his dignity. . marble and purple. jovial.

He fastidious. his biographer puts the he was his twenty-fifth year on a treadmill. He was a complete man. The after that. he was proud of his prodigious activity. Like Balzac. or an umbrella this. in active life. his why is and little try to satisfy poems and shorter stories most perfect specimens later work. what does it matter ruled by a sabre. a sprinkler of holy- water. and only at every hundredth. little and file was the same with It storytelling Gautier was a Gautier on holiday. needed things that could be roughed out in a sitting and carried about without risk until the time are the of his He when he could work on them again. let his fingers run through the long hair of a Persian cat. and turn over again and again one of the minute Enamels or Cameos afford to In so small a space he could of his poetry. number From at sixty.INTRODUCTORY ESSAY XX but an extremely industrious journalist. and could. could take up the and a month to his content. or two hundredth. have twisted the present if he had chosen. or three hundredth turn of the an artist wheel could he escape for a That himself. whether one is As for politics. He confesses that he wrote about three hundred volumes but that : is the estimate of Porthos. He was able to hurry out of sight his dozen sheets for the Fresse or the Figaro. later. sit down on his cushions. But he did not choose. be thing a week and polish it the stories. ' ' ? He has been censured for but the censure means no more than to say he .

found He him. for his up his children.' never cease to be a dream.INTRODUCTORY ESSAY was a perfect local if One does government. romance and into a world like that of old myth. his and uppers are soles As Liberal. discovering for others what Baude- the consolation of the arts. sell for the .' and finding peace himself in the less encumbered simplicity of his Ancient and Oriental Arcadia. substitute for opium and haschisch. We leave a volume of Gautier as we leave the clothes.' says Santayana. world and laire called left ' it. But one from him loaves. Santayana's ' If any sentence we man have two may set life. of the rattled past him. let one. or the Morte Darthur. His work was the construction of a paradise himself in which His stories are a and take us other for people are allowed to walk. or the Volsunga We have to readjust book of fairytales. 'Art. and separate and into terms of another time place. where we meet our own souls walking in strange 'so long as it needs to be a disappointment. or a ourselves before meeting the difficulties of opposite Mahomet. and buy flowers of the white narcissus . them Modernity unfortunately not artist xxi interested in not ask a shoemaker Socialist or only gentle he worked hard brought emotions too intricate his had to them. will Mabinogion. who would not look up from his wheel lest an ugly curve should throw awry the vessel he Gautier did his duty by this was shaping. like the chariots king past the potter. but to please translate own life. Saga.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY

xxii

one

is

food for the body and the other

is

food

for

And

perhaps this art, where the world is
simplified into the conventions of a tapestry, by its

the soul'

intense
like a

to

appeal to primitive emotions, may help us
touchstone to distinguish between the things

which more than

lip-service

is

things to which less than life-service

slavery,
is

and the

death.

ARTHUR RANSOME.

CLARIMONDE^
Brother, you ask me

if

have ever loved.

I

Yes.

a strange and terrible one; and though
My story
I am sixty-six years of age, I scarcely dare even now
is

to disturb the ashes of that

refuse nothing

;

but

I

To you

memory.

I

can

should not relate such a tale to

any less experienced mind. So strange were the circumstances of my story, that I can scarcely believe
myself to have ever actually been a party to them.
For more than three years I remained the victim of a

most singular and diabolical
priest

I

though

would to God
worldly

One

life,

illusion.

Poor country
dream

was, I led every night in a
it

had been

a damning

life,

all

a

single look too freely cast

a dream

!

—a

most

of Sardanapalus.

life

upon a woman

well-

finally by the
nigh caused me to lose my soul
grace of God and the assistance of my patron saint, I
succeeded in casting out the evil spirit that possessed
;

me.
life

but

My daily life was long interwoven with a nocturnal
of a totally different character.
By day I was a
with
the
of
Lord, occupied
prayer and sacred

priest

^

La Morte

Anioureuse.

CLARIMONDE

2

things

by night, from the instant that

;

I

closed

my

eyes

became a young nobleman, a fine connoisseur in
women, dogs, and horses
gambling, drinking, and
blaspheming ; and when I awoke at early daybreak, it
I

;

seemed

to

sleeping,

Of

somnambulistic

this

only the

which

me, on the other hand, that

and had only dreamed
life

of

recollection

there

certain

cannot banish from

I

had been

I

that I was a priest.

now remains

to

me

scenes and words

my memory;

but

al-

though I never actually left the walls of my presbytery,
one would think to hear me speak that I were a man
who, weary of

all

worldly pleasures, had

end a tempestuous

religious,

seeking to

service of

God, rather than a

become a
life

in

the

humble seminarist who

has grown old in this obscure curacy, situated in the

depths of the woods and even isolated from the
of the century.

Yes,

I

am


— so violent that

have loved as none in the world ever loved

with an insensate and furious passion
I

life

astonished

it

did not cause

my

heart to burst

Ah, what nights what nights
From my earliest childhood I had felt a vocation to

asunder.

the priesthood, so that

all

with that idea in view.

Up

my

life

me

all

my

studies were directed

to the age of twenty-four

the minor orders,

My

novitiate.

Having

course of theology I successively

worthy, despite

degree.

my

had been only a prolonged

completed
ceived

!

my

and

my

re-

superiors judged

youth, to pass the last awful

ordination was fixed for Easter week.

CLARIMONDE 3 had never gone into the world. and was in a condition wellnigh bordering ecstasy. I was filled with joy Never did a betrothed lover count and impatience. I felt not the least hesitation at taking the last irrevocable step . for there in air. and wondered at the sombre and thoughtful faces of my companions. called thing and aged mother. the slow hours with more feverish ardour. seemed . and infirm comprised I permitted Twice a year only state of perfect innocence. and I lived in a thoughts to I slept only was saying mass I believed there could be nothing in the world more delightful than to be a priest I would have refused to be a king or a to that I . I believed myself an angel. dream my dwell on such a subject. a venerable old man. I My world was confined by the walls of the college and the seminary. or that I had passed were several of us. . in poet no preference. I walked to the church the great day came. show you that what hap- could not have happened in the natural and to enable you to understand was the victim of an inexplicable fascination. last with a step so light that I fancied myself sustained had wings upon my shoulders. I At ambition could conceive of this in order to pened to that My aim. The I all the night in on bishop. regretted nothing . prayer. loftier I tell you me order of things. my never I my in I saw those visits were sole relations with the outer world. I knew in a vague sort of a way that there was somebut Woman.

firmly resolved not to again open them. and beheld before me. so seemed that I could have touched her — although she was actually a considerable distance from — me and on the further side of the sanctuary railing a young woman of extraordinary beauty. which had kept down. the anointing of the palms of the hands with the Oil of Catechumens. that I might not be influenced by external . and attired with royal magnificence. and radiating light rather than receiving it. She seemed herself radiant. I lowered my eyelids. but like a The an instant before. vault of temple. Ah. so radiantly glorious as though scales I eyes. had suddenly blind seemed It from fallen my man who unexpectedly bishop. ing creature appeared in bright relief against the back- ground of that darkness.CLARIMONDE 4 to me God and the Father leaning over beheld I Heaven through the His Eternity. suddenly vanished away. the details of that ceremony communion under both the the — the forms. You well know benediction. like some angelic revelation. and a vast The charm- the whole church. truly spake Job when he declared that the imman is one who hath not made a covenant prudent with his eyes until then I close that it ! I accidentally lifted my head. felt recovers his sight. the tapers paled upon their golden candlesticks darkness seemed to like stars in the fill dawn. and then the holy sacrifice offered in concert with the bishop.

rays like arrows. never in their delineations even approached that wildly beautiful reality which I saw before me. for distraction me of 5 knew what until I hardly I reopened my eyes. She was Her rather tall. how beautiful she was who followed ideal beauty The ! into greatest painters. parted artist flowed back over her temples in two rivers of rippling she seemed a diademed queen. beheld her. which by a strange singularity were almost black. but assuredly from one or the other. Neither the verses of the poet nor the palette of the could convey any conception of her.CLARIMONDE had gradually taken possession I was doing. bluish-white in its transparency. with a form and bearing of a goddess. What know not came from heaven human in which eyes . a penumbra as one beholds still and surrounded with such in gazing at the sun. breadth above the arches of her eyebrows. I eyes of unsustainable eyes With a ! single could have decided a man's destiny. nevertheless. hair. for my through eyelashes I ling with prismatic colours. extended its calm gold . They a limpidity. That woman was it came either an . and admirably relieved the effect of sea-green vivacity and flash they had a I life. objects. an ardour. all spark- In another minute. Her forehead. midst and in the was a blonde of soft hue. and thence brought back to earth the true portrait of the Madonna. a humid light which have never seen heart. they shot forth could distinctly see enter my the fire which illumined them I if or from hell. Oh. heaven itself. brilliancy.

thereby imparting a quivering motion to the high lace ruff which surrounded it like a silver trelliswork. All these details I can recollect at this moment as though they were of yesterday. down at the corners of the lips. nothing escaped me the faintest touch of shading. for notwithstanding I was greatly troubled at the time. like the fingers of Aurora. our common mother. . and so ideally transparent that. the little dark speck at the point of the chin. and at every inflection of her lips little dimples appeared in the satiny rose of her adorable cheeks. There was a delicacy and pride in the regal outline of her nostrils bespeaking noble blood. the imperceptible plainly as . She wore a robe of orange-red velvet. the velvety floss upon the brow. strings of great — peacock. they permitted the light to shine through them. Teeth of the most lustrous pearl gleamed in her ruddy smile. Assuredly she never sprang from the flank of Eve. the quivering shadows of the eyelashes upon the cheeks — I could notice everything with astonishing lucidity of perception.CLARIMONDE 6 angel or a demon. perhaps both. Agate gleams played over the smooth lustrous skin of her half-bare and — blonde pearls almost equal to her neck in beauty of colour descended upon her bosom. and from her wide ermine-lined sleeves there peeped forth patrician hands of infinite delicacy. From time to time she elevated her head with the undulating grace of a startled serpent or shoulders.

CLARIMONDE

7

opening within me gates that had
until then remained closed; vents long obstructed

And

I felt

gazing

became

all clear,

spectives within

permitting glimpses of unfamiliar perlife

;

suddenly made

itself visible to

me

I felt as though I had
totally novel aspect.
and a new order of
a
new
world
into
born
been
just

under a

A

things.

my

me

I

shortly found myself transported far from that

world of which
besieging

Yes

'

once but a second and yet

Meanwhile the ceremony was proceeding,

a century.

and

at

torture

to

Every successive

heart as with red-hot pincers.

minute seemed to

'

commenced

anguish

frightful

the

when

I

newly born desires were furiously
Nevertheless I answered
entrance.

my

wished to say

'

No,' though

all

within

protested against the violence done to my soul
by my tongue. Some occult power seemed to force
Thus it
the words from my throat against my will.

me

is,

perhaps,

that

so

many young

girls

walk

altar firmly resolved to refuse in a startling

the husband imposed

one ever
that so

fulfils

upon them, and

Thus

her intention.

many poor novices take the

have resolved to tear

when

called

thus

cause

upon
so

it

into

a

scandal to

deceive the expectation of so

veil,

doubtless,

though they

many

One
all

the

that yet not
is,

shreds at the

to utter the vows.

great

it

to

manner

moment

dares not

present,

people.

nor

All those

weigh down upon you like
a cope of lead, and, moreover, measures have been so
well taken, everything has been so thoroughly arranged

eyes, all those wills

seem

to

CLARIMONDE

8

beforehand and after a fashion so evidently irrevocable,
that the will yields to the weight of circumstances
utterly breaks

and

down.

As the ceremony proceeded the features of the fair
unknown changed their expression. Her look had at
been one of caressing tenderness;

first

an

it

changed

to

of disdain and of mortification, as though at not
having been able to make itself understood.
air

With an

I

could not speak ; my tongue seemed
palate, and I found it impossible to

my
my will

to

express

Though

fully

would not be

strove to cry out that I

I

a priest, but
nailed

of will sufficient to have uprooted

effort

a mountain,

by the
I

awake,

fluence of a nightmare,

least
felt

who

syllable

like

of

negation.

one under the

in-

vainly strives to shriek

out the one word upon which life depends.
She seemed conscious of the martyrdom

I

was

undergoing,
though
encourage me,
gave me a look replete with divinest promise.
eyes were a poem ; their every glance was a song.

Her

as

and,

She said
'

If

than

thou

to

wilt

:

be mine, I shall make thee happier
in His paradise.
The angels them-

God Himself

selves will be

shroud

in

Beauty,

I

gether we

aught

me

she

to

in

dream, in

jealous of thee.

which thou

art

am

I

Youth,

shall

be

exchange?
one eternal

Tear

off that funeral

about to wrap

am

Love.

Our
kiss.

Life.

Come

to

Can Jehovah
lives

will

I

thyself.

me

offer

flow on

am
To-

!

thee

like

a

CLARIMONDE

9

'Fling forth the wine of that chalice, and thou art
I will conduct thee to the Unknown Isles.

free.

Thou

my bosom upon

shalt sleep in

gold under a

a bed of massy

silver pavilion, for I love thee

and would

whom

take thee away from thy God, before

so

many

noble hearts pour forth floods of love which never
reach even the steps of His throne
'

!

These words

rhythm

Eonorous, and

echoed
lips

seemed

to

float

to

in

the

utterances

of her eyes

in

a

my

my life. I felt myself
my tongue mechanic-

me

another look,

despairing that keen blades
I felt

my bosom

seemed

transfixed

so

ceremony.

;

The

beseeching,

to pierce

my

so

heart,

by more swords than

Our Lady of Sorrows.
consummated I had become a

All was

re-

renounce God, and yet

one gave

those of

were

into

ally fulfilled all the formalities of the

and

ears

heart as though living

the depths of

had breathed them

willing to

fair

my

of infinite sweetness, for her look was actually

priest.

Never was deeper anguish painted on human face
than upon hers.
The maiden who beholds her
lover suddenly fall dead at her side, the
mother bending over the empty cradle of her child,

affianced

Eve seated at the threshold of the gate of Paradise,
who finds a stone substituted for his stolen
treasure, the poet who accidentally permits the only
manuscript of his finest work to fall into the fire, could

the miser

not wear a look so despairing, so inconsolable. All
the blood had abandoned her charming face, leaving

My upon me. I cast a severe and presented the blushed and turned pale face flashed before my eyes. and immediately disappeared in the crowd. door of the church. A companion took pity on me. and yet remained upon my wrist. I could not possibly have found my way back of a to the seminary unassisted. and it seemed to me that my head alone sustained the whole weight of the dome. I staggered toward the betrayed her. on either side of her body as though life- their muscles had suddenly relaxed. burnt there branded by a glowing man ! Unhappy man ! was It iron. were being strangled. wildest aspect imaginable alternately dazzling : lights He by. What its ' she. the vault seemed to though have flattened down upon my shoulders. As was I about to cross the threshold a hand — a woman's hand I had suddenly caught mine never till then touched the hand of any woman. He seized my arm and led me out. livid as death. hast thou impress as though Unhappy done ? ' she exclaimed in a low voice. and she sought the support of a pillar. my forehead bathed with a sweat bloodier than that of Calvary I I felt as . The aged bishop passed scrutinising look . It ! was cold as a serpent's skin.CLARIMONDE lo it whiter than marble lessly her beautiful arms hung . for her yielding limbs almost As for myself. street. while momentarily turned the in young priest's another At the corner attention direction. was a negro .

alone my hand a little gold-embroidered corners. There were only two leaves within. had taken imperishable root. and I no longer lived change will into in myself. and Concini Palace was situated. each more extravagant than the last. I gave myself up I kissed the place upon my hand which she had touched. but in her and for her. 'Clarimonde. celeI had no idea as to where the brated as she was. bearing the words. in truth. and I repeated her name over and over again for hours in succession. I concealed me and there kept Then it found my- until I my opened the clasp. I did not even dream of love.' So little acquainted was I at that time with the things of this self in world that I cell. attempting to tear it up. so fully was a thing would be impossible. and with- out pausing on his way slipped into pocket-book with same time giving it my in sleeve. to a thousand extravagancies. At the Concini Palace. fantastically garbed. iterated to myself the c . I hazarded a thousand conjectures. but. so that My I could but see her once more. approached me. She had my life. at the a sign to hide it. That pletely taken possession of me.CLARIMONDE II page. had to sufficed breathed her I convinced such woman had comOne look from her my very nature. I had never heard of Clarimonde. I cared little whether she were a great lady or a courtesan. although the growth of a single hour. I only needed to close my eyes in order to see her distinctly as though she were actually present and I rewords she had uttered in my ear .

and then bursts arteries fiercely . the bars of the window . not knowing any person in the city. I felt life rising within me like a subterranean expanding and overflowing. What could more ? I I do in order to see had no pretext to Clarimonde once offer for desiring to leave I the seminary. and ever bear about with one the black soutane as a garb none but the dying. to be chaste. to put out one's own 1 eyes. to of mourning for oneself. to visit watch by unknown corpses. I had To just entered — be a priest that is. to turn from the sight of all beauty. and I found that as I had no ladder it would be useless to think of escaping thus. like the aloe which blooms but once in a hundred years. and the funereal and awful of the state into which clearly revealed to me. And. And lake. to hide for ever crouching in the chill shadows of some church or cloister. so that your very dress might serve as a pall for your coffin. thence I could descend furthermore. I tried to remove time. to observe no distinction of sex or age. would not even be able to remain there but a short and was only waiting my assignment to the curacy which I must thereafter occupy.CLARIMONDE 12 church porch Unhappy man Unhappy man What hast thou done ? I comprehended at last the ' at the : ! ! ' full horror of restraints became my situation. to never love. only by night in . into blossom with a clap of thunder. my blood leaped through my my long-restrained youth suddenly burst into active being. but it was at a fearful height from the ground.

I might have been her lover. were I not a priest I could have seen her every day . had for ever cut be a from the number of the down the stone of living. the trees had seemed Place coming to was . My hair.' few hastily articulated words. a sword.CLARIMONDE 13 any event. me ! sky was beautifully nature . and afterward how should I be able to find through the inextricable labyrinth of streets ? these difficulties. and fair plumes like other handsome young cavaliers. people. her spouse. without before for the first money. . a poor seminarist who had fallen in love only the day time. life. their spring robes joy. ' Ah ' cried ! I my to myself in ' blindness. without attire. which to many would have my way All appeared altogether insignificant. But one hour passed before an gallant. Instead of being wrapped in this dismal shroud of mine I would have had garments of silk and velvet. golden chains. donned The I . would have a I being dishonoured by down upon my neck fine waxed moustache in . were gigantic to me. hand bolted the gate of my prison I young waving would altar. some going. beaux and young beauties with sauntering in couples a off had myself sealed had with my own be making parade of an ironical filled I The others were toward the groves and gardens \ merry youths passed by. cheerily trolling refrains of it was all a picture of vivacity. and my own tomb I blue went to the window. would flow curls . instead of the tonsure. v/ithout experience. drinking-songs — .

know how to in- father standing at a little distance smiled upon the charming group. brother devil. so gentle cell like a wild beast ! Take listen to the suggestions of the Evil Spirit. suddenly who was standing room. The ' . On sat a the steps of the gate young mother playing with her its little mouth rosy impearled with drops of milk. spasmodic Serapion. your conduct You — always your — do not is altogether in- so quiet. so pious. after a few moments' silence explicable. I closed the window with violence. something myself. Filled with my head fall upon my with face my hands. gaiety. and heart filled with frightful gnawed my fingers and my bed- covers like a tiger that has passed ten days without food. watching me bed a in the perceived fit of Abbe erect in the centre of the attentively. in order to little puerilities such as only mothers vent. I could not endure that spectacle. how long I remained in this condition. The She kissed child. is prowling around . — you to rage in heed. my Romuald. furious that you have conse- crated yourself for ever to the Lord.CLARIMONDE 14 animation. amuse it. I know but at not last. hate and jealousy. while writhing on the I fury.' observed Serapion. my friend. which formed a bitter contrast with my mourning and my solitude. a thousand divine still and performed. and with folded arms seemed to hug his joy to his heart. and gently on flung myself my my bed. I let breast shame of and covered * is very extraordinary transpiring within you.

of the assayer. been able yet another barrier to to see tiie already interposed between us. but the letters under I Abbe my brain. valiant man . to be conquered. therefore. fast. has just died. 15 dear Romuald. you then will Virtue must be proved by temptation. to tell to the curacy of C little more calm. make to yourself a cuirass of prayers. and combat the enemy like a assuredly overcome him. The most watchful and steadfast souls are at moments liable to such temptation. indeed. and the I opened my missal and my To my retired. Be of it ready. and I became a ' continued. commenced eyes. and gold comes forth purer from the hands Fear not. and the Evil Spirit will depart from you. Pray. to lose for ever all many hope of being able to meet her. ' me to my- came. except. Never allow yourself to become discouraged. the thread of the ideas entangled itself hopelessly in from responded reading some became confused and blurred prayers. and Monseigneur the Bishop has ordered me to have you installed there at once. to add at last fell it.CLARI MONDE you wolf and making a like a ravening my last effort to Instead of allowing yourself obtain possession of you. through a . a buckler of mortifications. meditate. hands without and the volume my being aware of leave to-morrow without having her again.' The words of the Abbe Serapion restored self.' with an inclination of the head.' he I you that you have been appointed The priest who had charge . to start to-morrow.

but it was yet early in the mornits eyes. Two mules freighted with our miserable valises awaited us at the gate. Serapion . and the strange character of the adventure. for With sacred character of my unbosom became a prey dare myself.CLARIMONDE i6 miracle Even ! to write by whom to her. alas could possible. me when all — these my piety vanished in and other things clearly testithe work of the Evil One. and the city had hardly opened sought to penetrate the blinds and window-curtains of all the palaces before which we were passing. He mounted knew how. to whom could confide I I ? to the bitterest anxiety. As we passed along one. the agony into which she had thrown me. windows and balconies I in the gazed hope of seeing Clarimonde. and I the other as well as I attentively at all the the streets of the city. and perhaps that a single instant hand was but the glove which concealed Filled with terror at these fancies. the burning imprint of her hand. and once more gave myself up to prayer. the sudden change wrought within fied to satiny claws. Mine ing. Next morning Serapion came to take me away. I his again picked up the missal which had slipped from my knees and fallen upon the floor. the supernatural beauty of Clarimonde. in I ! would be im- my letter ? whom could I dispatch priest. the phosphoric light of her eyes. Then suddenly recurred to me the words Abbe Serapion regarding the artifices of the of the devil .

