He gradually developed this theme and presently launched a big-scale attack. He recalled John’s arrogance in the past, exposed his ill-will and deceit in the present. The Orphanotrophus, quite incapable of listening to such an onslaught with patience, got up at once and went away. He took himself off, not to his usual place of residence, but to some spot far away from the city.

An excellent method of reminding

This change of abode, he imagined, would compel the emperor to pray and beseech him to return; he would very soon bring him back to the palace. When he went off, his own private bodyguard followed him, and a considerable body of senators went away with him too, not through any feelings of friendship for John, but, in most cases, because they believed that he would be back again in his old haunts almost immediately and they were trying to make sure of his favour in advance. Their departure from the capital would be an excellent method of reminding him of their services.

13. John’s defection was, no doubt, extremely gratifying to Michael, but it could not compensate the painful suspicions roused in him when the greater part of the city populace were flocking out to join the Orphanotrophus in his retreat. He feared a possible revolution. So, with extreme craftiness and no little malevolence, he wrote him a letter. In it he upbraided the other for his excessive pride and recalled him, presumably in order to discuss certain secret matters connected with the government.

John at once returned. He bad assumed from the tone of the letter that the emperor would come out to meet him. He expected to be addressed in terms befitting his high office and treated with the respect to which he had been accustomed. What actually happened was quite different. A performance was going on in the Theatre and the emperor, without waiting to see his uncle, left for the entertainment earlier than usual. What is more he left no message for John. When the latter perceived what had occurred, he considered himself even more insulted than before: the emperor had cast him off.

So, in high dudgeon, he returned whence he had come, without more ado. There was no doubt now as to the emperor’s intentions. From his actions it was obvious to John that he had to deal with an enemy. The bond of friendship was now absolutely broken and each plotted the other’s downfall. John especially, was engaged in conspiracy — naturally, for he was at a disadvantage as an ordinary citizen — and schemed ways and means of attacking the emperor, without the knowledge of others and without exposing himself to arrest.

Read More about Michael V Part 22

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