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

‘Yes,’ continued the Christian, with holy fervor, ’the immortality of the soul—­the resurrection—­the reunion of the dead—­is the great principle of our creed—­the great truth a God suffered death itself to attest and proclaim.  No fabled Elysium—­no poetic Orcus—­but a pure and radiant heritage of heaven itself, is the portion of the good.’

‘Tell me, then, thy doctrines, and expound to me thy hopes,’ said Glaucus, earnestly.

Olinthus was not slow to obey that prayer; and there—­as oftentimes in the early ages of the Christian creed—­it was in the darkness of the dungeon, and over the approach of death, that the dawning Gospel shed its soft and consecrating rays.

Chapter XVII

A chance for Glaucus.

The hours passed in lingering torture over the head of Nydia from the time in which she had been replaced in her cell.

Sosia, as if afraid he should be again outwitted, had refrained from visiting her until late in the morning of the following day, and then he but thrust in the periodical basket of food and wine, and hastily reclosed the door.  That day rolled on, and Nydia felt herself pent—­barred—­inexorably confined, when that day was the judgment-day of Glaucus, and when her release would have saved him!  Yet knowing, almost impossible as seemed her escape, that the sole chance for the life of Glaucus rested on her, this young girl, frail, passionate, and acutely susceptible as she was—­resolved not to give way to a despair that would disable her from seizing whatever opportunity might occur.  She kept her senses whenever, beneath the whirl of intolerable thought, they reeled and tottered; nay, she took food and wine that she might sustain her strength—­that she might be prepared!

She revolved scheme after scheme of escape, and was forced to dismiss all.  Yet Sosia was her only hope, the only instrument with which she could tamper.  He had been superstitious in the desire of ascertaining whether he could eventually purchase his freedom.  Blessed gods! might he not be won by the bribe of freedom itself? was she not nearly rich enough to purchase it?  Her slender arms were covered with bracelets, the presents of Ione; and on her neck she yet wore that very chain which, it may be remembered, had occasioned her jealous quarrel with Glaucus, and which she had afterwards promised vainly to wear for ever.  She waited burningly till Sosia should again appear:  but as hour after hour passed, and he came not, she grew impatient.  Every nerve beat with fever; she could endure the solitude no longer—­she groaned, she shrieked aloud—­she beat herself against the door.  Her cries echoed along the hall, and Sosia, in peevish anger, hastened to see what was the matter, and silence his prisoner if possible.

‘Ho! ho! what is this?’ said he, surlily.  ’Young slave, if thou screamest out thus, we must gag thee again.  My shoulders will smart for it, if thou art heard by my master.’

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