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A Christian But a Roman by Mór Jókai

There was no table of contents in the original paper edition. A table of contents has been created for the convenience of the reader.

A CHRISTIAN BUT A ROMAN

by

MAURUS JOKAI

[Illustration]

Doubleday & McClure Co. New York 1900

Copyright, 1900, by Doubleday & Mcclure Company

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By the Same Author

[Illustration]

DEBTS OF HONOR, THE POOR PLUTOCRATS, A HUNGARIAN NABOB, THE NAMELESS CASTLE, ETC., ETC.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. 1 CHAPTER II. 40 CHAPTER III. 56 CHAPTER IV. 66 CHAPTER V. 80 CHAPTER VI. 90 CHAPTER VII. 96 CHAPTER VIII. 104 CHAPTER IX. 119 CHAPTER X. 133 CHAPTER XI. 149 CHAPTER XII. 163

A CHRISTIAN BUT A ROMAN.

CHAPTER I.

In the days of the Caesars the country surrounding Rome vied in splendour and luxury with the capital itself. Throughout the whole region appeared the villas of Roman patricians, abodes of aristocratic comfort, where every artist, from the sculptor to the--cook, had done his utmost to render them attractive and beautiful.

These noble patricians, many of whom had incomes of eight or nine millions, often found themselves in the unpleasant position of being obliged to avoid Rome. Weariness, wounded vanity, insurrections of the people and the praetorians, but especially distrust of the Caesar, compelled them to turn their backs upon the imperial city and retire to their country estates.

Thus, for several years, Mesembrius Vio, the oldest Senator--who since the death of Probus had not set foot in Rome nor given the Senate a glimpse of him--had resided on his estate at the mouth of the Tiber. True, he said it was on account of the gout and the cataracts from which his feet and his eyes suffered; and his visitors always found him sitting in his curule chair, with his ivory crutch in his hand and a broad green shade over his eyes.

The old man had two daughters. One, Glyceria, had married when very young, thanks to the imperial favour, a great lord who had become a libertine; soon after the libertine lost his head, and his property, as well as the imperial favour, went to the beautiful widow, who in a short time had the reputation of being the Aspasia of the Roman capital. Of course, Mesembrius was not only blind, but deaf, when Glyceria was mentioned in his presence; he himself never permitted her name to cross his lips. His second daughter was Sophronia, who was always by the old man's side at his country estate. A beautiful and virtuous maiden, she seemed to unite the charms of three Greek goddesses: the graceful form of Venus, the noble beauty of Juno's countenance, and the purity of Psyche.


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