In preparing to compose a fiction founded on history the writer of
these pages thought it no necessary requisite of such a work that the
principal characters appearing in it should be drawn from the historical
personages of the period. On the contrary he felt that some very
weighty objections attached to this plan of composition. He knew well
that it obliged a writer to add largely from invention to what was
actually known--to fill in with the colouring of romantic fancy the bare
outline of historic fact--and thus to place the novelist's fiction in
what he could not but consider most unfavourable contrast to the
historian's truth. He was further by no means convinced that any story
in which historical characters supplied the main agents could be
preserved in its fit unity of design and restrained within its due
limits of development without some falsification or confusion of
historical dates--a species of poetical licence of which he felt no
disposition to avail himself as it was his main anxiety to make his
plot invariably arise and proceed out of the great events of the era
exactly in the order in which they occurred.
Influenced therefore by these considerations he thought that by
forming all his principal characters from imagination he should be able
to mould them as he pleased to the main necessities of the story; to
display them without any impropriety as influenced in whatever manner
appeared most strikingly interesting by its minor incidents; and
further to make them on all occasions without trammel or hindrance
the practical exponents of the spirit of the age of all the various
historical illustrations of the period which the Author's researches
among conflicting but equally important authorities had enabled him to
garner up while at the same time the appearance of verisimilitude
necessary to an historical romance might he imagined be successfully
preserved by the occasional introduction of the living characters of the
era in those portions of the plot comprising events with which they had
been remarkably connected.
On this plan the recent work has been produced.
To the fictitious characters alone is committed the task of representing
the spirit of the age. The Roman emperor Honorius and the Gothic king
Alaric mix but little personally in the business of the story--only
appearing in such events and acting under such circumstances as the
records of history strictly authorise; but exact truth in respect to
time place and circumstance is observed in every historical event
introduced in the plot from the period of the march of the Gothic
invaders over the Alps to the close of the first barbarian blockade of
CHAPTER 1. GOISVINTHA.
CHAPTER 2. THE COURT.
CHAPTER 3. ROME.
CHAPTER 4. THE CHURCH.
CHAPTER 5. ANTONINA.
CHAPTER 6. AN APPRENTICESHIP TO THE TEMPLE.
CHAPTER 7. THE BED-CHAMBER.
CHAPTER 8. THE GOTHS.
CHAPTER 9. THE TWO INTERVIEWS.
CHAPTER 10. THE RIFT IN THE WALL.
CHAPTER 11. GOISVINTHA'S RETURN.
CHAPTER 12. THE PASSAGE OF THE WALL.
CHAPTER 13. THE HOUSE IN THE SUBURBS.
CHAPTER 14. THE FAMINE.
CHAPTER 15. THE CITY AND THE GODS.
CHAPTER 16. LOVE MEETINGS.
CHAPTER 17. THE HUNS.
CHAPTER 18. THE FARM-HOUSE.
CHAPTER 19. THE GUARDIAN RESTORED.
CHAPTER 20. THE BREACH REPASSED.
CHAPTER 21. FATHER AND CHILD.
CHAPTER 22. THE BANQUET OF FAMINE.
CHAPTER 23. THE LAST EFFORTS OF THE BESIEGED.
CHAPTER 24. THE GRAVE AND THE CAMP.
CHAPTER 25. THE TEMPLE AND THE CHURCH.
CHAPTER 26. RETRIBUTION.
CHAPTER 27. THE VIGIL OF HOPE.
THE CONCLUSION. 'UBI THESAURUS IBI COR.'
CHAPTER 1. GOISVINTHA.
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