The Junior Classics
A LIBRARY FOR BOYS AND GIRLS
THE JUNIOR CLASSICS
SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY WILLIAM PATTEN MANAGING EDITOR OF THE HARVARD CLASSICS
INTRODUCTION BY CHARLES W. ELIOT, LL. D. PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY
WITH A READING GUIDE BY WILLIAM ALLAN NEILSON, Ph.D. PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT SMITH COLLEGE, NORTHAMPTON, MASS., SINCE 1917[-1939]
Stories of Courage and Heroism
How Phidias Helped the Image-Maker Beatrice Harraden
The Fight at the Pass of Thermopyl Charlotte M. Yonge
The Bravery of Regulus Charlotte M. Yonge
The Rabbi Who Found the Diadem Dr. A. S. Isaacs
How Livia Won the Brooch Beatrice Harraden
Julius Csar Crossing the Rubicon Jacob Abbott
Fearless Saint Genevieve, Patron Saint of Paris Charlotte M. Yonge
The Boy Viking—Olaf II of Norway E. S. Brooks
The Boy-Heroes of Crecy and Poitiers Treadwell Walden
The Noble Burghers of Calais Charlotte M. Yonge
The Story of Joan of Arc, the Maid Who Saved France Anonymous
How Joan the Maid Took Largess from the English Anonymous
Death of Joan the Maid Anonymous
How Catherine Douglas Tried to Save King James of Scotland Charlotte M. Yonge
The Brave Queen of Hungary Charlotte M. Yonge
The Story of Christopher Columbus for Little Children Elizabeth Harrison
A Sea-Fight in the Time of Queen Bess Charles Kingsley
A Brave Scottish Chief Anonymous
The Adventure of Grizel Cochrane Arthur Quiller-Couch
The Sunken Treasure Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Lost Exiles of Texas Arthur Oilman
The Boy Conqueror—Charles XII of Sweden E. S. Brooks
The True Story of a Kidnapped Boy as Told by Himself Peter Williamson
The Prisoner Who Would Not Stay in Prison Anonymous
A White Boy Among the Indians, as Told by Himself John Tanner
Evangeline of Acadia Henry W. Longfellow
Jabez Rockwell's Powder-Horn Ralph D. Paine
A Man Who Coveted Washington's Shoes Frank R. Stockton.
A Famous Fight Between an English and a French Frigate Rev. W. H. Fitchett
The Trick of an Indian Spy Arthur Quiller-Couch
The Man in the "Auger Hole" Frank R. Stockton.
The Remarkable Voyage of the Bounty Anonymous
The Two Boy Hostages at the Siege of Seringapatam Anonymous
The Man Who Spoiled Napoleon's "Destiny" Rev. W. H. Fitchett
A Fire-Fighter's Rescue from the Flames Arthur Quiller-Couch
How Napoleon Rewarded His Men Baron de Marbot
A Rescue from Shipwreck Arthur Quiller-Couch
Rebecca the Drummer Charles Barnard
The Messenger M. E. M. Davis
Humphry Davy and the Safety-Lamp George C. Towle
Kit Carson's Duel Emerson Hough
The Story of Grace Darling Anonymous
The Struggles of Charles Goodyear George C. Towle
Old Johnny Appleseed Elizabeth Harrison
The Little Post-Boy Bayard Taylor
How June Found Massa Linkum Elizabeth S. Phelps
The Story of a Forest Fire Raymond S. Spears
CATHERINE DOUGLAS THRUST HER ARM THROUGH THE EMPTY STAPLES
How Catherine Douglas Tried to Save King James of Scotland
Frontispiece illustration in color from the painting by J. R. Skelton
HE SHOOK HIS CLENCHED FIST AT THE OBSTRUCTED SEA-STRAIT
The Boy Viking—Olaf II of Norway
From the drawing by Gertrude Demain Hammond
"FIGHT ON!" CRIED THE MAID; "THE PLACE IS OURS"
The Story of Joan of Arc
From the painting by William Rainey
THEN HE OFFERED A FERVENT PRAYER OF THANKS
A Story of Christopher Columbus
The stories in this volume are true stories, and have been arranged in chronological order, an arrangement that will aid the reader to remember the times to which the stories relate.
Almost any encyclopedia can be consulted for general details of the life stories of the interesting people whose names crowd the volume except perhaps in the cases of Peter Williamson and John Tanner, "The True Story of a Kidnapped Boy," and "A White Boy Among the Indians." Peter Williamson was kidnapped in Glasgow, Scotland, when he was eight years old, was captured by the Cherokee Indians in 1745, and (though the story does not tell this) he returned to England and became a prominent citizen. He first made the British Government pay damages for his kidnapping, gave the first exhibition in England of Indian war dances, and was the first Englishman to publish a street directory. He was finally pensioned by the Government for his services in establishing a penny post.
John Tanner, the son of a clergyman, was stolen by the Indians some years later. His mother died when he was very young, his father treated him harshly, and so when the Indians kidnapped him he made no effort to escape. John remained among them until he was an old man, and the story of his life, which he was obliged to dictate to others as he could neither read nor write, was first published about 1830. The stories of these boys are considered to be two of the most reliable early accounts we possess of life among the Indians.
Acknowledgment for permission to include several stories included in this volume is made in Volume X.
HOW PHIDIAS HELPED THE IMAGE-MAKER
By Beatrice Harraden
During the time when Pericles was at the head of the state at Athens he spared no pains and no money to make the city beautiful. He himself was a lover and patron of the arts, and he was determined that Athens should become the very centre of art and refinement, and that she should have splendid public buildings and splendid sculptures and paintings. So he gathered round him all the great sculptors and painters, and set them to work to carry out his ambitious plans; and some of you know that the "Age of Pericles" is still spoken of as an age in which art advanced towards and attained to a marvellous perfection.
On the Acropolis, or Citadel of Athens, rose the magnificent Temple of Athena, called the Parthenon, built under the direction of Phidias, the most celebrated sculptor of that time, who adorned it with many of his works, and especially with the huge statue of Athena in ivory, forty-seven feet in height. The Acropolis was also enriched with another figure of Athena in bronze—also the work of Phidias.
The statue was called the "Athena Promachus"; that is "The Defender." If you turn to your Grecian History you will find a full description of the Parthenon and the other temples of the gods and heroes and guardian deities of the city. But I want to tell you something about Phidias himself, and little Iris, an image-maker's daughter.
It was in the year 450 B.C., in the early summer, and Phidias, who had been working all the day, strolled quietly along the streets of Athens.
As he passed by the Agora (or market-place), he chanced to look up, and he saw a young girl of about thirteen years sitting near him. Her face was of the purest beauty; her head was gracefully poised on her shoulders; her expression was sadness itself. She looked poor and in distress. She came forward and begged for help; and there was something in her manner, as well as in her face, which made Phidias pause and listen to her.
"My father lies ill," she said plaintively, "and he cannot do his work, and so we can get no food: nothing to make him well and strong again. If I could only do his work for him I should not mind; and then I should not beg. He does not know I came out to beg—he would never forgive me; but I could not bear to see him lying there without food."
"And who is your father?" asked Phidias kindly.
"His name is Aristus," she said, "and he is a maker of images—little clay figures of gods and goddesses and heroes. Indeed, he is clever; and I am sure you would praise the 'Hercules' he finished before he was taken ill."
"Take me to your home," Phidias said to the girl; as they passed on together he asked her many questions about the image-maker. She was proud of her father; and Phidias smiled to himself when he heard her speak of this father as though he were the greatest sculptor in Athens. He liked to hear her speak so enthusiastically.
"Is it not wonderful," she said, "to take the clay and work in into forms? Not everyone could do that—could you do it?"
"Perhaps not so well as your father," he answered kindly. "Still, I can do it."
A sudden thought struck Iris.
"Perhaps you would help father?" she said eagerly. "Ah! but I ought not to have said that."
"Perhaps I can help him," replied Phidias good-naturedly. "Anyway, take me to him."
She led him through some side streets into the poorest parts of the city, and stopped before a little window, where a few roughly-wrought images and vases were exposed to view. She beckoned to him to follow her, and opening the door, crept gently into a room which served as their workshop and dwelling-place. Phidias saw a man stretched out on a couch at the farther end of the room, near a bench where many images and pots of all sorts lay unfinished.
"This is our home," whispered Iris proudly, "and that is my father yonder."
The image-maker looked up and called for Iris.
"I am so faint, child," he murmured. "If I could only become strong again I could get back to my work. It is so hard to lie here and die."
Phidias bent over him.
"You shall not die," he said, "if money can do you any good. I met your little daughter, and she told me that you were an image-maker; and that interested me, because I, too, can make images, though perhaps not as well as you. Still, I thought I should like to come and see you and help you; and if you will let me, I will try and make a few images for you, so that your daughter may go out and sell them, and bring you home money. And meanwhile, she shall fetch you some food to nourish you."
