Monday, December 6, 2010

The Wind in the Portico 2

I scrambled along the sedgy margin, not daring to lift my eyes till I was on the temple steps.

     The place was brighter than day with a roaring blast of fire.  The very air seemed to be incandescent and to have become a flaming ether.  And yet there were no flames -- only a burning brightness.  I could not enter, for the waft from it struck my face like a scorching hand and I felt my hair singe....

      I am short-sighted, as you know, and I may have been mistaken, but this is what I think I saw.  From the altar a great tongue of flame seemed to shoot upwards and lick the roof, and from its pediment ran flaming streams.  In front of it lay a body -- Dubellay's -- a naked body, already charred and black.  There was nothing else, except that the Gorgon's head in the wall seemed to glow like a sun in hell.


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