BOOK THE THIRD
8. Chapter VIII
JULIA SEEKS ARBACES. THE RESULT OF THAT INTERVIEW.
ARBACES was seated in a chamber which opened on a kind of balcony or portico
that fronted his garden. His cheek was pale and worn with the sufferings he
had endured, but his iron frame had already recovered from the severest
effects of that accident which had frustrated his fell designs in the moment
of victory. The air that came fragrantly to his brow revived his languid
senses, and the blood circulated more freely than it had done for days
through his shrunken veins.
'So, then,' thought he, 'the storm of fate has broken and blown over--the
evil which my lore predicted, threatening life itself, has chanced--and yet
I live! It came as the stars foretold; and now the long, bright, and
prosperous career which was to succeed that evil, if I survived it, smiles
beyond: I have passed--I have subdued the latest danger of my destiny. Now
I have but to lay out the gardens of my future fate--unterrified and secure.
First, then, of all my pleasures, even before that of love, shall come
revenge! This boy Greek--who has crossed my passion--thwarted my
designs--baffled me even when the blade was about to drink his accursed
blood--shall not a second time escape me! But for the method of my
vengeance? Of that let me ponder well! Oh! Ate, if thou art indeed a
goddess, fill me with thy direst Inspiration!' The Egyptian sank into an
intent reverie, which did not seem to present to him any clear or
satisfactory suggestions. He changed his position restlessly, as he
revolved scheme after scheme, which no sooner occurred than it was
dismissed: several times he struck his breast and groaned aloud, with the
desire of vengeance, and a sense of his impotence to accomplish it. While
thus absorbed, a boy slave timidly entered the chamber.
A female, evidently of rank from her dress, and that of the single slave who
attended her, waited below and sought an audience with Arbaces.
'A female!' his heart beat quick. 'Is she young?'
'Her face is concealed by her veil; but her form is slight, yet round, as
that of youth.'