Last Days of Pompeii eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 439 pages of information about Last Days of Pompeii.

’Ah! here is the very napkin with which the young witch conjured away my reason!  Come, that’s right; now thou art dumb as well as blind.’

And, catching the light weight in his arms, Sosia soon gained the house, and reached the chamber from which Nydia had escaped.  There, removing the gag, he left her to a solitude so racked and terrible, that out of Hades its anguish could scarcely be exceeded.

Chapter XVI

The sorrow of boon companions for our afflictionsThe dungeon and its victims.

It was now late on the third and last day of the trial of Glaucus and Olinthus.  A few hours after the court had broken up and judgment been given, a small party of the fashionable youth at Pompeii were assembled round the fastidious board of Lepidus.

‘So Glaucus denies his crime to the last?’ said Clodius.

’Yes; but the testimony of Arbaces was convincing; he saw the blow given,’ answered Lepidus.

‘What could have been the cause?’

’Why, the priest was a gloomy and sullen fellow.  He probably rated Glaucus soundly about his gay life and gaming habits, and ultimately swore he would not consent to his marriage with Ione.  High words arose; Glaucus seems to have been full of the passionate god, and struck in sudden exasperation.  The excitement of wine, the desperation of abrupt remorse, brought on the delirium under which he suffered for some days; and I can readily imagine, poor fellow! that, yet confused by that delirium, he is even now unconscious of the crime he committed!  Such, at least, is the shrewd conjecture of Arbaces, who seems to have been most kind and forbearing in his testimony.’

’Yes; he has made himself generally popular by it.  But, in consideration of these extenuating circumstances, the senate should have relaxed the sentence.’

’And they would have done so, but for the people; but they were outrageous.  The priest had spared no pains to excite them; and they imagined—­the ferocious brutes!—­because Glaucus was a rich man and a gentleman, that he was likely to escape; and therefore they were inveterate against him, and doubly resolved upon his sentence.  It seems, by some accident or other, that he was never formally enrolled as a Roman citizen; and thus the senate is deprived of the power to resist the people, though, after all, there was but a majority of three against him.  Ho! the Chian!’

‘He looks sadly altered; but how composed and fearless!’

‘Ay, we shall see if his firmness will last over to-morrow.’  But what merit in courage, when that atheistical hound, Olinthus, manifested the same?’

‘The blasphemer!  Yes,’ said Lepidus, with pious wrath, ’no wonder that one of the decurions was, but two days ago, struck dead by lightning in a serene sky.’  The gods feel vengeance against Pompeii while the vile desecrator is alive within its walls.’

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Last Days of Pompeii from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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