The episodes I now relate are so strange, so nearly impossible, that I 
hesitate to set them down lest you should call me


untruthful and a jonglet~r; nevertheless, they are told as they occurred, 
and you must believe them as you may.

My quaint reduse had not been slain that night we trieLL l! s infernal 
el~gine, but had lain in a long SWOOII af ter I car r.~ d him from amid 
thewreck and `~/b~'sof hisdenout intOthO moonlight. That swoon, 
indeed, lasted for a whole day~ and night; and :F,lizabeth wrung her 
wliite hands over her fail~or's seeming lifeless body, while EmantLe1 
picked his yellGw teeth rellectively with his dagger-point at the couch 
foot, and Danle l\Iargery spent all her art in ungllerlts and salves UliOII 
the luckless inventor ere he showed signs of returning life.

At last, however, he revived, and made a long, slow recovery of many 
days under the geiltle mblistering of his women. And while he throve 
hour by hour in the spring sullshine on the bench of his porch, I wooed 
his daughter in wayward, dissatisfied kind, and laughed scornfully at the 
blacl; Spaniard's jealous scowls, and WOII the mellow heart of the old 
dame by my gallantness and courtesy. IJut it was child's play. I longed 
again to feel the hot pulse of keen emotions throbbing in my veills, to 
struggle Witil some strong tide of hot adventure, and so at last I had made 
np my mind to leave my good host and hostess at an early season, and, 
turning so~dier again, espouse the first quarrel which chance threw in my 

Then one day it happened -- a strange day indeed to me -- old Master 
Adam Faulkener had grown weary of his cranks and fan-wheels, and had 
gone for solace to his dusty tomes and classics. E:xploring amid them, in 
an eventful moment no had taken down a missal penned by some old 
Sa::on monk, and turned to a passage he must have known well, sil~ce it 
was marked and thumbed. And while the ancient scholar read and 
mumbled over that quaint black-letter with its gorgeous gold and crimson 
uncials, I, who chanced to staun a little way apart, saw the wan blood 
mount in a thin pink glow to the enthusiast's cheeks, and in that flush 
recoguized that he was warm upon another quest. He mlinlble4 and 
mattered to himself, and while he saulltered up and dowh, or stopped 
now an(1 then to thumb and pore over that icathern volume, I caught in 
disJointed fragments some pieces of 1~is thoughts: " Ea, ha! a most likely 
find indeed, a splelidid trcasure-llouso of trophies! And to think that no 
one but old =\n.brose and I wot of it, ho, ho! what does he sav? 'And in 
this place was destroyed a noble house, and the antrer of the Lord fell on 
the l~agalL defenders, and they were slaill one and all. Ah! God leveled 
their iclolatrous dwelling-places and scattele their ashes to the four winds 
of heaven, and with them were


destroyed, the common legend sayeth, all their hoards of bra~se ~and 
silver>- all their accursed images of bronze and gold, all their trinkets and 
fine raimel~t, so that the ve~'geance of the Lord was complete, atld the 
ntathen Tvas utterly7 ~viped out.' Good? very good, BroillL?r Ambrose," 
muttered the old man, wim chuckling pleasule. "And now where did this 
thing lj n pen? ' l'his IIOusC? Whif.h hal'bOrEd SO ~'ch lewdness stood on 
the hill3ck I'y a road a few miles from the river, and had all that land 
which Inow iS holy pcrquisite to the neigllboring abbey ' (lood, good! for 
certaill 'tis the s-ery spot I thought of. A happy, haI:py cha~lce ihat made 
me light upon this passage -- I, who live so l~ear the spot it spoaks of -- I, 
who alone of thousands can use it as the golden key to unlock such a 
sweet mino of relics as that buried pagall home must be. Oll' Ambrose, I 
am gratefult" And patting nle musty monkish tome in childish pleasure, 
he replaced it reverently {lpon its shelf.

