NEXT morning, Petronius had barely finished dressing in the unctorium whe_inicius came, called by Tiresias. He knew that no news had come from th_ates. This information, instead of comforting him, as a proof that Lygia wa_till in Rome, weighed him down still more, for he began to think that Ursu_ight have conducted her out of the city immediately after her seizure, an_ence before Petronius's slaves had begun to keep watch at the gates. It i_rue that in autumn, when the days become shorter, the gates are closed rathe_arly; but it is true, also, that they are opened for persons going out, an_he number of these is considerable. It was possible, also, to pass the wall_y other ways, well known, for instance, to slaves who wish to escape from th_ity. Vinicius had sent out his people to all roads leading to the provinces, to watchmen in the smaller towns, proclaiming a pair of fugitive slaves, wit_ detailed description of Ursus and Lygia, coupled with the offer of a rewar_or seizing them. But it was doubtful whether that pursuit would reach th_ugitives; and even should it reach them, whether the local authorities woul_eel justified in making the arrest at the private instance of Vinicius, without the support of a pretor. Indeed, there had not been time to obtai_uch support. Vinicius himself, disguised as a slave, had sought Lygia th_hole day before, through every corner of the city, but had been unable t_ind the least indication or trace of her. He had seen Aulus's servants, it i_rue; but they seemed to be seeking something also, and that confirmed him i_he belief that it was not Aulus who had intercepted the maiden, and that th_ld general did not know what had happened to her.
When Tiresias announced to him, then, that there was a man who would undertak_o find Lygia, he hurried with all speed to the house of Petronius; and barel_ad he finished saluting his uncle, when he inquired for the man.
"We shall see him at once, Eunice knows him," said Petronius. "She will com_his moment to arrange the folds of my toga, and will give nearer informatio_oncerning him."
"Oh! she whom thou hadst the wish to bestow on me yesterday?"
"The one whom thou didst reject; for which I am grateful, for she is the bes_estiplica in the whole city."
In fact, the vestiplica came in before he had finished speaking, and takin_he toga, laid on a chair inlaid with pearl, she opened the garment to thro_t on Petronius's shoulder. Her face was clear and calm; joy was in her eyes.
Petronius looked at her. She seemed to him very beautiful. After a while, whe_he had covered him with the toga, she began to arrange it, bending at time_o lengthen the folds. 1-Je noticed that her arms had a marvellous pal_ose—color, and her bosom and shoulders the transparent reflections of pear_r alabaster.
"Eunice," said he, "has the man come to Tiresias whom thou didst mentio_esterday?"
"He has, lord."
"What is his name?"
"Who is he?"
"A physician, a sage, a soothsayer, who knows how to read people's fates an_redict the future."
"Has he predicted the future to thee?"
Eunice was covered with a blush which gave a rosy color to her ears and he_eck even.
"What has he predicted?"
"That pain and happiness would meet me."
"Pain met thee yesterday at the hands of Tiresias; hence happiness also shoul_ome."
"It has come, lord, already."
"I remain," said she in a whisper.
Petronius put his hand on her golden head.
"Thou hast arranged the folds well to-day, and I am satisfied with thee, Eunice."
Under that touch her eyes were mist-covered in one instant from happiness, an_er bosom began to heave quickly.
Petronius and Vinicius passed into the atrium, where Chio Chilonides wa_aiting. When he saw them, he made a low bow. A smile came to the lips o_etronius at thought of his suspicion of yesterday, that this man might b_unice's lover. The man who was standing before him could not be any one'_over. In that marvellous figure there was something both foul and ridiculous.
He was not old; in his dirty beard and curly locks a gray hair shone here an_here. He had a lank stomach and stooping shoulders, so that at the first cas_f the eye he appeared to be hunchbacked; above that hump rose a large head, with the face of a monkey and also of a fox; the eye was penetrating. Hi_ellowish complexion was varied with pimples; and his nose, covered with the_ompletely, might indicate too great a love for the bottle. His neglecte_pparel, composed of a dark tunic of goat's wool and a mantle of simila_aterial with holes in it, showed real or simulated poverty. At sight of him, Homer's Thersites came to the mind of Petronius. Hence, answering with a wav_f the hand to his bow, he said, — "A greeting, divine Thersites! How are th_umps which Ulysses gave thee at Troy, and what is he doing himself in th_lysian Fields?"
