BOOK THE FOURTH
13. Chapter XIII
'Oh, pity--mercy! Inhuman villain; was it for this...'
The rest of the sentence was lost to the ear of Arbaces as he passed
backward along the dim hall. A toad, plump and bloated, lay unmoving before
his path; the rays of the lamp fell upon its unshaped hideousness and red
upward eye. Arbaces turned aside that he might not harm it.
'Thou art loathsome and obscene,' he muttered, 'but thou canst not injure
me; therefore thou art safe in my path.'
The cries of Calenus, dulled and choked by the barrier that confined him,
yet faintly reached the ear of the Egyptian. He paused and listened
'This is unfortunate,' thought he; 'for I cannot sail till that voice is
dumb for ever. My stores and treasures lie, not in yon dungeon it is true,
but in the opposite wing. My slaves, as they move them, must not hear his
voice. But what fear of that? In three days, if he still survive, his
accents, by my father's beard, must be weak enough, then!--no, they could
not pierce even through his tomb. By Isis, it is cold!--I long for a deep
draught of the spiced Falernian.'
With that the remorseless Egyptian drew his gown closer round him, and
resought the upper air.