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and look at one another they were choked with sobs on discovering the
horrible ravages made in their faces. Some had ceased to suffer, and to
while away the hours told of the perils which they had escaped.

Death was certain and imminent to all. How many times had they not tried
to open up a passage! As to implore terms from the conqueror, by what
means could they do so? They did not even know where Hamilcar was.

The wind was blowing from the direction of the ravine. It made the sand
flow perpetually in cascades over the portcullis; and the cloaks and
hair of the Barbarians were being covered with it as though the earth
were rising upon them and desirous of burying them. Nothing stirred; the
eternal mountain seemed still higher to them every morning.

Sometimes flights of birds darted past beneath the blue sky in the
freedom of the air. The men closed their eyes that they might not see
them.

At first they felt a buzzing in their ears, their nails grew black, the
cold reached to their breasts; they lay upon their sides and expired
without a cry.

On the nineteenth day two thousand Asiatics were dead, with fifteen
hundred from the Archipelago, eight thousand from Libya, the youngest
of the Mercenaries and whole tribes - in all twenty thousand soldiers, or
half of the army.

Autaritus, who had only fifty Gauls left, was going to kill himself in
order to put an end to this state of things, when he thought he saw a
man on the top of the mountain in front of him.

Owing to his elevation this man did not appear taller than a dwarf.
However, Autaritus recognised a shield shaped like a trefoil on his
left arm. "A Carthaginian!" he exclaimed, and immediately throughout
the plain, before the portcullis and beneath the rocks, all rose. The
soldier was walking along the edge of the precipice; the Barbarians
gazed at him from below.

Spendius picked up the head of an ox; then having formed a diadem with
two belts, he fixed it on the horns at the end of a pole in token of
pacific intentions. The Carthaginian disappeared. They waited.

At last in the evening a sword-belt suddenly fell from above like a
stone loosened from the cliff. It was made of red leather covered with
embroidery, with three diamond stars, and stamped in the centre, it bore
the mark of the Great Council: a horse beneath a palm-tree. This was
Hamilcar's reply, the safe-conduct that he sent them.

They had nothing to fear; any change of fortune brought with it the end
of their woes. They were moved with extravagant joy, they embraced one
another, they wept. Spendius, Autaritus, and Zarxas, four Italiotes,
a Negro and two Spartans offered themselves as envoys. They were
immediately accepted. They did not know, however, by what means they
should get away.

But a cracking sounded in the direction of the rocks; and the most
elevated of them, after rocking to and fro, rebounded to the bottom. In
fact, if they were immovable on the side of the Barbarians - for it would
have been necessary to urge them up an incline plane, and they were,
moreover, heaped together owing to the narrowness of the gorge - on the
others, on the contrary, it was sufficient to drive against them with
violence to make them descend. The Carthaginians pushed them, and at
daybreak they projected into the plain like the steps of an immense
ruined staircase.

The Barbarians were still unable to climb them. Ladders were held out
for their assistance; all rushed upon them. The discharge of a catapult
drove the crowd back; only the Ten were taken away.

They walked amid the Clinabarians, leaning their hands on the horses'
croups for support.

Now that their first joy was over they began to harbour anxieties.
Hamilcar's demands would be cruel. But Spendius reassured them.

"I will speak!" And he boasted that he knew excellent things to say for
the safety of the army.

Behind all the bushes they met with ambushed sentries, who prostrated
themselves before the sword-belt which Spendius had placed over his
shoulder.

When they reached the Punic camp the crowd flocked around them, and they
thought that they could hear whisperings and laughter. The door of a
tent opened.

Hamilcar was at the very back of it seated on a stool beside a table on
which there shone a naked sword. He was surrounded by captains, who were
standing.

He started back on perceiving these men, and then bent over to examine
them.

Their pupils were strangely dilated, and there was a great black circle
round their eyes, which extended to the lower parts of their ears; their
bluish noses stood out between their hollow cheeks, which were chinked
with deep wrinkles; the skin of their bodies was too large for their
muscles, and was hidden beneath a slate-coloured dust; their lips were
glued to their yellow teeth; they exhaled an infectious odour; they
might have been taken for half-opened tombs, for living sepulchres.

