Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

4. Chapter IV (continued)

'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 house.'

'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.'

This is page 42 of 436. [Mark this Page]
Mark any page to add this title to Your Bookshelf. (0 / 10 books on shelf)
Customize text appearance:
Color: A A A A A   Font: Aa Aa   Size: 1 2 3 4 5   Defaults
(c) 2003-2012 LiteraturePage.com and Michael Moncur. All rights reserved.
For information about public domain texts appearing here, read the copyright information and disclaimer.