Then he turned to Iris, and putting some coins into her hands bade her go out and bring what she thought fit. She did not know how to thank him, but hurried away on her glad errand, and Phidias talked kindly to his fellow-worker, and then, throwing aside his cloak, sat down at the bench and busied himself with modelling the clay.
It was so different from his ordinary work that he could not help smiling.
"This is rather easier," he thought to himself, "than carving from the marble a statue of Athena. What a strange occupation!" Nevertheless, he was so interested in modelling the quaint little images that he did not perceive that Iris had returned, until he looked up, and saw her standing near him, watching him with wonder, which she could not conceal.
"Oh, how clever!" she cried. "Father, if you could only see what he is doing!"
"Nay, child," said the sculptor, laughing; "get your father his food, and leave me to my work. I am going to model a little image of the goddess Athena, for I think the folk will like to buy that, since that rogue Phidias has set up his statue of her in the Parthenon."
"Phidias, the prince of sculptors!" said the image-maker. "May the gods preserve his life; for he is the greatest glory of all Athens!"
"Ay," said Iris, as she prepared her father's food, "that is what we all call him—the greatest glory of all Athens."
"We think of him," said Aristus, feebly, "and that helps us in our work. Yes, it helps even us poor image-makers. When I saw the beautiful Athena I came home cheered and encouraged. May Phidias be watched over and blessed all his life!"
The tears came into the eyes of Phidias as he bent over his work; it was a pleasure to him to think that his fame gained for him a resting-place of love and gratitude in the hearts of the poorest citizens of Athens. He valued this tribute of the image-maker far more than the praises of the rich and great. Before he left, he saw that both father and daughter were much refreshed by the food which his bounty had given to them, and he bade Aristus be of good cheer, because he would surely regain his health and strength.
"And because you love your art," he said, "I shall be a friend to you and help you. And I shall come again to-morrow and do some work for you—that is to say, if you approve of what I have already done, and then Iris will be able to go out and sell the figures."
He hastened away before they were able to thank him, and he left them wondering who this new friend could be. They talked of him for a long time, of his kindness and his skill; and Aristus dreamt that night about the stranger who had come to work for him.
The next day Phidias came again, and took his place at the image-maker's bench, just as if he were always accustomed to sit there. Aristus, who was better, watched him curiously, but asked no questions.
But Iris said to him: "My father and I talk of you, and wonder who you are."
"Perhaps I shall tell you some day," he answered. "There, child, what do you think of that little vase? When it is baked it will be a pretty thing."
As the days went on, the image-maker recovered his strength; and meanwhile Phidias had filled the little shop with dainty-wrought images and graceful vases, such as had never been seen there before.
One evening, when Aristus was leaning against Iris, and admiring the stranger's work, the door opened and Phidias came in.
"What, friend," he said cheerily, "you are better to-night I see!"
"Last night," said Aristus, "I dreamt that the friend who held out a brother's hand to me and helped me in my trouble was the great Phidias himself. It did not seem wonderful to me, for only the great do such things as you have done for me. You must be great."
"I do not know about that," said the sculptor, smiling, "and after all, I have not done so much for you. I have only helped a brother-workman: for I am an image-maker too—and my name is Phidias."
Then Aristus bent down and reverently kissed the great sculptor's hands.
"I cannot find words with which to thank you," he murmured, "but I shall pray to the gods night and day that they will for ever bless Phidias, and keep his fame pure, and his hands strong to fashion forms of beauty. And this I know well: that he will always have a resting-place of love and gratitude in the poor image-maker's heart."
And Phidias went on his way, tenfold richer and happier for the image-maker's words. For there is something lovelier than fame and wealth, my children; it is the opportunity of giving the best of one's self and the best of one's powers to aid those of our fellow-workers who need our active help.
THE FIGHT AT THE PASS OF THERMOPYL
By Charlotte M. Yonge
There was trembling in Greece. "The Great King," as the Greeks called Xerxes, the chief ruler of the East, was marshaling his forces against the little free states that nestled amid the rocks and gulfs of the Eastern Mediterranean—the whole of which together would hardly equal one province of the huge Asiatic realm! Moreover, it was a war not only on the men but on their gods. The Persians were zealous adorers of the sun and the fire, they abhorred the idol-worship of the Greeks, and defiled and plundered every temple that fell in their way. Death and desolation were almost the best that could be looked for at such hands—slavery and torture from cruelly barbarous masters would only too surely be the lot of numbers, should their land fall a prey to the conquerors.
The muster place was at Sardis, and there Greek spies had seen the multitudes assembling and the state and magnificence of the king's attendants. Envoys had come from him to demand earth and water from each state in Greece, as emblems that land and sea were his, but each state was resolved to be free, and only Thessaly, that which lay first in his path, consented to yield the token of subjugation. A council was held at the Isthmus of Corinth, and attended by deputies from all the states of Greece to consider of the best means of defense. The ships of the enemy would coast round the shores of the gean Sea, the land army would cross the Hellespont on a bridge of boats lashed together, and march southwards into Greece. The only hope of averting the danger lay in defending such passages as, from the nature of the ground, were so narrow that only a few persons could fight hand to hand at once, so that courage would be of more avail than numbers.
The first of these passes was called Tempe, and a body of troops was sent to guard it; but they found that this was useless and impossible, and came back again. The next was at Thermopyl. Look in your map of the Archipelago, or gean Sea, as it was then called, for the great island of Negropont, or by its old name, Euboea. It looks like a piece broken off from the coast, and to the north is shaped like the head of a bird, with the beak running into a gulf, that would fit over it, upon the main land, and between the island and the coast is an exceedingly narrow strait. The Persian army would have to march round the edge of the gulf. They could not cut straight across the country, because the ridge of mountains called Oeta rose up and barred their way. Indeed, the woods, rocks, and precipices came down so near the seashore, that in two places there was only room for one single wheel track between the steeps and the impassable morass that formed the border of the gulf on its south side. These two very narrow places were called the gates of the pass, and were about a mile apart. There was a little more width left in the intervening space; but in this there were a number of springs of warm mineral water, salt and sulphurous, which were used for the sick to bathe in, and thus the place was called Thermopyl, or the Hot Gates. A wall had once been built across the westernmost of these narrow places, when the Thessalians and Phocians, who lived on either side of it, had been at war with one another; but it had been allowed to go to decay, since the Phocians had found out that there was a very steep narrow mountain path along the bed of a torrent, by which it was possible to cross from one territory to the other without going round this marshy coast road.
This was, therefore, an excellent place to defend. The Greek ships were all drawn up on the further side of Euboea to prevent the Persian vessels from getting into the strait and landing men beyond the pass, and a division of the army was sent off to guard the Hot Gates. The council at the Isthmus did not know of the mountain pathway, and thought that all would be safe as long as the Persians were kept out of the coast path.
The troops sent for this purpose were from different cities, and amounted to about 4,000 who were to keep the pass against two millions. The leader of them was Leonidas, who had newly become one of the two kings of Sparta, the city that above all in Greece trained its sons to be hardy soldiers, dreading death infinitely less than shame. Leonidas had already made up his mind that the expedition would probably be his death, perhaps because a prophecy had been given at the Temple at Delphi that Sparta should be saved by the death of one of her kings of the race of Hercules. He was allowed by law to take with him 300 men, and these he chose most carefully, not merely for their strength and courage, but selecting those who had sons, so that no family might be altogether destroyed. These Spartans, with their helots or slaves, made up his own share of the numbers, but all the army was under his generalship. It is even said that the 300 celebrated their own funeral rites before they set out lest they should be deprived of them by the enemy, since, as we have already seen, it was the Greek belief that the spirits of the dead found no rest till their obsequies had been performed. Such preparations did not daunt the spirits of Leonidas and his men, and his wife, Gorgo, not a woman to be faint-hearted or hold him back. Long before, when she was a very little girl, a word of hers had saved her father from listening to a traitorous message from the King of Persia; and every Spartan lady was bred up to be able to say to those she best loved that they must come home from battle "with the shield or on it"—either carrying it victoriously or borne upon it as a corpse.
When Leonidas came to Thermopyl, the Phocians told him of the mountain path through the chestnut woods of Mount ta, and begged to have the privilege of guarding it on a spot high up on the mountain side, assuring him that it was very hard to find at the other end, and that there was every probability that the enemy would never discover it. He consented, and encamping around the warm springs, caused the broken wall to be repaired, and made ready to meet the foe.
The Persian army were seen covering the whole country like locusts, and the hearts of some of the southern Greeks in the pass began to sink. Their homes in the Peloponnesus were comparatively secure—had they not better fall back and reserve themselves to defend the Isthmus of Corinth? But Leonidas, though Sparta was safe below the Isthmus, had no intention of abandoning his northern allies, and kept the other Peloponnesians to their posts, only sending messengers for further help.
