un serment sacré. Après cette august cérémonie, Lycurgue s'empressa de conduire sa jeune épouse au palais de son frère Polydecte, Roi de Lacédémon. "Seigneur," lui dit-il, "la vertueuse Calciope vient de recevoir mes voeux aux pieds des autels, j'ose vous prier d'approuver cette union." Le Roi témoigna d'abord quelque surprise, mais l'estime qu'il avait pour son frère lui inspira une réponse pleine de bienveillance. Il s'approcha aussitôto de Calciope qu'il embrassa tendrement, combla ensuite Lycurgue de prévenances et parut très satisfait.'

He called my attention to this and then said somewhat timidly that he would rather have married Ellen than Calciope. I saw he was hardening and made no hesitation about proposing that in another day or two we should proceed upon our journey.

I will not weary the reader by taking him with us over beaten ground. We stopped at Siena, Cortona, Orvieto, Perugia and many other cities, and then after a fortnight passed between Rome and Naples went to the Venetian provinces and visited all those wondrous towns that lie between the southern slopes of the Alps and the northern ones of the Apennines, coming back at last by the S. Gothard. I doubt whether he had enjoyed the trip more than I had myself, but it was not till we were on the point of returning that Ernest had recovered strength enough to be called fairly well, and it was not for many months that he so completely lost all sense of the wounds which the last four years had inflicted on him as to feel as though there were a scar and a scar only remaining.

They say that when people have lost an arm or a foot they feel pains in it now and again for a long while after they have lost it. One pain which he had almost forgotten came upon him on his return to England, I mean the sting of his having been imprisoned. As long as he was only a small shopkeeper his imprisonment mattered nothing; nobody knew of it, and if they had known they would not have cared; now, however, though he was returning to his old position, he was returning to it disgraced, and the pain from which he had been saved in the first instance by surroundings so new that he had hardly recognized his own identity in the middle of them, came on him as from a wound inflicted yesterday.

He thought of the high resolves which he had made in prison about using his disgrace as a vantage- ground of strength rather than trying to make people forget it. `That was all very well then,' he thought to himself, `when the grapes were beyond my reach, but now it is different.' Besides, who but a prig would set himself high aims, or make high resolves at all?

Some of his old friends, on learning that he had got rid of his supposed wife and was now comfortably off again, wanted to renew their acquaintance; he was grateful to them and sometimes tried to meet their advances half-way, but it did not do, and ere long he shrank back into himself, pretending not to know them. An infernal demon of honesty haunted him which made him say to himself: `These men know a great deal, but do not know all - if they did they would cut me - and therefore I have no right to their acquaintance.'

He thought that every one except himself was sans peur et sans reproche. Of course they must be, for if they had not been, would they not have been bound to warn all who had anything to do with them of their deficiencies? Well, he could not do this, and he would not have people's acquaintance under false pretences, so he gave up even hankering after rehabilitation and fell back upon his old tastes for music and literature.

Of course he has long since found out how silly all this was, how silly I mean in theory, for in practice it worked better than it ought to have done, by keeping him free from liaisons which would have tied his tongue and made him see success elsewhere than where he came in time to see it. He did what he did instinctively and for no other reason than because it was most natural to him. So far as he thought at all, he thought wrong, but what he did was right. I said something of this kind to him once not so very long ago, and told him he had always aimed high. `I never aimed at all,' he replied a little indignantly, `and you may be sure I should have aimed low enough if I had thought I had got the chance.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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