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Hot as hot. Through the open window, where a couple of long shoots of one of the grapevines hung down, partially shading the room within, a broad, glowing ray of light, which made the shadows near look purply black, streamed right across the head of Marcus, a Roman lad of about eighteen, making his close, curly, brown hair glisten as if some of the threads were of gold, while the light twinkled on the tiny dew-like drops that stood out on the boy’s brown forehead and by the sides of his slightly aquiline nose.
The side of his head was down upon the table and his hands outspread upon either side; a wax-covered tablet had escaped from his left, and a pointed stylus, with which he had been making a line of characters upon the wax, had slipped from his right fingers, for he was sleeping like a top.
All was wonderfully still in the Roman villa, and, from time to time, a slight puff of air which came cool from the mountains, but grew hot before it reached the house, sent one of the vine strands swinging to and fro like a pendulum, while the other, having secured itself to an outer shutter by one of its tendrils, remained motionless...