Gustave Flaubert.

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As he found himself again in places where he had already seen her, the
interval of the days that had passed was obliterated from his memory.
But now had she been singing among the tables; she had disappeared, and
he had since been continually ascending this staircase. The sky above
his head was covered with fires; the sea filled the horizon; at each
step he was surrounded by a still greater immensity, and he continued to
climb upward with that strange facility which we experience in dreams.

The rustling of the veil as it brushed against the stones recalled his
new power to him; but in the excess of his hope he could no longer tell
what he was to do; this uncertainty alarmed him.

From time to time he would press his face against the quadrangular
openings in the closed apartments, and he thought that in several of the
latter he could see persons asleep.

The last story, which was narrower, formed a sort of dado on the summit
of the terraces. Matho walked round it slowly.

A milky light filled the sheets of talc which closed the little
apertures in the wall, and in their symmetrical arrangement they looked
in the darkness like rows of delicate pearls. He recognised the red door
with the black cross. The throbbing of his heart increased. He would
fain have fled. He pushed the door and it opened.

A galley-shaped lamp hung burning in the back part of the room,
and three rays, emitted from its silver keel, trembled on the lofty
wainscots, which were painted red with black bands. The ceiling was an
assemblage of small beams, with amethysts and topazes amid their gilding
in the knots of the wood. On both the great sides of the apartment there
stretched a very low bed made with white leathern straps; while above,
semi-circles like shells, opened in the thickness of the wall, suffered
a garment to come out and hang down to the ground.

There was an oval basin with a step of onyx round it; delicate slippers
of serpent skin were standing on the edge, together with an alabaster
flagon. The trace of a wet footstep might be seen beyond. Exquisite
scents were evaporating.

Matho glided over the pavement, which was encrusted with gold,
mother-of-pearl, and glass; and, in spite of the polished smoothness
of the ground, it seemed to him that his feet sank as though he were
walking on sand.

Behind the silver lamp he had perceived a large square of azure held in
the air by four cords from above, and he advanced with loins bent and
mouth open.

Flamingoes' wings, fitted on branches of black coral, lay about
among purple cushions, tortoiseshell strigils, cedar boxes, and ivory
spatulas. There were antelopes' horns with rings and bracelets strung
upon them; and clay vases were cooling in the wind in the cleft of the
wall with a lattice-work of reeds. Several times he struck his foot,
for the ground had various levels of unequal height, which formed a
succession of apartments, as it were, in the room. In the background
there were silver balustrades surrounding a carpet strewn with painted
flowers. At last he came to the hanging bed beside an ebony stool
serving to get into it.

But the light ceased at the edge; - and the shadow, like a great curtain,
revealed only a corner of the red mattress with the extremity of a
little naked foot lying upon its ankle. Then Matho took up the lamp very
gently.

She was sleeping with her cheek in one hand and with the other arm
extended. Her ringlets were spread about her in such abundance that she
appeared to be lying on black feathers, and her ample white tunic wound
in soft draperies to her feet following the curves of her person. Her
eyes were just visible beneath her half-closed eyelids. The curtains,
which stretched perpendicularly, enveloped her in a bluish atmosphere,
and the motion of her breathing, communicating itself to the cords,
seemed to rock her in the air. A long mosquito was buzzing.

Matho stood motionless holding the silver lamp at arm's length; but on a
sudden the mosquito-net caught fire and disappeared, and Salammbo awoke.

The fire had gone out of itself. She did not speak. The lamp caused
great luminous moires to flicker on the wainscots.

"What is it?" she said.

He replied:

"'Tis the veil of the goddess!"

"The veil of the goddess!" cried Salammbo, and supporting herself on
both clenched hands she leaned shuddering out. He resumed:

"I have been in the depths of the sanctuary to seek it for you! Look!"
The Zaimph shone a mass of rays.

"Do you remember it?" said Matho. "You appeared at night in my dreams,
but I did not guess the mute command of your eyes!" She put out one foot
upon the ebony stool. "Had I understood I should have hastened hither, I
should have forsaken the army, I should not have left Carthage. To obey
you I would go down through the caverns of Hadrumetum into the kingdom
of the shades! - Forgive me! it was as though mountains were weighing
upon my days; and yet something drew me on! I tried to come to you!
Should I ever have dared this without the Gods! - Let us go! You must
follow me! or, if you do not wish to do so, I will remain. What matters
it to me! - Drown my soul in your breath! Let my lips be crushed with
kissing your hands!"

