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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
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Iphegenia.—Absent so long, with joy I look on thee.
Agamemnon.—And I on thee; so this is mutual joy.

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In accordance with the advice of Hippocrates, the
journey to Olympia was undertaken. Some time before
the commencement of the games, a party, consisting of
Pericles, Plato, Paralus, Philothea, and their attendants,
made preparations for departure.

Having kissed the earth of Athens, and sacrificed to
Hermes and Hecate, the protectors of travellers, they
left the city at the Dipylon Gate, and entered the road
leading to Eleusis. The country presented a cheerless
aspect; for fields and vineyards once fruitful were
desolated by ferocious war. But religious veneration
had protected the altars, and their chaste simplicity
breathed the spirit of peace; while the beautiful little
rustic temples of Demeter, in commemoration of her
wanderings in search of the lost Persephone, spoke an
ideal language, soothing to the heart amid the visible
traces of man's destructive passions.

During the solemnization of the Olympic Games,
the bitterest animosities were laid aside. The inhabitants
of states carrying on a deadly war with each
other, met in peace and friendship. Even Megara
with all her hatred to Athens, gave the travellers a
cordial welcome. In every house they entered, bread
wine, and salt, were offered to Zeus Xinias, the patron
of hospitality.

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A pleasant grove of cypress trees announced the
vicinity of Corinth, famed for its magnificence and
beauty. A foot-path from the grove led to a secluded
spot, where water was spouted forth by a marble dolphin,
at the foot of a brazen statue of Poseidon.

The travellers descended from their chariots to rest
under the shadow of the lofty plane trees, and refresh
themselves with a draught from the fountain. The
public road was thronged with people on their way to
Olympia. Most of them drove with renewed eagerness
to enter Corinth before the evening twilight; for nearly
all travellers made it a point to visit the remarkable
scenes in this splendid and voluptuous city, the Paris
of the ancient world. A few were attracted by the
cool murmuring of the waters, and turned aside to the
fountain of Poseidon. Among these was Artaphernes
the Persian, who greeted Pericles, and made known
his friend Orsames, lately arrived from Ecbatana. The
stranger said he had with him a parcel for Anaxagoras;
and inquired whether any tidings of that philosopher
had been lately received in Athens. Pericles informed
them of the death of the good old man, and mentioned
that his grand-daughter, accompanied by her husband
and attendants, was then in a retired part of the grove.
The Persian took from his chariot a roll of parchment
and a small box, and placed them in the hands of Geta,
to be conveyed to Philothea. The tears came to her
eyes, when she discovered that it was a friendly epistle
from Philæmon to his beloved old master. It appeared
to have been written soon after he heard of his exile,
and was accompanied by a gift of four minæ. His
own situation was described as happy as it could be in
a foreign land. His time was principally employed in
instructing the sons of the wealthy satrap, Megabyzus;

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a situation which he owed to the friendly recommendation
of Artaphernes. At the close, after many remarks
concerning the politics of Athens, he expressed a wish
to be informed of Eudora's fate, and an earnest hope
that she was not beyond the reach of Philothea's influence.

This letter awakened busy thoughts. The happy
past and a cheerful future were opened to her mind
in all the distinctness of memory and the brightness of
hope. At such moments, her heart yearned for the
ready sympathy she had been wont to receive from
Paralus. As the drew aside the curtains of the litter,
and looked upon him in tranquil slumber, she thought
of the wonderful gift of Tithonus, with an intense
anxiety, to which her quiet spirit was usually a stranger.
Affectionate recollections of Eudora, and the
anticipated joy of meeting, mingled with this deeper
tide of feeling, and increased her desire to arrive at
the end of their journey. Pericles shared her anxiety,
and admitted no delays but such as were necessary for
the health of the invalid.

From Corinth they passed into the pleasant valleys
of Arcadia, encircled with verdant hills. Here nature
reigned in simple beauty, unadorned by the magnificence
of art. The rustic temples were generally composed
of intertwined trees, in the recesses of which
were placed wooden images of Pan, “the simple shepherd's
awe-inspiring god.” Here and there an aged
man reposed in the shadow of some venerable oak;
and the shepherds, as they tended their flocks, welcomed
this brief interval of peace with the mingled
music of reeds and flutes.