Then up and down he paced, the stunent's passion borning hot within 
nim, mnttering as he `selit: " Why l~ot to-night? why not, ``hy not? There 
is no season better for such a work tha~; S00ll, and I h`rve my license;" 
whereon he went to a 1?eg in the wall and fumbled in the wallet of the 
ragged cloak I had seen him wear the ~~ight we met. ln a mitlute out 
c~me a brand-new scroll of parchment, neatly r~ ned and folded, am 
stamL~ed with the royal seal. That scroll Adam E'aulkener undid, and 
setting his hol~l glasses Gh his nose, began to read the paper at arm's-
le~~gth with i~larticulate sounds of rapture. It seemed to delight him so 
mucl~ that presently I sauntered o;-er to share in the merriment, 
forgetting I had thus far been unobserved; but when we came within two 
paces of each other, the scholar, perceiving me, with a cry of dismay 
stuffed the crushed parchrhen t hurriedly into his bosom, as thm~gh he 
thon~ht hiriiself about to be robbed of something precions by a suLideil 
ambuscade. However, in a minute, he recognized the robber and was 
reassured, VLt undecided still, and inch by inch the v,hite roll came forth, 
while the old man kept his eyes fixed on mine. What were his scrips and 
scrous to me? I smiled to note the store he set by them. There was not 
one of those poor things could interest me more nearly thau a last year's 
leaf from the gardell yonder; and yet, strange to say, that white roll, 
creeping into light from under his rusty gabardine, did attract me 
somellow. Long life and strange experience have wakened in me senses 
domlant in othLr nlortals, and I begin to be conScious of a knowled~e 
l~eyond common knowing, a sel~se be


hind other senses, which grows with p.'iZ"tiCS, and seems ambitious by 
and by to bringe the gulf `~!I;c h separates tangible from unreal, and what 
is from that \,ill I,~. That growinSr perspicacity within me sm'lled 
som~mim' of weight about Faulkener's writing more than usual, arZtl 
with my curiosity gently roused I queried:

"'i'hat seems a scrip of value, sir. Is its interest particular or pnblic?"

"ln some ways, good youth," Faulkener answered, hesitatingly, as he 
unfolded the scroll so slowly ¥tS thotlgh he were jealoua even of the 
pryiur' sunshine -- "in some waYs the interest of what this is the key to is 
very gereral, and in othLr ways it is, at least for some time to come, most 

"Ruougll!" I said, "and I am sorry to ha`~e questiorc you; but your 
pleasure in the tome over there suggested just now that this were some 
general matter of curiosity -- some dark passage hl history whereon, 
perhaps, two mi~lds might shed more light than one. I ask indthgence for 

"Na~v, but stop a minute. Nistory, did you say? whY, this is historv; thi3 
is t,be birth-scrip of a braun-new l~age iZ1 history; this is leave to turll a 
leaf no other fiubers have ever turued, to spell out in swect ashas and 
loZely frabments a whole chapter, pc~uht'ce, of the by-gone. Bc~y!" cried 
the ohl fell~tw, gra~ping m`T arm with his lean fingrers, and whisperi i~ 
hl my ear as thouSrh he dreaded the grinniu~r mummy of l~ll.`raDll in 
the shadow might play eavesdropper3 " can you l~cep a seeret~'?

"Ay, fairl~v, wheII it does not interest me."

"~TIly, then -- there! take that and read it;" and FaulkeZler thrust the roll 
intO my hands, a~ cast himse.lf into an attitune, and crossed his arms tlpail 
his chest, and stared at me from under his shaggy eyebro`> s as if he 
faueied to see fear and wo~lder and delight fly over my conutetntuce 
while my eyos devoured that precious deed of his. what was there so 
wou~ ~lercul ~u it? rl'he thing tvas sealed and tasseled, th~e ink and papsr 
were new, the parchment white; it was, in fact, the very velium Faulkener 
had been on his way to beg at court when we two met; a wonderful 
chance, as you shall presently sue -- an extraordinary hap, hZ(leed, that 
brouglZt me to hi3 side out of the great wastes of time at the very instant 
tNthen tlult RUeient ssholar was on the road to ask that licerZso. But I did 
not know while I read how ncally the parch~hen t toucd~.ed me. It looked 
just an ordinary nZissi`Te from high au.l~ority to humble petitiorler, 
profuse and verbose, signed and COtliltersi~rrted, and amid a wilderness 
of words just a grain of


sense, that I construed as giving the bearer leavo to seek for treasare on 
certaill lands the!ein mentioned, and adopt the same to his p!oper pleasure 
withoat tax or drawbacl`.

"This may b~o a golden . ey, sir," was my respouse as the thing was 
h.l!nied buck, "but it is difflotht to learn anything of the door it opens by 
looking m1 it,"

"Yet ne\rcrtheless, you~~g man. it is a golden key, and you shall see me 
use it; for if, as yo~~der brol~en engh~e hints, the Fates will that I may 
not pry into the misty future, yet with their leave, with the help of this 
and you, will I peep intO the even more shadowy past. Were you ever at 
the opening of an ancient crypt -- a stony hiding-place, ior instance, where 
dead me.l's boues lay all about mid dim gems~and the rusty iron 
playthings of love and war?"

"I do recall one such an episode."

