BOOK THE FOURTH
6. Chapter VI
From the height on which the grove was placed, you saw through the intervals
of the trees the broad and purple sea, rippling in the distance, the white
villas of Stabiae in the curving shore, and the dim Lectiarian hills
mingling with the delicious sky. Presently the tall figure of Arbaces, in
his way to the house of Diomed, entered the extreme end of the grove; and at
the same instant Apaecides, also bound to his appointment with Olinthus,
crossed the Egyptian's path.
'Hem! Apaecides,' said Arbaces, recognizing the priest at a glance; 'when
last we met, you were my foe. I have wished since then to see you, for I
would have you still my pupil and my friend.'
Apaecides started at the voice of the Egyptian; and halting abruptly, gazed
upon him with a countenance full of contending, bitter, and scornful
'Villain and impostor!' said he at length; 'thou hast recovered then from
the jaws of the grave! But think not again to weave around me thy guilty
meshes. Retiarius, I am armed against thee!'
'Hush!' said Arbaces, in a very low voice--but his pride, which in that
descendant of kings was great, betrayed the wound it received from the
insulting epithets of the priest in the quiver of his lip and the flush of
his tawny brow. 'Hush! more low! thou mayest be overheard, and if other
ears than mine had drunk those sounds--why...'
'Dost thou threaten?--what if the whole city had heard me?'
'The manes of my ancestors would not have suffered me to forgive thee. But,
hold, and hear me. Thou art enraged that I would have offered violence to
thy sister. Nay, peace, peace, but one instant, I pray thee. Thou art
right; it was the frenzy of passion and of jealousy--I have repented
bitterly of my madness. Forgive me; I, who never implored pardon of living
man, beseech thee now to forgive me. Nay, I will atone the insult--I ask thy
sister in marriage--start not--consider--what is the alliance of yon holiday
Greek compared to mine? Wealth unbounded--birth that in its far antiquity
leaves your Greek and Roman names the things of yesterday--science--but that
thou knowest! Give me thy sister, and my whole life shall atone a moment's