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body, which was cumbered with the rags of a tawny garment, trailed along
the earth; and with every forward movement the hands passed into the
beard and then fell again. Crawling in this way it reached her feet, and
Salammbo recognised the aged Gisco.

In fact, the Mercenaries had broken the legs of the captive Ancients
with a brass bar to prevent them from taking to flight; and they were
all rotting pell-mell in a pit in the midst of filth. But the sturdiest
of them raised themselves and shouted when they heard the noise of
platters, and it was in this way that Gisco had seen Salammbo. He
had guessed that she was a Carthaginian woman by the little balls of
sandastrum flapping against her cothurni; and having a presentiment
of an important mystery he had succeeded, with the assistance of his
companions, in getting out of the pit; then with elbows and hands he
had dragged himself twenty paces further on as far as Matho's tent. Two
voices were speaking within it. He had listened outside and had heard
everything.

"It is you!" she said at last, almost terrified.

"Yes, it is I!" he replied, raising himself on his wrists. "They think
me dead, do they not?"

She bent her head. He resumed:

"Ah! why have the Baals not granted me this mercy!" He approached
so close he was touching her. "They would have spared me the pain of
cursing you!"

Salammbo sprang quickly back, so much afraid was she of this unclean
being, who was as hideous as a larva and nearly as terrible as a
phantom.

"I am nearly one hundred years old," he said. "I have seen Agathocles; I
have seen Regulus and the eagles of the Romans passing over the harvests
of the Punic fields! I have seen all the terrors of battles and the
sea encumbered with the wrecks of our fleets! Barbarians whom I used
to command have chained my four limbs like a slave that has committed
murder. My companions are dying around me, one after the other; the
odour of their corpses awakes me in the night; I drive away the birds
that come to peck out their eyes; and yet not for a single day have I
despaired of Carthage! Though I had seen all the armies of the earth
against her, and the flames of the siege overtop the height of the
temples, I should have still believed in her eternity! But now all is
over! all is lost! The gods execrate her! A curse upon you who have
quickened her ruin by your disgrace!"

She opened her lips.

"Ah! I was there!" he cried. "I heard you gurgling with love like a
prostitute; then he told you of his desire, and you allowed him to kiss
your hands! But if the frenzy of your unchastity urged you to it, you
should at least have done as do the fallow deer, which hide themselves
in their copulations, and not have displayed your shame beneath your
father's very eyes!"

"What?" she said.

"Ah! you did not know that the two entrenchments are sixty cubits from
each other and that your Matho, in the excess of his pride, has posted
himself just in front of Hamilcar. Your father is there behind you; and
could I climb the path which leads to the platform, I should cry to him:
'Come and see your daughter in the Barbarian's arms! She has put on the
garment of the goddess to please him; and in yielding her body to him
she surrenders with the glory of your name the majesty of the gods, the
vengeance of her country, even the safety of Carthage!'" The motion of
his toothless mouth moved his beard throughout its length; his eyes were
riveted upon her and devoured her; panting in the dust he repeated:

"Ah! sacrilegious one! May you be accursed! accursed! accursed!"

Salammbo had drawn back the canvas; she held it raised at arm's length,
and without answering him she looked in the direction of Hamilcar.

"It is this way, is it not?" she said.

"What matters it to you? Turn away! Begone! Rather crush your face
against the earth! It is a holy spot which would be polluted by your
gaze!"

She threw the zaimph about her waist, and quickly picked up her veils,
mantle, and scarf. "I hasten thither!" she cried; and making her escape
Salammbo disappeared.

At first she walked through the darkness without meeting any one, for
all were betaking themselves to the fire; the uproar was increasing and
great flames purpled the sky behind; a long terrace stopped her.

She turned round to right and left at random, seeking for a ladder,
a rope, a stone, something in short to assist her. She was afraid of
Gisco, and it seemed to her that shouts and footsteps were pursuing her.
Day was beginning to break. She perceived a path in the thickness of the
entrenchment. She took the hem of her robe, which impeded her, in her
teeth, and in three bounds she was on the platform.

A sonorous shout burst forth beneath her in the shade, the same which
she had heard at the foot of the galley staircase, and leaning over she
recognised Schahabarim's man with his coupled horses.

