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corruption and cruelty of the Empire-parted, each intent on his purposes of evil.
The young scapegrace, Calphurnius—young in years, but old in vice-followed only too successfully this Satanic advice. He attached hlmself closely to Isidorus and became his very shadow —his other self. He lured him on to ostentatious extravagance of expenditure, often allowing him to win large sums at dice to replenish his depleted purse, and again winning from him every sesterce, and binding the Greek's fortunes more firmly to his own by lending him large sums, yet demanding usurious interest. The easy, pleasure-loving nature of Isidorus, intent on enjoying the passing hour and shrinking from suffering of body or anxiety of mind, made this descensus Averni all the more facile. He was thus led to forget all his good resolutions and noble purposes, and to plunge into the fashionable follies of the most corrupt society in the world. From the maundeing remarks which fell from his lips in his fits of drunkenness, for he rapidly lapsed into this baneful vice, Calphurnius constructed a monstrous story of treachery which he used to create an utter rupture between the Greek and the Christians, alleging that he had too irreparably betrayed them to be ever forgiven, and that the only way of escaping the doom which menaced them was to throw bimself into the arms of the party in power. It was with feelings of horror that in his rare moments of sober reflection Isidorus realized how fast and how far he had drifted from the thoughts, and feelings, and purposes of the hour when he knelt, in the Catacomb of Callixtus, at the feet of the good presbyter Primitius; or since he returned from Milan the restorer to the fair Calirrhoë of her sire; or even since, a few days before, Le bad conversed with Adauctus and beheld with admiration his serenity of spirit under the shadow of persecution and death.
Calphurnius exhausted every art to wring from his lips a legal accusation of the Christians, for even the ruthless persecutors wished to observe some forms of law in the destruction of their destined victims.
“ You have already betrayed them beyond reparation,” he said, “and you may as well obtain the reward. You have told all about your employment by Adauctus in a treasonable mission to the Christian sectaries at Ravenna and Milan. You have been present at their assemblies at the Villa Marcella and in the Catacombs. A short hand notary* has taken down every word you said, and it shall be used
* These tachugraphoi were in common employment in the courts, and the sermons of Chrysostom were also reported by their skill.
against you unless you turn evidence for the State, and save yourself by bringing its enemies to justice.”
“ Wretch !" cried the exasperated Greek. “ Cease to torment me! 'Tis you who have tempted me to this perfidy, and now you seek to goad me to perdition. The Christians are no traitors to the State, and you know it.”
“The edict of the Emperors declares that they are,” said Calphurnius, with a sneer, “perhaps you can persuade their Divine Majesties that they are mistaken.”
“ What would you ? What further infamy would you have me commit?” exclaimed the tortured Isidorus.
“Only declare before the Prefect what you have already divulged to me. By refusing you only imperil yourself,” replied his tormentor.
“I consent," moaned the craven-hearted Greek, and he went on withi a shudder, “I am doubledyed in infamy already. I can acquire no deeper stain.”
'Tut, man! don't be a fool! Rome can pay her servants vell. You will soon be well rewarded," and like an incarnate Diabolus, the accuser of the brethren proceeded to earn, as anotler Judas, the wages of iniquity by betraying innocent blood.
< SIDORUS reluctantly accompanied Cal
phurnius to the tribunal of the Prefect; and there, partly through intimidation, partly through cajolery, he gave such information as to his expedition to Ravenna and Milan as the Prefect chose to ask. This was tortured, by that unscrupulous officer, into an accusation against the Empress Valeria of conspiracy with the Chancellor, Adauctus, and others of the Christian sect, against the worship of the gods of Rome, and so, constructively, of treason against the State. This indictment-accusatio, as it was technically called—was duly formulated, and attested under the seal of the Prefect's Court. Naso, the Prefect, and Furca, the priest, found a congenial task in submitting the document to the Emperor Galerius, and asking his authority to proceed against the accused. They visited the palace at an hour when it had been arranged that the Emperor's evil genius, the cruel Fausta, should be with him, to exert her malign influence in procuring the downfall of the object of her malice—the Empress Valeria—and the destruction of the Christian sect. “ The insulted gods appeal to your Divine Majesty for protection, and for the punishment of the atheists who despise their worship and defy their power," began the high-priest of Cybele, seeking to work upon the superstition of the Illyrian herdsman, raised to the Imperial purple.
Well, my worthy friend,” replied the Emperor in a bantering tone, " what is the matter now. Has any one been poaching on your preserves ?"
“ This is not a matter of private concern, Your Majesty," remarked the Prefect gravely. “It touches the welfare of the State and the stability of your throne.”
“Yes, and your personal and domestic honour, too,” whispered Fausta in his ear.
It must be something pretty comprehensive to do all that. Come, out with it at once,” laughed the Emperor.
Thus adjured, Furca began to recount the insults offered to the gods by the Christians, and, especially, that the Empress no longer attended their public festivals.
“Oh yes, I understand,” said the Emperor, with