- " And did it not affect you greatly?"

"Greatly indeed,"

"Ay, boy, and this that I will show you shall affect you more; we two will 
turn a leaf whith shall read as clear to you as though ym~ had been at the 
writing of it a thousand years before. Ht is a grassy hillock, and you shall 
lift that sod with me; and if this Thisg is as I thiilk it is, oh! you shall start at 
wllat you find, and coward agae shall unstring vour soldier logs, you shall 
be damb with wouner, and ply your mattock with damp, foarful awe 
beaded on your forehead; and starting cYes fixed fast in horrid pleasure 
on what we wiil unearLIl. Ay, if you have a spark of gener.ous 
comprehension, if one drop of the milk of khlduess still bides within you, 
you shall people this place we go to fiun with SUCil teeming, sprightly 
iancies, such moving m~ckeries of frail human kind new risen from their 
ashes at yoar feet, that you shall wrklg your hands out of pure rue for 
them that were, and pluck your beard in dumb chagrill, and bent upon 
your heart, even to wateh all .llat which ouce was rundy valor and hot 
love, and white bcauty go adritting so Upon the dusty evening wintl. Yot. 
will come with me?"

"Old man," I said, pacing up and down with folded arms and bent head, 
"'twas U'pOll my tongue to say I wouLl not; I h.3ed a fair tryst to keep this 
evening, and something that I have seen of late makes such ventures as 
you have planned dotlbly distasteful to nle; 'twas in my miild to laugh and 
silake my head; but, goos! you have stirred a pulse wiThin me that rouses 
me with resistless wondcr; yoar wolds tell on me strangely; there is 
something in that you say which echoes throu~h my heart like the 
fooLf~ll of ~ stor~u Upon the hollow


earth, and I can do nothing but listen and acquiesce. I will come,"

"Glood youth, good youth, I knew you would; and, that our hopes may 
not safftr by delay, let us prepare at once. Get you mattocts, spade, and 
pick, with whatever other tooki your strellgth £I,all need, and I will feed 
and have my prctty paZfrey saddled, and COII von crabbed passage over 
once agaisl. So we will be ready; an¢1 at nightfall, under the yellow stars, 
will start upon a -veLZture that vou shall think on for many a day,"

I bc~nt my head, and we did as Faulkener sug`~ested. But a strange 
unrest possessed Tne. When spade and mattock were hidden where we 
could take them up iaZ secret (for we did not wish our enterpriso too 
wislely known), the time hung wondrously heavy on hand. ALL the 
tedious hours before sanset I was oppressed with an all~iety quaint and 
inexplicable, half wishing by turns I had not promised to jOill the mad old 
fei~1ow i~1 his mooulight quest, and then laughislg my scruples down 
and beeoming as restloss for tlsle start 2`S before I had been reluctant. As 
for the scholar himseif, the very shirt of Dejanira possessed him, and his 
impatience shone behind his yeltow wrislklad face like a candle inside a 
horll lantern. Somehow the hout-s wore throagll, however, and when the 
evenill~ was come we sct forth, Faulkener pale aed eloquentl' ravin:'from 
astride of that mean palfrey wbose sumpter pad was loaded witli our 
tools on one side, and on the other a monster sack whereiu to brilJg back 
all the treasure we were to rille, and I on foot leading that gentle beast, 
and thoughtful past propGrtion or reasoH.

At first we pushed on at a brisk pace by familiar roads, but after a time 
our path lay more to the eastward, the scholar said, and oslce off the 
sJroad white track leading to the nearest town t~slO mad grew narrower 
and inore narrow. On we went in silence, ~rile a~cter milo; by autty lanes 
where twittering bats flitted up and dowsl the 1. s ck arcades of 
overhallging bush and brier; by ru.;`ly fats wilele the water stood Wall 
and din1 in the uneertahl light; now brushislg by the heavy, dewaden 
branches of a N`oodmail s pam throrlgh deep thickets of oak anl ~ eelN. 
a~ I Ib~s~ folloviing a winding sheep-track over lh~g a ,d g ~rsc. S~ s~; 
'~b.`r iNttS tl;at wa5', a::d so few the signs f~f lif, aro!.3c~f~.l l; ~`v The 
~chol;~r k~pt f an th s~i~sa~~on; i~!'t 1~; . i;.` ~;~'tc\. 1~`i:,t lSl.til he 
~icems:,a.:l, \`,'il~' t~` I,lllbed sil:~!t~y '`r,~jil me ~;~~ ~iZ:l ~;~`ed ! s 
n..~l~1s iil o!Z :.~~ I~~~!~~n1 to n;9 ~i,,~s~oii~ll lilC,t.,,iiLs,'1 fOU'IrI 
t~lo~ll a .liii~lce word 01 1wO he was isi soisue kind watching the stars, 
atZd 1eading us for"