Presently a Persian on horseback rode up to reconnoiter the pass. He could not see over the wall, but in front of it and on the ramparts, he saw the Spartans, some of them engaged in active sports, and others in combing their long hair. He rode back to the king, and told him what he had seen. Now Xerxes had in his camp an exiled Spartan prince, named Demaratus, who had become a traitor to his country, and was serving as counselor to the enemy. Xerxes sent for him, and asked whether his countrymen were mad to be thus employed instead of fleeing away; but Demaratus made answer that a hard fight was no doubt in preparation, and that it was the custom of the Spartans to array their hair with especial care when they were about to enter upon any great peril. Xerxes would, however, not believe that so petty a force could intend to resist him, and waited four days, probably expecting his fleet to assist him, but as it did not appear, the attack was made.
The Greeks, stronger men and more heavily armed, were far better able to fight to advantage than the Persians with their short spears and wicker shields, and beat them off with great ease. It is said that Xerxes three times leapt off his throne in despair at the sight of his troops being driven backwards; and thus for two days it seemed as easy to force a way through the Spartans as through the rocks themselves. Nay, how could slavish troops, dragged from home to spread the victories of an ambitious king, fight like freemen who felt that their strokes were to defend their homes and children?
That evening a wretched man, named Ephialtes, crept into the Persian camp, and offered, for a great sum of money, to show the mountain path that would enable the enemy to take the brave defenders in the rear! A Persian general, named Hydarnes, was sent off at nightfall with a detachment to secure this passage, and was guided through the thick forests that clothed the hill-side. In the stillness of the air, at daybreak, the Phocian guards of the path were startled by the crackling of the chestnut leaves under the tread of many feet. They started up, but a shower of arrows was discharged on them, and forgetting all save the present alarm, they fled to a higher part of the mountain, and the enemy, without waiting to pursue them, began to descend.
As day dawned, morning light showed the watchers of the Grecian camp below a glittering and shimmering in the torrent bed where the shaggy forests opened; but it was not the sparkle of water, but the shine of gilded helmets and the gleaming of silvered spears. Moreover, a man crept over to the wall from the Persian camp with tidings that the path had been betrayed, that the enemy were climbing it, and would come down beyond the Eastern Gate. Still, the way was rugged and circuitous, the Persians would hardly descend before midday, and there was ample time for the Greeks to escape before they could thus be shut in by the enemy.
There was a short council held over the morning sacrifice. Megistias, the seer, on inspecting the entrails of the slain victim, declared that their appearance boded disaster. Leonidas ordered him to retire, but he refused, though he sent home his only son.
There was no disgrace in leaving a post that could not be held, and Leonidas recommended all the allied troops under his command to march away while yet the way was open. As to himself and his Spartans, they had made up their minds to die at their post, and there could be no doubt that the example of such a resolution would do more to save Greece than their best efforts could ever do if they were careful to reserve themselves for another occasion.
All the allies consented to retreat, except the eighty men who came from Mycen and the 700 Thespians, who declared that they would not desert Leonidas. There were also 400 Thebans who remained; and thus the whole number that stayed with Leonidas to confront two million of enemies were fourteen hundred warriors, besides the helots or attendants on the 300 Spartans, whose number is not known, but there was probably at least one to each.
Leonidas had two kinsmen in the camp, like himself, claiming the blood of Hercules, and he tried to save them by giving them letters and messages to Sparta; but one answered that "he had come to fight, not to carry letters;" and the other, that "his deeds would tell all that Sparta wished to know." Another Spartan, named Dienices, when told that the enemy's archers were so numerous that their arrows darkened the sun, replied, "So much the better, we shall fight in the shade." Two of the 300 had been sent to a neighboring village, suffering severely from a complaint in the eyes. One of them called Eurytus, put on his armor, and commanded his helot to lead him to his place in the ranks; the other, called Aristodemus, was so overpowered with illness that he allowed himself to be carried away with the retreating allies. It was still early in the day when all were gone, and Leonidas gave the word to his men to take their last meal. "Tonight," he said, "we shall sup with Pluto."
Hitherto, he had stood on the defensive, and had husbanded the lives of his men; but he now desired to make as great a slaughter as possible, so as to inspire the enemy with dread of the Grecian name. He therefore marched out beyond the wall, without waiting to be attacked, and the battle began. The Persian captains went behind their wretched troops and scourged them on to the fight with whips! Poor wretches, they were driven on to be slaughtered, pierced with the Greek spears, hurled into the sea, or trampled into the mud of the morass; but their inexhaustible numbers told at length. The spears of the Greeks broke under hard service, and their swords alone remained; they began to fall, and Leonidas himself was among the first of the slain. Hotter than ever was the fight over his body, and two Persian princes, brothers of Xerxes, were there killed; but at length word was brought that Hydarnes was over the pass, and that the few remaining men were thus enclosed on all sides. The Spartans and Thespians made their way to a little hillock within the wall, resolved to let this be the place of their last stand; but the hearts of the Thebans failed them, and they came towards the Persians holding out their hands in entreaty for mercy. Quarter was given to them, but they were all branded with the king's mark as untrustworthy deserters. The helots probably at this time escaped into the mountains; while the small desperate band stood side by side on the hill still fighting to the last, some with swords, others with daggers, others even with their hands and teeth, till not one living man remained amongst them when the sun went down. There was only a mound of slain, bristled over with arrows.
Twenty thousand Persians had died before that handful of men! Xerxes asked Demaratus if there were many more at Sparta like these, and was told there were 8,000. The body of the brave king was buried where he fell, as were those of the other dead. Much envied were they by the unhappy Aristodemus, who found himself called by no name but the "Coward," and was shunned by all his fellow-citizens. No one would give him fire or water, and after a year of misery, he redeemed his honor by perishing in the forefront of the battle of Plataea, which was the last blow that drove the Persians ingloriously from Greece.
The Greeks then united in doing honor to the brave warriors who, had they been better supported, might have saved the whole country from invasion. The poet Simonides wrote the inscriptions that were engraved upon the pillars that were set up in the pass to commemorate this great action. One was outside the wall, where most of the fighting had been. It seems to have been in honor of the whole number who had for two days resisted—
"Here did four thousand men from Pelops' land Against three hundred myriads [Footnote: A myriad consisted of ten thousand.] bravely stand."
In honor of the Spartans was another column—
"Go, traveler, to Sparta tell That here, obeying her, we fell."
On the little hillock of the last resistance was placed the figure of a stone lion, in memory of Leonidas, so fitly named the lion-like, and the names of the 300 were likewise engraven on a pillar at Sparta.
Lion, pillars, and inscriptions have all long since passed away, even the very spot itself has changed; new soil has been formed, and there are miles of solid ground between Mount ta and the gulf, so that the Hot Gates no longer exist. But more enduring than stone or brass—nay, than the very battle-field itself—has been the name of Leonidas. Two thousand three hundred years have sped since he braced himself to perish for his country's sake in that narrow, marshy coast road, under the brow of the wooded crags, with the sea by his side. Since that time how many hearts have glowed, how many arms have been nerved at the remembrance of the Pass of Thermopyl, and the defeat that was worth so much more than a victory!
THE BRAVERY OF REGULUS
By Charlotte M. Yonge
The first wars that the Romans engaged in beyond the bounds of Italy, were with the Carthaginians.
The first dispute between Rome and Carthage was about their possession in the island of Sicily; and the war thus begun had lasted eight years, when it was resolved to send an army to fight the Carthaginians on their own shores. The army and fleet were placed under the command of the two consuls, Lucius Manlius and Marcus Attilius Regulus. On the way, there was a great sea-fight with the Carthaginian fleet, and this was the first naval battle that the Romans ever gained. It made the way to Africa free; but the soldiers, who had never been so far from home before, murmured, for they expected to meet not only human enemies, but monstrous serpents, lions, elephants, asses with horns, and dog-headed monsters, to have a scorching sun overhead, and a noisome marsh under their feet. However, Regulus sternly put a stop to all murmurs, by making it known that disaffection would be punished by death, and the army safely landed, and set up a fortification at Clypea, and plundered the whole country round. Orders here came from Rome that Manlius should return thither, but that Regulus should remain to carry on the war. This was a great grief to him. He was a very poor man, with nothing of his own but a little farm of seven acres, and the person whom he had employed to cultivate it had died in his absence; a hired laborer had undertaken the care of it, but had been unfaithful, and had run away with his tools and his cattle, so that he was afraid that, unless he could return quickly, his wife and children would starve. However, the Senate engaged to provide for his family, and he remained, making expeditions into the country round, in the course of which the Romans really did fall in with a serpent, as monstrous as their imagination had depicted. It was said to be 120 feet long, and dwelt upon the banks of the river Bagrada, where it used to devour the Roman soldiers as they went to fetch water. It had such tough scales that they were obliged to attack it with their engines meant for battering city walls; and only succeeded with much difficulty in destroying it.
