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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 3
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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 3 Post by :cashgalore Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :793

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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 3

BOOK III CHAPTER III

Pausanias and the Eretrian halted on the shore.

"Now speak," said the Spartan Regent. "Where is the danger?"

"Before thee," answered Gongylus, and his hand pointed to the ocean.

"I see the fleet of the Greeks in the harbour--I see the flag of my galley above the forest of their masts. I see detached vessels skimming along the waves hither and thither as in holiday and sport; but discipline slackens where no foe dares to show himself. Eretrian, I see no danger."

"Yet danger is there, and where danger is thou shouldst be. I have learned from my spies, not an hour since, that there is a conspiracy formed--a mutiny on the eve of an outburst. Thy place now should be in thy galley."

"My boat waits yonder in that creek, overspread by the wild shrubs," answered Pausanias; "a few strokes of the oar, and I am where thou seest. And in truth, without thy summons, I should have been on board ere sunset, seeing that on the morrow I have ordered a general review of the vessels of the fleet. Was that to be the occasion for the mutiny?"

"So it is supposed."

"I shall see the faces of the mutineers," said Pausanias, with a calm visage, and an eye which seemed to brighten the very atmosphere. "Thou shakest thy head; is this all?"

"Thou art not a bird--this moment in one place, that moment in another. There, with yon armament, is the danger thou canst meet. But yonder sails a danger which thou canst not, I fear me, overtake."

"Yonder!" said Pausanias, his eye following the hand of the Eretrian. "I see naught save the white wing of a seagull--perchance, by its dip into the water, it foretells a storm."

"Farther off than the seagull, and seeming smaller than the white spot of its wing, seest thou nothing!"

"A dim speck on the farthest horizon, if mine eyes mistake not."

"The speck of a sail that is bound to Sparta, It carries with it a request for thy recall."

This time the cheek of Pausanias paled, and his voice slightly faltered as he said,

"Art thou sure of this?"

"So I hear that the Samian captain, Uliades, has boasted at noon in the public baths."

"A Samian!--is it only a Samian who hath ventured to address to Sparta a complaint of her General?"

"From what I could gather," replied Gongylus, "the complaint is more powerfully backed. But I have not as yet heard more, though I conjecture that Athens has not been silent, and before the vessel sailed Ionian captains were seen to come with joyous faces from the lodgings of Cimon."

The Regent's brow grew yet more troubled. "Cimon, of all the Greeks out of Laconia, is the one whose word would weigh most in Sparta. But my Spartans themselves are not suspected of privity and connivance in this mission?"

"It is not said that they are."

Pausanias shaded his face with his hand for a moment in deep thought. Gongylus continued--"If the Ephors recall thee before the Asian army is on the frontier, farewell to the sovereignty of Hellas!"

"Ha!" cried Pausanias, "tempt me not. Thinkest thou I need other tempter than I have here?"--smiting his breast.

Gongylus recoiled in surprise. "Pardon me, Pausanias, but temptation is another word for hesitation. I dreamed not that I could tempt; I did not know that thou didst hesitate."

The Spartan remained silent.

"Are not thy messengers on the road to the great king?--nay, perhaps already they have reached him. Didst thou not say how intolerable to thee would be life henceforth in the iron thraldom of Sparta--and now?"

"And now--I forbid thee to question me more. Thou hast performed thy task, leave me to mine."

He sprang with the spring of the mountain goat from the crag on which he stood--over a precipitous chasm, lighted on a narrow ledge, from which a slip of the foot would have been sure death, another bound yet more fearful, and his whole weight hung suspended by the bough of the ilex which he grasped with a single hand; then from bough to bough, from crag to crag, the Eretrian saw him descending till he vanished amidst the trees that darkened over the fissures at the foot of the cliff.

And before Gongylus had recovered his amaze at the almost preterhuman agility and vigour of the Spartan, and his dizzy sense at the contemplation of such peril braved by another, a boat shot into the sea from the green creek, and he saw Pausanias seated beside Lysander on one of the benches, and conversing with him, as if in calm earnestness, while the ten rowers sent the boat towards the fleet with the swiftness of an arrow to its goal.

"Lysander," said Pausanias, "hast thou heard that the Ionians have offered to me the insult of a mission to the Ephors demanding my recall?"

"No. Who would tell me of insult to thee?"

"But hast thou any conjecture that other Spartans around me, and who love me less than thou, would approve, nay, have approved, this embassy of spies and malcontents?"

"I think none have so approved. I fear some would so approve. The Spartans round thee would rejoice did they know that the pride of their armies, the Victor of Plataea, were once more within their walls."

"Even to the danger of Hellas from the Mede?"

"They would rather all Hellas were Medised than Pausanias the Heracleid."

