Last Days of Pompeii eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 565 pages of information about Last Days of Pompeii.

Chapter X

What becomes of Nydia in the house of ArbacesThe Egyptian feels compassion for GlaucusCompassion is often A very useless visitor to the guilty.

It will be remembered that, at the command of Arbaces, Nydia followed the Egyptian to his home, and conversing there with her, he learned from the confession of her despair and remorse, that her hand, and not Julia’s, had administered to Glaucus the fatal potion.  At another time the Egyptian might have conceived a philosophical interest in sounding the depths and origin of the strange and absorbing passion which, in blindness and in slavery, this singular girl had dared to cherish; but at present he spared no thought from himself.  As, after her confession, the poor Nydia threw herself on her knees before him, and besought him to restore the health and save the life of Glaucus—­for in her youth and ignorance she imagined the dark magician all-powerful to effect both—­Arbaces, with unheeding ears, was noting only the new expediency of detaining Nydia a prisoner until the trial and fate of Glaucus were decided.  For if, when he judged her merely the accomplice of Julia in obtaining the philtre, he had felt it was dangerous to the full success of his vengeance to allow her to be at large—­to appear, perhaps, as a witness—­to avow the manner in which the sense of Glaucus had been darkened, and thus win indulgence to the crime of which he was accused—­how much more was she likely to volunteer her testimony when she herself had administered the draught, and, inspired by love, would be only anxious, at any expense of shame, to retrieve her error and preserve her beloved?  Besides, how unworthy of the rank and repute of Arbaces to be implicated in the disgrace of pandering to the passion of Julia, and assisting in the unholy rites of the Saga of Vesuvius!  Nothing less, indeed, than his desire to induce Glaucus to own the murder of Apaecides, as a policy evidently the best both for his own permanent safety and his successful suit with Ione, could ever have led him to contemplate the confession of Julia.

As for Nydia, who was necessarily cut off by her blindness from much of the knowledge of active life, and who, a slave and a stranger, was naturally ignorant of the perils of the Roman law, she thought rather of the illness and delirium of her Athenian, than the crime of which she had vaguely heard him accused, or the chances of the impending trial.  Poor wretch that she was, whom none addressed, none cared for, what did she know of the senate and the sentence—­the hazard of the law—­the ferocity of the people—­the arena and the lion’s den?  She was accustomed only to associate with the thought of Glaucus everything that was prosperous and lofty—­she could

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Last Days of Pompeii from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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