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was entirely in my power to command and treat them as I pleased. I was entrusted with all my master's secrets, and used to assist him in privately conveying away by night the sacrifices from the altars, which the people believed the deities themselves devoured. Upon these we feasted very elegantly, nor could invention suggest a rarity which we did not pamper ourselves with. Perhaps you may admire at the close union between this priest and his slave: but we lived in an intimacy which the Christians thought criminal: but my master, who knew the will of the gods, with whom he told me he often conversed, assured me it was perfectly innocent.
'This happy life continued about four years, when my master's death, occasioned by a surfeit got by overfeeding on several exquisite dainties, put an end to it.
'I now fell into the hands of one of a very different disposition, and this was no other than the celebrated St. Chrysostome, who dieted me with sermons instead of sacrifices, and filled my ears with good things, but not my belly. Instead of high food to fatten and pamper my flesh, I had receipts to mortify and reduce it. With these I edified so well, that within a few months I became a skeleton. However, as he had converted me to his faith, I was well enough satisfied with this new manner of living; by which he taught me I might insure myself an eternal reward in a future state. The saint was a good-natured man, and never gave me an ill word but once, which was occasioned by my neglecting to place Aristophanes, which was his constant bedfellow, on his pillow. He was, indeed, extremely fond of that Greek poet, and frequently made me read his comedies to him: when I came to any of the loose passages, he would smile, and say, It was pity his matter was not as pure as his style; of which latter he was so
VOL. iv. c c
immoderately fond, that notwithstanding the detestation he expressed for obscenity, he hath made me repeat those passages ten times over. The character of this good man hath been very unjustly attacked by his heathen cotemporaries, particularly with regard to women; but his severe invectives against that sex are his sufficient justification.
'From the service of this saint, from whom I received manumission, I entered into the family of Timasius, a leader of great eminence in' the Imperial army, into whose favour I so far insinuated myself, that he preferred me to a good command, and soon made me partaker of both his company and his secrets. I soon grew intoxicated with this preferment, and the more he loaded me with benefits, the more he raised my opinion of my own merit; which, still outstripping the rewards he conferred on me, inspired me rather with dissatisfaction than gratitude. And thus, by preferring me beyond my merit or first expectation, he made me an envious aspiring enemy, whom, perhaps, a more moderate bounty would have preserved a dutiful servant.
'I fell now acquainted with one Lucilius, a creature of the prime minister Eutropius, who had by his favour been raised to the post of a tribune: a man of low morals, and eminent only in that meanest of qualities, cunning. This gentleman, imagining me a fit tool for the minister's purpose, having often sounded my principles of honour and honesty, both which he declared to me were words without meaning; and finding my ready concurrence in his sentiments, recommended me to Eutropius, as very proper to execute some wicked purposes he had contrived against my friend Timasius. The minister embraced this recommendation, and I was accordingly acquainted by Lucilius (after some previous 'acounts of the great esteem Eutropius entertained of me, 'from the testimony he had borne of my parts) that he 'would introduce me to him; adding, that he was a great 'encourager of merit, and that I might depend upon his 'favour.
'I was with little difficulty prevailed on to accept of 'this invitation. A late horn' therefore the next evening 'being appointed, I attended my friend Lucilius to the 'minister's house. He received me with the utmost 'civility and cheerfulness, and affected so much regard to 'me, that I, who knew nothing of these high scenes of 'life, concluded I had in him a most disinterested friend, 'owing to the favourable report which Lucilius had made 'of me. I was however soon cured of this opinion; for 'immediately after supper our discourse turned on the 'injustice which the generality of the world were guilty 'of in their conduct to great men, expecting that they 'should reward their private merit, without ever endea'vouring to apply it to then- use. What avail (said 'Eutropius) the learning, wit, courage, or any virtue which 'a man may be possessed of to me, unless I receive some 'benefit from them? Hath he not more merit to me, who 'doth my business and obeys my commands, without any of 'these qualities? I gave such entire satisfaction in my 'answers on this head, that both the minister and his 'creature grew bolder, and after some preface, began to 'accuse Timasius. At last, finding I did not attempt to 'defend him, Lucilius swore a great oath, that he was riot 'fit to live, and that he would destroy him. Eutropius 'answered, that it would be too dangerous a task: Indeed, 'says he, his crimes are of so black a dye, and so well 'known to the emperor, that his death must be a very 'acceptable service, and could not fail meeting a proper 'reward: but I question whether you. are capable of ex'ecuting it. If he is not, cried I, I am; and surely, no
man can have greater motives to destroy him than myself: for, besides his disloyalty to my prinee, for whom I hate so perfect a duty, I have private disobligations to him. I have had fellows put over my head, to the great scandal of the service in general, and to my own prejudice and disappointment in particular.—I will not repeat you my whole speech: but to be as concise as possible, when we parted that evening, the minister squeezed me heartily by the hand, and with great commendation of my honesty, and assurances of his favour, he appointed me the next evening to come to him alone; when finding me, after a little more scrutiny, ready for his purpose, he proposed to me, to accuse Timasius of high treason; promising me the highest rewards, if I would undertake it. The consequence to him, I suppose, you know, was ruin: but what was it to me? Why truly, when I waited on Eutropius, for the fulfilling his promises, he received me with great distance and coldness: and on my dropping some hints of my expectations from him, he affected not to understand me; saying, he thought impunity was the utmost I could hope for, on discovering my accomplice, whose offence was only greater than mine, as he was in a higher station; and telling me, he had great difficulty to obtain a pardon for me from the emperor, which, he said, he had struggled very hardly for, as he had worked the discovery out of me. He turned away, and addressed himself to another person.
'I was so incensed at this treatment, that I resolved revenge, and should certainly have pursued it, had he not cautiously prevented me, by taking effectual means to dispatch me soon after out of the world.
'You will, I believe, now think I had a second good chance for the bottomless pit, and indeed Minos seemed inclined to tumble me in, till he was informed of the revenge taken on me by Bodoric, and my seven years subsequent servitude to the widow; which he thought sufficient to make atonement for all the crimes a single life could admit of, and so sent me back to try my fortune a third time.'
In which Julian relates his adventures in the character of an avaricious Jew.
The next character in which I was destined to appear in the flesh was that of an avaricious Jew. I was born in Alexandria in Egypt. My name was Balthazar. Nothing very remarkable happened to me till the year of the memorable tumult, in which the Jews of that city are reported in history to have massacred more Christians than at that time dwelt in it. Indeed, the truth is, they did maul the dogs pretty handsomely; but I myself was not present, for, as all our people were ordered to be armed, I took that opportunity of selling two swords, which probably I might otherwise never have disposed of, they being extremely old and rusty: so that, having no weapon left, I did not care to venture abroad. Besides, though I really thought it an act meriting salvation to murder the Nazarenes, as the fact was to be committed at midnight, at which time, to avoid suspicion, we were all to sally from our own houses, I could not persuade myself to consume so much oil in sitting up to that hour: for these reasons therefore I remained at home that evening. 'I was at this time greatly enamoured with one Hypatia, the daughter of a philosopher; a young lady