17 WHEN ONESIMUS REGAINED CONSCIOUSness next morning, he could not imagine where he was. He was still under the influence of the drug, and the noise of the city below seemed hundreds of miles away. The sun burned down upon him, and his head was aching and so heavy that he seemed unable to lift it. His mouth was parched and he was sweating profusely. Water! Shade! Oh, where was he? And what had happened? His hand strayed to his girdle and he found it undone. He knew something had gone, but he could not remember what. If only there was some water and some shade! He dragged himself up the hill and into the shade of a great marble pillar, and little by little it all came back to him. He opened his eyes with difficulty and caught sight of the crimson skirts of Athena's robes.
So! He had been deceived, betrayed and robbed, and this was the other side of beauty's gilded coin! Suddenly the temple and all that it stood for seemed desecrated and meaningless, and he rose dizzily to his feet. He was able to stagger to a fountain and dash the water all over his face and head and drink deeply, and then, flinging himself face downward behind a clump of cypresses he wept weakly for bitterness of heart and utter disillusionment.
But he dared not lie there for long; for there was a pressing problem to be faced. He was alone in a strange city without food or shelter or a single sestertius to his name. He could trust no one and expect mercy from none. However ill he felt, he
must find work quickly.
He was suddenly very sick, and after having washed his hands and face again he felt better and found he could walk down the Acropolis. In the streets of the city the rich young men lounged and disputed as usual, and the Parthenon in its unearthly beauty dominated Athens, etched against a hot blue sky; but for Onesimus the glory had departed for ever. There was no meeting point. Let the gods remain in their marble halls and temples, and he in future would remain with his feet on the ground in this cruel, treacherous world.
He could not walk far, but he found a little shade behind a column and dozed for a time. A kind old fruit seller gave him a bunch of sour grapes about noon, and he ate them gratefully and asked where he could find work. She looked him over thoughtfully.
"The young men of Greece like to work with their tongues and their brains," she replied with a smile. "But they say there is money in the ports for any who will work with their muscles. You look strong and broad-shouldered. You should go to Piraeus or to Corinth."
He thanked her and made up his mind immediately. As soon as the day began to cool he would start and walk all night. He must get right away from Athens. It would take him about ten hours to reach Corinth, perhaps longer with a splitting head and an empty stomach; but in any case he would start.
He set out just before sunset, glad of the sea breeze on the westward highway. It was a quiet evening, and he was thankful to shake off the dust of the city and plunge into the waters of the Bay. As he passed through the little town of Eleusis the
moon rose, and he glanced with a shudder at the great covered Hall of the Mysteries. It was nearly time for the Eleusinian celebrations and rites, and he had hoped to see the torch-bearing procession. But now he had had enough