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By D.S. Mereshkovski

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Sample text

There were lame, blind, on crutches, looking paralytics, children cripples, like old men, demoniacs, idiots, pale faces with inflamed eyelids, and with an expression of dumb and hopeless submission. When the choir ceased, in the was heard the heart-breaking sighing of the church widows, in their black dresses, or the silence rattling of the old Monk Pamphilus' chains. During many years, Pamphilus had not exchanged a word with any one, perpetually repeating: "Oh Lord! oh Lord! " The air was hot, as in a vault, heavy, charged with incense, the smell of wax, the smoke of lamps, the breath of all those sick people.

The handle of a simple kitchen lamp was a figure of Poseidon with his trident. Sometimes It was antique, wonderful work. Julian gazed long in ecstasy at the graceful form of a clay vase of cheap olive oil. Everywhere on the walls bright frescoes were seen: here the Xereids, seated on their scaly water-horses; there a young goddess dancing, in a long robe with curved and swelling folds. Everything in the little house was smiling, flooded with sunlight. The Nereids on the walls were smiling, and the dancing goddesses, and the Tritons, even the scaly sea-horses, and the bronze Poseidon on the handle of the lamp.

The small, iron-studded door was shut from the outside. On the stone pillars of the great stairway gleamed the light of torches, and in the light appeared the purple standard and the shining cross with the monogram of the Christ on the helmet of one of the legionaries. " Mardonius, with his sword drawn, stood, barring the path of the soldiers, before the closed door of the sleeping-chamber, in a most martial His sword was dull and pose. It served the old pedagogue good for nothing. only during the lessons of the Iliad to show his pupils, by living examples in classic pose, how Hector fought with Achilles.

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