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The Unwilling Vestal by Edward Lucas White
page 1 of 195 (00%)

Brinnaria looked mutinous and gazed at the Emperor in silence. In
silence he waited for her to speak. At last she said, curtly:

"I bow to your authority."

The Emperor struck his silver gong and a page appeared.
Aurelius gave a brief order. A few moments later Almo was
ushered in. After his formal salute to the Emperor he stood
silent, his eyes fixed on Brinnaria.

They made a fine picture. The ceiling of the immense hall was
a barrel-vault, of which the beams were stuccoed in cream-white,
picked out with gilding, while between them the depth of each
soffit was colored an intense deep blue, against which stood out
a great gilt rosette. The mighty pilasters, whose gilded capitals
supported the vaulting, were of many-veined dark yellow marble,
polished and gleaming like the slabs of pale yellow marble which
panelled the interspaces. The high-moulded wainscot was of red
and green porphyry, somberly smooth and shining. Against it,
below the wall-panels, were set great chests of carved and gilded
wood, while about the bases of the pilasters were placed groups
of settees and armchairs, similarly carved and gilded and richly
upholstered. The floor was paved with an intricate mosaic of
parti-colored bits of marble, its expanse broken only by the
great gorgeous carpet before the throne, by the chair set for
Brinnaria, by the onyx table, supported on sculptured monsters
like griffons, beside the throne, and by the throne itself, a curule