The country was most beautiful, covered with fertile corn-fields and full of rich fruit-trees, and all the rich Carthaginians had country-houses and gardens, which were made delicious with fountains, trees, land flowers. The Roman soldiers, plain, hardy, fierce, and pitiless, did, it must be feared, cruel damage among these peaceful scenes; they boasted of having sacked 300 villages, and mercy was not yet known to them. The Carthaginian army, though strong in horsemen and in elephants, kept upon the hills and did nothing to save the country, and the wild desert tribes of Numidians came rushing in to plunder what the Romans had left. The Carthaginians sent to offer terms of peace; but Regulus, who had become uplifted by his conquests, made such demands that the messengers remonstrated. He answered, "Men who are good for anything should either conquer or submit to their betters;" and he sent them rudely away, like a stern old Roman as he was.
His merit was that he had no more mercy on himself than on others.
The Carthaginians were driven to extremity, and made horrible offerings to Moloch, giving the little children of the noblest families to be dropped into the fire between the brazen hands of his statue, and grown-up people of the noblest families rushed in of their own accord, hoping thus to propitiate their gods, and obtain safety for their country. Their time was not yet fully come, and a respite was granted to them. They had sent, in their distress, to hire soldiers in Greece, and among these came a Spartan, named Xanthippus, who at once took the command, and led the army out to battle, with a long line of elephants ranged in front of them, and with clouds of horsemen hovering on the wings, The Romans had not yet learnt the best mode of fighting with elephants, namely, to leave lanes in their columns where these huge beasts might advance harmlessly; instead of which, the ranks were thrust and trampled down by the creatures' bulk, and they suffered a terrible defeat; Regulus himself was seized by the horsemen, and dragged into Carthage, where the victors feasted and rejoiced through half the night, and testified their thanks to Moloch by offering in his fires the bravest of their captives.
Regulus himself was not, however, one of these victims. He was kept a close prisoner for two years, pining and sickening in his loneliness, while in the meantime the war continued, and at last a victory so decisive was gained by the Romans, that the people of Carthage were discouraged, and resolved to ask terms of peace. They thought that no one would be so readily listened to at Rome as Regulus, and they therefore sent him there with their envoys, having first made him swear that he would come back to his prison if there should neither be peace nor an exchange of prisoners. They little knew how much more a true-hearted Roman cared for his city than for himself—for his word than for his life.
Worn and dejected, the captive warrior came to the outside of the gates of his own city, and there paused, refusing to enter. "I am no longer a Roman citizen," he said; "I am but the barbarians' slave, and the Senate may not give audience to strangers within the walls."
His wife Marcia ran out to greet him, with his two sons, but he did not look up, and received their caresses as one beneath their notice, as a mere slave, and he continued, in spite of all entreaty, to remain outside the city, and would not even go to the little farm he had loved so well.
The Roman Senate, as he would not come in to them, came out to hold their meeting in the Campagna.
The ambassadors spoke first, then Regulus, standing up, said, as one repeating a task, "Conscript fathers, being a slave to the Carthaginians, I come on the part of my masters to treat with you concerning peace, and an exchange of prisoners." He then turned to go away with the ambassadors, as a stranger might not be present at the deliberations of the Senate. His old friends pressed him to stay and give his opinion as a senator who had twice been consul; but he refused to degrade that dignity by claiming it, slave as he was. But, at the command of his Carthaginian masters, he remained, though not taking his seat.
Then he spoke. He told the senators to persevere in the war. He said he had seen the distress of Carthage, and that a peace would be only to her advantage, not to that of Rome, and therefore he strongly advised that the war should continue. Then, as to the exchange of prisoners, the Carthaginian generals, who were in the hands of the Romans, were in full health and strength, whilst he himself was too much broken down to be fit for service again, and indeed he believed that his enemies had given him a slow poison, and that he could not live long. Thus he insisted that no exchange of prisoners should be made.
It was wonderful, even to Romans, to hear a man thus pleading against himself, and their chief priest came forward, and declared that, as his oath had been wrested from him by force, he was not bound by it to return to his captivity. But Regulus was too noble to listen to this for a moment. "Have you resolved to dishonor me?" he said. "I am not ignorant that death and the extremest tortures are preparing for me; but what are these to the shame of an infamous action, or the wounds of a guilty mind? Slave as I am to Carthage, I have still the spirit of a Roman. I have sworn to return. It is my duty to go; let the gods take care of the rest."
The Senate decided to follow the advice of Regulus, though they bitterly regretted his sacrifice. His wife wept and entreated in vain that they would detain him; they could merely repeat their permission to him to remain; but nothing could prevail with him to break his word, and he turned back to the chains and death he expected as calmly as if he had been returning to his home. This was in the year B.C. 249.
"Let the gods take care of the rest," said the Roman; the gods whom alone he knew, and through whom he ignorantly worshiped the true God, whose Light was shining out even in this heathen's truth and constancy. How his trust was fulfilled is not known. The Senate, after the next victory, gave two Carthaginian generals to his wife and sons to hold as pledges for his good treatment; but when tidings arrived that Regulus was dead, Marcia began to treat them both with savage cruelty, though one of them assured her that he had been careful to have her husband well used. Horrible stories were told that Regulus had been put out in the sun with his eyelids cut off, rolled down a hill in a barrel with spikes, killed by being constantly kept awake, or else crucified. Marcia seems to have heard, and perhaps believed in these horrors, and avenged them on her unhappy captives till one had died, and the Senate sent for her sons and severely reprimanded them. They declared it was their mother's doing, not theirs, and thenceforth were careful of the comfort of the remaining prisoner.
It may thus be hoped that the frightful tale of Regulus' sufferings was but formed by report acting on the fancy of a vindictive woman, and that Regulus was permitted to die in peace of the disease brought on far more probably by the climate and imprisonment, than by the poison to which he ascribed it. It is not the tortures he may have endured that make him one of the noblest characters of history, but the resolution that would neither let him save himself at the risk of his country's prosperity, nor forfeit the word that he had pledged.
THE RABBI WHO FOUND THE DIADEM
Translated from the Talmud by Dr. A. S. Isaacs
Great was the alarm in the palace of Rome, which soon spread throughout the entire city. The empress had lost her costly diadem, and it could not be found. They searched in every direction, but all in vain. Half distracted, for the mishap boded no good to her or her house, the empress redoubled her exertions to regain her precious possession, but without result. As a last resource it was proclaimed in the public streets: "The empress has lost a precious diadem. Whoever restores it within thirty days shall receive a princely reward. But he who delays, and brings it after thirty days, shall lose his head."
In those times all nationalities flocked toward Rome; all classes and creeds could be met in its stately halls and crowded thoroughfares. Among the rest was a rabbi, a learned sage from the East, who loved goodness, and lived a righteous life in the stir and turmoil of the Western world. It chanced one night as he was strolling up and down, in busy meditation, beneath the clear, moonlit sky, he saw the diadem sparkling at his feet. He seized it quickly, brought it to his dwelling, where he guarded it carefully until the thirty days had expired, when he resolved to return it to the owner.
He proceeded to the palace, and, undismayed at sight of long lines of soldiery and officials, asked for an audience with the empress.
"What dost thou mean by this?" she inquired, when he told her his story and gave her the diadem. "Why didst thou delay until this hour? Dost thou know the penalty? Thy head must be forfeited."
"I delayed until now," the rabbi answered calmly, "so that thou mightst know that I return thy diadem, not for the sake of the reward, still less out of fear of punishment; but solely to comply with the Divine command not to withhold from another the property which belongs to him."
"Blessed be thy God!" the empress answered, and dismissed the rabbi without further reproof; for had he not done right for right's sake?
HOW LIVIA WON THE BROOCH
By Beatrice Harraden
It was the day before the public games in Rome, in the year 123 B.C., and a tall man of magnificent appearance and strength was standing outside the Temple of Hercules, talking to a young girl whose face bore some resemblance to his own. The people passing by looked at them, and said, half aloud, "There stands the gladiator Naevus. I wonder how he will bear himself in the Public Games on the morrow?"
And another man, who was talking eagerly with his companion, stopped when he caught sight of the gladiator (who was a well-known figure in Rome), and said, in a loud voice, "That is the man I told you about, Fabricius. A fine fellow, is he not? To-morrow he will fight with the new hero, Lucius And, of course, he will be victorious, as usual. If he disappoints my hopes, I shall lose a great deal of money."
"You have plenty to spare!" laughed his friend, as they passed on together.
The gladiator did not take the slightest notice of any remarks which were made about him; indeed, it was doubtful whether he heard them, being engaged in earnest conversation with the young girl, his daughter.
