THE WRESTLER OF PHILIPPI.
A TALE OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS.
BY FANNIE E. NEWBERRY.
David C. Cook Publishing Company, Elgin, 111., and 36 Washington St., Chicago.
THE LOST AMULET.
WHY, what is this?"
The speaker dropped the heavy
door-curtain he had just drawn
aside, and strode rapidly across the stone
floor to a figure at the further end a girlish
figure resting on a divan, and doubled up
She did not answer instantly, and the
young man stood beside her looking down
with a helpless patience tor a moment, as if
uncertain what to do or say. Presently he
" Has anything happened, Salome?"
" Happened? How can you ask?" the
other managed to sob out in a voice of al-
most petulant reproach.
" I mean anything new," he hastened to
explain with an air of meekness. " Of
" Of course you cannot or will not under-
stand, Hector. You never do. Is a grief the
less keen because it grows older daily? Can
I ever get used to this?"
" We do get used to things," he returned
slowly, gazing down at her from his superior
height, as a good-natured but lumbering
camel might gaze upon a fawn. " We have
to control our grief or it would kill us, you
see. Come, try and stop, can you not? It is
time for the evening meal, and I am
" Hungry! Men are always thinking of
their comforts. Have you not one thought
for our poor lost Herklas, wandering no one
knows how, or whither?"
The man's face twitched with some in-
ternal emotion, but, absorbed in her own
luxurious sorrow, Salome did not see it.
After a moment he said gently:
" But is there anything new, dear? I left
you quite bright, this morning. What have
" Nothing. But I know now all is over.
Herklas will never return." Then rising and
facing him, with her dark eyes awed to
steadiness, she whispered solemnly. " Hec-
tor, I have lost my amulet! The gods have
given me over to the fates, and sorrow is to
be my portion."
"Bah!" cried the brother, throwing back
his broad shoulders and letting out a merry
laugh from his splendid chest. " Is that all?
I was sure you had news that Herklas was
in prison at least, if not sent to the galleys
or even dead by torture." He shuddered a
little. " And it is only your amulet?"
"Only!" Her red lips curled angrily, and
she began gathering up her fair tresses and
thrusting them into their silken fillet with a
petulant gesture. "Is not that enough?
What is to keep me from evil and misfor-
" Well, sister, perhaps I can help a little!"
stretching out his long, massive arms, quite
bare of covering, and bringing them back to
an angle that made the muscles stand up
like hillocks. " I think, possibly, I may have
a word to say, or a move to make, provided
misfortune comes in a visible form, eh?"
His persistent good-humor overcame her at
last, and her pretty teeth gleamed in an irre-
pressible smile as she cried archly:
" Boaster! Do you think yourself even a
match for the gods, then, because you have
twice worn the Olympian crown? But in-
deed, dear Hector, it is a serious loss. It
was of purest silver from the Cordovan
mines, wrought by a silversmith of Ephesus,
and delicately chased with one of the most
favorable signs of the zodiac. Then it held a
bit of the hair from a sacred white bull, and
had been blessed by a Vestal. Think of its
Copyright, 1896 und 1897, by David C. Cook Publishing Company.
THE WEESTLEE OF PHI LI PPL
value, brother. Why, such an amulet is
" But where did you lose it, child?"
"What a question!" laughing merrily now.
" If I knew that, would I be crying here? It
was hanging from a cord of silver wire
about my neck but a day or two ago, and
now it is gone that is all I can tell you."
" Have you looked for it?"
" Yes, everywhere."
" Well, well! crying will not bring it back,
and the gods hate tears. Besides, I am so
He spoke in pleading tones, like a school-
boy, for he knew this would conquer her;
and it did.
" Very well," she said promptly, " light the
brazier then, and I will steep you a cup from
the chocolate beans you brought home yes-
terday. Then there are dates, oatcake, and
fish. Will these serve you?"
