Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Count Julian; or, The Last Days of the Goth >> Chapter VI >> Page 97

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Novel (Romance) | William Taylor & Co. | 1845 - 1846
Transcription THE LAST DAYS OF THE GOTH. 97
speaker, and more horror at his approaching doom, than he had conceived it posse ble for him to have felt for any criminal, before this revelation reached his ears

THAT night, the food given to Egiza was from the table of Guisenard, and far superior in quality to that provided for the prisoners. But he touched it not, though the keeper in person entreated him to eat. He neither looked upon the food nor the keeper, but with a moody spirit he turned his face upon the wall, and answered in monosyllables only to the salutations of Guisenard. From this mood, the good-natured keeper strove, but vainly, to turn the current of his thoughts. He spoke of many things, of passing events which he thought might interest him ; and at length he referred to the subject of his assault upon the king : but on this, Egiza sternly silenced him.
Enough ! " said he, Enough that I failed in the blow ; that I could not save. I would pray now to forget."
When Guisenard was about to leave him, the better feelings of the prince predominated, and he came forward, and with gentle accents prayed the keeper's forgiveness for any harshness of speech which he might have employed:
" But, in truth," he said, I am too wretched to respect any, even those who love me. I know not what I say."
He requested Guisenard to lead the monk Romano to his cell, whenever he should come, and the jailer then retired, more than ever impressed with sympathy for his suffering prisoner.
When Romano came, he proceeded as usual to the private part of the prison, in which the keeper dwelt, and partook of his evening meal, along with the family, as if he were one of them. Guisenard had much to say of his prisoner, in whom he had become interested ; and Romano was not slow to encourage the favorable impressions which the mind of the latter had received. But vainly did the enthusiast strive to fill the more human understanding of the keeper with his own elevated fancies. He could not be persuaded that Egiza had striven to slay the king as the special agent of the Deity. He had seen enough in his interview with the prisoner, the particulars of which we have briefly recorded, to know that passions and feelings of earth prompted the blow of the avenger, even as they had prompted the criminal excesses of the king which had provoked it. The efforts of Romano, therefore, to inspire a reverential regard for the convict in the bosom of Guisenard, failed entirely; and he smiled only at the bigotry of the monk, in which he could not participate, to the great annoyance and the unsuppressed displeasure of the latter.
" Thou art blind, my son—be not wilful," said he, in tones of mingled entreaty and rebuke. It is for the ignorant to be humble. They should hearken to the words and obey the directions of those who are blessed with a better vision. Thou seest nothing in this holy man, but a goodly youth who hath been wronged in his earthly possessions, and has sought, with the base frenzy of a feeble spirit, to revenge himself after the fashion of earth upon the wrong-doer. Alas ! that the noble self-sacrifice of the martyr should go unheeded thus among men ! How many are the holy spirits, suffering for God and for the truth, whom the blindness of men hath thus deprived of the glory which is of right their due ! But they can not do injustice always ; and eternity heals the wrong as it overturns the vain and capricious powers of time. ] t is fortunate that tyrants can only kill : they can not hurt They