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A STUDY i-lxi 

PREFACE lxiii - Ixxii 



II. AT SICCA . 24 


V. TANITH .0 84 








page 93) Frontispiece 




CUP" . . 162 



Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen on the 
1 2th of December, 1821. His mother was the daugh- 
ter of a physician of Pont-1'Evéque, M. Fleuriot. She 
belonged to a Low-Normandy family, the Carnbremers 
of Croix-Mare, and was allied to Thouret, of the Con- 
stituent Assembly. 

Flaubert's grandmother, Charlotte Cambremer, was, 
in childhood, a companion of Charlotte Corday. His 
father, born at Nogent on the Seine, was of a family 
originally from Champagne. He was a surgeon of 
great skill and renown, a director of the hospital at 
Rouen. A straightforward, simple, brusque man, he 
was astonished, though not indignant, at his son's 
choice of a vocation. He considered the profession of 
writing an occupation of idleness and uselessness. 

Gustave Flaubert was the opposite of a phenomenal 
child. He succeeded in learning to read only with 
extreme difficulty. It is doubtful whether he knew 
how when he entered the Lyceum, at nine years of age. 

His great passion in childhood was to have stories 
told to him. He would listen motionless, fixing his 



great blue eyes upon the narrator. Then, he would 
remain quiet for some hours thinking, one finger in 
his mouth, entirely absorbed, as if asleep. 

His mind was at work, however, for he composed 
dramatic pieces before he was able to write, which 
he acted all alone, representing the different person- 
ages, and improvising the long dialogues. 

From his early infancy, the two distinctive traits 
of his nature were great ingenuousness and a dislike 
of physical action. All his life he remained ingenuous 
and sedentary. He could not see any one walking or 
moving about near him without becoming exasperated; 
and he would declare in his sharp voice, sonorous 
and always a little theatrical, that motion was not 
philosophical. "One can think and write only when 
seated," he would say. 

His ingenuousness continued until his last days. 
This observer, so penetrating and so subtle, seemed 
to see life clearly only from afar. When it touched 
him, when it was busy in his immediate neighbor- 
hood, one would have said that a veil covered his 
eyes. His extreme native frankness, his immovable 
honesty, the generosity of all his emotions, of all the 
impulses of his soul are indubitably the causes of this 
unchanging ingenuousness. 

He lived beside the world, but not in it. Better 
placed for observation, he did not have the impression 
of downright contact. 

To him especially could one apply what he wrote 
in his preface to the Last Songs, of his friend Louis 

" Finally, if the accidents of the world, when they are observed, 
appear to you transposed for the sake of an illusion in description, so 

A STUDY iii 

that all things comprise a part of your existence, nor seem to have 
any other use; if you can be unmoved by any injury, ready for any 
sacrifice, breastplated against any trial, rush in and publish!" 

As a young man, he was of surprising beauty. An 
old friend of the family, an illustrious physician, said 
to his mother: "Your son is the God of Love grown 

Disdaining women, he lived in the exaltation of the 
artist, in a kind of poetic ecstasy which he preserved by 
daily association with him who was his dearest friend, 
the brother heart which one never finds twice. This 
was Alfred Le Poittevin, who died young of a disease 
of the heart, brought on by overwork. 

Then Flaubert was struck with a terrible malady 
which his other friend, M. Maxime Ducamp, had the 
evil inspiration to reveal to the public, in trying to 
establish a relation between the artistic nature of Flau- 
bert and epilepsy, explaining one by the other. 

Assuredly, this frightful disease could not strike 
down the body without overshadowing the mind. 
But is that to be regretted? Are happy, strong and 
self-reliant people fitted, as it is generally understood, 
to penetrate and express our life, so tormented and 
so short? Are these exuberant persons made for dis- 
covering all the misery, all the suffering which sur- 
rounds us, to perceive that death strikes without 
ceasing, everywhere, each day, ferocious, blind, and 
fatal ? 

So it is possible, it is probable, that the first attack 
of epilepsy left an imprint of melancholy and of fear 
upon the ardent mind of this robust man. It is prob- 
able that, as a consequence of it, a sort of appre- 
hension of life rested upon him, a little more sombre 


manner of looking at things, a suspicion before the 
event, a doubt before apparent happiness. But to 
those who knew that enthusiastic, vigorous man who 
was called Flaubert, to those who saw him live, 
laugh, rejoice, feel and vibrate each day, there is no 
doubt that the fear of a crisis, which disappeared in 
ripe age and re-appeared only in the last years, could 
not have modified, except in an imperceptible degree, 
his manner of being and feeling and the habits of his 

After some literary essays which were not pub- 
lished, Gustave Flaubert made his début in 1857 by a 
masterpiece called Madame Bovary. 

Everyone knows the history of this book, the law- 
suit brought by the Public Attorney, the violent 
speech of M. Pinard, whose name will be remembered 
by this case, the eloquent defense of M. Senard, the 
difficult, haggling acquittal, the reproach of the Presi- 
dent in severe words, and then, success, the avenger, 
resounding, immense! 

But Madame Bovary has also a secret history which 
may be a lesson to beginners in this difficult trade of 

When Flaubert, after five years of wearisome labor, 
had finished this unusual work, he intrusted it to 
his friend M. Maxime Ducamp, who put it into the 
hands of M. Laurent Pichat, editor-proprietor of the 
Revue de Paris. Then it was that he found how 
difficult it is to make oneself understood at the first 
blow, how one is misunderstood by those in whom 
he has confidence, and by those who pass for the 
most intelligent. From this epoch dates that scorn 
which he had for men's judgment, and his irony for 
absolute assertions or denials. 


Some time after taking the manuscript of Madame 
Bovary to M. Laurent Pichat, M. Maxime Ducamp 
wrote the following singular letter to Gustave Flau- 
bert, which may perhaps modify the opinion one has 
formed from the revelations of this writer of his 
friend, and in particular of Madame Bovary in his 
Literary Souvenirs: 

July 14, 1856. 

11 De^r Old Friend: Laurent Pichat has read your romance and has 
sent me his approval of it, which I am to address to you. You will 
see on reading it how much I should share it, since it reproduces 
nearly all the observations that 1 made before your departure. I sent 
your book to Laurent without doing more than to recommend it to 
him warmly; we had no understanding that we were to see you with 
the same eye. The counsel he gives you is good, and I would even 
say that it is the only counsel you can follow. Leave us masters of 
your romance that we may publish it in the Revue; we will make 
such cuttings as we judge indispensable; you can then publish it later 
in book form as you think best; that concerns you alone. My most 
friendly opinion is that, if you do not do this, you will compromise 
yourself absolutely and will make your appearance with a perplexing 
work whose style is not sufficient to give it interest. Be courageous, 
close your eyes during the operation and pride yourself, if not upon 
your talent, at least on the experience acquired in these things, and 
upon our affection for you. You have buried your romance under a 
heap of things, well done but useless; one cannot see it plainly 
enough; but try to uncover it and it is an easy task. We shall have 
this done under our eyes by an experienced and skilful person; we 
shall not add a word to your copy; we shall only prune it; this will 
cost you a hundred francs, which will be reserved for you on your 
rights, and you will have published a thing truly good in the place of 
an incomplete work too much bolstered. You may curse me with all 
your might, but remember meanwhile, that in all this 1 have looked 
only to your interest. 

Adieu, dear old chap; answer, and believe me 

Yours always, 

Maxime Ducamp." 


The mutilation of this typical and henceforth im- 
mortal book, performed by an "experienced and skil- 
ful person," would have cost the author only one 
hundred francs! Truly, that is nothing! 

Gustave Flaubert was stirred with a profound and 
natural emotion on reading this strange counsel. 
And he wrote in his boldest hand, upon the back 
of that carefully preserved letter, only this word: 

The two collaborators, Messrs. Pichat and Maxime 
Ducamp, now put themselves to work to extricate 
their friend's book from that heap of things "well 
done, but useless," which damaged it; for one reads 
in a sample copy of the first edition of the book, pre- 
served by the author, the following lines: 

"This copy represents my manuscript as it comes from the hand 
of Sir Laurent Pichat, poet and editor-proprietor of the Revue de 
Paris." Gustave Flaubert. 

20th April, 1857. 

On opening the volume, one finds from page to 
page, lines, paragraphs, and entire scenes cut out. 
The greater part of the new or original things are 
cancelled with care. 

And one reads further, on the last page, from the 
hand of Gustave Flaubert, this: 

"It was necessary, according to Maxime Ducamp, to retrench 
all the nuptials, and, according to Pichat, to suppress, or at least 
abridge considerably, and to make over the meetings from one end to 
the other! According to the general opinion of the Revue t the club- 
foot is considerably too long, ' useless. ' " 

This was also the origin of the coolness which 
arose in the ardent friendship between Flaubert and 

A STUDY vii 

M. Ducamp. If it were necessary to produce a more 
definite proof of this, it could be found in this frag- 
ment of a letter from Louis Bouilhet to Flaubert: 

"As for Maxime Ducamp, I have gone fifteen days without see- 
ing him and should have passed another week in the same fashion 
if he had not appeared at my house on Thursday of last week. I 
must say that he was very amiable both as regards my welfare and 
your own. This may have been policy, but I state the fact simply as 
a historian. He offered me his services in finding an editor, and later 
in finding a library. He is well informed about you and your 
work. What Ï told him about Bovary interested him very much. He 
said to me, in incidental phrases, that he was very glad the wrong 
was on your side for never having pardoned him the matter of 
the Revue, that he saw with happiness your works in his magazine, 
etc., etc. He seemed to speak with conviction and frankness. . . ." 

These small details are important only from the point 
of view of M. Ducamp's judgment of his friend. A 
reconciliation took place between them later. 

The appearance of Madame Bovary was a revolu- 
tion in letters. The great Balzac, forgotten, had shown 
his genius in some powerful books, stuffed, taken from 
life, observations, or rather revelations of humanity. 
He divined, invented, created an entire world, born of 
his mind. Little of the artist, in the delicate sense of 
the word, he wrote strong language, full of imagery, a 
little confused and laborious. 

Carried away by his inspiration, he seemed to be 
ignorant of that difficult art, the giving to ideas their 
true value through words, sonorousness and context of 

He put into his work the weight of a colossus; and 
there are few pages from this great man which can be 
cited as masterpieces of language, as one cites Rabelais, 


La Bruyère, Bossuet, Montesquieu, Chateaubriand, 
Michelet, Gautier, etc. 

Gustave Flaubert, on the contrary, proceeding more 
by penetration than intuition, makes use of an admira- 
ble new language, precise, sober, sonorous, for a study 
of human life, profound, surprising, complete. 

This is no longer the romance such as the greatest 
have made, the romance where one always feels a little 
imagination, a little of the author; a romance that can be 
classed among the tragic kind, the sentimental kind, the 
passionate kind; the romance where the purpose, the 
opinions of the author and his manner of thought show 
themselves. It is life itself made evident. One would 
say that the personages arose under his eyes as he 
turned the pages; that the landscapes unrolled them- 
selves, with their sorrows, their gaieties, their odours, 
their charm; that objects surged before the reader, as 
he called them forth with an invisible power, con- 
cealed one knows not where. 

Gustave Flaubert, in fact, was the most ardent 
apostle of impersonality in art. He would not admit 
that the author ever should be surmised, that he should 
let fall in a page, in a line, in a word, a single particle of 
his opinion, nor any appearance of purpose. He should 
be the mirror of facts, but a mirror which should repro- 
duce them by giving to them that inexpressible reflec- 
tion, that, I know not what of something almost divine 
which is called art. 

It is not "impersonal" that one should call it, in 
speaking of this impeccable artist, but impassible. If 
he attached considerable importance to observation 
and analysis, he laid still greater stress on composition 
and style. For with him these two qualities were 
the essentials of an imperishable book. By composi- 


tion, he meant that vexatious labour which consists 
in expressing only the essence of actions that follow 
each other in an existence, in choosing uniquely the 
characteristic traits and grouping them, combining 
them in such a way that they concur in a manner 
most perfect for producing the effect one wishes to 
obtain, but not with any purpose of instruction 

Nothing so irritated him as the doctrines of the 
pawns of criticism upon moral art or honest art. 
''Since humanity has existed," he would say, "all 
the great writers have protested through their works 
against such impotent counsel." 

Morality, honesty, and such principles are indis- 
pensable things in the maintenance of established 
social order; but there is nothing in common be- 
tween social order and letters. Romance writers 
have as their chief object the observation and descrip- 
tion of human passions, good and bad. Their mis- 
sion is not to moralise, nor to scourge, nor to teach. 
A book with these tendencies ceases to be an artistic 

The writer looks at and tries to penetrate the soul 
and the heart, to sound their depths, the propen- 
sities, shameful or magnanimous, together with all 
the complicated mechanism of movable mortals. He 
observes according to his temperament as a man, and 
his artistic conscience. He ceases to be conscientious 
and artistic if he systematically forces himself to glorify 
humanity, to gloss things over, to attenuate the pas- 
sions that he judges dishonestly to the profit of the 
passions he judges honestly. 

Any act, good or bad, has importance for the 
writer only as a subject for writing, without any idea 


of good or bad to be attached to it. It is worth more 
or less as a literary document, that is all. 

Beyond the truth, observed in good faith and ex- 
pressed with talent, there is nothing except the power- 
less efforts of the pawns. 

The great writers are not preoccupied with either 
morals or chastity. For example: Aristophanes, Apu- 
leius, Ovid, Virgil, Rabelais, Shakespeare and many 

If a book carries a lesson, it should be in spite of 
the author, through the very force of the facts it 
relates. Flaubert considered these principles as arti- 
cles of faith. 

When Madame Bovary appeared, the public, ac- 
customed to the unctuous syrup of the elegant ro- 
mances, likewise to the unlikely adventures of the 
chance romances, classed the new writer among the 
realists. This is a gross error and stupid folly. Gus- 
tave Flaubert was no more a realist because he ob- 
served life with care than M. Cherbuliez is not an 
idealist because he observed badly. The realist is he 
who occupies himself only with the brutal fact with- 
out comprehending its relative importance or noting 
its reverberations. To Gustave Flaubert, a fact in 
itself signified nothing. He explains himself thus in 
one of his letters: 

"You complain that the events are not varied, — that is the plaint 
of a realist, and besides, how do you know this? It may be neces- 
sary to look at them more closely. Have you ever believed in the 
existence of things? Is not everything an illusion? There is no truth 
except in its relation, that is to say, the fashion in which we per- 
ceive the objects." 

No observer, however, was ever more conscien- 
tious; and no one strove more to comprehend the 


causes which led to the effects. His process of work, 
his artistic process held much more to penetration 
than to observation. Instead of displaying the psy- 
chology of his personages in explanatory dissertations, 
he simply made it appear by their acts. The inward 
was thus unveiled by the outward, and without any 
psychological argument. 

In the first place, he imagined his types; then, 
proceeding by deduction, he gave to these beings the 
characteristic actions which they would naturally ac- 
complish, following their temperaments with an abso- 
lute logic. Life, then, that he studied so minutely, 
could serve him only as a title of instructions. 

Never does he announce the events; one would 
say on reading them that the facts spoke for them- 
selves, so much importance did he attach to a visible 
appearance of men and things. 

It is this rare quality of scene-setter and impassible 
portrayer which baptized him a realist by the super- 
ficial minds who know how to comprehend the deep 
meaning of a work only when it is spread out in 
philosophic phrases. 

He was much irritated over this epithet of realist, 
which they pasted on his back, and pretended to have 
written his Bovary only out of hatred to the school of 
M. Champfieury. 

In spite of a great friendship for Emile Zola, and a 
great admiration for his powerful talent, which he 
qualified as genial, he could never pardon him his 
naturalism. It is sufficient to read Madame Bovary 
with intelligence to understand how far removed he 
was from realism. The plan of the realistic writer 
consists in simply relating the facts that have happened 
among personages whom they have known or ob- 



served. In Madame Bovary, each personage is a type, 
that is to say, a résumé of a series of beings belonging 
to the same intellectual order. 

The country doctor, the provincial dreamer, the 
chemist, — a sort of Prudhomme, — the curate, the lovers, 
and even all the accessory figures, are types, endowed 
with a relievo much more energetic than are they in 
whom are concentrated great powers of observation, 
and much more lifelike than those represented by a 
pattern, or model, of their class. 

But Gustave Flaubert continued to grow great up 
to the hour of the blossoming of romanticism ; he was 
nourished by echoing phrases of Chateaubriand and 
Victor Hugo, and felt in his soul a lyric need which 
could not completely expand in such clearly-defined 
books as Madame Bovary. 

