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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. /I
of rank, who had already been executed for high treason.
He knew that he was, as Tacitus says, " not in condition
to protect himself." When he was roused from his learn-
ed researches, or his plodding over iirportant proposals
for laws, or his trifling with bureaucratic trumpery, to a
view of the life around him, and his ear was filled with
talk of intrigues dangerous to the state, and threatening
conspiracies, he sat quite at a loss, mistrusting his power
to find out what was true and what false, what real
and what invented, in that which he heard ; and he sur-
rendered at discretion to those upon whose " practical
eye " he relied, and upon whose affection and friendship
he believed he could count. That this was a momentous
weakness, and unworthy a prince, he had a troublesome
consciousness of, which he tried to lull with the pleasures
of the table and with persevering study.
He made, meanwhile, serious efforts to improve his
understanding to the wants of practical life. On this
account, he often took the seat of judgment, even when
law-suits of minor importance were going on. His essavs
as judge had diverse issues. Sometimes he succeeded in
fastening his attention upon the reasons and counter-rea-
sons which were advanced in the suit ; and when he had
taken a little time for consideration, he could pronounce
judgments that showed sagacity. But just as often it
happened, that musings upon Etrurian or Carthaginian
chronology, perhaps, or some new problem in backgam-
mon, crossed his thoughts, and the judgment was then
given accordingly. On an occasion like this, one of the
parties, a Hellene, threw into his face the word blockhead.
The emperor took the reproach in good part, feeling that
it was well deserved. On another occasion when he sat
as judge, pleasant fumes of meat made their way into the

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