At commenced arrived at its to mount summit I look at the place where Clarimonde shadow of a great cloud hung over all the turned to take a The dwelt. for he slackened the pace of his animal in order to give last we passed the hill city . and having looked in the direction inIt is the ancient palace which the dicated. I fancied I saw gliding along the terrace ! a shapely white figure. all lighted up asked Serapion. replied by the sun ' ? I ' : Prince Concini has given to the courtesan Clarimonde. By a singular optical effect one edifice. passing and which gleamed for a moment in It was Clarimonde. the platforms. the smoke of freshly kindled fires. its architecture were plainly dis- turrets. the window- smallest details of tinguishable and lustrous with of sunlight even the swallow-tailed weather-vanes. were When we beyond. as quickly vanished. like white flakes of foam. and 'What is it — although seemed quite near. . towered up.CLARIMONDE doubtless attributed this curiosity 17 to niy admiration of the architecture. ' Awful things are done there At that instant. which surpassed in height all the neighbouring buildings that were still dimly veiled and there floated by the vapours. that palace I see over there. me time the city gates and last the contrasting colours of lost in the uniform its half-tint. He shaded his eyes with his hand. the gilding of a solitary actually The beam fair more than a league away —the casements. I know not yet whether it was a reality or an illusion. blue and red roofs through which here upward. to look around me.

Serapion urged his mule forward. emotional must have been which amid the icy and the scene became and to the eye only a motionless ocean of roofs gables. my own once followed at the same gait. and which. from in the my eyes. certainly possessed few and two or porch ornamented with some mouldings. all feverish and restless— from the height of the rugged road which me from her. a tiled roof A .CLARIMONDE i8 Oh. Undoubtedly she her soul was too sympathetic- as its for lord mine not to have ally united with thrill. alas I could never I was directing my eyes upon the she where dwelt. and after having followed some wind- ing roads fringed gardens. and which a mocking beam of palace as though inviting sunlight seemed to bring nigh to me. above the trees. and a sharp angle S—— for ever road at last hid the city of as I was destined never to return thither. palace. which we found with thatched ourselves cottages in front peeping and of the little facade. At the close of a weary three-days' journey through dismal country the cock upon the steeple of fields. three pillars rudely hewn from sandstone . features of magnificence. we caught sight of the church which I was to take charge of. and that subtle sympathy prompted her to climb it ? felt its least —although nightdress— to the summit dews of the morning. separated ! more descend me — to enter therein must have known it. amid which one mountainous undulation was distinctly at visible. The shadow gained the clad her in only of the terrace. did she know that at that very hour.

back parlour. they ears. and having a great iron cross rising up in its centre . became As soon as my installation was over. and master had bequeathed all the furniture her her at his death. asked whether I intended to I replied that I would take care of her. A hoarse. and after having invited me into a little retain her. and the chickens. and the dog. oats scattered upon the ground . It was a house of the most extreme simplicity and frigid cleanliness. to the right stood the presbytery under the shadow of the church. and every mark of the It dull bleared greatest age I patted him which a dog can possibly attain. the left lay the cemetery. the Serapion returned to the seminary. also carne to meet us. — overgrown with high weeds. . who had been the housekeeper of the former cure. I Abbe was. ingly. grizzled hair. A very old woman. us. He had eyes.CLARIMONDE 19 with counterforts of the same sandstone as the pillars that was To all. no fear of our presence selves to barking get fell out running toward showed and scarcely troubled them- of our upon our seem- accustomed. and the Abbe Serapion at once paid her the price which she asked for her little property. We entered A few chickens were picking up some the enclosure. therefore. was my predecessor's dog. to the black habit of ecclesiastics. At this she fairly transported with joy. to me with an air of satisfaction unspeakable. wheezy and we saw an aged dog way. at once to march he and along beside proceeded gently.

lived thus. I could find nothing except a footprint on the sanded walk to have —a footprint so small been made by the foot of a that child. in fully which. accounting for the strange things which happened to For a whole year my ing I me afterward. and in spite of all it. my thoughts were far fulfilment of a holy away. and that I beheld two sea-green eyes gleaming through the foliage only an illusion. who followed my every movement. after all. vehile promenading my in in endeavours to banish my meditations. and on going round . haunt me. I always found it present evening. meditate lips like an involuntary refrain. filling all the duties of most scrupulous exactitude. my little garden the walks bordered with box-plants. . but could discover no one there. and bestowing alms even frequently depriving of this cir- was nothing compared with life.CLARIMONDE 20 left no one but myself to look to for aid or of Clarimonde again began to alone. I searched every nook and corner of it. with The thought counsel. and the words of Clarimonde were ever upon my Oh. and the seemed closed against me. to the sick. I never found that happiness which should spring from the mission . it seemed The garden was enclosed by very high walls. brother. But I felt sources of grace myself of the to the extent of very necessaries a great aridness within me. I have never succeeded cumstance. but it was to the other side of the garden. prayexhorting and lending ghostly aid calling with the and fasting. I fancied that One along I saw through the elm-trees the figure of a woman.

was on the point of retiring. pawing the ground with impatience. I that I was prepared to follow him. for Two extreme re- at the replied me the unction. defeats. Her first impulse was one of terror. point of death. with a poniard at his girdle. and horses black as the night stood without the gate. appeared and the stranger. He held the stirrup and aided me to mount upon one then. him and desired upstairs. through one fault apparently most the to a victim remained for I have venial. and veiling their chests with long streams of itself smoky vapour exhaled from their nostrils. or upon those will not longer dwell on those inward victories invariably followed by yet more terrible falls. One night my door-bell was long and violently The aged housekeeper arose and opened to the man.CLARIMONDE 21 Through having but once lifted my eyes so a upon woman. The that his mistress. pressed the animal's sides with . stranger told was lying to see a priest. . he vaulted on the other. and who was richly clad in a foreign costume. rung. years and the happiness of my life has miserable well on this ! to look agonies. figure of a under the rays of Barbara's lantern. a very noble lady. took with sacred articles descended necessary in all haste. merely laying his hand upon the pommel of the saddle. but the stranger reassured her. and me stated that he desired to see lating to where me I my at once on matters Barbara invited holy calUng. but will at once proceed to the facts of my story. whose complexion was deeply bronzed. been destroyed I for ever.

The manes of the horses became more and more and dishevelled. the guide reanimated them by uttering a strange. the sweat streamed over their flanks. also started off at a swift We devoured gallop. and the gallop recommenced with fury. The showers of bright sparks which flew from the stony road under the chill ironshod feet of our horses remained glowing in our and had any one at that hour of the night beheld us both my guide and myself he must have taken us for two spectres riding upon nightWitch-fires ever and anon flitted across the mares. unearthly cry. gloomy that I passed through a forest my flesh creep in the felt darkness with superstitious fear. forward with the velocity of an arrow. But when he found them slacking pace. and the depth of the — — night-birds shrieked fearsomely woods beyond. where we beheld at intervals glow the phosphorescent eyes of wild cats. a huge black mass pierced through with many bright points of light suddenly rose before us. of which the stranger held the bridle. the hoofs of our horses echoed louder upon a strong wooden drawbridge. wake like a fiery trail road before in the us. At last the whirlwind race ceased . loosened The horse bounded rein. keeping up with his companion. gutteral. Mine. flowed backward beneath us in a long streaked line of pale gray.CLARIMONDE 22 his and knees. and we rode . their breath came through their nostrils hard and fast. . The ground the road. and the black silhouettes of the trees seemed fleeing by us on either side like an army so profoundly We in rout.

advanced to meet me. sorrowfully shaking his venerable Too late. and the major- black velvet with a gold chain about his neck. Clarimonde I whom I had so deeply and so wildly loved. for I had learned that the dead one was none other than that chamber. darkness at intervals some projection of furniture or In a chiselled urn upon the table there was cornice. supporting himself domo. a bluish flame the foot of the bed Kprie-dieu stood at flickering in a bronze patera filled all the room with a wan. *Too head. Large tears were falling from his eyes and streaming over his cheeks and white beard. he cried.' He took wept not less bitterly than he. — columns. poor body. and whom I instantly recognised — approached to aid me in dismounting. — flights elfin A of magnegro page the same who had before brought me the tablet from Clarimonde. here and there bringing out in the . arcades. — a royal voluptuousness and stairways masses of architecture steps. and above lights were ascending and descending from landI obtained a confused glimpse of vast ing to landing. Some great excitement evidently reigned in the castle. Servants with torches were crossing the courtyard in every direction. deceptive light. attired in upon an ivory cane. . nificence of construction worthy of fairyland. sir priest! But if you have not been late! ' ' come at least to watch by the my arm and conducted me to the death- able to save the soul.CLARIMONDE 23 under a great vaulted archway which darkly yawned between two enormous towers.

which were lying and unannounced into that my out daring to cast and commenced that and dis- on the arm- had entered suddenly that death chairs. so name in death. bore witness one tears. That twilight gloom contrived for pale light a substitute for the yellowthan voluptuous pleasure. — excepting odorous like broken black mask. to the foot With- sumptuous dwelling. to exceeding fervour. In lieu of the fetid and blance to a chamber of death. it also was only an upon the bed . prayers as a my But my name for ever sanctified by fervour gradually weakened. know to a languorous vapour not what amorous odour softly floated through the tepid air. a faded white rose. But me I that for ever. guises of every variety. and I fell That chamber bore no sem- insensibly into a reverie. whose leaves still held —had all fallen. my moment my eyes It fell sigh Then some one behind me had turned round to look. I moment when she was lost to me of regretful anguish escaped from seemed to sighed.24 CLARIMONDE . and echo. I knelt down repeat the Psalms for the Dead. a fan. A of the vase. eyes upon the bed. shine by the side of which flickering watch-tapers seemed rather a thought upon the strange destiny which enabled me to meet Clarimonde again at the very corpses. cadaverous odours which I breathe during such funereal of Oriental perfume of woman — — I had been accustomed vigils. thanking God that He had placed the tomb between me and the memory of this with that I might thereafter be able to utter her woman. in that and a breast.

At one for the I even thought I saw her foot move under the whiteness of the coverings. which formed a strong contrast with the gloomy purple of the with hangings. and was of so fine a texture that it concealed nothing of her body's charming form. The air of the alcove intoxicated me. might not. executed by some skilful sculptor to place upon the statue tomb of a queen. and slightly disarrange the time long straight folds of the winding-sheet. pausing at each turn before the febrile bier to contemplate the graceful corpse lying beneath transparency of the thronging to my its brain. She was covered a linen wrapping of dazzling whiteness. perhaps. and allowed the eye to follow those beautiful outlines undulating Hke which even death bad not robbed the neck of a swan — — She seemed an alabaster of their supple grace. like a slumbering maiden over whom the silent snow had woven a spotless veil. and I commenced to pace restlessly up and down the chamber. or rather.CLARIMONDE of death which they had till 25 The then avoided. decorated with large flowers worked in embroidery and looped up with gold bullion. I Wild fancies came thought to myself that she really dead. be only have feigned death me to her castle. red damask curtains. lying at full length. shroud. perhaps. that I perfume of half-faded roses penetrated my very brain. that she might purpose of bringing and then declaring her love. could no longer maintain my constrained attitude of prayer. perme to behold the fair dead. mitted with hands joined upon her bosom. .

and the sweat forehead in streams. There. shuddering at once with fear and pleasure. She was not death seemed less charming but a last . through coyness seeks to keep herself wholly Heartbroken with grief. she approached the bed again. although purified sacred by the shadow of death. indeed. With her. lay Clarimonde. even as I had seen her at the church on lifted a the day of than my then. who all modestly hides her fair face. that one might repose so closely resembled slumber that I forgot that I had well have mistaken it for such. while all the breath through fear of waking holding my her. Ah. grasped the corner of the sheet. My I them felt arteries hiss poured from my throbbed with such violence that through my temples.CLARIMONDE 26 And then I asked myself: monde? What proof have I 'Is this that it indeed Clari- she? is Might not that black page have passed into the service of some other lady? Surely. come there to perform a funeral ceremony . yet wild with hope. as though I had mighty slab of marble. I fancied a young bridegroom entering the chamber of myself the bride. ordination. 1 must be going mad to But my heart torture and afflict myself thus!' answered with a fierce ' throbbing : It is she it is . and fixed my attention upon the object of my redoubled with eyes That exquisite I confess it? must incertitude. and veiled. I bent over her and I lifted it back. ' indeed ! I and made perfection of bodily form. affected than voluptuously it should have me more and done.

bending her cheek with the my face warm dew bitter feelings of despair and above of my I endure did I could have gathered wish that in that long D and bathing tears. I gazed. 27 pallor of her cheeks. on the day when it I resumed at the portals of the church. and the more that life for ever. more diaphanous. lent her an unspeakably seductive aspect of melancholy carnation of her chastity lips. my hand but not colder than touched mine my position. hands. the less could I had really abandoned do not know whether a reflection of the lamplight. but the blood was again I laid less. and mental with intertwined suffering some . than the Host. it lightly beautiful was an remained her hand me to to circulate on her arm . removed. and veiled the nudity of her beautiful her shoulders with its thick ringlets . Ah. still blue flowers. made a shining pillow for her head. purer. the less brilliant her long eyelashes lowered and relieving their dark fringe against that white skin. all — rest and that might — have proven otherwise too alluring even after death in the exquisite roundness and ivory polish of her bare arms from which the pearl bracelets had not yet been I remained long in mute contemplation. were crossed on her bosom in an attiude of pious which served to counteract silent prayer. unutterable did I persuade myself seemed it commencing that lifeless pallor.CLARIMONDE The coquetry. what her. little her long loose hair. helplessness. although she I that what agonies watch all ! my Vainly life into . body illusion or all it that under motion- was cold.

and the mouth of Ciarimonde responded to the Her eyes unclosed. like a butterfly's wing. That back the We visit shall betrothed is all I wished to tell thee. Romuald * ' ! languishingly sweet as the last vibrations of a harp. mingled itself with my breath. dearest ? am dead thee and thee. moment of eternal could not deny myself the last sad sweet pleasure of imprinting a kiss upon the dead who had been my only of her lips A love.CLARIMONDE 28 one mass that I it might give all into her chill remains the flame The night advanced.' though for a and ! can see I I give moment love thee recalled. . I but we are burst in the window. for thee. . miracle ! faint breath up with something of their former brilliancy she uttered a long sigh. retain me still. ' What that I ailed thee. . fell to I : Adieu. A furious and whirlwind entered the The last remaining leaf of the white a moment palpitated at the extremity of the rose stalk and flew suddenly chamber. she murmured in a voice Ah. passed lighted . and uncrossing her arms. I and breathe to her. it is thou. forth I fell insensible upon the bosom of the beautiful dead. waited so long for thee now life Her head as . adieu which thy kiss soon meet again. . but her arms yet encircled me. Oh. which devoured me. back. and passionate pressure of mine. and feeling the separation approach. them around my neck with a look of ineffable delight. Romuald. and soul of Ciarimonde. then it detached itself through the open casement. bearing with it the The lamp was extinguished.

complexioned of have no recollection of aught relating me man who came Barbara told them. woman uttered a tail.CLARIMONDE When bed I came to myself again I was lying little room my in 29 on the and the old at the presbytery. dog of the former cure was licking my hand. Those three do not reckon in my life. nor could I ever days whither imagine my spirit had departed during those of life three days to I . I me litter. all trembling with age and anxiety. stances. was busying herself about the room. . emptying powders into me open my seeing eyes. which had been hanging down outside of the covers. opening and shutting and drawers. giving but I I word learned no evidence beyond the faintest respiration. the was or still make the had that I slightest motion. since Barbara as well as myself had seen the strange man with his two black horses. and departed I became able to reviewed within my the circumstances of that fateful night. forbid real and palpable in that supposition. the old dog yelped and wagged his so weak that I could not speak a cry of joy. single Afterward lain thus for three days. I themselves. my collect first I same coppery- me on the night departure from the presbytery had brought back the next morning mind that the to seek all When scattered thoughts. Barbara. On glasses. I At had been the victim of some magical thought but ere long the recollection of other circum- illusion. my in a close immediately afterward. came could not believe that to I had been dreaming.

in I he had come with speed to see me. While he inquired after my health in hypocritically honeyed accents. whether I had become acquainted with many of the inhabitants of the place. if I his look into Then he asked me was happy in it. and I hated for his clairvoyance. what was my favourite questions.CLARIMONDE 30 and described with exactness every detail of his figure and apparel. he constantly kept his two great yellow lion-eyes my how I soul I upon me. of query to another. thing penetrating and inquisitorial in his gaze which His presence filled me made me very At the first with embarrassment and a sense of guilt. I reading. directed my parish. yet his visit did not cause me the pleasure which The Abbe Serapion had someit should have done. feel ill glance he divined him at ease. passed rapidly from one subject That conversation had evidently no connection with . possible. Although my and this haste on his part testified to an affectionate interest in me. how passed the leisure hours allowed me in the intervals of pastoral duty. all ill. and a thousand other such answered these inquiries as briefiy as without ever waiting for my answers. and he. and plunged fixed like a sounding-lead. Nevertheless it appeared that none knew of any castle in the neighbourhood answering to the description of that in which I had found again Clarimonde. found the Abbe Serapion Barbara had advised him that I was One morning room. my interior trouble.

as though to observe the I could not refrain from effect of his words on me. despite . but I believe she was none other than Beelzebub himself.' He ceased to speak. without any a piece of news premonition. which my filled me with face betrayed. he suddenly said. The abominations are we The living in ? Good God.CLARIMONDE what he actually wished to 31 At say. the close of an orgie which lasted eight days and ' at which rang The eight great courtesan was something infernally splendid. in a clear vibrant voice. but as though repeating which he had recalled on the instant. It nights. The livery among them would have served for There have always been the gala-dress of an emperor. in addition to the terror reason of I its coincidence with had witnessed. who and tongue. and commenced to regard me more attentively than ever. what seemed to me to age guests were served by swarthy who spoke an unknown slaves and of the banquets of Belshazzar Cleopatra were re-enacted there. last. a female vami>ire. the trumpets of the Last Judgment in my ears like : Clarimonde died a few days ago. and all of told stories very strange of the very least her lovers came to a violent or miserable end. and feared might otherwise be forgotten subsequently. starting when monde. and pain it heard him utter the I this caused me by the nocturnal scenes an agony and name of Clari- news of her death. They used to say that she was a ghoul. be veritable demons. this Clarimonde.

and her hand a little transparency. and tombs are not always true to their trust. ! the door. she time I Abbe walked slowly to did not see him again at that time. he if seal.CLARIMONDE 32 utmost endeavours to appear composed. I must warn you that you are standing with foot raised upon the brink of an abyss . for almost immediately. Satan's claws are long. sound. and I had commenced to believe that my own terrors his fears were over-exaggerated. for. take heed lest you fall therein. The tombstone of Clarimonde should be sealed down with a triple Romuald And has my May God it not the is watch first over you. ' with these words the left for I report be true. as their with a sharp rings slided back upon the curtain rod I had a strange dream. to health The memory and resumed of Clarimonde and the words of the old Abbe were constantly in my mind. shaped like those which are its light lent her fingers a rosy placed in tombs. Serapion fixed an anxious and severe look upon me. and then my ' observed : My son. when one and night had hardly fallen asleep when I heard my bed-curtains drawn apart. nevertheless no extraordinary event had occurred to verify the funereal predictions of Serapion. shadow the in She bore recognised Clarimonde immediately. lamp. which extended itself by lessening degrees . died. S became completely restored accustomed duties. I I rose up quickly upon my elbow. and beheld I of a woman standing erect before me.

felt I manner not even in which she had entered for a moment the least fear. She was so of the drapery blended with colour under the pallid rays of the lamp. flesh Enveloped with this subtle tissue which betrayed all the contour of her body. but this did not prevent — her from being charming so charming that. in its sweet softness. her beauty was still the same. body. The little blue flowers which I had noticed entwined in her hair were withered and dry. and had lost nearly all their leaves. statue or endowed with life. such as I lips save hers : never heard from any . and the unexplainable my room. She placed the lamp on the table and seated herself my bed then bending toward me. once so warmly crimson. Her only garment was the linen winding-sheet which had shrouded her when lying upon the bed of death. she seemed rather the marble statue some of fair antique bather than a woman But dead or living. or shadow woman. was only tinted with a faint tender rosiness. but her hand was not equal little white that the that of her to the task. in that voice at once silvery clear and yet velvety at the foot of . and her mouth. only that the green light of her eyes was less brilliant. she said. Uke that of her cheeks.CLARIMONDE 33 even to the opaque and milky whiteness of her bare arm. She sought to gather its folds over her bosom ashamed as though of being so scantily clad. notwithstanding the strange character of the adventure.

is neither sun nor moon in that land whence I come : but space and shadow all is pathway no earth for the and nevertheless behold me : there . air for the Love here. effort to voluptuous Poor child ! had not even tempter. returned to power of will alone. the palms of my poor hands are all bruised ! ! ' they may be healed She laid the cold palms of her hands upon my mouth. sweet love. and from off. that I had entirely forgotten Abbe Serapion and been invested. indeed. Kiss them. must have seemed to thee that I had forgotten But thee. and made least fresh the coolness own. has had in What body and reinstating itself therein efforts I had to make ere I could lift the earth through the finding terrible its ! ponderous slab with which they had covered me See. . the sacred office had I at the first assault. I come from afar very far off. dear Romuald. and I whole body. I my shame confess to the advice of the wherewith had I resistance. neither road nor is no foot.CLARIMONDE 34 'I and it have kept thee long in waiting. what sad faces and fearful things I have seen on hither way What ! my difificulty soul. I kissed them. that and she the while watched me ! with a smile of ineffable affection. one after the other. There a land whence no other has ever yet returned. for is wing stronger Oh my than Death and must conquer him in the end. many times. The skin penetrated tremors over my my repel of Clarimonde's felt I fallen without the pass in spite of all I saw after- .

and squatted least she down on the edge of the couch in an attitude From time negligent coquetry. She had drawn her feet up beneath her. while accompanied lier gentle play with the The most remarkable fact was that I ment whatever as dreams in of hand through my hair and twisted it into though trying how a new style of wearing little curls. I most abandoned myself guilty pleasure. all " all It is me ' his gave thee a look into ever had. I said at which now once. so circumstances seemed to to all these perfectly natural in them- selves. full to time she passed at so extraordinary one finds no me she prettiest prattle.CLARIMONDE 35 ward. her as would become it my her hands with the face. and I first saw thee in the church at the fatal moment. court. I can hardly yet believe she was a demon. 'I loved thee long ere I saw thee. felt no astonish- an adventure. to to " ! the love a look that would have a king he and still lovest I am of that God whom thou more than me ! didst . Thou wast my dream. and difficulty in acceptincr the most fantastic events as simple facts. how jealous love I I Thou remainedst unmoved. and never did Satan so skilfully conceal his claws and horns. at had no appearance of being such. dear Romuald. and sought thee everywhere. threw I have. all the love I the love I shall ever have for thee knees damned at my a cardinal or brought in view of all his feet preferring thy God ! Ah.

