BOOK THE SECOND
9. Chapter IX
WHAT BECOMES OF IONE IN THE HOUSE OF ARBACES. THE FIRST SIGNAL OF THE WRATH
OF THE DREAD FOE.
WHEN Ione entered the spacious hall of the Egyptian, the same awe which had
crept over her brother impressed itself also upon her: there seemed to her
as to him something ominous and warning in the still and mournful faces of
those dread Theban monsters, whose majestic and passionless features the
marble so well portrayed:
Their look, with the reach of past ages, was wise,
And the soul of eternity thought in their eyes.
The tall AEthiopian slave grinned as he admitted her, and motioned to her to
proceed. Half-way up the hall she was met by Arbaces himself, in festive
robes, which glittered with jewels. Although it was broad day without, the
mansion, according to the practice of the luxurious, was artificially
darkened, and the lamps cast their still and odor-giving light over the rich
floors and ivory roofs.
'Beautiful Ione,' said Arbaces, as he bent to touch her hand, 'it is you
that have eclipsed the day--it is your eyes that light up the halls--it is
your breath which fills them with perfumes.'
'You must not talk to me thus,' said Ione, smiling, 'you forget that your
lore has sufficiently instructed my mind to render these graceful flatteries
to my person unwelcome. It was you who taught me to disdain adulation: will
you unteach your pupil?'
There was something so frank and charming in the manner of Ione, as she thus
spoke, that the Egyptian was more than ever enamoured, and more than ever
disposed to renew the offence he had committed; he, however, answered
quickly and gaily, and hastened to renew the conversation.
He led her through the various chambers of a house, which seemed to contain
to her eyes, inexperienced to other splendor than the minute elegance of
Campanian cities, the treasures of the world.