That still for man hereafter might be the tale and the lay.’
“Those who have seen us both,” answered Ulysses, “have always said we were wonderfully like each other, and now you have noticed it too.
(I) I do not think so; for in that case the English workmen would have died of starvation; and then the French conquest would have ruined the French, just as if the English horses and cattle had died of under-feeding. So that after all, the English WORKMEN would have been no worse off for the conquest: their French Masters could have got no more from them than their English masters did.
I took it out of her hand to look at it, and while I did so, forgot my caution, and said, “But however am I to pay for such a thing as this?”
“Thus did they speak and I assented. Thereon through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we feasted our fill on meat and wine, but when the sun went down and it came on dark the men laid themselves down to sleep in the covered cloisters. I, however, after I had got into bed with Circe, besought her by her knees, and the goddess listened to what I had got to say. ‘Circe,’ said I, ‘please to keep the promise you made me about furthering me on my homeward voyage. I want to get back and so do my men, they are always pestering me with their complaints as soon as ever your back is turned.’
‘So there’s an end of our misery — isn’t it, darling? What misery! Good God, how I have suffered! Haven’t you known it?’
“If you are Ulysses,” said he, “then what you have said is just. We have done much wrong on your lands and in your house. But Antinous who was the head and front of the offending lies low already. It was all his doing. It was not that he wanted to marry Penelope; he did not so much care about that; what he wanted was something quite different, and Jove has not vouchsafed it to him; he wanted to kill your son and to be chief man in Ithaca. Now, therefore, that he has met the death which was his due, spare the lives of your people. We will make everything good among ourselves, and pay you in full for all that we have eaten and drunk. Each one of us shall pay you a fine worth twenty oxen, and we will keep on giving you gold and bronze till your heart is softened. Until we have done this no one can complain of your being enraged against us.”
Then Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, answered him: ‘Yea now, my child, I will tell thee the whole truth. Verily thou guessest aright even of thyself how things would have fallen out, if Menelaus of the fair hair, the son of Atreus, when he came back from Troy, had found Aegisthus yet alive in the halls. Then even in his death would they not have heaped the piled earth over him, but dogs and fowls of the air would have devoured him as he lay on the plain far from the town. 5 Nor would any of the Achaean women have bewailed him; so dread was the deed he contrived. Now we sat in leaguer there, achieving many adventures; but he the while in peace in the heart of Argos, the pastureland of horses, spake ofttimes, tempting her, to the wife of Agamemnon. Verily at the first she would none of the foul deed, the fair Clytemnestra, for she had a good understanding. Moreover there was with her a minstrel, whom the son of Atreus straitly charged as he went to Troy to have a care of his wife. But when at last the doom of the gods bound her to her ruin, then did Aegisthus carry the minstrel to a lonely isle, and left him there to be the prey and spoil of birds; while as for her, he led her to his house, a willing lover with a willing lady. And he burnt many thigh slices upon the holy altars of the gods, and hung up many offerings, woven-work and gold, seeing that he had accomplished a great deed, beyond all hope. Now we, I say, were sailing together on our way from Troy, the son of Atreus and I, as loving friends. But when we had reached holy Sunium, the headland of Athens, there Phoebus Apollo slew the pilot of Menelaus with the visitation of his gentle shafts, as he held between his hands the rudder of the running ship, even Phrontis, son of Onetor, who excelled the tribes of men in piloting a ship, whenso the storm-winds were hurrying by. Thus was Menelaus holden there, though eager for the way, till he might bury his friend and pay the last rites over him. But when he in his turn, faring over the wine-dark sea in hollow ships, reached in swift course the steep mount of Malea, then it was that Zeus of the far-borne voice devised a hateful path, and shed upon them the breath of the shrill winds, and great swelling waves arose like unto mountains. There sundered he the fleet in twain, and part thereof he brought nigh to Crete, where the Cydonians dwelt about the streams of Iardanus. Now there is a certain cliff, smooth and sheer towards the sea, on the border of Gortyn, in the misty deep, where the South–West Wind drives a great wave against the left headland, towards Phaestus, and a little rock keeps back the mighty water. Thither came one part of the fleet, and the men scarce escaped destruction, but the ships were broken by the waves against the rock; while those other five dark-prowed ships the wind and the water bare and brought nigh to Egypt. Thus Menelaus, gathering much livelihood and gold, was wandering there with his ships among men of strange speech, and even then Aegisthus planned that pitiful work at home. And for seven years he ruled over Mycenae, rich in gold, after he slew the son of Atreus, and the people were subdued unto him. But