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By degrees, Cephalus began to think that Procris might spare a little of so great a love; and as these wicked thoughts stole upon him, he found Aurora steal nearer. She came closer to him, as he pretended to sleep; and loitered more in going away. At length they conversed again ; and the argument, which was uppermost in both their minds, soon got more and more explicit. We are bound to believe that a goddess could reason more divively on the subject; but it must not be concealed, that the argument which made the greatest impression on Cephalus, was one, which has since been much in fashion, though we cannot say a great deal for it. All defences of love should proceed upon the kindest grounds, or on none. The moment it refers to any thing like retaliation, or even to a justice which hazards such feelings, it is trenching on the monstrous territory of hate. Be this however as it may, Aurora, one morning, did certainly condescend to finish a conversation with saying, that she would not look to have her love returned, unless Procris should first be found unfaithful.
The husband, in whose mind this suggestion seemed to awaken all his exclusive tenderness for his wife, readily accepted the alternative. But how was Procris to be tried ? Aurora soon found an expedient. She changed the appearance of Cephalas to that of a young Phænician merchant; filled his pockets with gold and jewels; hung the rarest gems from Ormus and the Red Sea in his turban ; and seating him in à Sidonian car, drawn by white fawns, with a peacock standing beside him on the edge, sent him tù offer all these bribes to Procris for her love. Cephalus turned a little pale at sight of the fawns; but his colour and even his gaiety returned in a minute ; and taking a respectful farewell of the Goddess, he shook the reigns, and set off down the grassy valley that led to his home.
The fawns, with a yearning yet easy swiftness, wound along down the sides,
of the hill. Their snowy figures flashed in and out of the trees; the peacock's tail trailed along the air'; the jewels sparkled in the stranger's turban. Procris, looking out of the window for her husband, wondered what illustrious unknown was coming. He is evidently coming towards her abode. It is the only one in the valley. He arrives, and making a respectful obeisance, alights and enters. He makes no request for admittance, but yet no fault is to be found with his easy gravity. He says indeed that he could not but come in, whether he would or no, for the fame of Procris's beauty and sweetness bad reached him in Phoenicia ; and as his father's great riches allowed him to travel at his leisure, he had brought a few trifles,not as a return for the few hours' hospitality which he should presume upon ; -by no means ;-—but solely as he had not wit or attraction enough of his own, to leave any other memorial of his visit and homage. All this was somewhat too elaborate for the people in those days; but Cephalus, in his confidence, had become a little over-ingenious; and when ne had done speaking, and had presented his splendid credentials, Procris thought that the accomplished stranger undervalued bimself. A little obstacle presented itself. On giving her the peacock, the
stranger stooped his face with an air of confident but respectful pleasure, and was about to kiss her. “ How is this?" said
Procris." We always do so in Phoenicia," said he, “when presents are received;and without more ado, be kissed her in a sort of forinal and caijalistic manner, first on one cheek, then on the other, and lastly on the forehead. Procris submitted, purely because she did not know how to oliject to a Phænician custoin. :3 bis
present. ing a casket full of gold, she demurred. He seemed to take no notice of this, but stooped as before, and kissed her, not only on the cheeks and forehead, but on the lips. Procris blushed, and looked displeased. “ We always do so in Phoenicia ;” said he, in a tone, as is an effeoce must be done away, by, that explanation. -> Another casket succeedled, full of jewels, and much more precious than the last. Procris wondered whether any additional ceremony was to take place in return, and was about to decline the third present in some alarm, when the stranger, with as brief an indifference of voice as his gallantry could, assume, observed, that all that was to be done for the third gist, was to have the kiss returned, -slightly, it was true; but still returned in it was always the way in Phoenicia. And he had scarcely spoken the word wheu he stooped as before, and kissed her. Procris would siocerely have objected to returning the salute ; but as she said afterwards, she really had not tine to consider. Besides, she persuaded herself that she felt relieved at thinking the casket was to be the last present; and so,-- giving a short glance at the window,-ibe kiss was returned. A very odd, and not comfortable expression passed over the face
