‘What avails thy liberty now, blind girl?’ said the slave.
‘Who art thou? canst thou tell me of Glaucus?’
‘Ay; I saw him but a few minutes since.’
‘Blessed be thy head! where?’
’Crouched beneath the arch of the forum—dead or dying!—gone to rejoin Arbaces, who is no more!’
Nydia uttered not a word, she slid from the side of Sallust; silently she glided through those behind her, and retraced her steps to the city. She gained the forum—the arch; she stooped down—she felt around—she called on the name of Glaucus.
A weak voice answered—’Who calls on me? Is it the voice of the Shades? Lo! I am prepared!’
‘Arise! follow me! Take my hand! Glaucus, thou shalt be saved!’
In wonder and sudden hope, Glaucus arose—’Nydia still? Ah! thou, then, art safe!’
The tender joy of his voice pierced the heart of the poor Thessalian, and she blessed him for his thought of her.
Half leading, half carrying Ione, Glaucus followed his guide. With admirable discretion, she avoided the path which led to the crowd she had just quitted, and, by another route, sought the shore.
After many pauses and incredible perseverance, they gained the sea, and joined a group, who, bolder than the rest, resolved to hazard any peril rather than continue in such a scene. In darkness they put forth to sea; but, as they cleared the land and caught new aspects of the mountain, its channels of molten fire threw a partial redness over the waves.
Utterly exhausted and worn out, Ione slept on the breast of Glaucus, and Nydia lay at his feet. Meanwhile the showers of dust and ashes, still borne aloft, fell into the wave, and scattered their snows over the deck. Far and wide, borne by the winds, those showers descended upon the remotest climes, startling even the swarthy African; and whirled along the antique soil of Syria and of Egypt (Dion Cassius).
The next morning. The fate of Nydia.
And meekly, softly, beautifully, dawned at last the light over the trembling deep!—the winds were sinking into rest—the foam died from the glowing azure of that delicious sea. Around the east, thin mists caught gradually the rosy hues that heralded the morning; Light was about to resume her reign. Yet, still, dark and massive in the distance, lay the broken fragments of the destroying cloud, from which red streaks, burning dimlier and more dim, betrayed the yet rolling fires of the mountain of the ‘Scorched Fields’. The white walls and gleaming columns that had adorned the lovely coasts were no more. Sullen and dull were the shores so lately crested by the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The darlings of the deep were snatched from her embrace! Century after century shall the mighty Mother stretch forth her azure arms, and know them not—moaning round the sepulchres of the Lost!