’But the night is chill for thine age, my father, and the way is long, and the robber haunts it; rest thee till to-morrow.’
’Kind son, what is there in this scrip to tempt the robber? And the Night and the Solitude!—these make the ladder round which angels cluster, and beneath which my spirit can dream of God. Oh! none can know what the pilgrim feels as he walks on his holy course; nursing no fear, and dreading no danger—for God is with him! He hears the winds murmur glad tidings; the woods sleep in the shadow of Almighty wings—the stars are the Scriptures of Heaven, the tokens of love, and the witnesses of immortality. Night is the Pilgrim’s day.’ With these words the old man pressed Apaecides to his breast, and taking up his staff and scrip, the dog bounded cheerily before him, and with slow steps and downcast eyes he went his way.
The convert stood watching his bended form, till the trees shut the last glimpse from his view; and then, as the stars broke forth, he woke from the musings with a start, reminded of his appointment with Olinthus.
The philtre. Its effect.
When Glaucus arrived at his own home, he found Nydia seated under the portico of his garden. In fact, she had sought his house in the mere chance that he might return at an early hour: anxious, fearful, anticipative, she resolved upon seizing the earliest opportunity of availing herself of the love-charm, while at the same time she half hoped the opportunity might be deferred.
It was then, in that fearful burning mood, her heart beating, her cheek flushing, that Nydia awaited the possibility of Glaucus’s return before the night. He crossed the portico just as the first stars began to rise, and the heaven above had assumed its most purple robe.
‘Ho, my child, wait you for me?’
’Nay, I have been tending the flowers, and did but linger a little while to rest myself.’
‘It has been warm,’ said Glaucus, placing himself also on one of the seats beneath the colonnade.
’Wilt thou summon Davus? The wine I have drunk heats me, and I long for some cooling drink.’
Here at once, suddenly and unexpectedly, the very opportunity that Nydia awaited presented itself; of himself, at his own free choice, he afforded to her that occasion. She breathed quick—’I will prepare for you myself,’ said she, ’the summer draught that Ione loves—of honey and weak wine cooled in snow.’
‘Thanks,’ said the unconscious Glaucus. ’If Ione love it, enough; it would be grateful were it poison.’