in the eighth year came upon him goodly Orestes back from Athens to be his bane, and slew the slayer of his father, guileful Aegisthus, who killed his famous sire. Now when he had slain him, he made a funeral feast to the Argives over his hateful mother, and over the craven Aegisthus. And on the selfsame day there came to him Menelaus of the loud war-cry, bringing much treasure, even all the freight of his ships. So thou, my friend, wander not long far away from home, leaving thy substance behind thee and men in thy house so wanton, lest they divide and utterly devour all thy wealth, and thou shalt have gone on a vain journey. Rather I bid and command thee to go to Menelaus, for he hath lately come from a strange country, from the land of men whence none would hope in his heart to return, whom once the storms have driven wandering into so wide a sea. Thence not even the birds can make their way in the space of one year, so great a sea it is and terrible. But go now with thy ship and with thy company, or if thou hast a mind to fare by land, I have a chariot and horses at thy service, yea and my sons to do thy will, who will be thy guides to goodly Lacedaemon, where is Menelaus of the fair hair. Do thou thyself entreat him, that he may give thee unerring answer. He will not lie to thee, for he is very wise.’
At twelve, just as the gas went out, another pair came to repose. They had been quarrelling, and were very gloomy. After a long and acrimonious discussion in the dark as to which of them should find a candle — it ended in one of the girls who was in bed impatiently supplying a light — they began sullenly to throw off their garments.
‘No one writes to you?’ the listener finally inquired.
Late in June, Monica would complete her twenty-first year; the elders, full of affection for the sister, who so notably surpassed them in beauty of person, talked much about her as the time approached, devising how to procure her a little pleasure on her birthday. Virginia thought a suitable present would be a copy of ‘the Christian Year’.
Miss Nunn seemed to hesitate.
This is a bird of the great Murray belt, and was first shot by my very valued friend Mr. Gould, when in a bush excursion with me in South Australia. It is by no means a common bird, and is exceedingly wary.
Two days went by, and again a letter from Widdowson was delivered,
‘I might go into a country business: it would be easier.’
Go down to the end of that wooden bridge, seat yourself on the rail, and there sit till all the outer world is lost to you. There is no grander spot about Niagara than this. The waters are absolutely around you. If you have that power of eye-contrio which is so necessary to the full enjoyment of scenery, you will see nothing but the water. You will certainly hear nothing else; and the sound, I beg you to remember, is not an ear-cracking, agonizing crash and clang of noises, but is melodious and soft withal, though loud as thunder. It fills your ears, and, as it were, envelops them, but at the same time you can speak to your neighbor without an effort. But at this place, and in these moments, the less of speaking, I should say, the better. There is no grander spot than this. Here, seated on the rail of the bridge, you will not see the whole depth of the fall. In looking at the grandest works of nature, and of art too, I fancy it is never well to see all. There should be something left to the imagination, and much should be half concealed in mystery. The greatest charm of a mountain range is the wild feeling that there must be strange, unknown, desolate worlds in those far-off valleys beyond. And so here, at Niagara, that converging rush of waters may fall down, down at once into a hell of rivers, for what the eye can see. It is glorious to watch them in their first curve over the rocks. They come green as a bank of emeralds, but with a fitful, flying color, as though conscious that in one moment more they would be dashed into spray and rise into air, pale as driven snow. The vapor rises high into the air, and is gathered there, visible always as a permanent white cloud over the cataract; but the bulk of the spray which fills the lower hollow of that horseshoe is like a tumult of snow. This you will not fully see from your seat on the rail. The head of it rises ever and anon out of that caldron below, but the caldron itself will be invisible. It is ever so far down — far as your own imagination can sink it. But your eyes will rest full upon the curve of the waters. The shape you will be looking at is that of a horseshoe, but of a horseshoe miraculously deep from toe to heel; and this depth becomes greater as you sit there. That which at first was only great and beautiful becomes gigantic and sublime, till the mind is at loss to find an epithet for its own use. To realize Niagara, you must sit there till you see nothing else than that which you have come to see. You will hear nothing else, and think of nothing else. At length you will be at one with the tumbling river before you. You will find yourself among the waters as though you belonged to them. The cool, liquid green will run through your veins, and the voice of the cataract will be the expression of your own heart. You will fall as the bright waters fall, rushing down into your new world with no hesitation and with no dismay; and you will rise again as the spray rises, bright, beautiful, and pure. Then you will flow away in your course to the uncompassed, distant, and eternal ocean.
