BUT Chilo did not appear for some time, and Vinicius knew not at last what t_hink of his absence. In vain he repeated to himself that searching, i_ontinued to a certain and successful issue, must be gradual. His blood an_mpulsive nature rebelled against the voice of judgment. To do nothing, t_ait, to sit with folded arms, was so repulsive to him that he could not b_econciled to it in any way. To search the alleys of the city in the dark gar_f a slave, through this alone, that it was useless, seemed to him merely _ask for his own inefficiency, and could give no satisfaction. His freedmen,
persons of experience, whom he commanded to search independently, turned out _undred times less expert than Chio. Meanwhile there rose in him, besides hi_ove for Lygla, the stubbornness of a player resolved to win. Vinicius ha_een always a person of this kind. From earliest youth he had accomplishe_hat he desired with the passionateness of one who does not understan_ailure, or the need of yielding something. For a time military discipline ha_ut his self-will within bounds, but also it had engrafted into him th_onviction that every command of his to subordinates must be fulfilled; hi_rolonged stay in the Orient, among people pliant and inured to slavis_bedience, confirmed in him the faith that for his "I wish" there were n_imits. At present his vanity, too, was wounded painfully. There was, besides,
in Lygia's opposition and resistance, and in her flight itself, which was t_im incomprehensible, a kind of riddle. In trying to solve this riddle h_acked his head terribly. He felt that Acte had told the truth, and that Lygi_as not indifferent. But if this were true, why had she preferred wanderin_nd misery to his love, his tenderness, and a residence in his splendi_ansion? To this question he found no answer, and arrived only at a kind o_im understanding that between him and Lygia, between their ideas, between th_orld which belonged to him and Petronius, and the world of Lygia an_omponia, there existed some sort of difference, some kind of misunderstandin_s deep as an abyss, which nothing could fill up or make even. It seemed t_im, then, that he must lose Lygia; and at this thought he lost the remnant o_alance which Petronius wished to preserve in him. There were moments in whic_e did not know whether he loved Lygia or hated her; he understood only tha_e must find her, and he would rather that the earth swallowed her than tha_e should not see and possess her. By the power of imagination he saw her a_learly at times as if she had been before his face. He recalled every wor_hich he had spoken to her; every word which he had heard from her. He fel_er near; felt her on his bosom, in his arms; and then desire embraced hi_ike a flame. He loved her and called to her.
And when he thought that he was loved, that she might do with willingness al_hat he wished of her, sore and endless sorrow seized him, and a kind of dee_enderness flooded his heart, like a mighty wave. But there were moments, too,
in which he grew pale from rage, and delighted in thoughts of the humiliatio_nd tortures which he would inflict on Lygia when he found her. He wanted no_nly to have her, but to have her as a trampled slave. At the same time h_elt that if the choice were left him, to be her slave or not to see her i_ife again, he would rather be her slave. There were days in which he though_f the marks which the lash would leave on her rosy body, and at the same tim_e wanted to kiss those marks. It came to his head also that he would be happ_f he could kill her.
In this torture, torment, uncertainty, and suffering, he lost health, and eve_eauty. He became a cruel and incomprehensible master. His slaves, and eve_is freedmen, approached him with trembling; and when punishments fell on the_auselessly, — punishments as merciless as undeserved, — they began to hat_im in secret; while he, feeling this, and feeling his own isolation, too_evenge all the more on them. He restrained himself with Chilo alone, fearin_est he might cease his searches; the Greek, noting this, began to gai_ontrol of him, and grew more and more exacting. At first he assured Viniciu_t each visit that the affair would proceed easily and quickly; now he bega_o discover difficulties, and without ceasing, it is true, to guarantee th_ndoubted success of the searches, he did not hide the fact that they mus_ontinue yet for a good while.
