which he lost by sea and land, for I verily do yet feel the wearinesse of my travell, whereof I pray you pardon mee, and give me licence to depart to bed: wherewithall I rose up and went unto my chamber, where I found all things finely prepared and the childrens bed (because they should not heare what we did in the night) was removed far off without the chamber doore. The table was all covered with those meats that were left at supper, the cups were filled halfe full with water, to temper and delay the wines, the flagon stood ready prepared, and there lacked nothing that was necessary for the preparation of Venus. And when I was entring into the bed, behold my Fotis (who had brought her mistresse to bed) came in and gave me roses and floures which she had in her apron, and some she threw about the bed, and kissed mee sweetly, and tied a garland about my head, and bespred the chamber with the residue. Which when shee had done, shee tooke a cup of wine and delaied it with hot water, and profered it me to drinke; and before I had drunk it all off she pulled it from my mouth, and then gave it me againe, and in this manner we emptied the pot twice or thrice together. Thus when I had well replenished my self with wine, and was now ready unto Venery not onely in minde but also in body, I removed my cloathes, and shewing to Fotis my great impatiencie I sayd, O my sweet heart take pitty upon me and helpe me, for as you see I am now prepared unto the battell, which you your selfe did appoint: for after that I felt the first Arrow of cruell Cupid within my breast, I bent my bow very strong, and now feare, (because it is bended so hard) lest my string should breake: but that thou mayst the better please me, undresse thy haire and come and embrace me lovingly: whereupon shee made no long delay, but set aside all the meat and wine, and then she unapparelled her selfe, and unattyred her haire, presenting her amiable body unto me in manner of faire Venus, when shee goeth under the waves of the sea. Now (quoth shee) is come the houre of justing, now is come the time of warre, wherefore shew thy selfe like unto a man, for I will not retyre, I will not fly the field, see then thou bee valiant, see thou be couragious, since there is no time appointed when our skirmish shall cease. In saying these words shee came to me to bed, and embraced me sweetly, and so wee passed all the night in pastime and pleasure, and never slept until it was day: but we would eftsoones refresh our wearinesse, and provoke our pleasure, and renew our venery by drinking of wine. In which sort we pleasantly passed away many other nights following.
THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius supped with Byrrhena, and what a strange tale Bellephoron told at the table.