“Apology: There’s no apology,” cries Barnes, holding out a couple of fingers of his hand, but looking towards the Colonel. “I don’t know what happened any more than the dead. Did we have a row? Were there any glasses broken? The best way in such cases is to sweep ’em up. We can’t mend them.”
‘Of course. Quite late enough, under the circumstances. It was very unfortunate, but I don’t suppose Everard cared much. He would enjoy the opportunity of teasing you.’
On Monday evening, returned from Great Portland Street, the first thing she did was to visit Rhoda’s chamber. The ashes of burnt paper had been cleared away, but a glance informed her of the needless and unprecedented care with which Miss Nunn had collected and packed most of the things that belonged to her. Again Mary had a troubled night.
Then that sad rogue Bayham must get up, and call earnestly and respectfully for silence and the chairman’s hearty sympathy, for the few observations which he had to propose. “Our armies had been drunk with proper enthusiasm — such men as he beheld around him deserved the applause of all honest hearts, and merited the cheers with which their names had been received. (‘Hear, hear!’ from Barnes Newcome sarcastically. ‘Hear, hear, HEAR!’ fiercely from Clive.) But whilst we applauded our army, should we forget a profession still more exalted? Yes, still more exalted, I say in the face of the gallant General opposite; and that profession, I need not say, is the Church. (Applause.) Gentlemen, we have among us one who, while partaking largely of the dainties on this festive board, drinking freely of the sparkling wine-cup which our gallant hospitality administers to us, sanctifies by his presence the feast of which he partakes, inaugurates with appropriate benedictions, and graces it, I may say, both before and after meat. Gentlemen, Charles Honeyman was the friend of my childhood, his father the instructor of my early days. If Frederick Bayham’s latter life has been chequered by misfortune, it may be that I have forgotten the precepts which the venerable parent of Charles Honeyman poured into an inattentive ear. He too, as a child, was not exempt from faults; as a young man, I am told, not quite free from youthful indiscretions. But in this present Anno Domini, we hail Charles Honeyman as a precept and an example, as a decus fidei and a lumen ecclesiae (as I told him in the confidence of the private circle this morning, and ere I ever thought to publish my opinion in this distinguished company). Colonel Newcome and Mr. Binnie! I drink to the health of the Reverend Charles Honeyman, A.M. May we listen to many more of his sermons, as well as to that admirable discourse with which I am sure he is about to electrify us now. May we profit by his eloquence; and cherish in our memories the truths which come mended from his tongue!” He ceased; poor Honeyman had to rise on his legs, and gasp out a few incoherent remarks in reply. Without a book before him, the Incumbent of Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel was no prophet, and the truth is he made poor work of his oration.
I was getting nettled, and said: “What you mean is that you de-cockneyised the place, and sent the damned flunkies packing, and that everybody can live comfortably and happily, and not a few damned thieves only, who were centres of vulgarity and corruption wherever they were, and who, as to this lovely river, destroyed its beauty morally, and had almost destroyed it physically, when they were thrown out of it.”