And this is one of the most singular sides of this 
great man: this innovator, this revealer, this man-who- 
dared was, up to the time of his death, under the 
dominating influence of romanticism. Almost in spite 
of himself, almost unconsciously, driven by the irre- 
sistible force of his genius, by the creative force shut 
up within him, has he written these romances in a 
style so novel, and a note so personal. From his own 
taste, he would have preferred epic subjects, which 
unrolled themselves in a kind cf song, like tableaux in 
an opera. 

In Madame Bovary, besides, as in the Sentimental 
Education, his style, constrained to the rendition of 
common things, has often some flights, some sono- 
rousness of tone, above the subjects it expresses. It 
makes departures, as if tired of being held back, of 
being forced to such platitude and, in speaking of 
Homais* stupidity or Emma's silliness, it becomes 

A STUDY xiii 

pompous or confusing, as if he were translating the 
movement of a poem. 

Not being able to resist this need of grandeur, he 
composed, after the fashion of a Homeric recital, his 
second romance, Salammbô. 

And is that a romance? Or is it rather an opera 
in prose? The tableaux are developed with prodi- 
gious magnificence, with a surprising pomp, colour and 
rhythm. The phrase sings, cries, has the fury and 
sonorousness of the trumpet, the murmur of the haui- 
boy, the undulations of the violoncello, the artifice of 
the violin and the finesse of the flute. And the per- 
sonages, built for heroes, seem always on the stage, 
speaking after a superb mode, with an elegance strong 
and charming, with the air of moving about in antique 
and imposing garb and decorations. 

This giant's book, the most plastically beautiful 
that he has written, gives also the impression of a 
magnificent dream. Is it thus that events passed such 
as Gustave Flaubert relates? No, undoubtedly no. If 
the facts are exact, the pomp of poesy which he 
throws over them show them to us in a kind of apo- 
theosis, the lyric art of which envelops whatever it 

But scarcely had he ended that sonorous recitation 
of a mercenary revolt, when he felt himself called on 
anew by subjects less superb, and he composed with 
slowness that great romance of patience, that long, 
sober, and perfect study which is called the Sentimental 

This time he took for his personages, no longer 
types, as in the Bovary, but any sort of men, medio- 
cre men, the kind we meet every day. Although this 
work demanded a superhuman amount of labour in 


its composition, so much does it resemble life itself 
that it has the air of being executed without plan or 
purpose. It is the perfect image of what takes place 
each day; it is an exact journal of existence. And 
yet, the philosophy in it remains so completely latent, 
so completely concealed behind the facts; the psychol- 
ogy is so perfectly enclosed in the action, attitudes 
and words of the personages, that the great public, 
accustomed to underscored effects, to manifest teach- 
ing, did not comprehend the value of this incompa- 
rable romance. 

Only very keen minds and observers have seized 
the purport of this unique book, so artless, so sad, so 
simple in appearance, but so profound, so veiled, and 
so bitter. The Sentimental Education, scorned for the 
most part by the critics, accustomed as they are to the 
known forms and the immutable in art, has, neverthe- 
less, numerous and enthusiastic admirers who give it 
the highest place among Flaubert's works. 

But it became necessary for him, in consequence of 
one of those inevitable reactions of the mind, to un- 
dertake a new subject, something large and poetic; 
and he finished a work, sketched some time before, 
entitled The Temptation of Saint Antony. 

This is certainly the most powerful effort of the 
mind he ever made. But the very nature of the sub- 
ject, its extent, its inaccessible height, rendered such a 
work almost beyond human strength. Taking up the 
old legend, he no longer has him assailed by visions 
of nude women and succulent nourishment alone, but 
by all the doctrines, all the beliefs and superstitions by 
which the disturbed mind of man is bewildered. It 
is a colossal defile of religious escort, of all the strange 


conceptions, simple and complicated, enclosed in the 
brain of dreamer, priest, or philosopher who is tor- 
tured by a desire to penetrate the unknown. 

As soon as this enormous task was finished (a 
work somewhat painful and confused, a chaos of tot- 
tering beliefs), he began again upon nearly the same 
subject, taking the sciences in place of religion and 
two narrow-minded citizens instead of the ecstatic 

Here are some of the ideas and the development 
of this encyclopaedic book, Bouvard and Pécuchet, 
which might have as a sub-title: " Concerning false 
methods in the study of human knowledge." 

Two copyists employed in Paris met by chance 
and became bound together in the closest friendship. 
One of them had a small inheritance, the other his 
savings. With the combined sum they bought a 
farm in Normandy, the dream of their existence, and 
left the capital. Then they began a series of studies 
and experiences embracing all human knowledge, 
and thus are developed the philosophic data of the 

At first, they took to gardening, then to agricul- 
ture, to chemistry, astronomy, medicine, archaeology, 
history, literature, politics, hygiene, to magnetism and 
sorcery; they finally came to philosophy, losing them- 
selves in its abstractions; they fell into religion, which 
soon disgusted them; they took up the education of 
two orphans, but finding themselves frustrated again 
and in despair, they go back to copying as in days 
gone by. 

The book is thus a review of all the sciences, as 
they appear to two lucid enough minds of the medi- 


ocre, simple order. It is at the same time a formida- 
ble collection of knowledge, and above all a prodigious 
criticism on all scientific systems, opposing the one to 
the other, tearing down both sides by bringing fact 
to bear upon them, contradicting them by the aid of 
accepted and undisputed laws. It is a history of the 
feebleness of human intelligence, a promenade through 
the labyrinth of erudition with a thread in one's hand. 
This thread is the grand irony of a thinker who 
proves, in all things and without ceasing, eternal and 
universal stupidity. 

Beliefs, established for some centuries, are exposed, 
developed, and dismembered in ten lines by placing in 
opposition other beliefs so deftly and briskly as to 
undo and demolish them. From page to page, from 
line to line, a notion comes up, and immediately an- 
other rises in its turn, when the first withdraws or 
falls, struck down by its neighbor. 

What Flaubert did for religions and antique phi- 
losophy in The Temptation of Saint Antony, he has 
here accomplished anew for all modern knowledge. 
It is the To wer-of- Babel of science, where all doc- 
trines, diverse, contrary, and absolute (above all), 
speaking each its own language, demonstrate the im- 
potence of effort, the vanity of affirmation and always 
"the eternal misery of all." 

The truth of to-day becomes the error of to-mor- 
row; all is uncertain, variable, containing in un- 
known proportions, some quantity of the true and of the 
false. At least, what is there is neither true nor false. 
The moral of the book seems contained in this phrase 
of Bouvard's: "Knowledge is gained by following 
the data furnished by an angle in space. Perhaps it 
will not bring all that we are igncrant of, which 

A STUDY xvii 

would require so much greater space that one can 
never hope to discover it." 

This book touches upon that which is greatest, 
most curious, most subtle and most interesting in 
man: it is the history of an idea under all its forms, 
in all its manifestations, with all its transformations, 
in its weakness and in its power. 

It is curious to notice here in Gustave Flaubert a 
tendency towards an ideal more and more abstract 
and elevated. By ideal must not be understood that 
sentimental kind which seduces the common citizen's 
imagination. For the ideal, with most men, is nothing 
other than the unlikely. For the rest, it is simply the 
domain of the idea. 

Flaubert's early romances have been first of all a 
study of customs, very true and very human; then, 
a dazzling poem, a procession of images and visions. 
In Bouvard and Pécuchet, the personages themselves 
belong to systems and not to mankind. The actors 
serve uniquely for expressing ideas which, as if they 
were beings, move, unite, combat and destroy each 
other. And some particularly comic part, or wicked 
idea, takes its place in the procession of beliefs in the 
brains of these two poor gentlemen who personify hu- 
manity. They are always of good faith, aiways zeal- 
ous; and invariably experience contradicts the best 
established theory, and the most subtle reasoning is 
demolished by the most simple fact. 

This surprising edifice of knowledge, built for 
demonstrating human impotence, should have a crown- 
ing conclusion, a shining justification. After this 
formidable array, the author has heaped up an irresisti- 
ble amount of proof, the wrong side of foolishness 
culled from among great men. 


When Bouvard and Pécuchet, disgusted with every- 
thing, returned to their copying, they naturally opened 
the books that they had read, taking them in the nat- 
ural order of their studies, and transcribed minutely some 
choice passages from them into the works from which 
they were drawing. Then begins a series of 
frightful absurdities, ignorance, flagrant contradictions, 
monstrous errors, shameful statements, and mistakes 
inconceivable to high minds and those of more intel- 
ligence. Whoever has written upon a subject has 
sometime said a foolish thing. This foolish statement 
Flaubert has unfailingly found and set down; and, 
putting with it another, then another, then another, 
he has made a formidable array which disconcerts all 
belief and all statement. 

This inner view of human stupidity resulted in a 
mountain of notes too mixed ever to be published un- 
abridged. He has classed them, however; but this 
classification should be revised, and half, at least, of 
this mass of documents suppressed. Nevertheless, 
here is the order in which he left these notes: 






Socialism. (Religious and political.) 



Specimens of Style: [ Recantation. 




Styles of great writers, journalists and poets. 


Scientific: (Medical, Agricultural). 
Style : < Romantic. 

Official, of Sovereigns. 

History of Scientific Ideas. 

fine arts. 

Beauty: < 

' On the part of order. 
Of people of letters. 
Of religion. 
Of sovereigns. 

Opinions of great men. 
The classics corrected. 

Whimsicality. — Ferocity. — Eccentricities. — Injuries. — Foolish- 
ness. — Cowardice. 
Exaltation of the low. 

Official popularity: 



The dictionary of accepted ideas. 
The catalogue of chic opinions. 

This then, is the history of human stupidity in all 
its forms. 

Some quotations to make the purport and nature 
of these notes comprehended: 


Philosophy, Morality, Religion. 

The Greeks corrupted by their philosophic reas oners. 

"This so brilliant people has founded nothing, es- 
tablished nothing lasting, and there remains of them 
only memories of crimes and disasters, books and 
statues. They always lacked reason." 
— Lamenais: Essay upon Indifference, vol. 4, p. 171. 


"Sovereigns have the right to make changes in 


— Descartes: Discourse on Method, part 6. 

"The study of mathematics, comprising as it 
does, sensibility and imagination, sometimes causes a 
terrible explosion of the passions." 

— Dupanloup: Intellectual Education, p. 147. 

"Superstition is a production put forth by re- 
ligion, which there is no need of destroying." 

— De Maistre: 
Evenings at St. Petersburg, No. 7, p. 234. 

"Water is made for sustaining these prodigious 

floating edifices which we call vessels." 

— Fénelon. 

Religious and Philosophical and Moral Beauties. 

political economy. 

"In 1823, the inhabitants of the town of Lille, 
speaking in the name of rape-seed oil, exposed to the 

A STUDY xxi 

government the fact that a new product, gas, had 
begun to make itself known; that this mode of light- 
ing, if put into general use, would leave all others be- 
hind, inasmuch as it appeared at once the best and 
the lowest in price, etc. By reason of which, they 
prayed humbly, but firmly, that his Majesty, the 
natural protector of their work, would be willing to 
protect them from all attack upon their rights by ab- 
solutely interdicting this perturbing product." 

— Frederic Passy: Discourse upon Free Trade. 
Dec. 5, 1878. 

"Shakespeare himself, crude as he was, was not 
without reading or without knowledge." 

— La Harpe: Introduction to a Literary Course. 


"Ladies, in the march of Christian society, upon 
the railway of the world, woman is a drop of water 
whose magnetic influence, vivified and purified by the 
fire of the Holy Spirit, communicates movement to 
the social convoy under her beneficent impulse; it 
runs along the way of progress and advances towards 
the eternal doctrines. 

"But if, instead of furnishing the drop of water of 
the divine benediction, woman supplies the pebble of 
derailment, some frightful catastrophes are the result." 

— Mgr. Mermillod: 
On Supernatural Life in the Soul. 




"I should consider it bad for a not over-wise girl 
to live with a man before marriage." 

(Translation of Homer.) Ponsard. 


"Sibyl, playing on the harp, was generally ador- 
able. The word angel canae to the lips in looking at 

— Sibylle (p. 146) O. Feuillet. 


"The riches of a country depend upon its gen- 
eral prosperity." 

— Louis Napoleon: 
Quoted in the Rive Gauche, March 12, 1865. 


"Philosophic teaching makes youth drink of the 
rancour of the dragon in the chalice of Babylon." 

— Pius IX: Manifesto, 1847. 

"The inundations of the Loire are due to the ex- 
cess of pressure and the non-observance of Sunday." 

— The Bishop of Metz: Mandate, December, 1846. 

Scientific Ideas. 

natural history. 

"The women in Egypt prostituted themselves pub- 
licly to the crocodiles!" 

— Proudhon: (On the celebration of Sunday, 1850.) 

A STUDY xxiii 

"Dogs are ordinarily of two opposite tints, the 
one light and the other dark, so that in whatever part 
of the house they may be, they can be seen upon the 
furniture, with the colour of which they might be con- 

— Bernardin de Saint-Pierre: 

Harmonies of Nature. 

"Fleas throw themselves, wherever they are, upon 
a white colour. This instinct was given to them that 
we might catch them more easily." 

— Bernardin de Saint-Pierre: 
Harmonies of Nature. 

"The melon is divided by nature into sections so 
as to be eaten in the family; the pumpkin, being 
much larger, can be eaten with the neighbours." 
— Bernardin de Saint-Pierre: Études de la Nature. 


"All authority, especially that of the church, ought 
to oppose new things, without letting themselves be 
frightened at the danger of retarding the discovery of 
some new truths, which may be inconvenient, fleet- 
ing, and wholly useless as compared with the shock- 
ing of institutions and accepted opinions." 

— P. 283, vol. 2, De Maistre, Exam. Phil. Bacon. 

"A disease of potatoes was caused by the disaster 
at Monville. The meteor was most active in the val- 
leys, where it drew off the heat. It had the effect of 
a sudden coldness." 

— Raspail; Hist. Health and Sickness, p. 246, 247. 



"I notice in fishes that it is a marvel they are 

born and live in the waters of the ocean, which are 

salt, and that their race was not annihilated long ago." 

— Gaume: Catechism of Perseverance, 57. 


"Is it necessary to observe that this vast science 
(Chemistry) is absolutely out of place in general 
teaching ? Of what use is it to the minister, the 
magistrate, the sailor, or the merchant?" 

— De Maistre: Letters and unedited pamphlets. 


"Many persons have thought that science in the 
hands of man dries up the heart, disenchants nature, 
leads the minds of the weak to atheism, and from 
atheism to crime." 

— Chateaubriand: Genius of Christianity, p. 335. 


"It is, as it seems to us, a great pity to find man 
to-day ranked among the mammiferous (after Lin- 
naeus's system) with the monkeys, the bats and the 
sloths. Is he not worthy to be left at the head of 
creation where Moses, Aristotle, BufTon, and Nature 
placed him ?" 

— Chateaubriand: Genius of Christianity, p . 351. 

"His movements [of the serpent] differ from those 
of all animals. One does not know where to say 
the principle of his locomotion lies, for he has neither 

A STUDY xxv 

fins, nor feet, nor wings; nevertheless he flees like 
a shadow and vanishes magically." 

— Chateaubriand: Genius of Christianity, p. 138. 


"If one had a dictionary of savage tongues, he 
might find there the remaining evidence of a language 
spoken before their day by an enlightened people, 
and, if we did not find it, the only conclusion would 
be that degradation had arrived at such a point that 
the last remnants had been effaced." 

— De Maistre: Evenings at St. Petersburg. 


"They belong to prelates, to the nobles, to the 
great officers of State, to be the depositories and the 
guardians of conserved truth, to teach nations what is 
good and what is bad, what is true and what is false, 
in moral and spiritual order. Others have no right to 
reason upon this kind of matter. They have the 
natural sciences to amuse them; of what can they 

— 8th Conversation, p. 131. De Maistre. 

Evenings at St. Petersburg. 


"If we do not look well to ancient maxims, if 
education be not given up to the priests, and if science 
is not put in the second place, the evils which await 
us are incalculable; we shall be brutalized by science, 
and that is the last degree of brutality." 

— De Maistre: Essay on generating principles. 


Historic Review. 

Opinion on the study of history. 

"The teaching of history may have, in my opinion, 
some inconvenient peril for the professor. It has some 
also for pupils." — Dupanloup. 


"If we consider Napoleon in respect to his moral 

qualities, it is difficult to estimate him, because it is 

difficult to discover goodness in a soldier who is ever 

occupied with strewing the earth with the dead; 

friendship in a man who never has his equals about 

him; probity in a potentate who is master of the 

riches of the universe. At the same time, however 

outside the ordinary rules this mortal may be, it is 

not impossible to seize here and there certain traits of 

his moral physiognomy." 

— A. Thiers: 

History of the Consulate and the Empire, vol. 22, 

p. 713. 

"Many times have I heard deplored the blindness 
of the judgment of Francis I., who thrust away 
Christopher Columbus when he proposed the Indes." 