"Do not be anxious about me, Marcella," he said, seeing that the tears were falling from her eyes. "I shall be victorious, as I have always been, and then, child, I shall buy your freedom, together with my own, and we shall leave Rome, and return to Sicily."
"Nay, father," she answered, between her sobs, "I never doubted your strength, but my heart is full of fears for you; and yet I am proud when I hear every one praising you. Last night my master Claudius gave a great banquet, and when I came to hand round the ewer of rose-water, I heard the guests say that Naevus was the strongest and finest gladiator that Rome had ever known. My master Claudius and two of the guests praised the new man Lucius, but the others would not hear a word in his favour."
The gladiator smiled.
"You shall be proud of me to-morrow, Marcella," he said, "I have just been offering up my prayers to the god Hercules; and in the name of Hercules I promise you, child, that I shall conquer the new man Lucius, and that to-morrow's combat shall be my last fight. So you may go home in peace. You look tired, child. Ah! it is a bitter thing to be a slave! But courage, Marcella; a few days more of slavery, and then we shall be free. For this end I have fought in the arena; and this hope has given me strength and skill."
She took from her neck a piece of fine cord, to which was attached a tiny stone. She put it in his great hand.
"Father," she said pleadingly, "the Greek physician gave this to me. He told me it was an Eastern charm to keep the lives of those who wore it. Will you wear it on the morrow?"
He laughingly assented, and the two walked together as far as the Forum, where they parted.
But Marcella was not proud any more; she was sad.
She had had many a dream of freedom, but she would have gladly given up all chances of realizing that dream, if only to feel that her father's life was not in danger. She would have gladly been a slave ten times over rather than that he should risk his life in those fearful contests.
Marcella, who was a slave in the house of Claudius Flaccus, a great Roman noble, now hastened home to her duties. Her little mistress Livia, Claudius' only daughter, wondered to see her looking so pale and sad.
"Why, you should be glad like I am, Marcella," she cried, as she showed the slave-maiden the necklace of pearls that she had just finished stringing. "See, Marcella! I shall wear these to-morrow when we go to the Circus Maximus. And what do you think? My father has promised me a brooch of precious stones if the new gladiator, Lucius, is successful to-morrow. Oh, how I hope he will be!"
Marcella tried to restrain her tears, but it was of no avail. She threw herself on the couch, and buried her face in the soft cushions, and wept as if her heart would break. Her little mistress Livia bent over her, and tried to comfort her.
"Marcella," she whispered, "it was unkind of me to say that. I forgot about your father. Please forgive me, Marcella, for I do love you, although you are only a slave. And I do not want the brooch; I should not like to wear it now. Please, Marcella, do not cry any more."
The slave raised her head and smiled through her tears.
"You did not mean to be unkind, dear little mistress," she said, as she kissed the hand which had been caressing her own golden hair. "I am sure you did not mean to be unkind; but I am in great trouble, and I have just said 'Good-bye' to my father, and I can think of no one else but him. When those we love are in danger we cannot help being anxious, can we?"
At that moment the curtains were drawn aside, and Claudius himself came into the beautiful apartment. Livia ran to greet him; she was a child of ten years old, bright and winning in her ways, in beauty and bearing every inch the child of a patrician. She was dressed in soft silk of dark purple.
"I do not want the brooch," she said, as she put up her face to be kissed. "I want Marcella's father to be victorious to-morrow."
"What has Marcella's father got to do with you, little one?" he asked roughly. "Neither he nor she is anything to you, a patrician's daughter. Slaves both of them! Let me hear no more of them. And as for the brooch, it shall be a handsome one."
But when he had gone Livia turned to the slave and said, "I shall never wear that brooch, Marcella."
So the day wore into the night, and all through the night Marcella lay awake, wondering what the morrow would bring forth. When at last she fell asleep she dreamed that she was in the Circus Maximus watching her father, who was fighting with a new gladiator. She saw her father fall. She heard the cries of the populace. She herself, a girl of fourteen summers, sprang up to help him. And then she awoke.
"Ah, it was only a dream!" she cried, with a sigh of relief. "Father will win the fight to-morrow, and then he will buy his own freedom and mine, too."
It was a beautiful day for the Public Games. People had come from all parts of the country, and the streets of Rome were crowded with all manner of folk.
The AEdile whose duty it was to arrange the Public Games had provided a very costly entertainment, and great excitement prevailed everywhere to know the issue of the contest between the gladiators Naevus and Lucius. It was a wonderful sight to see the Circus Maximus crowded with the rich and luxurious patrician nobles and ladies arid their retinues of slaves, and the poorer classes, all bent on amusing themselves on this great public festival.
No doubt, amongst all those masses there were many anxious hearts, but none so anxious as that of the slave-girl Marcella. She sat behind her little mistress, eagerly expectant. At last a peal of trumpets and a clash of cymbals, accompanied by some wild kind of music, announced that the performance was about to begin. The folding-doors under the archway were flung open, and the gladiators marched in slowly, two by two. In all the pride of their strength and bearing they walked once round the arena, and then they stepped aside to wait until their turn came. The performance began with some fights between animals; for at the time of which we are speaking the Romans had learned to love this cruel bloodshed, and had learned to despise the less exciting, if more manly, trials of strength in which their ancestors had delighted. When this part of the cruel amusement was over the trumpets again sounded, and the gladiators made ready for their contest. Then it was that Marcella's heart beat wildly with fear. She saw her father advance together with the other gladiator; she saw their swords flash; she heard the people around her call out the name now of Naevus, and now of Lucius; she heard one near her say:
"He of the red scarf will prove the stronger mark my words."
Marcella's father wore the red scarf,
"Nay, nay," answered the speaker's companion. "He of the green scarf will win the day."
It was all that Marcella could do to prevent herself from saying, "The gladiator with the red scarf will prove the stronger—he must prove the stronger."
She sat spell-bound, watching for the event of the contest, which had now begun between the two in real earnest. The people encouraged now the one and now the other. At this moment it seemed probable that the new man, Lucius, would be the winner; at that moment the tide had turned in the favour of Naevus. But suddenly there was a loud cry, for Lucius had felled Naevus to the ground, and now stood over him with his sword ready for use, waiting to learn from the populace whether the favourite gladiator was to be spared or killed.
The slave-girl Marcella had risen from her seat.
"That is my father," she cried; "spare him—spare him!"
But no one heard her or noticed her, and the signal for mercy was not shown; on the contrary, the thumbs of thousands of hands pointed upwards; and that meant that the vanquished man, who had been the hero of so many contests, having now failed of his accustomed valour, was to die. So Lucius gave him a thrust with his sword, and he died while he was being carried away from the arena.
"You have won your brooch, little daughter," laughed Claudius, as he bent over and fondled Livia's hair. "And it shall be a costly brooch, worthy of a patrician's daughter."
But Livia's eyes were full of tears,
"I could never wear it," she sobbed; "I should always be thinking of Marcella's father."
Poor Marcella! and she thought the little charm which he had worn for her sake would preserve his life. Ah! it was cruel to think that she would never see him again, and that all their hopes of freedom and their plans for the future had ended. Well might she weep.
That was hundreds of years ago, you know, but still the same story goes on, and all through the centuries sorrow comes to us, just as we think we are grasping happiness, and we have to be brave and bear that sorrow. But sometimes we are helped by friends, even as Livia helped Marcella. For she did help her; she loved her as a sister, and treated her as such. And as time went on the little patrician lady claimed a gift from her father Claudius, a gift which was far more costly than any brooch—it was the freedom of the Sicilian slave Marcella, the gladiator's daughter.
JULIUS CSAR CROSSING THE RUBICON
By Jacob Abbott
There was a little stream in ancient times, in the north of Italy, which flowed eastward into the Adriatic Sea, called the Rubicon. This stream has been immortalized by the transactions which we are now about to describe.
The Rubicon was a very important boundary, and yet it was in itself so small and insignificant that it is now impossible to determine which of two or three little brooks here running into the sea is entitled to its name and renown. In history the Rubicon is a grand, permanent, and conspicuous stream, gazed upon with continued interest by all mankind for nearly twenty centuries; in nature it is an uncertain rivulet, for a long time doubtful and undetermined, and finally lost.
The Rubicon originally derived its importance from the fact that it was the boundary between all that part of the north of Italy which is formed by the valley of the Po, one of the richest and most magnificent countries of the world, and the more southern Roman territories. This country of the Po constituted what was in those days called the hither Gaul, and was a Roman province. It belonged now to Csar's jurisdiction, as the commander in Gaul. All south of the Rubicon was territory reserved for the immediate jurisdiction of the city. The Romans, in order to protect themselves from any danger which might threaten their own liberties from the immense armies which they raised for the conquest of foreign nations, had imposed on every side very strict limitations and restrictions in respect to the approach of these armies to the capital. The Rubicon was the limit on this northern side. Generals commanding in Gaul were never to pass it. To cross the Rubicon with an army on the way to Rome was rebellion and treason. Hence the Rubicon became, as it were, the visible sign and symbol of civil restriction to military power.
