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hundred men directing their course towards the extreme boundaries of
Ethiopia with excellent camels, new leathern bottles, and supplies of
painted cloth, but one had reappeared at Carthage - the rest having died
of fatigue or become mad through the terror of the desert; - and he said
that far beyond the Black Harousch, after passing the Atarantes and the
country of the great apes, he had seen immense kingdoms, wherein the
pettiest utensils were all of gold, a river of the colour of milk and
as broad as the sea, forests of blue trees, hills of aromatics, monsters
with human faces vegetating on the rocks with eyeballs which expanded
like flowers to look at you; and then crystal mountains supporting the
sun behind lakes all covered with dragons. Others had returned from
India with peacocks, pepper, and new textures. As to those who go by way
of the Syrtes and the temple of Ammon to purchase chalcedony, they had
no doubt perished in the sands. The caravans from Gaetulia and Phazzana
had furnished their usual supplies; but he, the Chief of the Journeys,
did not venture to fit one out just now.

Hamilcar understood; the Mercenaries were in occupation of the country.
He leaned upon his other elbow with a hollow groan; and the Chief of
Farms was so afraid to speak that he trembled horribly in spite of
his thick shoulders and his big red eyeballs. His face, which was as
snub-nosed as a mastiff's, was surmounted by a net woven of threads of
bark. He wore a waist-belt of hairy leopard's skin, wherein gleamed two
formidable cutlasses.

As soon as Hamilcar turned away he began to cry aloud and invoke all the
Baals. It was not his fault! he could not help it! He had watched the
temperature, the soil, the stars, had planted at the winter solstice and
pruned at the waning of the moon, had inspected the slaves and had been
careful of their clothes.

But Hamilcar grew angry at this loquacity. He clacked his tongue, and
the man with the cutlasses went on in rapid tones:

"Ah, Master! they have pillaged everything! sacked everything! destroyed
everything! Three thousand trees have been cut down at Maschala, and
at Ubada the granaries have been looted and the cisterns filled up! At
Tedes they have carried off fifteen hundred gomors of meal; at Marrazana
they have killed the shepherds, eaten the flocks, burnt your house - your
beautiful house with its cedar beams, which you used to visit in the
summer! The slaves at Tuburbo who were reaping barley fled to the
mountains; and the asses, the mules both great and small, the oxen from
Taormina, and the antelopes, - not a single one left! all carried away!
It is a curse! I shall not survive it!" He went on again in tears: "Ah!
if you knew how full the cellars were, and how the ploughshares shone!
Ah! the fine rams! ah! the fine bulls! - "

Hamilcar's wrath was choking him. It burst forth:

"Be silent! Am I a pauper then? No lies! speak the truth! I wish to know
all that I have lost to the last shekel, to the last cab! Abdalonim,
bring me the accounts of the ships, of the caravans, of the farms, of
the house! And if your consciences are not clear, woe be on your heads!
Go out!"

All the stewards went out walking backwards, with their fists touching
the ground.

Abdalonim went up to a set of pigeon-holes in the wall, and from the
midst of them took out knotted cords, strips of linen or papyrus, and
sheeps' shoulder-blades inscribed with delicate writing. He laid them
at Hamilcar's feet, placed in his hands a wooden frame furnished on the
inside with three threads on which balls of gold, silver, and horn were
strung, and began:

"One hundred and ninety-two houses in the Mappalian district let to the
New Carthaginians at the rate of one bekah a moon."

"No! it is too much! be lenient towards the poor people! and you will
try to learn whether they are attached to the Republic, and write down
the names of those who appear to you to be the most daring! What next?"

Abdalonim hesitated in surprise at such generosity.

Hamilcar snatched the strips of linen from his hands.

"What is this? three palaces around Khamon at twelve kesitahs a month!
Make it twenty! I do not want to be eaten up by the rich."

The Steward of the stewards, after a long salutation, resumed:

"Lent to Tigillas until the end of the season two kikars at three per
cent., maritime interest; to Bar-Malkarth fifteen hundred shekels on the
security of thirty slaves. But twelve have died in the salt-marshes."

"That is because they were not hardy," said the Suffet, laughing. "No
matter! if he is in want of money, satisfy him! We should always lend,
and at different rates of interest, according to the wealth of the
individual."