In the centre of the tent, on a mat on which the captains were about to
sit down, there was a dish of smoking gourds. The Barbarians fastened
their eyes upon it with a shivering in all their limbs, and tears came
to their eyelids; nevertheless they restrained themselves.

Hamilcar turned away to speak to some one. Then they all flung
themselves upon it, flat on the ground. Their faces were soaked in the
fat, and the noise of their deglutition was mingled with the sobs of joy
which they uttered. Through astonishment, doubtless, rather than pity,
they were allowed to finish the mess. Then when they had risen Hamilcar
with a sign commanded the man who bore the sword-belt to speak. Spendius
was afraid; he stammered.

Hamilcar, while listening to him, kept turning round on his finger a
big gold ring, the same which had stamped the seal of Carthage upon the
sword-belt. He let it fall to the ground; Spendius immediately picked it
up; his servile habits came back to him in the presence of his master.
The others quivered with indignation at such baseness.

But the Greek raised his voice and spoke for a long time in rapid,
insidious, and even violent fashion, setting forth the crimes of Hanno,
whom he knew to be Barca's enemy, and striving to move Hamilcar's pity
by the details of their miseries and the recollection of their devotion;
in the end he became forgetful of himself, being carried away by the
warmth of his temper.

Hamilcar replied that he accepted their excuses. Peace, then, was about
to be concluded, and now it would be a definitive one! But he required
that ten Mercenaries, chosen by himself, should be delivered up to him
without weapons or tunics.

They had not expected such clemency; Spendius exclaimed: "Ah! twenty if
you wish, master!"

"No! ten will suffice," replied Hamilcar quietly.

They were sent out of the tent to deliberate. As soon as they were
alone, Autaritus protested against the sacrifice of their companions,
and Zarxas said to Spendius:

"Why did you not kill him? his sword was there beside you!"

"Him!" said Spendius. "Him! him!" he repeated several times, as though
the thing had been impossible, and Hamilcar were an immortal.

They were so overwhelmed with weariness that they stretched themselves
on their backs on the ground, not knowing at what resolution to arrive.

Spendius urged them to yield. At last they consented, and went in again.

Then the Suffet put his hand into the hands of the ten Barbarians in
turn, and pressed their thumbs; then he rubbed it on his garment, for
their viscous skin gave a rude, soft impression to the touch, a greasy
tingling which induced horripilation. Afterwards he said to them:

"You are really all the chiefs of the Barbarians, and you have sworn for
them?"

"Yes!" they replied.

"Without constraint, from the bottom of your souls, with the intention
of fulfilling your promises?"

They assured him that they were returning to the rest in order to fulfil
them.

"Well!" rejoined the Suffet, "in accordance with the convention
concluded between myself, Barca, and the ambassadors of the Mercenaries,
it is you whom I choose and shall keep!"

Spendius fell swooning upon the mat. The Barbarians, as though
abandoning him, pressed close together; and there was not a word, not a
complaint.

Their companions, who were waiting for them, not seeing them return,
believed themselves betrayed. The envoys had no doubt given themselves
up to the Suffet.

They waited for two days longer; then on the morning of the third, their
resolution was taken. With ropes, picks, and arrows, arranged like
rungs between strips of canvas, they succeeded in scaling the rocks; and
leaving the weakest, about three thousand in number, behind them, they
began their march to rejoin the army at Tunis.

Above the gorge there stretched a meadow thinly sown with shrubs; the
Barbarians devoured the buds. Afterwards they found a field of beans;
and everything disappeared as though a cloud of grasshoppers had passed
that way. Three hours later they reached a second plateau bordered by a
belt of green hills.

Among the undulations of these hillocks, silvery sheaves shone at
intervals from one another; the Barbarians, who were dazzled by the
sun, could perceive confusedly below great black masses supporting them;
these rose, as though they were expanding. They were lances in towers on
elephants terribly armed.

Besides the spears on their breasts, the bodkin tusks, the brass plates
which covered their sides, and the daggers fastened to their knee-caps,
they had at the extremity of their tusks a leathern bracelet, in
which the handle of a broad cutlass was inserted; they had set out
simultaneously from the back part of the plain, and were advancing on
both sides in parallel lines.

The Barbarians were frozen with a nameless terror. They did not even try
to flee. They already found themselves surrounded.