as God ' ! she 'Since cried. I must also forthwith notify all my . Thou wilt cast ! the acknowledged lover of Clarimonde. the beautiful depart. envied of cavaUers . so let it be!' she answered. life golden my we will shall live together ! feel proud And when shall of. the unspeakably happy existence. ' fair. 'In the meanwhile I shall have opportunity to change my toilet. 'To-morrow. thou wilt follow me whithersoever I desire. then. who for thy sake to life with a kiss ' ! — bursts asunder the gates of the tomb. for this is a little too light and in nowise suited for a voyage. unhappy one that I am I can never have thy heart all to myself. as Her ' to were to utter a frightful soling her. secrate to thee a make thee happy All her words reason and accompanied with the most which bewildered my sense and for blasphemy not fear did I the sake of con- much loved her as to declare that I God. Thou black habit.CLARIMONDE 36 Woe is me. flinging her beautiful arms around me. thou wilt come with me. we ' fair sir ? To-morrow To-morrow ! ' ! I cried in my delirium. I whom thou didst recall dead Clarimonde. That away thy ugly be the proudest and most thou shalt be my lover To be shalt who be something to has refused even a Pope ! Ah. which she has resumed only life ' such an extent. it is so. that to to con- ! impassioned caresses^ my and comes rekindled and eyes In truth ? — in very truth ? shone — as like much chrysoprases.

and 37 mourn dresses. but gay. the curtains closed again. jaunty. And Adieu. and looped up on of satin petticoat. The lips. not as on the former occasion. and the recollection of me during the whole later this singular adventure troubled finally persuaded myself that it was a mere Nevertheless its heated imagination. slumber. deeply as they are capable of doing. lamp went out. a leaden. for thee at this she lightly touched as the I shall call be ready. than usual. the carriages — all same hour. with the violets of death upon her cheeks. and all became dark. awoke I I day. fell me after last. The all it and my dream curtains again parted. sprightly. travelling-dress lace. ringlets in a superb trimmed with gold either side to allow a glimpse Her blond hair escaped from beneath a broad black felt hat. in thick decorated with white feathers whimsically twisted into various . pale in her pale winding-sheet. and I was beheld Clarimonde. and not without some presentiment of what was happen that to prayed God and got into bed at I to drive far from to protect the chastity of I soon continued. dear heart will ' ! forehead with her my me for The money. dreamless sleep fell on me and me held unconscious the until morning following. my into a deep sleep. of green velvet. was going having thoughts of evil. vapour of my sensations had been so vivid that it was difficult to persuade myself that they were not real.CLARIMONDE who friends me believe dead.

my fine sleeper. we find have no time to ' Come. is this the terminated ' I : would way you make your preparations ? I thought you up and dressed. hair. as use of a garment me I my a little rimmed with silver ' : How for thy dost valet find de ' was no longer the same person. with it. bursting into and this done.work. I The horses yourself. .' leaped out of bed at once. held a Uttle riding-whip lightly She tapped me by a golden whistle. and playfully asked Wilt engage me thyself now? chambre ? awkwardness. champing been by this time at least ten leagues distant from here. time the at my when She hurriedly arranged up before held pocket-mirror of Venetian crystal. me the of apparel herself one by one. vanity was sensibly tickled I was handsome.' I dressed myself hurriedly.' she continued. little becoming impatient of delay and We ought to have are their bits at the door. and I could not I resembled my former self even recognise myself. and by the my metamorphosis. dress pointing to a ' lose. My old face seemed but a coarse daub of the one reflected in the mirror. Arise quickly.CLARIMONDE 38 In one hand she shapes. and exclaimed Well. I no more than a finished statue resembles a block of stone. and let us go. package she had brought with her. filigree. and she handed articles laughter from time to she explained to me had made a mistake.

and the moon. Soon we came upon a level plain where. have far to go. and marvelled at the power of transforir. 'Come. hard . and we may not get there in time. and we passed by dear. sky like a We beheld her on the right leaping from tree to tree. Romuald. I The spirit of my costume wnthin ten minutes more penetrated I very skin and my had become something of a coxcomb. one for black all — one for me. Those horses must Clarimonde. At the gate we found Margheritone wailing.ation owned by a few yards of cloth cut after a certain pattern. for they were fleet as the wind itself. I Claritook several turns up and down the room. satisfied this child's play ! Let us start. the dog without awaking him. which had to light us on the way. and appeared well enough of We with her work. just risen at our departure rolled wheel detached from her own over the chariot. monde watched me with an air of maternal pleasure. and putting herself out of breath in the effort to keep up with us. In order to feel more my new at ease in attire. that had made of me a totally 39 vest embroidered richly different personage. have been Spanish genets born of mares fecundated by a zephyr. the same swarthy groom who had once before been my escort. All the doors opened before her at a touch. like one He held the bridles of three horses.CLARIMONDE That elegant apparel.' She took my hand and led me forth. those which bore us to the castle for him.

Only . had one gallop. railed at the libertine lord and priest. even for a always retained with extreme the perceptions of my two lives. was a was the fascination which the I whom knew believed myself a priest that he was a gentleman. and to within me.CLARIMONDE 40 by a clump of a carriage trees. would afford a fair representation of this bicephalic life which I lived. and one of her hands their animals clasped in mine and I felt my arm. into a her head leaned upon my shoulder. with four vigorous and the postillions mad I. vividness to all madness. one with the other. at was a gentleman who dreamed he I could no longer distinguish the nightly I priest. entered it. nor could I discover where The the reality began or where ended the dream. hour I had forgotten everything. exquisite young the priest loathed the dissolute habits of the young Two spirals entangled and confounded the lord. urged arm around Clarimonde's waist. neither of At one moment the other. spirit From exerted upon me. lightly pressing against I had never known such intense happiness. We horses awaited us. I I ever my inclined. dream from the reality. half bare. In that . I Despite the strange character of do not believe that moment. yet never touching. her bosom. seemed in some there were two sort men who dreamed another that that night my evil nature have become halved. and no I more remembered having ever been a priest than 1 remembered what I had been doing in my mother's so great womb. condition.

As was there for me. how much rightly I I lived. which were hung in Clarimonde's statues. that the to myself could not explain consciousness of the same individuality existed in two men so opposite in char- was an anomaly for which I could not account whether I believed myself to be the cure of the little acter. any more insolent than I. in Venice. — I 41 It village of C . had the retinue of a prince's son. or // Signor Romualdo. I would not have turned aside to allow even the Doge to pass. women of the . and played with a luck which seemed absolutely infernal. our barcaroUi in family livery. at least I of illusion on the Canaleio. I went to the Ridotto. the titled lover of Clarimonde. and our special poet. lived. I was regarded with as much reverential respect as though I had been of the family of one of the twelve Apostles or the four I Evangelists of the Most Serene Republic.CLARIMONDE there was one absurd fact which — namely. chamber. and . Clarimonde always lived upon a magnificent scale something of Cleopatra in her nature. and I do not believe that since Satan creature was ever prouder or fell from heaven. Be that as it may. our music hall. had each our gondola. I received the best of all society — the sons of ruined families. great palace believed that have never been able We reality dwelt in a with frescoes and and containing two Titians in the noblest style of the great master. filled I to discover and how much of there was in this fantastic adventure. It We was a palace well worthy of a king.

the the style of beauty of the woman who She returned my love a appeared to please you. in all in herself —a very chameleon She made you commit with would have committed with you sooth. I never thought of the strange manner in which I had beBut the words come acquainted with Clarimonde. patricians and even the Ancients of the Council of Ten made her the most magnificent proposals. She would have excited satiety and chained inconstancy. and it was in vain that the young attraction. perfectly happy but for a cursed recurred every night. so fresh in : new charms was she of a woman. To have Clarimonde was to have twenty mistresses. a I life. of the Abb6 Serapion concerning her recurred often further . and which should be a to to espouse her. loved her wildly. Of gold she for A my for in which I would have been nightmare which I believed myself village cure. hectoring parasites. swash- But notwithstanding the dissipation of such I always remained faithful to Clarimonde.CLARIMONDE 42 shrewd theatre. ay. bucklers. and Reassured constant association with her. Foscari even went so far as to She rejected all his overtures. practising mortification my excesses during the day. by donning to perfection the character. enough. her the infidelity another. to possess all itself. and be a poor penance by had anything but love love youthful. so varied of aspect. She wished no longer —a ofifer first and last passion. hundred-fold. evoked by herself. women so mobile. pure. knaves.

of an ape — upon my wound. so that I might not be obliged to leave her for a single instant. until she as upon castle. all some prescribed insignificant remedies. Her and a eyes flashed. I seemed almost memorable night that grieved with anguish un- speakable to behold her thus slowly perishing. One morning fateful smile of those I breakfasting from a was little seated who feel that her bedside. could not comprehend the nature of her malady and The knew not how to treat They it. In the act of cutting some inflicted rather a deep gash on my fruit I accidentally The blood finger. For some time the health of Clarimonde had not her complexion grew paler been so good as usual. smiled upon me sweetly and sadly with the they must die. and to never 43 ceased cause to me uneasiness. She swallowed the £ .CLARIMONDE my memory. visibly increased. physicians who were summoned day by day. immediately gushed few drops spurted upon Clarimonde. nevertheless. touched by my agony. the — She leaped out of her bed with animal agility or a cat and sprang agility. her face suddenly assumed an expression of savage and ferocious joy such as I had never before observed in her. and never called a second time. as it were. forth in a little purple jet. and she. which she commenced to suck with an air of unutterable pleasure. Her paleness. and she became colder and white and dead as in the unknown colder. at and table placed close at hand.

and the same evening. ' ! ' she cried. half for a long time.' comes from thee. graver presbytery. exclaimed: 'Not at and me. longer come. ! I shall mad My not die with joy.CLARIMONDE 44 blood in little mouthfuls. like a connoisseur tasting a wine from Xeres or Syracuse. time to time she paused in order to kiss my hand. into how terrible The tone in which he a plight have you fallen ' ! uttered these words spite of its powerfully affected me. Gradually her eyelids half closed. life is more beautiful than health. slowly and carefully. rosier than a May dawn . thine. but in vividness even that impression was soon . then she would recommence to press her lips to the lips of the wound in order to coax forth a few more ruddy When she found that the blood would no drops. you now desire also to lose your body. have given me back life. most perfect not die neck. precious and more potent than all the elixirs of the earth. sorrowfully attentively content with losing your soul. Wretched young man. This scene long haunted my memory. she arose with eyes liquid and brilliant. her face full and fresh. ' to and in the I shall my — in fine. her hand warm and moist ever. to my when slumber had transported me Abbe Serapion. and the pupils of her From green eyes became oblong instead of round. and inspired me with strange doubts in regard to Clarimonde . clinging I can love thee yet and that all is of me A few drops of thy rich and noble more blood. I beheld the He gazed and more anxious of aspect than ever.

. I under the threw the contents retired to leisure. 45 and a thousand other cares erased it from one evening. . I must drink it. but to watch and discover what should come of all this mystery. and then placed it on the nearest article of furniture as though been intending to finish of a it moment when at the my my chamber and Taking advantage one's back was turned. child only take of thy keep my own from being ! life do thee I will what I must for ever extinguished. but since I men have become baleful . my only brightly purple. I will my my god. into bed and down lay was asleep. felt assured that I : ' of One my drop. end must His beautiful blood. ! no harm . I could well resolve to have other lovers whose veins I could drain that I love thee so have known thee all other . ! One ruby Since thou lovest me at the I yet. crept she and having nightdress. . poor love Sleep. she bared my arm. I did not have to wait long. while looking into a my mirror whose traitorous position she had not taken into At mind. to But much. so Ah. only one drop needle. which after went to bed. last in the act of emptying a into the cup of spiced wine which she had long powder I in the habit of preparing after our repasts. commenced to murmur in a low voice beside me. not die treasure . fair table.CLARIMONDE dissipated. saw Clarimonde I account. I fully resolved not to sleep. feigned to carry it to my lips. ! Sleep. and drawing a gold pin from her hair. took the cup. Clarimonde entered When her in removed her apparel. ! . .

arm and said to her Drink. and she carefully tied a little wound band around my arm. would not have thought of bargaining for my I would rather have opened blood. and I felt her tears raining on my arm At last she took the as she clasped it with her hands. How . the weakening me soon seized her. however. and seen In those days would not have been so and what had plenteous veins. Serapion Notwithstanding this positive knowledge. or to the incident of the pin. was right. I felt but little fear of her. .CLARIMONDE 46 to me. could not cease to love Clarimonde. MoreThe woman seemed over. and we lived in the most perfect harmony . afterward rubbing the with an unguent which immediately cicatrised Further doubts were impossible. and I would gladly of my own accord have given her all the blood she required to sustain her factitious life. self punctured me with her pin. fear of to suck Although she swallowed only a few drops. the beautiful arm it is How ! ' pretty blue vein ! And How ! round it is ! shall I ever dare to prick this while thus murmuring to her- she wept. me for the vampire. . drop by drop. to plead with already heard pletely. I The Abbe it. easily exhausted as had me com- sufficed to reassure I I which at present. white Ah. sUghtly menced place. and comup the blood which oozed from the resolve. myself the veins of my and I ' : and may my love infiltrate itself throughout thy together with my blocd ' ! I carefully body avoided ever making the least reference to the narcotic drink she had prepared for me.

Although these visions were in- more than and I voluntary. and the current of me away to the perfidious me with the most vehement reproaching me for my softness slumber would again bear shores. It is torment. I know where Clarimonde is buried. necessary that you shall your love we behold is. severely fervour. for and finding all my arms fall let resist- in the extremity of despairing weariness. violent diseases require violent remedies. shall disinter her remains. imagine what new penance I could invent in order to mortify and subdue my flesh. Serapion addressed exhortations. I eyes at last. one day when I was more wretched than usual. he said to me There is but one can obtain which relief from this continual you way by and want of ' : and though it is an extreme measure it must be made use of. and stood I to held prevent my eye- hours together the wall. myself from being overcome by sleep. fighting sleep with all leaning upright against but dust of drowsiness invariably the my might .CLARIMONDE Yet my 47 commenced priestly scruples torment to me ever. gathered upon my ance would have to useless. Finally. and though in was I at a loss to not actually participate did anything relating to them. in how Then you and that pitiable a state the object of will no longer be tempted to . I could not dare to touch the body of Christ with hands so impure and a mind by such debauches whether real or imaginary. lids open with my fingers. In the effort to avoid falling under the influence of defiled these wearisome strove I hallucinations.

After having directed the rays of the dark to him. desiring to ascertain that life beyond at I once a doubt whether a priest or a gentleman had been the victim of delusion.' Who 'It is here without a doubt. half concealed by huge weeds devoured and by mosses and parasitic plants. himself with a mattock. and at midnight we wended our way to the cemetery of the location and place of which were perfectly familiar . and ready to crumble into dust.' muttered Serapion. for so terrible an existence could not last The Abbe Serapion provided long and be endured. lantern upon the inscriptions of several tombs.CLARIMONDE 48 lose an unclean corpse your soul for the sake of devoured by worms. Ici git Qui The broken beauty translation. a lever. we came upon a great slab. or else to kill both. I had become fully resolved either to kill one of the two men within me for the benefit of the other. and a lantern. he forced the point of the lever under the edge of the stone and com^ Clarimonde de son vivant La plus belle du monde. fut of the lines is unavoidably lost in the .' For my was so part. whereat last upon we deciphered the opening lines of the epitaph : Here lies Clarimonde was famed in her life-time As the fairest of women. I tired of this double consented. That will assuredly restore you to yourself. and placing his lantern on the ground.

it an icy sweat come out upon beads. had been dark clouds. had something fearby strong some felt in which enhanced the unpleasant fancy. in Serapion's zeal which lent him the air of a demon rather than of an apostle or an angel. heavily rolling The owls which to reduce him entrails of the to cinders. and I could have prayed that a triangle of fire would issue from the above us. was a weird scene. ceeded to than the night silent stone yielded. him do It it. nestling in the cypress-trees. flew against plaintive cries of lamentation the far darkness. they would assuredly have beheld for profane wretches and shroud-stealers than for There was something grim and fierce priests of God. and had any persons from without taken us rather us. panes. sinister noises At making last Seraits planks . panted. while he. and his great stern features brought out in aquiline face. the coffin pion's mattock struck itself. and my hair Within the depths of my stood up with a hideous my own heart I I forehead in huge felt fear. with all its the relief lantern-light. bending over his dismal toil. 49 stood by and watched I itself. and he pro- The it. and utter- wild foxes yelped thousand the silence.CLARIMONDE menced to raise Darker and more work with the mattock. it striking their dusty wings against ing in by the from time to time. and his hard-coming breath seemed to have the harsh tone of a death rattle. that the act of the austere Serapion was an abominable sacrilege . and detached themselves from a its . streamed with sweat. startled gleam of the lantern.

with hands joined her white winding-sheet made but one fold from her head to her feet. Ah. He wrenched and tore up the Hd. apart a figure of marble. and I beheld Clarimonde. the inexorable priest. as she had said the church ' : thou done priest ? Unhappy man ? first ! time at the portals of the Unhappy man ! What hast Wherefore have hearkened to that imbecile Wert thou not happy ? And what harm had . thou art here. and became only a shapeless and frightful mass of cinders and half-calcined bones. I saw Clarimonde. I ' ? returned to my presbytery. with that terrible sound nothingness utters when stricken. me. he flung holy water upon the corpse and over which he traced the sign of the cross with his sprinkler. a vast ruin had my taken place within me. my Lord Romuald 'Behold your mistress. Drinker of blood and ! And ! the coffin. and the noble Lord Romuald. ' remains.CLARIMONDE 50 re-echo with a deep sonorous sound. burst into fury at ' at this demon : Impure courtesan ! ' gold . A little crimson drop sparkled like a speck pallid as of dew one corner of her colourless mouth. Serapion. the lover of Clarimonde. separated himself from the poor priest with whom he had But once only. She said to the following night. Poor Clarimonde had no sooner been touched by the blessed spray than her beautiful body crumbled into dust. covered pointed to these cried sad Will you be easily tempted after this to promenade on the Lido or I he as ' ! my face with at Fusina with your beauty hands. spectacle. kept such strange company so long.

regret me ' ! She vanished in Thou ! air as wilt yet smoke. brother. My soul's peace The love of God was has been very dearly bought. this. is the story of my youth. much to not too And replace such a love as hers.CLARIMONDE I done thee ever 51 that thou shouldst violate my poor tomb. the error of a make one lose eternity. Alas ! she spoke truly indeed. and I regret her I have regretted her still. Never gaze upon a woman. and I never saw her more. and lay bare the miseries of my nothingness ? All communication between our souls and our bodies is Adieu henceforth for ever broken. and walk abroad only with eyes ever for however chaste and watchful fixed upon the ground . one may be. single moment is enough to . more than once.

one thing there which clings alike to the his is shop of the dealer in old iron. The cobwebs are more authentic than the gimp laces. which have become so numerous now that it is fashionable to buy antiquated and furniture.THE MUMMY'S FOOT I HAD entered. the ware-room of the tapestry maker. in an idle those curiosity venders mood. my bric-a-brac All ages dealer and all yester- was a nations . the laboratory of the chemist. The warehouse veritable 52 of Capharnaum. You have doubtless glanced occasionally through the windows of some of these shops. must have There that every petty stockbroker thinks he chambre au moyen age. and the studio of the painter where a : shutters the gloomy dens in all those furtive daylight filters in through the window- most manifestly ancient thing is dust. and the old pear-tree furniture on exhibition is actually younger than the mahogany which arrived but day from America. the shop of one of are called marchands de who bric-a-brac in that Parisian argot which is so perfectly unintelligible elsewhere in France.

. frogs. . nonchaltable antly extended her fawn-like feet under a massive of the time of Louis xiii. watching my elbows with the uneasy attention of an antiquarian and a usurer. side by side with enamelled works serpents. representing lizards in relief. and carven designs of chimeras and foliage intermingled. The dealer followed me closely through the tortuous way contrived between the piles of furniture. The striped breastplate of a damascened suit of Milanese armour glittered in one corner . Chinese grotesques. vases of and crackleware. with heavy spiral supports of oak. Chinese cabinets escaped cascades of silks and waves of tinsel. smiled through their yellow varnish. a duchess of the court of Louis xv. in frames more or less tarnished. which an oblique sunbeam shot through with luminous beads. Bernard by and From disembowelled silver-lustrous Palissy. while portraits of every era. Saxon and old Sevres cups encumbered the shelves and nooks of the apart- celadon ment.THE MUMMY'S FOOT seemed to have made their 53 An rendezvous there. loves and nymphs of porcelain. with ebony panels. warding off with his hand the hazardous sweep of my coat-skirts. brightly striped by lines of inlaid brass . Upon the denticulated shelves of several sideboards glittered immense Japanese dishes with red and blue designs relieved by gilded hatching. Etruscan lamp of red clay stood upon a Boule cabinet.

honhoinie^ of him lent strikingly. of full nerves which thin. and your collection. which brought out the clear salmon tint of his complexion all the more .THE MUMMY'S FOOT 54 It was a singular immense merchant that of the face. projected like strings and of a armed with claws the violin. finger-board upon like those on the terminations of with senile trembling when they lifted cup. will This two-handed sword the work of Josepe de la It is look well is Hera very . 'Will you not buy something from me to-day. two a false little orbits like of aspect counteracted. It is to tear withdrawing the weapon. beautiful. polished like a knee. those teeth set out the a fine in entrails in backward so as character of ferocious arm. an . in their The curve of his nose presented an aquiline silhouette. sir? is a Malay kreese with a blade undulating like Here Look flame. man had an rabbinical and cabalistic on the mere burnt wings but those convulsively agitated . and . This strange old — shook steel pincers or lobsters' — any precious article an onyx or a dish of Bohemian crystal. hands became firmer than claws bats' that aspect so thoroughly he would have been testimony of his three face centuries ago. however. and surrounded skull. slender. patriarchal by the scintillation which trembled yellow eyes two louis-d'or upon quicksilver. which — His hands suggested the Oriental or Jewish type. by a thin aureole of white hair. a Venetian glass. at those grooves contrived for the blood to run along.

