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Last Days of Pompeii eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 439 pages of information about Last Days of Pompeii.
price:  it was moderate, and I bought her at once.  The merchant brought her to my house, and disappeared in an instant.  Well, my friends, guess my astonishment when I found she was blind!  Ha! ha! a clever fellow that merchant!  I ran at once to the magistrates, but the rogue was already gone from Pompeii.  So I was forced to go home in a very ill humor, I assure you; and the poor girl felt the effects of it too.  But it was not her fault that she was blind, for she had been so from her birth.  By degrees, we got reconciled to our purchase.  True, she had not the strength of Staphyla, and was of very little use in the house, but she could soon find her way about the town, as well as if she had the eyes of Argus; and when one morning she brought us home a handful of sesterces, which she said she had got from selling some flowers she had gathered in our poor little garden, we thought the gods had sent her to us.  So from that time we let her go out as she likes, filling her basket with flowers, which she wreathes into garlands after the Thessalian fashion, which pleases the gallants; and the great people seem to take a fancy to her, for they always pay her more than they do any other flower-girl, and she brings all of it home to us, which is more than any other slave would do.  So I work for myself, but I shall soon afford from her earnings to buy me a second Staphyla; doubtless, the Thessalian kidnapper had stolen the blind girl from gentle parents.  Besides her skill in the garlands, she sings and plays on the cithara, which also brings money, and lately—­but that is a secret.’

‘That is a secret!  What!’ cried Lydon, ‘art thou turned sphinx?’

‘Sphinx, no!—­why sphinx?’

‘Cease thy gabble, good mistress, and bring us our meat—­I am hungry,’ said Sporus, impatiently.

‘And I, too,’ echoed the grim Niger, whetting his knife on the palm of his hand.

The amazon stalked away to the kitchen, and soon returned with a tray laden with large pieces of meat half-raw:  for so, as now, did the heroes of the prize-fight imagine they best sustained their hardihood and ferocity:  they drew round the table with the eyes of famished wolves—­the meat vanished, the wine flowed.  So leave we those important personages of classic life to follow the steps of Burbo.

Chapter II

Two worthies.

In the earlier times of Rome the priesthood was a profession, not of lucre but of honour.  It was embraced by the noblest citizens—­it was forbidden to the plebeians.  Afterwards, and long previous to the present date, it was equally open to all ranks; at least, that part of the profession which embraced the flamens, or priests—­not of religion generally but of peculiar gods.  Even the priest of Jupiter (the Flamen Dialis) preceded by a lictor, and entitled by his office to the entrance of the senate, at first the especial dignitary of the

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