â€˜That is Athalfrida,â€™ she said, starting up. â€˜I must not delay.â€™
â€˜This Totila,â€™ pursued Marcian, â€˜seems to be not only a brave and capable commander, but a shrewd politician. Everywhere he spares the people; he takes nothing by force; his soldiers buy at market; he protects the farmer against the taxing Greek. As a result, his army grows; where he passes, he leaves a good report, and before him goes a welcome. At this rate he will soon make all Italy his own. And unless the Patricius returnsâ€”â€™
Basil started. Such a thought had never entered his mind, yet he saw probability in the suggestion.
And, looking up, he beheld his servant Felix.