Last Days of Pompeii eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 439 pages of information about Last Days of Pompeii.
Glaucus the evidence which condemned him, he secretly, and through the medium of the priesthood, fomented that popular indignation which made an effectual obstacle to the pity of the senate.  He had sought Julia; he had detailed to her the confession of Nydia; he had easily, therefore, lulled any scruple of conscience which might have led her to extenuate the offence of Glaucus by avowing her share in his frenzy:  and the more readily, for her vain heart had loved the fame and the prosperity of Glaucus—­not Glaucus himself, she felt no affection for a disgraced man—­nay, she almost rejoiced in the disgrace that humbled the hated Ione.  If Glaucus could not be her slave, neither could he be the adorer of her rival.  This was sufficient consolation for any regret at his fate.  Volatile and fickle, she began again to be moved by the sudden and earnest suit of Clodius, and was not willing to hazard the loss of an alliance with that base but high-born noble by any public exposure of her past weakness and immodest passion for another.  All things then smiled upon Arbaces—­all things frowned upon the Athenian.

Chapter XI

Nydia affects the sorceress.

When the Thessalian found that Arbaces returned to her no more—­when she was left, hour after hour, to all the torture of that miserable suspense which was rendered by blindness doubly intolerable, she began, with outstretched arms, to feel around her prison for some channel of escape; and finding the only entrance secure, she called aloud, and with the vehemence of a temper naturally violent, and now sharpened by impatient agony.

‘Ho, girl!’ said the slave in attendance, opening the door; art thou bit by a scorpion? or thinkest thou that we are dying of silence here, and only to be preserved, like the infant Jupiter, by a hullabaloo?’

’Where is thy master? and wherefore am I caged here?  I want air and liberty:  let me go forth!’

’Alas! little one, hast thou not seen enough of Arbaces to know that his will is imperial!  He hath ordered thee to be caged; and caged thou art, and I am thy keeper.  Thou canst not have air and liberty; but thou mayst have what are much better things—­food and wine.’

‘Proh Jupiter!’ cried the girl, wringing her hands; ’and why am I thus imprisoned?  What can the great Arbaces want with so poor a thing as I am?’

’That I know not, unless it be to attend on thy new mistress, who has been brought hither this day.’

‘What!  Ione here?’

’Yes, poor lady; she liked it little, I fear.  Yet, by the Temple of Castor!  Arbaces is a gallant man to the women.  Thy lady is his ward, thou knowest.’

‘Wilt thou take me to her?’

’She is ill—­frantic with rage and spite.  Besides, I have no orders to do so; and I never think for myself.  When Arbaces made me slave of these chambers, he said, “I have but one lesson to give thee—­while thou servest me, thou must have neither ears, eyes, nor thought; thou must be but one quality—­obedience."’

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Last Days of Pompeii from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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