I would move earth and sea to save him. Must a King of the Grove live and die King of the Grove? Is there no way to rescue him?" "Consult the Emperor," said Lutorius. "He is Chief Pontiff of Rome." COMMODUS received Brinnaria in the same palatial room in which she had so often conferred with his father.
"And, apart from any remains of anger, I ache with the humiliation of it all. Think of the infamy, of the degradation Almo has brought on himself!" Lutorius pursed his lips. "There is a certain social stigma upon any man who has joined a prize-fighting gang," he conceded, "but the obloquy resulting from having been a gladiator has greatly attenuated amid the loose manners of our day.
Have you any suggestions to make?" "Yes," Causidiena replied. "Lutorius and Numisia and I have debated that point and have come to a conclusion which we think you might approve. The best sieve-maker in Rome is Caius Truttidius Falcifer, a tenant of one of our shops on the Holy Street.
After Brinnaria had gone, Commodus resumed: "Now we must decide," he said, "what kind of a sieve she is to use." Causidiena spoke up, her all but sightless eyes strained towards the Emperor. "Lutorius and Numisia and I have talked over that question," she said. "It seems to me that it would be unfair to her for us to decide on a metal sieve.
Suppose we make the stipulation that she must carry the sieve of water from the brink of the river to the top of the steps." "The number of steps," Lutorius reminded him, "varies at different points along the Marble Quay." "True," the Emperor admitted. "Let us specify the middle stair, which has seven steps, if I mistake not. Do you agree to that?" he asked Brinnaria. "I agree," she concluded.
Whew!" "You perceive," said Lutorius, "that the situation, in general, is very serious?" "I do, indeed!" admitted Brinnaria. "Serious as it is in general," he went on, "it is still more serious in particular. Your excursion to Aricia was by no means as much a secret as you have all along supposed. I, for instance, knew of it before you confessed it to me." "How was that?" Brinnaria inquired.
She had already confided in Lutorius, who informed Celsianus, arranged for an interview and was present at it. The great man said: "Almo is not necessarily or even probably deranged. On the face of what you tell me the most unfavorable conjecture I could form would be that he has resolved to commit suicide.
It was decided that on leaving the Atrium after her exauguration, she should spend one night as the guest of Nemestronia; that on the next day she should go to Vocco's house and be married from there; but that in the ceremonies, Lutorius, who had been her spiritual father for many years, should take the part which her own father would have taken had he been alive.
Besides her ritual duties and her music she kept up her interest in horse-racing; in fact, she became more and more devoted to this pastime, which Lutorius countenanced, but which her detractors characterized as indelicate. The success of her venture was notable. She became an important local dealer in racers.
"You are accused of misconduct with another man," he said. "Absurd!" said Brinnaria, "easy to confute. Who is the man?" "Not so easy to confute, I fear," said Lutorius. "The man named is Quintus Istorius Vocco." "Whew!" cried Brinnaria, springing to her feet and snapping her fingers. "That is ingenious! That will give me trouble! I didn't credit Calvaster with that much sense.