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The Emperor — Volume 03

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96 pages
The Project Gutenberg EBook The Emperor, by Georg Ebers, Volume 3. #47 in our series by Georg EbersCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country beforedownloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom ofthis file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. Youcan also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: The Emperor, Part 1, Volume 3.Author: Georg EbersRelease Date: April, 2004 [EBook #5485] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on May 28, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE EMPEROR, BY GEORG EBERS, V3 ***This eBook was produced by David Widger [NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the file for those who may wish to sample theauthor's ideas before making an entire ...
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The Project Gutenberg EBook The Emperor, byGeorg Ebers, Volume 3. #47 in our series byGeorg EbersCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers*****Title: The Emperor, Part 1, Volume 3.
Author: Georg EbersRelease Date: April, 2004 [EBook #5485] [Yes, weare more than one year ahead of schedule] [Thisfile was first posted on May 28, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK THE EMPEROR, BY GEORG EBERS, V3***This eBook was produced by David Widger<widger@cecomet.net>[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, orpointers, at the end of the file for those who maywish to sample the author's ideas before makingan entire meal of them. D.W.]THE EMPEROR, Part 1.By Georg Ebers
Volume 3.
CHAPTER X.While anxiety and trouble were brooding over thesteward's dwelling, while dismay anddisappointment were clouding the souls of itsinhabitants, the hall of the Muses was merry withfeasting and laughter.Julia, the prefect's wife, had supplied the architectat Lochias with a carefully-prepared meal—,sufficient to fill six hungry maws, and Pontius' slave—who had received it on its arrival and hadunpacked it dish after dish, and set them out onthe humblest possible table had then hastened tofetch his master to inspect all these marvels of thecook's art. The architect shook his head as hecontemplated the superabundant blessing, andmuttered to himself:"Titianus must take me for a crocodile, or rather fortwo crocodiles," and he went to the sculptor's littletabernacle, where Papias the master was also, toinvite the two men to share his supper.Besides them he asked two painters, and the chiefmosaic worker of the city, who all day long hadbeen busied in restoring the old and faded pictureson the ceilings and pavements, and under theinfluence of good wine and cheerful chat they soonemptied the dishes and bowls and trenchers. Aman who for several hours has been using hishands or his mind, or both together, waxes hungry,
and all the artists whom Pontius had broughttogether at Lochias had now been working forseveral days almost to the verge of exhaustion.Each had done his best, in the first place, nodoubt, to give satisfaction to Pontius, whom allesteemed, and to himself; but also in the hope ofgiving proof of his powers to the Emperor and ofshowing him how things could be done inAlexandria. When the dishes had been removedand the replete feasters had washed and driedtheir hands, they filled their cups out of a jar ofmixed wine, of which the dimensions answeredworthily to the meal they had eaten. One of thepainters then proposed that they should hold aregular drinking-bout, and elect Papias, who wasas well known as a good table orator as he was asan artist, to be the leader of the feast. However,the master declared that he could not accept thehonor, for that it was due to the worthiest of theircompany; to the man namely, who, only a fewdays since, had entered this empty palace and likea second Deucalion had raised up illustrious artists,such as he then saw around him in great numbers,and skilled workmen by hundreds, not out of plasticstone but out of nothing. And then—while declaringthat he understood the use of the hammer andchisel better than that of the tongue, and that hehad never studied the art of making speeches—heexpressed his wish that Pontius would lead therevel, in the most approved form.But he was not allowed to get to the end of thisevidence of his skill, for Euphorion the door-keeperof the palace, Euphorion the father of Pollux, ran
hastily into the hall of the Muses with a letter in hishand which he gave to the architect."To be read without an instant's delay," he added,bowing with theatrical dignity to the assembledartists. "One of the prefect's lictors brought thisletter, which, if my wishes be granted, bringsnothing that is unwelcome. Hold your noise youlittle blackguards or I will be the death of you."These words, which so far as the tone wasconcerned, formed a somewhat inharmonioustermination to a speech intended for the ears ofgreat artists, were addressed to his wife's four-footed Graces who had followed him against hiswish, and were leaping round the table barking forthe slender remains of the consumed food.Pontius was fond of animals and had made friendswith the old woman's pets, so, as he opened theprefect's letter, he said:"I invite the three little guests to the remains of ourfeast. Give them anything that is fit for them,Euphorion, and whatever seems to you mostsuitable to your own stomach you may put into it."While the architect first rapidly glanced through theletter and then read it carefully, the singer hadcollected a variety of good morsels for his wife'sfavorites on a plate, and finally carried the lastremaining pasty, with the dish on which it reposed,to the vicinity of his own hooked nose."For men or for dogs?" he asked his son, as he
pointed to it with a rigid finger."For the gods!" replied Pollux. "Take it to mother;she will like to eat ambrosia for once.""A jolly evening to you!" cried the singer, bowing tothe artists who were emptying their cups, and hequitted the hall with his pasty and his dogs. Beforehe had fairly left the hall with his long strides,Papias, whose speech had been interrupted, oncemore raised his wine-cup and began again:"Our Deucalion, our more than Deucalion—""Pardon me," interrupted Pontius. "If I once morestop your discourse which began so promisingly;this letter contains important news and our revelsmust be over for the night. We must postpone oursymposium and your drinking-speech.""It was not a drinking-speech, for if ever there wasa moderate man—"Papias began. But Pontius stopped him again,saying:"Titianus writes me word that he proposes comingto Lochias this evening.He may arrive at any moment; and not alone, butwith my fellow-artist,Claudius Venator from Rome, who is to assist me"with his advice."I never even heard his name," said Papias, whowas wont to trouble himself as little about thepersons as about the works of other artists.