Satiny gleams played over its rounded forms. au naturel. fenestrated guard its superb specimen of handicraft * No I . little Hindoo a kind of poussah-toys in jade-stone. I was hesitating between a porcelain dragon. and wonderfully appropriate to the very undivine of holding papers and letters in place. for I cannot endure those trumpery bronzes which the stationers sell. doubtless polished by the amorous kisses of twenty centuries. constellated with bristling tusks little office Mexican and ranges of It all mouth formidable with teeth. me some antique bronzes. . or Chinese idols.' The and old gnome finally arranged before so-called at least among foraged his ancient wares. art. and an abominable fetich. 55 — what a ' ! have quite enough weapons and instruments I want a small figure. fragments of malachite.THE MUMMY'S FOOT with this colichemarde. suit will me as a paper-weight. something which of carnage. when I at first warts. for it seemed a Corinthian bronze. its I had those beautiful ruddy and tawny lend to Florentine bronze that warm tints that living look so preferable to the gray-green aspect of common bronzes. and which may be found on everybody's desk. perhaps moulded . which might easily be mistaken for statues in much a state of putrefaction. representing the god VitziliputziU caught sight of a charming foot. a work of the best era of by Lysippus himself. which took for a fragment of some antique Venus. representing the incarnations of Brahma or Vishnoo.

ha. an embalmed flesh. but in sooth a foot of foot.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 56 * That foot will who regarded me be my choice. An original idea artistic idea For a paper-weight ! ' ! ! ! — ! Old Pharaoh would certainly have been surprised had some one told him that the foot of his adored daughter would be used for a paper-weight after he had had a mountain of granite hollowed out as a receptacle for the triple coffin. might examine I terminated by toes were perfectly pure and transparent as agates. in the antique style. afforded a contrast. scarcely —the grace streaked by a few almost imperceptible cross lines. was surprised at its lightness. afforded evidence that it had never touched the bare ground. a mummy's On foot. slender and formed nails. closely the very grain of the bandages. became still it examining more and the almost by the texture it The perceptible. ha. the skin. with a strange his owlish eyes upon me. to the position of the other toes. of was not a foot It imperceptible lines impressed upon happy air.' I said to the merchant. and delicate. painted and gilded. great toe. with an ironical and saturnine held out the object desired that more I and it fully. The slightly separated from the rest. ha fixing giggle. and had only come in contact with the finest matting of Nile rushes and the softest carpets of 'Ha. Ha. The it an aerial lightness sole. covered with . of metal. Hermonthis want you panther skin. the foot of the Princess ' exclaimed the merchant. and lent of a bird's foot.

'Tis ! an authentic muttered the merchant. stroking the frayed tissue with little fingers. to praise . how much do you want? warn you that The daughter francs. and Well. foot. imparting a peculiar rotary motion to his eyes. bargain.' he mumbled. but still. it than for less a Pharaoh I can had the match of ! hundred five Nothing 'Assuredly that is is I my all rare. 'Very fine? — damask which has never been redyed. more not a it is a superb not have could you get. for it search my let first five louis. as though talking to himself. of article.' 'Five louis for the foot of the Princess Hermonthis That is very little.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 57 hieroglyphics and beautiful paintings of the of Souls. shaking his head. but nothing vest pockets secret drawers without even finding one poor and most five-franc piece more.' damask and I will give you the bandages into the he added. me place wealth consists of just five louis. the highest price If I piece.' ' take it. half audibly.' common In the can buy anything that costs You might dearer. moved him through the trade-acquired even an object of value that he himself deemed it only worth habit which such his the giving away. and yet it is soft.' continued the queer little Judgment merchant. very little indeed. 'How much will me you charge for this mummy ' ? fragment 'Ah. wrapping the foot in an ancient Real damask Indian rag. It is strong.

I went out with the gravity and pride becoming one v/ho feels that he has the ineffable advantage over all the passers-by whom he elbows. I looked upon all who did not possess. posted in the table drawer instead of the letter-box. man loved ' ! You speak as if you were a contemporary of his. in themselves an undecipherable mosaic work of erasures and . laughingly.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 58 He poured the gold coins into a sort of mediaeval alms-purse hanging at his belt. goodness knows but you do not ' ! date back to the Pyramids of Egypt. repeating ' The a paper-weight Then Hermonthis foot of the Princess : to be used for ' ! turning his phosphorescent eyes upon me. Egyptian as very . a paper-weight so authentically like myself.' I answered. an error to which absent-minded people are peculiarly The effect was charming. bizarre. delighted with my acquisition. I placed the foot of the divine Princess Hermonthis upon a heap of papers scribbled over with verses. daughter of Pharaoh. he in a voice strident as the crying of a cat exclaimed which has swallowed a fish-bone * Old Pharaoh will his daughter. the dear : He not be well pleased. from the threshold. With the idea of putting it to profitable use as soon as possible. Well satisfied with this embellishment. You are old enough. liable. I went home. letters forgotten. of possessing a piece of the Princess Hermonthis. articles freshly begun . and romantic.

had Her odours have the solidity of granite and endure as long. and myrrh in which the parasc/iisfes. was about to take place. I For a few hours Yet mind. a vague whiff of Oriental perfume delicately titillated nerves. all remained opaque to me. soon drank deeply from the black cup of sleep. bitumen. F I . whose presence dis- foot mummy's I 59 friends. had bathed the corpse of the princess. could not very well have dined with myself. and I beheld my might have believed myself awake but for a vague consciousness which assured me that I slept. infatuation with this dinner with them. for I new acquisition. The Dream of Egypt was Eternity. The eyes of chamber as my soul were opened. and it seemed occupation of every sensible mere fact of Happily tracted I went me to having a man met some in my me that the proper should consist in the to upon his desk. and that something fantastic it actually was. The heat of the my room had warmed olfactory the natron. Oblivion and nothingness inundated me with their sombre waves. a perfume that four thousand years not been able to dissipate.THE MUMMY'S FOOT ridiculous people. When I came back that evening. light gradually dawned upon the darkness of my Dreams commenced to touch me softly in their silent flight. It was a perfume at once sweet and penetrating. with my brain slightly confused by a few glasses of wine. who cut open the bodies of the dead.

appeared to become stealthily. which felt I very naturally champagne that we had drunk to the unknown gods and our future fortunes. softly globe of ground crystal. and the discs of the pateras seemed like great metallic eyes. however. My eyes accidentally fell upon the desk where placed the foot of the Princess Hermonthis. proper place. as behoved a I had foot which had been embalmed for four thousand years. One would have imagined that it had suddenly been brought into contact with a galvanic battery.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 6o The odour and I of the myrrh had augmented in intensity. and leaped frog. commenced it nervous manner. contracted over the papers like a startled to act in a itself. watching. to justify. I peered through my room with a feeling of expecta- attributed to several glasses of tion which saw nothing I furniture was in . Instead of remaining quiet. hard as the hoof of a gazelle. burned upon its the water-colour sketches shone under their shaded by bracket its Bohemian its glass . down the curtains hung languidly . like myself. I could distinctly hear the dry sound made by its little heel. all calm this interior The woodwork cracked ash-covered log suddenly emitted a jet of blue flame. I became inasmuch as rather discontented with I wished my my acquisition. the disturbed. paper-weights to be of a . a slight headache. After a few moments. for the things which were about to happen. everything wore an aspect of tranquil slumber. Every article of The lamp.

and heard a bumping sound. bosom a Ultle idol-figure of green paste. almost Greek in its delicacy of outline . It was a young girl of a very deep coffee-brown complexion. and she might indeed have been taken for a Corinthian statue of bronze but for the prominence of her cheek-bones and the slightly African fulness of her one to recognise her as belonging lips. with eyebrows so black that they seemed blue . and she wore upon her very young .THE MUMMY'S FOOT 6i sedentary disposition. Her eyes were almond shaped and oblique. her nose was exquisitely chiselled. hot and confess I became alternately cold. Suddenly I saw the folds of my bed-curtain stir. and possessing the purest Egyptian type of perfect beauty. Her arms. bearing a whip . which compelled all doubt to beyond the hieroglyphic race which dwelt upon the banks of the Nile. and my night-cap to a strange wind chill rising hair caused that my suddenly execute a leap of several yards. like that caused by some I must person hopping on one foot across the floor. were encircled by a pecuHar kind of and bracelets of glass beads her hair was bands metal all twisted into Httle cords. that I felt my back. The bed-curtains opened and I beheld the strangest figure imaginable before me. and I com- menced to experience a feeling closely akin to fear. and thought it very unnatural that feet should walk about without legs. slender and spindle-shaped like those of girls. like the bayadere Amani.

She looked at her foot — for it was indeed her own — with an exquisitely graceful expression of coquettish sadness. tint of As it to be an image of brow was adorned with a shining Isis. was that the apparition had but one foot . In one of those sudden flights of thought so common dreams I heard the hoarse falsetto of the bric-a-brac freshly in monotonous dealer. the other was broken off at the ankle lated to restore ! approached the table where the starting and fidgeting about more than She there supported herself saw her eyes Although foot was ever. or skirt. for her Fancy costume. and upon the edge of the with pearly gleaming tears. as . which proved and a few gold.pagne. the dear One refrain the phrase not be well pleased. man He loved ' ! strange circumstance. she had not as yet spoken. material bedizened with red stiffened with bitumen. all formed of little z. which was not at all calcu- my equanimity.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 62 with seven lashes. repeating like a he had uttered in his intonation ' shop with so enigmatical an : Old Pharaoh will his daughter. and apparently belonging to a unbandaged mummy. and thither. it was very odd indeed. but the foot leaped and ran though impelled on hither steel springs. strips of and black hieroglyphics. her plate of traces of paint relieved the coppery her cheeks. desk. I fill comprehended I fully the thoughts which agitated her.

but could not succeed. Then commenced between and her foot life special —which of own its the Princess Hermonthis appeared to be endowed with a —a very fantastic dialogue in a most ancient Coptic tongue. up could sustain. were cut with golden scissors and polished your with a hippopotamus tooth . This is grudge an ill turn which he has done you. He bore you a having refused to espouse him. as the tones of a crystal bell my dear yet I always took perfumed water heel your with little foot. in a voice sweet and vibrant ' Well.' The foot replied You know well ' longer. painted and embroidered and turned which were the envy of all the young You wore on your great toe rings girls in Egypt. a bowl of alabaster I . I in a pouting and chagrined tone : do not belong to myself any have been bought and paid for. The old that I merchant knew what he was about. bearing the device of the sacred Scarabaeus. The Arab who for . I was careful to select nails tatbebs for you. and you supported one of the lightest bodies that a lazy foot at the toes. I smoothed pumice-stone mixed with palm-oil . the well that night. bathed you with good care of you. : flee you always in from me.THE MUMMY'S FOOT Twice or thrice she extended her 63 hand to seize it. The Princess Hermonthis cried. such thirty centuries spoken have been as might ago syrinxes of the Luckily I understood Coptic perfectly in land of Ser.

' got the five louis which I should feel never retained Even though you have not anybody's foot unjustly. as though to assure herself that she was really no longer lame. and who from the moment of my birth set a whole nation at work to ' ! so hollow me out a tomb so deep that he might preserve . desired to prevent you from being present at the re- union of the shadowy nations you five pieces of ' Alas. I exclaimed. she took a few steps about the room. my stolen Have in the cities below. how pleased my father will be unhappy because of my mutilation. like and adjusted it foot. a little shoe. He who was Ah. astonished the girl. and her eyes shone with bluish gleams of light. ' ' then I Princess. it cost me. ' purses of gold from me. She took her this time. gladly. She turned a look of deepest gratitude upon me. which surrendered itself willingly woman about to put on her to her leg with much skill.' I delivered discourse this troubadour tone which beautiful Egyptian in must a royally have gallant. all my ransom ? my rings. and no were silver gold My ! for jewels. I present it to you unutterably wretched to think that I were the cause of so amiable a person as the Princess Hermonthis being lame.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 64 violated your royal coffin in the subterranean pits of the Thebes was sent necropolis of He thither by him. This operation over.' answered the Princess Hermonthis with a sob.

like we departed. in the me face to a mountain of rose- of which appeared an opening so narrow and low that it would have been . and laid on the scattered it sheets of paper which covered the table. commenced to tower pylons and vast flights of steps became clearly outlined against sphinxes guarded by in the distance. and informed the of put on a pair Princess Hermonthis that I was ready to follow her.' She gave me her hand. Hermonthis took from her neck the little idol of green paste. We had reached our destination. which lent Before starting. He Come ! in myself me for you foot. the horizon. For an instant we saw only sky and A few moments later obelisks sea. some time with the the skin of a serpent.' thought this proposition natural enough. ' It is only fair. hurriedly Turkish slippers. me back my have given 65 I arrayed a dressing-gown of large-flowered pattern. and We an velocity passed arrow through a fluid and grayish expanse. smilingly. which felt soft and cold. me a very Pharaonic aspect. The princess conducted coloured granite. in which for half-formed and silhouettes flitted swiftly of by us. I with will receive you kindly.' she observed. to right left.THE MUMMY'S FOOT me that until intact day when souls must be last weighed in the balance of Amenthi my to father. 'that I should replace your paper-weight.

that the eye could not Files of monstrous columns stretched limits.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 66 difficult to distinguish had not its from the it location been fissures in the rock. so reach its out of sight on every side. so immeasurable. opening into other corridors. marked by two stelae wrought with sculptures. the symbols of the tau and pedufti prodigious works of art which — no living eye of granite through At can ever examine — interminable legends which only the dead have time to read all eternity. enormous. We traversed Their rock. in the midst of which pits had been contrived. The Princess Hermonthis graciously saluted the still mummies held my hand. and of her acquaintance. might occupied thousands of arms their through covered with thousands of years in for corridors of interminable length opened into square chambers. Hermonthis kindled a torch and led the way before me. through which we descended by cramp-irons or spiral stairways. tlie living hieroglyphics and well have processions. These pits again conducted us into other chambers. serpents coiled in circles. revealed further depths incalculable in the darkness beyond. last we found ourselves in a hall so vast. paintings of allegorical These formation. likewise decorated with painted sparrow-hawks. between which twinkled livid stars of yellowish flame points of light which far . . corridors hewn walls.

for ever passed away. withered. though dry. and Tubal Cain. who it. — Cheops.THE MUMMY'S FOOT My eyes objects I became accustomed became 67 dim to the twilight. all On yet higher rulers of the pyramids and syrinxes. and buried in dreams. Further back. I beheld with their seventy-two peoples. through a dusty cloud. ibixes. the cats. and crocodiles — — contemporary with them rendered monstrous of aspect by their swathing bands mewed. and discernible. Chephrenes. beheld the kings of the subterranean races seated upon thrones — grand old men. flapped their wings. of King Xixouthros had grown seven times around the granite table upon which he leaned. and blackened with naphtha — wearing pshents of gold. wrinkled like parchment. who was contemporary with' the reigned before The beard deluge. dimly the seventy-two pre-adamite kings. After permitting me to gaze upon this bewildering . thrones sat Chronos and Xixouthros. all eternally preserving the attitude prescribed by the hieratic code. the dark Amenotaph — ASl the Pharaohs were there Psammetichus. in the stiff strained posture enjoined by Egyptian and con- art. Sesostris. their and bitumen all eyes immovably fixed like the eyes of sphinxes. and their long beards whitened by the snow of centuries. Behind them stood their peoples. Behind these nations. lost in deep reverie. and breastplates and gorgets glittering with precious stones. or extended their jaws in a saurian giggle.

stroked his moustache upon me a glance weighty with his fingers. presented me the Hermonthis Princess who favoured me to her father Pharaoh. which was terminated with a lotus-flower. very proper antithetic glass in witty request. ' have found I foot ' ! cried the my foot again I ! have found clapping her princess. with a most gracious nod. gentleman who restored it to me. bronzed. and I old venerable Pharaoh. ' together with every sign of frantic joy. and what is your age?' ' I am a Frenchman. and turned with centuries. By 0ms.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 68 spectacle a few moments.' The races of Kemi. this is a brave and worthy lad ' ' ! exclaimed Pharaoh. daughter of the Sun and of Truth. What country do you come from. the Princess Plermonthis. the dog of Hell. ' What recompense do you desire ' ? by dreams in v/hich asked him for the hand of Filled with that daring inspired nothing seems impossible. raised his heavy eyelids. and Tmei.' am twenty-seven years . and copper-coloured nations repeated in chorus The Princess Hermonthis has found her foot again ' : ' ! Even Xixouthros himself was He visibly affected. the races of Nahasi — was It all my hands little this the black. pointing to me with his sceptre. I The hand seemed recompense Pharaoh opened wide his great eyes of astonishment at ' my to me a for the foot.

My day of the world with features which I had daughter Hermonthis will longer than a statue of bronze.THE MUMMY'S FOOT * Twenty-seven years cried out at once and he wishes old. ' If ' the princess. who was my ! be present on the same body and the same during last my Behold. able to find the atoms of Osiris. who the Princess Hermonthis is to espouse thirty centuries old the Thrones and all 69 all ' ! the Circles of Nations. you were even only two thousand years old. . Only Hermonthis herself did not seem to think my request unreasonable. selves give our daughters is too great . Then the last particles of your dust scattered abroad by the winds. See how vigorous I yet remain. and.' I would willingly give you replied the ancient king. friend Alfred shaking me and found by the arm to make me my get up. shaking my hand in the English ' fashion with a strength that buried flesh of He my my rings in the fingers. and how mighty is my grasp. You do last well. flesh will and even have been Isis herself. husbands who will know how to preserve yourEven those who died only fifteen not any longer. my last bones lifetime.' he added. centuries ago are already no more than a handful of dust. is are bars of steel ' I will the ' solid as basalt. squeezed me so hard that I awoke. but the disproportion we must besides. would scarce be able to recompose your being.

afternoon. about We will instead of the it. it.THE MUMMY'S FOOT 70 Must I have you Oh.' astonishment when mummy's chased the evening before. you everlasting sleeper carried out into the middle of the street.' answered. the left in its I ? have the permit lying there on I started to find Don't with you to see ' pictures I forgot all. Aguado's Spanish ' God ! It is ? promise to take ' I beheld. dress- go there at once. all ing myself hurriedly. me little foot had pur- I green paste idol Hermonthis ! . my my but fancy place by the Princess I desk. and fire' ! works exploded in your ears you recollect your M.

and transpires in superior spheres of life which they can never hope to reach. One would have supposed that each one of good citizens was himself about to marry. The people were affected with that sort of pleasurable interest and aimless emotion wherewith any royal event inspires the masses. mounting or descending the marble stairways leading from the city to the waters of the Pactolus. and seventeen hundred and fifteen years before our own era. these Men were gathering in groups in the Agora. to saffron the his rays. there was a grand festival at Sardes. standing in his quadriga. King Candaules was going to marry.KING CANDAULES CHAPTER I Five hundred years before the Trojan war. that opulent river whose sands Midas filled with tiny sparks of gold when he bathed in its stream. As soon as Phcebus-Apollo. upon 71 . so solemn and important was the demeanour of all. the summits of fertile Mount good people of Sardes were going and coming. even though it in no wise concerns them. had gilded Tmolus with all astir.

had been strewn with These vapours. still damp when the Washerwomen nuptial pro- hastily folded the and chlamidge. fine yellow sand. and from the walls of the palaces were suspended by little rings of bronze rich tapestries.KING CANDAULES 72 the steps of the temples and along the porticoes. everyday cares M'hich no can wholly disregard. and piled them upon tunics turned the mill without any need of the overseer's whip to tickle their naked and scar-seamed shoulders. Sardes was hurrying itself to Slaves mule-wagons. road along which the procession was to pass finish with those necessary festival The Brazen tripods. silver. ought. At one might have encountered women the hand little children. so as to procure early the necessary water provision for the household. all with urns gracefully balanced upon their heads. whereon the needles of industrious captives had reprewool. indeed. disposed along the way at regular intervals. sent up to heaven the odorous smoke of cinnamon and spikenard. strewn upon the ground. moreover. or sustained by their white arms as with natural handles. and thus obtain leisure at the hour cession should pass. whose uneven walk leading by ill suited the maternal anxiety and impatience. alone clouded the purity of The clouds of a hymeneal day be formed only by the burning of Myrtle and rose-laurel branches were the azure above. Maidens every street corner were hastening to the fountains. and gold — intermingling — sented various scenes in the history of the gods and . to perfumes.

himself a Heracleid. the Theban. through flattery to Candaules. Among the multitudes marshalled along the way from the royal house even as far as the gates of the city.KING CANDAULES 73 heroes: Ixion embracing the cloud. conversation naturally turned upon the beauty of the bride. being descended from the hero through AlcKus. Athena of the sea-green eyes. the snowy-armed. was gifted with marvellous purity of feature and perfection of form . at least such was the rumour spread abroad by the female slaves who attended her. standpoint of observation. the shepherd Paris as judge in in the bath the contest of beauty held upon Mount Ida between Hera. and Aphrodite. Diana surprised by Actaeon . whereof the renown had spread throughout all Asia. seemed nevertheless one not readily appreciated from the common Nyssia. and a few female friends who had accompanied her tojhe bath. decorating the Others contented entrances of their themselves by dwellings with garlands and wreaths in token of rejoicing. through the Skaian gate. through which the young queen would pass on her arrival. girded with her magic cestus the old men of Troy rising to honour Helena as she passed . who. of the poems of the a subject taken from one man of Males. daughter of the Satrap Megabazus. although not altogether an eccentric. Others blind exhibited in preference scenes taken from the life of Heracles. for no man could boast of knowing aught of Nyssia . and upon the character of the bridegroom.

woman virtuous glimpse of as it who permitted more than the slightly men no and held to obtain a tip of her foot in walking. and live like the them the gods in a kind of cloud which conceals from knowledge of The king terrestrial things. and of Cyi)rus. The barbarians did not share the ideas of the Greeks in regard to modesty. by very reason of this mystery. although kings are ordinarily the most illy informed people in their kingdoms. attaching more importance to chastity of the body than to chastity of mind. who hoped choose a that the young from their wife of Miletus family. Eupatrid?e of Sardes. those of Persepolis. of Samos. considered those liberties allowed to the pleasure of the eyes by Greek manner as impure and highly reprehensible.KING CANDAULES 74 save the colour of her veil and the elegant folds that she involuntarily impressed upon the soft materials which robed her statuesque body. While the youths of Achaia made no scruple of allowing their oil-anointed torsos to shine under the sun in the stadium. the beautiful slaves from the banks of . might. the fame of Nyssia had not been slow to spread throughout all Lydia. perchance. deranged the discreet folds of a long tunic. Ebactana. perhaps. or rather. and while the Spartan virgins danced ungarmented before the altar of Diana. and become even popular there to such a degree that it had reached Candaules. the hetairai of Athens. and Bactria. Despite all this mystery.

no person save one solitary being. who from the time of that encounter had kept his lips as firmly closed upon the subject as though Harpocrates. expense were heedful never to utter in the presence of Candaules. of his Numidian The horse. pursue the flight of his dreams. a single word which bore any relation to Nyssia. of treading upon purple with sandals of gold. his locks bristling with Thracian frosts. had been wandering among the Bactrian hills. that was Gyges. in a question of beauty. of placing the diadem upon the brows of the fairest of women. at tempestuous first calm. with filled various god of silence. whither his master had sent him upon an imHe was dreaming of the portant and secret mission. his arms folded upon G his breast. in Sardes.KING CANDAULES 75 at a vast the Indus. smote the rain- . weather. the blond girls brought from the depths of the Cimmerian fogs. had changed and waxed like the warrior's soul. or even in Lydia. had beheld this redoubtable adversary. One day Gyges. and Boreas. the and guards of Candaules. had sealed them with chief of the his mind his finger. his cheeks puffed out. he though smote his sinewy heel upon the foam-whitened flanks and. The bravest. whether within hearing or beyond hearing. recoil before the prospect of a contest in which they can anticipate being And nevertheless no person outrivalled. These thoughts made to as his blood boil in his veins. and projects vague ambitions. intoxication of omnipotence.

fearing the coming storm. and that meeting. but at the very little that band. an unusually violent gust of wind carried away the veil of the fair unknown. Gyges was stricken motionless at the sight of that Medusa of beauty. delights to vex the hearts of men. amused himself which had fastened the protectthat may have been. were returning to the city in all haste. and. A bevy of young girls who had been gathering flowers in the meadow. till long after the folds of Nyssia's robe had disappeared beyond the gates of the city could he think of proceeding on his way. they mantles. . after the custom moment of the Gyges was passing by the one whose proud carriage and richer habiliments seemed to designate her the mistress of the barbarians. It was Nyssia. which affected him almost like an apparition. horseback approaching their faces in their Seeing a stranger on had hidden in the distance. he cherished the belief that he had seen the satrap's daughter. Although there was and not nothing to justify such a conjecture. whirling it through the air like a feather. who found herself thus with face unveiled in the presence of Gyges.KING CANDAULES 76 freighted clouds with the mighty beatings of his wings. each carrying her perfumed harvest in the lap of her tunic. daughter of it Megabazus. a Candaules's guard. by severing the ing tissue ? string However of King only the breath of Boreas or had Eros. chased it to such a distance that could not be recovered. Was which had brought about who it humble captain this accident.