"Boy, boy," said Pausanias, between his ground teeth, "dost thou not see that what is sought is the disgrace of Pausanias the Heracleid? Grant that I am recalled from the head of this armament, and on the charge of Ionians, and I am dishonoured in the eyes of all Greece. Dost thou remember in the last Olympiad that when Themistocles, the only rival now to me in glory, appeared on the Altis, assembled Greece rose to greet and do him honour? And if I, deposed, dismissed, appeared at the next Olympiad, how would assembled Greece receive me? Couldst thou not see the pointed finger and hear the muttered taunt--That is Pausanias, whom the Ionians banished from Byzantium. No, I must abide here; I must prosecute the vast plans which shall dwarf into shadow the petty genius of Themistocles. I must counteract this mischievous embassy to the Ephors. I must send to them an ambassador of my own. Lysander, wilt thou go, and burying in thy bosom thine own Spartan prejudices, deem that thou canst only serve me by proving the reasons why I should remain here; pleading for me, arguing for me, and winning my suit?"

"It is for thee to command and for me to obey thee," answered Lysander, simply. "Is not that the duty of soldier to chief? When we converse as friends I may contend with thee in speech. When thou sayest, Do this, I execute thine action. To reason with thee would be revolt."

Pausanias placed his clasped hands on the young man's shoulder, and leaving them there, impressively said--

"I select thee for this mission because thee alone can I trust. And of me hast thou a doubt?--tell me."

"If I saw thee taking the Persian gold I should say that the Demon had mocked mine eyes with a delusion. Never could I doubt, unless--unless--"

"Unless what?"

'Thou wert standing under Jove's sky against the arms of Hellas."

"And then, if some other chief bade thee raise thy sword against me, thou art Spartan and wouldst obey?"

"I am Spartan, and cannot believe that I should ever have a cause, or listen to a command, to raise my sword against the chief I now serve and love," replied Lysander.

Pausanias withdrew his hands from the young man's broad shoulder. He felt humbled beside the quiet truth of that sublime soul. His own deceit became more black to his conscience. "Methinks," he said tremulously, "I will not send thee after all--and perhaps the news may be false."

The boat had now gained the fleet, and steering amidst the crowded triremes, made its way towards the floating banner of the Spartan Serpent. More immediately round the General's galley were the vessels of the Peloponnesian allies, by whom he was still honoured. A welcoming shout rose from the seamen lounging on their decks as they caught sight of the renowned Heracleid. Cimon, who was on his own galley at some distance, heard the shout.

"So Pausanias," he said, turning to the officers round him, "has deigned to come on board, to direct, I suppose, the manoeuvres for to-morrow."

"I believe it is but the form of a review for manoeuvres," said an Athenian officer, "in which Pausanias will inspect the various divisions of the fleet, and if more be intended, will give the requisite orders for a subsequent day. No arrangements demanding much preparation can be anticipated, for Antagoras, the rich Chian, gives a great banquet this day--a supper to the principal captains of the Isles."

"A frank and hospitable reveller is Antagoras," answered Cimon. "He would have extended his invitation to the Athenians--me included--but in their name I declined."

"May I ask wherefore?" said the officer who had before spoken. "Cimon is not held averse to wine-cup and myrtle-bough."

"But things are said over some wine-cups and under some myrtle-boughs," answered Cimon, with a quiet laugh, "which it is imprudence to hear and would be treason to repeat. Sup with me here on deck, friends--a supper for sober companions--sober as the Laconian Syssitia, and let not Spartans say that _our manners are spoilt by the luxuries of Byzantium."

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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 4 Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 4

Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 4
BOOK III CHAPTER IVIn an immense peristyle of a house which a Byzantine noble, ruined by lavish extravagance, had been glad to cede to the accommodation of Antagoras and other officers of Chios, the young rival of Pausanias feasted the chiefs of the Aegean. However modern civilization may in some things surpass the ancient, it is certainly not in luxury and splendour. And although the Hellenic States had not, at that period, aimed at the pomp of show and the refinements of voluptuous pleasure which preceded their decline; and although they never did carry luxury to the wondrous extent which it
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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 2 Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 2

Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 2
BOOK III CHAPTER II"Thou art weeping still, Cleonice!" said the Spartan, "and I have not the privilege to kiss away thy tears." "Nay, I weep not," answered the girl, throwing up her veil; and her face was calm, if still sad--the tear yet on the eyelids, but the smile upon the lip--(Greek: dakruoen gelaoisa). "Thy singer has learned his art from a teacher heavenlier than the Pierides, and its name is Hope." "But if I understand him aright," said Pausanias, "the Hope that inspires him is a goddess who blesses us little on the earth." As if the Mothon had overheard
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