BOOK THE FIFTH
6. Chapter VI
CALENUS AND BURBO. DIOMED AND CLODIUS. THE GIRL OF THE AMPHITHEATRE AND
THE sudden catastrophe which had, as it were, riven the very bonds of
society, and left prisoner and jailer alike free, had soon rid Calenus of
the guards to whose care the praetor had consigned him. And when the
darkness and the crowd separated the priest from his attendants, he hastened
with trembling steps towards the temple of his goddess. As he crept along,
and ere the darkness was complete, he felt himself suddenly caught by the
robe, and a voice muttered in his ear:
'Hist!--Calenus!--an awful hour!'
'Ay! by my father's head! Who art thou?--thy face is dim, and thy voice is
'Not know thy Burbo?--fie!'
'Gods!--how the darkness gathers! Ho, ho!--by yon terrific mountain, what
sudden blazes of lightning!'--How they dart and quiver! Hades is loosed on
'Tush!--thou believest not these things, Calenus! Now is the time to make
'Listen! Thy temple is full of gold and precious mummeries!--let us load
ourselves with them, and then hasten to the sea and embark! None will ever
ask an account of the doings of this day.'
'Burbo, thou art right! Hush, and follow me into the temple. Who cares
now--who sees now--whether thou art a priest or not? Follow, and we will
In the precincts of the temple were many priests gathered around the altars,
praying, weeping, grovelling in the dust. Impostors in safety, they were
not the less superstitious in danger! Calenus passed them, and entered the
chamber yet to be seen in the south side of the court. Burbo followed
him--the priest struck a light. Wine and viands strewed the table; the
remains of a sacrificial feast.