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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
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Persuasive is the voice of Vice.
That spreads the insidious snare.

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Early the next morning, painful as the task was,
Philothea went to Eudora's room; for she felt that
if she ever hoped to save her, she must gain influence

The maiden had risen from her couch, and was
leaning her head on her hand, in an attitude of deep
thought. She raised her eyes as Philothea entered,
and her face was instantly suffused with the crimson
flush of shame. She made no reply to the usual salutations
of the morning, but with evident agitation
twisted and untwisted some shreds that had fallen from
her embroidery.

For a moment her friend stood irresolute. She felt
a strong impulse to put her arm around Eudora's neck
and conjure her, even for her own sake, to be frank
and confiding; but the scene in the garden returned to
her memory, and she recoiled from her beloved companion,
as from something polluted.

Still ignorant how far the deluded girl was involved,
she felt that the manner in which she deported herself
toward her, might perhaps fix her destiny for good or
evil. With a kind, but trembling voice, she said,
“Eudora, will you tell me whether the interview I
witnessed last night was an appointed one?”

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Eudora persevered in silence, but her agitation
obviously increased.

Her friend looked earnestly in her excited countenance
for a moment, and then said, “Eudora, I do
entreat you to tell me the whole truth in this matter.”

“I have not yet learned what right you have to inquire,”
replied the misguided maiden.

Philothea's eyes were filled with tears as she said,
“Does the love we have felt for each other from our
earliest childhood, give me no claim to your confidence?
Had we ever a cake, or a bunch of grapes, of which
one did not reserve for the other the largest and best
portion? I well remember the day when you broke
the little marble kid Phidias had given you. You
fairly sobbed yourself to sleep in my lap, while I
smoothed back the silky curls all wet with your tears,
and sung my childish songs to please you. You came
to me with all your infant troubles—and in our maturer
years have we not shared all our thoughts? Oh, still
trust to the affection that never deceived you. Believe
me, dear Eudora, you would not wish to conceal your
purposes and actions from your earliest and best friend,
unless you had an inward consciousness of something
wrong. Every human being has, like Socrates, an
attendant spirit; and wise are they who obey its signals.
If it does not always tell us what to do, it always
cautions us what not to do. Have you not of late
struggled against the warnings of this friendly spirit?
Is it safe to contend with him, till his voice recedes,
like music in the distance, and is heard no more?”

She looked earnestly in Eudora's face for a moment,
and perceiving that her feelings were somewhat softened,
she added, “I will not again ask whether the
meeting of last night was an appointed one; for you

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surely would repel the suspicion, if you could do so
with truth. It is too evident that this insinuating man
has fascinated you as he already has done hundreds of
others; and for the sake of his transient flattery, you
have thrown away Philæmon's pure and constant love.
Yet the passing notice of Alcibiades is a distinction you
will share with half the maidens of Athens. When
another new face attracts his fancy, you will be forgotten;
but you cannot so easily forget your own folly.
The friends you cast from you can never be regained;
tranquility of mind will return no more; conscious innocence,
which makes the human countenance a tablet
for the gods to write upon, can never be restored.
And for what will you lose all this? Think for a moment
what is the destiny of those women, who, following
the steps of Aspasia, seek happiness in the homage
paid to triumphant beauty—youth wasted in restless
excitement, and old age embittered by the consciousness
of deserved contempt. For this, are you willing
to relinquish the happiness that attends a quiet discharge
of duty, and the cheerful intercourse of true

In a tone of offended pride, Eudora answered:
“Philothea, if I were what you seem to believe me,
your words would be appropriate; but I have never
had any other thought than that of being the acknowledged
wife of Alcibiades.”

“Has he then made you believe that he would divorce

“Yes—he has solemnly sworn it. Such a transaction
would have nothing remarkable in it. Each
revolving moon sees similar events occur in Athens.
The wife of Pericles had a destiny like that of her
namesake; of whom the poets write that she was

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beloved for awhile by Olympian Zeus, and afterward
changed into a quail. Pericles promised Aspasia that
he would divorce Asteria and marry her; and he has
kept his word. Hipparete is not so very beautiful or
gifted, as to make it improbable that Alcibiades might
follow his example.”