He had for the love Nyssia inspired him with a secret Perfection in such a degree is ever awe-inspir- which he terror. overwhelmed and discouraged in advance by the sentiment fore . teries. as it were. rather than charmed by that superhuman apparipossible for tion. he had been dazzled. no hope had blossomed in the soul of Gyges. it. . But what was there that Gyges would ever have a He had not sought to follow up this ? himself that it was indeed the assure adventure. although seen only in the glimpse of a moment. to efface ing. the great filcher. had engraved itself upon his heart in lines deep as those which the sculptors trace on ivory with tools reddened in the endeavoured. that he would have wished to What 77 the place more worthy of other could be it? diadem. and daughter of Megabazus whose mysterious face had probability throne to share been revealed to him by Chance. moreover. unto goddesses could only work they are formed for divine adul- and even the most courageous men never risk Therethemselves in such amours without trembling. felt for and women so evil to feeble like mortals . fire. that he could something fateful and In truth it was upon that brow therein ordained of the gods. although vainly. thunder-stricken.KING CANDAULES accorded so ing him not fully with the at the moment help perceiving of thoughts that were occupy- its occurrence. Nyssia had fled so swiftly that it would have been im- him then to overtake her and. by that monster of beauty ! Nevertheless that image. fascinated.

griffins Therefore Gyges.' lisped a young debauchee from Athens. From that day the roses of joy no longer bloomed upon his cheeks. the Sardians in her regard . from whom a single night at the price of as I much once bought gold as she . shrouded her. that women only give themselves to those unworthy of that to win their love them. the only one of his own knowledge concerning spoken of jectures her. a canvas. were fantastic and dtogether fabulous. nor ' Archianassa. a poem to which each one added ornamentation as the fancy took him. to take from Phcebus his crown of rays. like At night he was a mortal who has beheld a divinity.KING CANDAULES 78 Ere opening his Hps to Nyssia he would have wished to despoil the heaven of its robe of stars. forgetting of the impossible. thanks to the veils which became a myth. having never left to their own con- their conjectures. By day he was sad and mournful. were and who could speak Nyssia. nor Thais can be compared with this marvellous equals barbarian . sort of If report be not false. who stood with one hand upon the shoulder of an Asiatic boy. it must be confessed. 'neither Plangon. The beauty of Nyssia. haunted by dreams in which he beheld Nyssia seated by his side upon cushions of purple between the golden of the royal throne. and seemed to wander abroad in solitary dreaming. and he desired to earn one must act as though their hate. yet I can scarce believe that she Theano of Colophon.

' ' By Hercules some weight in a — I ' ' ! — and ought to be an oath of by one of his descendants cannot retract a word of You have seen her.' demanded woman whose in infantile tones an equivocai- pale-rose tunic. of affected and simperings. and which enabled her to lead back to duty . and I cannot understand Nyssia has me how Candaules could strosity.' it.' ' ? have a slave belonged to Nyssia. other person upon to all beside her the daughter of Coelus and the Sea would seem but a mere Ethiopian servant. and although Aphrodite ' be a kind and indulgent goddess.' Your words are blasphemy. and locks shining with essences betrayed wretched pretensions to a youth long passed away — ' is it true that two pupils in each eye ? It seems to that must be very ugly. after having plunged both her white arms up to the shoulder in my cedar-wood coffer. but stories Is about it looking true. painted cheeks. of while there is fall no in love with lack. Lamia took a little significant peep a small mirror of cast metal which she drew from her airs in bosom. * that city ruled in my and who has who once service told me a hundred her.KING CANDAULES 79 could bear away.' ' Beside her. at Sardes such a mon- and women whose eyes are irreproachable. beware of drawing down her anger upon you.' And uttering these words with all sorts in Lydia. then No I . who pretended be better informed manner of than any ' subjects.' added a Eupatrid.

At all events.KING CANDAULES 8o certain wandering curls disarranged by the impertinence of the wind. but the Egyptian priest Thoutmosis.' returned the lover of Theano.' explanation seemed the most natural the of one to those group whose conversation we are endeavouring to reproduce. but seems tale. and the opinions of Lamia The citizen's and the patrician were abandoned as improbable. myopic compared with are How can ' a sensible man ' absurdity ? interrupted Lynxes her.' it is me to nothing observed the well- a fact that Nyssia's eyes are so piercing that she can see through walls.' coolly argue about such an a citizen. that the daughter of Megabazus cannot naturally see ' through a wall any better than you or I. girdle. has given her the mysterious stone which heads of dragons. and whose property. that more than an old nurse's informed patrician ' . 'As to the double pupil. who knows so many wondrous secrets. for to it ' we have an opportunity of judging for ourseems to me that I hear the clarions . renders all shadows and the most is found in the opaque bodies transparent possess to the eyes of those who Nyssia always carries this stone in her it. as every one knows. whose bald skull. or else set into her bracelet. and in that may be found the secret of her clairvoyance. ' are going selves. lent him an air of pre- The truth is ponderance and philosophical sagacity. and the flood of snowy beard into which he plunged his fingers while speaking.

nuptial cortege. which had already been waiting many long hours. emblazoned bucklers. knemides or greaves faced with tin.KING CANDAULES Si and though Nyssia in- sounding in the distance. visible. succeeded in perching themselves comfortably enough in the branch. helmets adorned with plumes of horse-hair dyed red. A murmur of satisfaction and gratified expectation ran through the crowd. I can see the herald yonder approaching with palm branc>. sought to climb up to the capitals and there seat themselves others. for the arrows of the midday sun were commencing to sting. abandoned for a time the cushions upon which they had been reclining. not without having skinned . rode behind a line of trumpeters v/ho blew with might and main . to is still announce the and make the arrival crowd fall back. and swords of brass. their knees against the bark.es of the in his hands. The heavy-armed warriors. lifted their Y little warning them to hold of some tree- children upon tightly to their Those who had the good fortune to dwell on the street along which Candaules and Nyssia were about to pass. which spread rapidly through the their way toward the crowd.' At this news. the agile boys. necks. baldrics studded with nails. leaned over from the summit of their roofs. with cuirasses of buU's- hide covered with overlapping plates of metal. rising on their elbows. the strong men elbowed front ranks . The women their shoulders. or. embracing the shafts of the columns.

regularity.KING CANDAULES 82 upon their long tubes. face 'Handsome Gyges looks very sad. ' conjugal chamber ? 'Perhaps he has been drachmas at the that he is game disappointed at not the Olympian games. although she was veiled with the veil of a young bride. the same woman whose had had been betrayed to his gaze by the treachery of Boreas under the walls of Bactria.' said the young What proud beauty could have secured his maidens. as models for those which Phidias at a later day sculptured upon the the feet of Thetis. of the chiselled in marble. owing signifies beautiful. which gleamed under the sun- horses of these warriors were all white as and might have served. and suddenly ceasing to render its owner its in- betrayed him to the astonished eyes of some innocent husband. Hyperion. who had deemed himself alone in his visible. At the head of this troop rode Gyges. the well-named. or * what forsaken one has caused some Thessalian witch to cast a spell on him ? Has that cabalistic ring said to have found hidden within the flanks (which he is of a brazen horse in the midst of some forest) lost virtue. metopes of the Parthenon. seemed to his intense pallor. love.' wasting his talents and his of Palamedes. for he just discovered in Nyssia. or else He having won had great it may be the prize at faith in his horse . The light. for his His name in the Lydian tongue most exquisite features. by reason of their noble paces and purity of breeds.

cedar-wood or ivory coffers of marvellous workmanship. chiselled by the most famous sides were were artists . cinnamon from the Indies. fact is never guessed. necklaces of the most lustrous . precious stones and containing the rarest perfumes myrrh from Arabia. Upon brancards. nard from Persia. and their shoulders in their thick curls. with played epithalamic tunics ornamented with a long hair flowed silver down over Greek border. spike. After the battahon commanded by Gyges. They preceded the gift-bearers. which they panying All were clad in rose-coloured bows. according to the weight of the objects borne. and magnificent ewers to be used in washing the feet of illustrious guests . accomthemselves upon lyres of ivory. which opened with a secret spring tliat none save the inventor could find. vases of gold and silver whose adorned with elegantly worked nude women bas-reliefs into and whose hands chimeras. kamklins or perfuming pans. essence of roses from Smyrna. there came with myrtle-wreaths. strong slaves whose half-nude bodies exposed to view such interlacements of muscle as the stoutest athletes might have envied. were placed enormous brazen cratera. supported by two or four men or more. and singing crowned boys young hymns after the Lydian manner.KING CANDAULES No one of these conjectures was 83 A true. foliage. with perforated covers. flagons encrusted with . and which contained bracelets wrought from the gold of Ophir.

powders to darken the eyetouching pink lashes and eyebrows.KING CANDAULES 84 pearls. and comes forth again. toilet rubies and -boxes containing blond sponges. shone like Ethiopians. of colossal size. temples were tightly bound in the foreheads burst the veins of their their burden. to polish the nails. owing to the various in which it had been steeped. with the club. mantle-brooches constellated with carbuncles. which is thrown all white into the vat of the dyer. for the representation of the . the ancestor of Candaules. sea-wolves' teeth turns to a most beautiful green rouge of Egypt. calasires of the linen of Canopus. whose bodies with cords. diapered with astringents the most brilliant colours. and all nine coquetry could invent. attributes traditional the and all ivory and Statues of Venus Urania. carried in great from the tunics brought pomp a spun sUme of a fine that they jet. apples of the hero. which the on skin. and of Venus Genitrix. wrought of the skin of the Nemean gold. and whose lest they should effort to uphold statue of Hercules. worm which feeds made from upon leaves. the refinements that femi- Other litters were freighted linen and of all possible with purple robes of the finest shades from the incarnadine hue of the rose to the deep crimson of the blood of the grape . lion. of the Sicyon School sculptured by the best pupils that marble of Paros whose gleaming transparency i seemed expressly created . the curling-irons. the and so might be drawn through a finger-ring. fabulous land of Seres. the from three the garden of the Hesperides.

its design. carried the gilded stakes. Pontic sifwpis. and the material of the tent designed for the use of the queen during voyages and hunting parties. white. were borne after the statue of Hercules. than well became a monarch. These spectacles of magnificence would upon any other occasion have ravished the people of Sardes with delight. and it boys. Camels and dromedaries. perhaps. employed in its The young king loved painting and sculpture even more. and he had not unfrequently bought a picture at a price equal to the annual revenue of a whole city. although production the four Attic ochre. the truthfulness of the attitude of and the harmony of the artist had only primitive colours and afnuneniu??}. and strewing handfuls of crocus flowers along the way. but their curiosity had been enlisted in another was not without a certain feeling of direction. : its colouring. and representing the defeat of the Magnesians. hardly attracted any .KING CANDAULES 85 ever-youthful flesh of the immortals. evoked universal admiration by the beauty of its figures. executed upon the wood chased for of the female larch-tree. which Candaules had purits weight in gold. painting by Bularchus. with musicians seated on their necks performing upon drums and cymbals. which admirably relieved the harmony and elegance with A its of their proportions by contrast massive outlines and rugged forms. that they watched this portion of the proimpatience The young maidens and the handsome cession file by. the cords. bearing flaming torches. splendidly caparisoned.

who stood erect at the side of Candaules. all rolling their by the golden in a chariot spirited as those bits in foam. he seemed little occupied and war usually so fascinat. twisted itself into rebellious little curls. skilled in all bodily exercises. of Odysseus or borne the shield of Achilles. were of a ruddy hue . black and lustrous. though a little his eyes full of gentle chin with its low. his ears. when they descended. or of rivers snow. his gentle and regular curves. and almost without a curve. his hair. At idea of beholding Candaules appeared. He . from although he might have bent the bow the mountains. riding last drawn by four horses. had little attraction for him. and restrained with great their purple-decked difficulty Nyssia had pre- minds. like all antique foreheads . could its slightly parted lips subdue a wild horse as well as swim across the current swollen with all melted any of the Lapithaj. although poet rather than that of the warrior. small and upright. as beautiful and of the sun. and was leaning back to gain more power on the reins. all occupied driver. his — mouth with bespoke the nature of the In fact. melancholy. and well worthy of his Herculean origin. here and there concealing the circlet of his diadem . Candaules was a young man full of vigour.KING CANDAULES 86 The attention. his oval cheeks. with dreams of conquest ing to young kings. His head was joined to his shoulders by a neck massive as a bull's. shaking manes. his forehead was broad and full. he was brave.

or monochromes. like a vessel in the midst of the waves. It was even said that Candaules had Deinias. chrysothis estrade sat the young queen. Cleanthes. and paintings by artists of the elder He had the works of Telephanes of Sicyon. and girasols upon . so covered with precious stones as to . Charmides.KING CANDAULES contented himself with repelling 87 of his attacks the ambitious neighbours. Megabazus was mounted upon an elephant. carnelians. and pillars of his limbs were entwined necklaces of enormous pearls. Ardices of Corinth. Upon his back. lites. and trunk were encircled with his around the silver His tusks rings. and sought not to extend his own dominions. stood a sort of estrade overlaid with gold finely chased. He preferred building palaces. which was covered with a magnificent Persian carpet of striped pattern. lapis-lazuli. who advanced with a heavy but rapid The daughter of gait. Hygiemon. But why should we dwell upon Candaules? sculptor reader undoubtedly feels like the people of Sardes it is The : and of Nyssia that he desires to hear. who always found the king's hints of no small value. and Cimon. some being others and paintings in various colours simple drawings. Eumarus. and constellated with onyx stones. not disdained to wield with his thing hardly becoming a own royal — the prince hands chisel —a of the and the sponge of the encaustic painter. with wrinkled skin and immense ears which seemed like flags. or to form collections of statues and later schools. after plans suggested by himself to the architects.

thrice encircled her neck a metallic tinkling upon her and descended with bosom . which hardly descended to the knee. was placed upon her head . were adorned with ornaments of little and cups. carved. which had been hollowed out and silver beads. which the how Phoenicians called syndofi.KING CANDAULES 88 A dazzle the eyes of the beholders. her ears. Her waist was encircled from hip to loins by a girdle wrought of narrow material. and clasped themselves by biting their own tails. Her trousers of byssus. and so great was their weight that two attendants were required to kneel beside Nyssia and support her elbows. mitre. variegated with stripes and flowered designs. both the lobes and rims of which had been pierced. and balls in the form necklaces of gold . These bracelets were connected by chains of precious stones. She was clad in a robe embroidered by Syrian workmen with shining designs and diamond fruits. on which pearls formed flower designs and letters after the Oriental manner. which formed themselves into symmetrical patterns as they were brought together by a certain arrangement of the folds which Indian girls alone know to make. shaped like a helmet. and of which the sleeves were slit and fastened by sapphire clasps. emerald serpents with topaz or ruby eyes coiled themselves in many folds about her arms. and completed this toilet so fantastically rich and wholly opposed to . were confined at the ankles by anklets adorned with gold and silver bells. and over this of golden foliage she wore the short tunic of Persepolis. crescents.

who seemed em- barrassed. to the threshold of the royal dwelling. after having made her elephant kneel down. Lamia declared that Nyssia dared not uncover her face for fear libertine of showing her double pupil.KING CANDAULES Greek taste. and thus conceal her yet more from the curious gaze of the crowd. veiled though she was. descend upon the inclined heads of Damascus slaves as upon a living ladder. The young remained convinced that Theano of Colophon was more beautiful than the queen of Sardes. and Gyges sighed when he beheld Nyssia. at finding so many eyes fixed upon her. beauty to his people. alas masked the pitilessly ! 89 a saffron-coloured flammeurn face of Nyssia. Candaules had vainly begged of her to lay aside her that solemn occasion. being more fortunate in this wise than the . even for barbarian had refused to pay the welcome of her Great was the disappointment. The young veil. But. and frequently signed to a slave behind her to lower the parasol of ostrich plumes. CHAPTER II In our character of poet we have the right to lift the saffron-coloured flajumeum which concealed the young bride. where the elegance of Greek architecture was blended with the fantasies and enormities of Asiatic taste.

Nyssia was great as it really was. or Mimnernus smooth brow. for all fruitless essays. aromal body of a divinity. . so and modelled transparent contours. nor the style of any poet though it face could — and on her were Praxiteles. it inclosed within the nobly lengthened oval of her chaste — have been rendered by no earthly art neither by the chisel of the sculptor. as before. fine. as molten electrum and sprinkled with gold fiUngs. nor the brush of the painter.KING CANDAULES go who Sardians. after a whole day's waiting were obliged and were left. delicate. The grain of snow. their own conjectures. and seemed like the purple. permitted daylight to penetrate it. bathed by waves of hair amber-bright . That itself in monious so flesh. and thus make atonement attempts and that. It superior to far seemed as her reputation. The world of perfections to radiate light and life. in lines as sweetly haras music itself. though Nature in creating her had resolved to exhaust her utmost powers. she also had resolved to model a statue herself. to to return to their houses. Apelles. the micaceous brilliancy of Parian marble. and to prove that she was still sovereign mistress in the plastic art. the sparkling pulp of balsamine flowers. According to different sur- took the colour of the sunlight or of roundings. would render but a feeble idea of the ideal substance whereof Nyssia had been formed. moved by former experimental One would have said jealousy of the future marvels of the Greek sculptors.

sat as upon a jasper throne the unalterable serenity of perfect loveliness.KING CANDAULES 91 according to the Babylonian custom. The expression of those extraordinary eyes was not less variable than their tint. whose pupils were blacker than atrament. As for her eyes. from turquoise to beryl. as though he were leaning over the verge of the Infinite. From sapphire they changed to turquoise. the splendours of vanished worlds. irises of those eyes. through their incalculable depths. and which were joined to each other by a streak of henna after the Asiatic fashion. they a limpid lake offered. seemed all When centrated their reflections. from beryl to yellow amber. one thought of — and felt to have con- contemplating them himself seized with a mighty giddiness. the glories of Olympus eclipsed eternity. and long eyelashes contrasted strik- fringes of silkily-shadowed ingly with the twin sapphire stars rolling in the heaven The of dark silver which formed those eyes. In those orbs of phosphoric lightning the rays of suns extinguished. ex- tremities ending in points elegant as those of the arrows of Eros. and sometimes. H At times their lids opened . glimpses of golden and diamond sands upon which green fibrils vibrated and twisted themselves into emerald serpents. with . they were at least wonderfully strange eyes brown eyebrows. varied singularly in shades of shifting colour. like whose bottom is strewn with jewels. though they did not justify what popular credulity said of them.

as though they had divined your soul's most secret thoughts. . like the wax of the wings For of Icarus when he approached the flaming zones. again. they invited you of azure. At other times their languishment was so Hquidly persuasive. scattered the ashes of his father to the four winds. they promised you the realisation. the genius of Orpheus. they flung back your broken arrows.92 KING CANDAULES like the portals of celestial dwellings into elysiums of light. impenetrable as sevenfold plated shields of the hardest metals. lifted who it was impossible to rise again. one such glance a man would have gladly steeped his hands in the blood of his host. of ineffable felicity. tenfold. they precipitated you from the heights of your most ambitious escalades into depths of nothingness so profound that Typhon have himself. a hundredfold. could not the mountains of disdain with which they One felt that though he should live thousand Olympiads endowed with the beauty of the fair son of Latona. for a unbounded might of Assyrian kings. more terrible than the thunder of Zeus. he could never change their expression to mildness. gods of subterranean wealth. and the Dactyli. that the icy coldness of irradiation so penetrat- Nestor and Priam would have melted under their gaze. a mere flash gaze like blunted and With a simple inflexion of the brow. writhes under ^tna. the overwhelmed you. their brilliancy and ing. the Telchines. of the pupil. the treasures of the Cabeirei. overthrown the holy images . of all your dreams of happiness.

was of a chastity to make one desperate a sublime coldness an ignorance of all possibilities — — human passion. a delicacy of grain. like the Prometheus. bee would have been deceived by her mouth. perfect. like in a cup of milk. possessed a youthful bloom. perpetually exposed to sunlight and air. whose corners were so whose form was so purely dimpled. and when uncoloured by any emotion they took a silvery sheen. which no human ever profaned. Nevertheless. their most ordinary expression. save that of Gyges on the day gaze had when the was blown away. like an alabaster That lamp was her vessel illumined by a lamp within. ency of her A flesh. a warm light.KING CANDAULES of the gods. and a downiness whereof the faces of our women. stolen the fire of heaven 93 itself. sublime and thief. The cheeks of Nyssia. a veil tender pallor. charming which exposed to view the transpar- soul. Their invincible virginity seemed to bid love defiance. cannot convey the most distant Modesty created fleeting rosy clouds upon them those which a drop of crimson essence would form idea. such as would have made the moonbright eyes of Phoebe or the sea-green eyes of Athena of appear by comparison more liquidly tempting than those of a young girl of Babylon sacrificing to the goddess Mylitta within the cord-circled enclosure of Succoth-Benohl. whose crimson was so rich and that the gods would have descended from warm their . it must be confessed.

pression after so — awakening in the mind of perhaps. so finely cut and shaded with rosy tints like the mother-of-pearl of the shells thrown by the sea on the shore of Cyprus at the Venus Anadyomene of feet But are there not a ! multitude of favours thus granted to things which cannot understand them ? What lover would not wish to be the tunic of his well-beloved or the water of her bath? Such was Nyssia. which dilated those pretty nostrils. but that the jealousy of the goddesses restrained their impetuosity. the burning enthusiasm of the Sir Hasirim. Happy the wind which passed through that purple and pearl. if we dare make use of the ex- vague a description of her face. would she have white . by comparisons flowers and perfumes. yet what the is there in the world of nose of a beautiful And more importance than woman ? Had Helen.KING CANDAULES 94 Olympian dwellings humid order to touch in it with lips with immortality. the Tyndarid. been flat-nosed. of music of memories the reader and sunlight. we might. evoking. but . would the Trojan War have taken place ? And if the profile of Semiramis had not been perfectly regular. If our foggy Northern idioms had the warm liberty. that all the the universe can been able to give some idea of Nyssia's it is permitted to Solomon alone to woman to the tower the nose of a beautiful compare of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus. and charming images graceful contain —have features by the magic of words.