Thence the travellers passed into the broad and
goodly plains of Elis; protected from the spoiler by

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its sacred character, as the seat of the Olympic Games.
In some places, troops of women might be seen in the
distance, washing garments in the river Alpheus, and
spreading them out to whiten in the sun. Fertility
rewarded the labors of the husbandmen, and the smiling
fields yielded pasturage to numerous horses, which
Phœbus himself might have prized for strength, fleetness,
and majestic beauty.

Paralus passed through all these scenes entirely unconscious
whether they were sad or cheerful. When he
spoke, it was of things unrecognized by those of earthly
mould; yet those who heard him found therein a strange
and marvellous beauty, that seemed not altogether
new to the soul, but was seen in a dim and pleasing
light, like the recollections of infant years.

The travellers stopped at a small town in the neighborhood
of Olympia, where Paralus, Philothea, and
their attendants were to remain during the solemnization
of the games. The place chosen for their retreat
was the residence of Proclus and his wife Melissa;
worthy, simple-hearted people, at whose house Phidias
had died, and under whose protection he had placed

As the chariots approached the house, the loud
barking of Hylax attracted the attention of Zoila, the
merry little daughter of Proclus, who was playing in
the fields with her brother Pteriläüs. The moment
the children espied a sight so unusual in that secluded
place, they ran with all speed to carry tidings to the
household. Eudora was busy at the loom; but she
went out to look upon the strangers, saying, as she did
so, that they were doubtless travellers, who, in passing
to the Olympic Games, had missed their way.

Her heart beat tumultuously when she saw Hylax

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capering and fawning about a man who bore a strong
resemblance to Geta. The next moment, she recognized
Pericles and Plato speaking with a tall, majestic
looking woman, closely veiled. She darted forward a
few paces, in the eagerness of her joy; but checked
herself when she perceived that the stranger lingered;
for she said, in her heart, “If it were Philothea, she
could not be so slow in coming to meet me.”

Thus she reasoned, not knowing that Philothea was
the wife of Paralus, and that his enfeebled health required
watchful care. In a few moments her doubts
were dispelled, and the friends were locked in each
others' arms.

Proclus gave the travellers a hospitable reception,
and cheerfully consented that Paralus and his attendants
should remain with them. Pericles, having made
all necessary arrangements for the beloved invalid,
bade an early farewell, and proceeded with Plato to

When Geta and Mibra had received a cordial welcome;
and Hylax had somewhat abated his boisterous
joy; and old Dione, with the tears in her eyes, had
brought forward treasures of grapes and wine—Eudora
eagerly sought a private interview with the friend of
her childhood.

“Dearest Philothea!” she exclaimed, “I thought
you were still in Ionia; and I never expected to see
you again; and now you have come, my heart is so

Unable to finish the sentence, she threw herself on
that bosom where she had ever found sympathy in all
her trials, and sobbed like a child.

“My beloved Eudora,” said Philothea, “you still
carry with you a heart easily kindled; affections that
heave and blaze like a volcano.”

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The maiden looked up affectionately, and smiled
through her tears, as she said, “The love you kindled
in infancy has burned none the less strongly because
there was no one to cherish it. If the volcano now
blazes, it only proves how faithfully it has carried the
hidden fire in its bosom.”

She paused, and spoke more sadly, as she added,
“There was, indeed, one brief period, when it was
well-nigh smothered. Would to the gods, that might
pass into oblivion! But it will not. After Phidias
came to Elis, he made for Plato a small statue of Mnemosyne,
that turned and looked upward to Heaven,
while she held a half-opened scroll toward the earth.
It was beautiful beyond description; but there was
bitterness in my heart when I looked upon it; I thought
Memory should be represented armed with the scourge
of the Furies.”

