The last days of Pompeii, by the author of 'Pelham'. by sir E. Bulwer Lytton

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Page 311 - ... lights, you saw the thief hastening by the most solemn authorities of the law, laden with and fearfully chuckling over the produce of his sudden gains. If, in the darkness, wife was separated from husband, or parent from child, vain was the hope of reunion. Each hurried blindly and confusedly on. Nothing in all the various and complicated machinery of social life was left save the primal law of self-preservation ! Through this awful scene did the Athenian wade his way, accompanied by lone and...
Page 320 - ... in its gardens the sacrificial tripod, — in its halls the chest of treasure, — in its baths the strigil, — in its theatres the counter of admission, — in its saloons the furniture and the lamp, — in its triclinia the fragments of the last feast, — in its cubicula the perfumes and the rouge of faded beauty, — and everywhere the bones and skeletons of those who once moved the springs of that minute yet gorgeous machine of luxury and of life...
Page 304 - Trampling recklessly over the fallen — amidst groans, and oaths, and prayers, and sudden shrieks, the enormous crowd vomited itself forth through the numerous passages. Whither should they fly ? Some, anticipating a second earthquake, hastened to their homes to load themselves with their more costly goods, and escape while it was yet time ; others, dreading the showers of ashes that now fell fast, torrent upon torrent, over the streets, rushed under the roofs of the nearest houses, or temples,...
Page 303 - In vain did the aedile command ; in vain did the praetor lift his voice and proclaim the law. The people had been already rendered savage by the exhibition of blood ; they thirsted for more ; their superstition was aided by their ferocity. Aroused, inflamed by the spectacle of their victims, they forgot the authority of their rulers. It was one of those dread popular convulsions common to crowds wholly ignorant, half free and half servile ; and which the peculiar constitution of the Roman provinces...
Page 300 - ... uttered rather a baffled howl than its deep-toned and kingly roar. It evinced no sign either of wrath or hunger ; its tail drooped along the sand instead of lashing its gaunt sides ; and its eye, though it wandered at times to Glaucus, rolled again listlessly from him. At length as if tired of attempting to escape, it crept with a moan into its cage, and once more laid itself down to rest.
Page 301 - It is for this, then, that the lion spared him — A miracle ! a miracle ! " cried Pansa. " A miracle ; a miracle ! " shouted the people ; " remove the Athenian — Arbaces to the lion ! " And that shout echoed from hill to vale — from coast to sea — " Arbaces to the lion ! " "Officers, remove the accused Glaucus — remove, but guard him yet,
Page 311 - ... nor could chariot or litter be kept steady, even on the most level ground. Sometimes the huger stones, striking against each other as they fell, broke into countless fragments, emitting sparks of fire, which caught whatever was combustible within their reach ; and along the plains beyond the city the darkness was now terribly relieved ; for several houses, and even vineyards, had been set on flames ; and at various intervals the fires rose suddenly and fiercely- against the solid gloom.
Page vii - Worde, prevents my attempting to confine myself within the limits of the period in which my story is laid. It is necessary, for exciting interest of any kind, that xxxvii the subject assumed should be, as it were, translated into the manners, as well as the language, of the age we live in.

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