When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, the sons of Autolycus went out with their hounds hunting, and Ulysses went too. They climbed the wooded slopes of Parnassus and soon reached its breezy upland valleys; but as the sun was beginning to beat upon the fields, fresh-risen from the slow still currents of Oceanus, they came to a mountain dell. The dogs were in front searching for the tracks of the beast they were chasing, and after them came the sons of Autolycus, among whom was Ulysses, close behind the dogs, and he had a long spear in his hand. Here was the lair of a huge boar among some thick brushwood, so dense that the wind and rain could not get through it, nor could the sun’s rays pierce it, and the ground underneath lay thick with fallen leaves. The boar heard the noise of the men’s feet, and the hounds baying on every side as the huntsmen came up to him, so rushed from his lair, raised the bristles on his neck, and stood at bay with fire flashing from his eyes. Ulysses was the first to raise his spear and try to drive it into the brute, but the boar was too quick for him, and charged him sideways, ripping him above the knee with a gash that tore deep though it did not reach the bone. As for the boar, Ulysses hit him on the right shoulder, and the point of the spear went right through him, so that he fell groaning in the dust until the life went out of him. The sons of Autolycus busied themselves with the carcass of the boar, and bound Ulysses’ wound; then, after saying a spell to stop the bleeding, they went home as fast as they could. But when Autolycus and his sons had thoroughly healed Ulysses, they made him some splendid presents, and sent him back to Ithaca with much mutual good will. When he got back, his father and mother were rejoiced to see him, and asked him all about it, and how he had hurt himself to get the scar; so he told them how the boar had ripped him when he was out hunting with Autolycus and his sons on Mount Parnassus.
In the amendments to the Constitution, it is enacted that Congress shall make no law as to the establishment of any religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and also that it shall not abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of petition. The government, however, as is well known, has taken upon itself to abridge the freedom of the press. The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. Then follow various clauses intended for the security of the people in reference to the administration of the laws. They shall not be troubled by unreasonable searches. They shall not be made to answer for great offenses except by indictment of a grand jury. They shall not be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense. They shall not be compelled to give evidence against themselves. Private property shall not be taken for public use without compensation. Accused persons in criminal proceedings shall be entitled to speedy and public trial. They shall be confronted with the witnesses against them, and shall have assistance of counsel. Suits in which the value controverted is above twenty dollars (4l.) shall be tried before juries. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. In all which enactments we see, I think, a close resemblance to those which have been time honored among ourselves.
Said I: “None whatever, I am sorry to say.”
‘I can’t answer you at once,’ she said, half turning away.
The rest agreed, and Leiodes son of OEnops was the first to rise. He was sacrificial priest to the suitors, and sat in the corner near the mixing-bowl. He was the only man who hated their evil deeds and was indignant with the others. He was now the first to take the bow and arrow, so he went on to the pavement to make his trial, but he could not string the bow, for his hands were weak and unused to hard work, they therefore soon grew tired, and he said to the suitors, “My friends, I cannot string it; let another have it; this bow shall take the life and soul out of many a chief among us, for it is better to die than to live after having missed the prize that we have so long striven for, and which has brought us so long together. Some one of us is even now hoping and praying that he may marry Penelope, but when he has seen this bow and tried it, let him woo and make bridal offerings to some other woman, and let Penelope marry whoever makes her the best offer and whose lot it is to win her.”
On the eighteenth morning they rode forth from Vienna. Many shields were pierced in tilting by spears, which the warriors bare in hand. Thus King Etzel came down to the Hunnish land. They spent the night at ancient Heimburg. 120 No one might know the press of folk, or with what force they rode across the land. Ho, what fair women they found in Etzel’s native land! At mighty Misenburg 121 they boarded ship. The water which men saw flowing there was covered with steeds and men, as if it were solid earth. The wayworn ladies had their ease and rest. Many good ships were lashed together, that neither waves nor flood might do them harm. Upon them many a goodly tent was spread, as if they still had both land and plain.