"Let me see it!" she said. "Nearer! nearer!"

Day was breaking, and the sheets of talc in the walls were filled with a
vinous colour. Salammbo leaned fainting against the cushions of the bed.

"I love you!" cried Matho.

"Give it!" she stammered out, and they drew closer together.

She kept advancing, clothed in her white trailing simar, and with her
large eyes fastened on the veil. Matho gazed at her, dazzled by the
splendours of her head, and, holding out the zaimph towards her, was
about to enfold her in an embrace. She was stretching out her
arms. Suddenly she stopped, and they stood looking at each other,
open-mouthed.

Then without understanding the meaning of his solicitation a horror
seized upon her. Her delicate eyebrows rose, her lips opened; she
trembled. At last she struck one of the brass pateras which hung at the
corners of the red mattress, crying:

"To the rescue! to the rescue! Back, sacrilegious man! infamous and
accursed! Help, Taanach, Kroum, Ewa, Micipsa, Schaoul!"

And the scared face of Spendius, appearing in the wall between the clay
flagons, cried out these words:

"Fly! they are hastening hither!"

A great tumult came upwards shaking the staircases, and a flood of
people, women, serving-men, and slaves, rushed into the room with
stakes, tomahawks, cutlasses, and daggers. They were nearly paralysed
with indignation on perceiving a man; the female servants uttered
funeral wailings, and the eunuchs grew pale beneath their black skins.

Matho was standing behind the balustrades. With the zaimph which was
wrapped about him, he looked like a sidereal god surrounded by the
firmament. The slaves were going to fall upon him, but she stopped them:

"Touch it not! It is the mantle of the goddess!"

She had drawn back into a corner; but she took a step towards him, and
stretched forth her naked arm:

"A curse upon you, you who have plundered Tanith! Hatred, vengeance,
massacre, and grief! May Gurzil, god of battles, rend you! may Mastiman,
god of the dead, stifle you! and may the Other - he who may not be
named - burn you!"

Matho uttered a cry as though he had received a sword-thrust. She
repeated several times: "Begone! begone!"

The crowd of servants spread out, and Matho, with hanging head, passed
slowly through the midst of them; but at the door he stopped, for the
fringe of the zaimph had caught on one of the golden stars with which
the flagstones were paved. He pulled it off abruptly with a movement of
his shoulder and went down the staircases.

Spendius, bounding from terrace to terrace, and leaping over the hedges
and trenches, had escaped from the gardens. He reached the foot of the
pharos. The wall was discontinued at this spot, so inaccessible was the
cliff. He advanced to the edge, lay down on his back, and let himself
slide, feet foremost, down the whole length of it to the bottom; then
by swimming he reached the Cape of the Tombs, made a wide circuit of the
salt lagoon, and re-entered the camp of the Barbarians in the evening.

The sun had risen; and, like a retreating lion, Matho went down the
paths, casting terrible glances about him.

A vague clamour reached his ears. It had started from the palace, and it
was beginning afresh in the distance, towards the Acropolis. Some said
that the treasure of the Republic had been seized in the temple of
Moloch; others spoke of the assassination of a priest. It was thought,
moreover, that the Barbarians had entered the city.

Matho, who did not know how to get out of the enclosures, walked
straight before him. He was seen, and an outcry was raised. Every one
understood; and there was consternation, then immense wrath.

From the bottom of the Mappalian quarter, from the heights of the
Acropolis, from the catacombs, from the borders of the lake, the
multitude came in haste. The patricians left their palaces, and the
traders left their shops; the women forsook their children; swords,
hatchets, and sticks were seized; but the obstacle which had stayed
Salammbo stayed them. How could the veil be taken back? The mere sight
of it was a crime; it was of the nature of the gods, and contact with it
was death.

