BOOK THE FOURTH
13. Chapter XIII
THE SLAVE CONSULTS THE ORACLE. THEY WHO BLIND THEMSELVES THE BLIND MAY
FOOL. TWO NEW PRISONERS MADE IN ONE NIGHT.
IMPATIENTLY Nydia awaited the arrival of the no less anxious Sosia.
Fortifying his courage by plentiful potations of a better liquor than that
provided for the demon, the credulous ministrant stole into the blind girl's
'Well, Sosia, and art thou prepared? Hast thou the bowl of pure water?'
'Verily, yes: but I tremble a little. You are sure I shall not see the
demon? I have heard that those gentlemen are by no means of a handsome
person or a civil demeanor.'
'Be assured! And hast thou left the garden-gate gently open?'
'Yes; and placed some beautiful nuts and apples on a little table close by?'
'That's well. And the gate is open now, so that the demon may pass through
'Surely it is.'
'Well, then, open this door; there--leave it just ajar. And now, Sosia,
give me the lamp.'
'What, you will not extinguish it?'
'No; but I must breathe my spell over its ray. There is a spirit in fire.
The slave obeyed; and Nydia, after bending for some moments silently over
the lamp, rose, and in a low voice chanted the following rude:
INVOCATION TO THE SPECTRE OF THE AIR
Loved alike by Air and Water
Aye must be Thessalia's daughter;
To us, Olympian hearts, are given
Spells that draw the moon from heaven.
All that Egypt's learning wrought--
All that Persia's Magian taught--
Won from song, or wrung from flowers,
Or whisper'd low by fiend--are ours.