Page:Thotharomance00nichgoog.djvu/30

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25
THE PLAGUE AND THE MERCHANTS.

In a short time more than thirty of the fairest young women of Athens had promised to go on board the Egyptian vessel; and to these, that no doubt might shake them at the last, the leader told a thing still more wonderful He said, with an appearance of the greatest secrecy, that they had a charm by which a small number could be protected against the plague, and that they had failed to mention this because its virtue would cease if applied beyond this small number. Then he painted, in the most glowing language, the delights and pleasures which would be their lot in the distant land. He also proceeded to terrify those whom he was unwilling to take, and the maidens he had chosen began to fear now that others might take their place, and promised to do all he bade them.