— Montesquieu: 
The Mind of Louis XIV., Book 21, Chap. 22. 

(Francis I. mounted the throne in 1515. Columbus 
died in 1506.) 


"Some steps from this very lively scene, the Spanish 
chief sat motionless smoking a long pipe." 

— Villemain: Lascaris. 

A STUDY xxvii 


"There has never existed a sovereign family whom 

one could connect with a plebeian origin. If this 

phenomenon should make its appearance, it would 

make an epoch in the world." 

— De Maistre: 

Evenings at St. Petersburg. 


"Nothing can establish the power of Prussia 
(1807). This famous edifice, constructed of blood, of 
filth, of false money and the leaves of pamphlets, has 
crumbled in the twinkling of an eye and gone for- 

— De Maistre: Letters and Pamphlets, p. 98. 


(St. John Chrysostom was born in Antioch, Asia.) 

"The town of Cannes, doubly celebrated for the 
victory gained by Hannibal over the Romans and the 
landing of Bonaparte." 

"He accuses Louis XI. of having persecuted Abé- 
lard." (Louis XI. was born in 1423. Abélard was 
born in 1079.) 

"Smyrna is an island." 

— J. Janin, in G. de Flotte, i860. 


"It requires more genius to be a boatman on the 
Rhône than to reach the Orient." 

3-3 — Proudhon. 


Stupidities of Great Men. 


1 'His morals [Chimène] are at least scandalous, if, 
in fact, not depraved. This pernicious example renders 
the work notably defective and destroys the aim of 
the poetry which would otherwise be useful." 

— Academy (On The Cid). 

"Let one quote me an excerpt from the great Cor- 
neille that I would not have undertaken to do better 
myself than he has done it! Who is to be the judge? 
I should only do what any man is capable of doing, 
provided he believed as firmly in Aristotle as in me." 
— Lessing: Dramatists of Hamburg, p. 462, 463. 

"In spite of the reputation which this writter [La 

Bruyère] enjoyed, there is much negligence in his 


— Condillac: Treatise on the Art of Writing. 

"A famous dreamer [Descartes], subject to flights 
of the imagination, whose name is made for a chi- 
merical country." 

— Marat: Concerning the Pantheon. 

"Rabelais, filth of humanity." — Lamartine. 


"His songs, so often repeated in the world, 
serve only to suggest passions the most irregular." 
— Bossuet: Maxims on Comedv. 

A STUDY xxix 


"It is a pity that Molière did not know how to 
write." — Fénelon. 

" Molière is an infamous actor." — Bossuet. 


"Byron's genius seems to me to be at bottom a 
little stupid." — L. Veuillot: Free Thoughts, p. n. 

"In my opinion, Byron, after he had been very 
justly rejected by his family and his country, — that is 
to say, — put in a convict-prison for being a faithless hus- 
band and a scandalous citizen, — if he had been a man 
of sense, and truly great in mind and heart, he would 
have made the simplest reparation for the sake of re- 
covering the right to bring up his daughter and serve 
his country." — L. Veuillot: Free Thoughts, p . n. 

Abuse of Great Men. 

"He [Bonaparte] is in fact a great winner of 
battles; but aside from that the least General is more 
skilful than he." 

— Chateaubriand: Napoleon and the Bourbons. 


"It has been believed that he had perfected the art 
of war, while it is certain that he has retrograded 
toward the infancy of the art." 
— Chateaubriand: Bonaparte and the Bourbons. 



"Bacon is absolutely devoid of the spirit of analy- 
sis; not only does he not know how to resolve ques- 
tions, but he does not know how to place them." 

— De Maistre: 
Examination of Bacon's Philosophy, vol. i, p. 37. 

"Bacon was a man ignorant of all the sciences, 
and all his ideas were fundamentally false," 

De Maistre: 
Examination of Bacon's Philosophy, vol. 1, p. 82. 

"Bacon had an eminently false mind, of a kind of 
falseness which never has belonged to any one but 
him. His absolute incapacity, essential, radical, was 
seen in all branches of natural science." 

— De Maistre: 
Examination of Bacon's Philosophy, vol. I, p. 285, 


"Voltaire is nothing as a philosopher, without au- 
thority as a critic and an historian, and antiquated as 
a scholar; daylight has been let in upon his private 
life, but through pride, the wickedness and little mean- 
nesses of his soul and character are discredited." 
— Dupanloup: High Intellectual Education. 


"Posterity, to whom Goethe has left his work to 
be judged, will do what it has to do. It will write 
on tablets of bronze: 

A STUDY xxxi 

'Goethe, born at Frankfort in 1749, died at Weimar 
in 1852; a great writer, a great poet and a great artist.' 
And then the fanatics, who are for form for the sake 
of form, and art for the sake of art, for love and ma- 
terialism, will come and ask to have added: 'Great 
man!' and Posterity will answer: 'No!'" 

— A. Dumas, fils, 
July 2), 1873. 

Ideas of Art. 


"There is no doubt that extraordinary men, in 
whatever way it may be, owe a part of their success 
to the superior qualities with which they are endowed 
by organization." 
— Damiron: Course of Philosophy, vol. 11, p. 35. 

"The grocery shop is respectable. It is a branch 
of commerce. The army is more respectable still, be- 
cause it is an institution whose aim is order. The 
grocery is useful, the army is necessary." 

— The News: Jules Noriac. 
Oct. 26, 1865. 


"As soon as a Frenchman has passed the frontier, 
he enters upon foreign territory." 

— L. Havin: Sunday Courier, Dec. 15. 

"When the limit is overleaped, there are limits no 
longer." — Ponsard. 


There are in existence almost enough of these notes 
to fill three volumes. The aptitude of Gustave Flau- 
bert for discovering this kind of stupidity was surpris- 
ing. The following example is characteristic. 

On reading the discourse of Scribe's reception at 
the French Academy, he stopped short before this 
phrase, which he noticed immediately: 

"Does Moliere's comedy instruct us in the great events of the 
Louis XIV. century ? Does it tell us a word of the weaknesses or 
faults of the great king ? Does it speak of the revoking of the Edict 

of Nantes ? " 

He wrote under this quotation: 

" Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 1685." 
"Death of Molière, 1673." 

How was it that no one of the Academicians, 
meeting to listen to this discourse before it was de- 
livered, happened upon this very simple comparison 
of dates? 

Gustave Flaubert counted upon forming a volume 
of these justifying documents. In order to render 
the collection of stupidity less heavy and fastidious, 
there were to be at intervals two or three stories, of 
poetic idealism, also copied in Bouvard and Pechu- 

Among his papers was found the plan of one of 
these stories, which would have been entitled: A 
Night with Don Juan. This plan, indicated by short 
phrases, often by single words alone, reveals better 
than any dissertation his manner of conceiving and 
preparing his work. From this point of view it is in- 
teresting. Here it is: 

A STUDY xxxiii 

A Night with Don Juan. 


"Make him without accomplishments, of a single 

"Begin with tumult of action, — tableau of two 
cavaliers arriving upon horses out of breath. Glimpse 
of the landscape, but not too marked, only as seen 
through the trees, — let the horses graze in the 
brushwood, — they become entangled in the lines, 
etc. — In the midst of the dialogue, from time to time, 
break in with little details of action. 

"Don Juan unbuttons and throws down his 
sword which comes out of the scabbard a little upon 
the turf. — He comes to kill the brother of Donna 
Elvira. — He has fled. — The conversation begins in 
sharp, brusque speeches. 

"Landscape. — The convent behind them. — They are 
seated on a grasspiot, on a declivity under some 
orange trees. — Circle of woods about them. — Slightly 
rising land before them. — Horizon of mountains, bare 
at the summit. — Setting sun. 

"Don Juan is weary and betakes himself to Le- 
porello. — But is it my fault, the life you lead and 
make me lead? Ah, well, the life that I lead — is that 
my fault also? What! It is not your fault. — Leporello 
believed him, for he had often seen in him the good 
intention of leading a more regular life, — yes, and the 
chance of making it otherwise. Examples. — Lepo- 
rello mentions the examples: desire that he has for 
knowing all the women he sees, universal jealousy 
of the human race. — You would wish all to belong 


to you. — You would seek occasions. — Yes, a disquiet 
urges me. I should wish . . . aspiration. . . . 
— Less than ever he knows what he would wish, what 
he wishes. — Leporello for a long time has comprehended 
little that his master said. — Don Juan wishes to be pure, 
to be a virgin youth. — He has never been so because 
he is so bold, impudent and positive. — He has often 
wished for the emotions of innocence. — In all and 
above all, it is the woman he seeks. — But why do 
you leave them? — Ah! why? — Don Juan says it is 
from weariness of a woman possessed. — Annoyance 
which takes his eye, temptation to strike those 
who weep. — How you repel them, the poor little 
hinds! How you forget! — Don Juan astonishes him- 
self even in forgetting and sounds this idea, finding 
it a sad thing. — I have found some tokens of love, 
but know not whence they have come to me. — You 
complain of life, master; it is unjust. — Leporello wick- 
edly enjoys the idea of goodness in Don Juan. — The 
young people look at him, Leporello, with envy, 
thinking that he participates somewhat in the poesy 
of his master. 

"Reverie of Don Juan on the idea submitted to 
him by Leporello, that he may have a son some- 
where. . . . 

"And I have seen you in having seen your an- 
cestors. — Desire that Don Juan has to define in his 
thoughts the countenances now nearly effaced. — 
What would he not give to have once more a clear 
idea of these images! 

"It is not all the change itself. It is that you 
change often for the worse. — Love of plain women. 
Have you not been mad during the past year over 
that old Neapolitan marchioness ? 

A STUDY xxxv 

"Don Juan relates how he lost his virginity (an 
old duenna, in a shadow, in a castle). — But you did 
not know then that this was only a desire; poor man 
(Seized him in her arms), and what it is born of? — 
Excitation of physical desire — Corruption. — Abyss 
which separates subject and object, and the appetite 
of the one for entering the other. — This is what I am 
always in quest of. — Silence. 

"There was in my father's garden the figure of a 
woman which had been on the prow of a ship. — 
Desire showed in it. — He clambers up one day and 
takes hold of her breasts. — Dead spiders in the wood. 
— First sentiment of woman, a feeling of peril. — And 
I have always found the heart of wood. And espe- 
cially so when they are at play! I see you are happy. 
Atonement for joy (calm before, calm after), this has 
alway given me the suspicion that there was some- 
thing concealed. — But no. — Impossibility of a perfect 
communion, however adherent the kiss may be. — 
Something constrains and in itself makes a wall. Si- 
lence of the pupils of the eye while they devour them- 
selves.. The look goes for more than words. From 
there comes the desire, for a most intimate attach- 
ment, always being renewed and deceived. (Note it 
from different standpoints): 

Jealousy in desire: to know, to have. 

Jealousy in possession: to look at in sleep, to understand at heart. 

Jealousy in remembrance: to see again and remember well. 

"It is always the same thing, said Leporello. — Ah, 
no! it is never the same thing! So many women, so 
many desires, and the different joys and bitternesses. 

"Let the vulgarism of Leporello bring out the su- 
periority of Don Juan and place it objectively in show- 


ing the difference, especially that the difference is only 
in intensity! 

"Desire of other men. Willing to be all that the 
women expect. — How does it affect me? What is 
this great number of mistresses compared to the rest ? 
How many there are who do not know me and to 
whom I have never been anything! 

4 'Two kinds of love. That which attracts to itself, 
which imbibes, where individualism and the senses 
predominate (not all of the voluptuous kind, however). 
To this belongs jealousy. The second is the love 
which draws you outside of itself. It is larger, more 
rending, more sweet. It has some magnetic influence 
where the other has recurring sharpnesses. Don Juan 
has proved the two, sometimes in the case of the 
same woman. There are some women who bring the 
first, there are others who provoke the second, some 
both at the same time. This also depends upon the 
moment, chance and the disposition. 

"Don Juan is weary and finishes with a feeling 
that his head would split, as one does when he has 
thought too long, without a solution. — They hear the 
bell toll for the dead. And this is one for whom all 
is done! What is it for? 

"They raise their heads. 


"Don Juan scales the wall and sees Anna Maria 
asleep. — Tableau. — Long contemplation, — desire, — 
remembrance. — She awakes. At first, some words 
cut short, as if following her thought. She has no 
fear of him (the least clash possible without their be- 
ing able to distinguish the fantastic from the reaH. 

A STUDY xxxviï 

" It is long that I have awaited you. You did 
not come. — Relate her illness and death. — As the dia- 
logue proceeds, she awakes more and more. — Sweat 
upon her head-bands; raises herself slowly, slowly, at 
first on her elbows, then sits. — Great astonished eyes. 
Return to the exact. How? 

"Then it is you whose steps I was listening for 
in the wood. — Stifling heat of the nights. — The prom- 
enade in the cloister, shade of the columns, which 
did not move as the trees had. I plunged my hands 
into the fountain. — Symbolic comparison of the changed 
stag. — A summer afternoon. 

"They prohibit our telling our thoughts — à propos 
of the crucifix which stands over Anna Maria's bed, 
the Christ who watches over our dreams. — The cruci- 
fix is alway immovable while the heart of the young 
girl is agitated and often grieved. 

"This crucifix is a comfort to Anna Maria, but it 
does not respond to her in her love. — Oh! I have 
prayed to Him so often! Why will He not, why has 
He not listened to me ? Aspirations of the flesh and 
love that is true (perfecting the mystic love), in par- 
allel with the shameless aspirations of Don Juan who 
has had, in his other loves, especially in moments of 
lassitude, some mystic needs. (Indicate this, as to 
Don Juan, in his conversation with Leporello.) 

"Movement of Anna Maria encircling Don Juan 
with her arms. — The flesh of the fore-arm borne upon 
the arteries and the wrists at the end of the stiff 
hands, too small to reach to him; a lock of Don Juan's 
hair catches in a button of her chemise, as he lowers 
his head towards her. 

"The night becomes animated, — a few shepherds 
are heard upon the mountains. There also they speak 


of love. — It is love which occupies them. — You do 
not know the simple joy. — The day dawns. 

" Aspirations of Anna Maria's life at harvest times. 
Sunday afternoons the feast days of the church. — The 
overseers torment her. — I loved the confessional much. 
She approached it with a sentiment of voluptuous 
fear, because her heart was open. — Mystery, shade. — 
But she had no sins to tell, although she could have 
wished she had. There are, they say, some women 
of the ardent life, — happy. 

"One day she swooned all alone in the church, 
where she went to place some flowers (the organist 
was playing all alone), while contemplating a large 
window penetrated by the sunlight. 

"Frequent desires which she has at communion. 
To have Jesus in the body. God in self! — At each 
new sacrament it seems to her that the thirst may be 
appeased. — She multiplies her works, fasts, prayers, 
etc. — Sensuality of the young. — Feels the stomach 
pulling, weakness of the head. — She is afraid, and 
studies how to overcome these fears, etc. — Mortifica- 
tions. — Is fond of pleasant odours. She smells some 
disgusting things. — Voluptuousness of bad odours. — 
She is ashamed before Don Juan, because of her en- 
thusiasm. — Anna Maria is astonished at his desire. — 
What is it ? How is it that I desire and she desires 
that which she does not know ? Voluptuousness creeps 
into her, as disgust into Don Juan. I heard you 
speaking of the world. Speak to me! Speak to me! 

"The lamp goes out for want of oil. — The stars 
shine into the room (not the moon). Then the day 
dawns. — Anna Maria falls dead. 

"The horses are heard browsing and shaking the 
saddles on their backs. Don Juan escapes. 

A STUDY xxxix 

"Tone of character of Anna Maria: sweet. 

"Never lose sight of Don Juan/ The principal 
object (at least of the second part) is the union, the 
equality, the duality, each of which terms has been 
incomplete up to the present time, melting them to- 
gether, and each showing gradually that it is coming 
to complete itself by uniting with the neighboring 

Gustave Flaubert did not write Bouvard and Pécu- 
chet at a single stroke. It might be said that half 
of his life was passed in meditation upon this book, 
and that he consecrated his last six years to the exe- 
cution of this tour de force. An insatiable reader, 
indefatigable in research, he heaped up documents 
without ceasing. Finally, one day, he put himself to 
work, somewhat terrified before the enormity of the 
task. "One must be mad," he often said, "to under- 
take a work like that." And it was indeed neces- 
sary to have superhuman patience and an ineradicable 

Down there at Croisset, in his great study with 
five windows, he moaned day and night over his 
work. Without relaxation, without recreation, pleas- 
ures or distractions, with mind fearfully intent, he ad- 
vanced with a desperate slowness, discovering each 
day some new study to be made, some new research 
to undertake. And his phrases also tormented him, 
his phrase, so concise, so precise, so coloured as to 
enclose in two lines a whole volume, and in a para- 
graph all the thoughts of a savant. He would take a 
number of ideas of the same nature, and, as a chemist 
prepares an elixir, dissolve them and mix them, reject- 
ing the accessories and simplifying the principles, 


until out of his crucible would come absolute formu- 
las containing in fifty words an entire system of 

Once it became necessary for him to stop, ex- 
hausted and almost discouraged; then, as a recreation, 
he wrote his delicious volume entitled: Three Stories. 

