Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

7. Chapter VII (continued)

'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 called?'

'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?'

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