" Excellently well, sister; only make
And quite restored to good-humor now,
Salome skipped away on light feet to bestir
her one little slave, Persis, to these pleasant
Left alone. Hector threw himself on the
divan of sail-cloth, made in imitation of the
rich couches draped in silk and gold stuffs
much affected in the houses of the Roman
nobles, and was soon in sad reflection, which
plowed a deep line between his wide-set
blue eyes. Because he was a Wrestler, and
therefore used to sights of blood and suffer-
ing in the arena, did not seem, so far, to
make his heart less tender to his own; and
presently, as memory after memory of his
lost brother, Herklas, rose before him, long
sighs shook his close-knit figure^from head
Herklas had been such a beautiful boy,
and only six months in the toga virilis.
which marked the Roman youth's coming
into man's estate at fifteen. To be sure, he
had never taken to the Olympic games, as
had Hector, and had shrunk visibly from
the often frightful spectacles which had
been introduced into them since the Romans
ruled; but he was no coward he had proved
that often enough in many an adventure of
boyish daring and skill. It was only his in-
stinctive good-heartedness that shrank from
blows and bloodshed, not because he himself
feared their hurt.
Then where could such a form be found in
these degenerate days, outside the statues of
the masters? Hector recalled him as he had
lain at meat, the last morning he was with
them. He had been full of his fun and non-
sense, selecting choice bits from the platter
for Salome, and laughing gayly as she
eagerly received them. He had never been
selfish, never sullen nor severe this well-
loved brother. But there had been times
when his whole nature seemed to revolt
against the license and wickedness of the
age, and he had dared sometimes even to
criticise the gods, and wonder at the
tyranny of emperor, praetors, and priests.
Could spies have listened and reported these
words, and was he in durance because of
them? Certainly thei'e could be no truth in
the suspicion of his master's that he had
been led away by the obscure and singular
sect they called Christians!
Hector turned himself nervously about,
the old couch creaking beneath his tall,
sinewy frame, and just then Salome's wel-
come face appeared, as she drew aside an
inner curtain and announced supper. He
rose with a quick motion, as if thrusting
sad thoughts far from him, and strode into
the next room, where a modest board was
laid in the shape of a crescent, with a broad
divan surrounding it, except at the opening,
which gave room for the servant to enter
and pass the dishes inside the half circle.
The brother and sister always ate together,
for Hector loved and tenderly cherished his
one female relative, who had indeed been
half spoiled by her doting brothers.
By mutual consent the subject of the
brother now gone for over a fortnight, was
not resumed at first, nor that of the lost
amulet. Instead, Hector told of a new throw
he had been practicing at the gymnasium,
and Salome grew cheerful chatting over a
call from an old playmate not before seen
for many moons. She had sketched in detail
her looks, her dress, and all she said, when
she suddenly broke off to cry:
" There! I know I had that amulet on when
she came, for I saw it gleam on my neck as
I glanced in the bit of steel mirror set into
the wall of our vestibule when I hastened to
admit her. Let me see!"
She buried her dimpled chin in her hand
and thought a minute, then sprang to her
feet. "I believe I have it! I followed dear
Theta across the court to the very street en-
trance and peeped out through the wall gate,
as we said farewell. Then I saw an escort
of soldiers, with some of those gay courtiers
from the Castle, coming close, and knew it
was best not to let them see me, as I was
THE WEESTLEE OF PHILIPPL
unveiled, so I hastily shut the gate. And
now I remember that I caught the silken
tassel of my fillet in the latch, and had to
jerk it away perhaps it was then I dropped
my charm. Come, Hector, if you have fin-
ished your supper let us go and see."
He rose good-naturedly. " If it fell outside
It has been picked up long before this," he
said, chewing complacently on his last date.
away the food, satisfying her own hunger
with large mouthfuls as she did so.
Salome reached the wall door first, and
shuffled her sandals with gay impatience on
the smooth paving stones, as she awaited
her brother's leisurely approach. Their lit-
tle home was situated on one of the more
quiet streets of Philippi, and this was un-
lighted, except by a pale thread of a moon,
Instantly Hector was upon them, and his arena training stood him in good stead. See page 4.
" Yes, but it may be inside, you see, or
caught in a cleft of the wall, or brushed into
a corner. Bring a lantern, Persis, and let us
try. If I can find it again I shall take it for
a good omen."
The small iron censer, flat in shape and
swung from three chains, was brought and
lighted, Salome caught up a chlamys, or long
wrap, tossed it picturesquely over her head,
winding it about her chin and lips so that
only the brow and eyes were visible, then
crying impatiently, " Come!" started out
first, Hector striding more slowly after,
while Persis contented herself with clearing
low in the western sky. With the deliberate
movements peculiar to him Hector inserted
a clumsy key into the lock of the small por-
tal, turned it, and let one wooden leaf fall
inward upon its hinges. Then the two passed
through the aperture, and, lifting high the
lantern, began a search for the amulet, so
precious to this heathen girl.
