Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Count Julian; or, The Last Days of the Goth >> Chapter VI >> Page 100

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Novel (Romance) | William Taylor & Co. | 1845 - 1846
Transcription 100 COUNT JULIAN; ORS
Mark how the providence of God pursues thee, my son," answered the zealot, drawing from his cassock the full purse of gold which the archbishop Oppas had given him ; " Behold, this is the lucre which thou art loth to resign. It is in such as this that Roderick rewards thee, as the minister of his tyranny and crime. The Lord is heedful of thy safety- ; and that thou mayst lack no reason to follow the safe course upon which I would set thee, that gold—the slave of God, not less than of man—tbe gift of the church, I bring to thee, so that in flight thou mayst not suffer from want, neither thou nor thy child. Take it; it is thine, my son. Go, set thy prisoner free."
The single-minded keeper paused for an instant, ere he replied ; but not in doubt, or deliberation. A feeling of surprise overcame him, and, though he had already regarded Romano with the most respectful and reverential feeling, he now looked upon him with a sentiment of distrust if not dislike. At length he replied :
" Take back thy gold, my father ; if thy pleadings availed not to move me, if my own sorrow for the poor youth availed not, I were base indeed to let thy gold do more than these. Take it back, father Romano; I sorrow that it should be brought to me in temptation, and I doubly sorrow that thou shouldst bring it. For thee, I would do much ; but that which I would not do for love of thee or pity for him, I would not do for the criminal love of gold—nay, scarcely in the fear of immediate death ! "
In the fear of death then be it, my son Guisenard ; for, of a surety, God will punish thee with death and with judgment, if thou wilt not let His servant go," answered Romano.
" Be it so, then, my father ! I believe thou meanest me well ; but I feel that I am right now, and I fear that following thy counsels I might be wrong. In God is my trust, and if I err, He, who sees my heart, knows that I err not through a love of error, or a selfish love of life."
But, my son,"
Romano would have spoken further, but the keeper interrupted him :
Thou wouldst see the prisoner, my father. He desires—I had almost forgotten it—he desires to have counsel with thee, and he prayed me that thou mightst seek his cell soon after thy coming. The hour is late ; if thou wouldst see him to-night, thou must hasten, for we have but little time ere the outer porch of the prison must be fastened."
Without waiting for any reply, which the monk nevertheless made, the keeper led the way to the cell of Egiza.
" Alas !" exclaimed Romano, wherefore wouldst thou close the outer porch of this dungeon, which can not long confine this holy man ? If the outer porch of thy heart were open, my son, thou wouldst be rescued, not less than he. But it availeth not to speak, when the neck is stiffened, when the heart. is hardened, when the victim is chosen. Yet I would that it were not so. Guisenard ! Guisenard ! my son ! thou past listened to me always, and heard my words with a becoming reverence. Let them not fall upon thine ears unheeded now. Give ear in season, and take the promise and the security of safety from my lips. I would save thee, my son, from the bolt that is threatening. I warn thee ; I pray thee ! Wherefore wouldst thou perish ? "
The keeper was firm, though gentle, in his reply :
" Wherefore, my father, wouldst thou urge me further ? "
I would save thee ! Deny me not ! Say that thou wilt free the prisoner and live ! "
Nay, father Romano, no more of this ! I have already answered thee ! "