Then Menelaus, of the loud war cry, answered him: ‘Telemachus, as for me, I will not hold thee a long time here, that art eager to return; nay, I think it shame even in another host, who loves overmuch or hates overmuch. Measure is best in all things. He does equal wrong who speeds a guest that would fain abide, and stays one who is in haste to be gone. Men should lovingly entreat the present guest and speed the parting. But abide till I bring fair gifts and set them on the car and thine own eyes behold them, and I bid the women to prepare the midday meal in the halls, out of the good store they have within. Honour and glory it is for us, and gain withal for thee, that ye should have eaten well ere ye go on your way, over vast and limitless lands. What and if thou art minded to pass through Hellas and mid Argos? So shall I too go with thee, and yoke thee horses and lead thee to the towns of men, and none shall send us empty away, but will give us some one thing to take with us, either a tripod of goodly bronze or a cauldron, or two mules or a golden chalice.’
“Ethel is a brick, and Alfred is a trump, I think you say,” remarks Lady Kew, nodding approval; “and Barnes is a snob. This is very satisfactory to know.”
The men who introduced this doctrine did not posit Ideas of classes within which they recognized priority and posteriority (which is the reason why they did not maintain the existence of an Idea embracing all numbers); but the term ‘good’ is used both in the category of substance and in that of quality and in that of relation, and that which is per se, i.e. substance, is prior in nature to the relative (for the latter is like an off shoot and accident of being); so that there could not be a common Idea set over all these goods. Further, since ‘good’ has as many senses as ‘being’ (for it is predicated both in the category of substance, as of God and of reason, and in quality, i.e. of the virtues, and in quantity, i.e. of that which is moderate, and in relation, i.e. of the useful, and in time, i.e. of the right opportunity, and in place, i.e. of the right locality and the like), clearly it cannot be something universally present in all cases and single; for then it could not have been predicated in all the categories but in one only. Further, since of the things answering to one Idea there is one science, there would have been one science of all the goods; but as it is there are many sciences even of the things that fall under one category, e.g. of opportunity, for opportunity in war is studied by strategics and in disease by medicine, and the moderate in food is studied by medicine and in exercise by the science of gymnastics. And one might ask the question, what in the world they mean by ‘a thing itself’, is (as is the case) in ‘man himself’ and in a particular man the account of man is one and the same. For in so far as they are man, they will in no respect differ; and if this is so, neither will ‘good itself’ and particular goods, in so far as they are good. But again it will not be good any the more for being eternal, since that which lasts long is no whiter than that which perishes in a day. The Pythagoreans seem to give a more plausible account of the good, when they place the one in the column of goods; and it is they that Speusippus seems to have followed.
He, Clive, and I made a pilgrimage to Grey Friars, and had the Green to ourselves, it being the Bartlemytide vacation, and the boys all away. One of the good old Poor Brothers whom we both recollected accompanied us round the place; and we sate for a while in Captain Scarsdale’s little room (he had been a Peninsular officer, who had sold out, and was fain in his old age to retire into this calm retreat). And we talked, as old schoolmates and lovers talk, about subjects interesting to schoolmates and lovers only.
After all his hardships Gunther liked well this speech. Sir Siegfried spake again: “Thou mayst well be of good cheer. I ween we fared unlike last night. Thy sister Kriemhild is dearer to me than life; the Lady Brunhild must become thy wife to-night. I’ll come to thy chamber this night, so secretly in my Cloud Cloak, that none may note at all my arts. Then let the chamberlains betake them to their lodgings and I’ll put out the lights in the pages’ hands, whereby thou mayst know that I be within and that I’ll gladly serve thee. I’ll tame for time thy wife, that thou mayst have her love to-night, or else I’ll lose my life.”
‘So I spake, and then he prayed to the lord Poseidon stretching forth his hands to the starry heaven: “Hear me, Poseidon, girdler of the earth, god of the dark hair, if indeed I be thine, and thou avowest thee my sire — grant that he may never come to his home, even Odysseus, waster of cities, the son of Laertes, whose dwelling is in Ithaca; yet if he is ordained to see his friends and come unto his well-builded house, and his own country, late may he come in evil case, with the loss of all his company, in the ship of strangers, and find sorrows in his house.”