"Noble lord," answered Chilo Chionides, "Ulysses, the wisest of the dead, sends a greeting through me to Petronius, the wisest of the living, and th_equest to cover my lumps with a new mantle."
"By Hecate Triformis!" exclaimed Petronius, "the answer deserves a ne_antle."
But further conversation was interrupted by the impatient Vinicius, wh_nquired directly, — "Dost thou know clearly what thou art undertaking?" "Whe_wo households in two lordly mansions speak of naught else, and when half Rom_s repeating the news, it is not difficult to know," answered Chio. "The nigh_efore last a maiden named Lygia, but specially Callina, and reared in th_ouse of Aulus Plautius, was intercepted. Thy slaves were conducting her, _ord, from Caesar's palace to thy 'insula,' and I undertake to find her in th_ity, or, if she has left the city — which is little likely — to indicate t_hee, noble tribune, whither she has fled and where she has hidden."
"That is well," said Vinicius, who was pleased with the precision of th_nswer. "What means hast thou to do this?"
Chilo smiled cunningly. "Thou hast the means, lord; I have the wit only."
Petronius smiled also, for he was perfectly satisfied with his guest.
"That man can find the maiden," thought he. Meanwhile Vinicius wrinkled hi_oined brows, and said, — "Wretch, in case thou deceive me for gain, I wil_ive command to beat thee with clubs."
"I am a philosopher, lord, and a philosopher cannot be greedy of gain, especially of such as thou hast just offered magnanimously."
"Oh, art thou a philosopher?" inquired Petronius. "Eunice told me that tho_rt a physician and a soothsayer. Whence knowest thou Eunice?"
"She came to me for aid, for my fame struck her ears."
"What aid did she want?"
"Aid in love, lord. She wanted to be cured of unrequited love."
"Didst thou cure her?"
"I did more, lord. I gave her an amulet which secures mutuality. In Paphos, o_he island of Cyprus, is a temple, O lord, in which is preserved a zone o_enus. I gave her two threads from that zone, enclosed in an almond shell."
"And didst thou make her pay well for them?"
"One can never pay enough for mutuality, and I, who lack two fingers on m_ight hand, am collecting money to buy a slave copyist to write down m_houghts, and preserve my wisdom f or mankind."
"Of what school art thou, divine sage?"
"I am a Cynic, lord, because I wear a tattered mantle; I am a Stoic, because _ear poverty patiently; I am a Peripatetic, for, not owning a litter, I go o_oot from one wine-shop to another, and on the way teach those who promise t_ay for a pitcher of wine."
"And at the pitcher thou dost become a rhetor?"
"Heraclitus declares that 'all is fluid,' and canst thou deny, lord, that win_s fluid?"
"And he declared that fire is a divinity; divinity, therefore, is blushing i_hy nose."
"But the divine Diogenes from Apollonia declared that air is the essence o_hings, and the warmer the air the more perfect the beings it makes, and fro_he warmest come the souls of sages. And since the autumns are cold,a genuin_age should warm his soul with wine; and wouldst thou hinder,
O lord, a pitcher of even the stuff produced in Capua or Telesia from bearin_eat to all the bones of a perishable human body?"
"Chilo Chionides, where is thy birthplace?"
"On the Euxine Pontus. I come from Mesembria."
"Oh, Chio, thou art great!"
"And unrecognized," said the sage, pensively.
But Vinicius was impatient again. In view of the hope which had gleamed befor_im, he wished Chilo to set out at once on his work; hence the whol_onversation seemed to him simply a vain loss of time, and he was angry a_etronius.
"When wilt thou begin the search?" asked he, turning to the Greek.
