BOOK THE FIRST
5. Chapter V
'Then he is not happy in his new condition. And this Egyptian, was he a
priest himself? was he interested in recruits to the sacred band?
'No. His main interest was in our happiness. He thought he promoted that
of my brother. We were left orphans.'
'Like myself,' said Glaucus, with a deep meaning in his voice.
Ione cast down her eyes as she resumed:
'And Arbaces sought to supply the place of our parent. You must know him.
He loves genius.'
'Arbaces! I know him already; at least, we speak when we meet. But for your
praise I would not seek to know more of him. My heart inclines readily to
most of my kind. But that dark Egyptian, with his gloomy brow and icy
smiles, seems to me to sadden the very sun. One would think that, like
Epimenides, the Cretan, he had spent forty years in a cave, and had found
something unnatural in the daylight ever afterwards.'
'Yet, like Epimenides, he is kind, and wise, and gentle,' answered Ione.
'Oh, happy that he has thy praise! He needs no other virtues to make him
dear to me.'
'His calm, his coldness,' said Ione, evasively pursuing the subject, 'are
perhaps but the exhaustion of past sufferings; as yonder mountain (and she
pointed to Vesuvius), which we see dark and tranquil in the distance, once
nursed the fires for ever quenched.'
They both gazed on the mountain as Ione said these words; the rest of the
sky was bathed in rosy and tender hues, but over that grey summit, rising
amidst the woods and vineyards that then clomb half-way up the ascent, there
hung a black and ominous cloud, the single frown of the landscape. A sudden
and unaccountable gloom came over each as they thus gazed; and in that
sympathy which love had already taught them, and which bade them, in the
slightest shadows of emotion, the faintest presentiment of evil, turn for
refuge to each other, their gaze at the same moment left the mountain, and
full of unimaginable tenderness, met. What need had they of words to say