The despairing priests wrung their hands on the peristyles of the
temples. The guards of the Legion galloped about at random; the people
climbed upon the houses, the terraces, the shoulders of the colossuses,
and the masts of the ships. He went on, nevertheless, and the rage, and
the terror also, increased at each of his steps; the streets cleared at
his approach, and the torrent of flying men streamed on both sides up
to the tops of the walls. Everywhere he could perceive only eyes opened
widely as if to devour him, chattering teeth and outstretched fists, and
Salammbo's imprecations resounded many times renewed.

Suddenly a long arrow whizzed past, then another, and stones began to
buzz about him; but the missiles, being badly aimed (for there was the
dread of hitting the zaimph), passed over his head. Moreover, he made a
shield of the veil, holding it to the right, to the left, before him and
behind him; and they could devise no expedient. He quickened his steps
more and more, advancing through the open streets. They were barred
with cords, chariots, and snares; and all his windings brought him back
again. At last he entered the square of Khamon where the Balearians had
perished, and stopped, growing pale as one about to die. This time he
was surely lost, and the multitude clapped their hands.

He ran up to the great gate, which was closed. It was very high, made
throughout of heart of oak, with iron nails and sheathed with brass.
Matho flung himself against it. The people stamped their feet with joy
when they saw the impotence of his fury; then he took his sandal, spit
upon it, and beat the immovable panels with it. The whole city howled.
The veil was forgotten now, and they were about to crush him. Matho
gazed with wide vacant eyes upon the crowd. His temples were throbbing
with violence enough to stun him, and he felt a numbness as of
intoxication creeping over him. Suddenly he caught sight of the long
chain used in working the swinging of the gate. With a bound he grasped
it, stiffening his arms, and making a buttress of his feet, and at last
the huge leaves partly opened.

Then when he was outside he took the great zaimph from his neck, and
raised it as high as possible above his head. The material, upborne by
the sea breeze, shone in the sunlight with its colours, its gems, and
the figures of its gods. Matho bore it thus across the whole plain as
far as the soldiers' tents, and the people on the walls watched the
fortune of Carthage depart.



CHAPTER VI

HANNO

"I ought to have carried her off!" Matho said in the evening to
Spendius. "I should have seized her, and torn her from her house! No one
would have dared to touch me!"

Spendius was not listening to him. Stretched on his back he was taking
delicious rest beside a large jar filled with honey-coloured water, into
which he would dip his head from time to time in order to drink more
copiously.

Matho resumed:

"What is to be done? How can we re-enter Carthage?"

"I do not know," said Spendius.

Such impassibility exasperated Matho and he exclaimed:

"Why! the fault is yours! You carry me away, and then you forsake me,
coward that you are! Why, pray, should I obey you? Do you think that you
are my master? Ah! you prostituter, you slave, you son of a slave!" He
ground his teeth and raised his broad hand above Spendius.

The Greek did not reply. An earthen lamp was burning gently against the
tent-pole, where the zaimph shone amid the hanging panoply. Suddenly
Matho put on his cothurni, buckled on his brazen jacket of mail, and
took his helmet.

"Where are you going?" asked Spendius.

"I am returning! Let me alone! I will bring her back! And if they show
themselves I will crush them like vipers! I will put her to death,
Spendius! Yes," he repeated, "I will kill her! You shall see, I will
kill her!"

But Spendius, who was listening eagerly, snatched up the zaimph abruptly
and threw it into a corner, heaping up fleeces above it. A murmuring of
voices was heard, torches gleamed, and Narr' Havas entered, followed by
about twenty men.

They wore white woollen cloaks, long daggers, copper necklaces, wooden
earrings, and boots of hyena skin; and standing on the threshold they
leaned upon their lances like herdsmen resting themselves. Narr' Havas
was the handsomest of all; his slender arms were bound with straps
ornamented with pearls. The golden circlet which fastened his ample
garment about his head held an ostrich feather which hung down behind
his shoulder; his teeth were displayed in a continual smile; his eyes
seemed sharpened like arrows, and there was something observant and airy
about his whole demeanour.

He declared that he had come to join the Mercenaries, for the Republic
had long been threatening his kingdom. Accordingly he was interested in
assisting the Barbarians, and he might also be of service to them.

"I will provide you with elephants (my forests are full of them),
wine, oil, barley, dates, pitch and sulphur for sieges, twenty thousand
foot-soldiers and ten thousand horses. If I address myself to you,
Matho, it is because the possession of the zaimph has made you chief man
in the army. Moreover," he added, "we are old friends."