It might be said here that he wished to make this 
a complete and perfect résumé of his work. The 
three novels: A Simple Soul, The Legend of Saint 
Julien the Hospitaller and Herodias, show in a short 
and admirable fashion the three aspects of his talent. 

If it were necessary to class these three jewels, 
perhaps we should put Saint Julien the Hospitaller 
in the first rank. It is an absolute masterpiece in 
colour and style, a masterpiece in art. 

A Simple Soul relates the story of a poor coun- 
try servant, honest and shallow, whose life goes on 
until death without a glimmer of true happiness ever 
shining upon it. 

The Legend of Saint Julien the Hospitaller shows 
us the miraculous adventures of a saint as made by 
an old, stained-glass church window, with a wise 
and highly-coloured simplicity. 

Herodias tells us of the tragedy of the decapitation 
of Saint John the Baptist. 

Gustave Flaubert still had many subjects for novels 
and romances. He counted on writing, from the first, 
the Battle of Thermopylae, and for this purpose made 
a voyage to Greece in the beginning of the year 1872 
to see the actual country of this superhuman struggle. 
He wished to make of it a kind of patriotic reci- 
tation, simple and terrible, which might be read to 
the children of the people, to teach them to make 
them love their country. _ ^ — 

A STUDY xli 

He wished to show the valiant souls, the mag- 
nanimous hearts and the vigorous bodies of these 
symbolic heroes and, without employing a technical 
word, or an ancient term, to tell the story of this 
immortal battle, which belonged not to the history of 
a single nation but of the world. He rejoiced at the 
idea of writing the adieux of these warriors to their 
wives in sonorous terms, where they recommend 
them, in case they fall in the encounter, to marry 
again some robust men soon, in order to give new 
sons to their country. The very thought of this 
heroic story gave Flaubert a powerful enthusiasm. 

He had planned, too, a kind of modern Matron of 
Ephesus, having been carried away by a subject 
which Turgenief related to him. 

Finally, he meditated a great romance upon the 
second Empire, where could be seen the mixture and 
contact of Oriental and Occidental civilisations, — the 
amalgamation of the Greeks from Constantinople, so 
many of whom came to Paris during Napoleon's 
reign, playing an important rôle in Parisian society 
and the factitious, refined world of Imperial France. 

Two personages chiefly attracted him, a man and 
a woman, a Parisian household, showing craftiness 
with ingenuousness, ambition and corruption. The 
man, a superior officer, dreams of a great fortune 
which he is slowly amassing, and with a natural, 
egotistic profligacy he makes his wife, who is very 
pretty and full of intrigue, serve his projects. 

In spite of all the elforts, of every nature, of his 
companion, his desires are not satisfied to his liking. 
Then, after long years of attempts, both realise the 
vanity of their hopes and finish their life as honest, 
deceived people, resigned and tranquil. 


He saw still, in project, another great romance 
upon the administration, with this title: The Head 
of the Department, and he affirmed that no one has 
ever yet comprehended what a comic personage, and 
how important and useless, a Head of the Depart- 
ment is. 

Gustave Flaubert was before all, and above all, an 
artist. The public to-day scarcely distinguishes the 
signification of this word as applied to a man of let- 
ters. The sense of art, that scent so delicate, so 
subtle, so difficult, so unseizable, so inexpressible, is 
essentially a gift of the aristocracy of intelligence; it 
can scarcely belong to the democracy. 

Some very great writers have not been artists. 
The public and even the greater part of the critics 
make no difference between the one and the other. 

In the last century, on the contrary, the public, 
adjudged difficult and refined, carried to an extreme 
this artistic sense which has now disappeared. It 
worked itself into a passion for a phrase, for a verse, 
for an ingenious or a bold epithet. Twenty lines, a 
page, a portrait, an episode, sufficed it for judging 
and classing an author. It sought the underneath, the 
inner meaning of the words, penetrated the secret 
reasoning of the author, read slowly without passing 
over anything, seeking, after digesting the phrase, 
to find out whether there still remained anything more 
to penetrate. And minds, slowly prepared for liter- 
ary sensations, receive readily the secret influence of 
this mysterious power which puts some soul into a 

When a man, however richly endowed he may be, 
concerns himself only with relating something, when 
he takes no account of the fact that veritable literary 

A STUDY xliii 

power is not in the anecdote but in the manner of 
preparing, presenting, and expressing it, he has no 
sense of art. 

The profound and delicious joy which leaps to 
your heart before certain pages, before certain phrases, 
comes only through those who have said them; they 
come from an accordance of expression and idea 
which is absolute, from a sensation of secret beauty 
and harmony which escapes for the most part the 
observation of the multitude. 

Musset, that great poet, was not an artist. The 
charming things he said, in an easy, seductive lan- 
guage, left quite indifferent those who are occu- 
pied in the pursuit, the research, and the emotions of 
a higher beauty, more unreachable, more intellectual. 

The multitude, on the contrary, found in Musset 
satisfaction for all their poetic appetites, which are a 
little gross, and unable to comprehend the trembling, 
almost the ecstasy, which certain pieces of Baudelaire, 
Victor Hugo, and Leconte de Lisle can give. Those 
words have a soul. Most readers, and even writers, 
ask only a meaning. They find that this soul, which 
appears in contact with other words, which shines 
upon and illumines certain books with an unknown 
light, is very difficult to call forth. 

There are, in the joining and combinations of the 
language written by certain men, the evocation of a 
whole poetic world, that the people of the mundane 
world know neither how to perceive nor to surmise. 
When one speaks to them of it, they are offended, 
begin to reason, argue, deny, and cry out that they 
wish you would show it to them. It would be use- 
less to try. Feeling it not, they could never compre- 



Some educated, intelligent men, writers even, are 
astonished when one speaks to them of this mystery 
of which they are ignorant; and they laugh and shrug 
their shoulders. What matters it? They do not 
know. As well talk music to a people who have 
no ear. 

Ten words exchanged are sufficient for two minds 
endowed with this mysterious sense of art to com- 
prehend each other's meaning, as if they were speak- 
ing a language of which others were ignorant. 

Flaubert was tortured all his life in the pursuit of 
this unseizable perfection. He had a conception of 
style which bestows upon him, in this one word, all 
the qualities of the thinker and the writer. So, when 
he declared: "There is nothing but style," one must 
understand him to mean: There is nothing but so- 
norousness or harmony of words. 

One usually means by "style," the fashion in which 
each individual writer presents his thought. Style 
would then be different according as the man, bril- 
liant or sombre, abundant or concise, followed his 
own temperament. Gustave Flaubert thought that the 
personality of the author should disappear in the orig- 
inality of the book, and that the originality of the 
book should not come from the singularity of style. 

For he did not consider "styles" as a series of 
moulds each of which carries the particular mark of a 
writer and in which he runs all of his ideas; but he 
believed in style, that is to say, in a unique, absolute 
manner for expressing a thing in all its colour and all 
its intensity. 

For him it was the work itself. Just as among 
beings, the blood nourishes the flesh and even deter- 
mines the contour and external appearance, following 

A STUDY xlv 

its race and family, so, for him, the foundation in a 
work imposed the expression with a fatality, unique 
and true; also the measure, rhythm, and all the lines of 
the form. 

He did not understand that foundation could exist 
without form, nor form without foundation. The 
style, then, became the being, the impersonal be- 
ing, so to speak; and imprinted only its qualities 
upon the quality of the thought and the power of 

Possessed by the absolute belief that there existed 
only one way of expressing a thing, one word to 
use, one adjective to qualify it and one verb to give 
it life, he gave himself superhuman labor to discover, 
in each phrase, that word, that epithet and that verb. 
Thus, he believed in a mysterious harmony of expres- 
sion, and, when a correct term did not seem to him 
euphonious, he would seek another with an invincible 
patience, certain that he had not found the true, the 

Writing, then, was for him a formidable thing, full 
of torment, peril and fatigue. He would seat himself 
at his table with a fear of and a desire for this loved 
but torturing work. He would remain there for 
hours, immovable, vexed by his frightful labour, fear- 
ful of this colossus, patient and careful as one who 
would build a pyramid of a child's marbles. 

Sunk in his oak armchair with its high back, his 
head drawn down between his shoulders, he would look 
steadily at his paper with his blue eye, whose small 
pupil seemed like a black dot always in motion. A 
light cap of silk, such as ecclesiastics wear, covering 
the top of his head, allowed long locks of hair to 
escape, which fell down and spread out upon his 


back. A large dressing-gown, of brown cloth, en- 
veloped him entirely; and his red face, cut by a 
heavy moustache, white at the drooping ends, ap- 
peared swollen under a furious rush of blood. His 
eyes, shaded by great, sombre brows, ran along the 
lines, digging out words, overturning phrases, con- 
sulting the physiognomy of the assembled letters, spy- 
ing the effect as a hunter eyes his game. 

Then he would begin to write, slowly, stopping 
often, beginning again, erasing, writing across words, 
filling the margins, and intervening spaces, black- 
ening twenty pages to finish one, and, under the 
heavy effort of his thought, whining meantime like a 

Sometimes, throwing the quill which he held in 
his hand into a large Oriental tin plate filled with 
goose-quills carefully sharpened, he would take up 
the sheet of paper, raise it to a level with his eyes 
and, leaning upon his elbow, would declaim in a 
sharp, high voice. He would listen to the rhythm of 
his prose, stop as if seizing a passing cadence, place 
the commas with exact knowledge, like the halting- 
places in a long journey. 

"A phrase is likely to live," he would say, 
"when it corresponds to all the necessities of respi- 
ration. I know that a phrase is good when it can be 
read very loud." 

"Phrases badly written," he writes in a preface to 
the Last Songs of Louis Bouilhet, "will not submit 
to this test; they oppress the chest, strain the cords 
of the heart, and are thus found outside the conditions 
of life." 

A thousand occupations besieged him at the same 
time, taking possession of him; but that certain 

A STUDY xlvii 

attitude of desperation always remained fixed in his 
mind: " Among all expressions, all turns, all forms, 
there is but one expression, one turn, one form for 
expressing what I have to say." 

And with cheek inflated, neck congested, brow 
reddened, and muscles stretched like those of an 
athlete in a struggle, he would fight desperately 
for an idea, for a word, seizing them and coupling 
them in spite of themselves, holding them together 
in an indissoluble fashion by the power of his will, 
grasping the thought and subjugating it little by lit- 
tle, with fatigue and almost superhuman effort, en- 
caging it like a captive beast, in solid and precise 

From this formidable labour was born for him an 
extreme respect for literature and for the phrase. The 
moment that he had constructed a phrase, with so 
much difficulty and torture, he would not admit that 
a word of it could be changed. When he read to his 
friends the story entitled A Simple Soul, they made 
some remarks and criticisms upon a passage of ten 
lines, in which the old maid ends by confounding her 
parrot with the Holy Spirit. The idea would appear 
too subtle for a peasant's mind. Flaubert listened, 
reflected, and recognised that the observation was just. 
But a sudden anguish seized him: "You are right," 
said he, "only — in that case 1 must change my 

That same evening, however, he put himself to the 
task; he passed the night in changing ten words, 
scratching and erasing twenty sheets of paper and in 
the end changed nothing, not having been able to 
construct another phrase whose harmony appeared 
to satisfy him. 


At the beginning of the same story, the last 
word of a new paragraph, serving for the subject of 
the next following, could but make place for an am- 
biguity. This defect was pointed out to him; he 
recognized it, forced himself to modify the sense, and, 
not succeeding in producing the cadence that he 
wished, he cried out discouraged: "So much the 
worse for the sense; rhythm before everything!" 

That question of rhythm in prose sent him forth 
into passionate dissertations, at times: "In verse," he 
would say, "the poet has fixed rules. He has meas- 
ure, caesura, rhyme, and a quantity of practical indica- 
tions making a science of the trade. In prose, a 
profound sentiment of rhythm is necessary, of fugitive 
rhythm, without rules, without certainty, an inborn 
quality, and with that a power of reasoning, the artis- 
tic sense infinitely more subtle and more keen, in 
order to change at any instant the movement, the 
color, the style, to follow the things one wishes to 
say. When one knows how to handle this fluid thing 
which is called French prose, when one knows the 
exact value of words, and when one knows how to 
modify that value according to the place he gives 
it, when one knows how to put all the interest 
of a page to one line, put one idea in relief among 
a hundred others, and this uniquely by the choice 
and position of the terms which express it; when 
one knows how to strike with a word, with a sin- 
gle word placed in a certain fashion, as one strikes 
with an arm; when one knows how to overturn a 
soul, to fill it suddenly with joy or fear, enthusiasm, 
chagrin, or anger, by simply putting an adjective under 
the eye of the reader, one is truly an artist, the most 
superior of artists, a true prose-writer." 

A STUDY xlix 

He had for the great French writers a frantic ad- 
miration. Entire chapters of the masters he knew by 
heart, and would declaim them in a resounding voice, 
intoxicated by the prose, giving special sounds to the 
words, scanning, modulating, singing the phrases. 
Some clauses fascinated him; he would repeat them a 
hundred times, always astonished at their exactness, 
and declaring: "One must be a man of genius to 
find adjectives like that." 

No one had a greater respect and love for his art, 
or sentiment for the literary dignity, than Gustave 
Flaubert. A single passion, love for literature, filled 
his life, even to his last day. He loved it furiously, 
in a unique, absolute fashion. 

Nearly always, an artist conceals some secret am- 
bition foreign to his art. It is often glory that he pur- 
sues, that radiant glory which places us, while we 
are yet living, in an apotheosis, which turns heads, 
brings down applause and captivates the hearts of 

To please the ladies! This is also the desire of 
nearly all. To be all-powerful through talent, in 
Paris, in the world, an exceptional being, admired, 
praised, loved, who can cull at will, almost, these 
fruits of the living flesh of which we are ahungered! 
To enter, especially where one is preceded by re- 
nown, respect and adoration, and see all eyes fixed 
upon him, and all smiles turned towards himself. It 
is this that they seek who give themselves up to this 
strange and difficult trade, this trade of reproducing 
and interpreting nature by artificial means. 

Others have sought money, perhaps for itself, per- 
haps for the satisfaction it gives: the luxury of exist- 
ence and the delicacies of the table. 


Gustave Flaubert loved letters in an absolute 
fashion, so absolute that in his soul filled with this 
love, there was no place for any other ambition. 

Never had he any other interest, any other de- 
sire; it was almost impossible for him to talk of 
anything else. His mind, possessed by literary occu- 
pations, always returned to them, and he declared 
useless all those things which interest the people of 
the world. 

He lived alone nearly all the year, worked without 
respite, without interruption. An indefatigable reader, 
his repose was in his books, and he possessed an en- 
tire library of notes taken from the volumes in which 
he had dug. Besides, his memory was marvellous; he 
could recall a chapter, page, or paragraph where he 
had found a little detail in an unknown work, five 
or ten years before. He also knew an incalculable 
number of facts. 

The greater part of his life he passed on his estate 
it Croisset, near Rouen. It was a pretty white house, 
of ancient style, on the bank of the Seine, in the 
midst of a magnificent garden which extended back 
and scaled, by steep roads, the great side of Canteleu. 
From some of the windows of his large study, 
could be seen the great ships coming up to Rouen, 
or going down to the sea, passing so near that they 
almost seemed to touch the walls with their yards. 
He loved to watch this mute movement of the ves- 
sels gliding along on the great river, going out to all 
the countries of which one dreams. 

Often, leaving his table, he would go and frame 
his giant chest and his head, which was like one of 
an ancient Gaul, in one of the windows. On the 
left, the thousand steeples of Rouen outlined upon 


space their silhouettes and their carved profiles of 
stone; a little more to the right, the thousand chim- 
neys of the Saint-Sever manufactories, vomited into the 
sky their festoons of smoke. The water-tower, as high 
as the highest of the pyramids of Egypt, looks from 
the other side of the water at the spire of the cathe- 
dral, the highest clock-tower in the world. 

Opposite extended green fields where red and 
white cows were lying down or feeding and, still 
more to the right, a great forest upon the coast shuts 
off the horizon where flows the large, calm river, full 
of tree-covered islands, on its way to the sea, disap- 
pearing in the distance in the curve of an immense 

He loved this superb, tranquil landscape, which 
his eyes had looked upon since his infancy. He al- 
most never descended to the garden, having a dis- 
taste for moving about. Sometimes, however, when 
a friend came to see him, he would walk with him 
along the great avenue of willows planted on the ter- 
race, which seemed made for serious or tender con- 

He pretended that Pascal had already been in that 
house, and that he had walked and talked and dreamed 
with him under those trees. 

