Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

6. Chapter VI (continued)

As Ione reappeared with the letter, which she did not dare to read after she had written (Ah! common rashness, common timidity of love!)--Nydia started from her seat.

'You have written to Glaucus?'

'I have.'

'And will he thank the messenger who gives to him thy letter?'

Ione forgot that her companion was blind; she blushed from the brow to the neck, and remained silent.

'I mean this,' added Nydia, in a calmer tone; 'the lightest word of coldness from thee will sadden him--the lightest kindness will rejoice. If it be the first, let the slave take back thine answer; if it be the last, let me--I will return this evening'

'And why, Nydia,' asked Ione, evasively, 'Wouldst thou be the bearer of my letter?'

'It is so, then!' said Nydia. 'Ah! how could it be otherwise; who could be unkind to Glaucus?'

'My child,' said Ione, a little more reservedly than before, 'thou speakest warmly--Glaucus, then, is amiable in thine eyes?'

'Noble Ione! Glaucus has been that to me which neither fortune nor the gods have been--a friend!'

The sadness mingled with dignity with which Nydia uttered these simple words, affected the beautiful Ione: she bent down and kissed her. 'Thou art grateful, and deservedly so; why should I blush to say that Glaucus is worthy of thy gratitude? Go, my Nydia--take to him thyself this letter--but return again. If I am from home when thou returnest--as this evening, perhaps, I shall be--thy chamber shall be prepared next my own. Nydia, I have no sister--wilt thou be one to me?' The Thessalian kissed the hand of Ione, and then said, with some embarrassment:

'One favor, fair Ione--may I dare to ask it?'

'Thou canst not ask what I will not grant,' replied the Neapolitan.

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