BOOK THE SECOND
9. Chapter IX
'Ate,' answered Glaucus; and he closed at once with the Egyptian.
Meanwhile, Apaecides raised his sister, now lifeless, from the ground; his
strength, exhausted by a mind long overwrought, did not suffice to bear her
away, light and delicate though her shape: he placed her, therefore, on the
couch, and stood over her with a brandishing knife, watching the contest
between Glaucus and the Egyptian, and ready to plunge his weapon in the
bosom of Arbaces should he be victorious in the struggle. There is,
perhaps, nothing on earth so terrible as the naked and unarmed contest of
animal strength, no weapon but those which Nature supplies to rage. Both
the antagonists were now locked in each other's grasp--the hand of each
seeking the throat of the other--the face drawn back--the fierce eyes
flashing--the muscles strained--the veins swelled--the lips apart--the teeth
set--both were strong beyond the ordinary power of men, both animated by
relentless wrath; they coiled, they wound, around each other; they rocked to
and fro--they swayed from end to end of their confined arena--they uttered
cries of ire and revenge--they were now before the altar--now at the base of
the column where the struggle had commenced: they drew back for
breath--Arbaces leaning against the column--Glaucus a few paces apart.
'O ancient goddess!' exclaimed Arbaces, clasping the column, and raising his
eyes toward the sacred image it supported, 'protect thy chosen--proclaim
they vengeance against this thing of an upstart creed, who with sacrilegious
violence profanes thy resting-place and assails thy servant.'