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231

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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1
ROMAN TRADITIONS OF PETER AND PA UL. 23 I
lemind of the busy life of day, must be heard within its
walls. Courtiers and guards should receive them in
silence. Torch and lamp should but meagrely light their
way. The emperor should receive Helene in his throne-
room, alone, and should listen to her, without himself ut-
tering a word.
And thus it came to pass. With Simon, she one night
came in a palanquin to the palace. Through shining
marble corridors and halls, lit by sparsely scattered lamps,
the veiled woman was ushered by a silent courtier deeper
and deeper into the palace on the Palatine. Here and
there, was seen a centurion of the guard keeping watch,
stiff and rigid, as though the chisel had cut him from the
wall by which he stood. At the doors of the throne-
room, Simon stopped. Within, but a few candelabra
were lighted, and in the shade of the background, sat the
emperor on his throne. Helene clad as an Egyptian
priestess glided in, with noiseless footfall drew near, strode
up the steps of the throne, drew back her veil, bent her
marble head over Nero, fastened her frigid, gem-like eyes
with the power of the snake-charmer upon his, and whis-
pered in his ear—what? "The most occult truth of
divine wisdom." But what is its import? Nero sat as
if changed into stone. Helene glided off. But the fol-
lowing night, Nero bade the poison-mixer Locusta be
summoned to him, who before his eyes prepared the
death-draught for Britannicus. After this, followed mur-
der upon murder.
Peter the apostle, supervisor of the Roman con-
gregation, was at that time absent on journeys in the
West, for the purpose of making converts. An angel
called him back to Rome, to co-operate with Paul in the
struggle with Simon the Sorcerer.

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