Her large, startled eyes, roving here and there in helpless anxiety, alone gave any animation to the deathly, rigid whiteness of her face, and she still mechanically supported the Sacred Ebony Staff, without apparently being aware of the fact that the Snake Deity, convulsed through all his coils with fright, had begun to make there-from his rapid DESCENT. The priests, the virgins, the poor, unhappy little singing children, flocked hurriedly together, and darted to the back of the great Shrine, in the manifest intention of reaching some private way of egress known only to themselves, but their attempts were evidently frustrated, for no sooner had they gone than they sped back again, their faces scorched and blackened, and uttering cries and woeful lamentations they flung themselves wildly among the struggling crowds in the main body of the Temple, and fought for life in the jaws of death, every one for Self, and no one for another!

They are the mediums of common forms combined and arranged into a common standard. The ideal beauty of the Helen of Zeuxis was the combined medium of the real beauty of the virgins of Crotona.

For a moment she could not so much as stand without support. It was then that she saw a paper folded under her jewels and took it out with shaking fingers. In fine, copperplate script she read: MADAME, To-night at one o'clock a closed fiacre will await you in the Street of the Wise Virgins, near the church. You will go in it, without fail, to wherever it takes you. The Committee of Ten!

Thus prepared, they could take in everything, sanguinary ferocity and refined generosity, the brutality of shameless debauchery, and the most divine innocence of love, accept all the characters, wantons and virgins, princes and mountebanks, pass quickly from trivial buffoonery to lyrical sublimities, listen alternately to the quibbles of clowns and the songs of lovers.

Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast. And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate. Esther had not yet told her kindred nor her people, as Mordecai had charged her; for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up by him.

How much they desire to be loved who say they love no more! And why should that astonish you? You are a woman; that body, that spotless bosom, you know what they are worth; when you conceal them under your dress you do not believe, as do the virgins, that all are alike, and you know the price of your modesty. How can a woman who has been praised resolve to be praised no more?

Vice and corruption in all quarters, the pope an acknowledged sinner, the nobility tainted, and even the holy daughters of the Church virgins in name only! And this was the century in which the most beautiful Madonnas were painted! The Brighter Side of the Sixteenth Century

The priests and the Levites threw themselves into the flames with their harps and trumpets, and, to escape the violence feared from the licentious Chaldeans, the virgins who wove the curtains for the sanctuary followed their example.

We do not ordinarily expect virgins to bear children nor prophets to be fed by ravens nor prayers to remove mountains; but we may believe any of these things at the merest suggestion of fancy or report, without any warrant from experience, so loose is the bond and so external the relation between the terms most constantly associated.

In awe of the veterans all the priests of all the sacred fraternities were there in full robes, with the Vestal Virgins, and all the senators, and all the magistrates, each in his garb of office.