e of the stranger, but very quickly. The only reason that: Procris could conceive why he should look so, was, that the salute, might have been too slight.“ He is very generous, I own thought she; " but these Plicevicians are strange people." The stranger lack now a totally different air. It was that of an excessive giety, in which respect was nevertheless strongly mingled, " Having bououred me so far with your acquaintance,” said he, “nothing remaills but to close our Phænician cereinonies of introduction with this trifle from the Red Sea." So saying, he took a most magnificent ruby irom the front of his turban, and hitched it on the collar of her vestuvini: The hook, 5 sạid he,"is of Phænician -chrystal.”. Procris's ears fairly tingled with tlie word Phoenician, She was bewildered, ;; the ceremonies, were indeed about to close ; and this word soinewhat lelieved her; but she was going to demur in a more peremptory: mauner, when he said that all that was to be done on this final occasion was just to embrace bin-slightly-in a sisterly Way It is not always done," said he :-' the Tyre people, for instance, do wrot do it's but the Sidovians do ; and generally speaking, it is the closing custom in Phenici-mand the final syllable was lost in it, new kiss, against which sbe found it out of her power to reinoistrate. In giving her at the same time a brief but affectionate embrace, he contrived to bring her arms about himself. He then bowed in the most respecrful and grateful manner imaginable, and handed lier to a seat bebo99
Procris, with whom the ice had been thus broken, and who already, thought lierself half faithless to the strictness of her vow, 'scarcely knew whether to feel more angry at the warmth, or piqued at the ceremonious indifference, of the stranger. A sense however of gra-;
tified pride, and of his extraordinary generosity, was the uppermost feeling in her mind ; and this led her to be piqued rather than angry: Luckily, she bethought herself of offering him the hospitality of die house, which helped to dirert her confusion. The milk and fruit were brought out ; and he tasted them, more, it seemed, out of politeness, thau for want of refreshment. Procris cast her eyes, first up the bill, and then at the fawns. She wondered wbether the fawns and car would follow the other presents ; but upon the whole concluded they would not, unless the traveller meant to stop, which was impossible; at least in that house. She made up her mind therefore to be very angry in case he should offer the fawns; when he interrupted any farther reflections. «« Those fawns,” said he, “ came into my possession in a very remarkable manner. They are fatal.”' " Fatal ?" echoed Procris. « Not in a bad sense," returned the stranger, smiling: “I am destined to present them to some fair one, (I know not who she is), who shall honour me with the privileges of a husband, and who is to be fairer than the Goddess that gave them me." “A strange impossible condition," said Procris ; “but who, pray was the Goddess ?”—“ Aurora.”—The beautiful wife of Cephalus smiled rietoriously at the mention of that name. She had already triumphed over the divinity, and thought that this new test of superiority was scarcely necessary. The Phoenician, upon seeing her turn of countenance, added significantly; “ I saw her just now, and must confess that it will take something very extraordinary to surpass her; but I do not conceive it actually impossible." Procris longed to tell him of Aurora's unsuccessful passion for Cephalus. She asked how long it was, since he had seen the Goddess. " I saw her but now," said the stranger : " she was conversing in the forest here." Do you know with whom?" asked Procris.
yes; it was your husband : and this reminds me, that he told to beg you not to be alarmed, but
* Not till night-fall ?" balf he should not return till niom, ne murmured and half enquired the fair conqueror of Aurora.—Now this was wrong in Cephalus. He was led into the mention of his interview with Aurora by it's being actually the case ; but be need not have gone so far with the lesson she had taught him. We blush to'say that it succeeded but too well. There is no necessity to pursue the detail farther. Towards night-fall Procris gave anxious looks up the hill, and hoped (which was kind of her) that her husband might receive great pleasure from the present she intended to make hims of the fawns." I think he is comiug down the hill," said she. “ No," said the stranger.
" How can you tell," returned Procris, “ with your face turned from the window ?” “ Look at me," replied he, you will know." Procris turned quickly, and looked bim in the face. It was Cephalus himself. Astonishment, fear, shame, and a sense of the triumphant artifice of the Goddess, fell upon her at once. She uttered a loud shriek; and tearing her vest from her husband's grasp, darted off into the woods.
Cephalus, in his chariot of fawns, sought her a hundred ways in vaió. He was ät otice angry and sorry: and Aurora found that her artifice had been of no use. She boped however that time, and the
absence of his wife, would mollify him; and in the meanwhile, seeing how sullenly he turned aside whenever she ventured to become manifest, she tried to humble him a little. His skill became less supereminent in the chace. Other dogs ran faster than his; and other lances took truer aim. The gloom of the forest was still enlightened for hiin, because she did not wish to let him know how she was trying him ; but the name of Cephalus suffered in it's reputation. People began to say that Phalerus was as good as he.
