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LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP;
STORY OF ALCANDER AND SEPTIMIUS.
(Taken from a Byzantine Historian.)
ATHENS, even long after the decline of the Roman empire, still continued the seat of learning, politeness, and wisdom. Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, repaired the schools which barbarity was suffering to fall into decay, and continued those pensions to men of learning, which avaricious governors had monopolized.
In this city, and about this period, Alcander and Septimius were fellow-students together; the one the most subtle reasoner of all the Lyceum; the other the most eloquent speaker in the academic grove: Mutual admiration soon begot a friendship. Their fortunes were nearly equal, and they were natives of the two most celebrated cities in the world; for Alcander was of Athens, Septimius came from Rome.
In this state of harmony they lived for some time to. gether, when Alcander, after passing the first part of his youth in the indolence of philosophy, thought at length of entering into the busy world; and as a step previous to this, placed his affections on Hypatia, a lady of exquisite beauty. The day of their intended nuptials was fixed; the previous ceremonies were
performed ; and nothing now remained but her being conducted in triumph to the apartment of the in. tended bridegroom.
Alcander's exultation in his own happiness, or being unable to enjoy any satisfaction without making his friend Septimius a partner, prevailed upon him to introduce Hypatia to his fellow-student; which he did, with all the gayety of a man who found himself equally happy in friendship and love. But this was an interview fatal to the future peace of both; for Septimius no sooner saw her but he was smitten with an involuntary passion; and, though he used every effort to suppress desires at once so imprudent and unjust, the emotions of his mind in a short time became so strong, that they brought on a fever, which the physicians judged incurable.
During this illness Alcander watched him with all the ansiety of fondness, and brought his mistress to join in those amiable offices of friendship. The sagacity of the physicians, by these means, soon discovered that the cause of their patient's disorder was
and Alcander, being apprised of their discovery, at length extorted a confession from the reluctant dying lover.
It would but delay the narrative to describe the conflict between love and friendship in the breast of Alcander on this occasion ; it is enough to say, that the Athenians were at that time arrived at such refinement in morals, that every virtue was carried to excess: in short, forgetful of his own felicity, he gave up his intended bride, in all her charms, to the young