At last he came, after long days of waiting, with a face so gloomy that th_oung man grew pale at sight of him, and springing up had barely strength t_sk,— "Is she not among the Christians?" "She is, lord," answered Chilo; "bu_ found Glaucus among them." "Of what art thou speaking, and who is Glaucus?"
"Thou hast forgotten, lord, it seems, that old man with whom I journeyed fro_aples to Rome, and in whose defence I lost these two fingers, — a loss whic_revents me from writing. Robbers, who bore away his wife and child, stabbe_im with a knife. I left him dying at an inn in Minturna, and bewailed hi_ong. Alas! I have convinced myself that he is alive yet, and belongs in Rom_o the Christian community."
Vinicius, who could not understand what the question was, understood only tha_laucus was becoming a hindrance to the discovery of Lygia; hence h_uppressed his rising anger, and said, — "If thou didst defend him, he shoul_e thankful and help thee." "Ah! worthy tribune, even gods are not alway_rateful, and what must the case be with men? True, he should be thankful.
But, unhappily, he is an old man, of a mind weak and darkened by age an_isappointment; for which reason, not only is he not grateful, but, as _earned from his co-religionists, he accuses me of having conspired with th_obbers, and says that I am the cause of his misfortunes. That is th_ecompense for my fingers!"
"Scoundrel! I am certain that it was as he says," replied Vinicius.
"Then thou knowest more than he does, lord, for he only surmises that it wa_o; which, however, would not prevent him from summoning the Christians, an_rom revenging himself on me cruelly. He would have done that undoubtedly, an_thers, with equal certainty, would have helped him; but fortunately he doe_ot know my name, and in the house of prayer where we met, he did not notic_e. I, however, knew him at once, and at the first moment wished to thro_yself on his neck. Wisdom, however, and the habit of thinking before ever_tep which I intend to take, restrained me. Therefore, on issuing from th_ouse of prayer, I inquired concerning him, and those who knew him declare_hat he was the man who had been betrayed by his comrade on the journey fro_aples. Otherwise I should not have known that he gives out such a story."
"How does this concern me? Tell what thou sawest in the house of prayer."
"It does not concern thee, lord, but it concerns me just as much as my life.
Since I wish that my wisdom should survive me, I would rather renounce th_eward which thou hast offered, than expose my life for empty lucre; withou_hich, I as a true philosopher shall be able to live and seek divine wisdom."
But Vinicius approached him with an ominous countenance, and began in _uppressed voice, — "Who told thee that death would meet thee sooner at th_ands of Glaucus than at mine? Whence knowest thou, dog, that I will not hav_hee buried right away in my garden?"
Chio, who was a coward, looked at Vinicius, and in the twinkle of an ey_nderstood that one more unguarded word and he was lost beyond redemption.
"I will search for her, lord, and I will find her!" cried he, hurriedly.
Silence followed, during which were heard the quick breathing of Vinicius, an_he distant song of slaves at work in the garden.
Only after a while did the Greek resume his speech, when he noticed that th_oung patrician was somewhat pacified.
"Death passed me, but I looked on it with the calmness of Socrates. No, lord,
I have not said that I refuse to search for the maiden; I desired merely t_ell thee that search for her is connected now with great peril to me. On _ime thou didst doubt that there was a certain Euricius in the world, an_hough thou wert convinced by thine own eyes that the son of my father tol_he truth to thee, thou hast suspicions now that I have invented Glaucus. Ah!
would that he were only a fiction, that I might go among the Christians wit_erfect safety, as I went some time since; I would give up for that the poo_ld slave woman whom I bought, three days since, to care for my advanced ag_nd maimed condition. But Glaucus is living, lord; and if he had seen me once,
thou wouldst not have seen me again, and in that case who would find th_aiden?"
Here he was silent again, and began to dry his tears.
"But while Glaucus lives," continued he, "how can I search for her? — for _ay meet him at any step; and if I meet him I shall perish, and with me wil_ease all my searching."
"What art thou aiming at? What help is there? What dost thou wish t_ndertake?" inquired Vinicius.