ward by their dim light toward that goal whereof he had got knowledge 
from his musty tomes. On we went through the still, starry night, pacing 
along from black shadows to black shadows, and moomight to silver 
moonlight, until it must havo been withill an hour or twe of day-breaking, 
for under the purplo pall of sky there was a long strean1 oL pale light in 
the east. It w as about that time, and tha night shadows wore strong and 
ebony, and the cold brcath and deep hush of a coming morning hung 
over everythill~, when Faulkener first began to hesit~te, and presently 
confessed that that which he sought for shothd be somewhere here, but in 
the glin~mer of the starlight he was uncertaiu whether it lay to right or 
left. We halte`l, and, mounting on a hillock, peered all about us, but to 
little purpose, for the somber night hid everything, the massed forest 
trees rose tier upon tier on every hand, like mountaill ranges running on 
indefinite into the gloomy passes of the clouns, and the chauce gleams of 
moonlight, lying white and still upon the dew-damp mevdows, were so 
like great misty lakes and rivers it were dlfficult to say whether they were 
such or not.

So back we scrarllbled once more, and unnitched our patient beast from 
the hazel whereto we had tied him, and plutlged on again by dingUe and 
sa'~dy road, and rough woodlaun path, until we were hopclessly mazGd, 
and there seemed nothmg for it but to wait till daylight or go empty back. 
Yet, reluctant to do either, we held to it a little, hoping some chance might 
favor U6. 'Twas past midnight; not a crowof distant cock or yelp of village 
cur broke the dead sthbless, and we were plodding down a turfy road, 
when on a surlden our patient steed threw forward his ears and came to a 
dead stop, aun, alluost the same minute, the gray-clad figure of a 
countryman in loDg cape and hood, a wide slouch hat UpOll his head, and 
a tail staff in his hand, came out from the depth a hundred vards ahead of 
us, and with slow, measured gait and bent lace walked down toward us. 
Old Faulkener was overjoved. nere was one who knew the corlutry, and 
wothd show us his precious hillock; and he shouted to that stranger, and 
tugged his palfrey's rein But that obscrvant beast was strangely reluctant; 
he went on a pace, then stopped and backed and pawed the silent ground, 
thron ing his pricked ears forward, whinlJying, and staring at thai s~lent 
coming stranger with strange disquiet in every movenlerlt. And I- - I 
sympat}lized with that dumb brute; and as the coulltiyman canle near 
somehow my blood ra~l cold ani1 colder; my tongue, that was swa~ to 
ask the way, stuck helpless tG my teeth; a foolisl~


chill beset my limbs; and by the time we met I had oniy wit enough left to 
stare, speechless, at that gray forni, in si!ent expectation. But the old 
philosopher did not feel these tremors. He was delighted at our good-
luck, a~id, fun~bling in his wallet, pulled out a small silver piece which he 
tendi i ed to the man, explaining at the sarlle time our need, and asKing 
him to guide us.

The stranger took the COill ill silence, and, l~eeping his Lace hidden in the 
shadow of his hat, said the monun was n~ar, "he knew it well, he had 
bided by it lollg," and he would willingly S}now us where it lay. Back we 
`vent by copse and heather, back for half a mile, then turlled to the right, 
and in a few min.ltes more came Otlt of the brush~vood into th~e 
starlight, and there at our very feet the ground was swellblg np in a gentle 
sweep to the flat top of a little islaun hill lost in the sea of forest-land abont 
it. It was the place we can~e for, and the scholar, without another thought 
for tlS, jOyfilily pricked his steed to the rise, and was soon out of sight 
round the shoulder of the ground.

But I! Oh, what was that strange, dull hesitation that made my feet heavy 
as lead upon that threshold? Whence came those thronging, formless 
fancies that crowded to my mind as I surveyed that smoothly ronuned 
hillock and all the fantastic shad~ws beyond it? rlihat spot was the same 
one I had waunered to when I walked lonely from Faulkener's house, and 
here chauce brought me to it anew at dead midnight, and all the old thrills 
of indistinct remembrance I Then had felt were worl~ing in me again with 
redoubled force, moving my soul to such unrest that I l~ent my head and 
hid my eyes, and strove loug and sainly to recall~why or when I had last 
trodden that soil, as somewhere and somehow I was certaiu that I had. 
Thinking and thinking without purpose, presently I looked up, and there, 
two paces away, was still that gray hedgeman leaning on his staff and 
regarding me from under his country hat with calm, souness attention. I 
had forgotten his presence; and it was so strange to see him there so rustic 
and so stately that I started back, and an unfamiliar chill beset me for an 
instant. But it was only a moment; then, angry to have been surprised, I 
turned haughtily UpOD him, and, with folded arms, h~ mockingness of 
his own stern attitune, stared prounly into those black shadows where 
should have been his face. Jove' 'twas a stare that would not have 
blauched for all the lighbriing of a C~sar's eye, or wavered one moment 
bencath the grin1 returning gaze of any tyral~~ that ever livedj and yet 
even as I looked iJlto tha~t Yoid my