Matho, however, was looking at Spendius, who, seated on the sheep-skins,
was listening, and giving little nods of assent the while. Narr' Havas
continued speaking. He called the gods to witness he cursed Carthage. In
his imprecations he broke a javelin. All his men uttered simultaneously
a loud howl, and Matho, carried away by so much passion, exclaimed that
he accepted the alliance.

A white bull and a black sheep, the symbols of day and night, were then
brought, and their throats were cut on the edge of a ditch. When the
latter was full of blood they dipped their arms into it. Then Narr'
Havas spread out his hand upon Matho's breast, and Matho did the same
to Narr' Havas. They repeated the stain upon the canvas of their tents.
Afterwards they passed the night in eating, and the remaining portions
of the meat were burnt together with the skin, bones, horns, and hoofs.

Matho had been greeted with great shouting when he had come back bearing
the veil of the goddess; even those who were not of the Chanaanitish
religion were made by their vague enthusiasm to feel the arrival of
a genius. As to seizing the zaimph, no one thought of it, for the
mysterious manner in which he had acquired it was sufficient in the
minds of the Barbarians to justify its possession; such were the
thoughts of the soldiers of the African race. The others, whose hatred
was not of such long standing, did not know how to make up their minds.
If they had had ships they would immediately have departed.

Spendius, Narr' Havas, and Matho despatched men to all the tribes on
Punic soil.

Carthage was sapping the strength of these nations. She wrung exorbitant
taxes from them, and arrears or even murmurings were punished with
fetters, the axe, or the cross. It was necessary to cultivate whatever
suited the Republic, and to furnish what she demanded; no one had the
right of possessing a weapon; when villages rebelled the inhabitants
were sold; governors were esteemed like wine-presses, according to the
quantity which they succeeded in extracting. Then beyond the regions
immediately subject to Carthage extended the allies roamed the Nomads,
who might be let loose upon them. By this system the crops were always
abundant, the studs skilfully managed, and the plantations superb.

The elder Cato, a master in the matters of tillage and slaves, was
amazed at it ninety-two years later, and the death-cry which he repeated
continually at Rome was but the exclamation of jealous greed.

During the last war the exactions had been increased, so that nearly
all the towns of Libya had surrendered to Regulus. To punish them, a
thousand talents, twenty thousand oxen, three hundred bags of gold dust,
and considerable advances of grain had been exacted from them, and the
chiefs of the tribes had been crucified or thrown to the lions.

Tunis especially execrated Carthage! Older than the metropolis, it could
not forgive her her greatness, and it fronted her walls crouching in
the mire on the water's edge like a venomous beast watching her.
Transportation, massacres, and epidemics did not weaken it. It
had assisted Archagathas, the son of Agathocles, and the Eaters of
Uncleanness found arms there at once.

The couriers had not yet set out when universal rejoicing broke out
in the provinces. Without waiting for anything they strangled the
comptrollers of the houses and the functionaries of the Republic in
the baths; they took the old weapons that had been concealed out of the
caves; they forged swords with the iron of the ploughs; the children
sharpened javelins at the doors, and the women gave their necklaces,
rings, earrings, and everything that could be employed for the
destruction of Carthage. Piles of lances were heaped up in the country
towns like sheaves of maize. Cattle and money were sent off. Matho
speedily paid the Mercenaries their arrears, and owing to this, which
was Spendius's idea, he was appointed commander-in-chief - the schalishim
of the Barbarians.

Reinforcements of men poured in at the same time. The aborigines
appeared first, and were followed by the slaves from the country;
caravans of Negroes were seized and armed, and merchants on their way
to Carthage, despairing of any more certain profit, mingled with the
Barbarians. Numerous bands were continually arriving. From the heights
of the Acropolis the growing army might be seen.

But the guards of the Legion were posted as sentries on the platform
of the aqueduct, and near them rose at intervals brazen vats, in which
floods of asphalt were boiling. Below in the plain the great crowd
stirred tumultuously. They were in a state of uncertainty, feeling the
embarrassment with which Barbarians are always inspired when they meet
with walls.

