ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
For those cold and murderous presences in the clustered inner suns had reached out as casually as a bear flicking a salmon out of a run and snatched the unknown woman from Hatcher's planet. They could reach anywhere in the galaxy their thoughts roamed.
The Church of Saint Polycarp had very much the look of a Roman Catholic chapel. I do not wish to run the risk of giving names to the ecclesiastical furniture which gave it such a Romish aspect; but there were pictures, and inscriptions in antiquated characters, and there were reading-stands, and flowers on the altar, and other elegant arrangements. Then there were boys to sing alternately in choirs responsive to each other, and there was much bowing, with very loud responding, and a long service and a short sermon, and a bag, such as Judas used to hold in the old pictures, was carried round to receive contributions. Everything was done not only “decently and in order,” but, perhaps one might say, with a certain air of magnifying their office on the part of the dignified clergymen, often two or three in number. The music and the free welcome were grateful to Iris, and she forgot her prejudices at the door of the chapel. For this was a church with open doors, with seats for all classes and all colors alike,——a church of zealous worshippers after their faith, of charitable and serviceable men and women, one that took care of its children and never forgot its poor, and whose people were much more occupied in looking out for their own souls than in attacking the faith of their neighbors. In its mode of worship there was a union of two qualities,——the taste and refinement, which the educated require just as much in their churches as elsewhere, and the air of stateliness, almost of pomp, which impresses the common worshipper, and is often not without its effect upon those who think they hold outward forms as of little value. Under the half-Romish aspect of the Church of Saint Polycarp, the young girl found a devout and loving and singularly cheerful religious spirit. The artistic sense, which betrayed itself in the dramatic proprieties of its ritual, harmonized with her taste. The mingled murmur of the loud responses, in those rhythmic phrases, so simple, yet so fervent, almost as if every tenth heart-beat, instead of its dull tic-tac, articulated itself as “Good Lord, deliver us!”——the sweet alternation of the two choirs, as their holy song floated from side to side,——the keen young voices rising like a flight of singing-birds that passes from one grove to another, carrying its music with it back and forward,——why should she not love these gracious outward signs of those inner harmonies which none could deny made beautiful the lives of many of her fellow-worshippers in the humble, yet not inelegant Chapel of Saint Polycarp?
So Hugh took it, and went with them till they came to the fair, which was filled with a crowd of people he had never seen on the island in all his days. And they danced and laughed and drank red wine from little cups. And there were pipers, and harpers, and little cobblers mending shoes, and all the most beautiful things in the world to eat and drink, just as if they were in a king’s palace. But the basket was very heavy, and Hugh longed to drop it, that he might go and dance with a little beauty with long yellow hair, that was laughing up close to his face.
Whatever might become of his mind, it was clear that his body would die if it were left unfed and uncared-for much longer. So he had brought it back to the Jodrell Bank. He stood up and avoided Chris's questions. "Let me get something to eat, and then get cleaned up a little." (He had discovered that his body stank.) "Then I'll tell you everything you want to know—you and the captain, and anybody else who wants to listen. And we'll have to send a dispatch to Earth, too, because this is important.... But, please, I only want to tell it once." Because—he did not say—I may not have time to tell it again.
On the silken covers of a couch in a remote corner of the tent which was occupied by the women of the harem of Artabazus, lay the grief-stricken form of the Greek captive, Ladice. She had been informed of the death of Masistius, and with that realization had come also the awful knowledge that soon she would be the property of the Persian Artabazus, whose lewdness was the common talk of the camp. Her brows were delicately arched and her long lashes swept her cheeks meeting the flush of color brought to her face as a result of hours of feverish weeping. Her hair, brown with a gleam of copper, hung over her partially bare shoulders.
“Quick! gather rocks and stones and pile them near the wall. The ascent is steep and few can attempt to scale it at a time. We can easily hold them back from the steps with these stones till our soldiers at Salamis return to our aid.” Kyrsilus forced an air of bravado to encourage his countrymen, but his heart sank as he beheld the barbarian host! For a brief space the maid’s doubt as to the wisdom of the oracle also took possession of him, but only for a moment. He thought, “When all else fails, Athena will protect her sanctuary and we can find refuge there.” Soon the oscillating wave of humanity was beneath them. A voice from below rang out clearly above the clash of weapons:
Corinna approached her mother as the latter stood near the altar of Zeus, in conversation with the prospective bride and bridegroom.
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