“It is a relief to my heart,” said Philothea, “to find
that you have been deluded with hopes, which, however
deceitful, render you comparatively innocent.
But believe me, Eudora, Alcibiades will never divorce
Hipparete. If he should do so, the law would compel
him to return her magnificent dowry. Her connections
have wealth and influence; and her brother Callias has
promised that she shall be his heir. The paternal
fortune of Alcibiades has all been expended, except his
estate near Erchia; and this he knows full well is quite
insufficient to support his luxury and pride.”

Eudora answered warmly, “If you knew Alcibiades,
you would not suspect him of such sordid motives.
He would throw money into the sea like dust, if it
stood in the way of his affections.”

“I am well aware of his pompous wastefulness,
when he wishes to purchase popularity by lavish expenditure,”
replied Philothea. “But Alcibiades has
found hearts a cheap commodity, and he will not buy
with drachmæ, what he can so easily obtain by flattery.
Your own heart, I believe, is not really touched. Your
imagination is dazzled with his splendid chariots of
ivory inlaid with silver; his unrivalled stud of Phasian
horses; his harnesses of glittering brass; the golden
armor which he loves to display at festivals; his richlycolored
garments, fresh from the looms of Sardis, and
redolent with the perfumes of the East. You are proud
of his notice, because you see that other maidens are

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flattered by it; because his statue stands among the
Olympionicæ, in the sacred groves of Zeus, and because
all Athens rings with the praises of his beauty, his
gracefulness, his magnificence, and his generosity.”

“I am not so weak as your words imply,” rejoined
Eudora. “I believe that I love Alcibiades better than
I ever loved Philæmon; and if the consent of Phidias
can be obtained, I cannot see why you should object to
our marriage.”

For a few moments Philothea remained in hopeless
silence; then, in a tone of tender expostulation, she
continued: “Eudora, I would the power were given
me to open your eyes, before it is too late! If Hipparete
be not beautiful, she certainly is not unpleasing;
her connections have high rank and great wealth; she
is virtuous and affectionate, and the mother of his children.
If, with all these claims, she can be so lightly
turned away for the sake of a lovelier face, what can
you expect, when your beauty no longer has the charm
of novelty? You, who have neither wealth nor powerful
connections, to serve the purposes of that ambitious
man? And think for yourself, Eudora, if Alcibiades
means as he says, why does he seek stolen interviews
at midnight, in the absence of Phidias?”

“It is because he knows that Phidias has an uncommon
regard for Philæmon,” replied Eudora; “but
he thinks he can, in time, persuade him to consult our
wishes. I know, better than you possibly can, what
reasons I have to trust the strength of his affection.
Aspasia says she has never seen him so deeply in love
as he is now.”

“It is as I feared,” said Philothea; “the voice of
that siren is luring you to destruction.”

Eudora answered, in an angry tone, “I love

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Aspasia; and it offends me to hear her spoken of in this
manner. If you are content to be a slave, like the
other Grecian women, who bring water and grind corn
for their masters, I have no objection. I have a spirit
within me that demands a wider field of action, and I
enjoy the freedom that reigns in Aspasia's house. Alcibiades
says he does not blame women for not liking
to be shut up within four walls all their life-time,
ashamed to show their faces like other mortals.”

Quietly, but sadly, Philothea replied: “Farewell,
Eudora. May the powers that guide our destiny, preserve
you from any real cause for shame. You are
now living in Calypso's island; and divine beings
alone can save you from the power of her enchantments.”

Eudora made no response, and did not even raise her
eyes, as her companion left the apartment.

As Philothea passed through the garden, she saw
Mibra standing in the shadow of the vines, feeding a
kid with some flowers she held in her hand, while Geta
was fastening a crimson cord about its neck. A glad
influence passed from this innocent group into the
maiden's heart, like the glance of a sunbeam over a
dreary landscape.

“Is the kid yours, Mibra?” she asked, with an affectionate

The happy little peasant raised her eyes with an
arch expression, but instantly lowered them again,
covered with blushes. It was a look that told all the
secrets of her young heart more eloquently than language.

Philothea had drank freely from those abundant
fountains of joy in the human soul, which remain hidden
till love reveals their existence, as secret springs are

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said to be discovered by a magic wand. With affectionate
sympathy she placed her hand gently on Mibra's
head, and said, “Be good—and the gods will ever
provide friends for you.”

The humble lovers gazed after her with a blessing
in their eyes; and in the consciousness of this, her
meek spirit found a solace for the wounds Eudora had

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