BOOK THE SECOND
3. Chapter III
'He takes the sword, I the net and the trident: it will be rare sport. I
hope the survivor will have enough to keep up the dignity of the crown.'
'Never fear, we'll fill the purse, my Hector,' said Clodius:
'let me see--you fight against Niger? Glaucus, a bet--I back Niger.'
'I told you so,' cried Niger exultingly. 'The noble Clodius knows me; count
yourself dead already, my Sporus.'
Clodius took out his tablet. 'A bet--ten sestertia. What say you?'
'So be it,' said Glaucus. 'But whom have we here? I never saw this hero
before'; and he glanced at Lydon, whose limbs were slighter than those of
his companions, and who had something of grace, and something even of
nobleness, in his face, which his profession had not yet wholly destroyed.
'It is Lydon, a youngster, practised only with the wooden sword as yet,'
answered Niger, condescendingly. 'But he has the true blood in him, and has
'He challenged me,' said Lydon: 'I accept the offer.'
'And how do you fight?' asked Lepidus. 'Chut, my boy, wait a while before
you contend with Tetraides.' Lydon smiled disdainfully.
'Is he a citizen or a slave?' said Clodius.
'A citizen--we are all citizens here,' quoth Niger.
'Stretch out your arm, my Lydon,' said Lepidus, with the air of a
The gladiator, with a significant glance at his companions, extended an arm
which, if not so huge in its girth as those of his comrades, was so firm in
its muscles, so beautifully symmetrical in its proportions, that the three
visitors uttered simultaneously an admiring exclamation.
'Well, man, what is your weapon?' said Clodius, tablet in hand.