He had wandered all night between the two entrenchments; then disquieted
by the fire, he had gone back again trying to see what was passing in
Matho's camp; and, knowing that this spot was nearest to his tent, he
had not stirred from it, in obedience to the priest's command.

He stood up on one of the horses. Salammbo let herself slide down to
him; and they fled at full gallop, circling the Punic camp in search of
a gate.

Matho had re-entered his tent. The smoky lamp gave but little light, and
he also believed that Salammbo was asleep. Then he delicately touched
the lion's skin on the palm-tree bed. He called but she did not answer;
he quickly tore away a strip of the canvas to let in some light; the
zaimph was gone.

The earth trembled beneath thronging feet. Shouts, neighings, and
clashing of armour rose in the air, and clarion flourishes sounded
the charge. It was as though a hurricane were whirling around him.
Immoderate frenzy made him leap upon his arms, and he dashed outside.

The long files of the Barbarians were descending the mountain at a
run, and the Punic squares were advancing against them with a heavy
and regular oscillation. The mist, rent by the rays of the sun, formed
little rocking clouds which as they rose gradually discovered standards,
helmets, and points of pikes. Beneath the rapid evolutions portions of
the earth which were still in the shadow seemed to be displaced bodily;
in other places it looked as if huge torrents were crossing one
another, while thorny masses stood motionless between them. Matho could
distinguish the captains, soldiers, heralds, and even the serving-men,
who were mounted on asses in the rear. But instead of maintaining
his position in order to cover the foot-soldiers, Narr' Havas turned
abruptly to the right, as though he wished himself to be crushed by
Hamilcar.

His horsemen outstripped the elephants, which were slackening their
speed; and all the horses, stretching out their unbridled heads,
galloped at so furious a rate that their bellies seemed to graze the
earth. Then suddenly Narr' Havas went resolutely up to a sentry. He
threw away his sword, lance, and javelins, and disappeared among the
Carthaginians.

The king of the Numidians reached Hamilcar's tent, and pointing to his
men, who were standing still at a distance, he said:

"Barca! I bring them to you. They are yours."

Then he prostrated himself in token of bondage, and to prove his
fidelity recalled all his conduct from the beginning of the war.

First, he had prevented the siege of Carthage and the massacre of the
captives; then he had taken no advantage of the victory over Hanno after
the defeat at Utica. As to the Tyrian towns, they were on the frontiers
of his kingdom. Finally he had not taken part in the battle of the
Macaras; and he had even expressly absented himself in order to evade
the obligation of fighting against the Suffet.

Narr' Havas had in fact wished to aggrandise himself by encroachments
upon the Punic provinces, and had alternately assisted and forsaken
the Mercenaries according to the chances of victory. But seeing that
Hamilcar would ultimately prove the stronger, he had gone over to him;
and in his desertion there was perhaps something of a grudge against
Matho, whether on account of the command or of his former love.

The Suffet listened without interrupting him. The man who thus presented
himself with an army where vengeance was his due was not an auxiliary to
be despised; Hamilcar at once divined the utility of such an alliance in
his great projects. With the Numidians he would get rid of the Libyans.
Then he would draw off the West to the conquest of Iberia; and, without
asking Narr' Havas why he had not come sooner, or noticing any of his
lies, he kissed him, striking his breast thrice against his own.

It was to bring matters to an end and in despair that he had fired the
camp of the Libyans. This army came to him like a relief from the gods;
dissembling his joy he replied:

"May the Baals favour you! I do not know what the Republic will do for
you, but Hamilcar is not ungrateful."

The tumult increased; some captains entered. He was arming himself as he
spoke.

"Come, return! You will use your horsemen to beat down their infantry
between your elephants and mine. Courage! exterminate them!"

And Narr' Havas was rushing away when Salammbo appeared.

She leaped down quickly from her horse. She opened her ample cloak and
spreading out her arms displayed the zaimph.

The leathern tent, which was raised at the corners, left visible the
entire circuit of the mountain with its thronging soldiers, and as
it was in the centre Salammbo could be seen on all sides. An immense
shouting burst forth, a long cry of triumph and hope. Those who were
marching stopped; the dying leaned on their elbows and turned round
to bless her. All the Barbarians knew now that she had recovered the
zaimph; they saw her or believed that they saw her from a distance; and
other cries, but those of rage and vengeance, resounded in spite of the
plaudits of the Carthaginians. Thus did the five armies in tiers upon
the mountain stamp and shriek around Salammbo.