Askalon. as it like were. with the dilirium of possession. of Sogdiana. giddy. he felt himself seized. of the Sac^e. At times his very felicity terrified universe seemed to To be only a wretched king. the most celebrated courtesans from Ephesus. and his love into madness. he found himself dazzled. Up to that time he had not even suspected the existence of such perfection. only a remote descendant of a hero who had become a god by mighty him. or torn of flesh and bone. labours. he was completely fascinated by the charms of Nyssia. Privileged as a husband to" enjoy fully the contem- plation of this beauty. rendered himself worthy aught even. and from Cyprus. the the symbol of supreme power ? Although Candaules had brought to his palace the most beautiful slaves from the people of the Sorse. strangled some lion asunder — to enjoy a happiness whereof Zeus of the ambrosial hair would .KING CANDAULES 95 bewitched the old monarch of Nineveh and encircled her brow with mitre of pearls. of Rhapta. of. from Smyrna. His happiness transformed itself into ecstasy. from Pergamus. Hke a priest drunk with the god who fills other thoughts disappeared and moves him. only a common man formed and without having of it in — without having some hydra. like his ancestor. from his soul. All and the him only as a vague mist in the midst of which beamed the shining phantom of Nyssia. one who leans over the edge of an abyss. or fixes his eyes upon the sun .

and their despair. shadow to retain to himself during the not spend at the queen's side. they had dreamed of ever in their hope. a to thus alone so rich a treasure. it shame were. purchased or taken in war. sculptors.KING CANDAULES 96 scarce be worthy. though lord of as felt. ' deep hours that he did how strange a lot is wretched because of that which would other husband happy. he possessed — he.' he would reveries it my lift Nyssia and will not leave refuses. poor tyrant of Sardes. Candaules. to steal Olympus ! be the dragon with scales and claws to world. mine less timid little effort breast the secret of such Ah. and in the exasperation of his enthusiasm for Nyssia he had like water reached the point of desiring that she were and less own in his ' modest. pride would wondrous beauty. . barian modesty. a few cisterns a few wretched cofters with gold pieces. who had only filled with pearls. to other than myself. all He hoard up for himself this marvel from the who guarded the living type of the ideal of lovers. felicity was too great Candaules's and the for him. and thirty or forty thousand filled slaves. radiantly sublime. his soul from a vase placed upon the fire. and All poets. with bar- her veil in the presence of any Yet with what an intoxication of love behold her. strength which he would doubtless have found at his command in time of misfortune was wanting to him in His joy overflowed from time of happiness. their melancholy. for cost him no murmur ! which absorbed him I make any the am at all of the gynceceum.

depositary of so splendid a treasure ! to be the sole If I knew even . who believe yourbut for Nyssia's reserve you would selves beautiful. you might in vain pull your adorers by the lappet of turn his head. and that years will alter those divine outlines. that admirable hymn are contours. like the rising all 97 those pale stars selves suns ! who during the summit dawn. read or may of forms. despite her cestus and her promise to the shepherd-arbiter that she would make him beloved by the most beautiful woman in the world ! . O goddesses. their tunic. and. if he did. Were she but once to pass along the streets of Sardes with face unveiled. not one of you would have borne away the golden apple.Alexander judged. whom Paris. appear. like those devotees of the Indus who pave the pathway of their idol with their bodies. extinguish the night thought them- Proud Lydian women. even to your lovers.KING CANDAULES gaze down upon my kneeling people from of the royal steps. . that and which no one poem whose in strophes the world has ever ever read save myself. for or. as ugly as the oblique- eyed and thick-lipped slaves of Nahasi and Kush. not even Aphrodite. 'And you. that they might have even the pleasure of being crushed by her. 'Alas! to think that such beauty is not immortal. . had Nyssia appeared among you. so utterly would he have forgotten you They would rush to precipitate themselves beneath the ! silver wheels of her chariot. it none of them would would be to demand your name.

which would make the proud goddesses from fall aid reflection marble were not rebellious to would well and shadow with the to fix their altars And ! effigies long of the after. was mightier than of the ideas. Satrap love. court the most skilful painters and sculptors. they would " Behold. countered no opposition from a woman of the land where even the most chaste made a boast of having contributed — some for the back. who posed Such a whim would have en- favourite naked before Apelles. I ! Sole adorer of an unknown divinity. all imbued with Oriental he had espoused some Greek girl from Athens he would certainly have invited to his or Corinth. and have given them the queen for their model. I possess no power to spread her worship through the world. artist Admiration If in place of Nyssia. the men of future ages should find a fragment of that petrified shadow of Nyssia. as did after- ward Alexander his Campaspe.KING CANDAULES 98 by imitating the play of of that celestial face my chisel. and beneath the dust of ruined cities. some for the bosom — . .' Thus in Candaules had the enthusiasm of the extinguished the jealousy of the lover. how the women of this vanished world cry : were formed " And ! they would erect a temple wherein But have naught save a senseless admiration and a love that is madness to enshrine the divine fragment. when deep below the slime of deluges. of Paros how light how of lines and colours. if or Pentelicus upon wood a I fashion in the purest vein an image of that charming body. daughter Megabazus.

she would exclaim. linden to lie. as she withdrew. of duty and obedience alone induced her to yield at times to what she styled the whims of Candaules. soon becoming weary of her role of model. would the bashful Nyssia consent to unveil herself in the discreet shadow of the thalamus. into the most mysterious recesses of her apart- ment. leaves Hke a bacchante of Mount hardly veiled by a cloud of tissue finer than woven wind. he had placed himself in the best position for observation. and he would have remained thus for whole hours if Nyssia. tracing vague contours in the air. not a virtuous of noble blood !' woman . and the earnest prayers of the king really shocked her rather than gave The sentiment her pleasure. he became absorbed in silent contemplatresses in lieu of When tion. Sometimes he besought her to allow the flood of her hair to flow over her shoulders in a river of gold richer than the Pactolus. draped to her very eyes. seemed to be sketching the outlines for some picture. 'that one treats a mistress.' contrary to the holy laws of matrimony. upon a tiger-skin with silver claws and ruby stand erect in a great shell of mother-of-pearl. to encircle her brow with a crown of ivy and Msnalus.KING CANDAULES to the perfection of a famous 99 But hardly statue. or to drops of sea-water. His hand. had not reminded him in chill and disdainful tones that such amusements were unworthy of royal majesty and ' It is thus. with a dew of pearls falling from her eyes.

your gratitude sult me. and scythed but Gyges. Candaules and his favourite traversed several halls .KING CANDAULES loo These wise remonstrances did not cure Candaules. whose full of councils and politic maxims warrior talk of . he him suddenly strode away from the group of courtiers. whose passion augmented in inverse ratio to the coldAnd it had at last ness shown him by the queen. tragedy. chiselling of give me your opinion in egard to which the Sicyon sculptors have just finished on the genealogical bas-relief where the deeds Gyges. necessary to him as to the prince of a modern He did not proceed. and I know not how to express my for the honour you do me in deigning to con' O king. to fix his choice upon some crabbed philosopher of as frowning mien. brought him to that point that he could no longer keep A confidant became the secrets of the nuptial couch. reputation for gallantry caused him to be regarded as a connoisseur in regard to women.' replied Gyges. and a look of peculiar significance. with a flood of gray-and-white beard mantle in proud tatters.' knowledge is greater than that of your humble subject. nor a sententious Eupatrid pults. One evening he laid his hand upon his shoulder in a more than ordinarily familiar after giving and cordial manner. with a sign of assent. you may feel assured. saying in a loud voice : ' my effigy. catachariots . come and my i ancestors are celebrated. nor a rolling down over a who could nothing save ballista.

Something of the spirit of the ancient architects of the tower of Lylax survived in those whose thick-set pillars with their deep-fluted trunks. capitals were formed by four heads of bulls. This ancient architecture was colossally proportioned The immeasurable genius of the and weirdly grim. and Orient was the recalled the granite there legibly and brick debauches of Egypt and Assyria. and they finally arrived at a remote portion of the ancient palace whose walls were built with stones together without cement in of irregular the form.KING CANDAULES ornamented in the Hellenic loi where the Corinthian style. and by their fantastic character gave still more intensity to the character of the building. bas-relief to which Can- . put cyclopean manner. an obscure cosmogonic symbol whereof the meaning was no longer intelligible. placed forehead to forehead. sort of ogive much resembling the mitre of the Magi. elder of civilisations written. neither They described a of a The square nor rounded form. acanthus and the Ionic volute bloomed or curled in were the capitals of the columns. This portion of the palace formed a sort of court surrounded by a portico whose architecture was orna- mented with the genealogical daules had alluded. and bound together by knots of serpents that seemed striving to devour them. where the peopled with polychromatic plastique little figures in friezes representing processions and sacrifices. and had descended into the tomb with gates v*-ere the hierophants of preceding ages.

The inscriptions antique characters. father of Candaules. Ninus. angular attitudes. representation of divine personages. Alyattes. terminating with Ardys. stiff due gestures. Belus. upon a resting according to the stool.KING CANDAULES I02 In the midst thereof sat Heracles upon a throne. Meles or Myrsus. his figure an air of barbaric majesty. and the archaic rudeness and hugeness of the work. which Gyges could not help observing. to the monster-slaying hero than would have a savage grandeur character of this been the work of a sculptor consummate in his art. then line intermediate of all the kings. more appropriate. eyes. enhanced still more the mysterious weirdness of the long procession of figures in strange barbarian garb. Argon. little strings. and Candaules himself. graven beside them after the manner of legends. their oblique marble cramped and sort of factitious in life. perhaps. to the rays and the ruddy hue which time warm climates. son of the hero and of Omphale . the statue of Candaules occupied the last . finally All these personages. wrought by the chisel of some primitive imparted to artist. own a seemed to of the setting sun. On the right of the throne were Alcgeus. By a singular chance. portions would otherwise have left for rite the His colossal prono doubt as to his apotheosis. and his feet with the upper part of his body uncovered. lends to in with their hair braided into their beards spirally twisted. the earlier kings of the dynasty of the Heracleidse.

'What would you do. and I would bury it under a detached rock in some desert place and from time to time. walked slowly round the portico He seemed in of silence. and in order to find a place descendants of Candaules it would be absolutely necessary to build a new portico and formation of a new bas-relief. whose arm still 103 rested commence on the shoulder Gyges. Gyges. and of worth so as to exhaust the richest treasures of the earth ? ' would inclose vast ' answered Gyges. that men. his eye illuminated with * enthusiasm.' I. in the I a gem. enshrine it in if to the eyes of all possessed so rich I my diadem.' ' at this . I it. to the and had altogether forgotten the pretext under which he had led the captain of his guards into that solitary place. when I should feel assured that none could see me. in a cedar box overlaid with plates of brass. that . Candaules. if you were a diver. might exhibit pure I it would freely light of the sun. the right dynastic cycle was closed. I would go thither to contemplate my precious jewel and admire the colours of the sky mingling with its nacreous * And tints. and should bring up from the green bosom of the ocean a pearl of last the breaking silence ' incomparable purity and lustre.KING CANDAULES at the available place for the hand of Heracles.' said Candaules. hesitate to enter into the subject.' replied Candaules. a little surprised brusque question. at which had been growing painful to both.

that diver. I have found beauty. radiant. hundred- . of these lyric divagations. made real. Amid confusedly move beings. the dream accomplished. who changed mendicant as poor all things to gold. Fame. without spot. son of Myrsus and descendant of Heracles. his dilated inhaled nostrils the air unusual with effort. wherein many defective or misshapen incomplete or degraded. The king appeared to be a state of extraordinary excitement his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm a feverish rosiness tinted his cheeks . many this so ' I am dark ocean of humanity. never did Greek or Trinacrian tyrant possess so lustrous a pearl as Candaules. Gyges. ! Midas.' continued Candaules. the ideal pure. in : . 'Well. so types of bestial ugliness. M'ithout appear- ing to notice the uneasiness of his favourite. without flaw." only a ' Gyges listened with astonishment to this discourse and sought to penetrate the hidden sense of Candaules. a form which no painter or sculptor has ever been able to translate canvas or into marble — I have found Nyssia upon ' ! ' Although the queen has the timid modesty of the women of the Orient. were as Irus. and that no man save her husband has ever beheld her features.KING CANDAULES 104 might adorn myself with its splendour and smile with " Never did king pride when I should hear it said I : of Assyria or Babylon. wretched outlines of nature's so many forms experimental essays. King of Sardes and of Lydia Compared with Candaules.

bestowing favour of one look. Formerly I was jealous I wished to conceal my amours from all eyes. Now to one strange thing which I blush to acknowledge even to you.KING CANDAULES 105 tongued and hundred-eared. since the day that Prometheus held the fiame under the right breast of the statue of clay. has celebrated her praise throughout the world. Were I to die. some solemn sacrishow herself for an instant leaning over the unveiled at fice. then the secret of this beauty would for ever remain shrouded chill . No. respectfully inclining his ' head as he spoke. or to upon her people the immense the prodigality of one profile view. her. royal terrace. there is their behold only pale simulacra of ivory She would never consent to that. besought Nyssia to appear some pubHc festival. They not actually ugly. more generous than the goddesses who permit worshippers or alabaster. Mere vague. that she say of is more beautiful than Aphrodite or Helen. Now I can no longer recognise myself. my love has melted in adoration like thin fiery brazier. as of all insignificant women rumours.' answered Gyges. but no person could form even the most remote idea of such per- In vain have I fection. no shadow was thick enough. wax in a All petty feelings of jealousy or posses- sion have vanished. cannot thus be kept hidden in the shadow of the gynaeceum. impenetrable. the most finished work that heaven has ever given to earth. no mystery sufficiently . dear Gyges. I have the feelings neither of a lover nor a husband .

and his enthusiasm. left thus alone. Gyges. and through some strange caprice. I feel my I dare scarcely touch heart ready to burst . Candaules brusquely turned and disappeared through a secret passage. I wish that some friendly eye could share my happiness and. recognise after careful examination that able.' Having uttered these words. many princes and satraps she had chosen to her beauty. and absolutely sought . those divine contours which with a timid kiss. as I feel ! had I though my house. Gyges. And when I think of those harmonious ing the sun in lines. Among very king he served . cries of admiration. and prevented it from illuminatthe world. the regard as fateful. felicity. Yes. I must an echo which and it shall be will none other than you.KING CANDAULES io6 beneath the sombre draperies of widowhood myself culpable in its concealment. A chance had enabled him to behold though walled up from all other eyes. in her fierce chastity. could not avoid noticing the pecuhar concourse of events which seemed to place him always in Nyssia's path. like a severe judge to whom a picture is shown. this king had just his confidant whom none in else regard to the made him. And still I cannot alone endure such have a confidant for answer my my ecstasies. often do to tear off with rash I it is irreproach- been deceived by that the possessor has not feel myself tempted tissues. would never forgive me. mysterious creature had approached. which he could only espouse Candaules. but hand those odious Nyssia.

toward the accomplishit Such were the questions which Gyges asked himself. whose veil circumstances? seemed to be lifted slowly. he resolved to await the course of events.KING CANDAULES to complete the Was 107 work of Boreas on the plain of Bactria ! hand of the gods visible in all these That spectre of beauty. without his having suspected it. a little at a time. left where the twilight darkness was commencing itself and in all the angles. up the ancestors of Candaules yet to render the to pile effigies of more and more weirdly menacing. as though not the to enkindle a flame within him. CHAPTER On he heard deep groans of lips III day Candaules again took Gyges continued the conversation begun under following aside and the portico of the Heracleidae. but being unable to penetrate the obscurity of the future. ment of some mighty destiny ? was not leading him. and it Heracles was making enormous loosen his granite club. or was it rather an by that vague uneasiness with which the boldest hearts are filled by the approach of night amid ancient monuments ? As he stepped across the threshold Gyges fancied that issue from the stone seemed efforts to to him that the the bas-reliefs. I Having freed himself . and the Court of Images. Was illusion a mere efibrt of it produced light.

I me judge of all of youth never influence am I do with Love's bandage blindfolding things coolly. not look about my eyes. Linus. the gods all like a living Asia and of Greece. my opinion will be still the same. I I ! have collected within bouquet. decrepit. Gyges. Nyssia been able to overhear him she might perhaps have been willing to pardon his conjugal indiscretions for the sake of his passionate eulogies of her charms. In order to understand me fully. Gyges listened to these bursts of praise with the all of one slightly constrained whether his interlocutor is air more ardent than he a who is yet uncertain not feigning an enthusiasm actually feels. daules at last said to him in a tone of disappointment You think I see. my No. my The admiration. that you do not believe me. Orpheus. have taught me harmony and rhythm. by home. : ' I am like boasting. it is necessary that But you should see Nyssia in the radiant brilliancy of her . wrinkled. whose statues walked and spoke.KING CANDAULES io8 from the embarrassment of broaching the subject. Homer. the know all of fairest flowers that the art of sculptors and painters has produced since the time of Daedalus. as Tithonus in his swaddling bands. I forgive your incredulity and want of sympathy. he unbosomed himself freely and had to his confidant. in order to confidence naturally cautious to utter provoke Can- itself. and passions when I as withered. or have allowed myself to be fascinated some clumsy labourer by a robust country girl on whose cheeks Hygeia has crushed the gross hues of health.

. Nyssia is the loveliest of all women . you are the happiest of lovers and husbands. the depths of This a corner of the bridal ' ? ' returned the young How shall I. hide you in will you shall see her what do you ask of me . . from the abyss of my nothingraise my eyes to this sun of perfections. at the risk of remaining blind for the rest of my life. never found in the course of his many conquests aught to compare with your queen.' returned Candaules . evening I chamber ' Sire. the prince of even the most seek judgment and counsel — skilful artists whom find her incomparable. No man should look upon what We know does not belong to him. to say which you therefore. even as Nature with her own hands moulded her in a lost moment of inspiration which never can return. your ancestor. free from jealous drapery. or being able to see naught but a dazzling spectre in the midst of darkness ? Have pity on your humble slave. 'I perceive .' 'Listen.KING CANDAULES 109 shining whiteness. this which fantasy. from my dust. and of would repent so soon as it had been is satisfied. of what consequence can the opinion of an obscure soldier like me be to if you you? sume Abandon. Heracles. always punish those who that the immortals through or imprudence audacity surprise them in their divine nudity. and do not compel him to an action so contrary to the maxims of virtue. dare to ' ! warrior with respectful firmness. If you. ness. I pre- unworthy of your royal majesty. Gyges.

KING CANDAULES no me you think that I seek to put you but by the ashes of that funeral pyre proof. but perchance. feel no resentment against me against the wrath of Nyssia. indeed. indiscreet through compulsion.' that you suspect . a species of visual adultery A woman ments . ? often lays aside her modesty with her gar- so apprehensive. the sanctity of marriage. to who can ensure me she who is so reserved and . Have you reflected that what you propose to me is a violation of objection. I swear to you that I speak frankly and without any after-purpose. passion is I doubt not of your good faith. and deemed still virginal in her ignorant of the . I a at my pledge tomb moment when royal word to punish they ought that no evil shall befall you. modesty that she might be You deem that she promise.' ' Pardon your slave if he dares to offer still some even after such a promise. you would conceive a deep aversion to me. she might had lost her flower of purity. the image which you allowed them to glance upon in a moment of delirium and who knows but that you would con. and learn to hats me for not having more firmly You would resisted your will. demn them them to to the eternal night of the for remaining open have been closed. and once violated by a look.' * Fear nothing . without having actually ceased to be virtuous. after I should obeyed you. chaste. seek to take back from these eyes. whence my ancestor arose a god. your have sincere. but fierce. some to 'O Candaules.

KING CANDAULES
laws of

which
to

my

I

Hymen ? Should she ever leain of the sacrilege
am about to render myself guilty of in deferring

master's wishes, what punishment would she con-

demn me

me beyond the reach

did not

I

Who

to suffer in expiation of such a crime?

could place
'

iii

know you were

of her avenging anger

so wise

and prudent,'

Candaules, with a slightly ironical smile;

'

?

said

'but such

dangers are all imaginary, and I shall hide you in such
a way that Nyssia will never know she has been seen
by any one except her royal husband.'

Being unable to

made a

any further defence, Gyges

offer

sign of assent in token of complete submission

to the king's

He

will.

had made

and thenceforward

his power,

at ease in regard to

all

the resistance in

his conscience

could

whatever might happen

;

feel

besides,

by any further opposition to the will of Candaules, he
would have feared to oppose destiny itself, which

seemed

striving to bring

him

some grim ulterior purpose
to him to see further.

still

nearer to Nyssia for

into which

it

was not given

Without actually being able to foresee any result, he
beheld a thousand vague and shadowy images passing
before

his

crouched

That subterranean

eyes.

a few steps higher, guided by

hope.

The weight

so heavily
self

aided

dreamed

love,

at the foot of his soul's stairway,

upon

some

of the impossible

his breast,

now

so

long

had climbed

fitful glimmer of
no longer pressed

that he believed him-

In truth, who would have
by the gods.
much-boasted charms of the daughter

that the

KING CANDAULES

ri2

Megabazus would ere long cease

of
for

*

Gyges
'let

us

ing in the
place,

own any mystery

said Candaules, taking

Come, Gyges,'

hand,

to

?

make

profit of the time.

garden with her

women

and plan our stratagems

The king took

;

let

him by the

Nyssia is walkus look at the

for this evening.'

by the hand and led
him along the winding ways which conducted to the
his confidant

The doors of the sleeping-room
were made of cedar planks so perfectly put together
that it was impossible to discover the joints.
By dint
nuptial apartment.

of rubbing

them with wool steeped

in oil, the slaves

had rendered the wood as polished as marble. The
brazen nails, with heads cut in facets, which studded
them, haS

all

the brilliancy of the purest gold.

A

complicated system of straps and metallic rings, whereof
Candaules and his wife alone knew the combination,
served to secure them, for in those heroic ages the
locksmith's art was yet in

its

infancy.

