While Glaucus was thus conversing, Lepidus, with closed eyes and scarce perceptible breath, was undergoing all the mystic operations, not one of which he ever suffered his attendants to omit. After the perfumes and the unguents, they scattered over him the luxurious powder which prevented any further accession of heat: and this being rubbed away by the smooth surface of the pumice, he began to indue, not the garments he had put off, but those more festive ones termed ‘the synthesis’, with which the Romans marked their respect for the coming ceremony of supper, if rather, from its hour (three o’clock in our measurement of time), it might not be more fitly denominated dinner. This done, he at length opened his eyes and gave signs of returning life.
At the same time, too, Sallust betokened by a long yawn the evidence of existence.
‘It is supper time,’ said the epicure; ’you, Glaucus and Lepidus, come and sup with me.’
‘Recollect you are all three engaged to my house next week,’ cried Diomed, who was mightily proud of the acquaintance of men of fashion.
‘Ah, ah! we recollect,’ said Sallust; ’the seat of memory, my Diomed, is certainly in the stomach.’
Passing now once again into the cooler air, and so into the street, our gallants of that day concluded the ceremony of a Pompeian bath.
Arbaces cogs his dice with pleasure and wins the game.
The evening darkened over the restless city as Apaecides took his way to the house of the Egyptian. He avoided the more lighted and populous streets; and as he strode onward with his head buried in his bosom, and his arms folded within his robe, there was something startling in the contrast, which his solemn mien and wasted form presented to the thoughtless brows and animated air of those who occasionally crossed his path.
At length, however, a man of a more sober and staid demeanor, and who had twice passed him with a curious but doubting look, touched him on the shoulder.
‘Apaecides!’ said he, and he made a rapid sign with his hands: it was the sign of the cross.
‘Well, Nazarene,’ replied the priest, and his face grew paler; ’what wouldst thou?’
‘Nay,’ returned the stranger, ’I would not interrupt thy meditations; but the last time we met, I seemed not to be so unwelcome.’
’You are not unwelcome, Olinthus; but I am sad and weary: nor am I able this evening to discuss with you those themes which are most acceptable to you.’
‘O backward of heart!’ said Olinthus, with bitter fervor; and art thou sad and weary, and wilt thou turn from the very springs that refresh and heal?’