The elephants entered into this mass of men; and the spurs on their
breasts divided it, the lances on their tusks upturned it like
ploughshares; they cut, hewed, and hacked with the scythes on their
trunks; the towers, which were full of phalaricas, looked like volcanoes
on the march; nothing could be distinguished but a large heap, whereon
human flesh, pieces of brass and blood made white spots, grey sheets
and red fuses. The horrible animals dug out black furrows as they passed
through the midst of it all.

The fiercest was driven by a Numidian who was crowned with a diadem of
plumes. He hurled javelins with frightful quickness, giving at intervals
a long shrill whistle. The great beasts, docile as dogs, kept an eye on
him during the carnage.

The circle of them narrowed by degrees; the weakened Barbarians offered
no resistance; the elephants were soon in the centre of the plain.
They lacked space; they thronged half-rearing together, and their tusks
clashed against one another. Suddenly Narr' Havas quieted them, and
wheeling round they trotted back to the hills.

Two syntagmata, however, had taken refuge on the right in a bend of
ground, had thrown away their arms, and were all kneeling with their
faces towards the Punic tents imploring mercy with uplifted arms.

Their legs and hands were tied; then when they were stretched on the
ground beside one another the elephants were brought back.

Their breasts cracked like boxes being forced; two were crushed at every
step; the big feet sank into the bodies with a motion of the haunches
which made the elephants appear lame. They went on to the very end.

The level surface of the plain again became motionless. Night fell.
Hamilcar was delighting himself with the spectacle of his vengeance, but
suddenly he started.

He saw, and all saw, some more Barbarians six hundred paces to the
left on the summit of a peak! In fact four hundred of the stoutest
Mercenaries, Etruscans, Libyans, and Spartans had gained the heights at
the beginning, and had remained there in uncertainty until now. After
the massacre of their companions they resolved to make their way through
the Carthaginians; they were already descending in serried columns, in a
marvellous and formidable fashion.

A herald was immediately despatched to them. The Suffet needed soldiers;
he received them unconditionally, so greatly did he admire their
bravery. They could even, said the man of Carthage, come a little
nearer, to a place, which he pointed out to them, where they would find
provisions.

The Barbarians ran thither and spent the night in eating. Then the
Carthaginians broke into clamours against the Suffet's partiality for
the Mercenaries.

Did he yield to these outbursts of insatiable hatred or was it a
refinement of treachery? The next day he came himself, without a sword
and bare-headed, with an escort of Clinabarians, and announced to
them that having too many to feed he did not intend to keep them.
Nevertheless, as he wanted men and he knew of no means of selecting the
good ones, they were to fight together to the death; he would then admit
the conquerors into his own body-guard. This death was quite as good as
another; - and then moving his soldiers aside (for the Punic standards
hid the horizon from the Mercenaries) he showed them the one hundred and
ninety-two elephants under Narr' Havas, forming a single straight line,
their trunks brandishing broad steel blades like giant arms holding axes
above their heads.

The Barbarians looked at one another silently. It was not death that
made them turn pale, but the horrible compulsion to which they found
themselves reduced.

The community of their lives had brought about profound friendship among
these men. The camp, with most, took the place of their country; living
without a family they transferred the needful tenderness to a companion,
and they would fall asleep in the starlight side by side under the
same cloak. And then in their perpetual wanderings through all sorts of
countries, murders, and adventures, they had contracted affections, one
for the other, in which the stronger protected the younger in the midst
of battles, helped him to cross precipices, sponged the sweat of fevers
from his brow, and stole food for him, and the weaker, a child perhaps,
who had been picked up on the roadside, and had then become a Mercenary,
repaid this devotion by a thousand kindnesses.

They exchanged their necklaces and earrings, presents which they had
made to one another in former days, after great peril, or in hours of
intoxication. All asked to die, and none would strike. A young fellow
might be seen here and there, saying to another whose beard was grey:
"No! no! you are more robust! you will avenge us, kill me!" and the man
would reply: "I have fewer years to live! Strike to the heart, and think
no more about it!" Brothers gazed on one another with clasped hands,
and friend bade friend eternal farewells, standing and weeping upon his
shoulder.