As Csar found the time of his service in Gaul drawing toward a conclusion, he turned his thoughts more and more toward Rome, endeavoring to strengthen his interest there by every means in his power, and to circumvent and thwart the designs of Pompey. He had agents and partisans in Rome who acted for him and in his name. He sent immense sums of money to these men, to be employed in such ways as would most tend to secure the favor of the people. He ordered the Forum to be rebuilt with great magnificence. He arranged great celebrations, in which the people were entertained with an endless succession of games, spectacles, and public feasts. When his daughter Julia, Pompey's wife, died, he celebrated her funeral with indescribable splendor. He distributed corn in immense quantities among the people, and he sent a great many captives home, to be trained as gladiators to fight in the theatres for their amusement. In many cases, too, where he found men of talents and influence among the populace, who had become involved in debt by their dissipations and extravagance, he paid their debts, and thus secured their influence on his side. Men were astounded at the magnitude of these expenditures, and, while the multitude rejoiced thoughtlessly in the pleasures thus provided for them, the more reflecting and considerate trembled at the greatness of the power which was so rapidly rising to overshadow the land.
It increased their anxiety to observe that Pompey was gaining the same kind of influence and ascendency, too. He had not the advantage which Csar enjoyed in the prodigious wealth obtained from the rich countries over which Csar ruled, but he possessed, instead of it, the advantage of being all the time at Rome, and of securing, by his character and action there, a very wide personal popularity and influence. Pompey was, in fact, the idol of the people. At one time, when he was absent from Rome, at Naples, he was taken sick. After being for some days in considerable danger, the crisis passed favorably, and he recovered. Some of the people of Naples proposed a public thanksgiving to the gods, to celebrate his restoration to health. The plan was adopted by acclamation, and the example thus set extended from city to city, until it had spread throughout Italy, and the whole country was filled with processions, games, shows, and celebrations, which were instituted everywhere in honor of the event. And when Pompey returned from Naples to Rome the towns on the way could not afford room for the crowds that came forth to meet him. The high roads, the villages, the ports, says Plutarch, were filled with sacrifices and entertainments. Many received him with garlands on their heads and torches in their hands, and, as they conducted him along, strewed the way with flowers.
In fact, Pompey considered himself as standing far above Csar in fame and power, and this general burst of enthusiasm and applause educed by his recovery from sickness confirmed him in this idea. He felt no solicitude, he said, in respect to Csar. He should take no special precautions against any hostile designs which he might entertain on his return from Gaul. It was he himself, he said, that had raised Csar up to whatever of elevation he had attained, and he could put him down even more easily than he had exalted him.
In the meantime, the period was drawing near in which Csar's command in the provinces was to expire; and, anticipating the struggle with Pompey which was about to ensue, he conducted several of his legions through the passes of the Alps and advanced gradually, as he had a right to do, across the country of the Po toward the Rubicon, revolving in his capacious mind, as he came, the various plans by which he might hope to gain the ascendency over the power of his mighty rival and make himself supreme.
He concluded that it would be his wisest policy not to attempt to intimidate Pompey by great and open preparations for war, which might tend to arouse him to vigorous measures of resistance, but rather to cover and conceal his designs, and thus throw his enemy off his guard. He advanced, therefore, toward the Rubicon with a small force. He established his headquarters at Ravenna, a city not far from the river, and employed himself in objects of local interest there in order to avert as much as possible the minds of the people from imagining that he was contemplating any great design. Pompey sent to him to demand the return of a certain legion which he had lent him from his own army at a time when they were friends. Csar complied with this demand without any hesitation, and sent the legion home. He sent with this legion, also, some other troops which were properly his own, thus evincing a degree of indifference in respect to the amount of the force retained under his command which seemed wholly inconsistent with the idea that he contemplated any resistance to the authority of the government at Rome.
In the meantime, the struggle at Rome between the partisans of Csar and Pompey grew more and more violent and alarming. Csar, through his friends in the city, demanded to be elected consul. The other side insisted that he must first, if that was his wish, resign the command of his army, come to Rome, and present himself as a candidate in the character of a private citizen. This the constitution of the state very properly required. In answer to this requisition, Csar rejoined that, if Pompey would lay down his military commands, he would do so too; if not, it was unjust to require it of him. The services, he added, which he had performed for his country demanded some recompense, which, moreover, they ought to be willing to award even if in order to do it it were necessary to relax somewhat in his favor the strictness of ordinary rules. To a large part of the people of the city these demands of Csar appeared reasonable. They were clamorous to have them allowed. The partisans of Pompey, with the stern and inflexible Cato at their head, deemed them wholly inadmissible and contended with the most determined violence against them. The whole city was filled with the excitement of this struggle, into which all the active and turbulent spirits of the capital plunged with the most furious zeal, while the more considerate and thoughtful of the population, remembering the days of Marius and Sylla, trembled at the impending danger. Pompey himself had no fear. He urged the Senate to resist to the utmost all of Csar's claims, saying if Csar should be so presumptuous as to attempt to march to Rome he could raise troops enough by stamping with his foot to put him down.
It would require a volume to contain a full account of the disputes and tumults, the manoeuvres and debates, the votes and decrees, which marked the successive stages of this quarrel. Pompey himself was all the time without the city. He was in command of an army there, and no general, while in command, was allowed to come within the gates. At last an exciting debate was broken up in the Senate by one of the consuls rising to depart, saying that he would hear the subject discussed no longer. The time had arrived for action, and he should send a commander, with an armed force, to defend the country from Csar's threatened invasion. Csar's leading friends, two tribunes of the people, disguised themselves as slaves and fled to the north to join their master. The country was filled with commotion and panic. The Commonwealth had obviously more fear of Csar than confidence in Pompey. The country was full of rumors in respect to Csar's power, and the threatening attitude which he was assuming, while they who had insisted on resistance seemed, after all, to have provided very inadequate means with which to resist. A thousand plans were formed, and clamorously insisted upon by their respective advocates, for averting the danger. This only added to the confusion, and the city became at length pervaded with a universal terror.
While this was the state of things at Rome, Csar was quietly established at Ravenna, thirty or forty miles from the frontier. He was erecting a building for a fencing school there, and his mind seemed to be occupied very busily with the plans and models of the edifice which the architects had formed. Of course, in his intended march to Rome, his reliance was not to be so much on the force which he should take with him, as on the cooperation and support which he expected to find there. It was his policy, therefore, to move as quietly and privately as possible, and with as little display of violence, and to avoid everything which might indicate his intended march to any spies which might be around him, or to any other persons who might be disposed to report what they observed, at Rome. Accordingly, on the very eve of his departure, he busied himself with his fencing school, and assumed with his officers and soldiers a careless and unconcerned air, which prevented any one from suspecting his design.
In the course of the day, he privately sent forward some cohorts to the southward, with orders for them to encamp on the banks of the Rubicon. When night came, he sat down to supper as usual and conversed with his friends in his ordinary manner, and went with them afterward to a public entertainment. As soon as it was dark and the streets were still, he set off secretly from the city, accompanied by a very few attendants. Instead of making use of his ordinary equipage, the parading of which would have attracted attention to his movements, he had some mules taken from a neighboring bakehouse and harnessed into his chaise. There were torch-bearers provided to light the way. The cavalcade drove on during the night, finding, however, the hasty preparations which had been made inadequate for the occasion. The torches went out, the guides lost their way, and the future conqueror of the world wandered about bewildered and lost, until, just after break of day, the party met with a peasant who undertook to guide them. Under his direction they made their way to the main road again, and advanced then without further difficulty to the banks of the river, where they found that portion of the army which had been sent forward encamped and awaiting their arrival.
Csar stood for some time upon the banks of the stream, musing upon the greatness of the undertaking in which simply passing across it would involve him. His officers stood by his side. "We can retreat now" said he, "but once across that river, we must go on." He paused for some time, conscious of the vast importance of the decision, though he thought only, doubtless, of its consequences to himself. Taking the step which was now before him would necessarily end either in his realizing the loftiest aspirations of his ambition, or in his utter and irreparable ruin.
There were vast public interests, too, at stake, of which, however, he probably thought but little. It proved, in the end, that the history of the whole Roman world, for several centuries, was depending upon the manner in which the question now in Csar's mind should turn.
There was a little bridge across the Rubicon at the point where Csar was surveying it. While he was standing there, the story is, a peasant or shepherd came from the neighboring fields with a shepherd's pipe—a simple musical instrument made of a reed and used much by the rustic musicians of those days. The soldiers and some of the officers gathered around him to hear him play. Among the rest came some of Csar's trumpeters, with their trumpets in their hands. The shepherd took one of these martial instruments from the hands of its possessor, laying aside his own, and began to sound a charge—which is a signal for a rapid advance—and to march at the same time over the bridge. "An omen! a prodigy!" said Csar. "Let us march where we are called by such a divine intimation. The die is cast."