Hamilcar, who was unable to speak, nodded her his thanks. His eyes were
directed alternately upon the zaimph and upon her, and he noticed that
her chainlet was broken. Then he shivered, being seized with a terrible
suspicion. But soon recovering his impassibility he looked sideways at
Narr' Havas without turning his face.

The king of the Numidians held himself apart in a discreet attitude;
on his forehead he bore a little of the dust which he had touched when
prostrating himself. At last the Suffet advanced towards him with a look
full of gravity.

"As a reward for the services which you have rendered me, Narr' Havas, I
give you my daughter. Be my son," he added, "and defend your father!"

Narr' Havas gave a great gesture of surprise; then he threw himself upon
Hamilcar's hands and covered them with kisses.

Salammbo, calm as a statue, did not seem to understand. She blushed a
little as she cast down her eyelids, and her long curved lashes made
shadows upon her cheeks.

Hamilcar wished to unite them immediately in indissoluble betrothal. A
lance was placed in Salammbo's hands and by her offered to Narr' Havas;
their thumbs were tied together with a thong of ox-leather; then corn
was poured upon their heads, and the grains that fell around them rang
like rebounding hail.



CHAPTER XII

THE AQUEDUCT

Twelve hours afterwards all that remained of the Mercenaries was a heap
of wounded, dead, and dying.

Hamilcar had suddenly emerged from the bottom of the gorge, and again
descended the western slope that looked towards Hippo-Zarytus, and
the space being broader at this spot he had taken care to draw the
Barbarians into it. Narr' Havas had encompassed them with his horse; the
Suffet meanwhile drove them back and crushed them. Then, too, they were
conquered beforehand by the loss of the zaimph; even those who
cared nothing about it had experienced anguish and something akin to
enfeeblement. Hamilcar, not indulging his pride by holding the field of
battle, had retired a little further off on the left to some heights,
from which he commanded them.

The shape of the camps could be recognised by their sloping palisades.
A long heap of black cinders was smoking on the side of the Libyans;
the devastated soil showed undulations like the sea, and the tents with
their tattered canvas looked like dim ships half lost in the breakers.
Cuirasses, forks, clarions, pieces of wood, iron and brass, corn, straw,
and garments were scattered about among the corpses; here and there a
phalarica on the point of extinction burned against a heap of baggage;
in some places the earth was hidden with shields; horses' carcasses
succeeded one another like a series of hillocks; legs, sandals, arms,
and coats of mail were to be seen, with heads held in their helmets by
the chin-pieces and rolling about like balls; heads of hair were hanging
on the thorns; elephants were lying with their towers in pools of blood,
with entrails exposed, and gasping. The foot trod on slimy things, and
there were swamps of mud although no rain had fallen.

This confusion of dead bodies covered the whole mountain from top to
bottom.

Those who survived stirred as little as the dead. Squatting in unequal
groups they looked at one another scared and without speaking.

The lake of Hippo-Zarytus shone at the end of a long meadow beneath
the setting sun. To the right an agglomeration of white houses extended
beyond a girdle of walls; then the sea spread out indefinitely; and the
Barbarians, with their chins in their hands, sighed as they thought of
their native lands. A cloud of grey dust was falling.

The evening wind blew; then every breast dilated, and as the freshness
increased, the vermin might be seen to forsake the dead, who were colder
now, and to run over the hot sand. Crows, looking towards the dying,
rested motionless on the tops of the big stones.

When night had fallen yellow-haired dogs, those unclean beasts which
followed the armies, came quite softly into the midst of the Barbarians.
At first they licked the clots of blood on the still tepid stumps; and
soon they began to devour the corpses, biting into the stomachs first of
all.

The fugitives reappeared one by one like shadows; the women also
ventured to return, for there were still some of them left, especially
among the Libyans, in spite of the dreadful massacre of them by the
Numidians.

Some took ropes' ends and lighted them to use as torches. Others held
crossed pikes. The corpses were placed upon these and were conveyed
apart.