Both bent low, Hector fairly on his knees,
searching the crevices of the stone pave-
ment, and Salome, doubled under the long
folds of her drapery, peering along the clear-
running ditch of snow-water, brought from
the mountains, which separated the side-
THE WEESTLEE OF PHILIP PL
walk from the highway. They knew how
unsafe were the streets at night in these
lawless times, when the dissolute young
officers from the Castle sometimes chose to
steal out, disguised and masked, in search of
adventure, to say nothing of thieves and
rioters of lesser rank, who dared the galleys
and terrible dungeons to ply their vocation.
But what could happen so near home? A
step would place them behind the wall and
locked door of their own little castle, which
no one would dare to invade. So they con-
tinued to look about, oblivious of everything
but their own exclamations and remarks,
with which each spurred on the search.
Thus they failed to notice an outburst of
song and laughter on a side street close by,
or, perhaps, did not think it worth minding,
and both were startled when suddenly at
their very elbows appeared a tumultuous lit-
tle crowd of well-muffled men, one or two
bearing lanterns, and the rest reeling about
with noisy talk and laughter.
"Quick!" cried Hector. "Run, Salome,
But already the rioters had caught sight
of the slender, white-draped figure, and with
a loud laugh one tall young fellow leaped
into the open gateway, barring her passage,
while two more sprang to her sides, inter-
cepting her movements.
Instantly Hector was upon them, and his
arena training stood him in good stead now.
At every swing of his powerful arms some
one fell back with a howl of pain, and al-
most while one could tell it the whole party
had dispersed, hastened thereto by the cry
of one of the lantern-bearers:
"The bucket-men! The bucket-men!"
Breathing heavily, Hector looked about
him. The crowd had melted like the dew,
and Salome too was gone, having doubtless
fled to the innermost recesses of the house.
Hector had no desire to be interviewed by
the troublesome lictors, whom the populace
called " men of the bucket " because they
acted as a fire-patrol with tarred buckets of
water in hand, as well as guardians of the
streets. So he took advice of caution an.l,
slipping quickly inside, locked his gate
securely and hurried indoors, chuckling to
think how surprised those young brawlers
must have been to feel the weight of fists
as hard as iron, and as heavy as a sledge-
The house was dark and still. As he
stepped within from the moonlit court it
struck a chill to his senses.
" Salome!" he called softly. " Salome!"
A frightened exclamation answered him,
and the little slave girl, her eyes big with
terror, confronted him.
"Oh!" she cried, "where is my mistress?"
" But do you not know?" he returned
quickly. " She is here, of course she must
be. She is hidden somewhere, too scared to
speak. Salome, dear! I am here. Your
brother protects you. Oh, Salome, for
Vesta's sake answer!"
But only the bare walls echoed his despair-
ing cry. He ran to and fro, calling, search-
ing, beseeching, groaning, cursing. He sent
the little slave hither and yon, fierce as he
had never been with her before, in his terri-
ble anxiety. He ran to the roof, gazing out
over the now silent street with great gasp-
ing breaths of despair. He sought in im-
possible nooks and crannies below, the tears
gushing unashamed from his manly eyes,
and then with a roar of rage and despera-
tion, like a lion rushing upon its tormentors,
he dashed out into the street, calling on tht
lictors for vengeance, utterly bereft of
sense or caution.
Poor little Persis, frightened nearly out of
her small wits, followed swiftly to the gate,
and shook her head in perplexity as she
slowly clanged it to behind him. Then
throwing herself down in a dark corner of
the wall, she crouched in a small heap, mo-
tionless with terror, and softly cried herself
IN AN UPPER CHAMBER.
