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The husband, thus left alone, quitted his own residence and abode with his father-inlaw. In the mean time, Alexius remained a beggar in the porch of St. Mary's church for the space of seventeen years ; until at length the image of the Virgin, which stood within the sacred edifice said to the warden, “Cause that Man of God to enter the sanctuary: for he is worthy of the kingdom of Heaven, upon whom the spirit of God rests. His prayer ascends like incense to the throne of Grace." But the warden knew not of whom she spake, and said,
“ Is that the man, who sits at the entrance of the porch ?” The Virgin answering in the affirmitive, he was immediately brought in. Now a circumstance of this extraordinary nature soon attracted remark; and the veneration with which they began to consider Alexius, approached almost to adoration. But he despised human glory, and entering a ship, set sail for Tarsus*, in Cilicia; but, the providence of God so ordered, that a violent tempest carried them into a Roman port. Alexius, informed of this circumstance, said within himself, “I will hasten to my
* Tarsus is the capital of Cilicia, called by the Turks Tersis.
father's house ; no one will know me, and it is better that I prove burthensome to him, than to another.” As he proceeded, he met his father coming from the palace, surrounded by a large concourse of dependents, and immediately he shouted after him—"Servant of God, command a poor and desolate stranger to be conveyed into your house, and fed with the crumbs which fall from the table : so shall the Lord of the wanderer, recompense thee an hundred-fold." The father, , out of love to him whom he knew not, gave him into the charge of his followers, and appropriated to him a room in his house. He supplied him with meat from his own table, and appointed one who was accustomed to attend upon himself, to serve him. But Alexius discontinued not the fervency of his devotion, and macerated his body, with fasts and other austerities. And though the pampered servants derided him; and frequently emptied their household utensils on his head, his patience was always invincible. In this manner, for seventeen years under his own father's roof, his life was spent; but at last, perceiving by the spirit, that his end approached, he procured ink and paper, and recorded the narrative of his life. Now on the succeeding Sunday, after the solemnization of mass, a voice echoing like thunder among the mountains, was heard through the city. It said, “ Come unto me all ye that labour, and I will give you rest.” The people, terrified and awe-struck, fell upon their faces; when a second time the voice exclaimed, “ Seek out a man of God to offer a prayer for the iniquity of Rome.” Search was accordingly made, but no such man could be found; and the same voice waxing louder, and breathing as it were with the mingled blast of ten thousand thousand trumpets, again spoke, “ Search in the house of Eufemian.” Then the Emperors Arcadius and Honorius *, in conjunction with the Pontiff Innocent, proceeded towards the house to which the words of the Invisible directed them, and as they approached, the servant who attended upon Alexius came running to his master, and cried, “ What think you, my lord ? Is not the mendicant stranger a man of exemplary life?” Eufemian, following up the suggestion, hastened to his chamber and found him extended upon the bed. Life had already passed, but his countenance retained a dazzling emanation of glory, like the countenance of a cherub in its own pure and beatified element. A paper occupied the right hand, which Eufemian would have borne away, but he was unable to extricate it from the grasp of the dead man. Leaving him, therefore, he returned to the Emperors and the Pontiff, and related what he had seen. They were astonished, and entering the apartment, exclaimed, “ Sinners though we are, we direct the helm of State, and provide for the well-being of the pastoral government. Give us, then, the paper, that we may know what it contains.” Immediately the Pontiff drew near, and put his hand upon the scroll which the deceased yet firmly grasped, -and he instantly relaxed his hold.
* Are we to suppose that the one emperor had been succeeded by the two, since the commencement of the Tale ? The Pontiff Innocent, seems supererogatory.
It was read to the people ; and when the father, Eufemian, heard its contents, he was paralyzed with grief. His strength deserted him, and he staggered and fell. Returning to himself a little, he rent his garment, plucked off the silver hairs of his head, and tore the venerable beard that swept his unhappy bosom, He even inflicted severe wounds upon himself, and falling upon the dead body, cried, “ Alas! my son-my son! why hast thou laid up for me such deadly anguish? Why, for so many years, hast thou endured a bitterness which death itself cannot exceed? Wretched man that I am, he who should have been the guardian of my increasing infirmities, and the hope and the honour of my age lies
this miserable pallet, and speaks not. Oh! where is consolation to be found?"--At this instant, like an enraged and wounded lioness breaking through the toils with which the hunters had encompassed her, the poor broken-hearted Abael, who had followed in the press, rushed desperately forward. Her garments were torn, and hanging about her in shreds; her hair