They were found lying stretched in long lines, on their backs, with
their mouths open, and their lances beside them; or else they were piled
up pell-mell so that it was often necessary to dig out a whole heap
in order to discover those they were wanting. Then the torch would be
passed slowly over their faces. They had received complicated wounds
from hideous weapons. Greenish strips hung from their foreheads; they
were cut in pieces, crushed to the marrow, blue from strangulation, or
broadly cleft by the elephants' ivory. Although they had died at almost
the same time there existed differences between their various states of
corruption. The men of the North were puffed up with livid swellings,
while the more nervous Africans looked as though they had been smoked,
and were already drying up. The Mercenaries might be recognised by the
tattooing on their hands: the old soldiers of Antiochus displayed
a sparrow-hawk; those who had served in Egypt, the head of the
cynosephalus; those who had served with the princes of Asia, a hatchet,
a pomegranate, or a hammer; those who had served in the Greek republics,
the side-view of a citadel or the name of an archon; and some were to
be seen whose arms were entirely covered with these multiplied symbols,
which mingled with their scars and their recent wounds.

Four great funeral piles were erected for the men of Latin race, the
Samnites, Etruscans, Campanians, and Bruttians.

The Greeks dug pits with the points of their swords. The Spartans
removed their red cloaks and wrapped them round the dead; the Athenians
laid them out with their faces towards the rising sun; the Cantabrians
buried them beneath a heap of pebbles; the Nasamonians bent them double
with ox-leather thongs, and the Garamantians went and interred them on
the shore so that they might be perpetually washed by the waves. But the
Latins were grieved that they could not collect the ashes in urns; the
Nomads regretted the heat of the sands in which bodies were mummified,
and the Celts, the three rude stones beneath a rainy sky at the end of
an islet-covered gulf.

Vociferations arose, followed by the lengthened silence. This was to
oblige the souls to return. Then the shouting was resumed persistently
at regular intervals.

They made excuses to the dead for their inability to honour them as the
rites prescribed: for, owing to this deprivation, they would pass for
infinite periods through all kinds of chances and metamorphoses; they
questioned them and asked them what they desired; others loaded them
with abuse for having allowed themselves to be conquered.

The bloodless faces lying back here and there on wrecks of armour showed
pale in the light of the great funeral-pile; tears provoked tears, the
sobs became shriller, the recognitions and embracings more frantic.
Women stretched themselves on the corpses, mouth to mouth and brow to
brow; it was necessary to beat them in order to make them withdraw when
the earth was being thrown in. They blackened their cheeks; they cut off
their hair; they drew their own blood and poured it into the pits; they
gashed themselves in imitation of the wounds that disfigured the dead.
Roarings burst forth through the crashings of the cymbals. Some snatched
off their amulets and spat upon them. The dying rolled in the bloody
mire biting their mutilated fists in their rage; and forty-three
Samnites, quite a "sacred spring," cut one another's throats like
gladiators. Soon wood for the funeral-piles failed, the flames were
extinguished, every spot was occupied; and weary from shouting,
weakened, tottering, they fell asleep close to their dead brethren,
those who still clung to life full of anxieties, and the others desiring
never to wake again.

In the greyness of the dawn some soldiers appeared on the outskirts of
the Barbarians, and filed past with their helmets raised on the points
of their pikes; they saluted the Mercenaries and asked them whether they
had no messages to send to their native lands.

Others approached, and the Barbarians recognised some of their former
companions.

The Suffet had proposed to all the captives that they should serve in
his troops. Several had fearlessly refused; and quite resolved neither
to support them nor to abandon them to the Great Council, he had sent
them away with injunctions to fight no more against Carthage. As to
those who had been rendered docile by the fear of tortures, they had
been furnished with the weapons taken from the enemy; and they were now
presenting themselves to the vanquished, not so much in order to seduce
them as out of an impulse of pride and curiosity.

At first they told of the good treatment which they had received from
the Suffet; the Barbarians listened to them with jealousy although they
despised them. Then at the first words of reproach the cowards fell
into a passion; they showed them from a distance their own swords
and cuirasses and invited them with abuse to come and take them. The
Barbarians picked up flints; all took to flight; and nothing more could
be seen on the summit of the mountain except the lance-points projecting
above the edge of the palisades.