Candaules unloosed the knots, made the rings slide
back upon the thongs, raised with a handle which fitted
into a mortise the

bar that fastened the door from

and bidding Gyges place himself against the
turned back one of the folding-doors upon him

within,
wall,
in

such a way as to hide him completely ; yet the door
fit so
perfectly to its frame of oaken beams, all

did not

carefully polished
skilful

workman,

and put up according
that

the

to line

by a

young warrior could not

obtain a distinct view of the chamber interior through

KING CANDAULES
the interstices contrived to give

room

113

for the free play

of the hinges.

Facing the entrance, the royal bed stood upon an
estrade of several steps, covered with purple drapery.

Columns of chased

silver

supported the entablature,

ornamented with

foliage wrought in relief, amid
which Loves were sporting with dolphins, and heavy
curtains embroidered with gold surrounded it like the
all

folds of a tent.

Upon

the altar of the household gods were placed

vases of precious metal, paterae enamelled with flowers,

double- handled

cups,

and

all

things

needful

for

libations.

Along the walls, which were faced with planks of
cedar-wood, marvellously worked, at regular" intervals
stood tall statues of black basalt in the constrained
attitudes of Egyptian art, each sustaining in

its

hand

a bronze torch into which a splinter of resinous

wood

had been

fitted.

An onyx

lamp, suspended by a chain of

from that beam of the

ceiling

which

is

silver,

hung

called the black

beam, because more exposed than the others to the
embrowning smoke. Every evening a slave carefully

lamp with odoriferous oil.
Near the head of the bed, on a little column, hung a

filled this

trophy of arms, consisting of a visored helmet, a twofold buckler made of four bulls' hides and covered
with plates of brass and tin, a two-edged sword, and
several ashen javelins with brazen heads.

or the richest pearl of beauty that ever adorned a diadem. From your hiding-place you will be able to follow all her graceful movements. chair inlaid with silver and ivory upon which Nyssia Its seat was covered with a hung her garments. and lays upon that those draperies and tunics which by day envelop her like mummy bandages. ornamented with embroidery representing a hunting scene wherein tearing deer. around the body. last though the effort cost ivory chair. and its work generally the daules to Gyges. tapestry flower to finish. but at she comes. all her dearly. as women. is.' . admire her unrivalled charms. simple and double. who has invariably some or some order to give her usually delays a little in joining me . fine which envelops an onion the sheen of woven sunbeams.' observed Can- always leave this door open first I Nyssia. as it richly adorned with open- carving.KING CANDAULES 114 The and mantles of Candaules were hung tunics upon wooden They comprised garments both pegs. were especially and delicate as the had all skin Opposite to the trophy stood an arm- noticeable. one by one. capable of going twice mantle of thrice-dyed purple. leopard skin more eye-spotted than the body of Argus. and judge for yourself whether Candaules be a young fool prone whether he does not really possess to vain boasting. and slowly takes off. that A Laconian hounds were pursuing and and a tunic whereof the material. am 'I foot-support was is now. 'and to retire.

' continued Candaules. the almost spent. 'When she has laid aside her garments. ' must take advantage of the moment to steal away.' replied Gyges. astonished at bursts of admiration. darkness. feel and to- who can no longer But see. Gyges. there will be some one It and in the ecstasies.' After hidden which this assurance behind the the king's Candaules door. world comprehend my my rays do not penetrate certain that Nyssia cannot possibly see you morrow The possible. will of therefore. the Sun will soon water his day steeds in the Hesperian waves at the further end of is the world. I can well believe your words without such a proof as this. stepping forth from his hiding-place. young left Gyges again The compulsory confidant found quiet himself . she will come to lie down with me. to upon treading Step lightly as though you were wheat . and the feeble the only lamp which remains burning beyond the threshold of the chamber.KING CANDAULES 115 'O King. is. take heed that no ears of ripe grain of sand squeaks under your sandals breath. and though the hours of waiting may seem long. . I can swear by Eros of the Golden Arrows that you will not ancestors. for passing from the chair to the bed she turns her in back the door. regret having waited. without heeding the exclamation of his You confidant. and vestibule as retire all is in stealthily as hold your . and beyond the Return erected Pillars by my to your hiding-place.

to have for guide to that treasure the very dragon all approach to it. was there not who should defend in all this ample food for astonishment and wonder the combination of events wrought by destiny at ? In the midst of these reflections. obtain a knowledge of treasures reserved for lovers and husbands only. and arrange the purple and which formed the royal bed. her. after averring subsequently . naught To to her whose modesty would have to sacrifice for you. and Gyges faster. succession of extraordinary events made by a he was about to nevertheless. he had no effort to approach And. saffron-tinted sheepskins The hour approached. of the hopelessness of the undertaking. he suddenly heard It was only the sound of footsteps on the pavement. throw fresh perfumes upon the coals of the kamklins.king CANDAULES it6 obliged to maintain left him ample leisure for thought. He had loved Nyssia as one loves a Convinced star. not a glance had been exchanged between himself and Nyssia. who probably ignored the very existence of the one being for whom her beauty would so soon cease to be a Unknown mystery. even and the pulsation of felt felt his heart beat his arteries quicken. a strong impulse to steal He away before the arrival of the queen. His situation was certainly a most extraordinary one. love a woman in secret how strange a situation and find oneself led ! by her husband to the threshold of the nuptial chamber. and. Not a word. the slaves coming to replenish the oil in the lamp.

decisive epoch in his life. and he would have preferred other circumstance the happiness marvel of Asia in her nocturnal deed. rattling have defied the most valiant warriors would have attacked without the will Nemean lion — he trembled woman through . fear the but — explain in the .KING CANDAULES 117 Candaules that he had remained. Mounted upon his war-chariot. he would courage. abandon himself He confidently to the most extravagant eulogiums. in- us acknowledge as let to little do with his Undoubtedly Gyges did not lack virtuous scruples. then. would gladly have paid with more odious complicity rendered this theft sense. no in a certain owe to any of beholding the to toilet. with quiver upon his shoulder. and bow in hand. what. veracious had historians. the approach of danger. despite his somewhat free life. chase he Calydon boar or the enigma as you at the idea of looking at a beautiful a chink in a door. Perhaps. It would be a not behold Nyssia with impunity. to a strong repugnance (for. would be the result of that which was about to take place? for him when to that Could divine life itself head which continue fired his dreams should be added a charming body formed for What would become of the kisses of the immortals ? . Gyges was not without delicacy) to take by felt stealth a favour for the free granting of which he The husband's his life. Through having obtained but a momentary glimpse of her he had lost all peace of mind . No one possesses He felt likewise that he could every kind of courage.

she crossed the threshold of . distinctly audible in the deep trailing silence of the night. These for arguments were very rational but wholly useless. and exclaimed the door in a low but distinct voice as he passed : my poor Gyges. forgot every other consideration. 'Patience. and In effect it was she. and preferred pictures and statues before all things. With a step as cadenced rhythmic as an ode. spectacle which Candaules was about One cannot demand from a captain of twenty-five the austerity of a hoary philosopher. Gyges. the Nyssia. When who was but a young man after all. a low whispering of raiment sweeping and over marble.ii8 KING CANDAULES him should he find himself unable thereafter to con- tain his done till passion in darkness and silence as he had that time? Would he exhibit to the court of Lydia the ridiculous spectacle of an insane love. the entered at the same moment Candaules chamber. since the reason Candaules of himself. the thoughtless then had laughed at love. and no longer thought of aught save the happiness of feasting his eyes upon the charming to offer him. Nyssia will soon come. had been unable to resist that by superhuman young king who till possessor legitimate beauty — of the vertigo caused he.' he saw that he could no longer retreat. announced the approach of the At last queen. or would he strive by some extravagant action to bring down upon himself the disdainful pity of the queen ? Such a result was strongly probable.

but soon recovering from the violence of his emotions. to himself: difficult to please. compelled to seek the support of the wall. from the opening of the chlamys. emerging from an opaque reclining his wife. Candaules. he approached the chink of the door. and took the most favourable position for enabling him to lose nothing of the scene whereof he was about to be an invisible witness. that rounded neck. and the wind of her veil with its floating folds almost touched the burning cheek of Gyges.' Opening a little coffer which stood on a table sup- . veil upon her head. upon and thought so cold. terminated by hollow balls of gold.KING CANDAULES 119 the thalamus. sceptical. so cloud. who is must be already half convinced. like the moon's disc . Nyssia advanced to the ivory chair and commenced to detach the pins. whereon Aphrodite had traced with the nail of her which are still little at this very finger those three faint lines day known as the ' necklace that white nape on whose alabaster surface of Venus little wild rebellious curls were disporting and en' . half rising twining themselves those silver shoulders. his cushions. at once delicate and powerful. and Gyges from the depths of the shadow-filled angle where he stood concealed could examine at his ease the proud and charming face of which he had before obtained which fastened her only a hurried glimpse. half gazed with fondness upon 'Now and so Gyges. who and found him- felt self wellnigh on the point of fainting.

KING CANDAULES I20 ported by one leg terminating in carven lion's paws. no longer held by the golden pins. they were Olympus. assuredly not worth the spots which they concealed. The rings the interior pulp of a lily. and upon her skin. liquid gold be- and her arms undulat- ing like swans' necks as they were arched above her head in the act of twisting and confining the natural you have ever by chance examined one of those beautiful Etruscan vases with red figures on a bullion. Thus she remained for a few moments ere reassembling the scattered curls and finally re-uniting them into one mass. which being feathers. light rosy imprints. and had Nyssia been a coquette. sister and wife of Zeus. It was marvellous to watch the blond ringlets streaming like tween the silver of her fingers jets of . fine and tender as all rounded and slender which little at its extremities. the lord of Precious as were her jewels. rolled down in snow of with the its languid spirals like hyacinth flowers over her back and bosom. Then movement of a dove trembling in the she shook her hair. she soon dissipated by rubbing them with her taper-fingered hand. one might have well supposed that she only donned them in order that she should be entreated to take them chased work had left off. If . the queen freed her beautiful arms from the weight of the bracelets and jewellery wherewith they had been — overburdened during the day arms whose form and whiteness might well have enabled them to compare with those of Hera.

Gyges. lost in contemplation. hue little thumb all of a bird.' then you will have some idea of the grace of jects Nyssia in that attitude which.KING CANDAULES 121 black ground. though all the while comprehending the madness of Candaules. The little apart like the other toes. Having thus arranged her coiffure. are you not coming to sleep with me ? ' exclaimed Candaules. seeing that the queen was not . slightly long. no longer know what a perfection rare great toe. even in Greece and antique Asia. which is hardly less absurd than the Chinese shoe. from the age of antiquity to our own era. and decorated with one of those sub- which are designated under the title of 'Greek Toilette. a That of Nyssia was of a foot is. owing to our horrible system of footgear. the heel slightly —nothing was wanting to the member. was irreproachable in the purity of outlines and the grace of its its curves. has furnished such a multitude of happy designs for painters and statuaries. ' Well. The and which gleamed leg attached to like polished marble under the lamp-light. and supple. Nyssia. the ranged in charming and brilliant as agates. she seated herself upon the edge of the ivory footstool and commenced bands which fastened her buskins. the nails well shaped the ankles well rounded tinted with a rosy perfection of the this foot. and symmetry. to untie the little We moderns. said fully to himself that had the gods bestowed such a treasure upon him he would have known how to keep it to himself.

unfastened the girdle of her tunic. 'Yes. and feeling desirous to abridge the watch of Gyges. to let fall. with a movement upon of careless grace. tunic There remained only the Gyges. so delicately magnetic in its susceptibility that it could feel the rays — of a passionate eye though that eye was invisible ? Nyssia hesitated to strip herself of that tunic. his heart beat so violently must make that he feared it and to repress its fierce itself heard in the chamber. I will soon be ready. or as though an insolent them in the darkness. my dear lord. and . and bare arms shuddered with a nervous chill. lip had dared to touch At last. felt his veins hiss through his temples.KING CANDAULES 122 hurrying herself in the least. the last rampart of her modesty.' answered Nyssia. as though they had been suddenly grazed by the wings of a nocturnal butterfly. virginally pure from profane looks. seeming to nerve herself for a sudden resolve and the white poem of its turn she doffed the tunic in . And she detached the cameo which fastened the peplum upon her shoulder. — Nyssia was it an instinctive presentiment. her divine body suddenly appeared in all its splendour. or was her skin. pulsations he pressed his hand and when Nyssia. behind the door. her bosom. his bosom . he thought his knees would give way beneath him. like the statue of a goddess unveiled on the day of a temple's inauguration. Twice or thrice her shoulders. light glided Shuddering with pleasure the and gloated over those exquisite forms.

the alas. those polished flanks. but with a sudden movement she turned round ere taking her place upon the couch beside her royal spouse. but modern prudery forbids such descrippen cannot find pardon for what is per- tions. Candaules smiled in proud satisfaction. was on the point of bursting from her K lips. disdaining to jewelled clasps. at Hebe of . With a ashamed of being so beautiful. and left all concentrated other objects in Were we Greeks of the age of Pericles we our ease eulogise those beautiful serpentine might lines. and that she possessed the stone which is found in the heads of dragons. there are some things which can be written of only in marble. her arms folded upon her rapid step. double pupil. as though for bosom . rare indeed! chamber. kisses. The or brazen profiting by an occa- rays scattered through illuminate golden arms. like that of a fawn who darkness like the receives an arrow in her flank while tranquilly dreaming among the leafy shadows.KING CANDAULES covered them with timid sion. for the mitted to the chisel . those elegant curves. Nyssia approached the bed. themselves upon Nyssia. 123 all tripods. that A cry. it was at least true her green glance penetrated glaucous eye of the cat and tiger. she was only the daughter of a man and a woman. . and beheld through the aperture of the door a gleaming eye flaming Hke the carbuncle of Oriental legend for if it were false that she had a . and besides. those breasts which might have served as moulds for the cup obscurity.

She had divined and comprehended CHAPTER all. not a fibre of her body palpitated. doubtless she would have remained for ever unconscious of the outrage done to her charms by a husband more passionate than scrupulous. cold as a serpent. Not a muscle of her limbs quivered. IV Gyges.KING CANDAULES 124 yet she found strength to control herself. some unfortunate chance. and lay down beside Candaules. through Candaules . Accustomed to the winding corridors of the palace. following exactly the instructions of and if Nyssia. His brain burned. trembling and distracted with passion. came hotly panting he flung himself down upon the . the young warrior had no difficulty in finding his way He passed through the city at a reckless pace like a madman escaped from Anticyra. fields as with tiie fires through his of fever. regular breathing seemed to indicate that Morpheus had distilled his poppy juice upon her eyelids. and soon her slow. and by making out. with the violets of death upon her cheeks and lips. and perceived him in the act of taking flight. had not turned her head ere taking her place upon the couch. had retired. known to the sentinels who guarded the ramhe had the gates opened for him and gained the beyond. his cheeks flamed himself parts. his breath lips .

To master his passion were henceforth a as well counsel the thing impossible : which Poseidon lifts in their empurpled waves with his trident to bed of sand and cease to lie tranquilly foam upon the rocks Gyges was no longer master of himself. bathed his face. the silvery respiration of a Naiad. He eyes beheld her floating before him in a luminous whirllike wind. thousand projects. . A last. who finds horses rushing with toward some his all terrified and uncontrollable the speed of a furious gallop rock-bristling precipice. and he felt a chariot. burst. He blasphemed hundred whirled Destiny.KING CANDAULES meadow-sod humid with the at last and hearing 125 night. as of a man riding in of the shore. and banish grown felt that that never through image from to vastness . like those plants which open their blossoms with a clap of thunder. Any one who could have seen him thus hopelessly bending over the spring in the feeble starlight would have taken him for Nar- own shadow. The rapid of apparition Nyssia had dazzled his the keen zigzag of a lightning flash. but cissus pursuing his was not of it himself assuredly that Gyges was enamoured. its his all his life had suddenly flower could he His love had vision. a miserable despair. and drank several mouthfuls of the water in the to cool the hope ardour which was devouring him. each wilder than the confusedly through his brain. through the thick grass water-plants. he dragged himself to the spring. plunged his hands and arms into the crystal flood. and tears of the in the darkness.

for he did not remember that his love for her could not have been who had sought known by the him only a confidant of easy king. and he him a most unjust hatred against felt growing within his master. it had seemed to him that he deemed himself despoiled of . although a moment's his anger reflection should have convinced him that things could not have come to pass otherwise. he had never In all his amorous reveries thought of the husband . morals and a connoisseur in beauty. That which he in ought to have regarded as a great favour affected him .KING CANDAULES 126 he cursed his mother for having given him life. like the flight she belonged to him his wealth by Candaules. Now bending like daules. A frightful of the king. he had thought of the queen only as of a pure abstraction. The act of having compelled his presence at the queen's dishabille seemed to him a barbarous irony. The very thought of it had inflamed to the highest degree. agony gnawed From the at his heart moment . without representing to himself in fancy all those until then intimate details of conjugal familiarity. and the gods that they had not caused him to be born to a throne. so poignant. alighting upon a meadow. for then he might have been able to espouse the daughter of the satraj). so who love a woman in the power of he had beheld Nyssia's blond head a blossom beside the dark head of Can- bitter for those another. an odious refinement of cruelty. he was jealous of the tunic's fall at of a white dove the feet of Nyssia.

well suspecting that Can- daules would shortly send for him. that excellent counsellor. He brow and betook himself to his regular post at the palace. and his hand convulsively grasped the of hilt of his great double-edged sword. as she never for it had not an instant doubted that he had been purposely hidden there by Candaules. Nevertheless. which could thenceforth only inspire him Having arrived with horror. he became a little calmer. The king's persistency in begging her not .KING CANDAULP:S like a ance. If the night been less so had been to terrible to Gyges. thanks to the freshness of the night. to avoid answering the questions of the other guards. at the palace. his tongue clove to his became imbeaded with drops cold sweat. he seated himself upon the steps of the cypress-panelled vestibule. 127 mortal injury for which he was meditating vengeWhile thinking that to-morrow the same scene of which he had been a mute and invisible witness would infallibly renew palate. and could in no way escape submitting again to this role of confidant. and. felt he was not powerful enough to brave the anger of the king. Nyssia. pretext of being fatigued by he covered his head with his mantle and feigned sleep. his forehead itself. and returned to Sardes before the morning light had become bright enough to enable a few early rising citizens and slaves to notice the pallor of his the disorder of his apparel. under the the long vigil under arms. leaned his back against a column. he however and. violent the agitation of his feelings.

at least. Greek freedom of his morals frequently displeased her. brief as any other. encouragement no himself in an undertak- for without his could have dared to risk ing the discovery of which would have resulted in the punishment of a speedy death.KING CANDAULES 128 to veil so austerely a face which the gods had made his evident vexation upon for the admiration of men. and though he entertained ideas at variance with her . his unsparing raillery at what he termed her barbarian shyness. and that some invisible hand was sustaining the sand of the hourglass in Though air. six long months of darkness. How slowly did the black hours How anxiously did she await the seem to her to pass coming of dawn ! to mingle its bluish tints with the yellow gleams of the It seemed to her that Apollo almost exhausted lamp ! would never mount his chariot again. her refusal to appear in Greek costume at the sacrifices and public solemnities. she ever exhi!)ited toward him that grave which every virtuous woman tenderness and serene entertains for her husband. all tended to convince her that the young Heracleid had sought to admit some one into those mysteries which should remain secret to man all. that night seemed to her like the Cimmerian nights. night felt a very strong love for the son of Myrsus. While it lasted she lay motionless and rigid at full in dread of being length on the very edge of her couch If she had not up to that touched by Candaules. although the altogether had.

and above all among the Persians and Bactrians. At length Candaules from her simulated now profaned and Nyssia. body that skin upon which the rays shot from a burning pupil seemed to have their traces. ' fall. but even for to be seen without their garments. Such an outrage it was impossible to forgive. as though hoping by this species of lustral ablution to efface the soil imprinted She would have voluntarily by the eyes of Gyges.' she exclaimed.KING CANDAULES 129 own in regard to modesty . women held a great disgrace. women the left Taking from the hands of her waitingdowny materials which served to thick drink up the last pearls of the bath. for among the barbarians. in her eyes as though it had served for the nocturnal orgies of Bacchantes and courtesans. not for men. but after such an affront she could only feel the chilliest hatred and most icy she would have preferred even contempt for him . her bosom. and poured ewers of water over her shoulders. letting the and dismissing her attendants — damp 'in vain tissues would I . only. summoned her slaves by clapping her for the hands. she wiped herself with such violence that a slight purple cloud rose to the spots she had rubbed. were. sleep. was agony longer. it was death to one of his caresses. In vain. and her whole body. and for her to breathe that air impure that she might freely give herself up It any to her grief she took refuge in the upper apartments reserved women. from her as it torn. awaking hurried from that chamber arose.

me does loftily head pure and The depraved caprice of a Lydian Greek has sufficed to tion of his the seal mountain which any all evil desires. unknown of men. select transparent.KING CANDAULES I30 pour over myself all the waters of all Vhe springs and the ocean with all its bitter gulfs could not . and the thickest of vainly pile garments materials the mantles. . without the fruit of long years of precauInnocent and dishonoured. itself stain upon me. . that. hidden all reserve. virgin snow on which the eagle h'mself could not profane imaginings. guilt of and from all so talons. may be washed Oh. the rivers Such a purify me. In vain have from all the as I remained guarded from imprint icy air. have my I been enveloped. since the hour when I issued flesh this womb from the chaste in private. Gyges this is the lot to Who is can assure not in the act . that look. at this very moment. ! upon garments. covers it make me mine. like nothing can detach from would has incrusted clasps me. its the in the lose in a single instant. Vainly. indeed. that look blood. which Candaules has condemned me. with a veil of which none might have lifted the hem without paying for his audacity with his life. the tunic beneath the blood of Nessus in I me like feel I . yet lift made public to all . I least would none the less bear upon my naked infamous robe woven by one adulterous and lascivious glance. covers me. the brought up Egyptian goddess. burns it dipped my It ! out only with my body Now. it an envenomed tissue which draperies. of mother. like Isis.

fatal gift of the gods ! at such a why am I some poor mountain goatherd of He would not have innocent and simple habits? like himself at the threshold of a suborned goatherd not the wife of humble happiness his cabin to profane his my unkempt ! My lean my complexion faded by the burning sun. would then have saved me from so gross an insult. Oh my heart leaps to my cheeks beauty. serves for a theme of conversation . I was at least entitled to there was nothing in more my provoked such an outrage. This body which I from the vilest of courtesans? have striven to render worthy of being the habitation of a pure and noble soul. the arm or found fault with. and my honest homeliness would not have figure. and conduct which could have Was I one of those ones . it talked is some of like lascivious idol brought from Sicyon or from Corinth it is commended The shoulder is perfect.KING CANDAULES of discoursing 131 upon my charms with some soldiers at ? Oh shame Oh the very threshold of the palace infamy Two men ! this instant have beheld ! me naked and enjoy the sweet light of the sun yet at In what ! does Nyssia now differ from the most shameless hetaira. shall I dare. I should drop dead Candaules. — the blood of thought. respect from you. with shame upon the pavement. to pass before those men. perhaps a little thin . what know I ? All is charming. How to blush. Candaules. been compelled hair. after the scene of this night. proudly erect under the folds of a tunic which has no longer aught to hide from either of them.

