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is another phenomenon, not so fatal indeed, but as equally if not more extraordinary.
A very amiable lady, much cherished by her husband (a particular which must be kept in mind, not because it is a rare one, but because it adds to the remarkableness of the phenomenon in question) was unable, without becoming ill, not only to eat, but even to look on veal, in whatever manner it was prepared. This antipathy went so far that, if it were brought to table, she would become unable to rise, and in need of being carried away to bed. The mere cdour of this meat produced the same terrible effect.
One day, veal soup was mixed with the beef she was to take. Scarcely had the swallowed a few drops, when her hands grew stiff, her countenance pale, and her look wild: terrible convulsions followed ; and the suffered from the injury during three days.
Her husband thought that, by eating veal in her presence, he should insensibly accustom her to its use. The event was otherwise. 'He became himself the object of her invincible hatred; his presence produced the same symptoms and convulsions as that of veal; and though this man loved her to distraction, me detested and could not support his fight. If the fact which follows, and with this article shall be closed, be not a fraud, it is certainly one of the most extraordinary that can be produced: it is reported by George Hannæus, in the Aets of Copenhagen, for the year 1676.
One Olaus, says he, whom, for some time past, we saw begging for alms, had such an aversion from his name that he earnestly pressed those who spoke with him, and to whom he was known, not to name him. Those who, through careleffness or malice, called him Olaus, occafioned him a sudden shock. The first time he heard the word pronounced, he began to tremble, the second time, he hung down his head, groaning, and Thowing signs of indignation; if VOL. I. No, :0.
the irritation was further continued, he struck his head against the walls and against the stones and fell, as if in a fit of apoplexy and epilepsy. When not exposed to this trial, his health, adds Hannæus, was good.
The Remarkable History of EPONINA, the amiable, IV'fe of
Saeinus, a Man of High Quality, who claimed the Rumun Empire.
[From Miss Hay's F.mile Biography ] During the struggles of Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian, for the Sovereignty of Rome, and in the unsettled state of the empire, Sabinus, a native of Langres, an ambitious and wealthy man, of high quality, put in his claim, among others, to the poffeffion of the throne. Encouraged by his countrymen to this bold undertaking, he pretended, by casting an imputation on the chastity of his grandmother, to trace his lineage from Julius Cæsar. Having revolted againit the Romans, he caused himse!f, by his followers, to be faluted emperor.
But his temerity and prefumption quickly received a check: his troops, who were defeated, and scattered in all directions, betook themselves to fight: while of those who fell into the hands of their purfuers, not one was spared. In the heart of Gaul, Sabinus might have found safety, had his tenderness for his wife permitted him to seek it. Espouied to Eponina, a lady of admirable beauty and accomplishments, from whom he could not prevail upon himself to live at a distance, he retired from the field of battle to his country-house. Having here called together his servants, and the remnant of his people, he inforined them of his difafter, and of the miscarriage of his enterprise; while he declared to them his resolution of putting a voluntary period to his life, to escape the for. tures prepared for him by the victors, and avoid the fate of his unfortunate companions. He proceeded to thank
HISTORY OF THE AMIABLE EPONINA.
them for their services, after which he gave them a solemn discharge: he then ordered fire to be set to his mansion, in which he shut himself up; and of this stately edifice in a few hours nothing remained but a heap of athes and ruins.
The news of the melancholy catastrophe being spread abroad, reached the ears of Eponina, who during the preceding events, had remained at Rome. Her grief and despair, on learning the fate of a husband whom she dearly loved, and who had fallen a victim to his tenderness for her, were too poignant to be long supported. In vain her friends and acquaintance offered her confolation; their efforts to reconcile her to her loss served to aggravate her distress. She determined to abstain from nourishment, and to re-unite herself in the grave to him without whom the felt life to be a burthen.
For three days the persevered in her resolution. On the fourth, Martial, a freedman, who had been a favourite domestic in the service of her husband, desired to be admitted by his mistress to a private conference, on affairs of great importance.
In this interview, Eponina learned, with an emotion that had nearly shaken to annihilation her languid and debilitated frame, that Sabinus, whom she so bitterly lamented, was still living, and concealed in a subterraneous cavern under the ruins of his house, where he waited with impatience to receive and embrace his beloved and faithful wife. This scheme had been concerted in confidence with two of his domestics, in whose attachment Sabinus entirely confided.
It had been hitherto concealed from Eponina, that, through her unaffected grief on the supposed death of her husband, greater credit might be given to a report on which his preservation entirely depended. To these welcome tidings, Martial presumed to add his advice, that his lady should still preserve the external marks of sorrow, and conduct herself with the utmost art and precaution.
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Eponina promised, with transport, to observe all that was required of her, however difficult might be the task of dissimulation ; and to endure yet a short delay, lest fufpicion should be awakened, of the meeting which the anticipated with so much tenderness and joy.
At length, devoured by a mutual anxiety, this affectionate pair could no longer sustain a separation. By the management of the faithful freedman, Eponina was conveyed in the darkness of the night to the retreat of her husband, and brought back, with equal secrecy, to her own house, before the dawning of the ensuing day.
These visits were repeated, with the same precautions, and with great peril, during seven months, till it was at last determined, as a plan which would be attended with less inconvenience, and even with less danger, that Sabinus should be conveyed by night to his own house, and kept concealed in a remote and private apartment. But this project, in its execution, was found to abound in unforeseen difficulties; the extensive household and numerous visitants of Eponina, who feared to change her manner of life, kept her in continual terror of a discovery, and harassed her mind with insupportable inquietude. Sabinus was therefore again removed to his subterranean abode, whose darkness love illumined.
The intercourse between the husband and wife thus continued for nine years, during which interval the pregnancy of Eponina afforded them at one time the most cruel alarm. But this interesting and amiable woman, by a painful but ingenious stratagem, contrived to elude suspicion and satisfy enquiry. She prepared an ointment, which, by its external application, produced a swelling of the limbs, and dropsical symptoms, and thus accounted for the
enlargement EPONINA'S ELOQUENCE TO THE EMPEROR. 437 enlargement of her shape. As the hour of her delivery drew near, she shut herself, under pretence of a visit to a distant province, in the cavern of her husband; where, without assistance, and suppressing her groans, the gave birth to twin-fons, whom the nurtured and reared in this gloomy retreat.
Conjugal and maternal affection thus united, while time and impunity had in some measure allayed her fears, drew her more frequently to the place which contained the object of her cares, till her absence gave rise to curiosity and suspicion. She was at length traced to the cavern of the iil-fated Sabinus; who, being seized and loaded with irons, was, with his wife and children, conveyed to Rome.
Eponina, distracted at the consequence of her imprudence, rushed into the presence of the Emperor Vespasian, and presenting to him her children, prostrated herself at his feet. With the eloquence of a wife and a mother, she pleaded the cause of her husband, and, after having extenuated his fault, as proceeding from the disorders of the times, rather than from personal ambition, from the calamities of civil war, and the evils of oppression, she thus proceeded to address the Emperor-“ But we have waited, Sire, till 'these boys shall be able to join to those of their mother their fighs and tears, in the hope of difarming your wrath by our united supplications. They come forth, as from a fepulchre, to implore your mercy, on the first day in which they have ever beheld the light, Let our sorrow, our misfortunes, and the sufferings we have already undergone, move you to compassion, and obtain from you the life of a husband and a father.”
a The spectators melted into tenderness and pity at the affecting spectacle; every heart was moved, every eye was moist, but that of a pitiless Tyrant, deaf to the voice of Nature, and inaccessible to her claims.