So saying, he pressed forward over the bridge, while the officers, breaking up the encampment, put the columns in motion to follow him.
It was shown abundantly, on many occasions in the course of Csar's life, that he had no faith in omens. There are equally numerous instances to show that he was always ready to avail himself of the popular belief in them, to awaken his soldiers' ardor or to allay their fears. Whether, therefore, in respect to this story of the shepherd trumpeter it was an incident that really and accidently occurred, or whether Csar planned and arranged it himself, with reference to its effect, or whether, which is, perhaps, after all, the most probable supposition, the tale was only an embellishment invented out of something or nothing by the story-tellers of those days to give additional dramatic interest to the narrative of the crossing of the Rubicon, it must be left for each reader to decide.
As soon as the bridge was crossed, Csar called an assembly of his troops, and, with signs of great excitement and agitation, made an address to them on the magnitude of the crisis through which they were passing. He showed them how entirely he was in their power; he urged them, by the most eloquent appeals, to stand by him, faithful and true, promising them the most ample rewards when he should have attained the object at which he aimed. The soldiers responded to this appeal with promises of the most unwavering fidelity.
The first town on the Roman side of the Rubicon was Ariminum. Csar advanced to this town. The authorities opened its gates to him—very willing, as it appeared, to receive him as their commander. Csar's force was yet quite small, as he had been accompanied by only a single legion in crossing the river. He had, however, sent orders for the other legions, which had been left in Gaul, to join him without any delay, though any reinforcement of his troops seemed hardly necessary, as he found no indications of opposition to his progress. He gave his soldiers the strictest injunctions to do no injury to any property, public or private, as they advanced, and not to assume, in any respect, a hostile attitude toward the people of the country. The inhabitants, therefore, welcomed him wherever he came, and all the cities and towns followed the example of Ariminum, surrendering, in fact, faster than he could take possession of them.
In the confusion of the debates and votes in the Senate at Rome before Csar crossed the Rubicon, one decree had been passed deposing him from his command of the army and appointing a successor. The name of the general thus appointed was Domitius. The only real opposition which Csar encountered in his progress toward Rome was from him. Domitius had crossed the Apennines at the head of an army on his way northward to supersede Csar in his command, and had reached the town of Corfinium, which was perhaps one third of the way between Rome and the Rubicon. Csar advanced upon him here and shut him in.
After a brief siege the city was taken, and Domitius and his army were made prisoners. Everybody gave them up for lost, expecting that Csar would wreak terrible vengeance upon them. Instead of this, he received the troops at once into his own service and let Domitius go free.
In the meantime, the tidings of Csar's having passed the Rubicon, and of the triumphant success which he was meeting with at the commencement of his march toward Rome, reached the capital, and added greatly to the prevailing consternation. The reports of the magnitude of his force and of the rapidity of his progress were greatly exaggerated. The party of Pompey and the Senate had done everything to spread among the people the terror of Csar's name in order to arouse them to efforts for opposing his designs; and now, when he had broken through the barriers which had been intended to restrain him and was advancing toward the city in an unchecked and triumphant career, they were overwhelmed with dismay. Pompey began to be terrified at the danger which was impending. The Senate held meetings without the city—councils of war, as it were, in which they looked to Pompey in vain for protection from the danger which he had brought upon them. He had said that he could raise an army sufficient to cope with Csar at any time by stamping with his foot. They told him they thought now that it was high time for him to stamp.
In fact, Pompey found the current setting everywhere strongly against him. Some recommended that commissioners should be sent to Csar to make proposals for peace. The leading men, however, knowing that any peace made with him under such circumstances would be their own ruin, resisted and defeated the proposal. Cato abruptly left the city and proceeded to Sicily, which had been assigned him as his province. Others fled in other directions. Pompey himself, uncertain what to do, and not daring to remain, called upon all his partisans to join him, and set off at night, suddenly, and with very little preparation and small supplies, to retreat across the country toward the shores of the Adriatic Sea. His destination was Brundusium, the usual port of embarkation for Macedon and Greece.
Csar was all this time gradually advancing toward Rome. His soldiers were full of enthusiasm in his cause. As his connection with the government at home was sundered the moment he crossed the Rubicon, all supplies of money and of provisions were cut off in that quarter until he should arrive at the capital and take possession of it. The soldiers voted, however, that they would serve him without pay. The officers, too, assembled together and tendered him the aid of their contributions. He had always observed a very generous policy in his dealings with them, and he was now greatly gratified at receiving their requital of it.
The further he advanced, too, the more he found the people of the country through which he passed disposed to espouse his cause. They were struck with his generosity in releasing Domitius. It is true that it was a very sagacious policy that prompted him to release him. But, then, it was generosity too. In fact, there must be something of a generous spirit in the soul to enable a man even to see the policy of generous actions.
Among the letters of Csar that remain to the present day, there is one written about this time to one of his friends, in which he speaks of this subject. "I am glad," says he, "that you approve of my conduct at Corfinium. I am satisfied that such a course is the best one for us to pursue, as by so doing we shall gain the good will of all parties, and thus secure a permanent victory. Most conquerors have incurred the hatred of mankind by their cruelties, and have all, in consequence of the enmity they have thus awakened, been prevented from long enjoying their power. Sylla was an exception; but his example of successful cruelty I have no disposition to imitate. I will conquer after a new fashion, and fortify myself in the possession of the power I acquire by generosity and mercy."
Domitius had the ingratitude, after this release, to take up arms again, and wage a new war against Csar. When Csar heard of it he said it was all right. "I will act out the principles of my nature," said he, "and he may act out his."
Another instance of Csar's generosity occurred which is even more remarkable than this. It seems that among the officers of his army there were some whom he had appointed at the recommendation of Pompey, at the time when he and Pompey were friends. These men would, of course, feel under obligations of gratitude to Pompey as they owed their military rank to his friendly interposition in their behalf. As soon as the war broke out Csar gave them all his free permission to go over to Pompey's side if they chose to do so.
Caesar acted thus very liberally in all respects. He surpassed Pompey very much in the spirit of generosity and mercy with which he entered upon the great contest before them. Pompey ordered every citizen to join his standard, declaring that he should consider all neutrals as his enemies. Csar, on the other hand, gave free permission to every one to decline, if he chose, taking any part in the contest, saying that he should consider all who did not act against him as his friends. In the political contests of our day it is to be observed that the combatants are much more prone to imitate the bigotry of Pompey than the generosity of Csar, condemning, as they often do, those who choose to stand aloof from electioneering struggles, more than they do their most determined opponents and enemies.
When, at length, Csar arrived at Brundusium, he found that Pompey had sent a part of his army across the Adriatic into Greece and was waiting for the transports to return that he might go over himself with the remainder. In the meantime, he had fortified himself strongly in the city. Csar immediately laid siege to the place, and he commenced some works to block up the mouth of the harbor. He built piers on each side, extending out as far into the sea as the depth of the water would allow them to be built. He then constructed a series of rafts, which he anchored on the deep water, in a line extending from one pier to the other. He built towers upon these rafts, and garrisoned them with soldiers, in hopes by this means to prevent all egress from the fort. He thought that, when this work was completed, Pompey would be entirely shut in, beyond all possibility of escape.
The transports, however, returned before the work was completed. Its progress was, of course, slow, as the constructions were the scene of a continued conflict; for Pompey sent out rafts and galleys against them every day, and the workmen had thus to build in the midst of continual interruptions, sometimes from showers of darts, arrows, and javelins, sometimes from the conflagrations of fireships, and sometimes from the terrible concussions of great vessels of war, impelled with prodigious force against them. The transports returned, therefore, before the defences were complete, and contrived to get into the harbor. Pompey immediately formed his plan for embarking the remainder of his army.
He filled the streets of the city with barricades and pitfalls excepting two streets which led to the place of embarkation. The object of these obstructions was to embarrass Csar's progress through the city in case he should force an entrance while his men were getting on board the ships. He then, in order to divert Csar's attention from his design, doubled the guards stationed upon the walls on the evening of his intended embarkation, and ordered them to make vigorous attacks upon all Csar's forces outside. Then, when the darkness came on, he marched his troops through the two streets which had been left open to the landing-place, and got them as fast as possible on board the transports. Some of the people of the town contrived to make known to Csar's army what was going on, by means of signals from the walls; the army immediately brought scaling ladders in great numbers, and, mounting the walls with great ardor and impetuosity, they drove all before them, and soon broke open the gates and got possession of the city. But the barricades and pitfalls, together with the darkness, so embarrassed their movements that Pompey succeeded in completing his embarkation and sailing away.
