Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

1. Chapter I (continued)

'Peace!' echoed the priest, in so hollow a tone that it went at once to the heart of the Nazarene.

'In that wish,' continued Olinthus, 'all good things are combined--without virtue thou canst not have peace. Like the rainbow, Peace rests upon the earth, but its arch is lost in heaven. Heaven bathes it in hues of light--it springs up amidst tears and clouds--it is a reflection of the Eternal Sun--it is an assurance of calm--it is the sign of a great covenant between Man and God. Such peace, O young man! is the smile of the soul; it is an emanation from the distant orb of immortal light. PEACE be with you!'

'Alas!' began Apaecides, when he caught the gaze of the curious loiterers, inquisitive to know what could possibly be the theme of conversation between a reputed Nazarene and a priest of Isis. He stopped short, and then added in a low tone: 'We cannot converse here, I will follow thee to the banks of the river; there is a walk which at this time is usually deserted and solitary.'

Olinthus bowed assent. He passed through the streets with a hasty step, but a quick and observant eye. Every now and then he exchanged a significant glance, a slight sign, with some passenger, whose garb usually betokened the wearer to belong to the humbler classes; for Christianity was in this the type of all other and less mighty revolutions--the grain of mustard-seed was in the heart of the lowly. Amidst the huts of poverty and labor, the vast stream which afterwards poured its broad waters beside the cities and palaces of earth took its neglected source.

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