Then the servant hastened to read all that had been brought in by the
iron-mines of Annaba, the coral fisheries, the purple factories, the
farming of the tax on the resident Greeks, the export of silver to
Arabia, where it had ten times the value of gold, and the captures of
vessels, deduction of a tenth being made for the temple of the goddess.
"Each time I declared a quarter less, Master!" Hamilcar was reckoning
with the balls; they rang beneath his fingers.

"Enough! What have you paid?"

"To Stratonicles of Corinth, and to three Alexandrian merchants, on
these letters here (they have been realised), ten thousand Athenian
drachmas, and twelve Syrian talents of gold. The food for the crews,
amounting to twenty minae a month for each trireme - "

"I know! How many lost?"

"Here is the account on these sheets of lead," said the Steward. "As to
the ships chartered in common, it has often been necessary to throw the
cargo into the seas, and so the unequal losses have been divided among
the partners. For the ropes which were borrowed from the arsenals, and
which it was impossible to restore, the Syssitia exacted eight hundred
kesitahs before the expedition to Utica."

"They again!" said Hamilcar, hanging his head; and he remained for a
time as if quite crushed by the weight of all the hatreds that he could
feel upon him. "But I do not see the Megara expenses?"

Abdalonim, turning pale, went to another set of pigeon-holes, and
took from them some planchettes of sycamore wood strung in packets on
leathern strings.

Hamilcar, curious about these domestic details, listened to him and
grew calm with the monotony of the tones in which the figures were
enumerated. Abdalonim became slower. Suddenly he let the wooden sheets
fall to the ground and threw himself flat on his face with his arms
stretched out in the position of a condemned criminal. Hamilcar picked
up the tablets without any emotion; and his lips parted and his eyes
grew larger when he perceived an exorbitant consumption of meat, fish,
birds, wines, and aromatics, with broken vases, dead slaves, and spoiled
carpets set down as the expense of a single day.

Abdalonim, still prostrate, told him of the feast of the Barbarians.
He had not been able to avoid the command of the Ancients. Moreover,
Salammbo desired money to be lavished for the better reception of the
soldiers.

At his daughter's name Hamilcar leaped to his feet. Then with compressed
lips he crouched down upon the cushions, tearing the fringes with his
nails, and panting with staring eyes.

"Rise!" said he; and he descended.

Abdalonim followed him; his knees trembled. But seizing an iron bar he
began like one distraught to loosen the paving stones. A wooden disc
sprang up and soon there appeared throughout the length of the passage
several of the large covers employed for stopping up the trenches in
which grain was kept.

"You see, Eye of Baal," said the servant, trembling, "they have not
taken everything yet! and these are each fifty cubits deep and filled up
to the brim! During your voyage I had them dug out in the arsenals, in
the gardens, everywhere! your house is full of corn as your heart is
full of wisdom."

A smile passed over Hamilcar's face. "It is well, Abdalonim!" Then
bending over to his ear: "You will have it brought from Etruria,
Brutium, whence you will, and no matter at what price! Heap it and keep
it! I alone must possess all the corn in Carthage."

Then when they were alone at the extremity of the passage, Abdalonim,
with one of the keys hanging at his girdle, opened a large quadrangular
chamber divided in the centre by pillars of cedar. Gold, silver, and
brass coins were arranged on tables or packed into niches, and rose
as high as the joists of the roof along the four walls. In the corners
there were huge baskets of hippopotamus skin supporting whole rows of
smaller bags; there were hillocks formed of heaps of bullion on the
pavement; and here and there a pile that was too high had given way and
looked like a ruined column. The large Carthaginian pieces, representing
Tanith with a horse beneath a palm-tree, mingled with those from the
colonies, which were marked with a bull, star, globe, or crescent. Then
there might be seen pieces of all values, dimensions, and ages arrayed
in unequal amounts - from the ancient coins of Assyria, slender as the
nail, to the ancient ones of Latium, thicker than the hand, with the
buttons of Egina, the tablets of Bactriana, and the short bars of
Lacedaemon; many were covered with rust, or had grown greasy, or, having
been taken in nets or from among the ruins of captured cities, were
green with the water or blackened by fire. The Suffet had speedily
calculated whether the sums present corresponded with the gains and
losses which had just been read to him; and he was going away when he
perceived three brass jars completely empty. Abdalonim turned away his
head to mark his horror, and Hamilcar, resigning himself to it, said
nothing.