Three windows of his study opened on the garden 
and two on the river. The room was large, having no 
ornaments except books, a few portraits of friends and 
some souvenirs of his travels. There were the bodies 
of some little alligators, dried, the foot of a mummy 
(which a simple-minded domestic had blackened and 
polished like a boot), some amber beads from the 
Orient, a gilt Buddha dominating his great work-table 
and looking both divine and secular out of his motion- 


less, long, yellow eyes; an admirable bust of Caroline 
Flaubert, Gustave's sister, who died as a young 
woman, and on the floor beside a Turkish divan 
covered with cushions, a magnificent white bear 

He would set himself to work at nine or ten 
o'clock in the morning, stop long enough for breakfast, 
and immediately take up his labour again. He often 
slept an hour or two in the afternoon; but he was 
awake until three or four o'clock in the morning, ac- 
complishing the best part of his task in the calm 
silence of the night, in the tranquillity of that great apart- 
ment, scarcely lighted by the two lamps with green 
shades. Mariners upon the river made use of ''Mon- 
sieur Gustave's" windows for a lighthouse. 

There was in the country-side a sort of legend 
about him. They looked upon him as a brave man, a 
little queer, whose singular costumes astonished their 
eyes and their minds. 

He was always clothed for work in large trou- 
sers, held by a silk cord, à la girdle, and an im- 
mense dressing-gown which reached the floor. This 
garment, which he adopted not for pose, but because 
of its ample comfort, was made of brown cloth in 
winter, and in summer of some light stuff having a 
white ground with bright-colored design. The citi- 
zens of Rouen, going to breakfast at the Bouille, on 
Sunday, returned cheated in their hopes when they 
could not see from the bridge of the steamboat the 
original of M. Flaubert's portrait standing in his high 

He took pleasure also in looking at the boats full 
of people. He would put up to his eyes an opera- 
glass that always lay on the edge of his table or 

A STUDY iiii 

the corner of the chimney-piece, and watch curiously 
all the faces turned towards him. Their ugliness 
amused him, their astonishment made him expand; 
he read the character, temperament, and stupidity of 
each one from his face. 

Much has been said of his hatred of the common 
citizen, the bourgeois. He made this word bourgeois 
a synonym for stupidity and defined it thus: "I call 
anybody who thinks sordidly a bourgeois/' He had, 
then, nothing against the bourgeois class, but against 
a particular kind of stupidity that he met most often 
in that class. He had also perfect scorn for "good 
people." But, finding himself less often in contact with 
the workman than with the people of the world, he 
suffered less from popular foolishness than from the 
worldly sort. That ignorance whence comes abso- 
lute beliefs, so-called immortal principles, all the conven- 
tions, all prejudice, the whole arsenal of commonplace, 
elegant opinions exasperated him. Instead of smiling, 
as very many do, at the universal silliness, at the intel- 
lectual inferiority of the greater number, he suffered 
horribly from it. When he went away from a draw- 
ing-room where mediocrity of talk had continued for 
an evening, he was cast down, weakened, as if he 
had been beaten unmercifully — was half-idiot himself, 
he affirmed — so much did he possess the faculty of 
penetrating another's thoughts. Always vibrating and 
very impressionable, he likened himself to one flayed, 
who leaped from pain at the least contact; and hu- 
man stupidity assuredly wounded him during his 
whole life, as great misfortunes of the intimate, secret 
kind, wound. 

He considered stupidity a little in the light of a per- 
sonal enemy, tormenting him to the point of martyr- 


dom ; and he pursued it with fury, as a hunter follows 
his prey, attacking it from the lowest to the greatest 
brains. He had the subtle sense of a bloodhound for 
discovering it, and his rapid eye would fall upon it as 
it was concealing itself in the columns of a journal or 
even in the lines of a beautiful book. He would 
sometimes arrive at such a degree of exasperation 
from it that he wished to destroy the whole human 

The misanthropy of his works comes from no 
other thing. The bitter savour found in them is only 
that continual discovery of mediocrity, of common- 
placeness, of foolishness in all its forms. He makes 
a note of it on every page, in every paragraph, by a 
word, a simple design, by accenting a scene or a dia- 
logue. He fills the intelligent reader with melancholy 
and r lakes him desolate by proving the folly of human 
life. The unexplained uneasiness that many people 
have had on opening the Sentimental Education, was 
onlv the unreasoned sensation of that eternal stupidity 
of bought shown openly in skulls. 

He said sometimes that he ought to have called 
that book Dried Fruits, in order to make its mean- 
ing better comprehended. Each man reading it asked 
himself with uneasiness whether he were not one of 
those sad personages of that gloomy romance, so much 
that was intimate and rending did one find in each of 
the personal statements. 

After an enumeration of his grim studies, he wrote 
one day: " And all this in the unique aim of sputter- 
ing upon my contemporaries the disgust they inspire 
in me! I shall finally tell my manner of thought, ex- 
hale my resentment, vomit my hatred, expectorate my 
gall, purge my indignation." 


This scorn of the exalted idealist for the current 
.stupidity and the customary commonplaceness was ac- 
companied by a vehement admiration for superior 
people, whatever was their talent or their erudition. 
Never having loved anything but Thought, he re- 
spected it in all its manifestations; and his reading ex- 
tended into books that would ordinarily seem most 
foreign to literary art. He became angry with a 
friendly journal when some one criticised M. Renan 
adversely in it: the name of Victor Hugo filled him 
with enthusiasm; his friends were such men as MM. 
Georges Pouchet and Berthelot; his salon in Paris was 
very curious. 

He received there Sundays, from one o'clock until 
seven, in a very simple bachelor's apartment on the 
fifth story. The walls were bare and the furniture 
modest, for he had a horror of the playthings of 

As soon as a touch of the bell announced the first 
visitor, he would throw over his work-table (which 
was covered with scattered leaves of paper black with 
writing) a light cover of red silk that enveloped and 
concealed all the implements of his work, which were 
as sacred to him as the objects of divine service are 
to a priest. Then, as his domestic nearly always 
went out on Sunday, he would open the door him- 

The first comer was often Ivan Turgenief, whom 
he embraced as he would a brother. Larger still than 
Flaubert, the Russian romance writer loved the French 
romancer with an affection profound and rare. Affinity 
in talent, philosophy, and mind, similarity in tastes, in 
life and in dreams, a conformity in literary tendencies, 
in exalted idealism, in admiration and erudition, put 


so many points of contact between these two that 
on seeing each other they experienced perhaps a 
still greater joy of heart than joy of intelligence. 

Turgenief would sink into an armchair and speak 
slowly, in a sweet voice, a little feeble and hesitating, 
which gave to anything he said a charm and an ex- 
treme interest. Flaubert would listen religiously, fix- 
ing upon the great white face of his friend his large 
blue eyes with their moving pupils, and respond in 
his sonorous voice, which came out like the sound of 
a clarion from under the moustache of an old Gallic 
warrior. Their conversation rarely touched upon cur- 
rent affairs and scarcely ever got far from literary his- 
tory. Often Turgenief was laden with foreign books, 
and would make running translations of Goethe's, 
Poushkin's, or Swinburne's poems. 

Others would arrive, from time to time; M. Taine, 
his eyes concealed behind his spectacles, of timid gait, 
carrying historical documents containing unknown 
facts, all with the odor and savor of stirred-up archives, 
a vision of ancient life perceived by the piercing eye 
of philosophy. 

Here were MM. Frederic Baudry, a member of the 
institute and director of the Mazarine Library; Georges 
Pouchet, professor of comparative anatomy in the 
Museum of Natural History; Claudius Popelin, the 
master enameler; Philippe Burty, writer, collector, art 
critic, of subtle and charming mind. 

Then there was Alphonse Daudet, who brought 
the air of Paris, the living Paris, a lover of pleasure, 
brisk and gay. He would trace in a few words 
some infinitely droll silhouettes, walk over each and 
ail with his charming irony, Southern and personal, 
accentuating the fine points of his lively mind with 

A STUDY lvii 

his attractiveness of face and gesture, as well as with 
the skill of his recitals, always composed like his 
written stories. His head, shapely and very fine, was 
covered with a mass of black hair falling to his shoul- 
ders, mingling with his curly beard, the pointed ends of 
which he often rolled between his fingers. His eye, 
long in cut but little open, sent forth a look as black 
as ink, vague sometimes, by reason of excessive 
short-sightedness. His voice sang a little; his gesture 
was lively, manner active; in short, he had all the 
signs of a son of the South. 

Emile Zola enters in his turn, breathless from climb- 
ing the five stories, and always followed by his faith- 
ful son, Paul Alexis. He throws himself into an 
armchair and seeks, with a glance of his eye over the 
faces, the state of mind, the tone and nature of the 
talk. Seated a little at one side, one leg under him, 
holding his ankle in his hand, and speaking little, he 
listens attentively. Sometimes when literary enthusi- 
asm, an artists' muddle, carries them away, throwing 
them into excessive theories and paradoxes so dear to 
men of lively imagination, he becomes restless, re- 
moves the leg, utters, from time to time, a "But — " 
suppressed in the great uproar; then, when Flaubert's 
lyric is over, he takes up the discussion tranquilly, in 
a calm voice and peaceable words. He is of medium 
height, a little stout, of gentlemanly and obstinate 
aspect. His head, much like those seen in old 
Italian paintings, without being beautiful shows a 
great character of power and intelligence. His short 
hair springs from a very well developed brow, and the 
straight nose stops as if cut short by a blow of the 
shears, too abruptly, above the lip shaded by a rather 
heavy black moustache. The lower part of the face 


is full but energetic, and is covered with a trimmer 
beard almost beautiful. His black, short-sighted, 
penetrating eye smiles often ironically, while a pecul- 
iar fold draws back the upper lip in a droll and 
mocking fashion. 

Some others still arrive; here is the editor, Char- 
pentier. Except for some white hairs among the long 
black locks, one might take him for a youth. He is a 
slender and handsome bachelor, with a thin pointed 
chin shaded blue from the closely shaved beard. He 
wears only a moustache. He laughs easily with a 
young and sceptical laugh, listens, and promises all 
that each writer asks of him, as they seize him and 
push him into a corner, recommending to him a 
thousand things. Here is the charming poet, Catulle 
Mendès, with the face of a sensual, seductive saint, 
whose silken beard and light hair surround, in a 
blonde cloud, a fine, pale face. An incomparable 
talker, a refined artist, subtle, seizing upon all the 
most fugitive literary sensations, he especially pleases 
Flaubert by the charm of his words and the delicacy 
of his mind. Here is Emile Bergerat, his brother-in- 
law, who married the second daughter of Théophile 
Gautier. Here is José-Maria Hérédia, that marvellous 
maker of sonnets, who will live as one of the most 
perfect poets of his time. Here are Huysmans, Hen- 
nique, Céard, and others still, Léon Cladel, the diffi- 
cult and refined stylist, and Gustave Toudouze. 

Then enters, almost always the last, a man of 
tali, thin figure, whose serious face, although often 
laughing, shows a great character of a high and no- 
ble order. He has long, grayish hair that has a faded 
appearance, a moustache a little lighter, still, and sin- 
gular eyes whose pupils are strangely dilated. He 

A STUDY lix 

has the aspect of a gentleman, that fine, nervous air 
of people of blood. He is (one can feel it) of the world, 
and of the best of it. It is Edmond de Goncourt. 
He advances holding in his hand a package of tobacco 
which he carefully guards while he extends to his 
friends his free hand. 

The little drawing-room is overflowing. Some 
groups pass into the dining-room. It is then that 
one sees Gustave Flaubert. 

With large gestures, by which he appears to fly, 
going about from one to another, crossing the apart- 
ment with a single step, his long robe swelling 
out behind him in his brusque movements like the 
brown sail of a fishing barque, full of exaltations, in- 
dignations, of vehement flames, of resounding elo- 
quence, he amuses with his rage, his good nature, 
stupefies with his prodigious erudition, to which his 
surprising memory is an aid, terminates a discussion 
by a clear, profound word, runs through the centuries 
at a bound of thought to bring together two facts of 
the same order, two men of the same race, two les- 
sons of the same nature, whence light would ieap out 
as if flint struck flint. 

Then the friends depart, one after another. He 
accompanies them into the anteroom where they chat 
a moment, each alone with him, shaking hands vig- 
orously, tapping each other on the shoulder with a 
good, affectionate laugh. And when Zola, who was 
the last to leave, was gone, always followed by Paul 
Alexis, Flaubert slept an hour under a large canopy 
before changing his coat to call upon his friend, the 
Princess Mathilde, who received every Sunday. 

He loved the world, although he grew indignant 
over some of the conversation in it; and he had for 



women a tender and paternal friendship, although he- 
judged them severely at a distance and often repeated 
that phrase of Proudhon's: "Woman is the desola- 
tion, of the just"; he loved great luxury and sumptu- 
ous elegance; it was apparent, although he lived in 
the most simple manner possible. 

Among his intimates he was gay and good. His 
powerful gayety seemed to have descended directly 
from the joviality of Rabelais. He loved farces and 
amusements throughout the whole year. He laughed 
often, with a contented, frank, deep laugh; and this 
laugh seemed even more natural to him, and more 
normal than his exasperation against humanity. He 
loved to receive his friends and to dine with them. 
When one went to see him at Croisset it was a great 
happiness for him, and he prepared the reception be- 
forehand with a cordial and visible pleasure. He was 
a great eater and loved fine, delicate things for the 

This sad misanthropy which has been so much 
spoken of was not innate with him, but came little 
by little from a permanent realization of human stupid- 
ity. His soul was naturally joyous and his heart full 
of generous impulses. In short, he loved to live and 
he lived fully, sincerely, as one can live with the 
French temperament, with which melancholy never 
takes the same desolating way that it does among 
certain Germans and certain Englishmen. 

And now, is it not sufficient to have loved life 
with a long and powerful passion? He had it, this 
passion, until his death. He had given, from his youth 
up, all his life to letters, and he never took it away. 
He used his existence in this immoderate, exalted 
tenderness, passing feverish nights, like a lover, trem- 

A STUDY lxi 

bling with ardour, falling from fatigue after hours of 
taxing and violent love, and beginning again each 
morning from the time of his waking to give his 
thought to the well-beloved. 

Finally, one day he fell, stricken, against the foot 
of his work-table, killed by HER, by LITERATURE; 
killed as are all great passionate souls by the passion 
that fires them. Guy de Maupassant. 


In 1849 Flaubert, accompanied by his close friend 
and ardent admirer, Maxime Ducamp, set out for a 
lengthened tour in the East. That they might enjoy 
every facility for their expedition, Ducamp succeeded 
in obtaining governmental missions of a nominal na- 
ture for himself and his companion, Flaubert's charge 
being the collection of any information that might be 
thought suitable for communication to the Chambers 
of Commerce. The two friends journeyed through 
Egypt, Nubia, Palestine, Syria, and Rhodes, and so 
home through Asia Minor, Turkey in Europe, and 
Greece. During all the earlier portions of their travels, 
and in spite of the eagerness with which he had 
anticipated them, Flaubert displayed only listlessness 
and lack of curiosity, though, strange to say, the 
scenes which at that time impressed him so slightly 
came back to him afterwards with great vividness, 
and were of infinite service to him when writing 
Salammbô. On arriving in Greece, however, and 
finding himself surrounded by those historic scenes 
with which books had made him so familiar, a change 
came. His enthusiasm was kindled; he began to make 
notes; he resolved to write the tale of Thermopylae; 

( lxiii ) 


he laughed at difficulty and hardship, and flung him- 
self, with all the ardour of which his nature was 
capable, into the enjoyment of the hour. It was a 
time which dwelt long in his memory; a gleam of 
light falling across his darkened life, to which in after 
days he was wont to look back with lingering regret. 

On his return to France in 185 1 Flaubert resumed 
his former life at Croisset, a house which had belonged 
to his father, near Rouen. Here for the most part he 
lived, working, feeling, remembering, distrusting, un- 
til 1857, when his first published work, DAadame 
Bovary, made its appearance in the columns of the 
Revue de Paris, a journal established a few years 
before by some of his own friends. The story of the 
publication of this pitiless book, the hubbub it created, 
and the prosecution to which it gave rise, can only 
be alluded to in passing. A fact, however, to be 
noted, is that it struck loudly the keynote of a new 
literary school. Flaubert may be called the creator of 
realism in modern French literature. For its subse- 
quent development away from and down from him- 
self he is, of course, in no way responsible. Indeed, 
seeing, as he did, much writing that he despised 
characterized as "realistic," he shrank from the ap- 
plication of the epithet to his own books. Yet 
he was wrong. Realism in art is simply minute and 
impersonal presentation. Part of Flaubert's work was 
anticipated by his predecessors. Scrupulosity of de- 
scription is to be found in Balzac. Flaubert, taking up 
the work where Balzac laid it down, added imper- 
sonality and perfected the new literary creed. 