Utica and Hippo-Zarytus refused their alliance. Phoenician colonies like
Carthage, they were self-governing, and always had clauses inserted
in the treaties concluded by the Republic to distinguish them from the
latter. Nevertheless they respected this strong sister of theirs who
protected them, and they did not think that she could be vanquished by
a mass of Barbarians; these would on the contrary be themselves
exterminated. They desired to remain neutral and to live at peace.

But their position rendered them indispensable. Utica, at the foot
of the gulf, was convenient for bringing assistance to Carthage from
without. If Utica alone were taken, Hippo-Zarytus, six hours further
distant along the coast, would take its place, and the metropolis, being
revictualled in this way, would be impregnable.

Spendius wished the siege to be undertaken immediately. Narr' Havas was
opposed to this: an advance should first be made upon the frontier.
This was the opinion of the veterans, and of Matho himself, and it
was decided that Spendius should go to attack Utica, and Matho
Hippo-Zarytus, while in the third place the main body should rest on
Tunis and occupy the plain of Carthage, Autaritus being in command. As
to Narr' Havas, he was to return to his own kingdom to procure elephants
and to scour the roads with his cavalry.

The women cried out loudly against this decision; they coveted the
jewels of the Punic ladies. The Libyans also protested. They had been
summoned against Carthage, and now they were going away from it! The
soldiers departed almost alone. Matho commanded his own companions,
together with the Iberians, Lusitanians, and the men of the West, and of
the islands; all those who spoke Greek had asked for Spendius on account
of his cleverness.

Great was the stupefaction when the army was seen suddenly in motion;
it stretched along beneath the mountain of Ariana on the road to Utica
beside the sea. A fragment remained before Tunis, the rest disappeared
to re-appear on the other shore of the gulf on the outskirts of the
woods in which they were lost.

They were perhaps eighty thousand men. The two Tyrian cities would offer
no resistance, and they would return against Carthage. Already there was
a considerable army attacking it from the base of the isthmus, and it
would soon perish from famine, for it was impossible to live without the
aid of the provinces, the citizens not paying contributions as they did
at Rome. Carthage was wanting in political genius. Her eternal anxiety
for gain prevented her from having the prudence which results from
loftier ambitions. A galley anchored on the Libyan sands, it was with
toil that she maintained her position. The nations roared like billows
around her, and the slightest storm shook this formidable machine.

The treasury was exhausted by the Roman war and by all that had been
squandered and lost in the bargaining with the Barbarians. Nevertheless
soldiers must be had, and not a government would trust the Republic!
Ptolemaeus had lately refused it two thousand talents. Moreover the rape
of the veil disheartened them. Spendius had clearly foreseen this.

But the nation, feeling that it was hated, clasped its money and
its gods to its heart, and its patriotism was sustained by the very
constitution of its government.

First, the power rested with all, without any one being strong enough
to engross it. Private debts were considered as public debts, men of
Chanaanitish race had a monopoly of commerce, and by multiplying the
profits of piracy with those of usury, by hard dealings in lands and
slaves and with the poor, fortunes were sometimes made. These alone
opened up all the magistracies, and although authority and money were
perpetuated in the same families, people tolerated the oligarchy because
they hoped ultimately to share in it.

The societies of merchants, in which the laws were elaborated, chose the
inspectors of the exchequer, who on leaving office nominated the hundred
members of the Council of the Ancients, themselves dependent on the
Grand Assembly, or general gathering of all the rich. As to the two
Suffets, the relics of the monarchy and the less than consuls, they were
taken from distinct families on the same day. All kinds of enmities were
contrived between them, so that they might mutually weaken each other.
They could not deliberate concerning war, and when they were vanquished
the Great Council crucified them.

The power of Carthage emanated, therefore, from the Syssitia, that is
to say, from a large court in the centre of Malqua, at the place, it was
said, where the first bark of Phoenician sailors had touched, the sea
having retired a long way since then. It was a collection of little
rooms of archaic architecture, built of palm trunks with corners of
stone, and separated from one another so as to accommodate the various
societies separately. The rich crowded there all day to discuss their
own concerns and those of the government, from the procuring of pepper
to the extermination of Rome. Thrice in a moon they would have their
beds brought up to the lofty terrace running along the wall of the
court, and they might be seen from below at table in the air, without
cothurni or cloaks, with their diamond-covered fingers wandering



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