They crossed other passages and other halls, and at last reached a door
where, to ensure its better protection and in accordance with a Roman
custom lately introduced into Carthage, a man was fastened by the waist
to a long chain let into the wall. His beard and nails had grown to an
immoderate length, and he swayed himself from right to left with that
continual oscillation which is characteristic of captive animals. As
soon as he recognised Hamilcar he darted towards him, crying:

"Pardon, Eye of Baal! pity! kill me! For ten years I have not seen the
sun! In your father's name, pardon!"

Hamilcar, without answering him, clapped his hands and three men
appeared; and all four simultaneously stiffening their arms, drew back
from its rings the enormous bar which closed the door. Hamilcar took a
torch and disappeared into the darkness.

This was believed to be the family burying-place; but nothing would have
been found in it except a broad well. It was dug out merely to baffle
robbers, and it concealed nothing. Hamilcar passed along beside it; then
stooping down he made a very heavy millstone turn upon its rollers, and
through this aperture entered an apartment which was built in the shape
of a cone.

The walls were covered with scales of brass; and in the centre, on a
granite pedestal, stood the statue of one of the Kabiri called Aletes,
the discoverer of the mines in Celtiberia. On the ground, at its base,
and arranged in the form of a cross, were large gold shields and monster
close-necked silver vases, of extravagant shape and unfitted for use;
it was customary to cast quantities of metal in this way, so that
dilapidation and even removal should be almost impossible.

With his torch he lit a miner's lamp which was fastened to the idol's
cap, and green, yellow, blue, violet, wine-coloured, and blood-coloured
fires suddenly illuminated the hall. It was filled with gems which were
either in gold calabashes fastened like sconces upon sheets of brass,
or were ranged in native masses at the foot of the wall. There were
callaides shot away from the mountains with slings, carbuncles formed
by the urine of the lynx, glossopetrae which had fallen from the moon,
tyanos, diamonds, sandastra, beryls, with the three kinds of rubies, the
four kinds of sapphires, and the twelve kinds of emeralds. They gleamed
like splashes of milk, blue icicles, and silver dust, and shed their
light in sheets, rays, and stars. Ceraunia, engendered by the thunder,
sparkled by the side of chalcedonies, which are a cure for poison. There
were topazes from Mount Zabarca to avert terrors, opals from Bactriana
to prevent abortions, and horns of Ammon, which are placed under the bed
to induce dreams.

The fires from the stones and the flames from the lamp were mirrored in
the great golden shields. Hamilcar stood smiling with folded arms, and
was less delighted by the sight of his riches than by the consciousness
of their possession. They were inaccessible, exhaustless, infinite.
His ancestors sleeping beneath his feet transmitted something of their
eternity to his heart. He felt very near to the subterranean deities.
It was as the joy of one of the Kabiri; and the great luminous rays
striking upon his face looked like the extremity of an invisible net
linking him across the abysses with the centre of the world.

A thought came which made him shudder, and placing himself behind the
idol he walked straight up to the wall. Then among the tattooings on his
arm he scrutinised a horizontal line with two other perpendicular ones
which in Chanaanitish figures expressed the number thirteen. Then he
counted as far as the thirteenth of the brass plates and again raised
his ample sleeve; and with his right hand stretched out he read other
more complicated lines on his arm, at the same time moving his fingers
daintily about like one playing on a lyre. At last he struck seven blows
with his thumb, and an entire section of the wall turned about in a
single block.

It served to conceal a sort of cellar containing mysterious things which
had no name and were of incalculable value. Hamilcar went down the three
steps, took up a llama's skin which was floating on a black liquid in a
silver vat, and then re-ascended.

Abdalonim again began to walk before him. He struck the pavement with
his tall cane, the pommel of which was adorned with bells, and before
every apartment cried aloud the name of Hamilcar amid eulogies and
benedictions.

Along the walls of the circular gallery, from which the passages
branched off, were piled little beams of algummim, bags of Lawsonia,
cakes of Lemnos-earth, and tortoise carapaces filled with pearls. The
Suffet brushed them with his robe as he passed without even looking at
some gigantic pieces of amber, an almost divine material formed by the
rays of the sun.

A cloud of odorous vapour burst forth.

"Push open the door!"

They went in.