It was a cardinal principle with him that to the 
reader the author should be altogether non-existent, 
that of his private views and feeling there should be 


absolutely no trace. Not a phrase, not an epithet 
must betray him. What he preached was the pure 
objectivity of literature. He conceived it to be the 
duty of an author to hold the mirror up to nature, 
but to be no less his duty sedulously to refrain from 
adding any comment on the reflections that he ob- 
tained. It was no part of art, as art, to teach. Any 
didactic face that it possessed, whether for good or 
evil, could inhere only in the facts themselves. And 
these facts must be scrupulously and faithfully por- 
trayed. Flaubert, then, was undoubtedly a realist, 
and if we find him at times impatiently repudiating 
the title, it is because it had come to be frequently 
applied to men who were clever copyists — un- 
imaginative though faithful presenters of fact — and 
little if anything more. But Flaubert himself was 
much more. He was a realist, it is true, but he was 
a great artist as well, — how great only those pos- 
sessed of the literary sense and of some poetical feeling 
can fully know. 

There is the same distinction between Flaubert's 
work and that of many imitators of his method as 
there is between a waxen figure at Madame Tussaud's 
and a masterpiece of portraiture by Millais. Both are 
truthful, both are real, but the one possesses what the 
other lacks — that power, namely, of stimulating the 
imagination which differences a picture from a design, 
or a description from a catalogue. Flaubert was no 
mere depicter of crude facts. A fact in itself was 
nothing to him. He held it valuable only in so far 
as it was capable, in combination with other facts, 
of assisting to set forth a picture that should be 
artistic as well as true. His works are constructions 
not compilation^. 


Flaubert's literary ideals were therefore two — 
Truth and Art — and his devotion to them guided and 
ieavened his whole career. To attain to the first he 
shrank from no toil, and the subjects of most of his 
works were such as to render the most arduous toil 
necessary. His appetite for knowledge was Gargan- 
tuan. His researches were extraordinary and were 
sometimes so recondite as to be superfluous. He 
v/ould ransack volumes to furnish forth the detail of 
a phrase, and his books bear testimony to his extraor- 
dinary capacity for assimilating and utilising the 
information that he acquired. Yet his writings are 
not the products of a pedant. Truth stood high in 
his estimation, but Art held a higher place still. In- 
deed he frequently dwelt upon its claims with an 
almost extravagantly enthusiastic insistence. "What 
is said is nothing; the manner in which it is said is 
everything. A work of art which seeks to prove 
anything fails from that very reason. A fine verse 
with no meaning is superior to one which is less fine 
and which has a meaning." And in phrases such as 
these he frequently and passionately emphasised the 
necessity of perfection in forrrj. 

It is not surprising to fl^^iat to Flaubert, with 
his lofty ideas concerning afct, writing was literally an 
anguish. His distress was no doubt partly the sad 
effect of nervous disease, and partly the outcome of 
that natural anxiety felt by many great writers re- 
specting their work, and of the existence of which 
George Eliot's experience affords a recent proof. To 
a very large extent, however, it proceeded from a 
peculiarly eager restlessness after an ideal perfection 
of form and phrase. "Style" was to him something 
lofty and almost sacred. As commonly employed the 

PREFACE lxvii 

term denotes a manner of writing characteristic of an 
individual. Flaubert understood it differently. Art, 
he believed, was impersonal. " Style," accordingly, 
denoted not one method, but the only method, of 
expressing a given idea, and it was to the discovery 
of this intimate relationship between thought and 
speech that his mighty energies were directed. "Amid 
all these expressions," he says, "all these forms and 
all these terms, there is but one expression, one 
turn, and one form to describe what I wish to 

The labour bestowed by Flaubert upon the execu- 
tion of his work, was, therefore, as prodigious as that 
devoted to the accumulation of material for them. 
His letters to George Sand are studded with allusions 
to the "terrors of style," and to his "literary agonies." 
He considers the writing of twenty pages within a 
month as an extraordinary feat. He describes his 
work as being both a pleasure and a torture. He was 
harassed by an intense longing after an ideal perfec- 
tion of style. His language must be at once the 
exact and the harmonious expression of his thought. 

Immediately after the publication of (Madame 
Hovary, Flaubert set about the writing of Sa- 
lammbô, which appeared in 1862. It is interesting 
to learn that he had intended his second book to be 
a reply to those critics who accused him of merely 
copying what he had seen and of being altogether in^ 
capable of invention. "No one," he said, speaking of 
what he would put into his projected work, "shall 
accuse me of realism." His purpose, however, was 
not fulfilled. Salammbô is to the full as realistic 
as (Madame TZovary, the difference between the 
two consisting simply in the fact that whereas the 


author had actually seen the life depicted in the latter, 
that in the former had to be framed by his imagina- 
tion out of the materials afforded him by long and 
painful study. 

Salammbô must be regarded as Flaubert's mas- 
terpiece. It is the book in which his powers found 
the freest scope, and in which he is at his best. It 
was, further, the book for which he himself entertained 
most affection, and so much was this the case that 
he would grow angry when people spoke of him as 
"the author of [Madame "Bovary. " 

In 1838 he had visited Tunis and the ruins of 
Carthage in order to prosecute his researches amid the 
very scenes in which the action of his story was to 
proceed, while the studies which he undertook 
to enable him to conjure up so vividly before us the 
events of a most obscure historical period were, to 
use a favourite expression of his own, "enormous." 
His replies to Sainte-Beuve and Frœhner, contained in 
the appendix in Volume II. of this edition of Sa- 
lammbô, will give some idea of the conscientious care 
with which he executed his work, and which on this 
occasion was all the more honourable to him, seeing 
that the obscurity of his subject and the absence of 
general information about it, almost invited to a lax ex- 
ercise of the imagination. He was true to his principles, 
nevertheless, and was in a position to adduce author- 
ities for every detail in his book, from the name of a 
god to the epithet given to a precious stone, and 
from the costume of Salammbô to the ingredients of 
a medicament. His critics certainly experienced le 
quart d'heure de Rabelais when he took up his per» 
to reply to them. Had some of them known the 
man with whom they had to deal, their strictures 


would have been less sweeping, and they would have 
regarded him with a feeling of awe similar to that 
with which the accomplishments of our own Ben 
jonson inspired the critics of his day. 

It is no small merit in Salammbô that all its 
wealth of detail is rarely oppressive, and that the hu- 
man interest distinctly dominates throughout. 

Of the characters in the book the highest praise 
has generally been given to Hamilcar. He is certainly 
a grand creation. There is infinite art displayed in 
the manner in which his various qualities are con- 
trasted with one another, and at the same time har- 
monised into a single living whole. His tender 
affection for his little son, his brutal treatment of his 
slaves, his generosity to the poor, his commercial 
dishonesty, his lofty scorn of the Ancients, and his 
faithless cruelty towards his vanquished foes, are all 
combined to form a portrait that is both congruous 
and real. Nevertheless I should, for my own part, be 
inclined to award the palm to Matho. Nothing could 
be more excellent than the delineation of this African 
Hercules. The savage simplicity of his nature is 
wrought out with marvellous skill. His utter lack of 
self-consciousness or self-restraint, his passionate tears 
and groans, his stupefaction at the sight of Salammbô, 
the fitful play of his moods in the tent scene, his 
dogged submission to his fate when he realizes that 
he can never again see the woman that he loves, — 
all his actions and feelings, from his first appearance 
in Hamilcar's gardens down to the climax of his great 
agony in the presence of assembled Carthage, are de- 
picted with a vividness so startling that the man 
seems to be living before our eyes. Such a character 
as this finds an excellent foil in the wily Greek, 


Spendius. Subtle, keen-witted, audacious, cowardly, 
he contrasts in every way with the simple, one- 
idead, brutally-brave Libyan, who, save on the one 
occasion when the ardour of his passion bears down 
all attempts at opposition, is as wax in his hands. 
Some of Flaubert's most artistic touches are to be 
found in the contrasts suggested between these two 
widely different natures. 

Salammbô herself is the only unsatisfactory charac- 
ter in the book. She is an enigma. Flaubert himself 
recognised this, but the plea which he urged in ex- 
cuse can scarcely be admitted. It may be true that 
we can have no intimate knowledge of the Eastern 
woman, but nevertheless if the actions of one are to 
be described at all, there should surely be some at- 
tempt to indicate their motives. Respecting Salammbo's 
motives, however, we are left altogether in the dark. 
Her earlier conduct, indeed, is not wholly unintelligi- 
ble. Her secluded life and burning religious enthusi- 
asm might perhaps have induced that semi-ecstatic 
state which apparently is hers, a condition which al- 
most defies analysis, and in which actions seem to be 
the creatures of wholly unaccountable impulses. But 
the description of her behaviour subsequent to her 
disillusion is disappointing. There are incidents that 
seem to denote the dull, purposeless atony of despair, 
and others that point to a loss of religious faith. The 
gradual growth of a tender feeling towards Matho is 
also hinted at, but all is left in provoking uncertainty, 
and if her conduct is not inexplicable it is certainly 
not explained. Yet, in spite of all its defects, the 
portrait of Salammbô is a striking one. In the gar- 
dens among the soldiers, on the terrace invoking 
Tanith, v/ith Matho in the tent, or bending down in 


the last scene towards the tortured man whose life she 
would now gladly save, she is very real to us. She 
may perplex us but she certainly lives. She is at 
once as vivid and as incomprehensible as a dream. 

The world in which these characters move is 
brought before us with a realism that is a triumph of 
art. We feel indeed as if we had been transported 
bodily into a new region. We are given no vague 
description of what once has been. We are placed in 
the centre of what, for the time being, actually is. 
The surroundings are by no means pleasant ones, it 
is true, and it is very possible to sympathise with the 
feeling which prompted Sainte-Beuve to declare that 
the atmosphere irritated him, and to deplore the ab- 
sence of some character who might have bridged over 
the gulf lying between the ideas of Modern Europe 
and those of Ancient Carthage. Yet the existence of 
this very feeling is a testimony to Flaubert's artistic 
skill. The people whom we are called upon to con- 
template revolt us at every turn, but there is that in 
them, nevertheless, which compels us to recognise 
that they are our own flesh and blood. The inhuman 
humanity of the book tries us often as we read, but 
the pain that it causes us is in itself a proof of the 
author's realistic power. 

Nothing can in fact exceed the vividness of the 
scenes described. Flaubert excels himself in this work 
as a metteur en scène. The bustling, selfish, immoral, 
superstitious town seems to live before us. The 
brutal, unsophisticated, credulous Mercenaries stare us 
in the face. We reel with the Barbarians at their 
feast; we hold our breath in agony as Matho makes 
his wondrous escape; we can see every incident in 
the siege; we shudder at the horrors of the Pass, and 


we are harrowed almost beyond endurance by the 
spectacle of Matho's terrible end. 

It would be a graceless task to dwell upon the 
faults in such a book as this. Faults, of course, there 
are, for the greatest artist cannot command complete 
success. There are some improbabilities in the story, 
the most notable of which is, perhaps, Hanno's escape 
from the camp at Sicca. Occasionally, too, insufficient 
regard is paid to the necessity of perspective, and the 
elaboration of detail for the purpose of producing a 
realistic effect is carried to an extreme which defeats 
its own object. Instances are the disaster to the 
woman and child in Chapter XIII., and the contest for 
the rat in Chapter IX. But, after all, the scratches at 
the base of a cathedral do not detract from the gran- 
deur of the pile, and in spite of such relatively micro- 
scopic blemishes, Salammbô is a work which will 
always be noted for its grand simplicity and purity of 
diction, its artistic construction, its dramatic force, and 
its truth to humanity. 



The Feast. 

T WAS at Megara, a suburb of 
Carthage, in the gardens of Ha- 
milcar. The soldiers whom he had 
commanded in Sicily were hav- 
ing a great feast to celebrate the 
anniversary of the battle of Eryx, 
and as the master was away, and they were numer- 
ous, they ate and drank with perfect freedom. 

The captains, who wore bronze cothurni, had 
placed themselves in the central path,, beneath a gold- 
fringed purple awning, which reached from the wall 
of the stables to the first terrace of the palace; the 
common soldiers were scattered beneath the trees, 
where numerous flat-roofed buildings might be seen, 
wine-presses, cellars, storehouses, bakeries, and arse- 
nals, with a court for elephants, dens for wild beasts, 
and a prison for slaves. 

Fig-trees surrounded the kitchens; a wood of 
sycamores stretched away to meet masses of verdure, 
where the pomegranate shone amid the white tufts 



of the cotton-plant; vines, grape-laden, grew up into 
the branches of the pines; a field of roses bloomed 
beneath the plane-trees; here and there lilies rocked 
upon the turf; the paths were strewn with black 
sand mingled with powdered coral, and in the cen- 
tre the avenue of cypress formed, as it were, a 
double colonnade of green obelisks from one extrem- 
ity to the othen 

Far in the background stood the palace, built of 
yellow mottled Numidian marble, broad courses sup- 
porting its four terraced stories. With its large, 
straight, ebony staircase, bearing the prow of a van- 
quished galley at the corners of every step, its red 
doors quartered with black crosses, its brass gratings 
protecting it from scorpions below, and its trellises 
of gilded rods closing the apertures above, it seemed 
to the soldiers in its haughty opulence as solemn and 
impenetrable as the face of Hamilcar. 

The Council had appointed his house for the 
holding of this feast; the convalescents lying in the 
temple of Eschmoun had set out at daybreak and 
dragged themselves thither on their crutches. Every 
minute others were arriving. They poured in cease- 
lessly by every path like torrents rushing into a lake; 
through the trees the slaves of the kitchens might be 
seen running scared and half-naked; the gazelles fled 
bleating on the lawns; the sun was setting, and the 
perfume of citron trees rendered the exhalation from 
the perspiring crowd heavier still. 

Men of all nations were there, Ligurians, Lusitan- 
ians, Balearians, Negroes, and fugitives from Rome. 
Beside the heavy Dorian dialect were audible the 
resonant Celtic syllables rattling like chariots of war, 
while Ionian terminations conflicted with consonants 


of the desert as harsh as the jackal's cry. The Greek 
might be recognized by his slender figure, the Egyp- 
tian by his elevated shoulders, the Cantabrian by his 
broad calves. There were Carians proudly nodding 
their helmet plumes, Cappadocian archers displaying 
large flowers painted on their bodies with the juice 
of herbs, and a few Lydians in women's robes, dining 
in slippers and earrings. Others were ostentatiously 
daubed with vermilion, and resembled coral statues. 

They stretched themselves on the cushions, they 
ate squatting round large trays, or lying face down- 
wards they drew out the pieces of meat and sated 
themselves, leaning on their elbows in the peaceful 
posture of lions tearing their prey. The last comers 
stood leaning against the trees watching the low 
tables half hidden beneath the scarlet coverings, and 
awaiting their turn. 

Hamilcar's kitchens being insufficient, the Council 
had sent them slaves, ware, and beds, and in the 
middle of the garden, as on a battle-field when they 
burn the dead, large bright fires might be seen, at 
which oxen were roasting. Anise-sprinkled loaves 
alternated with great cheeses heavier than discuses, 
crateras filled with wine, and cantharuses filled with 
water, together with baskets of gold filigree-work 
containing flowers. Every eye was dilated with the 
joy of being able at last to gorge at pleasure, and 
songs were beginning here and there. 

First they were served with birds and green sauce 
in plates of red clay relieved by drawings in black, 
then with every kind of shell-fish that is gathered on 
the Punic coasts, wheaten porridge, beans and barley, 
and snails dressed with cumin on dishes of yellow 


Afterwards the tables were covered with meats: 
antelopes with their horns, peacocks with their 
feathers, whole sheep cooked in sweet wine, haunches 
of she-camels and buffaloes, hedgehogs with garum, 
fried grasshoppers, and preserved dormice. Large 
pieces of fat floated in the midst of saffron in bowls 
of Tamrapanni wood. Everything was running over 
with wine, truffles, and asafœtida. Pyramids of fruit 
were crumbling upon honeycombs, and they had not 
forgotten a few of those plump little dogs with pink 
silky hair and fattened on olive lees, — a Carthaginian 
dish held in abhorrence among other nations. Sur- 
prise at the novel fare excited the greed of the 
stomach. The Gauls with their long hair drawn up 
on the crown of the head, snatched at the water- 
melons and lemons, and crunched them up with the 
rind. The Negroes, who had never seen a lobster, 
tore their faces with its red prickles. But the shaven 
Greeks, whiter than marble, threw the leavings of 
their plates behind them, while the herdsmen from 
Brutium, in their wolf-skin garments, devoured in si- 
lence with their faces in their portions. 

