BOOK THE FIFTH
3. Chapter III
SALLUST AND NYDIA'S LETTER.
THRICE had Sallust awakened from his morning sleep, and thrice, recollecting
that his friend was that day to perish, had he turned himself with a deep
sigh once more to court oblivion. His sole object in life was to avoid
pain; and where he could not avoid, at least to forget it.
At length, unable any longer to steep his consciousness in slumber, he
raised himself from his incumbent posture, and discovered his favorite
freedman sitting by his bedside as usual; for Sallust, who, as I have said,
had a gentlemanlike taste for the polite letters, was accustomed to be read
to for an hour or so previous to his rising in the morning.
'No books to-day! no more Tibullus! no more Pindar for me! Pindar! alas,
alas! the very name recalls those games to which our arena is the savage
successor. Has it begun--the amphitheatre? are its rites commenced?'
'Long since, O Sallust! Did you not hear the trumpets and the trampling
'Ay, ay; but the gods be thanked, I was drowsy, and had only to turn round
to fall asleep again.'
'The gladiators must have been long in the ring.'
'The wretches! None of my people have gone to the spectacle?'
'Assuredly not; your orders were too strict.'
'That is well--would the day were over! What is that letter yonder on the
'That! Oh, the letter brought to you last night, when you
'Drunk to read it, I suppose. No matter, it cannot be of much importance.'
'Shall I open it for you, Sallust,'
'Do: anything to divert my thoughts. Poor Glaucus!'