BOOK THE FOURTH
17. Chapter XVII
A CHANCE FOR GLAUCUS.
THE hours passed in lingering torture over the head of Nydia from the time
in which she had been replaced in her cell.
Sosia, as if afraid he should be again outwitted, had refrained from
visiting her until late in the morning of the following day, and then he but
thrust in the periodical basket of food and wine, and hastily reclosed the
door. That day rolled on, and Nydia felt herself pent--barred--inexorably
confined, when that day was the judgment-day of Glaucus, and when her
release would have saved him! Yet knowing, almost impossible as seemed her
escape, that the sole chance for the life of Glaucus rested on her, this
young girl, frail, passionate, and acutely susceptible as she was--resolved
not to give way to a despair that would disable her from seizing whatever
opportunity might occur. She kept her senses whenever, beneath the whirl of
intolerable thought, they reeled and tottered; nay, she took food and wine
that she might sustain her strength--that she might be prepared!
She revolved scheme after scheme of escape, and was forced to dismiss all.
Yet Sosia was her only hope, the only instrument with which she could
tamper. He had been superstitious in the desire of ascertaining whether he
could eventually purchase his freedom. Blessed gods! might he not be won by
the bribe of freedom itself? was she not nearly rich enough to purchase it?
Her slender arms were covered with bracelets, the presents of Ione; and on
her neck she yet wore that very chain which, it may be remembered, had
occasioned her jealous quarrel with Glaucus, and which she had afterwards
promised vainly to wear for ever. She waited burningly till Sosia should
again appear: but as hour after hour passed, and he came not, she grew
impatient. Every nerve beat with fever; she could endure the solitude no
longer--she groaned, she shrieked aloud--she beat herself against the door.
Her cries echoed along the hall, and Sosia, in peevish anger, hastened to
see what was the matter, and silence his prisoner if possible.
'Ho! ho! what is this?' said he, surlily. 'Young slave, if thou screamest
out thus, we must gag thee again. My shoulders will smart for it, if thou
art heard by my master.'