BOOK THE FOURTH
15. Chapter XV
Arbaces gazed upon her a moment ere he advanced. She, too, lifted up her
eyes; and when she saw who was the intruder, shut them with an expression of
pain, but did not stir.
'Ah!' said Arbaces in a low and earnest tone as he respectfully, nay,
humbly, advanced and seated himself at a little distance from the
table--'Ah! that my death could remove thy hatred, then would I gladly die!
Thou wrongest me, Ione; but I will bear the wrong without a murmur, only let
me see thee sometimes. Chide, reproach, scorn me, if thou wilt--I will
teach myself to bear it. And is not even thy bitterest tone sweeter to me
than the music of the most artful lute? In thy silence the world seems to
stand still--a stagnation curdles up the veins of the earth--there is no
earth, no life, without the light of thy countenance and the melody of thy
'Give me back my brother and my betrothed,' said Ione, in a calm and
imploring tone, and a few large tears rolled unheeded down her cheeks.
'Would that I could restore the one and save the other!' returned Arbaces,
with apparent emotion. 'Yes; to make thee happy I would renounce my
ill-fated love, and gladly join thy hand to the Athenian's. Perhaps he will
yet come unscathed from his trial (Arbaces had prevented her learning that
the trial had already commenced); if so, thou art free to judge or condemn
him thyself. And think not, O Ione, that I would follow thee longer with a
prayer of love. I know it is in vain. Suffer me only to weep--to mourn
with thee. Forgive a violence deeply repented, and that shall offend no
more. Let me be to thee only what I once was--a friend, a father, a
Protector. Ah, Ione! spare me and forgive.'
'I forgive thee. Save but Glaucus, and I will renounce him. O mighty
Arbaces! thou art powerful in evil or in good: save the Athenian, and the
poor Ione will never see him more.' As she spoke, she rose with weak and
trembling limbs, and falling at his feet, she clasped his knees: 'Oh! if
thou really lovest me--if thou art human--remember my father's ashes,
remember my childhood, think of all the hours we passed happily together,
and save my Glaucus!'