Night fell. The velarium, spread over the cy- 
press avenue, was drawn back, and torches were 

The apes, sacred to the moon, were terrified on 
the cedar tops by the wavering lights of the petro- 
leum as it burned in the porphyry vases. They ut- 
tered screams which afforded mirth to the soldiers. 

Oblong flames trembled in cuirasses of brass. 
Every kind of scintillation flashed from the gem-in- 
crusted dishes. The crateras with their borders of 
convex mirrors multiplied and enlarged the images of 
things; the soldiers thronged around, looking at their 


reflections with amazement, and grimacing to make 
themselves laugh. They tossed the ivory stools and 
golden spatulas to one another across the tables. 
They gulped down all the Greek wines in their 
leathern bottles, the Campanian wines enclosed in 
amphoras, the Cantabrian wines brought in casks, 
with the wines of the jujube, cinnamomum and lotus. 
There were pools of these on the ground that made 
the foot slip. The smoke of the meats ascended into 
the foliage with the vapour of the breath. Simultane- 
ously were heard the snapping of jaws, the noise of 
speech, songs, and cups, the crash of Campanian 
vases shivering into a thousand pieces, or the limpid 
sound of a large silver dish. 

In proportion as their intoxication increased they 
more and more recalled the injustice of Carthage. 
The Republic, in fact, exhausted by the war, had al- 
lowed all the returning bands to accumulate in the 
town. Gisco, their general, had however been pru- 
dent enough to send them back severally in order to 
facilitate the liquidation of their pay, and the Council 
had believed that they would in the end consent to 
some reduction. But at present ill-will was caused 
by the inability to pay them. This debt was con- 
fused in the minds of the people with the 3200 Eu- 
boic talents exacted by Lutatius, and equally with 
Rome they were regarded as enemies to Carthage. 
The Mercenaries understood this, and their indigna- 
tion found vent in threats and outbreaks. At last 
they demanded permission to assemble to celebrate 
one of their victories, and the peace party yielded, at 
the same time revenging themselves on Hamilcar 
who had so strongly upheld the war. It had been 
terminated notwithstanding all his efforts, so that, 


despairing of Carthage, he had entrusted the govern- 
ment of the Mercenaries to Gisco. To appoint his 
palace for their reception was to draw upon him 
something of the hatred that was borne to them. 
Moreover, the expense must be excessive, and he 
would incur nearly the whole. 

Proud of having brought the Republic to submit, 
the Mercenaries thought that they were at last about 
to return to their homes with the payment for their 
blood in the hoods of their cloaks. But as seen 
through the mists of intoxication, their fatigues 
seemed to them prodigious and but ill-rewarded. 
They showed one another their wounds, they told of 
their combats, their travels and the hunting in their 
native lands. They imitated the cries and the leaps 
of wild beasts. Then came unclean wagers; they 
buried their heads in the amphoras and drank on 
without interruption, like thirsty dromedaries. A 
Lusitanian of gigantic stature ran over the tables, 
carrying a man in each hand at arm's length, and 
spitting out fire through his nostrils. Some Lace- 
daemonians, who had not taken off their cuirasses, 
were leaping with a heavy step. Some advanced like 
women, making obscene gestures; others stripped 
naked to fight amid the cups after the fashion of 
gladiators, and a company of Greeks danced around 
a vase whereon nymphs were to be seen, while a 
negro tapped with an ox-bone on a brazen buckler. 

Suddenly they heard a plaintive song, a song loud 
and soft, rising and falling in the air like the wing- 
beating of a wounded bird. 

It was the voice of the slaves in the ergastulum. 
Some soldiers rose at a bound to release them and 


They returned, driving forward through the dust 
amid shouts, twenty men, distinguished by their 
greater paleness of face. Small black felt caps of 
conical shape covered their shaven heads; they all 
wore wooden shoes, and yet made a noise as of old 
iron like driving chariots. 

They reached the avenue of cypress, where they 
were lost among the crowd of those questioning 
them. One of them had remained apart, standing. 
Through the rents in his tunic his shoulders could be 
seen striped with long scars. Drooping his chin, he 
looked round him with distrust, closing his eyelids 
somewhat against the dazzling light of the torches, 
but when he saw that none of the armed men were 
unfriendly to him, a great sigh escaped from his 
breast; he stammered, he sneered through the bright 
tears that bathed his face. At last he seized a 
brimming cantharus by its rings, raised it straight up 
into the air with his outstretched arms, from which 
his chains hung down, and then looking to heaven, 
and still holding the cup he said: 

"Hail first to thee, Baal-Eschmoun, the deliverer, 
whom the people of my country call /Esculapius! and 
to you, genii of the fountains, light, and woods ! 
and to you, ye gods hidden beneath the mountains and 
in the caverns of the earth! and to you, strong men 
in shining armour who have set me free!" 

Then he let fall the cup and related his history. 
He was called Spendius. The Carthaginians had 
taken him in the battle of /Eginusae, and he thanked 
the Mercenaries once more in Greek, Ligurian and 
Punic; he kissed their hands; finally he congratulated 
them on the banquet, while expressing his surprise 
at not perceiving the cups of the Sacred Legion. 


These cups, which bore an emerald vine on each of 
their six golden faces, belonged to a corps composed 
exclusively of young patricians of the tallest stature. 
They were a privilege, almost a sacerdotal distinction, 
and accordingly nothing among the treasures of the 
Republic was more coveted by the Mercenaries. 
They detested the Legion on this account, and some 
of them had been known to risk their lives for the 
inconceivable pleasure of drinking out of these cups. 

Accordingly they commanded that the cups should 
be brought. They were in the keeping of the Sys- 
sitia, companies of traders, who had a common table. 
The slaves returned. At that hour all the members 
of the Syssitia were asleep. 

"Let them be awakened!" responded the Merce- 

After a second excursion it was explained to them 
that the cups were shut up in a temple. 

"Let it be opened!" they replied. 

And when the slaves confessed with trembling 
that they were in the possession of Gisco, the gen- 
eral, they cried out: 

"Let him bring them! " 

Gisco soon appeared at the far end of the garden 
with an escort of the Sacred Legion. His full, black 
cloak, which was fastened on his head to a golden 
mitre starred with precious stones, and which hung 
all about him down to his horse's hoofs, blended in 
the distance with the colour of the night. His white 
beard, the radiancy of his head-dress, and his triple 
necklace of broad blue plates beating against his 
breast, were alone visible. 

When he entered, the soldiers greeted him with 
loud shouts, all crying: 


"The cups! The cups!" 

He began by declaring that if reference were had 
to their courage, they were worthy of them. 

The crowd applauded and howled with joy. 

He knew it, he who had commanded them over 
yonder, and had returned with the last cohort in the 
last galley! 

"True! True!" said they. 

Nevertheless, Gisco continued, the Republic had 
respected their national divisions, their customs, and 
their modes of worship; in Carthage they were free! 
As to the cups of the Sacred Legion, they were pri- 
vate property. Suddenly a Gaul, who was close to 
Spendius, sprang over the tables and ran straight up 
to Gisco, gesticulating and threatening him with two 
naked swords. 

Without interrupting his speech, the General struck 
him on the head with his heavy ivory staff, and the 
Barbarian fell. The Gauls howled, and their frenzy, 
which was spreading to the others, would soon have 
swept away the legionaries. Gisco shrugged his 
shoulders as he saw them growing pale. He thought 
that his courage would be useless against these ex- 
asperated brute beasts. It would be better to revenge 
himself upon them by some artifice later; accordingly, 
he signed to his soldiers and slowly withdrew. Then, 
turning in the gateway towards the Mercenaries, he 
cried to them that they would repent of it. 

The feast recommenced. But Gisco might return, 
and by surrounding the suburb, which was beside the 
last ramparts, might crush them against the walls. 
Then they felt themselves alone in spite of their 
crowd, and the great town sleeping beneath them in 
the shade suddenly made them afraid, with its piles 


of staircases, its lofty black houses, and its vague 
gods fiercer even than its people. In the distance a 
few ships'-lanterns were gliding across the harbour, 
and there were lights in the temple of Khamon. 
They thought of Hamilcar. Where was he? Why 
had he forsaken them when peace was concluded? 
His differences with the Council were doubtless but a 
pretence in order to destroy them. Their unsatisfied 
hate recoiled upon him, and they cursed him, exas- 
perating one another with their own anger. At this 
juncture they collected together beneath the plane- 
trees to see a slave who, with eyeballs fixed, neck 
contorted, and lips covered with foam, was rolling on 
the ground, and beating the soil with his limbs. 
Some one cried out that he was poisoned. All then 
believed themselves poisoned. They fell upon the 
slaves, a terrible clamour was raised, and a vertigo 
of destruction came like a whirlwind upon the drunken 
army. They struck about them at random, they 
smashed, they slew; some hurled torches into the 
foliage; others, leaning over the lions' balustrade, 
massacred the animals with arrows; the most daring 
ran to the elephants, desiring to cut down the* 
trunks and eat ivory. 

Some Balearic slingers, however, who had gone 
round the corner of the palace, in order to pillage 
more conveniently, were checked by a lofty barrier, 
made of Indian cane. They cut the lock-straps with 
their daggers, and then found themselves beneath the 
front that faced Carthage, in another garden full of 
trimmed vegetation. Lines of white flowers all fol- 
lowing one another in regular succession formed long 
parabolas like star-rockets on the azure-coloured earth. 
The gloomy bushes exhaled warm and honied odours. 


There were trunks of trees smeared with cinnabar, 
which resembled columns covered with blood. In 
the centre were twelve pedestals, each supporting a 
great glass ball, and these hollow globes were indis- 
tinctly filled with reddish lights, like enormous and 
still palpitating eyeballs. The soldiers lighted them- 
selves with torches as they stumbled on the slope of 
the deeply laboured soil. 

But they perceived a little lake divided into sev- 
eral basins by walls of blue stones. So limpid was 
the wave that the flames of the torches quivered in it 
at the very bottom, on a bed of white pebbles and 
golden dust. It began to bubble, luminous spangles 
glided past, and great fish with gems about their 
mouths, appeared near the surface. 

With much laughter the soldiers slipped their fin- 
gers into the gills, and brought them to the tables. 
They were the fish of the Barca family, and were all 
descended from those primordial lotes which had 
hatched the mystic egg wherein the goddess was 
concealed. The idea of committing a sacrilege revived 
the greediness of the Mercenaries; they speedily placed 
fire beneath some brazen vases, and amused them- 
selves by watching the beautiful fish struggling in the 
boiling water. 

The surge of soldiers pressed on. They were no 
longer afraid. They commenced to drink again. 
Their ragged tunics were wet with the perfumes that 
flowed in large drops from their foreheads, and rest- 
ing both fists on the tables, which seemed to them to 
be rocking like ships, they rolled their great drunken 
eyes around to devour by sight what they could not 
take. Others walked amid the dishes on the purple 
table covers, breaking ivory stools, and phials of 


Tyrian glass to pieces with their feet. Songs mingled 
with the death-rattle of the slaves expiring amid the 
broken cups. They demanded wine, meat, gold. 
They cried out for women. They raved in a hundred 
languages. Some thought that they were at the va- 
pour baths on account of the steam which floated around 
them, or else, catching sight of the foliage, imagined 
that they were at the chase, and rushed upon their 
companions as upon wild beasts. The conflagration 
spread to all the trees, one after another, and the 
lofty mosses of verdure, emitting long white spirals, 
looked like volcanoes beginning to smoke. The 
clamour redoubled; the wounded lions roared in the 

In an instant the highest terrace of the palace was 
illuminated, the central door opened, and a woman, 
Hamilcar's daughter herself, clothed in black gar- 
ments, appeared on the threshold. She descended 
the first staircase, which ran obliquely along the first 
story, then the second, and the third, and stopped 
on the last terrace at the head of the galley staircase. 
Motionless and with head bent, she gazed upon the 

Behind her, on each side, were two long shadows 
of pale men, clad in white, red-fringed robes, which 
fell straight to their feet. They had no beard, no 
hair, no eyebrows. In their hands, which sparkled 
with rings, they carried enormous lyres, and with 
shrill voice they all sang a hymn to tire divinity of 
Carthage. They were the eunuch priests of the tem- 
ple of Tanith, who were often summoned by Sa- 
lammbô to her house. 

At last she descended the galley staircase. The 
priests followed her. She advanced into the avenue 


of cypress, and walked slowly through the tables 
of the captains, who drew back somewhat as they 
watched her pass. 

Her hair, which was powdered with violet sand, 
and combined into the form of a tower, after the 
fashion of the Chanaanite maidens, added to her 
height. Tresses of pearls were fastened to her tem- 
ples, and fell to the corners of her mouth, which was 
as rosy as a half-open pomegranate. On her breast 
was a collection of luminous stones, their variegation 
imitating the scales of the murena. Her arms were 
adorned with diamonds, and issued naked from her 
sleeveless tunic, which was starred with red flowers 
on a perfectly black ground. Between her ankles she 
wore a golden chainlet to regulate her steps, and her 
large dark purple mantle, cut of an unknown ma- 
terial, trailed behind her, making, as it were, at each 
step, a broad wave which followed her. 

The priests played nearly stifled chords on their 
lyres from time to time, and in the intervals of 
the music might be heard the tinkling of the little 
golden chain, and the regular patter of her papyrus 

No one as yet was acquainted with her. It was 
only known that she led a retired life, engaged in 
pious practices. Some soldiers had seen her in the 
night on the summit of her palace kneeling before 
the stars amid the eddyings from kindled perfuming- 
pans. It was the moon that had made her so pale, 
and there was something from the gods that envel- 
oped her like a subtle vapour. Her eyes seemed to 
gaze far beyond terrestrial space. She bent her head 
as she walked, and in her right hand she carried a 
little ebony lyre. 


They heard her murmur: 

"Dead! All dead! No more will you come obe- 
dient to my voice as when, seated on the edge of 
the lake, I used to throw seeds of the watermelon 
into your mouths! The mystery of Tanith ranged in 
the depths of your eyes that were more limpid than 
the globules of rivers." And she called them by their 
names, which were those of the months — "Siv! Si- 
van! Tammouz, EIoul, Tischri, Schebar! Ah! have 
pity on me, goddess!" 

The soldiers thronged about her without under- 
standing what she said. They wondered at her at- 
tire, but she turned a long frightened look upon them 
all, then sinking her head beneath her shoulders, and 
waving her arms, she repeated several times: 

"What have you done? what have you done? 

"Yet you had bread, and meats and oil, and all 
the malobathrum of the granaries for your enjoyment! 
I had brought oxen from Hecatompylos; I had sent 
hunters into the desert!" Her voice swelled; her 
cheeks purpled. She added, "Where, pray, are you 
now? In a conquered town, or in the palace of a 
master? And what master? Hamilcar the SufTet, my 
father, the servant of the Baals! It was he who 
withheld from Lutatius those arms of yours, red now 
with the blood of his slaves! Know you of any in 
your own lands more skilled in the conduct of battles? 
Look! our palace steps are encumbered with our vic- 
tories! Ah! desist not! burn it! I will carry away 
with me the genius of my house, my black serpent 
slumbering up yonder on lotus leaves! I will whistle 
and he will follow me, and if I embark in a galley 
he will speed in the wake of my ship over the foam 
of the waves." 


Her delicate nostrils were quivering. She crushed 
her nails against the gems on her bosom. Her eyes 
drooped, and she resumed: 

"Ah! poor Carthage! lamentable city! No longer 
hast thou for thy protection the strong men of for- 
mer days who went beyond the oceans to build tem- 
ples on their shores. All the lands laboured about 
thee, and the sea-plains, ploughed by thine oars, 
rocked with thy harvests." Then she began to sing 
the adventures of Melkarth, the god of the Sidonians, 
and the father of her family. 

She told of the ascent of the mountains of Ersi- 
phonia, the journey to Tartessus, and the war against 
Masisabal to avenge the queen of the serpents: 

"He pursued the female monster, whose tail un- 
dulated over the dead leaves like a silver brook, into 
the forest, and came to a plain where women with 
dragon-croups were round a great fire, standing erect 
on the points of their tails. The blood-coloured 
moon was shining within a pale circle, and their 
scarlet tongues, cloven like the harpoons of fisher- 
men, reached curling forth to the very edge of the 

Then Salammbô, without pausing, related how 
Melkarth, after vanquishing Masisabal, placed her sev- 
ered head on the prow of his ship. "At each throb 
of the waves it sank beneath the foam, but the sun 
embalmed it; it became harder than gold; nevertheless 
the eyes ceased not to weep, and the tears fell into 
the water continually." 

