- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
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We have now to show what new beliefs gained most ground, and what old beliefs were most successfully revived, through the combination of favourable conditions, an analysis of which has been attempted in the preceding pages. Among the host of creeds which at this period competed with one another for the favour of the rich or for the suffrages of the poor, there were some that possessed a marked advantage over their rivals in the struggle for existence. The worship of Nature considered as imaging the vicissitudes of human life, could not fail to be the most popular of any. All who desired a bond of sympathy uniting them with their fellow-subjects over the whole empire, and even with the tribes beyond its frontiers, might meet on this most universal ground. All who wished to combine excitement with devotion were attracted by the dramatic representation of birth and death, of bereavement and sorrow and searching, of purification through suffering, and triumphant reunion with the lost objects of affection in this or in another world. Inquisitive or innovating minds were gratified by admission to secrets a knowledge of which was believed to possess inestimable value. And the most conservative could see in such celebrations an acknowledgment, under other forms, of some divinity which had always been reverenced in their own home, perhaps even the more authentic reproduction of adventures already related to them as dim and uncertain traditions of the past. More than one such cultus, representing under the traits of personal love and loss and recovery, the death of vegetation in winter and its return to life in spring, was introduced from the East, and obtained a wide popularity through the empire. Long before the close of the republic, the worship of Cybele was established in Rome with the sanction of the Senate. Other Asiatic deities of a much less respectable character, Astarte and the so-called Syrian goddess, though not officially215 recognised, enjoyed a celebrity extending to the remotest corners of the western world.327 Still greater and more universal was the veneration bestowed on Isis and Serapis. From the prince to the peasant, from the philosopher to the ignorant girl, all classes united in doing homage to their power. Their mysteries were celebrated in the mountain valleys of the Tyrol, and probably created as much excitement among the people of that neighbourhood as the Ammergau passion-play does at present.328 An inscription has been discovered describing in minute detail an offering made to Isis by a Spanish matron in honour of her little daughter. It was a silver statue richly ornamented with precious stones, resembling, as our authority observes, what would now be presented to the Madonna,329 who indeed is probably no more than a Christian adaptation of the Egyptian goddess. And Plutarch, or another learned and ingenious writer whose work has come down to us under his name, devotes a long treatise to Isis and Osiris, in which the mythical history of the goddess is as thickly covered with allegorical interpretations as the statue dedicated to her by the Spanish lady was with emeralds and pearls.
They had to go a long distance out this time to find a good berry patch. It was getting dark be fore they fairly began picking their supper. Presently they heard voices approaching from the other side. They crouched down a little behind the brier-clumps and listened.
In the simplicity of his heart the Deacon thought he had covered the whole ground. What more could the man want, who had youth, health and strength, than perfect liberty to go where he pleased and strive for what he wanted?"'Tain't my fault, Si," Nate would reply with a soft drawl. "Hit's theirs. I'm walkin' all right, but they'uns hain't. Jaw them. What's the sense o' walkin' so' close together, anyway? Yo' don't git thar no sooner."
The young Aid had been standing nigh during this conversation.
Cruising slowly the yacht came into sight.
The "banker" lifted the box, and showed two sixes and a tray up. He raked in the bets on the ace, deuce, four and five-spots, and paid the others.