DURING this turbulent scene, so com-
mon in all pagan cities as to cause no
more than a passing thought to those
who, safely locked within their own home
walls, gladly turned a deaf ear to the brawLs
and crimes without, there was another scene
taking place, as unlike this as the still lake
of the mountains is unlike the sea in the
fury of a storm. In a small room dimly
lighted by flaring pine-knots, was gathered a
little company, possibly twenty in number,
who were noticeable only for their quiet
manners, plain dress, and serene and lofty
They were of all ages above young child-
hood, and they entered by twos and threes,
stealing noiselessly to the barred outer door,
there to give a peculiar knock which quickly
THE WEESTLEE OF PHI LI PPL
gained them entrance. A password was
spoken in a whisper, that most common
being the Greek word " Ikthus," signifying
" fish." This, universally given as the sign
of the faith among believers, had a signifi-
cance dear to them all, for its initials, taken
in order, stood for " Jesus Christ, the Son ot
God, the Savior." It immediately admitted
them, this night, and once inside, a spirit of
delightful cordiality and brotherhood seemed
They clasped hands like friends who meet
after perils passed, and the gentle words,
" Peace be with you!" seemed a favorite
greeting. There* was little laughter, or loud
merriment, but smiles, serenity, and peace,
seemed to pervade the whole assembly.
For, strangely enough, here the patrician,
the freedman and the slave met upon terms
of seeming equality, and addressed each
other as " brother " and " sister." All this,
too, in a haughty Macedonian city that, in
imitation of great Rome, of which it was a
colony, disdained the rest of the world as
conquered slaves, drawing the lines of rank
so sharply that men had been thrown into
dungeons yes, even executed for daring to
presume upon certain privileges at banquet
or in council chamber, in a simple matter of
food, dress, or ornament, arrogated by those
of higher rank.
The meeting was well under way, a hymn
had been sung and a prayer offered, such as
had never ascended to a heathen deity, when
once more came the peculiar knock, this
time louder, more imperative and startling
tnan was customary.
The outer door having been opened, there
was an unusual commotion in the small
square vestibule, which caused the Pres-
byter, or leader, just beginning to address
the assembly, to cease speaking and look in-
tently that way. Every one's eyes followed
his. In each face was expectation and some-
thing of anxiety, but neither fear nor cring-
ing. They knew this might mean arrest,
imprisonment, possibly death, for each and
all, but they faced it steadily, as those who
rest upon a Power stronger than their own.
The door opened wide and two women and
a man entered, half leading, half carrying,
the figure of another female, well muffled in
white and apparently unconscious.
" Forgive our untimely interruption, breth-
ren." said the man in deprecating tones,
" but we found this woman lying in the deep
angle of the dooinvay, and she seems badly
hurt, or very ill. We cannot make her an-
swer, so far, and she appears dazed and
" Let the women care for her," said the
Presbyter in tones that were instinctively
commanding, though not with arrogance.
At once the women gathered about the
figure, which had been laid on a divan, and
putting back her chlamys, one said:
" Ah, but she is a girl only, and so fair!"
" Yes. and by her dress a modest one," put
in another. " Poor child! how came she out
at this hour?"
" See, she is hurt!" cried another, pointing
to a swelling rising rapidly above the
stranger's forehead. " She has had a heavy
blow there! her eyes are opening. Stand
back a little and do not frighten her with
so many strange faces."
Salome for our readers have guessed it
was she did indeed open her eyes and gaze
about. At first her expression was wild and
unnatural, but presently it became more
rational and only wondering in quality.
" Did they kill me?" she asked in a weak
voice. " Is this the Realm of Shades? and
you surely you are not the cruel Eumenides
come to harass me? You look too kind for
" No, no, child! you are still upon earth
and quite safe with those who mean you
well," said one of the women who had
assisted the girl in. " Are you feeling better
" My head aches," raising her hand feebly
to the swelled brow. " I remember it was
that blow! It must have knocked me sense-
less. Oh, did Hector get away? Were they
too many for him? How he did fight! But
I could not get inside the gate, there were
so many in my way. Where is Hector?"
The women looked at each other, and one
with a peculiarly sweet face answered
" He is not here just now. Who gave you
the blow, fair maiden?"
" I do not know, lady. I ran down the
narrow court close by our house to get
away, and soon I heard footsteps which I
thought were Hector's. I turned to speak,
and something came crashing down upon
my head that is all I can recall about it."
" Who is Hector?" asked the dame again,
as she tenderly bathed the wound, and
bound it up with her own kerchief.
" My brother. We were looking for my
lost amulet. Alas! it is as I said the gods
have given us over to destruction."
" No, my child. God has protected and
THE WEESTLEE OF PHILIPPI.
spared you. You fell into the deep shadow
of our doorway, where no one else could see
you until our feet were guided hither by
" He too will be cared for fear not! Our
God is ' mighty to save.' "
"You mean great Jupiter, because he is
the protector of the Games? If only he
" No, child, we mean but wait! Her head
is troubling her again. Let her rest."
