BOOK THE SECOND
7. Chapter VII
IONE ENTRAPPED. THE MOUSE TRIES TO GNAW THE NET.
'DEAREST Nydia!' exclaimed Glaucus as he read the letter of Ione, 'whitest
robed messenger that ever passed between earth and heaven--how, how shall I
'I am rewarded,' said the poor Thessalian.
'To-morrow--to-morrow! how shall I while the hours till then?'
The enamoured Greek would not let Nydia escape him, though she sought
several times to leave the chamber; he made her recite to him over and over
again every syllable of the brief conversation that had taken place between
her and Ione; a thousand times, forgetting her misfortune, he questioned her
of the looks, of the countenance of his beloved; and then quickly again
excusing his fault, he bade her recommence the whole recital which he had
thus interrupted. The hours thus painful to Nydia passed rapidly and
delightfully to him, and the twilight had already darkened ere he once more
dismissed her to Ione with a fresh letter and with new flowers. Scarcely
had she gone, than Clodius and several of his gay companions broke in upon
him; they rallied him on his seclusion during the whole day, and absence
from his customary haunts; they invited him to accompany them to the various
resorts in that lively city, which night and day proffered diversity to
pleasure. Then, as now, in the south (for no land, perhaps, losing more of
greatness has retained more of custom), it was the delight of the Italians
to assemble at the evening; and, under the porticoes of temples or the shade
of the groves that interspersed the streets, listening to music or the
recitals of some inventive tale-teller, they hailed the rising moon with
libations of wine and the melodies of song. Glaucus was too happy to be
unsocial; he longed to cast off the exuberance of joy that oppressed him.
He willingly accepted the proposal of his comrades, and laughingly they
sallied out together down the populous and glittering streets.
In the meantime Nydia once more gained the house of Ione, who had long left
it; she inquired indifferently whither Ione had gone.
The answer arrested and appalled her.