Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

A Christian But a Roman   By: (1825-1904)

Book cover

First Page:

Transcriber's note:

There was no table of contents in the original paper edition. A table of contents has been created for the convenience of the reader.

A CHRISTIAN BUT A ROMAN

by

MAURUS JÓKAI

[Illustration]

Doubleday & McClure Co. New York 1900

Copyright, 1900, by Doubleday & Mcclure Company

By the Same Author

[Illustration]

DEBTS OF HONOR, THE POOR PLUTOCRATS, A HUNGARIAN NABOB, THE NAMELESS CASTLE, ETC., ETC.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. 1 CHAPTER II. 40 CHAPTER III. 56 CHAPTER IV. 66 CHAPTER V. 80 CHAPTER VI. 90 CHAPTER VII. 96 CHAPTER VIII. 104 CHAPTER IX. 119 CHAPTER X. 133 CHAPTER XI. 149 CHAPTER XII. 163

A CHRISTIAN BUT A ROMAN.

CHAPTER I.

In the days of the Cæsars the country surrounding Rome vied in splendour and luxury with the capital itself. Throughout the whole region appeared the villas of Roman patricians, abodes of aristocratic comfort, where every artist, from the sculptor to the cook, had done his utmost to render them attractive and beautiful.

These noble patricians, many of whom had incomes of eight or nine millions, often found themselves in the unpleasant position of being obliged to avoid Rome. Weariness, wounded vanity, insurrections of the people and the prætorians, but especially distrust of the Cæsar, compelled them to turn their backs upon the imperial city and retire to their country estates.

Thus, for several years, Mesembrius Vio, the oldest Senator who since the death of Probus had not set foot in Rome nor given the Senate a glimpse of him had resided on his estate at the mouth of the Tiber. True, he said it was on account of the gout and the cataracts from which his feet and his eyes suffered; and his visitors always found him sitting in his curule chair, with his ivory crutch in his hand and a broad green shade over his eyes.

The old man had two daughters. One, Glyceria, had married when very young, thanks to the imperial favour, a great lord who had become a libertine; soon after the libertine lost his head, and his property, as well as the imperial favour, went to the beautiful widow, who in a short time had the reputation of being the Aspasia of the Roman capital. Of course, Mesembrius was not only blind, but deaf, when Glyceria was mentioned in his presence; he himself never permitted her name to cross his lips. His second daughter was Sophronia, who was always by the old man's side at his country estate. A beautiful and virtuous maiden, she seemed to unite the charms of three Greek goddesses: the graceful form of Venus, the noble beauty of Juno's countenance, and the purity of Psyche.

Yet Sophronia owed no special gratitude to heathen goddesses; on the seashore nearby lived the wise Eusebius, the descendant of the apostle, and the beautiful girl had long attended the secret meetings where the holy man announced to the followers of Christ the doctrine of the one God who dwells in the soul.

Old Mesembrius knew that his favourite daughter was secretly a proselyte of the new faith, and he did not oppose it; nay, he did not even let his daughter perceive that he had any idea of it.

Young sons of patrician families often came from Rome, lured by the fame of the maiden's beauty, and all cherishing the hope of obtaining her hand and with it her millions. Mesembrius received them very kindly, arranged great banquets in their honour, and brought out wine a century old. The youths were soon intoxicated by the liquid fire, and after the last libation each one showed himself in his true colours and poured forth the most secret thoughts in his heart.

Old Mesembrius listened and reflected. One unmasked himself as a profligate; another was free from such tastes, but developed great talent for being slave and despot in the same person; and even if an omnibus numeris salutus was found, he showed, when the last subject his opinion of Christianity was introduced, like all the rest, that it was his conviction that the Christian religion was nothing more than a sect which denied the gods and, by withdrawing from the popular pleasures, games, and combats in the arena, embittered every joy by their obdurate melancholy and in their stead celebrated horrible rites in gloomy caverns, compelled their followers to pierce with their knives the heart of an infant rolled in flour, and to drink its blood; till the gods, in their wrath, visited the earth with floods, pestilences, earthquakes, and barbarians, and that consequently there could not be enough of these people boiled in oil, burned in pitch, torn by wild beasts, and buried alive to avert from the land the severe punishments sent by the wrathful gods... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books