BOOK THE THIRD
8. Chapter VIII
'Order thy litter--at two miles' distance from the city is a house of
entertainment, frequented by the wealthier Pompeians, from the excellence of
its baths, and the beauty of its gardens. There canst thou pretend only to
shape thy course--there, ill or dying, I will meet thee by the statue of
Silenus, in the copse that skirts the garden; and I myself will guide thee
to the witch. Let us wait till, with the evening star, the goats of the
herdsmen are gone to rest; when the dark twilight conceals us, and none
shall cross our steps. Go home and fear not. By Hades, swears Arbaces, the
sorcerer of Egypt, that Ione shall never wed with Glaucus.'
'And that Glaucus shall be mine,' added Julia, filling up the incompleted
'Thou hast said it!' replied Arbaces; and Julia, half frightened at this
unhallowed appointment, but urged on by jealousy and the pique of rivalship,
even more than love, resolved to fulfill it.
Left alone, Arbaces burst forth:
'Bright stars that never lie, ye already begin the execution of your
promises--success in love, and victory over foes, for the rest of my smooth
existence. In the very hour when my mind could devise no clue to the goal
of vengeance, have ye sent this fair fool for my guide?' He paused in deep
thought. 'Yes,' said he again, but in a calmer voice; 'I could not myself
have given to her the poison, that shall be indeed a philtre!--his death
might be thus tracked to my door. But the witch--ay, there is the fit, the
natural agent of my designs!'
He summoned one of his slaves, bade him hasten to track the steps of Julia,
and acquaint himself with her name and condition. This done, he stepped
forth into the portico. The skies were serene and clear; but he, deeply
read in the signs of their various change, beheld in one mass of cloud, far
on the horizon, which the wind began slowly to agitate, that a storm was
'It is like my vengeance,' said he, as he gazed; 'the sky is clear, but the
cloud moves on.'