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      Prout was not so sure of that. He had seen too many startling developments in his time to be surprised at anything.Leona bent forward to listen. Even Charlton seemed to have forgotten his troubles for the moment. A beam of light illuminated his sombre face.

      Attention has already been called to the fact that Epicurus, although himself indifferent to physical science, was obliged, by the demands of the age, to give it a place, and a very large place, in his philosophy. Now it was to this very side of Epicureanism that the fresh intellect of Rome most eagerly attached itself. It is a great mistake to suppose that the Romans, or rather the ancient Italians, were indifferent to speculations about the nature of things. No one has given more eloquent expression to the enthusiasm excited by such enquiries than Virgil. Seneca devoted a volume to physical questions, and regretted that worldly distractions should prevent them from being studied with the assiduity they deserved. The elder Pliny lost his life in observing the eruption of Vesuvius. It was probably the imperial despotism, with its repeated persecutions of the Mathematicians, which alone prevented Italy from entering on the great scientific career for which she was predestined in after ages. At any rate, a spirit of active curiosity was displaying itself during the last days of the republic, and we are told that nearly all the Roman Epicureans applied themselves particularly to the physical side of their masters doctrine.202 Most of all was Lucretius distinguished by a veritable passion for science, which haunted him even in his dreams.203 Hence, while Epicurus regarded the knowledge of Nature simply as a means for overthrowing religion, with his disciple the speculative interest seems to precede every other consideration, and religion is only introduced afterwards as an obstacle to be removed from the enquirers path. How far his natural genius might have carried the poet in this direction, had he fallen into better hands, we cannot tell. As it was, the gift of what seemed a complete and infallible interpretation of physical phenomena relieved him from the necessity of independent investigation, and induced him to accept the most preposterous conclusions as demonstrated truths. But we can see how105 he is drawn by an elective affinity to that early Greek thought whence Epicurus derived whatever was of any real value in his philosophy.What influence Scepticism exercised on the subsequent course of Greek thought is difficult to determine. If we are to believe Diogenes Laertius, who flourished in the second quarter of the third century A.D., every school except Epicureanism had at that time sunk into utter neglect;304 and it is natural to connect this catastrophe with the activity of the Sceptics, and especially of Sextus Empiricus, whose critical compilation had appeared not long before. Such a conclusion would be supported by the circumstance that Lucian, writing more than fifty years earlier, directs his attacks on contemporary philosophy chiefly from the Sceptical standpoint; his Hermotimus in particular being a popularised version of the chief difficulties raised from that quarter. Still it remains to be shown why the criticism of the Greek Humanists, of Pyrrho, and of the New Academy should have produced so much more powerful an effect under their revived form than when they were first promulgated; and it may be asked whether the decline of philosophy should not rather be attributed to the general barbarisation of the Roman empire at that period.

      Back at Bruges we attended in the market the concert given by a German military band near the statues of Breydel and de Koninck. At the commander's office I witnessed a remarkable incident. A German post-official and a soldier had just brought in a decently dressed gentleman. The postman began to relate that he was taking away the telephone instrument at that gentleman's house in order to fix it up at the commander's office, and that the gentleman had said: "Why do you steal that instrument?" As the postman said this the commander jumped up in a fury, and called out:

      This process was conceived by Aeschylus as a conflict between two generations of gods, ending with their complete reconciliation. In the Prometheus Bound we have the commencement of the conflict, in the Eumenides its close. Our sympathies are apparently at first intended to be enlisted on behalf of the older divinities, but at last are claimed exclusively by the younger. As opposed to Prometheus, Zeus is evidently in the wrong, and seeks to make up for his deficiencies by arbitrary violence. In the Oresteia he is the champion of justice against iniquity, and through his interpreter, Apollo, he enforces a revised moral code against the antiquated claims of the Erinyes; these latter, however, ultimately consenting to become guardians of the new social70 order. The Aeschylean drama shows us Greek religion at the highest level it could reach, unaided by philosophical reflection. With Sophocles a perceptible decline has already begun. We are loth to say anything that may sound like disparagement of so noble a poet. We yield to none in admiration for one who has combined the two highest qualities of artsweetness and strengthmore completely than any other singer, Homer alone excepted, and who has given the primordial affections their definitive expression for all time. But we cannot help perceiving an element of superstition in his dramas, which, so far, distinguishes them unfavourably from those of his Titanic predecessor. With Sophocles, when the gods interfere, it is to punish disrespect towards themselves, not to enforce justice between man and man. Ajax perishes by his own hand because he has neglected to ask for divine assistance in battle. Laius and Jocast come to a tragic end through disobedience to a perfectly arbitrary oracle; and as a part of the same divine purpose Oedipus encounters the most frightful calamities by no fault of his own. The gods are, moreover, exclusively objects of fear; their sole business is to enforce the fulfilment of enigmatic prophecies; they give no assistance to the pious and virtuous characters. Antigon is allowed to perish for having performed the last duties to her brothers corpse. Neoptolemus receives no aid in that struggle between ambition on the one hand with truthfulness and pity on the other which makes his character one of the most interesting in all imaginative literature. When Athn bids Odysseus exult over the degradation of Ajax, the generous Ithacan refuses to her face, and falls back on the consciousness of a common humanity uniting him in sympathy with his prostrate foe.Then as now, Judaism seems to have had a much greater attraction for women than for men; and this may be accounted218 for not only by the greater credulity of the female sex, which would equally predispose them in favour of every other new religion, but also by their natural sympathy with the domestic virtues which are such an amiable and interesting feature in the Jewish character. Josephus tells us that towards the beginning of Neros reign nearly all the women of Damascus were attached to Judaism;336 and he also mentions that Poppaea, the mistress and afterwards the wife of Nero, used her powerful influence for the protection of his compatriots, though whether she actually became a proselyte, as some have supposed, is doubtful.337 According to Ovid, the synagogues were much visited by Roman women, among others, apparently, by those of easy virtue, for he alludes to them as resorts which the man of pleasure in search of a conquest will find it advantageous to frequent.338

      But it was not for long that Hetty remained like that. There was much to be done yet and much to learn. The thought of Gordon spurred her on. If she could get this woman into her power and force her to speak, all would be well. Hetty never doubted for a moment that Leona Lalage was at the bottom of her lover's misfortunes.



      "Lalage," Bruce cried. "The Spanish--and the same name! Why, that is the same woman who received me on that fatal night at the corner house!"Wheres the one who was on the amphibian wing? Larry wondered.


      "Come, come," I replied, touched by the kind anxiety of these people. "Come, come; it won't be as bad as all that, and, then, I am a Netherlander."