Then the Barbarians were overwhelmed with a grief that was heavier than
the humiliation of the defeat. They thought of the emptiness of their
courage, and they stood with their eyes fixed and grinding their teeth.

The same thought came to them all. They rushed tumultuously upon the
Carthaginian prisoners. It chanced that the Suffet's soldiers had been
unable to discover them, and as he had withdrawn from the field of
battle they were still in the deep pit.

They were ranged on the ground on a flattened spot. Sentries formed a
circle round them, and the women were allowed to enter thirty or forty
at a time. Wishing to profit by the short time that was allowed to them,
they ran from one to the other, uncertain and panting; then bending over
the poor bodies they struck them with all their might like washerwomen
beating linen; shrieking their husband's names they tore them with their
nails and put out their eyes with the bodkins of their hair. The men
came next and tortured them from their feet, which they cut off at the
ankles, to their foreheads, from which they took crowns of skin to put
upon their own heads. The Eaters of Uncleanness were atrocious in their
devices. They envenomed the wounds by pouring into them dust, vinegar,
and fragments of pottery; others waited behind; blood flowed, and they
rejoiced like vintagers round fuming vats.

Matho, however, was seated on the ground, at the very place where he had
happened to be when the battle ended, his elbows on his knees, and his
temples in his hands; he saw nothing, heard nothing, and had ceased to
think.

At the shrieks of joy uttered by the crowd he raised his head. Before
him a strip of canvas caught on a flagpole, and trailing on the ground,
sheltered in confused fashion blankets, carpets, and a lion's skin. He
recognised his tent; and he riveted his eyes upon the ground as though
Hamilcar's daughter, when she disappeared, had sunk into the earth.

The torn canvas flapped in the wind; the long rags of it sometimes
passed across his mouth, and he perceived a red mark like the print of a
hand. It was the hand of Narr' Havas, the token of their alliance. Then
Matho rose. He took a firebrand which was still smoking, and threw
it disdainfully upon the wrecks of his tent. Then with the toe of his
cothurn he pushed the things which fell out back towards the flame so
that nothing might be left.

Suddenly, without any one being able to guess from what point he had
sprung up, Spendius reappeared.

The former slave had fastened two fragments of a lance against his
thigh; he limped with a piteous look, breathing forth complaints the
while.

"Remove that," said Matho to him. "I know that you are a brave fellow!"
For he was so crushed by the injustice of the gods that he had not
strength enough to be indignant with men.

Spendius beckoned to him and led him to a hollow of the mountain, where
Zarxas and Autaritus were lying concealed.

They had fled like the slave, the one although he was cruel, and the
other in spite of his bravery. But who, said they, could have expected
the treachery of Narr' Havas, the burning of the camp of the Libyans,
the loss of the zaimph, the sudden attack by Hamilcar, and, above all,
his manoeuvres which forced them to return to the bottom of the mountain
beneath the instant blows of the Carthaginians? Spendius made no
acknowledgement of his terror, and persisted in maintaining that his leg
was broken.

At last the three chiefs and the schalischim asked one another what
decision should now be adopted.

Hamilcar closed the road to Carthage against them; they were caught
between his soldiers and the provinces belonging to Narr' Havas; the
Tyrian towns would join the conquerors; the Barbarians would find
themselves driven to the edge of the sea, and all those united forces
would crush them. This would infallibly happen.

Thus no means presented themselves of avoiding the war. Accordingly
they must prosecute it to the bitter end. But how were they to make the
necessity of an interminable battle understood by all these disheartened
people, who were still bleeding from their wounds.

"I will undertake that!" said Spendius.

Two hours afterwards a man who came from the direction of Hippo-Zarytus
climbed the mountain at a run. He waved some tablets at arm's length,
and as he shouted very loudly the Barbarians surrounded him.

The tablets had been despatched by the Greek soldiers in Sardinia. They
recommended their African comrades to watch over Gisco and the other
captives. A Samian trader, one Hipponax, coming from Carthage, had
informed them that a plot was being organised to promote their escape,
and the Barbarians were urged to take every precaution; the Republic was
powerful.

Spendius's stratagem did not succeed at first as he had hoped. This
assurance of the new peril, so far from exciting frenzy, raised fears;


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