soul turued to water, and my eyelids quivered and bent and drooped, my 
arms fall loose and nerveless to my side, and every power of free action 
forsool, me.

That being took my perturbation with the same cold lack of wonder he 
had showu throu~llout. He eyed me for a~ minnte with his sleepy, stately 
calm, and then he said, "You have been here before,"

"Yes," I answered; " but how or when only The great gods know;" and 
though I noticed it not at the moment, yet since it has flashed upon me as 
another link in a wounroLIs chain that at that moment both I and the gray 
countryman were using the lollg-forgotten Eritish tongue.

"And woold you know, would you recall?" he queried in his passionless 

"Ay, if it is within vour power to stir my memory. stir it, in the name of 
loun Taranis, of old Belenus, and all the other dends I ouce believed in!"

"NVell, sworn, Phtenician!" said that tall, nocturnal wanderer, and without 
another word grasped his stafl, and, Siglling to me to follow, led round 
the shoulder of the hillocl; to where, aloue and solitary, we twu v.ere 
stayed by a trickling rivulet that sprung from a grassy basin in the slope 
and went by a little rushy course winding down intO the dusky thickets 
beyond. At that pool my guide stopped sunderny, then, pOint. ing with 
stern finger shll shrouned under the folds of his ample cloak:

"Drink!" l~e cried. "Drink and remember!"

1 conld no more have thwarted him than I could have torn that solid 
mound from off its base, and down I went UpOI} Olle kllee, and took a 
broket1 crock some shepherd had left behind and filled it, and put it to my 
lips and drank. 'lher~ up I leaped with a wild yell of wouner and 
astolli~hmellt, svl~ile right across the suhen  miL night sky, it seemed, 
there shot out in one broad, living piature all the pairlted pageantry of my 
Ron~an life. I saw old Poman Britaiu rise befole rric. and the quaint 
templed towns of a splendid epoch 1eL~p into sl~al~e from the tumbled 
chaos of the evening clouns. I saw the crowded episodes that had 
followed after my reawakouing in the cave where my pri~leess had laid 
me; the faces of my jolly, lorlg-dead comrades scemed thronging round 
about me; I heard the street cries of a I~oman-British city; i saw the dust 
rise, and the glitter as the ¥,halanses wheeled and turrled L~pOU the 
castra before the por-; n where, a gay patrician gallant, I lounged in gold 
and turquois armor. I saw Electra's ivory Vjll~ start i~to form and 
s~~bstauce out of the pale, filtering


Tunor moomight, and the great wh te bull, and the haughty lady, stately 
and tall, beckoning me ul~ her marble stet)s; and then I was wiTh her, her 
petted youLII, lyLlg ;ndotent and happy, toying disdaillfully with the 
imperial love she profcrred me, whilo we filled our rainbow shells from 
that bright foulltaiu that spurted in her inner court.

With a wild cry I dropped the shepherd's crock and started back. The 
water I was SippiD~ was the wNater of nectra's sourt-yard fountain! 
GOLIS! tliere was no~~e other like it. Ofteh we two haddrunkof 
thatcrystal tr~rrol~t 3S it burst, full of those sweet earth-salts the Romans 
loved so well, from the bowels of the earth straight irlto hor ~~early 
basins; the last time I had stooped to it was on that night of fiery combat 
when Flectra's villa fell; and here I was fiippit~g of it again, so strarlgely 
and unexpectedly that I hi(l my eyes a space, scL~rte knowing what might 
happen next. ~ beil I uncovered thern the black, dusky olouns bad s`~-
nno~ved the pahlted pageantry of my vision, the night wind blew ckill 
romld the grassy slope, the noman villa am fountain ha~l gone from the 
gray shadows where we stood; only the tinkle of the falling water was left 
in the darkness, and in front of me still the t`th figure of that gray-clad 
countryman. Only that countrymn! :~oth! how can I describe the rush of 
kedl wonder and fear which swept over me when, looking at hirm again, 
I saw that he had turlled back the flap of his wide liat, and there, in the 
dead gray light, was staring at me -- the same stern, passionless face that 
had come to my sh3ulder in the reek and heat of combat on this very spot 
thirteen hundred years before, and, doing the bidding of the great unk 
:rown, had drawn me from thosD fiery shambles only JuSt in time.