They threw off their cuirasses that the sword-points might be thrust in
the more quickly. Then there appeared the marks of the great blows which
they had received for Carthage, and which looked like inscriptions on
columns.

They placed themselves in four equal ranks, after the fashion of
gladiators, and began with timid engagements. Some had even bandaged
their eyes, and their swords waved gently through the air like blind
men's sticks. The Carthaginians hooted, and shouted to them that they
were cowards. The Barbarians became animated, and soon the combat as
general, headlong, and terrible.

Sometimes two men all covered with blood would stop, fall into each
other's arms, and die with mutual kisses. None drew back. They rushed
upon the extended blades. Their delirium was so frenzied that the
Carthaginians in the distance were afraid.

At last they stopped. Their breasts made a great hoarse noise, and
their eyeballs could be seen through their long hair, which hung down
as though it had come out of a purple bath. Several were turning round
rapidly, like panthers wounded in the forehead. Others stood motionless
looking at a corpse at their feet; then they would suddenly tear their
faces with their nails, take their swords with both hands, and plunge
them into their own bodies.

There were still sixty left. They asked for drink. They were told by
shouts to throw away their swords, and when they had done so water was
brought to them.

While they were drinking, with their faces buried in the vases, sixty
Carthaginians leaped upon them and killed them with stiletos in the
back.

Hamilcar had done this to gratify the instincts of his army, and, by
means of this treachery, to attach it to his own person.

The war, then, was ended; at least he believed that it was; Matho
would not resist; in his impatience the Suffet commanded an immediate
departure.

His scouts came to tell him that a convoy had been descried, departing
towards the Lead Mountain. Hamilcar did not trouble himself about it.
The Mercenaries once annihilated, the Nomads would give him no further
trouble. The important matter was to take Tunis. He advanced by forced
marches upon it.

He had sent Narr' Havas to Carthage with the news of his victory; and
the King of the Numidians, proud of his success, visited Salammbo.

She received him in her gardens under a large sycamore tree, amid
pillows of yellow leather, and with Taanach beside her. Her face was
covered with a white scarf, which, passing over her mouth and forehead,
allowed only her eyes to be seen; but her lips shone in the transparency
of the tissue like the gems on her fingers, for Salammbo had both
her hands wrapped up, and did not make a gesture during the whole
conversation.

Narr' Havas announced the defeat of the Barbarians to her. She thanked
him with a blessing for the services which he had rendered to her
father. Then he began to tell her about the whole campaign.

The doves on the palm trees around them cooed softly, and other birds
fluttered amid the grass: ring-necked glareolas, Tartessus quails and
Punic guinea-fowl. The garden, long uncultivated, had multiplied
its verdure; coloquintidas mounted into the branches of cassias, the
asclepias was scattered over fields of roses, all kinds of vegetation
formed entwinings and bowers; and here and there, as in the woods,
sun-rays, descending obliquely, marked the shadow of a leaf upon the
ground. Domestic animals, grown wild again, fled at the slightest noise.
Sometimes a gazelle might be seen trailing scattered peacocks' feathers
after its little black hoofs. The clamours of the distant town were lost
in the murmuring of the waves. The sky was quite blue, and not a sail
was visible on the sea.

Narr' Havas had ceased speaking; Salammbo was looking at him without
replying. He wore a linen robe with flowers painted on it, and with gold
fringes at the hem; two silver arrows fastened his plaited hair at the
tips of his ears; his right hand rested on a pike-staff adorned with
circles of electrum and tufts of hair.

As she watched him a crowd of dim thoughts absorbed her. This young man,
with his gentle voice and feminine figure, captivated her eyes by the
grace of his person, and seemed to her like an elder sister sent by the
Baals to protect her. The recollection of Matho came upon her, nor did
she resist the desire to learn what had become of him.

Narr' Havas replied that the Carthaginians were advancing towards Tunis
to take it. In proportion as he set forth their chances of success and
Matho's weaknesses, she seemed to rejoice in extraordinary hope. Her
lips trembled, her breast panted. When he finally promised to kill him
himself, she exclaimed: "Yes! kill him! It must be so!"

The Numidian replied that he desired this death ardently, since he would
be her husband when the war was over.

Salammbo started, and bent her head.

