Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/634

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the chests, which had no locks;[1] and, taking out portions of each of the bodies which were thus exposed, he closed the chests and connected the burned ends of the threads with the seals again, so that they appeared not to have been touched; and, no one having seen him, he returned to his place. (Cap. iii, 23.)

Hildoin went on to tell Eginhard that Hunus at first declared to him that these purloined relics belonged to St. Tiburtius; but afterward confessed, as a great secret, how he had come by them, and he wound up his discourse thus:

They have a place of honor beside St. Medardus, where they are worshiped with great veneration by all the people; but whether we may keep them or not is for your judgment. (Cap. iii, 23.)

Poor Eginhard was thrown into a state of great perturbation of mind by this revelation. An acquaintance of his had recently told him of a rumor that was spread about, that Hunus had contrived to abstract all the remains of SS. Marcellinus and Petrus while Eginhard's agents were in a drunken sleep; and that, while the real relics were in Abbot Hildoin's hands at St. Medardus, the shrine at Seligenstadt contained nothing but a little dust. Though greatly annoyed by this "execrable rumor, spread everywhere by the subtlety of the devil," Eginhard had doubtless comforted himself by his supposed knowledge of its falsity, and he only now discovered how considerable a foundation there was for the scandal. There was nothing for it but to insist upon the return of the stolen treasures. One would have thought that the holy man, who had admitted himself to be knowingly a receiver of stolen goods, would have made instant restitution and begged only for absolution. But Eginhard intimates that he had very great difficulty in getting his brother abbot to see that even restitution was necessary.

Hildoin’s proceedings were not of such nature as to lead any one to place implicit trust in anything he might say; still less had his agent, priest Hunus, established much claim to confidence; and it is not surprising that Eginhard should have lost no time in summoning his notary and Lunison to his presence, in order that he might hear what they had to say about the business. They, however, at once protested that priest Hunus's story was a parcel of lies, and that after the relics left Rome no one had any opportunity of meddling with them. Moreover, Lunison, throwing himself at Eginhard's feet, confessed with many tears what actually took place. It will be remembered that, after the body of St. Marcellinus was abstracted from its tomb, Ratleig deposited it in the house of Deusdona, in charge of the latter's brother, Lunison. But Hunus, being very much disappointed that he could not get

  1. The words are serinia sine clave, which seems to mean "having no key." But the circumstance forbid the idea of breaking open.