“And did you not perceive,” said Philothea, “that
yourself had armed the benignant goddess with a
scourge? Thus do the best gifts from the Divine
Fountain become changed by the will of those who
receive them. But, dearest Eudora, though your
heart retains its fire, a change has passed over your
countenance. The cares of this world have driven
away the spirit of gladness that came with you from
your divine home. That smiling twin of Innocence is
ever present and visible while we are unconscious of
its existence; but when in darkness and sorrow the soul
asks where it has gone, a hollow voice, like the sound
of autumn winds, echoes, `Gone!' ”

Eudora sighed, as she answered, “It is even so.
But I know not where you could have learned it; for
you have ever seemed to live in a region above darkness
and storms. Earth has left no shadow on your

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countenance. It expresses the same transparent innocence,
the same mild love. A light not of this world
is gleaming there; and it has grown brighter and
clearer since we parted. I could almost believe that
you accompany Hera to the Fountain of Canathus,
where it is said she every year bathes to restore her
infant purity.”

Philothea smiled, as she playfully laid her hand on
Eudora's mouth, and said, “Nay, Eudora, you forget
that flattery produces effects very unlike the Fountain
of Canathus. We have been gazing in each other's
faces, as if we fondly hoped there to read the record
of all that has passed since we were separated. Yet,
very little of all that we have known and felt—of all
that has gradually become a portion of our life—is inscribed
there. Perhaps you already know that Anaxagoras
fell asleep in Ionia. The good old man died
in peace, as he had lived in love. If I mistake not,
while I talked with Pericles, Mibra informed you that
I was the wife of Paralus?”

“Yes, dearest Philothea; but not till she had first
told me of her own marriage with Geta.”

Philothea smiled, as she replied, “I believe it is the
only case in which that affectionate creature thinks of
herself, before she thinks of me; but Geta is to her an
object of more importance than all the world beside.
When we were in Ionia, I often found her whispering
magical words, while she turned the seive and shears,
to ascertain whether her lover were faithful to his
vows. I could not find it in my heart to reprove her
fond credulity;—for I believe this proneness to wander
beyond the narrow limits of the visible world is a
glimmering reminiscence of parentage divine; and
though in Mibra's untutored mind the mysterious

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impulse takes an inglorious form, I dare not deride what
the wisest soul can neither banish nor comprehend.”

As she finished speaking, she glanced toward the
curtain, which separated them from the room where
Paralus reposed, watched by the faithful Geta. There
was a tender solemnity in the expression of her countenance,
whereby Eudora conjectured the nature of
her thoughts. Speaking in a subdued voice, she
asked whether Paralus would inquire for her, when he

“He will look for me, and seem bewildered, as if
something were lost,” replied Philothea. “Since I
perceived this, I have been careful not to excite painful
sensations by my absence. Geta will give me notice
when slumber seems to be passing away.”

“And do you think Tithonus can restore him?” inquired

Philothea answered, “Fear is stronger than hope.
I thought I perceived a healing influence in the perfect
quiet and watchful love that surrounded him in Athens;
and to these I would fain have trusted, had it been the
will of Pericles. But, dearest Eudora, let us not
speak on this subject. It seems to me like the sacred
groves, into which nothing unconsecrated may enter.”

After a short pause, Eudora said, “Then I will tell
you my own history. After we came to Elis, Phidias
treated me with more tenderness and confidence than
he had ever done. Perhaps he observed that my proud,
impetuous character was chastened and subdued by
affliction and repentance. Though we were in the
habit of talking unreservedly, he never alluded to the
foolish conduct that offended him so seriously. I felt
grateful for this generous forbearance; and by degrees
I learned to fear him less, and love him deeply.”

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“We received some tidings of him when Plato came
into Ionia,” rejoined Philothea; “and we rejoiced to
learn that he found in Elis a rich recompense for the
shameful ingratitude of Athens.”

“It was a rich recompense, indeed,” replied Eudora.
“The people reverenced him as if he were
something more than mortal. His statue stands in the
sacred grove at Olympia, bearing the simple inscription:
`Phidias, Son of Charmides, Sculptor of the Gods.'
At his death, the Eleans bestowed gifts on all his servants;
endowed me with the yearly revenues of a
farm; and appointed his nephew Pandænus to the
honorable office of preserving the statue of Olympian

“Did Phidias express no anxiety concerning your
unprotected situation?” inquired Philothea.