"I have begun it already," answered Chio. "And since I am here, and answerin_hy affable question, I am searching yet. Only have confidence, honore_ribune, and know that if thou wert to lose the string of thy sandal I shoul_ind it, or him who picked it up on the street."
"Hast thou been employed in similar services?" asked Petronius.
The Greek raised his eyes. "To-day men esteem virtue and wisdom too low, for _hilosopher not to be forced to seek other means of living."
"What are thy means?"
"To know everything, and to serve those with news who are in need of it."
"And who pay for it?"
"Ah, lord, I need to buy a copyist. Otherwise my wisdom will perish with me."
"If thou hast not collected enough yet to buy a sound mantle, thy service_annot be very famous."
"Modesty hinders me. But remember, lord, that to-day there are not suc_enefactors as were numerous formerly; and for whom it was as pleasant t_over service with gold as to swallow an oyster from Puteoli. No; my service_re not small, but the gratitude of mankind is small. At times, when a value_lave escapes, who will find him, if not the only son of my father? When o_he walls there are inscriptions against the divine Poppae, who will indicat_hose who composed them? Who will discover at the book-stalls verses agains_aesar? Who will declare what is said in the houses of knights and senators?
Who will carry letters which the writers will not intrust to slaves? Who wil_isten to news at the doors of barbers? For whom have wine-shops and bake- shops no secret? In whom do slaves trust? Who can see through every house, from the atrium to the garden? Who knows every street, every alley and hiding- place? Who knows what they say in the baths, in the Circus, in the markets, i_he fencing-schools, in slave-dealers' sheds, and even in the arenas?"
"By the gods! enough, noble sage!" cried Petronius; "we are drowning in th_ervices, thy virtue, thy wisdom, and thy eloquence. Enough! We wanted to kno_ho thou art, and we know!"
But Vinicius was glad, for he thought that this man, like a hound, once put o_he trail, would not stop till he had found out the hiding-place.
"Well," said he, "dost thou need indications?"
"I need arms."
"Of what kind?" asked Vinicius, with astonishment.
The Greek stretched out one hand; with the other he made the gesture o_ounting money.
"Such are the times, lord," said he, with a sigh.
"Thou wilt be the ass, then," said Petronius, "to win the fortress with bag_f gold?"
"I am only a poor philosopher," answered Chilo, with humility; "ye have th_old."
Vinicius tossed him a purse, which the Greek caught in the air, though tw_ingers were lacking on his right hand.
He raised his head then, and said: "I know more than thou thinkest. I have no_ome empty-handed. I know that Aulus did not intercept the maiden, for I hav_poken with his slaves. I know that she is not on the Palatine, for all ar_ccupied with the infant Augusta; and perhaps I may even divine why ye prefe_o search for the maiden with my help rather than that of the city guards an_aesar's soldiers. I know that her escape was effected by a servant, — a slav_oming from the same country as she. He could not find assistance amon_laves, for slaves all stand together, and would not act against thy slaves.
Only a co-religionist would help him."
"Dost hear, Vinicius?" broke in Petronius. "Have I not said the same, word fo_ord, to thee?"
"That is an honor for me," said Chio. "The maiden, lord," continued he, turning again to Vinicius, "worships beyond a doubt the same divinity as tha_ost virtuous of Roman ladies, that genuine matron, Pomponia. I have hear_his, too, that Pomponia was tried in her own house for worshipping some kin_f foreign god, but I could not learn from her slaves what god that is, o_hat his worshippers are called. If I could learn that, I should go to them, become the most devoted among them, and gain their confidence. But thou, lord, who hast passed, as I know too, a number of days in the house of the nobl_ulus, canst thou not give me some information thereon?"
"I cannot," said Vinicius.
"Ye have asked me long about various things, noble lords, and I have answere_he questions; permit me now to give one. Hast thou not seen, honored tribune, some statuette, some offering, some token, some amulet on Pomponia or th_ivine Lygia? Hast thou not seen them making signs to each other, intelligibl_o them alone?"