But Narr' Havas, pursuing the subject, compared his longings to flowers
languishing for rain, or to lost travellers waiting for the day. He told
her, further, that she was more beautiful than the moon, better than the
wind of morning or than the face of a guest. He would bring for her from
the country of the Blacks things such as there were none in Carthage,
and the apartments in their house should be sanded with gold dust.

Evening fell, and odours of balsam were exhaled. For a long time they
looked at each other in silence, and Salammbo's eyes, in the depths of
her long draperies, resembled two stars in the rift of a cloud. Before
the sun set he withdrew.

The Ancients felt themselves relieved of a great anxiety, when he
left Carthage. The people had received him with even more enthusiastic
acclamations than on the first occasion. If Hamilcar and the King of the
Numidians triumphed alone over the Mercenaries it would be impossible
to resist them. To weaken Barca they therefore resolved to make the aged
Hanno, him whom they loved, a sharer in the deliverance of Carthage.

He proceeded immediately towards the western provinces, to take his
vengeance in the very places which had witnessed his shame. But the
inhabitants and the Barbarians were dead, hidden, or fled. Then his
anger was vented upon the country. He burnt the ruins of the ruins, he
did not leave a single tree nor a blade of grass; the children and the
infirm, that were met with, were tortured; he gave the women to his
soldiers to be violated before they were slaughtered.

Often, on the crests of the hills, black tents were struck as though
overturned by the wind, and broad, brilliantly bordered discs, which
were recognised as being chariot-wheels, revolved with a plaintive sound
as they gradually disappeared in the valleys. The tribes, which had
abandoned the siege of Carthage, were wandering in this way through the
provinces, waiting for an opportunity, or for some victory to be gained
by the Mercenaries, in order to return. But, whether from terror or
famine, they all took the roads to their native lands, and disappeared.

Hamilcar was not jealous of Hanno's successes. Nevertheless he was in
a hurry to end matters; he commanded him to fall back upon Tunis; and
Hanno, who loved his country, was under the walls of the town on the
appointed day.

For its protection it had its aboriginal population, twelve thousand
Mercenaries, and, in addition, all the Eaters of Uncleanness, for
like Matho they were riveted to the horizon of Carthage, and plebs and
schalischim gazed at its lofty walls from afar, looking back in thought
to boundless enjoyments. With this harmony of hatred, resistance was
briskly organised. Leathern bottles were taken to make helmets; all the
palm-trees in the gardens were cut down for lances; cisterns were dug;
while for provisions they caught on the shores of the lake big white
fish, fed on corpses and filth. Their ramparts, kept in ruins now by the
jealousy of Carthage, were so weak that they could be thrown down with a
push of the shoulder. Matho stopped up the holes in them with the stones
of the houses. It was the last struggle; he hoped for nothing, and yet
he told himself that fortune was fickle.

As the Carthaginians approached they noticed a man on the rampart who
towered over the battlements from his belt upwards. The arrows that
flew about him seemed to frighten him no more than a swarm of swallows.
Extraordinary to say, none of them touched him.

Hamilcar pitched his camp on the south side; Narr' Havas, to his right,
occupied the plain of Rhades, and Hanno the shore of the lake; and the
three generals were to maintain their respective positions, so as all to
attack the walls simultaneously.

But Hamilcar wished first to show the Mercenaries that he would punish
them like slaves. He had the ten ambassadors crucified beside one
another on a hillock in front of the town.

At the sight of this the besieged forsook the rampart.

Matho had said to himself that if he could pass between the walls and
Narr' Havas's tents with such rapidity that the Numidians had not time
to come out, he could fall upon the rear of the Carthaginian infantry,
who would be caught between his division and those inside. He dashed out
with his veterans.

Narr' Havas perceived him; he crossed the shore of the lake, and came
to warn Hanno to dispatch men to Hamilcar's assistance. Did he believe
Barca too weak to resist the Mercenaries? Was it a piece of treachery or
folly? No one could ever learn.

Hanno, desiring to humiliate his rival, did not hesitate. He shouted
orders to sound the trumpets, and his whole army rushed upon the
Barbarians. The latter returned, and ran straight against the
Carthaginians; they knocked them down, crushed them under their feet,
and, driving them back in this way, reached the tent of Hanno, who was


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