Welcome to PhiloLogic  
   home |  the ARTFL project |  download |  documentation |  sample databases |   
Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
To look up a word in a dictionary, select the word with your mouse and press 'd' on your keyboard.

Previous section

Next section


O Zeus! why hast thou given us certain proof
To know adulterate gold, but stamped no mark,
Where it is needed most, on man's base metal!

[figure description] Page 092.[end figure description]

When Philothea returned to her grandfather's apartment,
she found the good old man with an open tablet
before him, and the remainder of a rich cluster of
grapes lying on a shell by his side.

“I have wanted you, my child,” said he. “Have
you heard the news all Athens is talking of, that you
sought your friend so early in the day? You are not
wont to be so eager to carry tidings.”

“I have not heard the rumors whereof you speak,”
replied Philothea. “What is it, my father?”

“Hipparete went from Aspasia's house to her
brother Callias, instead of the dwelling of her husband,”
rejoined Anaxagoras: “By his advice she refused
to return; and she yesterday appealed to the
archons for a divorce from Alcibiades, on the plea of
his notorious profligacy. Alcibiades, hearing of this,
rushed into the assembly, with his usual boldness,
seized his wife in his arms, carried her through the
crowd, and locked her up in her own apartment. No
man ventured to interfere with this lawful exercise of
his authority. It is rumored that Hipparete particularly
accused him of promising marriage to Electra
the Corinthian, and Eudora, of the household of

-- 093 --

[figure description] Page 093.[end figure description]

For the first time in her life, Philothea turned away
her face, to conceal its expression, while she inquired
in a tremulous tone whether these facts had been told
to Philæmon, the preceding evening.

“Some of the guests were speaking of it when he
entered,” replied Anaxagoras; “but no one alluded to
it in his presence. Perhaps he had heard the rumor,
for he seemed sad and disquieted, and joined little in
the conversation.”

Embarrassed by the questions which her grand-father
was naturally disposed to ask, Philothea briefly
confessed that a singular change had taken place in
Eudora's character, and begged permission to be
silent on a subject so painful to her feelings. She felt
strongly inclined to return immediately to her deluded
friend; but the hopelessness induced by her recent
conversation, combined with the necessity of superintending
Mibra in some of her household occupations,
occasioned a few hours' delay.

As she attempted to cross the garden for that purpose,
she saw Eudora enter hastily by the private
gate, and pass to her own apartment. Philothea instantly
followed her, and found that she had thrown
herself on the couch, sobbing violently. She put her
arms about her neck, and affectionately inquired the
cause of her distress.

For a long time the poor girl resisted every soothing
effort, and continued to weep bitterly. At last, in a
voice stifled with sobs, she said, “I was indeed deceived;
and you, Philothea, was my truest friend; as
you have always been.”

The tender-hearted maiden imprinted a kiss upon
her hand, and asked whether it was Hipparete's appeal

-- 094 --

[figure description] Page 094.[end figure description]

to the archons that had so suddenly convinced her of
the falsehood of Alcibiades.

“I have heard it all,” replied Eudora, with a deep
blush; “and I have heard my name coupled with epithets
never to be repeated to your pure ears. I was
so infatuated that, after you left me this morning, I
sought the counsels of Aspasia, to strengthen me in
the course I had determined to pursue. As I approached
her apartment, the voice of Alcibiades met
my ear. I stopped and listened. I heard him exult
in his triumph over Hipparete; I heard my name
joined with Electra, the wanton Corinthian. I heard
him boast how easily our affections had been won; I

She paused for a few moments, with a look of intense
shame, and the tears fell fast upon her robe.

In gentle tones Philothea said, “These are precious
tears, Eudora. They will prove like spring-showers,
bringing forth fragrant blossoms.”

With sudden impulse the contrite maiden threw her
arms around her neck, saying, in a subdued voice,
“You must not be so kind to me—it will break my

By degrees the placid influence of her friend calmed
her perturbed spirit. “Philothea, she said, “I promise
with solemn earnestness to tell you every action of
my life, and every thought of my soul; but never ask
me to repeat all I heard at Aspasia's dwelling. The
words went through my heart like poisoned arrows.”

“Nay,” replied Philothea, smiling; “they have
healed, not poisoned.”

Eudora sighed, as she added, “When I came away,
in anger and in shame, I heard that false man singing
in mockery:

-- 095 --

[figure description] Page 095.[end figure description]

“Count me on the summer trees
Every leaf that courts the breeze;
Count me on the foamy deep
Every wave that sinks to sleep;
Then when you have numbered these,
Billowy tides and leafy trees,
Count me all the flames I prove,
All the gentle nymphs I love.”

“Philothea, how could you, who are so pure yourself,
see so much clearer than I did the treachery of
that bad man?”

The maiden replied, “Mortals, without the aid of
experience, would always be aware of the presence of
evil, if they sought to put away the love of it in their
own hearts, and in silent obedience listened to the
voice of their guiding spirit. Flowers feel the approach
of storms, and birds need none to teach them
the enmity of serpents. This knowledge is given to
them as perpetually as the sunshine; and they receive
it fully, because their little lives are all obedience and

“Then, dearest Philothea, you may well know when
evil approaches. By some mysterious power you have
ever known my heart better than I myself have known
it. I now perceive that you told me the truth when
you said I was not blinded by love, but by foolish pride.
If it were not so, my feelings could not so easily have
turned to hatred. I have more than once tried to deceive
you, but you will feel that I am not now speaking
falsely. The interview you witnessed was the first
and only one I ever granted to Alcibiades.”

Philothea freely expressed her belief in this assertion,
and her joy that the real character of the graceful
hypocrite had so soon been made manifest. Her
thoughts turned towards Philæmon; but certain

-- 096 --

[figure description] Page 096.[end figure description]

recollections restrained the utterance of his name. They
were both silent for a few moments; and Eudora's
countenance was troubled. She looked up earnestly
in her friend's face, but instantly turned away her eyes,
and fixing them on the ground, said, in a low and
timid voice, “Do you think Philæmon can ever love
me again?”

Philothea felt painfully embarrassed; for when she
recollected how deeply Philæmon was enamored of
purity in women, she dared not answer in the language
of hope.

While she yet hesitated, Dione came to say that her
master required the attendance of Eudora alone in his

Phidias had always exacted implicit obedience from
his household, and Eudora's gratitude towards him had
ever been mingled with fear. The consciousness of recent
misconduct filled her with extreme dread. Her
countenance became deadly pale, as she turned toward
her friend, and said, “Oh, Philothea, go with me.”

The firm-hearted maiden took her arm gently within
her own, and whispered, “Speak the truth, and trust
in the Divine Powers.”

-- 097 --

Previous section

Next section

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