The House In The
Retracing some hours, we turn from the rifted wall to the suburbs and the country
which its ramparts overlook; abandoning the footsteps of the maimed and darkly-
plotting Ulpius, our attention now fixes itself on the fortunes of Hermanric, and
the fate of Antonina.
Although the evening had as yet scarcely closed, the Goth had allotted to the
warriors under his command their different stations for the night in the lonely
suburbs of the city. This duty performed, he was left to the unbroken solitude of
the deserted tenement which now served him as a temporary abode.
The house he occupied was the last of the wide and irregular street in which it
stood; it looked towards the wall beneath the Pincian Mount, from which it was
separated by a public garden about half a mile in extent. This once well-thronged
place of recreation was now totally unoccupied. Its dull groves were brightened
by no human forms; the chambers of its gay summer houses were dark and
desolate; the booths of its fruit and flower-sellers stood vacant on its untrodden
lawns. Melancholy and forsaken, it stretched forth as a fertile solitude under the
very walls of a crowded city.
And yet there was a charm inexpressibly solemn and soothing in the prospect of
loneliness that it presented, as its flower-beds and trees were now gradually
obscured to the eye in the shadows of the advancing night. It gained in its present
refinement as much as it had lost of its former gaiety; it had its own simple
attraction still, though it failed to sparkle to the eye with its accustomed
illuminations, or to please the ear by the music and laughter, which rose from it in
times of peace. As he looked forth over the view from the terrace of his new
abode, the remembrance of the employments of his past and busy hours deserted
the memory of the young Goth, leaving his faculties free to welcome the
reflections which night began insensibly to awaken and create.
Employed under such auspices, whither would the thoughts of Hermanric
From the moonlight that already began to ripple over the topmost trembling
leaves of the trees beyond him, to the delicate and shadowy flowers that twined
up the pillars of the deserted terrace where he now stood, every object he beheld
connected itself, to his vivid and uncultured imagination, with the one being of
whom all that was beautiful in nature, seemed to him the eloquent and befitting
type. He thought of Antonina whom he had once protected; of Antonina whom he
had afterwards abandoned; of Antonina whom he had now lost!
Strong in the imaginative and weak in the reasoning faculties; gifted with large
moral perception and little moral firmness; too easy to be influenced and too
difficult to be resolved, Hermanric had deserted the girl's interests from an
infirmity of disposition, rather than from a determination of will. Now, therefore,
when the employments of the day had ceased to absorb his attention; now when