Naked men were kneading pastes, crushing herbs, stirring coals, pouring
oil into jars, and opening and shutting the little ovoid cells which
were hollowed out all round in the wall, and were so numerous that
the apartment was like the interior of a hive. They were brimful of
myrobalan, bdellium, saffron, and violets. Gums, powders, roots, glass
phials, branches of filipendula, and rose-petals were scattered about
everywhere, and the scents were stifling in spite of the cloud-wreaths
from the styrax shrivelling on a brazen tripod in the centre.

The Chief of the Sweet Odours, pale and long as a waxen torch, came up
to Hamilcar to crush a roll of metopion in his hands, while two others
rubbed his heels with leaves of baccharis. He repelled them; they were
Cyreneans of infamous morals, but valued on account of the secrets which
they possessed.

To show his vigilance the Chief of the Odours offered the Suffet a
little malobathrum to taste in an electrum spoon; then he pierced three
Indian bezoars with an awl. The master, who knew the artifices employed,
took a horn full of balm, and after holding it near the coals inclined
it over his robe. A brown spot appeared; it was a fraud. Then he gazed
fixedly at the Chief of the Odours, and without saying anything flung
the gazelle's horn full in his face.

However indignant he might be at adulterations made to his own
prejudice, when he perceived some parcels of nard which were being
packed up for countries beyond the sea, he ordered antimony to be mixed
with it so as to make it heavier.

Then he asked where three boxes of psagdas designed for his own use were
to be found.

The Chief of the Odours confessed that he did not know; some soldiers
had come howling in with knives and he had opened the boxes for them.

"So you are more afraid of them then of me!" cried the Suffet; and his
eyeballs flashed like torches through the smoke upon the tall, pale man
who was beginning to understand. "Abdalonim! you will make him run the
gauntlet before sunset: tear him!"

This loss, which was less than the others, had exasperated him; for in
spite of his efforts to banish them from his thoughts he was continually
coming again across the Barbarians. Their excesses were blended with his
daughter's shame, and he was angry with the whole household for knowing
of the latter and for not speaking of it to him. But something impelled
him to bury himself in his misfortune; and in an inquisitorial fit he
visited the sheds behind the mercantile house to see the supplies of
bitumen, wood, anchors and cordage, honey and wax, the cloth warehouse,
the stores of food, the marble yard and the silphium barn.

He went to the other side of the gardens to make an inspection in their
cottages, of the domestic artisans whose productions were sold. There
were tailors embroidering cloaks, others making nets, others painting
cushions or cutting out sandals, and Egyptian workmen polished papyrus
with a shell, while the weavers' shuttles rattled and the armourers'
anvils rang.

Hamilcar said to them:

"Beat away at the swords! I shall want them." And he drew the antelope's
skin that had been steeped in poisons from his bosom to have it cut
into a cuirass more solid than one of brass and unassailable by steel or
flame.

As soon as he approached the workmen, Abdalonim, to give his wrath
another direction, tried to anger him against them by murmured
disparagement of their work. "What a performance! It is a shame! The
Master is indeed too good." Hamilcar moved away without listening to
him.

He slackened his pace, for the paths were barred by great trees calcined
from one end to the other, such as may be met with in woods where
shepherds have encamped; and the palings were broken, the water in the
trenches was disappearing, while fragments of glass and the bones of
apes were to be seen amid the miry puddles. A scrap of cloth hung
here and there from the bushes, and the rotten flowers formed a yellow
muck-heap beneath the citron trees. In fact, the servants had neglected
everything, thinking that the master would never return.

At every step he discovered some new disaster, some further proof of the
thing which he had forbidden himself to learn. Here he was soiling his
purple boots as he crushed the filth under-foot; and he had not all
these men before him at the end of a catapult to make them fly into
fragments! He felt humiliated at having defended them; it was a delusion
and a piece of treachery; and as he could not revenge himself upon
the soldiers, or the Ancients, or Salammbo, or anybody, and his wrath
required some victim, he condemned all the slaves of the gardens to the
mines at a single stroke.

Abdalonim shuddered each time that he saw him approaching the parks. But
Hamilcar took the path towards the mill, from which there might be heard
issuing a mournful melopoeia.

