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72

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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72 ROMAN DAYS.
hall from a neighboring temple, the priests of which were
known throughout the city as dainty livers. Claudius
forgot suit and parties, and hurried from the tribunal
into the dining-room of the priests, where he sat down
and took a copious meal.
On the whole, it may be said that his nervousness
overmastered him. He was exceedingly weak against
stimulation of the senses. Woman’s beauty, noble wine,
a good table, were temptations to which without any re-
sistance other than silent opposition, he yielded ; while,
on the other hand, in matters that did not appeal to the
senses, but to reflection, he showed strength of will when
he had once formed a conviction about them. Through
this nervous irritability must be explained the many sins
he was guilty of against court etiquette, nay, against the
courtesy and dignity which every Roman wished to
maintain on the outside. Even upon occasions of cere-
mony, and on the throne, he could show an ugly though
transient and perfectly harmless heat, at an unexpected
contradiction ; he could drop tears at the slightest appeal
to his heart, and laugh immoderately when anything ri-
diculous happened, that good breeding required should
be left unnoticed. Since, with all this, his continued ef-
forts to appear as an emperor should, bore no better fruit,
we must not wonder at the following incident, which took
place while he still lived as a private man and an " old
student." He wished, like other authors, to judge by
means of public readings, what success his unpublished
writings might expect. Many people came to the first
reading, and waited in respectful silence to hear what
the unassuming and popular kinsman of princes had to
say. But when he had begun his reading, a bench broke
under an uncommonly stout man in the audience. The

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