Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XII / The Picture of Judgment; Or, The Grotta Del Tifone >> Page 235

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 235

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE ENTRANCE TO THE HALLS OF SILENCE. 235
tended their guiding and endowing hands. Tina, or Jupiter,
Aplu, or Apollo, Erkle, Turmes, and the rest, all conducting
them along the via sacra, which led from the palaces to the
tombs of every proud Etruscan family. They entered the sol-
emn grove which was dedicated to night and silence, and were
about to ascend the gradual slopes by which the tumulus was
approached. Then it was that the misgivings of Aurelia took a
more serious form. She felt a vague but oppressive fear. She
hesitated.
"My Ceelius," she exclaimed, " whither do we go ? Is not
this the passage to the house of silence ?""Do you not know it ?" he demanded quickly, and fixing
upon her a keen inquiring glance. " Come !" he continued, " it
is there that I have fixed the picture !"" Alas ! my Coelius, wherefore ? It is upon this picture that
you have been so deeply engaged. It has made you sad�it
has left us both unhappy. Let us not go�let me not see it !"
Her agitation was greatly increased. He saw it, and his face
put on a look of desperate exultation.
" Ay, but thou must see it thou shalt look upon it and be-
hold my triumph, my greatest triumph in art, and perhaps my
last. I shall never touch pencil more, and wilt thou refuse to
look upon my last and noblest work. Fie ! this were a wrong
to me, and a great shame in thee, Aurelia. Come ! the toil of
which thou think'st but coldly, has brought me peace rather than
sadness. It has made of death a thing rather familiar than of-
fensive. If it has deprived me of hopes, it has left me without
terrors !"" Deprived you of hopes, my Coelius," said the wife, still lin-
gering, and in mortal terror.
" Even so !"" And, wherefore, 0, my husband, wherefore ?"" Speak not, woman ! See you not that we are within the
shadow of the tomb ?"" Let us not approach�let us go hence !" she exclaimed en-
treatingly, with increasing agitation.
" Ay, shrink'st thou be answered ; " well thou may'st. The
fathers of the I'omponii, for two thousand years, are now float-
ing around us on their sightless wings. They wonder that a