Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 128.djvu/432

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them, left the boat. With a last look at the fountain into which the nymph was changed for daring to attempt the rescue of Persephone from the grasp of Hades, in the old days when the daughter of the Dawn gathered her flowers on the plains of Enna, where, too, in after times, the Syracusans held their yearly festival, we picked our way over ploughed land and grass drenched with dew to the remains of the Olympeium. On a slight ridge rose the Temple of Zeus Olympius Urius, the god of fair weather, thus distinguished from the other Zeus Olympius who had his shrine in Achradina. The statue of the god was adorned by Gelon with a robe of gold from the Carthaginian spoil of Himera, and during the Athenian war the Syracusans fortified the sacred enclosure, and surrounded it with forts. In 1600, seven columns were still standing, according to Cluverius (Sicil. Ant. p. 179); but all that now remain are two massive pillars, each with sixteen flutings, and a well. We seated ourselves on the basement of one of these giants of old time, and filled our eyes with the tranquillity of the morning sunshine. On our left, beyond the river-plants of Kyane, lay the site of the magnificent monument that once marked the burial-place of Gelon and his wife. On the right, the long broken line of Ortygia shut in the Great Harbour, and we dreamed of the day when the shout of the Corinthian sailor first roused the quail from its nest, and the Dorian race found its second home in the fabulous regions of the west. Poor Syracuse, only frequented now by sight-seers and duellists!

From Blackwood's Magazine.



Starting from Calcutta on his homeward voyage with wounds barely healed, and still suffering from the lassitude induced by fever and weakness, Yorke was at first more disposed to indulge in his habitual mood of dwelling on the disappointments of the past than to find enjoyment in anticipations of the future. And yet there was room for satisfaction as well as regrets in a retrospect of the twelve years since he had last seen the sea. How short the time seemed to look back upon, and yet how much had happened in it! Then he was landing in India a friendless cadet; now he was a lieutenant-colonel, decorated, commanding a crack cavalry regiment — an object of admiration, as he thought with not unnatural complacency, to all the younger officers of the army — and with every prospect of attaining to the command of a division before he got to middle age. Truly, if the Mutiny had brought desolation to many it had made a career for the survivors: pluck and luck had done it in his case; with some more of the latter commodity to help, what might not be possible in the future? What a tremendous personage I used to consider a lieutenant-colonel and C.B. in my young days! To be sure, lieutenant-colonels used to be very old fellows then, and C.B.'s rarer than they are now; but still, even according to present lights, it is not a bad grade to have reached before one is thirty. And yet," thought he, "the change is not altogether for the better. I was fresh and ingenuous then, a believer in men and women, and one dream of my youth at any rate has not been realized. It is not success which has made me hard and cynical — if I am so, as people say — but disappointment and humiliation. Men call me the lucky colonel, and think me greatly to be envied; they little know that I have failed to get the one thing I ever really tried for — that the woman on whom I had set my heart held me of no account, and while trifling with me, was offering her own to any one else to take who wanted it!" Yet notwithstanding that his hopes in this matter were dissipated forever, the young man still found a sort of melancholy pleasure in remaining constant to the one idea which had so completely possessed him. For him, he thought with bitter satisfaction, love was gone forever; let him rather feed on the memory of his first and only passion, than find a debasing consolation in some lower standard of affection.

But although still brooding on his disappointment, and spending many solitary hours in vain conjectures about the fate of Olivia, of whom and her husband nothing had been heard since their flight, youth will still assert itself; with returning health this artificial dejection gave way to a more natural frame of mind; and Yorke sometimes felt angry with himself to find that he was not hugging his passion as he intended to do, but was looking forward like all his fellow-passengers with pleasurable excitement to the prospect of returning to England, his spirits rising daily and his appetite improving as the steamer clove her way into cooler latitudes. But