I kllew him then, on the instant, as DO mortal, and glared and glared at 
him with every uerve at tension, and speechless tongue, too numb to 
question; and while I stared like that, with the strong emotion playing o~1 
lip and eDe~it was only a mi~lute or so, though it scemod aD epuch -- the 
face of that being was lighted by a smile, sedate and impalpable.

'1hen, turning to me with gentle su~~eriority, he said: " You have been 
lollg, Phoe~~icirm! They told me you would come again, and I have 
waited -- waited for you here these few hundrod years -- waited until I 
ncar tired of watching all your drcling vagaries. lIere is the place you came 
to-night to find -- .ny errand ends! Dig, wo~nler, and reflect; this I was 
told to show you and to sa~7!" ,~nl like the echo of his own words, like the 
shadow of a cloun upon a rock, that strange messell,


ger of another life was drunk up by the darkness right in front of my 
worldering eyes.

So swift auA silent was I is passage back irito the outer vagueness that for 
a minute I could uot believe he ha.l goue in truLIl, and held my breath, 
and stared up and down, expeching h* would fashiou again out of the 
draughty air, or speak aboVo or below, OllEE Hl,re, ill that voice,-
everysyllable of ~vlliell fel' clear on my soul, like waior falling in a well. 
But ¥t was useless to listen and peer into the gloom. the shfipo was gone 
beyoun recall; and while my mind still pondered over the ,strarlgeness of 
it, keeping me spell-bound at the brink of that enchauted fountaiu, with 
bent head and folded arms, trying to guess how much of this was f`~ntasy 
and how much fact, there rose a shout npon the still uight air, and, raishJ~ 
m~r eyes, there was I;aulkener's quaint blaok image capering wildly on 
the dusky sky-lille, the while he brandished aloft in ono hand a spade; and 
in the other -- looking quaintly like a newsevered head darlgling by the 
hair--the first sofl he had cut of that " treasure-heap2'so dear and dreadful 
to me.

I went suhen ly up to the reduse, full of such strange, confZiCting feelings 
as you may suppose, and found him eager and excited. He had marked 
out a long furrow across the crest of' the hill, "and this we were to open 
and strike out right or left according as our venture throve." Jovel I stared 
for a time at that black trench as though it were the narrow lip of h -- n, 
which presently should yawu and throw up a grim, ghostly, warlilie crew, 
worso than those who frightelled Jason.

un then I laughed in bitterness and perplexity, and tore off my doublet 
and rolled my tunic sleeves above my shmllder, and took a spade, and at 
one strong heave plunged it deep intO the tender bosom of the swelling 
turf just over where the outskirts of tha ancient Romar1 house had been, 
and wrenched it ~~p. Then in again, and then again, while the mad 
philosopher capered in the twilight to watch my sinewy Stl ength so well 
applied, and the whist~ing bats swept curious rounci us. I had not turned 
back a stitch of that light, peaty coverlet, whetZ down my spade sunk 
through an inrler crust, deep into something soft and hollow-seeming, 
and the next minuto Faulkener, who also had set to work, was into the 
same fine strata too. W o laid it bare, and there below us shoue a floor of 
white dim ashes, mixed with earth, and leaves, and roots.

"1\ torch! a torch!" vellc~d Faulkouer, and down he went upon his k~lees, 
and, wild with exultatiml, wallowod in that powdery stuff, throwing it out 
by handfuls and.~!rllfuls, till 3ll his clothes were coYered Wifll it, and his 
hoary be~rl Wf4S


etill more hoar~, and his white face still tnore v,hite, and his m~d 
twiakling eyes were still mote lunatic, and I helping him, full Of crowding 
hopes and frars. And so we dr'~r and grrove1ed and scraped, while the 
pale stars t~vinkled overhcad, antil SOO.1 my master gave a shollt, and 
looking r~uick,y at him -- Jove! he was hand in hand with a dead white 
hand that he had uneoveretl, and was h:lulirlS,r.Dt it hl f;antie eagc~ness, 
aild scraping away the rubbish above, aml sli~~l:'inD aild l~lilnging aml 
stagrgering in the gray dust, while the be`~ded sweat shollo on his 
Lorellcad, and his white elf-locl~s were all astray nl~oll the night air; and 
then -- gods! -- it began to gi`-e, and I hekl my breath -- knowing ull I 
knew -- while the white sthif cracke;1 aml heaved about that ghostly 
paml, autl thon it opo~red, and -- first his heatl, and then his shoulders, 
and then his stiff contorted limbs -- my master dragged out into the 
starshine, with one strong effort, a bulky ancient warrior!

