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39

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. 39
His first affection was not his only dream. We do
not know what event it was, that for a moment scattered
the cloud of distrust and contempt for humanity that had
rested on his spirit, and suffered a sunbeam to give life
to something like confidence in a mortal. Enough, that
such a feeling had sprung up in him, for Sejanus, chief
captain of the praetorian guard. Doubtless, it led but a
struggling existence, until an accident happened that
not only rooted his confidence more deeply, but caused
his whole theory about mankind to totter. It was on
the journey to Naples and Capri, after he had left Rome,
never to return thither. He had come half way, into the
neighborhood of Terracina, where the Fundian moun-
tains rise, offering a view that on the one side extends to
Rome, on the other to Naples and Vesuvius. In the
slope of the mountain was a cave, where a fancy struck
the emperor to have the evening meal made ready. The
guests at table were Sejanus, two other Romans of rank,
and certain Greek men of science. These jested over the
wine, but Caesar doubtless here, too, had his own dark
thoughts ; for before him lay in the twilight the island of
Pandataria, the place of banishment of Julia. A noise
like thunder is heard. Fragments fall from a rock over-
hanging the mouth of the cave, some of his servants lie
crushed, gravel and pebbles are loosened from the roof,,
the guests fly ; but Sejanus throws himself on his knees,
and covers the prince with his body. The guard who
hastens to the spot, when the fall has ceased, finds him
unhurt.
That the others had left him in the lurch, he regarded
as a common and pardonable expression of sudden fear.
But that Sejanus had remained, astonished him. Here,
there was no time for deliberation ; here, devotion had

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