"Aristotle teaches us, lord, that less things should be sacrificed fo_reater, and King Priam said frequently that old age was a grievous burden.
Indeed, the burden of old age and misfortune weighs upon Glaucus this lon_ime, and so heavily that death would be to him a benefit. For what is death,
according to Seneca, but liberation?"
"Play the fool with Petronius, not with me! Tell what thy desire is."
"If virtue is folly, may the gods permit me to be a fool all my life. _esire, lord, to set aside Glaucus, for while he is living my life an_earches are in continual peril."
"Hire men to beat him to death with clubs; I will pay them."
"They will rob thee, lord, and afterward make profit of the secret. There ar_s many ruffians in Rome as grains of sand in the arena, but thou wilt no_elieve how dear they are when an honest man needs to employ their villainy.
No, worthy tribune! But if watchmen catch the murderers in the act? They woul_ell, beyond doubt, who hired them, and then thou wouldst have trouble. The_ill not point to me, for I shall not give my name. Thou art doing ill not t_rust in me, for, setting aside my keenness, remember that there is a questio_f two other things, — of my life, and the reward which thou has promised me."
"How much dost thou need?"
"A thousand sestertia, for turn attention to this, that I must find hones_uffians, men who when they have received earnest money, will not take it of_ithout a trace. For good work there must be good pay! Something might b_dded, too, for my sake, to wipe away the tears which I shall shed out of pit_or Glaucus. I take the gods to witness how I love him. If I receive _housand scstcrtia to-day, two days hence his soul will be in Hades; and then,
if souls preserve memory and the gift of thought, he will know for the firs_ime how I loved him. I will find people this very day, and tell them that fo_ach day of the life of Glaucus I will withhold one hundred sestertia. I have,
besides, a certain idea, which seems to me infallible."
Vinicius promised him once more the desired sum, forbidding him to mentio_laucus again; but asked what other news he brought, where he had been all th_ime, what he had seen, and what he had discovered. But Chilo was not able t_ell much. He had been in two more houses of prayer,— had observed each perso_arefully, especially the women, — but had seen no one who resembled Lygia:
the Christians, however, looked on him as one of their own sect, and, since h_edeemed the son of Euricius, they honored him as a man following in the step_f "Christ." He had learned from them, also, that a great lawgiver of theirs,
a certain Paul of Tarsus, was in Rome, imprisoned because of charges preferre_y the Jews, and with this man he had resolved to become acquainted. But mos_f all was he pleased by this, — that the supreme priest of the whole sect,
who had been Christ's disciple, and to whom Christ had confided governmen_ver the whole world of Christians, might arrive in Rome any moment. All th_hristians desired evidently to see him, and hear his teachings. Some grea_eetings would follow, at which he, Chio, would be present; and what is more,
since it is easy to hide in the crowd, he would take Vinicius to thos_eetings. Then they would find Lygia certainly. If Glaucus were once se_side, it would not be connected even with great danger. As to revenge, th_hristians, too, would revenge but in general they were peaceful people.
Here Chilo began to relate, with a certain surprise, that he had never see_hat they gave themselves up to debauchery, that they poisoned wells o_ountains, that they were enemies of the human race, worshipped an ass, or at_he flesh of children. No; he had seen nothing of that sort. Certainly h_ould find among them even people who would hide away Glaucus for money; bu_heir religion, as far as he knew, did not incite to crime, — on the contrary,
it enloined forgiveness of offences.
Vinicius remembered what Pomponia had said to him at Acte's, and in general h_istened to Chio's words with pleasure. Though his feeling for Lygia assume_t times the seeming of hatred, he felt a relief when he heard that th_eligion which she and Pomponia confessed was neither criminal nor repulsive.
But a species of undefined feeling rose in him that it was just that reverenc_or Christ, unknown and mysterious, which created the difference betwee_imself and Lygia; hence he began at once to fear that religion and to hat_t.