There in the torch-light which liaulkeller held a~ove him, slept that kiln-
dried soldier. nLe lay tlat upon }liS back, and, while one knotted shriveled 
fist iVa9 stretched stiiT in front in deathless anger, the broken digits Of his 
other hand were welded by red iron dust about the red rusty hilt of a 
bladeless sword. And that soldier's souness face was set stiff and hard, 
while on his stern, shut lips and deep in his eyeless sockets even now 
restless passion and quencmess hate seemed smoldering. About that frail 
'nody still clung in melancholy tatters the shreds and rem~~ar~ts of 
purple webs and golden tissue. On his ShOUIderS' SU,'ll,. intO his 
witholed, lifeless flesh, were the moldy straps and scales of harness and 
cuirass, and on his head what once had been, though now it was more like 
winter wrack, a gay helmet and a horseman's nodding crimson plume. It 
was a ghostly plavEhing to unearth like that under the wavering starlight, 
and it was doubly dreadf~ll to note how death-like was it, while yet all the 
hot life-passiou lay stamped forever in unchanging lierceness on the 
hideo~ls mask of dissolution. I turned away as Faulkener, gleefully 
shouting that he was a thousand years old ie he was a day tore the russet 
trophies from him, and pushed him down the hill;

turned away, grimly frowning, out into the black starlight, with folded 
arms, for that conto.tec1 thing .was jolly CQDjus Martius, my merry 
Byzantine captain of those mercenaries who stood it out with me thrDt 
h1st night of Roman power in England! Jolly Cains Martius! Of Ltn we 
two had set the British dogs a-yelping as we wandered home from noisy 
midnight frolics down the moonlit terni'1e streets; often we two had 
driven the same boar to bay deep in his reedy stronghold;


oftes1 at banquet and at feast, when the roses lay deep below and the 
strong was~ll bseath of scented wine hung thick above, th-it cslrly bl.tOk 
head tha Mercian damsels liked so well had sunL happy and heavy on my 
shoulder. Jove! how the world lutd sl-sln since then; and there was 
Faulkener pushing him sl~~va, the slope, alsd I colZld IZOt raise a 
comrade finger for`~\' ('aisis, ansl coshd only stupidly remember, as 
the ,ss``aviling h~.lp werlt trurldlill5g, away i';to the branZblLs, how, in 
That lo!~g ago, I had owed him half a silver talent and had never yet 
repaid it"

Well, ~ve t'ell to work again, and, furtlZer Qn, amic'Z the passages when 
these asleicnt nlen nu~1 fought a~,d iallell in ille rout, we found a lirllb, 
and cLug about it till we uncovered another strange, t`~-isteel hide of 
what was once hslmarlity -- a stalwart shell this OS)t', but Faulkener 
thought little on him because he ~vo~ e no linlss or chains, and set him 
rolling after the oths~r with scant cerermony. The next we came to 
scerrled by gear and n caporls a southern mercenary. He lay asprawl 
upon his face, and my master levered him out and plucked him of his 
scanty metal relics with no more compunction than if he wore a pigeon. It 
was grim wild work, there under the leer of the yellow dawning, all in the 
hush of the twilight, eoming on those ghastly rclics thus one by one, and 
prizing therrl out of their a~hy shell~~ and turning them over; and 
reading on each blaGis murllmy mask, that seemed to smile and grin with 
dead ferocity inlder the flickering flambeauligilt, the countenance and 
fashion of ancient comrade and ally. And ever and anon as I worked, held 
to the labor by a strange fascination, the melancholy footfall of the gusty 
wind came p~tcing round the hill, and with a frown and start I would look 
over my shoultler, half fearing, half noping it was my gray countryman 
come once more. So we toiled, and to led, while the nigrllt walled, and 
Faull~ener's treasure-heap WftS swelling. Anrl the nearer we worked to 
the center of that ample round of corridors and courts the thicker came to 
light those old-world fighters, and presently we got right down to the 
tessellated paving of E1ectra's lordly hall, and here we fonnd what it was 
which made all these ancient warriors so still and lasting. It was that 
strange, mysterious fountain. That jet of pungent taste and wondrous 
properties, when the walls fell in, had overflowed its basins and 
percol~tted through the deep soft ashes Iying thick about these ma~ble 
rooms aml cl~ambers, and, by the StOIly magic wherewiTh it was 
charged, had lbled and filled those ancient gentlemen it met with, and 
thereafter, in long dark mouths of


sile~lce, had stlpplemented their wasting tissues with its calcareous 
sediment, and kept them forever as we fonun them -- stral~ge, horrible, 
exact, and real, with passion and life stamped deep on every face, and 
strellgth and vigor in every limb, although those faces were omy ashy 
macl~s, and those limbs no stouter tharl the volklnl on which I w rite.

