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A STORY OF THE FIRST CENTURY.

BY THE AUTHOR OF THE CHRONICLES OF THE SCHÖNBERG-COTTA FAMILY."

CHAPTER I.

T was the eve of the Triumph of Ger- | Rome. To the Roman, a ray of light from the manicus. The Roman camp on the great focus of the Empire; to the German caphills above the Campagna was hushed tive, a transverse strand of the great mystic web in sleep. A tall fair woman-one in which tribe after tribe of her race had been of the German captives who were to grace the entangled and crushed. triumph-had crept to the door of one of the tents, and was gazing with her eyes dreamily fixed on the long reach of Roman Road which stretched before her into the darkness.

To her, as to us, that road was a great symbol. It was no mere pliant highway of commerce, in gracious windings accommodating itself to the needs of men and the difficulties of nature. Rigid as the Roman rule, it scaled the hills and spanned the valleys: the crooked must be made straight before it, and the rough places plain. No kindly chain, gently binding nation to nation with friendly links; but a weapon of war, straight as the spear of the soldier, as the rod of the lictor, as the flight of an arrow, it shot over mountain and chasm, through forest and marsh—not to link the nations to each other, but to bind the ends of the earth to

Far back into her inner life those arrowy lines led her mystic Runes bringing up shadowy forms from the icy hollows or fiery abysses of the past-bringing down royal shapes from its sunny heights. Far back to a hut on the edge of a Northern forest; one of those huge, impenetrable forests which gave mystery and poetry to the prosaic levels of her North German land; the great Teutoberger Forest between the rivers Lippe and Weser.

Murmurs of waters and of pines had mingled with her mother's cradle-songs. For she, too, sitting there so solitary, so helpless, had been welcomed into the world as if it were to be a joyous home to her-as if it were the abidingplace, the city of the shining palaces where dwelt the Æsir, the mighty gods. She, too, had once

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