BOOK THE FIRST
4. Chapter IV
'And hast thou no fear, then, of thy rivals? The gallants of Italy are
skilled in the art to please.'
'None! Her Greek soul despises the barbarian Romans, and would scorn itself
if it admitted a thought of love for one of that upstart race.'
'But thou art an Egyptian, not a Greek!'
'Egypt,' replied Arbaces, 'is the mother of Athens. Her tutelary Minerva is
our deity; and her founder, Cecrops, was the fugitive of Egyptian Sais.
This have I already taught to her; and in my blood she venerates the eldest
dynasties of earth. But yet I will own that of late some uneasy suspicions
have crossed my mind. She is more silent than she used to be; she loves
melancholy and subduing music; she sighs without an outward cause. This may
be the beginning of love--it may be the want of love. In either case it is
time for me to begin my operations on her fancies and her heart: in the one
case, to divert the source of love to me; in the other, in me to awaken it.
It is for this that I have sought you.'
'And how can I assist you?'
'I am about to invite her to a feast in my house: I wish to dazzle--to
bewilder--to inflame her senses. Our arts--the arts by which Egypt trained
her young novitiates--must be employed; and, under veil of the mysteries of
religion, I will open to her the secrets of love.'
'Ah! now I understand:--one of those voluptuous banquets that, despite our
dull vows of mortified coldness, we, the priests of Isis, have shared at thy
'No, no! Thinkest thou her chaste eyes are ripe for such scenes? No; but
first we must ensnare the brother--an easier task. Listen to me, while I
give you my instructions.'