BOOK THE FOURTH
7. Chapter VII
IN WHICH THE READER LEARNS THE CONDITION OF GLAUCUS. FRIENDSHIP TESTED.
ENMITY SOFTENED. LOVE THE SAME, BECAUSE THE ONE LOVING IS BLIND.
THE night was somewhat advanced, and the gay lounging places of the
Pompeians were still crowded. You might observe in the countenances of the
various idlers a more earnest expression than usual. They talked in large
knots and groups, as if they sought by numbers to divide the half-painful,
half-pleasurable anxiety which belonged to the subject on which they
conversed: it was a subject of life and death.
A young man passed briskly by the graceful portico of the Temple of
Fortune--so briskly, indeed, that he came with no slight force full against
the rotund and comely form of that respectable citizen Diomed, who was
retiring homeward to his suburban villa.
'Holloa!' groaned the merchant, recovering with some difficulty his
equilibrium; 'have you no eyes? or do you think I have no feeling? By
Jupiter! you have well nigh driven out the divine particle; such another
shock, and my soul will be in Hades!'
'Ah, Diomed! is it you? forgive my inadvertence. I was absorbed in
thinking of the reverses of life. Our poor friend, Glaucus, eh! who could
have guessed it?'
'Well, but tell me, Clodius, is he really to be tried by the senate?'
'Yes; they say the crime is of so extraordinary a nature that the senate
itself must adjudge it; and so the lictors are to induct him formally.'
'He has been accused publicly, then?'
'To be sure; where have you been not to hear that?'
'Why, I have only just returned from Neapolis, whither I went on business
the very morning after his crime--so shocking, and at my house the same
night that it happened!'
'There is no doubt of his guilt,' said Clodius, shrugging his shoulders;
'and as these crimes take precedence of all little undignified peccadilloes,
they will hasten to finish the sentence previous to the games.'