When they were dismissed, she said to Nydia, ’I will not suffer this holy draught to quit my presence till the hour comes for its use. Lie under my pillow, bright spirit, and give me happy dreams!’
So saying, she placed the potion under her pillow. Nydia’s heart beat violently.
’Why dost thou drink that unmixed water, Nydia? Take the wine by its side.’
‘I am fevered,’ replied the blind girl, ’and the water cools me. I will place this bottle by my bedside, it refreshes in these summer nights, when the dews of sleep fall not on our lips. Fair Julia, I must leave thee very early—so Ione bids—perhaps before thou art awake; accept, therefore, now my congratulations.’
‘Thanks: when next we meet you may find Glaucus at my feet.’
They had retired to their couches, and Julia, worn out by the excitement of the day, soon slept. But anxious and burning thoughts rolled over the mind of the wakeful Thessalian. She listened to the calm breathing of Julia; and her ear, accustomed to the finest distinctions of sound, speedily assured her of the deep slumber of her companion.
‘Now befriend me, Venus!’ said she, softly.
She rose gently, and poured the perfume from the gift of Julia upon the marble floor—she rinsed it several times carefully with the water that was beside her, and then easily finding the bed of Julia (for night to her was as day), she pressed her trembling hand under the pillow and seized the potion. Julia stirred not, her breath regularly fanned the burning cheek of the blind girl. Nydia, then, opening the phial, poured its contents into the bottle, which easily contained them; and then refilling the former reservoir of the potion with that limpid water which Julia had assured her it so resembled, she once more placed the phial in its former place. She then stole again to her couch, and waited—with what thoughts!—the dawning day.
The sun had risen—Julia slept still—Nydia noiselessly dressed herself, placed her treasure carefully in her vest, took up her staff, and hastened to quit the house.
The porter, Medon, saluted her kindly as she descended the steps that led to the street: she heard him not; her mind was confused and lost in the whirl of tumultuous thoughts, each thought a passion. She felt the pure morning air upon her cheek, but it cooled not her scorching veins.
‘Glaucus,’ she murmured, ’all the love-charms of the wildest magic could not make thee love me as I love thee. Ione!—ah; away hesitation! away remorse! Glaucus, my fate is in thy smile; and thine! hope! O joy! O transport, thy fate is in these hands!’
BOOK THE FOURTH
Reflections on the zeal of the early Christians. Two men come to A perilous resolve. Walls have ears, particularly sacred walls.