“It was his wish that I should marry Pandænus,”
answered Eudora; “but he urged the subject no farther,
when he found that I regarded the marriage with
aversion. On his death-bed he charged his nephew to
protect and cherish me as a sister. He left me under
the guardianship of Proclus, with strict injunctions
that I should have perfect freedom in the choice of a
husband. He felt no anxiety concerning my maintenance;
for the Eleons had promised that all persons
connected with him should be liberally provided at the
public expense; and I was universally considered as
the adopted daughter of Phidias.”

“And what did Pandænus say to the wishes of his
uncle,” asked Philothea.

Eudora blushed slightly as she answered, “He tried
to convince me that we should all be happier, if I
would consent to the arrangement. I could not believe
this; and Pandænus was too proud to repeat his

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solicitations to a reluctant listener. I seldom see him;
but when there is opportunity to do me service, he is
very kind.”

Her friend looked earnestly upon her, as if seeking
to read her heart; and inquired, “Has no other one
gained your affections? I had some fears that I should
find you married.”

“And why did you fear?” said Eudora: “Other
friends would consider it a joyful occasion.”

“But I feared, because I have ever cherished the
hope that you would be the wife of Philæmon,” rejoined
her companion.

The sensitive maiden sighed deeply, and turned
away her head, as she said, with a tremulous voice,
“I have little doubt that Philæmon has taken a Persian
wife, before this time.”

Philothea nade no reply; but searched for the epistle
she had received at Corinth, and placed it in the hands
of her friend. Eudora started, when she saw the wellknown
writing of Philæmon. But when she read the
sentence wherein he expressed affectionate solicitude
for her welfare, she threw her arms convulsively about
Philothea's neck, exclaiming, “Oh, my beloved friend,
what a blessed messenger you have ever been to this
poor heart!”

For some moments, her agitation was extreme; but
that gentle influence, which had so often soothed her,
gradually calmed her perturbed feelings; and they
talked freely of the possibility of regaining Philæmon's

As Eudora stood leaning on her shoulder, Philothea,
struck with the contrast in their figures, said:
“When you were in Athens, we called you the
Zephyr; and surely you are thinner now than you

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were then. I fear your health suffers from the anxiety
of your mind. “See!” continued she, turning towards
the mirror—“See what a contrast there is between

“There should be a contrast,” rejoined Eudora,
smiling: “The pillars of agoras are always of lighter
and less majestic proportions than the pillars of temples.”

As she spoke, Geta lifted the curtain, and Philothea
instantly obeyed the signal. For a few moments after
her departure, Eudora heard the low murmuring of
voices, and then the sound of a cithara, whose tones
she well remembered. The tune was familiar to her
in happier days, and she listened to it with tears.

Her meditations were suddenly disturbed by little
Zoila, who came in with a jump and a bound, to show
a robe full of flowers she had gathered for the beautiful
Athenian lady. When she perceived that tears
had fallen on the blossoms, she suddenly changed her
merry tones, and with artless affection inquired,
“What makes Dora cry?”

“I wept for the husband of that beautiful Athenian
lady, because he is very ill,” replied the maiden.

“See the flowers!” exclaimed Zoila. “It looks as
if the dew was on it; but the tears will not make it
grow again—will they?”

Eudora involuntarily shuddered at the omen conveyed
in her childish words; but gave permission to
carry her offering to the Athenian lady, if she would
promise to step very softly, and speak in whispers.

Philothea received the flowers thankfully, and placed
them in vases near her husband's couch; for she still
fondly hoped to win back the wandering soul by the
presence of things peaceful, pure and beautiful. She

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caressed the innocent little one, and tried to induce
her to remain a few minutes; but the child seemed
uneasy, as if in the presence of something that inspired
fear. She returned to Eudora with a very thoughtful
countenance; and though she often gathered flowers
for “the tall infant,” as she called Paralus, she could
never after be persuaded to enter his apartment.

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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
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