Csar had no ships in which to follow. He returned to Rome. He met, of course, with no opposition. He re-established the government there, organized the Senate anew, and obtained supplies of corn from the public granaries and of money from the city treasury in the capital. In going to the Capitoline Hill after this treasure, he found the officer who had charge of the money stationed there to defend it. He told Csar that it was contrary to law for him to enter. Csar said that, for men with swords in their hands, there was no law. The officer still refused to admit him. Csar then told him to open the doors or he would kill him on the spot. "And you must understand," he added, "that it will be easier for me to do it than it has been to say it." The officer resisted no longer, and Csar went in.
After this, Csar spent some time in vigorous campaigns in Italy, Spain, Sicily, and Gaul, wherever there was manifested any opposition to his sway. When this work was accomplished, and all these countries were completely subjected to his dominion, he began to turn his thoughts to the plan of pursuing Pompey across the Adriatic Sea.
FEARLESS SAINT GENEVIEVE, PATRON SAINT OF PARIS
By Charlotte M. Yonge
Four hundred years of the Roman dominion had entirely tamed the once wild and independent Gauls. Everywhere, except in the moorlands of Brittany, they had become as much like Romans themselves as they could accomplish; they had Latin names, spoke the Latin tongue, all their personages of higher rank were enrolled as Roman citizens, their chief cities were colonies where the laws were administered by magistrates in the Roman fashion, and the houses, dress, and amusements were the same as those of Italy. The greater part of the towns had been converted to Christianity, though some paganism still lurked in the more remote villages and mountainous districts.
It was upon these civilized Gauls that the terrible attacks came from the wild nations who poured out of the center and east of Europe. The Franks came over the Rhine and its dependent rivers, and made furious attacks upon the peaceful plains, where the Gauls had long lived in security, and reports were everywhere heard of villages harried by wild horsemen, with short double-headed battle-axes, and a horrible short pike covered with iron and with several large hooks, like a gigantic artificial minnow, and like it fastened to a long rope, so that the prey which it had grappled might be pulled up to the owner. Walled cities usually stopped them, but every farm or villa outside was stripped of its valuables, set on fire, the cattle driven off, and the more healthy inhabitants seized for slaves.
It was during this state of things that a girl was born to a wealthy peasant at the village now called Nanterre, about two miles from Lutetia, which was already a prosperous city, though not as yet so entirely the capital as it was destined to become under the name of Paris. She was christened by an old Gallic name, probably Gwenfrewi, or White Stream, in Latin Genovefa, but she is best known by the late French form of Genevieve. When she was about seven years old, two celebrated bishops passed through the village, Germanus, of Auxerre, and Lupus, of Troyes, who had been invited to Britain to dispute the false doctrines of Pelagius. All the inhabitants flocked into the church to see them, pray with them, and receive their blessing; and here the sweet childish devotion of Genevive so struck Germanus, that he called her to him, talked to her, made her sit beside him at the feast, gave her his special blessing, and presented her with a copper medal with a cross engraven upon it. From that time the little maiden always deemed herself especially consecrated to the service of Heaven, but she still remained at home, daily keeping her father's sheep, and spinning their wool as she sat under the trees watching them, but always with her heart full of prayer.
After this St. Germanus proceeded to Britain, and there encouraged his converts to meet the heathen Picts at Maes Garmon, in Flintshire, where the exulting shout of the white-robed catechumens turned to flight the wild superstitious savages of the north,—and the Hallelujah victory was gained without a drop of bloodshed. He never lost sight of Genevive, the little maid whom he had so early distinguished for her piety.
After she lost her parents she went to live with her godmother, and continued the same simple habits, leading a life of sincere devotion and strict self-denial, constant prayer and much charity to her poorer neighbors.
In the year 451 the whole of Gaul was in the most dreadful state of terror at the advance of Attila, the savage chief of the Huns, who came from the banks of the Danube with a host of savages of hideous features, scarred and disfigured to render them more frightful. The old enemies, the Goths and the Franks, seemed like friends compared with these formidable beings, whose cruelties were said to be intolerable, and of whom every exaggerated story was told that could add to the horrors of the miserable people who lay in their path. Tidings came that this "Scourge of God," as Attila called himself, had passed the Rhine, destroyed Tongres and Metz, and was in full march for Paris. The whole country was in the utmost terror. Every one seized their most valuable possessions, and would have fled; but Genevive placed herself on the only bridge across the Seine, and argued with them, assuring them, in a strain that was afterwards thought of as prophetic, that, if they would pray, repent, and defend instead of abandoning their homes, God would protect them. They were at first almost ready to stone her for thus withstanding their panic, but just then a priest arrived from Auxerre, with a present for Genevive from St. Germanus, and they were thus reminded of the high estimation in which he held her; they became ashamed of their violence, and she led them back to pray and to arm themselves. In a few days they heard that Attila had paused to besiege Orleans, and that Atius, the Roman general, hurrying from Italy, had united his troops with those of the Goths and Franks, and given Attila so terrible a defeat at Chlons that the Huns were fairly driven out of Gaul. And here it must be mentioned that when in the next year, 452, Attila with his murderous host, came down into Italy, and after horrible devastation of all the northern provinces, came to the gates of Rome, no one dared to meet him but one venerable bishop, Leo, the Pope, who, when his flock were in transports of despair, went forth only accompanied by one magistrate to meet the invader, and endeavored to turn his wrath aside. The savage Huns were struck with awe by the fearless majesty of the unarmed old man. They conducted him safely to Attila, who listened to him with respect, and promised not to lead his people into Rome, provided a tribute should be paid to him. He then retreated, and, to the joy of all Europe, died on his way back to his native dominions.
But with the Huns the danger and suffering of Europe did not end. The happy state described in the Prophets as "dwelling safely, with none to make them afraid," was utterly unknown in Europe throughout the long break-up of the Roman Empire; and in a few more years the Franks were overrunning the banks of the Seine, and actually venturing to lay siege to the Roman walls of Paris itself. The fortifications were strong enough, but hunger began to do the work of the besiegers, and the garrison, unwarlike and untrained, began to despair. But Genevive's courage and trust never failed; and finding no warriors willing to run the risk of going beyond the walls to obtain food for the women and children who were perishing around them, this brave shepherdess embarked alone in a little boat, and guiding it down the stream, landed beyond the Frankish camp, and repairing to the different Gallic cities, she implored them to send succor to their famished brethren. She obtained complete success. Probably the Franks had no means of obstructing the passage of the river, so that a convoy of boats could easily penetrate into the town: at any rate they looked upon Genevive as something sacred and inspired whom they durst not touch; probably as one of the battle-maids in whom their own myths taught them to believe. One account indeed says that, instead of going alone to obtain help, Genevive placed herself at the head of a forage party, and that the mere sight of her inspired bearing caused them to be allowed to enter and return in safety; but the boat version seems the more probable, since a single boat on the broad river would more easily elude the enemy than a troop of Gauls pass through their army.
But a city where all the valor resided in one woman could not long hold out, and in another inroad, when Genevieve was absent, Paris was actually seized by the Franks. Their leader, Hilperik, was absolutely afraid of what the mysteriously brave maiden might do to him, and commanded the gates of the city to be carefully guarded lest she should enter; but Genevive learnt that some of the chief citizens were imprisoned, and that Hilperik intended their death, and nothing could withhold her from making an effort in their behalf. The Franks had made up their minds to settle and not to destroy. They were not burning and slaying indiscriminately, but while despising the Romans, as they called the Gauls, for their cowardice, they were in awe of their superior civilization and knowledge of arts. The country people had free access to the city, and Genevive in her homely gown and veil passed by Hilperik's guards without being suspected of being more than any ordinary Gaulish village-maid; and thus she fearlessly made her way, even to the old Roman halls, where the long-haired Hilperik was holding his wild carousal. Would that we knew more of that interview—one of the most striking that ever took place!
We can only picture to ourselves the Roman tesselated pavement bestrewn with wine, bones, and fragments of the barbarous revelry. There were, untamed Franks, their sun-burnt hair tied up in a knot at the top of their heads, and falling down like a horse's tail, their faces close-shaven, except two huge mustaches, and dressed in tight leather garments, with swords at their wide belts. Some slept, some feasted, some greased their long locks, some shouted out their favorite war-songs around the table, which was covered with the spoils of churches, and at their head sat the wild, long-haired chieftain, who was a few years later driven away by his own followers for his excesses,—the whole scene was all that was abhorrent to a pure, devout, and faithful nature, most full of terror to a woman. Yet there, in her strength, stood the peasant maiden, her heart full of trust and pity, her looks full of the power that is given by fearlessness of them that can kill the body. What she said we do not know—we only know that the barbarous Hilperik was overawed; he trembled before the expostulations of the brave woman, and granted all she asked—the safety of his prisoners, and mercy to the terrified inhabitants. No wonder that the people of Paris have ever since looked back to Genevieve as their protectress, and that in after-ages she has grown to be the patron saint of the city.