BOOK THE SECOND
7. Chapter VII
'Why, by Jupiter!' answered the slave, 'art thou silly enough to ask the
question? Every one in Pompeii knows that Ione has a brother who, young and
rich, has been--under the rose I speak--so foolish as to become a priest of
'A priest of Isis! O Gods! his name?'
'I know it all,' muttered Nydia: 'brother and sister, then, are to be both
victims! Apaecides! yes, that was the name I heard in... Ha! he well, then,
knows the peril that surrounds his sister; I will go to him.'
She sprang up at that thought, and taking the staff which always guided her
steps, she hastened to the neighboring shrine of Isis. Till she had been
under the guardianship of the kindly Greek, that staff had sufficed to
conduct the poor blind girl from corner to corner of Pompeii. Every street,
every turning in the more frequented parts, was familiar to her; and as the
inhabitants entertained a tender and half-superstitious veneration for those
subject to her infirmity, the passengers had always given way to her timid
steps. Poor girl, she little dreamed that she should, ere many days were
passed, find her blindness her protection, and a guide far safer than the
But since she had been under the roof of Glaucus, he had ordered a slave to
accompany her always; and the poor devil thus appointed, who was somewhat of
the fattest, and who, after having twice performed the journey to Ione's
house, now saw himself condemned to a third excursion (whither the gods only
knew), hastened after her, deploring his fate, and solemnly assuring Castor
and Pollux that he believed the blind girl had the talaria of Mercury as
well as the infirmity of Cupid.
Nydia, however, required but little of his assistance to find her way to the
popular temple of Isis: the space before it was now deserted, and she won
without obstacle to the sacred rail.
'There is no one here,' said the fat slave. 'What dost thou want, or whom
Knowest thou not that the priests do not live in the temple?'