Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

2. Chapter II (continued)

'Ho! sayest thou so! To-morrow night, please the gods, we will have then a snug carousal.'

'With all my heart,' said the priest, rubbing his hands, and drawing himself nearer to the table.

At this moment they heard a slight noise at the door, as of one feeling the handle. The priest lowered the hood over his head.

'Tush!' whispered the host, 'it is but the blind girl,' as Nydia opened the door, and entered the apartment.

'Ho! girl, and how durst thou? thou lookest pale--thou hast kept late revels? No matter, the young must be always the young,' said Burbo, encouragingly.

The girl made no answer, but she dropped on one of the seats with an air of lassitude. Her color went and came rapidly: she beat the floor impatiently with her small feet, then she suddenly raised her face, and said with a determined voice:

'Master, you may starve me if you will--you may beat me--you may threaten me with death--but I will go no more to that unholy place!'

'How, fool!' said Burbo, in a savage voice, and his heavy brows met darkly over his fierce and bloodshot eyes; 'how, rebellious! Take care.'

'I have said it,' said the poor girl, crossing her hands on her breast.

'What! my modest one, sweet vestal, thou wilt go no more! Very well, thou shalt be carried.'

'I will raise the city with my cries,' said she, passionately; and the color mounted to her brow.

'We will take care of that too; thou shalt go gagged.'

'Then may the gods help me!' said Nydia, rising; 'I will appeal to the magistrates.'

'Thine oath remember!' said a hollow voice, as for the first time Calenus joined in the dialogue.

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