It was like a scene from a play. Her so-called plots against himself were revealed, while he told them how for a long time past he had suspected her; worse than that, he had more than once caught her red-handed, but had concealed her misdoings out of respect for the Senators. After inventing such lies — sheer nonsense it was — and after winning their approval (they passed remarks suited to the occasion), he considered his defence before the Senate was adequate, and next put his case to the people.

Some of the latter were already quite prepared to dance to his tune, and to them he told his story. They gave him their verdict. There w as obviously support for his policy in that quarter as well, so this second meeting was dismissed, and he, like a man who has accomplished some mighty exploit, took a rest from his great labours and gave himself up to childish delight, all but dancing and leaping from the ground in his pleasure. Yet retribution was very near; the usurper’s pride was to meet its downfall in the not distant future.

Spiritual and rhetorical perfection

24. As for the events that followed, words are inadequate to describe them. The human mind cannot comprehend the working of Providence. When I say this I am judging other people’s reactions by my own. Certain it is that no poet, with his soul animated by the divine afflatus and his tongue inspired by God; no orator who had attained the height of spiritual and rhetorical perfection, and had moreover adorned with the skill of artifice his own natural abilities; no philosopher, even, who had thorough knowledge of the ways of Providence and of their revelation, or who had learnt by the power of his wisdom any other thing that surpasses our human understanding; none of these would be capable of describing the events that took place at this crisis, at least in a manner that would do them Justice.

Such a task would be impossible, even if the poet dramatized the story with subtle touches of character; even if the orator made a glorious speech, with his periods harmonized and altogether fitted to the vastness of his theme; even if the philosopher, denying the spontaneous origin of these events, explained them by reason and produced causes from which that great and far-spread mystery — for one cannot describe it as anything else — was derived. Naturally therefore, it was not for me to mention that extraordinary social upheaval.

Nor would I have done so, unless I had realized that by holding my peace the supreme crisis of my history would be neglected. So, in my tiny skiff, I have ventured to cross a mighty ocean. At all events, to the best of my ability, I will tell my story — an account of all those strange happenings that followed the empress’s exile, events that Divine Justice brought to pass at this moment in history.

Read More about Michael V Part 8

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