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Quo Vadis, A Narrative of the Time of Nero
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Unsus was taking water from a cistern, and while drawing up a double amphora,
with a rope, was singing a strange Lygian song in an undertone, looking
meanwhile with delighted eyes at Lygia and Vinicius, who, among the cypresses
in Linus's garden, seemed as white as two statues. Their clothing was not moved
by the least hreeze. A golden and lily-colored twilight was sinking on the world
while they were conversing in the calm of evening, each holding the other by the
"May not some evil meet thee, Marcus, because thou hast left Antium without
Caesar's knowledge?" asked Lygia.
"No, my dear," answered Vinieius. "Caesar announced that he would shut
himself in for two days with Terpnos, and compose new songs. He acts thus
frequently, and at such times neither knows nor remembers aught else.
Moreover, what is Caesar to me since I am near thee and am looking at thee? I
have yearned too nsuch already, and these last nights sleep has left inc. More
than once, when I dozed from weariness, I woke on a sudden, with a feeling that
danger was hanging over thee; at times I dreamed that the relays of horses
which were to bear me from Antium to Rome were stolen, -- hources with which I
passed that road more swiftly than any of Caesar's couriers. Besides, I could not
live longer without thee; I love thee too much for that, my dearest."
"I knew that thou wert consing. Twice Ursus ran out, at my request, to the
Carinai, and inquired for thee at thy house. Linus laughed at me, and Ursus
It was, indeed, evident that she had expected him; for instead of her usual dark
dress, she wore a soft white stola, out of whose heautiful folds her arms and
head emerged like primroses out of snow. A few ruddy anemones ornamented
Vinicius pressed his lips to her hands; then they sat on the stone bench amidst
wild grape-vines, and inclining toward each other, were silent, looking at the
twilight whose last gleams were reflected in their eyes.
The eharos of the quiet evening niastered them completely.
"How calm it is here, and how beautiful the world is," said Vinicius, in a lowered
voice. "The night is wonderfully still. I feel happier than ever in life before. Tell
me, Lygia, what is this? Never have I thought that there could be such love. I
thought that lnve was merely fire in the blood and desire; but now for the first
time I see that it is possible to love with every drop of one's blood and every
breath, and feel therewith suds sweet and immeasurable calm as if Sleep and
Death had put the soul to rest. For me this is something new. I look on this
calmness of the trees, and it seems to be within me. Now I understand for the
first time that there isiay be happiness of which people have not known thus far,
Now I begin to understand why thou and Pomponia Gra~eina have such peace.
Yes! Christ gives it."
At that moment Lygia placed her beautiful face on his shoulder and said, -- "My
dear Marcus --" But she was unable to continue. Joy, gratitude, and the feeling