BOOK THE SECOND
7. Chapter VII
'Call out,' said she, impatiently; 'night and day there is always one
flamen, at least, watching in the shrine of Isis.'
The slave called--no one appeared.
'Seest thou no one?'
'Thou mistakest; I hear a sigh: look again.'
The slave, wondering and grumbling, cast round his heavy eyes, and before
one of the altars, whose remains still crowd the narrow space, he beheld a
form bending as in meditation.
'I see a figure, said he; 'and by the white garments, it is a priest.'
'O flamen of Isis!' cried Nydia; 'servant of the Most Ancient, hear me!'
'Who calls?' said a low and melancholy voice.
'One who has no common tidings to impart to a member of your body: I come to
declare and not to ask oracles.'
'With whom wouldst thou confer? This is no hour for thy conference; depart,
disturb me not; the night is sacred to the gods, the day to men.'
'Methinks I know thy voice? thou art he whom I seek; yet I have heard thee
speak but once before. Art thou not the priest Apaecides?'
'I am that man,' replied the priest, emerging from the altar, and
approaching the rail.
'Thou art! the gods be praised!' Waving her hand to the slave, she bade him
withdraw to a distance; and he, who naturally imagined some superstition
connected, perhaps, with the safety of Ione, could alone lead her to the
temple, obeyed, and seated himself on the ground, at a little distance.
'Hush!' said she, speaking quick and low; 'art thou indeed Apaecides?'
'If thou knowest me, canst thou not recall my features?'