BOOK THE FOURTH
9. Chapter IX
IN WHICH AN ADVENTURE HAPPENS TO IONE.
WHILE some stayed behind to share with the priests the funeral banquet, Ione
and her handmaids took homeward their melancholy way. And now (the last
duties to her brother performed) her mind awoke from its absorption, and she
thought of her allianced, and the dread charge against him. Not--as we have
before said--attaching even a momentary belief to the unnatural accusation,
but nursing the darkest suspicion against Arbaces, she felt that justice to
her lover and to her murdered relative demanded her to seek the praetor, and
communicate her impression, unsupported as it might be. Questioning her
maidens, who had hitherto--kindly anxious, as I have said, to save her the
additional agony--refrained from informing her of the state of Glaucus, she
learned that he had been dangerously ill: that he was in custody, under the
roof of Sallust; that the day of his trial was appointed.
'Averting gods,' she exclaimed; 'and have I been so long forgetful of him?
Have I seemed to shun him? O! let me hasten to do him justice--to show that
I, the nearest relative of the dead, believe him innocent of the charge.
Quick! quick! let us fly. Let me soothe--tend--cheer him! and if they will
not believe me; if they will not lead to my conviction; if they sentence him
to exile or to death, let me share the sentence with him!'
Instinctively she hastened her pace, confused and bewildered, scarce knowing
whither she went; now designing first to seek the praetor, and now to rush
to the chamber of Glaucus. She hurried on--she passed the gate of the
city--she was in the long street leading up the town. The houses were
opened, but none were yet astir in the streets; the life of the city was
scarce awake--when lo! she came suddenly upon a small knot of men standing
beside a covered litter. A tall figure stepped from the midst of them, and
Ione shrieked aloud to behold Arbaces.
'Fair Ione!' said he, gently, and appearing not to heed her alarm: 'my ward,
my pupil! forgive me if I disturb thy pious sorrows; but the praetor,
solicitous of thy honour, and anxious that thou mayest not rashly be
implicated in the coming trial; knowing the strange embarrassment of thy
state (seeking justice for thy brother, but dreading punishment to thy
betrothed)--sympathizing, too, with thy unprotected and friendless
condition, and deeming it harsh that thou shouldst be suffered to act
unguided and mourn alone--hath wisely and paternally confided thee to the
care of thy lawful guardian. Behold the writing which intrusts thee to my