BOOK THE FOURTH
7. Chapter VII
'The games! Good gods!' replied Diomed, with a slight shudder: 'can they
adjudge him to the beasts?--so young, so rich!'
'True; but then he is a Greek. Had he been a Roman, it would have been a
thousand pities. These foreigners can be borne with in their prosperity;
but in adversity we must not forget that they are in reality slaves.
However, we of the upper classes are always tender-hearted; and he would
certainly get off tolerably well if he were left to us: for, between
ourselves, what is a paltry priest of Isis!--what Isis herself? But the
common people are superstitious; they clamor for the blood of the
sacrilegious one. It is dangerous not to give way to public opinion.'
'And the blasphemer--the Christian, or Nazarene, or whatever else he be
'Oh, poor dog! if he will sacrifice to Cybele or Isis, he will be
pardoned--if not, the tiger has him. At least, so I suppose; but the trial
will decide. We talk while the urn's still empty. And the Greek may yet
escape the deadly Theta of his own alphabet. But enough of this gloomy
subject. How is the fair Julia?'
'Well, I fancy.'
'Commend me to her. But hark! the door yonder creaks on its hinges; it is
the house of the praetor. Who comes forth? By Pollux! it is the Egyptian!
What can he want with our official friend!'
'Some conference touching the murder, doubtless,' replied Diomed; 'but what
was supposed to be the inducement to the crime? Glaucus was to have married
the priest's sister.'
'Yes: some say Apaecides refused the alliance. It might have been a sudden
quarrel. Glaucus was evidently drunk--nay, so much so as to have been quite
insensible when taken up, and I hear is still delirious--whether with wine,
terror, remorse, the Furies, or the Bacchanals, I cannot say.'
'Poor fellow!--he has good counsel?'