"Signs? Wait! Yes; I saw once that Lygia made a fish on the sand."
"A fish? A-a! O-o-o! Did she do that once, or a number of times?"
"And art thou certain, lord, that she outlined a fish? O-o?"
"Yes," answered Vinicius, with roused curiosity. "Dost thou divine what tha_eans?"
"Do I divine!" exclaimed Chio. And bowing in sign of farewell, he added:
"May Fortune scatter on you both equally all gifts, worthy lords!"
"Give command to bring thee a mantle," said Petronius to him at parting.
"Ulysses gives thee thanks for Thersites," said the Greek; and bowing a secon_ime, he walked out.
"What wilt thou say of that noble sage?" inquired Petronius.
"This, that he will find Lygia," answered Vinicius, with delight; "but I wil_ay, too, that were there a kingdom of rogues he might be the king of it."
"Most certainly. I shall make a nearer acquaintance with this stoic; meanwhil_ must give command to perfume the atrium."
But Chilo Chionides, wrapping his new mantle about him, threw up on his palm, under its folds, the purse received from Vinicius, and admired both its weigh_nd its jingle. Walking on slowly, and looking around to see if they were no_ooking at him from the house, he passed the portico of Livia, and, reachin_he corner of the Clivus Virbius, turned toward the Subura.
"I must go to Sporus," said he to himself, "and pour out a little wine t_ortuna. I have found at last what I have been seeking this long time. He i_oung, irascible, bounteous as mines in Cyprus, and ready to give half hi_ortune for that Lygian linnet. Just such a man have I been seeking this lon_ime. It is needful, however, to be on one's guard with him, for the wrinklin_f his brow forebodes no good. Ah! the woif-whelps lord it over the world to- day! I should fear that Petronius less. O gods! but the trade of procurer pay_etter at present than virtue. Ah! she drew a fish on the sand! If I know wha_hat means, may I choke myself with a piece of goat's cheese! But I shal_now. Fish live under water, and searching under water is more difficult tha_n land, ergo he will pay me separately for this fish. Another such purse an_ might cast aside the beggar's wallet and buy myself a slave. But wha_ouldst thou say, Chilo, were I to advise thee to buy not a male but a femal_lave? I know thee; I know that thou wouldst consent. If she were beautiful, like Eunice, for instance, thou thyself wouldst grow young near her, and a_he same time wouldst have from her a good and certain income. I sold to tha_oor Eunice two threads from my old mantle. She is dull; but if Petronius wer_o give her to me, I would take her. Yes, yes, Chilo Chilonides, thou has_ost father and mother, thou art an orphan; therefore buy to console thee eve_ female slave. She must indeed live somewhere, therefore Vinicius will hir_er a dwelling, in which thou too mayest find shelter; she must dress, henc_inicius will pay for the dress; and must eat, hence he will support her. Och!
what a hard life! Where are the times in which for an obolus a man could bu_s much pork and beans as he could hold in both hands, or a piece of goat'_ntrails as long as the arm of a boy twelve years old, and filled with blood?
But here is that villain Sporus! In the wine-shop it will be easier to lear_omething."
Thus conversing, he entered the wine-shop and ordered a pitcher of "dark" fo_imself. Seeing the sceptical look of the shopkeeper, he took a gold coin fro_is purse, and, putting it on the table, said, — "Sporus, I toiled to-day wit_eneca from dawn till midday, and this is what my friend gave me at parting."
The plump eyes of Sporus became plumper still at this sight, and the wine wa_oon before Chilo. Moistening his fingers in it, he drew a fish on the table, and said, — "Knowest what that means?" "A fish? Well, a fish, — yes, that's _ish." "Thou art dull; though thou dost add so much water to the wine tha_hou mightst find a fish in it. This is a symbol which, in the language o_hilosophers, means 'the smile of fortune.' If thou hadst divined it, thou to_ightst have made a fortune. Honor philosophy, I tell thee, or I shall chang_y wineshop, — an act to which Petronius, my personal friend, has been urgin_e this long time."