Under that crust of welded stone and ashes it was wonder-full to see how 
perfectly was everything prescrved. \Nre raised it in great Hakes from 
the stony flooring, and all the stain and litter of the fight lay under it, as 
thotlgh they were not a dozen hours old; we chipl?ed that scaly covering 
from the walls, and there, fresh as the moment they were made, 
gleameCI tZp under our wavering torch-light all the gay mural paintings, 
the smu~lges of battle, and the scars of ax: and arrow. We lifted that pale, 
stitf shroun from the inner chambers, and beneath lay shreds and shells of 
furniture and gear; the half-baked loaves were in the oven; the flesher's 
knife was on the block. I,boured about the bounds of that stately ruin we 
went, uncovering at every spadeful something mournful, lorgetting 
fatigue and time, as wonder after wonder rose to view; thus we came at 
last to the mid-court, where the great fight had been, and peeled the thill 
turf from off it far and near.

We had scarce begun to rake aside the ashes, when down to help us came, 
out of the black parting clouns. stroug gusts of cold morning wind, 
blowing fitfully at first and chill, and sobbing overhead and all about us, as 
though the gray air was full of spirits. It gathered strength, aun, wailing 
over the wide floor we had uncovered, in one strong breath swept back 
the veil of ashes, and there -- Jove! -- all amid the jUtS of fahen  masonly 
and stumps of beam and rafter, blackened in that fire which seemed but 
yesterday, were high, protruning knees of dead combatants, and stifF 
bent elbows, as thick as grass; and haggard, wizened faces, all stamped 
with twenty fiue degrees of terror; and fierce clillchod fists, and hands that 
still waved above thein brokeH hilt and blade. There they lay in heaps and 
rucks about that ancient villa Iqoor, just as they had died fighting, amid 
the red choking ashes of the blazing roof, all horribly life-like, ar.d yct so 
grimly dead! Old Faulkeller yelled in sheer affright, and oapered, and 
shook his fists toward them, ~nld tore his leall white locks'tween dread 
and wonder; and stiffc my thrygia~l curls seemed on my head, and cold 
the sweat upou ---y fcirellGad.

And then, while we watr.lled, a very wonderful thing hap~ pened, and, 
dreadful aHd beautiful, those cinders began to


glow. Jutting beam and rafter grew red and redder, pile and timber and 
cornice cau~ht the ambient blush, the crimson stain crept 3ll across the 
hall, it burned in nmekery upon ruined wall and portico, and lighted with 
all unealtmy radiance those parched, contorted faces that grinned and 
leered and frowhed, still in frantic struggle with their l~intl, all rOUI14 U3. 
Was I mad? W'as this some hideous last drlusion which beset my aching 
mind and horror-surfeited eyes? l!`:o, there was Faulkener; he saw it too, 
and had fahen  on his knees and buried his fearful face behind his hauns 
and thrown his ~,abardine `.Ioak over hiS head to shat out that dreadful 
sight. I drew my hand across my face and looked again: it was true, too 
true -- that charred and ancient villa was all alight once more; wherever 
fire had been, at es ery PO;IIt and crevice, there the anibient glow was 
smoldering with a ilameless brightness. It underlay the silver ashes with a 
hot goklc

shine; it gilded all the fahen  metal statues of gods and goddesses until 
they seemed to shimmer beneath its touch; it sholle near by ur.der the 
walls and far out upon the steps -- it was so real, so terribly lil.e what it 
had been here a tlmusand years before, that I half bent to take a weapon, 
in the delusion of that brillia~lt fantasy, a husky cry of encouragement to 
those stark, ancient warriors half framed itself upon my lips -- and then, 
how exactly I knew not, but somehow a slight illsequence flashed upon 
me, and in another minute I had SPUn angrJlY rowld upou my heel -- alid 
there I saw, right bchind us, CUInI, benignant, crimsou, the great May sun 
was topping the easter oak-trees.


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Chapter 24