For even with the words Salome's eyes
took on a wild look and she was soon toss-
ing and muttering with fever. Finding she
was to prove an all-night's care, at least,
these kind Samaritans removed her to a pal-
let in a small room of the little house, and
left one of their number to sit beside her,
while the others reverently returned to the
meeting. Here, quickly putting aside the
interruption, they listened with rapture to
the words of hope, comfort and encourage-
ment spoken by their leader, and joined
eagerly in such prayers and hymns as
seemed to bring heaven into the plain little
room, hidden by its humbleness from outer
It was the middle of the next forenoon be-
fore Salome came to herself once more. All
night she had tossed in the grip of fever,
tenderly soothed and cared for by the sweet-
faced woman, who proved to be the occu-
pant of the house, and who was called Eliza-
beth. She was a young matron of a gentle
cast of countenance, yet one versed in faces
might have read in the brow, well de-
veloped above the eyes, and in the lips and
chin, fine-grained but firm, a power of endur-
ance and a force of will which the singularly
quiet ways and speech scarce hinted at.
The first impression she gave was entirely
restful. In her eyes was a peace passing
comprehension, Satome thought, as she curi-
ously watched her, and she wondered what
could give her that supreme content, for she
was evidently very poor, and her garments
were such as the pretty Greek girl would
have scorned to wear. Besides, her pallor
showed she was not well, and her husband
seemed a gruff, silent man who spoke
roughly, if at all.
Salome from her pallet watched every gen-
tle movement and puzzled much to learn
why, through all that was hard and trying,
she seemed still to hug some secret con-
sciousness of joy so close that no mere out-
ward happening could affect it in the least.
" Perhaps," thought the little pagan after
she had lain for an hour or two thus ques-
tioning, "perhaps she has received an
oracle from the Priest of Apollo at the tem-
ple. Perhaps she feels sure that, no matter
what may happen just now, she will have
good fortune later on, and so bides her time,
and scarcely knows anything is wrong. It
looks that way. Ah! I was happy till I lost
my amulet that is," as memory came fully
back, " I was as happy as people usually are
in this world. Of course I wanted to be
rich and noble, and it was a great trial to
have to walk instead of being carried in a
litter through the streets," but I had my
She drew a long sigh, and Elizabeth came
quickly to her side.
"You are weary?" she asked with her
placid smile. " Shall I talk to you?"
" Please tell me about yourself, dear lady.
I wonder about you as I lie here, and that
Elizabeth laughed brightly. " There is so
little to tell! You have guessed from my
dress that I am a Jewish woman, and I am
proud to say I was born in our beautiful
city Jerusalem. But my husband, Junius,
is a Roman, free born."
" Indeed?" questioned Salome with won-
der, for the marriage of a free-born Roman
to a Jew was extremely rare. Her hostess
smiled a little and asked with gentle irony:
" Do you think that so unlikely? Yet why
not, Salome? There is neither Jew, nor
Greek, nor Roman either, in the sight of
God all are equal and his children." At
which the girl, still too weak to argue, only
stared dumbly, amazed at such strange
" But," thought she, " those Jews are all
queer. I have even heard they claim to
have a special god, who leads and cares for
them. I suppose, too, they really were rich
and powerful once, but now what miserable
creatures they are!"
For, though one of an enslaved nation her-
self, being a conquered Thracian, Salome
looked down upon the universally hated
Jew. Yet this was only as a class; in in-
dividual cases she often liked and even
honored them. So now she listened to Eliza-
beth, thinking how sweet her smile and soft
her voice, until sleep closed her eyes in rest,
which did much to restore her to perfect
Seeing how very weak she still was, her
hostess left her to slumber and stepped out-
THE WRESTLER OF PHI LI PPL
side into the narrow court of the humble
dwelling. Here she called softly, " Nadab !
Nadab!" and presently a little boy, who so
closely resembled the fair Jewess that no
one could have mistaken their relationship,
came bounding in from the street.
" Well, mother?" he asked in a voice full
of loving respect, " what is it you need me
" I will tell you. my son; but first, did you
wet up the flags as I bade you?"
" Yes, mother."
" That is right. And now I want you to go