The monk said that angels came and liberated Peter from prison by night, and he started away from Rome by the Appian Way.
Being rather isolated, it shows to better advantage than any other of the monuments of ancient Rome. Even the beautiful Pantheon, whose pagan altars uphold the cross, now, and whose Venus, tricked out in consecrated gimcracks, does reluctant duty as a Virgin Mary to-day, is built about with shabby houses and its stateliness sadly marred.
But in ancient Rome they combined religious duty with pleasure.
"I did not come to Rome to see," said Danglars aloud; then he added softly, with an avaricious smile, "I came to touch!" and he rapped his pocket-book, in which he had just placed a letter.
He had scarcely advanced three leagues out of Rome when daylight began to disappear.
He understood that they had described a circle, and were bringing him back to Rome. "Oh, unfortunate!" he cried, "they must have obtained my arrest." The carriage continued to roll on with frightful speed.
"The King of Rome!" he said, pointing to the portrait with a graceful gesture.
He ordered the portrait to be carried outside his tent, that the Old Guard, stationed round it, might not be deprived of the pleasure of seeing the King of Rome, the son and heir of their adored monarch.
Vive le roi de Rome! Vive l'Empereur!" came those ecstatic cries.
As time went on the Western Empire with Rome
at its head declined and fell, while the Eastern Empire with Constantinople as its capital grew great.
To those who have looked at Rome with the quickening power of a knowledge which breathes a growing soul into all historic shapes, and traces out the suppressed transitions which unite all contrasts, Rome may still be the spiritual centre and interpreter of the world.
And was not Rome the place in all the world to give free play to such accomplishments?