The heavy mill-stones were turning amid the dust. They consisted of two
cones of porphyry laid the one upon the other - the upper one of the two,
which carried a funnel, being made to revolve upon the second by means
of strong bars. Some men were pushing these with their breasts and arms,
while others were yoked to them and were pulling them. The friction of
the straps had formed purulent scabs round about their armpits such as
are seen on asses' withers, and the end of the limp black rag, which
scarcely covered their loins, hung down and flapped against their hams
like a long tail. Their eyes were red, the irons on their feet clanked,
and all their breasts panted rhythmically. On their mouths they had
muzzles fastened by two little bronze chains to render it impossible
for them to eat the flour, and their hands were enclosed in gauntlets
without fingers, so as to prevent them from taking any.

At the master's entrance the wooden bars creaked still more loudly. The
grain grated as it was being crushed. Several fell upon their knees; the
others, continuing their work, stepped across them.

He asked for Giddenem, the governor of the slaved, and that personage
appeared, his rank being displayed in the richness of his dress. His
tunic, which was slit up the sides, was of fine purple; his ears were
weighted with heavy rings; and the strips of cloth enfolding his legs
were joined together with a lacing of gold which extended from his
ankles to his hips, like a serpent winding about a tree. In his fingers,
which were laden with rings, he held a necklace of jet beads, so as to
recognise the men who were subject to the sacred disease.

Hamilcar signed to him to unfasten the muzzles. Then with the cries of
famished animals they all rushed upon the flour, burying their faces in
the heaps of it and devouring it.

"You are weakening them!" said the Suffet.

Giddenem replied that such treatment was necessary in order to subdue
them.

"It was scarcely worth while sending you to the slaves' school at
Syracuse. Fetch the others!"

And the cooks, butlers, grooms, runners, and litter-carriers, the men
belonging to the vapour-baths, and the women with their children, all
ranged themselves in a single line in the garden from the mercantile
house to the deer park. They held their breath. An immense silence
prevailed in Megara. The sun was lengthening across the lagoon at the
foot of the catacombs. The peacocks were screeching. Hamilcar walked
along step by step.

"What am I to do with these old creatures?" he said. "Sell them! There
are too many Gauls: they are drunkards! and too many Cretans: they are
liars! Buy me some Cappadocians, Asiatics, and Negroes."

He was astonished that the children were so few. "The house ought to
have births every year, Giddenem. You will leave the huts open every
night to let them mingle freely."

He then had the thieves, the lazy, and the mutinous shown to him. He
distributed punishments, with reproaches to Giddenem; and Giddenem,
ox-like, bent his low forehead, with its two broad intersecting
eyebrows.

"See, Eye of Baal," he said, pointing out a sturdy Libyan, "here is one
who was caught with the rope round his neck."

"Ah! you wish to die?" said the Suffet scornfully.

"Yes!" replied the slave in an intrepid tone.

Then, without heeding the precedent or the pecuniary loss, Hamilcar said
to the serving-men:

"Away with him!"

Perhaps in his thoughts he intended a sacrifice. It was a misfortune
which he inflicted upon himself in order to avert more terrible ones.

Giddenem had hidden those who were mutilated behind the others. Hamilcar
perceived them.

"Who cut off your arm?"

"The soldiers, Eye of Baal."

Then to a Samnite who was staggering like a wounded heron:

"And you, who did that to you?"

It was the governor, who had broken his leg with an iron bar.

This silly atrocity made the Suffet indignant; he snatched the jet
necklace out of Giddenem's hands.

"Cursed be the dog that injures the flock! Gracious Tanith, to cripple
slaves! Ah! you ruin your master! Let him be smothered in the dunghill.
And those that are missing? Where are they? Have you helped the soldiers
to murder them?"

His face was so terrible that all the women fled. The slaves drew back
and formed a large circle around them; Giddenem was frantically kissing
his sandals; Hamilcar stood upright with his arms raised above him.

But with his understanding as clear as in the sternest of his battles,
he recalled a thousand odious things, ignominies from which he had
turned aside; and in the gleaming of his wrath he could once more see
all his disasters simultaneously as in the lightnings of a storm.
The governors of the country estates had fled through terror of the
soldiers, perhaps through collusion with them; they were all deceiving
him; he had restrained himself too long.

"Bring them here!" he cried; "and brand them on the forehead with
red-hot irons as cowards!"

Then they brought and spread out in the middle of the garden, fetters,
carcanets, knives, chains for those condemned to the mines, cippi for
fastening the legs, numellae for confining the shoulders, and scorpions


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