He was sitting at home one evening in a melancholy manner, after an unsuccessful day's sport, when a beautiful female with a dog appeared at the door, and begged permission to rest herself. The faintness of her voice interested our suffering huntsman. He brought her in with great kindness, set refreshments before her, and could not help gazing with admiration on her lovely face, which covered with blushes, looked with a particularly melancholy expression on the fruits and the bowls of cream. He thought he distressed her, and began playing in a negligent manner with the dog. The animal, at a slight snap of his fingers, darted up on his legs like lightning, and stood panting and looking eagerly towards the door. Cephalus had the finest dog in Thessaly, yet he doubted whether this was not finer than any
of them. He looked at the female, and now saw that she was buskined up like a nympli of the chace. - The truth flashes upon me,” thought
“ this is a fugitive nymph of Diana. Her buskivs and her blushes tell her whole story.". The fair stranger seemed first oppressed, and then relieved by his gaze.
You guess," said she, but too well, I fear, what has put me upon you kind hospitality. But the other sex, especially where they are of the best natures, will be too kind to betray me. I have indeed fled from the company of Diana, having been first left myself by a River-God, who”-She blushied, and was silent. “ And this dog?" enquired Cephalus, after reassuring her. " It was my favourite dog iu the chace," said she ; now my faithful companion in flight. Poor Lailaps !" And the dog, forgetting his vivacity in an instant, came and lay at his mistress's feet, as if he would have wound about them. They were very beautiful feet. «« The River-God doubtless admired them,” thought Cephalus. But there was a something in her face more touching than all the shapeli, ness in the world. It was a mixture of the pensive and the pleasurable, which seemed to say that if she had no cause for trouble, she would have been all tender vivacity. :." And whither are you going, fạirest?" asked Cephalus.“ To Cyprus,"4" To the temple of Venus?" “To the temple of Venus :" replied the beautiful stranger, dropping her words and face as she spoke." I have made a new vow, w whicha new vow.” And blushing more deeply, she was again silent.
Which she shall be able to keep better than the last,” thought Cephalus. She sat in a simple posture, her back gently bending, her knees together, her rosy face and languid eyes looking down sideways between her dark heavy curls. She moved the fingers of her right hand towards the dog, as if snapping them; but it was done faintly, and evidently only to do something. Cephalus thought she had a look of Procris; and he did not pity her the less for that. " But what
are you to do with this dog?" This, it seemed, was a very perplexing question. It was a long time before Cephalus could get an answer ; but he was so kind and importunate, and really, with all his love of hunting, appeared to be so much more interested in the nymph than her companion, that at length he did obtain a sort of understanding on the subject. It was necessary to make a renouncement of something highly valued by the possessor, before a new devotee could enter on the service of Venus. The renounceinent was to be made to one of the other sex ; and Cephalus, partly out of curiosity, partly out of vanity, partly out of self-interest, and not a little out of an interest of a better sort, contrived to discover, that it would be made, with no prodigious unwillingness, to himself. “ Lailaps," said he. The dog started towards him, as if he knew his future master. The lady gave a gentle laugh, and seemed much happier. The supper, that evening, was upon a much easier footing than the luncheon. The next morning, on waking, Cephalus, saw the face of Procris hanging over him.
He would have been more astonished lad he not remembered bis own transformation. But he was nevertheless quite enough
Procris shook her head at him archly; then kissed him kindly ; then burst into tears; then declared herself happy and forgiving, as well as forgiven ; and neither of them passed a happier day in their lives.
Procris's account of herself was partly true. Our informaut* does not account for a proceeding which certainly requires some explanation ; 'but she had really gone to the haunts of Diana, whose reception of her, though a huntress, was what might hare been expect ed. She begged her, in very explicit terms, to withdraw. Procris, however, though she could obtain no sympathy purely on her own account, contrived to waken an interest in the bosom of the divine virgin by telling her of the trick played by Cephalus and Au
This she thought abominable. She therefore wrought a coupter-change in the appearance of Procris ; and giving her a hound out of her own pack, sent her to practise artifice for artifice. She regretted afterwards the having consented to interfere at all in such matters; but the impulse had engaged her to commit herself, and she was too proud and stately to recall what she had done. Procris told all to her husband; and the goddess was little aware how they enjoyed the kind result of her anger, at the expense of her dignity.
It is on record, that our married couple were never so fond of each other, or so contented, as now. Procris, in the gratitude of her joy, was not disposed eren to quarrel with Aurora, whom her husband no doubt saw occasionally. But it is not known whether he was kinder to her than before. Procris was inclined to think not, as he said nothing about it; so certain she had become of his confidence. As to Cephalus, the praises of his wife by his fellow huntsmen, gáve him great pleasure, now that he was sure of her loving him unrestrictedly.
What a pity that such a happy state of things was not to last ! But Procris had early been taught jealousy. She had even identified it
* Hygious Fabularum Liber. Cap, 189.