"I wonder at that," said Pontius, closing the doubletablets which announced the Emperor's advent."Can he do anything?" asked Pollux."More than any one of us," replied Pontius. "He is amighty man.""That is splendid!" exclaimed Pollux. "I like to seegreat men. When one looks me in the eye I alwaysfeel as if some of his superabundance overflowedinto me, and irresistibly I draw myself up and thinkhow fine it would be if one day I might reach ashigh as that man's chin.""Beware of morbid ambition," said Papias to hispupil in a warning voice. "It is not the man whostands on tiptoe, but he who does his dutydiligently, that can attain anything great.""He honestly does his," said the architect rising,and he laid his hand on the young sculptor'sshoulder. "We all do; to-morrow by sunrise eachmust be at his post again. For my colleague's sakeit will be well that you should all be there in goodtime."The artists rose, expressing their thanks andregrets. "You will not escape the continuation ofthis evening's entertainment," cried one of thepainters, and Papias, as he parted from Pontius,said:"When we next meet I will show you what I
understand by a drinking- speech. It will doperhaps for your Roman guest. I am curious tohear what he will say about our Urania. Pollux hasdone his share of the work very well, and I havealready devoted an hour's work to it, which hasimproved it. The more humble our material, thebetter I shall be pleased if the work satisfiesCaesar; he himself has tried his hand at sculpture.""If only Hadrian could hear that!" cried one of thepainters. "He likes to think himself a great artist—one of the foremost of our time. It is said that hecaused the life of the great architect, Apollodorus—who carried out such noble works for Trajan—to beextinguished—and why? because formerly thatillustrious man had treated the imperial bungler asa mere dabbler, and would not accept his plan forthe temple of Venus at Rome.""Mere talk!" answered Pontius to this accusation."Apollodorus died in prison, but his incarcerationhad little enough to do with the Emperor'sproductions—excuse me, gentlemen, I must oncemore look through the sketches and plans."The architect went away, but Pollux continued theconversation that had been begun by saying:"Only I cannot understand how a man whopractises so many arts at once as Hadrian does,and at the same time looks after the state and itsgovernment, who is a passionate huntsman andwho dabbles in every kind of miscellaneouslearning, contrives, when he wants to practise one
particular form of art, to recall all his five sensesinto the nest from which he has let them fly, here,there, and everywhere. The inside of his headmust be like that salad-bowl—which we havereduced to emptiness—in which Papias discoveredthree sorts of fish, brown and white meat, oystersand five other substances.""And who can deny," added Papias, "that if talent isthe father, and meat the mother of allproductiveness, practice must be the artist'steacher! Since Hadrian took to sculpture andpainting it has become the universal fashion hereto practise these arts, and among the wealthieryouth who come to my workroom, many have verygood abilities; but not one of them brings anythingto any good issue, because so much of their timeis taken up by the gymnasium, the bath, the quail-fights, the suppers, and I know not what besides,so that they do nothing by way of practice"."True," said a painter. "Without the restraint andworry of apprenticeship no one can ever rise tohappy and independent creativeness; and in theschools of rhetoric or in hunting or fighting no onecan study drawing. It is not till a pupil has learnedto sit steady and worry himself over his work for sixhours on end that I begin to believe he will ever doany good work. Have you any of you seen theEmperor's work?""I have," answered a mosaic worker. "Many yearsago Hadrian sent a picture to me that he hadpainted; I was to make a mosaic from it. It was a