‘It matters a good deal. Have you told her any scandal about me?’
When we first visited the spot we were alone, and we walked across from the railway line to the place at which the boats were moored. They lay in treble rank along the shore, and immediately above them an old steamboat was fastened against the bank. Her back was broken, and she was given up to ruin — placed there that she might rot quietly into her watery grave. It was midwinter, and every tree was covered with frozen sleet and small particles of snow which had drizzled through the air; for the snow had not fallen in hearty, honest flakes. The ground beneath our feet was crisp with frost, but traitorous in its crispness; not frozen manfully so as to bear a man’s weight, but ready at every point to let him through into the fat, glutinous mud below. I never saw a sadder picture, or one which did more to awaken pity for those whose fate had fixed their abodes in such a locality. And yet there was a beauty about it too — a melancholy, death-like beauty. The disordered ruin and confused decay of the forest was all gemmed with particles of ice. The eye reaching through the thin underwood could form for itself picturesque shapes and solitary bowers of broken wood, which were bright with the opaque brightness of the hoar-frost. The great river ran noiselessly along, rapid but still with an apparent lethargy in its waters. The ground beneath our feet was fertile beyond compare, but as yet fertile to death rather than to life. Where we then trod man had not yet come with his axe and his plow; but the railroad was close to us, and within a mile of the spot thousands of dollars had been spent in raising a city which was to have been rich with the united wealth of the rivers and the land. Hitherto fever and ague, mud and malaria, had been too strong for man, and the dollars had been spent in vain. The day, however, will come when this promontory between the two great rivers will be a fit abode for industry. Men will settle there, wandering down from the North and East, and toil sadly, and leave their bones among the mud. Thin, pale-faced, joyless mothers will come there, and grow old before their time; and sickly children will be born, struggling up with wan faces to their sad life’s labor. But the work will go on, for it is God’s work; and the earth will be prepared for the people and the fat rottenness of the still living forest will be made to give forth its riches.
His face and tones frightened her.
Then spake Prince Gere: “I will tell the lady that she look with favor upon King Etzel, to whom so many knights owe dread obedience. He can well requite her of all the wrongs that have been done her.”
Every Englishman probably looks forward to the accomplishment of abolition of slavery at some future day. I feel as sure of it as I do of the final judgment. When or how it shall come, I will not attempt to foretell. The mode which seems to promise the surest success and the least present or future inconvenience, would be an edict enfranchising all female children born after a certain date, and all their children. Under such an arrangement the negro population would probably die out slowly — very slowly. What might then be the fate of the cotton fields of the Gulf States, who shall dare to say? It may be that coolies from India and from China will then have taken the place of the negro there, as they probably will have done also in Guiana and the West Indies.
‘On Saturday? You didn’t tell me you were going back again.’
“Does it?” said the old man; “perhaps you think housekeeping an unimportant occupation, not deserving of respect. I believe that was the opinion of the ‘advanced’ women of the nineteenth century, and their male backers. If it is yours, I recommend to your notice an old Norwegian folk-lore tale called How the Man minded the House, or some such title; the result of which minding was that, after various tribulations, the man and the family cow balanced each other at the end of a rope, the man hanging halfway up the chimney, the cow dangling from the roof, which, after the fashion of the country, was of turf and sloping down low to the ground. Hard on the cow, I think. Of course no such mishap could happen to such a superior person as yourself,” he added, chuckling.
Now they are stricken sore, and the bolt is from their own bow. Their own hands have raised the barrier that has stayed them. They have stumbled in their running, and are lying hurt upon the ground; while they who have heard their boastings turn upon them with ridicule, and laugh at them in their discomforture. They are rolling in the mire, and cannot take the hand of any man to help them. Though the hand of the by-stander may be stretched to them, his face is scornful and his voice full of reproaches. Who has not known that hour of misery when in the sullenness of the heart all help has been refused, and misfortune has been made welcome to do her worst? So is it now with those once United States. The man who can see without inward tears the self-inflicted wounds of that American people can hardly have within his bosom the tenderness of an Englishman’s heart.
