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guileless, worthy, pious, amiable, modest, faithful to God, endeared to her husband, the nurse of her family, humble to all, a lover of the poor.
She lived with me (i.e., was married) thirty-two years, nine months, five days, ten hours, six scruples (about a quarter of an hour - they were very scrupulous about this). She lived (altogether) fifty-two years, five months, more or less. The sore-broken husband bewails, with tears and bitter lamentation, his incomparable spouse."
“Yes, I made it all up, and carved it all myself,” said the old man, as Isidorus finished reading the long inscription; "and if I say it myself, I don't think there is a better in the whole Catacomb; you see, I selec:ed the best bits from all the best epitaphs, and she deserved it every word, dear soul,” and he drew his rough hand across his moistened eyes.
The easy-tempered Greek was too good-natured to inflict wanton pain, so he ignored its bad Latinity, and contented himself with saying that “it was indeed a very remarkable epitaph."
In a few minutes they emerged from the gloom of the Catacomb to the golden glory which was flooding the broad Campagna from the westering
* Would,” thought Isidorus within himself, “that I could thus emerge from the gloomy doubts and fears in which my spirit gropes, to the golden light of Christian life.”
AE Empress Valeria had not forgotten her
purpose to discover, if possible, the father of her freed-woman, Callirhoë, and at the earliest opportunity took steps to accomplish her design. It was, she knew, a task of much difficulty, and one that required an intelligent and confidential agent. It was also of the utmost importance that some sign of identity should be exhibited as a guarantee of the good faith of the agent. With this view the Empress one day, as she sat at her toilet in the apartment described in our third chapter, thus interrogated her freed-woman and namesake, Valeria Callirhoë.
“Hast thou any token, child,” she asked, “ by which, should we find thy father, he would be assured of thy identity ?”
“I was despoiled of everything, your Majesty," said the girl," by the pirates by whom we were captured, except the clothes in which I stood. All my rings and jewellery were rudely snatched away, and I never saw them again.”
• What is that little amulet I have seen thee wear ?" asked the Empress; “I think thou hast it now.”
“Oh, that was so trivial and valueless," said Callirhoë, “that they either overlooked it or thought it not worth taking;” and she drew from the folds of her robe, where it hung suspended by a silken cord about her neck, a cornelian stone, carved into the shape of a tiny fish,* on which was inscribed the word, ENTHP,
Saviour," and on the other side the letters ΚΑΛ.ΔΗΜΗΤ.ΘΥΓ-a contraction for « Callirhoë daughter of Demetrius.”
“Trivial as it is," said the girl, with emotion, “it is something which I value above all price. My sainted mother, before she died, took it from her neck and put it upon mine; and I hope to wear it while I live.”
"You do not regard it as an amulet, or charm
* These objects, of which the writer has examined several, were given to neophytes on the occasion of their baptism, as an emblem of their holy faith. (See explanation of the symbol of the fish in last chapter, p. 82.) They were often used as a sign of membership in the Christian Church, somewhat like our modern class-tickets.
against evil spirits, I am sure, like some Christians, who have not quite shaken off their pagan superstitions."
“Nay, your Majesty, but as a symbol of our holy faith. Yet it might well be a spell to keep my soul from sin, so sacred are its associations."
"I want you to give it to me,” said tlie Empress.
“It is yours, your Majesty," said the girl, taking it from her neck, and passionately kissing
"To no one else on earth would I give it; but from my best benefactress I can withhold nothing."
I would not put thee to the pain of parting with it," said the Empress, with a kind caress, “but I need it as a clue, to find, if possible, thy father, and when found, as an identification of his child. I do not wish to raise hopes which may be doomed to disappointment; but I am about to make a strenuous effort to discover thy sire.”
“A thousand thanks, dearest lady," exclaimed the grateful girl, kissing her mistress's hands and bedewing them with her tears. “I feel sure that God will reward your efforts, and answer my ceaseless prayers.”
In pursuance of her purpose, the Empress wrote upon a scroll of parchment the following letter to her faithful counsellor, Adauctus :
Valeria, consort of the co-Emperor Galerius Cæsar—to Adauctus, Treasurer of the Imperial Exchequer, greeting:
“Honoured Servant, -Thy mistress hath need of a faithful and intelligent agent, to execute a delicate and difficult mission. He must be of good address, and must be a man whom I can implicitly trust. When thou hast found such, bring him with thee to the palace."
Having bound the scroll with a silken cord, and affixed her signet in purple wax, and addressed the document to the Imperial Treasurer, she sent it by a soldier of the guard, whom we would describe in modern parlance as an orderlyin-waiting, to Adauctus.
During the latter part of the day, the chamberlain announced a visit from “His Excellency the Imperial Treasurer.” That officer was received with much honour by the Empress, who was attended only by her faithful freed woman. Many thanks, your Excellency, for
your prompt attendance.
Have you found me the paragon whom I require ?"
“I cannot avouch for that, your Majesty, but he is highly commended by his master, an honest soldier, who places him at your Majesty's service. Of his nimble wit and subtle parts, I can myself bear witness, and my own servant testifies that,