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his careless nature was touched with sympathy at the joy of the old man, “She is the freed woman of the Empress Valeria, and high in favour, too, I should judge, from the interest her august mistress showed in seeking for thee."
“ Benedic, anima mea, Domino," exclaimed the aged presbyter with fervour, “et omnia, quae intra me sunt, nomini sacro ejus-Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me bless His holy name.
He hath heard my prayer. He hath answered my supplication."
The old man's story was soon told. He had been rescued from the slave pen of Ezra, and employed in the service of the convent. His familiar knowledge of Greek led to his appointment as instructor in that language of the young acolytes and deacons who were in training for the office of the ministry. At length his superior gifts and fervent piety led to his own ordination as a presbyter of the Church of Milan.
FATHER AND DAUGHTER.
EMETRIUS was now eager to set out for.
Rome to behold once more the child whom he had scarce hoped ever to see again. A happy leave-taking of the brethren of Milan, who rejoiced in fraternal sympathy, followed; and on a gently ambling mule, at break of day, the old man rode forth beside the gallantly equipped Isidorus. He beguiled the weary way with questions about his long-lost daughter, as to her growth, appearance, her apparent health, and even the very garb she wore. He was never tired hearing about her, and recounting incidents of her childhood and youth. The only shadow upon his joy was the vague mystery concerning the fate of his son. But he said cheerfully: "God is good. He has restored to me one of my children. I feel confident that in His own good time He will restore also the other."
Beneath the fatigue of the long journey of nearly three hundred miles his powers would have failed, had he not been inspirited and sustained by the thrilling anticipation of beholding once more his beloved child.
At length, near sunset, on the tenth day, they drew near the great metropolis of the Empire. Clearer and clearer to the view rose the sevenhilled city's pride, the snowy marble peristyles and pediments of palace and temple, gleaming in the rosy light like transparent alabaster. To the left rose the cliff-like walls of the Colosseum, even then venerable with the time-stains of cver two hundred years. In the foreground stretched the long Aurelian Wall, with its towers and battlements and strong arched gates. They crossed the Tiber by the Milvian Bridge, built three hundred years before, and destined to witness within ten years that fierce struggle for the mastery of the empire, between Constantire and Maxentius, when the British-born Cæsar saw, or thought he saw, in the mid-day heavens a blazing cross, and exclaiming "By this sign we conquer," overwhelmed his adversary in the rushing river. *
Passing under the hill crowned with the
* A magnificent painting in the Vatican represents with vivid realisin this scene, the drowning of the Pagan Emperor, and the defeat and flight of all his army,
famous gardens of Lucullus, now known as the Pincio, and beneath the heavy-arched gateway in the wall, they made their way through the narrow streets towards the centre of the city the Forum and the Palatine. It was a day of festival—the last day of the Quinquatria, or festival of Minerva. Garlands of flowers, and wreaths of laurel, festooned many of the houses, in front of which blazed coloured cressets and lamps. Sacred processions were passing through the streets, with torches and music and chantings of priests; and ever and anon the shrill blare of the sacred trumpets pierced the ear of night. In the Forum the temples of Saturn, and of Castor, and Pollux were richly adorned and brilliantly illuminated, and a great throng of merry-makers filled the
Turning to the left, our travellers ascended the slope of the Palatine Hill, amid everincreasing grandeur of architecture. Demetrius, though he had travelled far and seen much, was struck with astonishment at the splendour and magnificence of the buildings. Not at Jerusalem, or Damascus, or Antioch, not at Ravenna or Milan, had he witnessed such wealth of porphyry and marble, such stately colonades and peristyles, covering acres of ground—now but a mound of mouldering ruins.
" Whither art thou leading me?” asked Demetrius, as they stood before a palace of snowy marble which, bathed in the mellow radiance of the rising moon, seemed transformed into translucent alabaster.
"To the abode where dwells thy daughter, the favoured freed-woman of the mistress of all this splendour," replied Isidorus, enjoying the wonder and admiration of his companion in travel.
A fountain splashed in the centre of the square, its waters flashing like silver in the moonlight. The burnished mail of the Roman soldiers gleamed as the guard was changed, and their armour clashed as they grounded their spears and saluted the officer of the watch.
What, Max, are you on duty to-night?” said Isidorus as he recognized a soldier of the guard. “ Any promotion in your service yet ?”
“No, but I see that there is in yours," said the bluff out-spoken guardsman.
"Well, yes, I flatter myself that there is,” replied the vain-glorious Greek, “and I hope for still more.”
Announcing to the chamberlain of the palace that he had just arrived from a journey of important business for the Empress Valeria, he with Demetrius were taken to a marble bath, where with the aid of a skilful slave, they made