‘I am very anxious to believe it. Can you give me certainty? Can you explain Monica’s behaviour — not only on that one occasion, but the deceit she practised at other times? Her husband told Miss Barfoot that she had frequently told him untruths — such as saying that she called here when she certainly did not.’
Mr. Clive laughed. “Rosey is as good a little creature as can be,” he said. “She is never out of temper, though I fancy Mrs. Mackenzie tries her. I don’t think she is very wise: but she is uncommonly pretty, and her beauty grows on you. As for Ethel, anything so high and mighty I have never seen since I saw the French giantess. Going to Court, and about to parties every night where a parcel of young fools flatter her, has perfectly spoiled her. By Jove, how handsome she is! How she turns with her long neck, and looks at you from under those black eyebrows! If I painted her hair, I think I should paint it almost blue, and then glaze over with lake. It is blue. And how finely her head is joined on to her shoulders!”— And he waves in the air an imaginary line with his cigar. “She would do for Judith, wouldn’t she? Or how grand she would look as Herodias’s daughter sweeping down a stair — in a great dress of cloth-of-gold like Paul Veronese — holding a charger before her with white arms, you know — with the muscles accented like that glorious Diana at Paris — a savage smile on her face and a ghastly solemn gory head on the dish. I see the picture, sir, I see the picture!” and he fell to curling his mustachios just like his brave old father.
“Yes,” said the old man, “by the sage of Bloomsbury, and others.”
Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus spake to him again: ‘My friend, forasmuch as thou gainsayest utterly, and sayest that henceforth he will not come again, and thine heart is ever slow to believe, therefore will I tell thee not lightly but with an oath, that Odysseus shall return. And let me have the wages of good tidings as soon as ever he in his journeying shall come hither to his home. Then clothe me in a mantle and a doublet, goodly raiment. But ere that, albeit I am sore in need I will not take aught, for hateful to me even as the gates of hell, is that man, who under stress of poverty speaks words of guile. Now be Zeus my witness before any god, and the hospitable board and the hearth of noble Odysseus whereunto I am come, that all these things shall surely be accomplished even as I tell thee. In this same year Odysseus shall come hither; as the old moon wanes and the new is born shall he return to his home, and shall take vengeance on all who here dishonour his wife and noble son.’
Now were the strangers come to horse, and shields were pierced in many royal jousts. From the plain the dust gan rise, as though the whole land had burst forth into flames. There many a knight became well known as champion. Many a maiden saw what there the warriors plied. Methinks, Sir Siegfried and his knights rode many a turn afore the tents. He led a thousand stately Nibelungs.
“Why?” said he. “I don’t see why you should be surprised; everybody knows the tales; and they are graceful and pleasant subjects, not too tragic for a place where people mostly eat and drink and amuse themselves, and yet full of incident.”
Then Alcinous bade Halius and Laodamas dance alone, for none ever contended with them. So when they had taken in their hands the goodly ball of purple hue, that cunning Polybus had wrought for them, the one would bend backwards, and throw it towards the shadowy clouds; and the other would leap upward from the earth, and catch it lightly in his turn, before his feet touched the ground. Now after they had made trial of throwing the ball straight up, the twain set to dance upon the bounteous earth, tossing the ball from hand to hand, and the other youths stood by the lists and beat time, and a great din uprose.
‘It’s Saturday, you know. I promised to see Newdick this afternoon. Perhaps I may bring him to dinner.’
“I will tell you truly,” answered Nestor, “and indeed you have yourself divined how it all happened. If Menelaus when he got back from Troy had found Aegisthus still alive in his house, there would have been no barrow heaped up for him, not even when he was dead, but he would have been thrown outside the city to dogs and vultures, and not a woman would have mourned him, for he had done a deed of great wickedness; but we were over there, fighting hard at Troy, and Aegisthus who was taking his ease quietly in the heart of Argos, cajoled Agamemnon’s wife Clytemnestra with incessant flattery.