b'DEATH AND A CROCODILE 31As they neared the house, Livia realized the sight of Roxana might send Porcia into a tizzy. Better to broach the subject first, so she ordered Roxana to wait outside.Porcia was pacing the garden. Her hair was in disarray and dark circles ringed her eyes. Livia hurried to her side. Aunt Porcia, what is wrong?Porcia moaned and sunk to a bench. Oneofmyslaveshasrunaway.Gemelluswillbefurious when he finds out.He doesnt know?Not yet, thank Juno. Hes out of town.Thankyou,LordJesus.Onelesscomplication.Haveyou alerted the vigiles? Warned the neighbors?The frightened woman wrung her hands. Heavens, no. I dare not, or Gemellus will hear about it.Why did so many women go through life in abject fear of an-gering their husbands? Livia was not going to end up like her aunt or her mother, no matter who Father forced her to marry. She wasnt above exploiting her aunts fear, however. How do you expect to find the girl if youve told no one?Porcia glanced furtively at the slaves standing along the pe-rimeter of the room before leaning close and whispering, To tell the truth, if it werent for Gemellus anger I would be happy the girl ran away. She was an embarrassment. No manners, no grace, and an accent straight from the gutters. Even your mother couldnt make a decent maid out of the girl.Could Livia have hoped for a better opening? If you had a chance to trade your missing maid for Agneta, would you take it?Porcia moaned. Dont tease me; it isnt kind.I wasnt teasing, Aunt Porcia. Ive found Roxana. She was trapped under a pile of rubble.Bless you, Livia dear.Im afraid she was injured.'