and who seem more money for a master's pleasure blood of noble Have ? like slaves bought with than free-born women ever after a I repast sung amorous hymns accompanying myself upon the lyre. to treat given me you cause. and abandoned herself to all the excesses of Oriental grief. only the innocent . with wine-moist lips. and a wreath of roses about immodest shows my hair. and rolling down her pale cheeks fell upon her fair forlorn hands. pangs of wounded dignity. by any whom one like a mistress ' banquet to his companions in debauch ? While Nyssia was thus buried in her grief. for the pride of her whole life had been broken.KING CANDAULES 132 whose arms for ever cling like ivy to their husbands' necks. As a poet has said. tore her with her nails amid convulsive bosom and cheeks sobs. beholding her fourteenth succumb beneath the arrows Diana. covered her beautiful dishevelled hair with ashes. the violently that she had been forced so long more to contain her indignation. rent her garments. child no order came from the brain to give them The attitude of Niobe. like roses shed. she" rolled herself upon the floor. was not more Apollo and sadly despairing. shame. for activity. whose leaves are half- languishingly open. or action. but soon startof ing from this state of prostration. great tears after a overflowed from her eyes like rain-drops from the azure chalice of a lotus-flower after some storm. and all the agony that convulsed her soul. and the idea that she had nothing wherewith to reproach herself aff"orded her no consolation. naked shoulders.

with wools of different colours. made an Nevertheless she ordered the baskets effort to recover herself. and two eunuchs stood beside him. and distributed the work to her women as she had been accustomed to do but she thought she noticed . and the modesty of the body is carried Oriental nations to an extent almost incomprehenby sistible sible to Occidental races. while any other would doubtless have considered it only a culpable frivolity vengeance had instantly presented Thus the idea of itself to Nyssia. and . how deadly an injury woman thus brought up. When speak to Nyssia in the palace of man desired to Megabazus at Bactria. notwithstanding that her face may readily conceive. she voice felt herself interiorly fallen. therefore. her demeanour. to be brought to her. to entertain the Her same timid respect for no longer rang with the same there was something humble and furtive in her as before. poniard in hand.KING CANDAULES know remorse. but ideas imbibed with a mother's milk obtain irre- sway. and her virtue had received no stain from the folly of Candaules . was the action of Candaules would seem to a You veiled. and had ceased assurance . filled and the spindles wrapped with flax. ready to plunge their keen blades through his should he dare lift his head to look at the heart princess. Doubtless her scruples were exaggerated. 133 She was repenting of the crime which another had committed. a he was obliged to do so keeping his eyes fixed upon the ground. that the slaves looked at her in a very peculiar way.

alarmed and forewarned. and. she hesitated at so violent and un- womanly an act. one of the waiting- project. at turning her head. . who. to carry out her purpose. Suddenly she appeared to have decided upon some She summoned Statira. which must have rendered it more not impossible. Candaules. Had she not withheld that first impulse to cry aloud. as if she feared that even the wails might hear her. she beheld the burn- She ing eyes of Gyges flaming through the darkness. utters syllable of pain through fear of betraying himself his shelter of foliage or river-reeds. but she had resolved honour should be fully that the insult expiated. and in no behind in silence per- mits his blood to stripe his flesh with long red lines. must have possessed the courage of the warrior ambush. women who had come with her from Bactria. it reached her the lips. if plan. and in she placed much confidence. although there were no other persons in the room. with . Nevertheless.KING CANDAULES 134 had given her sufficient self-control to strangle the cry of her offended modesty ere moment when. as yet she had conceived no definite difficult. all her bitter anger. and whispered a whom few words close to her ear in a very low voice. would have kept upon his guard. At done first to her she had thought of killing Candaules herself while he slept. wounded by a random dart. with But she recoiled from the sword hung at the bedside. the thought of dipping her beautiful hands in blood she feared lest she might miss her blow .

So he caused him him to be summoned. sion. but only the starry crown of the immortals. 'no human with Nyssia. Gyges.' he said to * did not deceive you I behind regret having passed a few hours would not Am that blessed door. It is a in creature not the pearl voice is trembling with worthy to compare of queens which fillet should adorn her brows. and he thought only upon the delight of conversing with him about the unrivalled attractions of great peril.' ' I well fires knew that your ice Now can my delirium. 135 left the apart- ment. He his wife. I right? living woman more know of any superior to her. to the him with laughing mien. you and go this string of pearls. and conducted Court of the Heracleidse.' 'Sire. bear her in Do you know beautiful than the queen ? my name of any If so frankly. that the heart of a contain such a love? itself It must melt at last in the you comprehend desires? man Is it my pas- not true. the symbol tell me of power. when I assured you that you 'Well. Like all who persons are actually menaced by some Candaules presumed himself perfectly was certain that Gyges had stolen away unperceived. secure. my mad of that sun. is not great enough to must overflow and diffuse .KING CANDAULES bowed Statira and immediately low.' replied Gyges emotion. Gyges.

a celebrated which had been offered him for purchase. : a statue which I woman.' Now. in a long mantle so as 10 leave but one oi wrapped . whereof I alone possess the manuscript. you are the god who sent me * that dream.KING CANDAULES 136 A who hot blush overspread the cheeks of Gyges. necessary for me do not keep a to ' seal upon your your cost that Nyssia is will it to enjoin silence scarcely be If you upon you. I — I have dreamed with open eyes. lips not as you might learn good as she is beautiful.' continued the king. not a . I merely for the purpose of having your opinion. have allowed you to read some stanzas of a poem. poor friend. in his remind to sire. with ideal forms. The king noticed smiling. do not commit the My enamoured of Nyssia It is with a manner half said. ambrosial hair. now but too well comprehended the admiration of Candaules. artisan. and retired for the purpose of inspecting an antique bed sculptured by Ikmalius. beautiful folly of becom- you would lose your pains. have enabled you to see. half serious ' ing and it.' 'You have no need. that is all. nacreous flesh.' The king waved his hand in token of farewell to his confidant. me Sometimes the humblest slave nothingness. of is my visited slumbers by some radiant and lovely vision. Candaules had scarcely disappeared when a woman.

which she opened with a key wrought of ivory and brass. He could form no idea as to the significance of this mysterious message. At the idea that Nyssia knew all. and him to made a sign to follow her. for both suppositions seemed probable. He asked himself . placed her finger upon his shoulder. paused before a little door. At the head of the stairway was a second door. He had a vague fancy that he could recognise in the silent Iris one of Nyssia's women and the way by which she had made him follow her to the queen's apartments. after the fashion of the barbarians. As soon as Gyges entered she disappeared without any further explanation in regard to what was expected of him. of which she raised the latch by pulling a silver ring attached to a leathern strap. CHAPTER V Statira. and commenced to ascend a stairway with rather high steps contrived in the thickness of the wall. came shadow of a column behind which forth from the she had kept herself hidden during the conversation of the king and his favourite. walked straight to Gyges. he felt his face . The curiosity of Gyges was mingled with uneasiness. followed by Gyges. led in terror whether he had been perceived in his hiding-place or betrayed by Candaules.KING CANDAULES 137 her eyes exposed.

KING CANDAULES 138 He alternately burning and icy. the down of her cheeks eyes had beautiful their lost . bosom. then he bedewed with a sweat sought to advanced into the chamber. the dignity and courage of your crime. to her bare arms. in his first conflict. clear and commanding. the tunics with lost in carefully fastened their Gyges know her advance She walked ? folds? ? straight to Gyges. and all escape was cut off. in a quick. I . which was shadowed by heavy purple hangings. and found himself face to face with He Nyssia. and touching She was more even Sorrow had given soul thus. Of what use to her would have been the draperies which conceal form. but the door had been fastened fly. her fastened scarcely visible her left beautiful and the commencement of her death-white Like a warrior vanquished her beauty had laid down its arms. ' Do not Did not Wherefore defend what has been abrupt voice lie seek no vain subterfuges upon him him said to : . and left shining furrows upon her lips . a feeble rose tint alone animated on her tender temples a few almost imperveins intercrossed their azure network tears ceptible had swollen her eyelids. thought he beheld a statue rise The hues of life had before him. I know all . throat. such was her pallor. upon him by Statira. have at least . robe. . the chrysoprase tints of her intensity. to her raarmorean beauty. Her disordered shoulders. and fixing an imperial look. abandoned her face .

and. O in the blood of queen. I Candaules. should you become my husband. menaces. what you have not the right to He who commanded is more culpable look upon.' This strange alternative. Is it Nyssia will not serve for any one's toy. ' Is I it ! to dip my hands indeed you. one of whom is a man too much upon the earth. or else shall a prompt death prevent you from beholding. proposed with a terrible coolness. no one will have ever seen me so. I cannot be either you or It will live. henceforth than he who has only obeyed . who was and a violent scene. so utterly surprised Gyges. that it is all over ? not a Greek woman. But make your without having the right to do decision at once. doubtless. There are now two men. pliant to the whims of artists and door. ! Unless he dies. through a cowardly complaisance. that he remained for several minutes without colour and without voice. moreover. leave you master of the choice. and win by that murder both my hand and the throne of Lydia. I would not listen saw you it.KING CANDAULES 139 Not a word of excuse. livid as a shade on the shores of the blark rivers of hell. for two of those four eyes in v/hich nudity has reflected be itself must before this very my evening for ever extinguished. He must disappear from it voluptuaries. expecting reproaches. with an immutable resolution. who demand L of my me master ! so great . Candaules himself concealed you behind the ! to not so the thing happened? And you Unhappily I am fancy. Kill him. avenge me.

motionless and pale. and I it comprehend was not but you place. fault that Their will over- swept away by a torrent. they destinies repose commands. is to on not we. .KING CANDAULES I40 a penalty? just.' And Nyssia crossed her arms upon her breast in an attitude replete with sombre majesty. one would have taken her griffin. as a dyke it this outrage kings are that race. and I feel your anger. for Nemesis descended from her and awaiting the hour to smite a guilty one. A resolution in the slightest. you would have more chance of melting her. let ! When the curtains shall your choice have been I wait. admires you. hem of your robe which touch as a suppliant. and which shall remain eternally By your feet that I kiss. To behold her standing erect. by the I ! buried in darkness and silence you. is which known to none.' Were you addressing a sphinx of granite in the arid sands of Egypt. kill sunbeam which has passed through the touch the foot of this table made. and ! Candaules worships from an his fault springs only ex'cess of love. her eyes fixed. feeble mortals. her brows contracted. you could not move heart of brass dwells Die or marble breast of mine. is throws our refusal. her foot firmly placed upon the pavement. be clement Forget this injury. her hair in disorder. my know descend from a divine their august who may knees . The winged words might fly uninterruptedly from ' your my lips for a whole Olympiad in this . all Our hesitate at their it be took mighty.

poniard. in free possession of of leaving Candaules Nyssia was insupportable to him : and.KING CANDAULES * 141 The shadowy depths Avith pleasure. dwell in the Fortunate Isles would gladly return to Each man has the their native land. By a succession of irregular and terrible events he beheld himself hurried toward the realisation of his dreams on a mighty wave had lifted him and borne him .' the pure light of Hades are visited by none answered Gyges. moreover. and since blood must instinct of self- flow. It is sweet to enjoy of day and the heroes themselves who ' . ' This blade is not made of brass.' here is the means of Nyssia she drew from her bosom a Bactrian replied And . let it be rather from the veins of another than from mine. that Candaules none can nails in . therefore. was desperately in love with Nyssia and jealous of Candaules.' execution.' To frankness. Nyssia herself was extend- him to him. preservation. ' It is ' well. were avowed by Gyges with antique added others more noble whereof he did not speak. to help All this to ascend the steps had caused him was his master and to forget his benefactor .md of the royal throne. in despite of his efforts ing her h. with a jade handle enriched with inlaid circles of white gold. He these sentiments. the vertigo of fatality had seized him. to stop your flee advance or to urge you forward. but . and Necessity walks on with one hand and whip in the other. the fear of death alone that had induced him to undertake this The thought bloody task. for from Fate. It was not.

for fear lest you might change propose to make sure of your person until the fatal hour. unlie down. I now. * ' The time. cuirasses would one pierce. there robes muscled and gnarled as trunks of oaks. Gyges. You might attempt warn your master. with the be while he slumbers. The ambuscade shall be same place laid in the very where the infamous one concealed you in order to expose me to your gaze. clad in left visible arms diagonally striped.' Nyssia whistled in a peculiar way. Their thick . you a signal. shall no more ' Her accomplice. At the approach of night I shall turn back one of the folding-doors upon you. which flowers. metal thin like finely It edged. Above all things. no feebleness and take heed that your hand does not tremble when the moment shall have will give . swarthy. and when he shall be asleep I dress myself. so that Hephaistos himself could not forge more keenly pointed or papyrus. Do to escape. let there be no hesitancy. come ! And your mind.' she continued.KING CANDAULES 142 with iron to difificult flame and in work. and bucklers of dragon's skin. and immediately from behind a Persian tapestry embroidered with appeared four monsters. hearkened such resolution in a her lift ' icy coolness. tempered water. for he to same Let him sleep and wake to her words with had never thought he could woman who find could not bring herself veil. ! stupefaction. to fore- not think to do so.

noticed Gyges at the time of her meeting with him near Bactria. although Plato. Nyssia. Ptolomasus. their faces. indeed. under the dust . Archilochus of Paros. Dositheus. their great teeth sharp as the partition the expression of stupid servility on of wolves. even as a nurse might carry off slaves rushed carried a child in the fold of her robe. Euphorion. The queen pronounced some words in a language unknown to Gyges. Now. we have been at any definite conclusion. seized him. rendered them hideous to behold. and him away. what were Nyssia's real thoughts Had ? she. and the four upon the young man. and Gyges. especially after a lapse of three thousand years. Hephaestion. and Hesychius of who have all spoken either at length or in only a few words concerning Candaules. under unable to arrive so fleeting a the ruins of so many ciumpled l2 empires. and consulted have we Herodotus. and preserved some memory of the one of those secret recesses of the young captain in heart where even the most virtuous women always have something buried ? Was the desire to avenge her modesty goaded by some other unacknowledged desire? And in all if Gyges had not been the handsomest young man Asia would she have evinced the same ardour punishing Candaules of marriage ? That for is in having outraged the sanctity a delicate question to resolve. Miletus.KING CANDAULES 143 the gold rings which they wore through the their of nostrils. fangs pouting lips. doubtless in Bactrian. To pursue shadow through so many centuries.

At taken all . The crime which he was about to commit. that he could escape. not to say impossibility. this Nyssia's resolution murder appeared to her accomplishment of a sacred duty. in some sort. The she was doing herself justice as passive accomplice would become and the punishment would thus spring from the crime itself. presented itself to his mind in the most sombre colours. is a work of extreme difficulty. nakedness is herself exercising had been injury best she could. The queen believed to put her right only inasmuch as the barian nations every in her was implacably in the light of the .'' the very sensible though useless reflections which Gyges made while waiting to be taken from his prison and led . If the blow should miss through one of those circumstances which none could foresee ? If the people of Sardes should revolt Such were and seek to avenge the death of the king . or that his cries could be heard.KING CANDAULES 144 of departed nations. and though he was only yielding to an irresistible influence. and again of walking too speedily. although he was only. secret. the bar- Among man who has surprised a woman death. He passed the remainder of the day there in a state of cruel anxiety. events. the instrument of it. The hand would chastise the head. accusing the hours of being lame. monsters shut Gyges up in an whence it was impossible obscure portion of the palace. the executioner The of olive-tinted the other.

upon the city and the palace. raised the' bar of the entrance. crushed. At and last the night light footstep unfolded her starry robe in the sky. The queen unfastened the thongs. as and small it . Gyges. as though he were borne along by the mighty arm of Fate. yielded to that imperious traction. and placed Gyges behind the folding-door as Candaules had done the evening previous. subjugated. to conceal No word was exchanged between the sinister couple on the way from the prison to the nuptial chamber. This . A became audible. as the fingers of some statue of brass animated by a prodigy would have done. soft. which had presented the poniard to him. it for Gyges. a veiled woman entered shadow its fell room and conducted him through the obscure and multiplied mazes of the royal edifice with the corridors much confidence as though she had been preceded by a slave bearing a lamp or a torch. and was leading him to murder. for was Nyssia herself who had come him in the place of ambuscade. nevertheless those slender fingers clasped with a bruising force. conquered. The hand which held that of Gyges was cold. Alas first ! it was not thus he had wished to touch time that fair royal for the hand.KING CANDAULES to the place 145 whence he could only depart to strike his master. rigidity of an inflexible will equal pressure as of a vice tion of The betrayed itself in that evera pressure which no hesita- — head or heart came to vary.

me ugly. regaining her impassible she continued Do not imagine you will be able to steal away this time as you did At the before . this time.' said the ' queen in accents of bitter irony. plice dishonour the queen . . as she stood threshold of the chamber. accomplice in the injury. you know my sight is piercing. with so different a purpose. severity of mien.KING CANDAULES 146 repetition of the same acts. slightest movement on your part I shall awake Can- and you know tliat it will not be easy for you explain what you are doing in the king's apart- daules to ' : . The chastisement and the crime alike followed the same path. in employing only the same means chosen by the Lydian king. and turning to for the murder those very precautions which had been adopted for voluptuous fantasy. curled her pale . had something of a lugubrious and fatal character. Yesterday it was the turn of Candaules. This spectacle should become wearisome to you. Vengeance. equally exposed by the vices of the one and in the the virtues of the other.' And will 'you on the end by finding a sardonic. pleasure. was also accom- He had served the king to penalty. to-day it was that of Nyssia . forced laugh momentarily mouth then. account You will again this evening see me take off these garments which are so displeasing to Candaules. and Gyges. had placed her foot upon every track left by the insult. he would serve the queen to kill the king. The daughter of Megabazus seemed to feel a savage a ferocious joy.

The blood of Candaules be your purple. and Nyssia hurried into the chamber as soon as she heard their footsteps resounding in the distance. it is a and needles for you to-day monotonous labour to per- petually pass one thread between other threads. ' The trade of embroidery.. had purchased the bed of Ikmalius and proposed to substitute it for the bed wrought after the Oriental which he declared had never been much to fashion. his taste. guard with palace. scruples of fidelity cause you to hesitate. In a short time Candaules arrived all He joyous.' The came slaves according to custom their change the fuel in the tripod. the copper-coloured mutes who imprisoned you a of issues the short time ago.KING CANDAULES 147 ments. my Further. In fact. and I wonder at the pleasure take in it. will .. Bactrian slaves. on finding you so some skilful. that that I will if you avenge me. fine To tell which you seem ordinarily to the truth. and spindles. renew the oil to in the lamps. spread tapestry and the skins of animals upon the royal couch . with a poniard in your hand. and Think . make you King the to should you attempt to go out. He seemed pleased to find that Nyssia had already retired to the nuptial chamber. and his death will make for you a love you will place in that bed. I will all massacre you Therefore let no vain orders of Sardes. I am afraid that day Pallas-Athene. behind a door. seems not to have the same attraction as usual.

but agitated . but the young Heracleid had a strong head. and sinking his elbow into the cushions of his couch he watched Nyssia undressing without any sign that the dust of sleep was commencing to gather upon his eyes. Would you not before going to sleep to drink a cup of black Samian wine mixed with the honey of Hymettus?' like And she poured from a golden urn. the sombre-coloured beverage which she had mingled with the soporiferous juice of the nepenthe. into a cup of the same metal. and so came downstairs sooner than usual. Nyssia unfastened her hair and permitted its rich blond waves to ripple the over her shoulders.' ' My lord. it Candaules took the cup by both handles and drained to the last drop. fancied that he suffused with tawny of blood From saw those and flame . tints. and his hiding-place locks slowly Gyges becoming illuminated with reflections their heavy curls seemed to lengthen with viperine undulations. As on evening before. took from the terrible events about to transpire a frightful and ominous character. Nyssia then unfastened her bracelets. wliich caused the it hidden assassin to shudder with terror. I felt somewhat tired this evening.KING CANDAULES 148 break her shuttle over your head as she once did to poor Arachne. All simple and graceful as that action was in itself. like the hair of the Gorgons and Medusas.

and menacing. life. which rolled over the Candaules to reopen floor with a loud noise. Every object in that room. approached the bed. Having unlaced her buskins. he thought that Death herself had broken the diamond fetters wherewith Hercules of old enchained her at the gates of hell when he delivered Alcestes. thus effect of one produced upon Gyges arranged.KING CANDAULES 149 hands had been by nervous straining. and its flame dishevelled red and sanguine itself in rays like the crest of a comet. hooks seemed dimly of the The mantles hanging from animated assumed a human aspect of by a factitious vitality . all white and naked as a shade. Each one of those beads Gyges as a drop of molten lead upon the heart of fell falls upon water. Far back in the lighted corners loomed the monstrous forms Lares and Lemures. The lamp flickered Aveirdly. The statues of basalt rolled their eyes and smiled hideouslj^. This drapery. their and and when Nyssia stripped of her last garment. She broke the string of a bracelet of as her beads of amber inlaid with gold. causing his gradually closing eyes. dim. which had the evening before seemed him one scene of to now appeared to him livid. they ill served her will. smiling splendour. and had come in person to take possession of Cundaules. . oi those the sinister-folding Avinding-sheets wherein the dead were wrapped ere being borne to the funeral pyre. the queen threw her upper tunic over the back of an ivory chair.

any one. that Gyges. six which he occupied and never showed well what it for many long his wife to years. who had sent thither a vast number of silver vases and golden cratera of the value of thirty talents. the king at last slumbered. and the dream of The Gyges accomplished. threatened revolt. Thus ended the dynasty of the Heracleidae. the new king maintained his seat on the throne of Lydia. traversed the chamber at a bound. and laying her breast of the victim. sprang from his from the summit of the rock has been couching. so lustrous. knowing too cost. maddened and hiding-place like the tiger fascinated. and plunged the Bactrian poniard up to the where it very hilt in the heart of the descendant of Hercules. she directed upon the finger upon her accomplice a look so humid. and A. lived happily.KING CANDAULES 150 Overcome by the power of the nepenthe-juice. chastity of Nyssia was avenged. death of Candaules. Nyssia made a sign for Gyges to come forth from his retreat . so weighty with languishment. after having endured for five hundred and five years. son of Dascylus. indignant of at Gyges. Frinted by T. and commenced that of the Mermnades in the person The Sardians. so replete with intoxicating promise. Printers to His Majesty at the Edinburgh University Press . but the the oracle of Delphi having declared in favour of Gyges. Constable.

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