BOOK THE SECOND
2. Chapter II
'She must see with those eyes!' muttered he.
'Who is here! Speak, in heaven's name! Ah, if you were blind like me, you
would be less cruel,' said she; and she again burst into tears.
'Take her away,' said Burbo, impatiently; 'I hate these whimperings.'
'Come!' said Stratonice, pushing the poor child by the shoulders. Nydia
drew herself aside, with an air to which resolution gave dignity.
'Hear me,' she said; 'I have served you faithfully--I who was brought
up--Ah! my mother, my poor mother! didst thou dream I should come to this?'
She dashed the tear from her eyes, and proceeded: 'Command me in aught else,
and I will obey; but I tell you now, hard, stern, inexorable as you are--I
tell you that I will go there no more; or, if I am forced there, that I will
implore the mercy of the praetor himself--I have said it. Hear me, ye gods,
The hag's eyes glowed with fire; she seized the child by the hair with one
hand, and raised on high the other--that formidable right hand, the least
blow of which seemed capable to crush the frail and delicate form that
trembled in her grasp. That thought itself appeared to strike her, for she
suspended the blow, changed her purpose, and dragging Nydia to the wall,
seized from a hook a rope, often, alas! applied to a similar purpose, and
the next moment the shrill, the agonized shrieks of the blind girl, rang
piercingly through the house.