She sang all this in an old Chanaanite idiom, 
which the Barbarians did not understand. They asked 
one another what she could be saying to them with 
those frightful gestures which accompanied her speech, 


and mounted round about her on the tables, beds, and 
sycamore boughs, they strove with open mouths and 
craned necks to grasp the vague stories hovering 
before their imaginations, through the dimness of the 
théogonies, like phantoms wrapped in cloud. 

Only the beardless priests understood Salammbô; 
their wrinkled hands, which hung over the strings of 
their lyres, quivered, and from time to time they would 
draw forth a mournfu/ chord; for, feebler than old 
women, they trembled at once with mystic emotion, 
and with the fear inspired by men. The Barbarians 
heeded them not, but listened continually to the 
maiden's song. 

None gazed at her like a young Numidian chief, 
who was placed at the captains' tables among soldiers 
of his own nation. His girdle so bristled with darts 
that it formed a swelling in his ample cloak, which 
was fastened on his temples with a leather lace. The 
cloth parted asunder as it fell upon his shoulders, and 
enveloped his countenance in shadow, so that only 
the fires of his two fixed eyes could be seen. It was 
by chance that he was at the feast, his father having 
domiciled him with the Barca family, according to the 
custom by which kings used to send their children 
into the households of the great in order to pave the 
way for alliances; but Narr' Havas had lodged there 
for six months without having hitherto seen Sa- 
lammbô, and now, seated on his heels, with his head 
brushing the handles of his javelins, he was watching 
her with dilated nostrils, like a leopard crouching 
among the bamboos. 

On the other side of the tables was a Libyan of 
colossal stature, and with short black curly hair. He 
had retained only his military jacket, the brass plates 


of which were tearing the purple of the couch. A 
necklace of silver moons was tangled in his hairy 
breast. His face was stained with splashes of blood; 
he was leaning on his left elbow with a smile on his 
large, open mouth. 

Salammbô had abandoned the sacred rhythm. With 
a woman's subtlety she was simultaneously employing 
all the dialects of the Barbarians in order to appease 
their anger. To the Greeks she spoke Greek; then 
she turned to the Ligurians, the Campanians, the 
Negroes, and listening to her each one found again 
in her voice the sweetness of his native land. She 
now, carried away by the memories of Carthage, sang 
of the ancient battles against Rome; they applauded. 
She kindled at the gleaming of the naked swords, 
and cried aloud with outstretched arms. Her lyre 
fell, she was silent; and, pressing both hands upon 
her heart, she remained for some minutes with closed 
eyelids enjoying the agitation of all these men. 

Matho, the Libyan, leaned over towards her. In- 
voluntarily she approached him, and impelled by grate- 
ful pride, poured him a long stream of wine into a 
golden cup in order to conciliate the army. 

" Drink!" she said. 

He took the cup, and was carrying it to his lips 
when a Gaul, the same that had been hurt by Gisco, 
struck him on the shoulder, while in a jovial manner 
he gave utterance to pleasantries in his native tongue. 
Spendius was not far off, and he volunteered to in- 
terpret them. 

" Speak!" said Matho. 

"The gods protect you; you are going to become 
rich. When will the nuptials be?" 

"What nuptials?" 


"Yours! for with us," said the Gaul, "when a 
woman gives drink to a soldier, it means that she 
offers him her couch." 

He had not finished when Narr' Havas, with a 
bound, drew a javelin from his girdle, and, leaning 
his right foot upon the edge of the table, hurled it 
against Matho. 

The javelin whistled among the cups, and pier- 
cing the Libyan's arm, pinned it so firmly to the 
cloth, that the shaft quivered in the air. 

Matho quickly plucked it out; but he was weap- 
onless and naked; at last he lifted the over-laden ta- 
ble with both arms, and flung it against Narr' Havas 
into the very centre of the crowd that rushed be- 
tween them. The soldiers and Numidians pressed 
together so closely that they were unable to draw 
their swords. Matho advanced dealing great blows 
with his head. When he raised it, Narr' Havas had 
disappeared. He sought for him with his eyes. Sa- 
lammbô also was gone. 

Then directing his looks to the palace he per- 
ceived the red door with the black cross closing far 
above, and he darted away. 

They saw him run between the prows of the 
galleys, and then reappear along the three staircases 
until he reached the red door against which he 
dashed his whole body. Panting, he leaned against 
the wall to keep himself from falling. 

But a man had followed him, and through the 
darkness, for the lights of the feast were hidden by 
the corner of the palace, he recognised Spendius. 

"Begone! " said he. 

The slave without replying began to tear his tunic 
with his teeth; then kneeling beside Matho he ten* 



derly took his arm, and felt it in the shadow to dis- 
cover the wound. 

By a ray of the moon which was then gliding 
between the clouds, Spendius perceived a gaping 
wound in the middle of the arm. He rolled the 
piece of stuff all around it, but the other said irri- 
tably, "Leave me! leave me!" 

"Oh no!" replied the slave. "You released me 
from the ergastulum. I am yours! you are my mas- 
ter! command me!" 

Matho walked round the terrace brushing against 
the walls. He strained his ears at every step, 
glancing down into the silent apartments through the 
spaces between the gilded reeds. At last he stopped 
with a look of despair. 

"Listen!" said the slave to him. "Oh! do not 
despise me for my feebleness! I have lived in the 
palace. I can wind like a viper through the walls. 
Come! in the Ancestors' Chamber there is an ingot 
of gold beneath every flagstone; an underground path 
leads to their tombs." 

"Well! what matters it? "said Matho. 

Spendius was silent. 

They were on the terrace. A huge mass of shadow 
stretched before them, appearing as if it contained 
vague accumulations, like the gigantic billows of a 
black and petrified ocean. 

But a luminous bar rose towards the East; far 
below, on the left, the canals of Megara were begin- 
ning to stripe the verdure of the gardens with their 
windings of white. The conical roofs of the heptag- 
onal temples, the staircases, terraces, and ramparts 
were being carved by degrees upon the paleness of 

the dawn; and a girdle of white foam rocked around 


the Carthaginian peninsula, while the emerald sea 
appeared as if it were curdled in the freshness of 
the morning. Then as the rosy sky grew larger, the 
lofty houses, bending over the sloping soil, reared 
and massed themselves like a herd of black goats 
coming down from the mountains. The deserted 
streets lengthened; the palm-trees that temped the 
wails here and there were motionless; the brimming 
cisterns seemed like silver bucklers lost in the courts; 
the beacon on the promontory of Hermaeum was be- 
ginning to grow pale. The horses of Eschmoun, on 
the very summit of the Acropolis in the cypress 
wood, feeling that the light was coming, placed their 
hoofs on the marble parapet, and neighed towards 
the sun. 

It appeared, and Spendius raised his arms with 
a cry. 

Everything stirred in a diffusion of red, for the 
god, as if he were rending himself, now poured full- 
rayed upon Carthage the golden rain of his veins. 
The beaks of the galleys sparkled, the roof of Khamon 
appeared to be all in flames, while far within the 
temples, whose doors were opening, glimmerings of 
light could be seen. Large chariots, arriving from the 
country, rolled their wheels over the flagstones in 
the streets. Dromedaries, baggage-laden, came down 
the ramps. Money-changers raised the pent-houses 
of their shops at the cross ways, storks took to 
flight, white sails fluttered. In the wood of Tanith 
might be heard the tambourines of the sacred courte- 
sans, and the furnaces for baking the clay coffins 
were beginning to smoke on the Mappalian point. 

Spendius leaned over the terrace; his teeth chat- 
tered and he repeated: 


"Ah! yes — yes — master! I understand why you 
scorned the pillage of the house just now." 

Matho was as if he had just been awaked by the 
hissing of his voice, and did not seem to understand. 
Spendius resumed: 

"Ah! what riches! and the men who possess 
them have not even the steel to defend them!" 

Then, pointing with his right arm outstretched to 
some of the populace who were crawling on the 
sand outside the mole to look for gold dust: 

"See!" he said to him, "the Republic is like these 
wretches: bending on the brink of the ocean, she 
buries her greedy arms in every shore, and the noise 
of the billows so fills her ear that she cannot hear 
behind her the tread of a master's heel!" 

He drew Matho to quite the other end of the ter- 
race, and showed him the garden, wherein the sol- 
diers' swords, hanging on the trees, were like mirrors 
in the sun: 

"But here there are strong men whose hatred is 
roused! and nothing binds them to Carthage, neither 
families, oaths nor gods!" 

Matho remained leaning against the wall; Spendius 
came close, and continued in a low voice: 

"Do you understand me, soldier? We should walk 
purple-clad like satraps. We should bathe in per- 
fumes; and I should in turn have slaves! Are you 
not weary of sleeping on the hard ground, of drink- 
ing the vinegar of the camps, and of continually 
hearing the trumpet? But you will rest later, will 
you not? When they pull off your cuirass to cast 
your corpse to the vultures! or perhaps blind, lame, 
and weak you will go, leaning on a stick, from door 
to door to tell of your youth to pickle-sellers and 


little children. Remember all the injustice of your 
chiefs, the campings in the snow, the marchings in 
the sun, the tyrannies of discipline, and the everlast- 
ing menace of the cross! And after all this misery 
they have given you a necklace of honour, as they 
hang a girdle of bells round the breast of an ass to 
deafen it on its journey, and prevent it from feeling 
fatigue. A man like you, braver than Pyrrhus! If 
only you had wished it! Ah! how happy will you 
be in large cool halls, with the sound of lyres, lying 
on flowers, with women and buffoons! Do not tell 
me that the enterprise is impossible. Have not the 
Mercenaries already possessed Rhegium and other 
fortified places in Italy? Who is to prevent you? 
Hamilcar is away; the people execrate the rich; 
Gisco can do nothing with the cowards who sur- 
round him. But you are brave! and they will obey 
you. Command them! Carthage is ours; let us fall 
upon it!" 

"No!" said Matho, "the curse of Moloch weighs 
upon me. i felt it in her eyes, and just now I saw 
a black ram retreating in a temple." Looking around 
him he added: "But where is she?" 

Then Spendius understood that a great disquiet 
possessed him, and did not venture to speak again. 

The trees behind them were still smoking; half- 
burned carcasses of apes dropped from their black- 
ened boughs from time to time into the midst of the 
dishes. Drunken soldiers snored open-mouthed by 
the side of the corpses, and those who were not 
asleep lowered their heads dazzled by the light of 
day. The trampled soil was hidden beneath splashes 
of red. The elephants poised their bleeding trunks 
between the stakes of their pens. In the open gran- 


aries might be seen sacks of spilled wheat, below the 
gate was a thick line of chariots which had been 
heaped up by the Barbarians, and the peacocks 
perched in the cedars were spreading their tails and 
beginning to utter their cry. 

Matho's immobility, however, astonished Spendius; 
he was even paler than he had recently been, and he 
was following something on the horizon with fixed 
eyeballs, and with both fists resting on the edge of 
the terrace. Spendius couched down, and so at last 
discovered at what he was gazing. In the distance 
a golden speck was turning in the dust on the road 
to Utica; it was the nave of a chariot drawn by two 
mules; a slave was running at the end of the pole, 
and holding them by the bridle. Two women were 
seated in the chariot. The manes of the animals 
were puffed between their ears after the Persian fash- 
ion, beneath a network of blue pearls. Spendius re- 
cognised them, and restrained a cry. 

A large veil floated behind in the wind. 


At Sicca. 

WO days afterwards the Mercena- 
ries left Carthage. 
They had each received a piece 
of gold on the condition that 
they should go into camp at Sicca, 
and they had been told with all sorts 
of caresses: 

"You are the saviours of Carthage! But you 
would starve it if you remained there; it would be- 
come insolvent. Withdraw! The Republic will be 
grateful to you later for all this condescension. We 
are going to levy taxes immediately; your pay shall 
be in full, and galleys shall be equipped to take you 
back to your native lands." 

They did not know how to reply to all this talk. 
These men, accustomed as they were to war, were 
wearied by residence in a town; there was no diffi- 
culty in convincing them, and the people mounted 
the walls to see them go away. 

They defiled through the street of Khamon, and 
the Cirta gate, pell-mell, archers with hoplites, cap- 
tains with soldiers, Lusitanians with Greeks. They 
marched with a bold step, rattling their heavy cothurni 



on the paving stones. Their armour was dinted by 
the catapult, and their faces blackened by the sun- 
burn of battles. Hoarse cries issued from their thick 
beards, their tattered coats of mail flapped upon 
the pommels of their swords, and through the holes 
in the brass might be seen their naked limbs, as 
frightful as engines of war. Sarissae, axes, spears, felt 
caps and bronze helmets, all swung together with a 
single motion. They filled the street thickly enough 
to have made the walls crack, and the long mass of 
armed soldiers overflowed between the lofty bitumen- 
smeared houses six storys high. Behind their gratings 
of iron or reed the women, with veiled heads, silently 
watched the Barbarians pass. 

The terraces, fortifications, and walls were hidden 
beneath the crowd of Carthaginians, who were dressed 
in garments of black. The sailors' tunics showed 
like drops of blood among the dark multitude, and 
nearly naked children, whose skin shone beneath 
their copper bracelets, gesticulated in the foliage of 
the columns, or amid the branches of a palm tree. 
Some of the Ancients were posted on the platform of 
the towers, and people did not know why a person- 
age with a long beard stood thus in a dreamy atti- 
tude here and there. He appeared in the distance 
against the background of the sky, vague as a 
phantom and motionless as stone. 

All, however, were oppressed with the same anx- 
iety; it was feared that the Barbarians, seeing them- 
selves so strong, might take a fancy t3 stay. But 
they were leaving with so much good faith that the 
Carthaginians grew bold and mingled with the sol- 
diers. They overwhelmed them with protestations 
and embraces. Some with exaggerated politeness 


and audacious hypocrisy even sought to induce them 
not to leave the city. They threw perfumes, flowers, 
and pieces of silver to them. They gave them amu- 
lets to avert sickness; but they had spit upon them 
three times to attract death, or had enclosed jackal's 
hair within them to put cowardice into their hearts. 
Aloud, they invoked Melkarth's favour, and in a 
whisper, his curse. 

Then came the mob of baggage, beasts of burden, 
and stragglers. The sick groaned on the backs of 
dromedaries, while others limped along leaning on 
broken pikes. The drunkards carried leathern bottles, 
and the greedy quarters of meat, cakes, fruits, butter 
wrapped in fig leaves, and snow in linen bags. 
Some were to be seen with parasols in their hands, 
and parrots on their shculders. They had mastiffs, 
gazelles, and panthers following behind them. Women 
of Libyan race, mounted on asses, inveighed against 
the Negresses who had forsaken the lupanaria of 
Malqua for the soldiers; many of them were suckling 
children suspended on their bosoms by leathern 
thongs. The mules were goaded on at the point of 
the sword, their backs bending beneath the load of 
tents, while there were numbers of serving-men and 
water-carriers, emaciated, jaundiced with fever, and 
filthy with vermin, the scum of the Carthaginian 
populace, who had attached themselves to the Bar- 

When they had passed, the gates were shut be- 
hind them, but the people did not descend from the 
walls. The army soon spread over the breadth of 
the isthmus. 

It parted into unequal masses. Then the lances 
appeared like tall blades of grass, and finally all was 


lost in a train of dust; those of the soldiers who 
looked back towards Carthage could now only see 
its long walls with their vacant battlements cut out 
against the edge of the sky. 

Then the Barbarians heard a great shout. They 
thought that some from among them (for they did 
not know their own number) had remained in the 
town, and were amusing themselves by pillaging a 
temple. They laughed a great deal at the idea of 
this, and then continued their journey. 

They were rejoiced to find themselves, as in 
former days, marching all together in the open coun- 
try; and some of the Greeks sang the old song of 
the Mamertines: 

"With my lance and sword I plough and reap; I 
am master of the house! The disarmed man falls at 
my feet and calls me Lord and Great King." 

They shouted, they leaped, the merriest began to 
tell stones; the time of their miseries was past. As 
they arrived at Tunis, some of them remarked that a 
troop of Balearic slingers was missing. They were 
doubtless not far off; and no further heed was paid 
to them. 

Some went to lodge in the houses, others camped 
at the foot of the walls, and the townspeople came 
out to chat with the soldiers. 

During the whole night fires were seen burning 
on the horizon in the direction of Carthage; the light 
stretched like giant torches across the motionless 
lake. No one in the army could tell what festival 
was being celebrated. 

On the following day the Barbarians passed 
through a region that was covered with cultivation. 
The domains of the patricians succeeded one another 


along the border of the route; channels of water 
flowed through woods of palm; there were long, 
green lines of olive-trees; rose-coloured vapours 
floated in the gorges of the hills, while blue moun- 
tains reared themselves behind. A warm wind was 
blowing. Chameleons were crawling on the broad 
leaves of the cactus. 

The Barbarians slackened their speed. 

They marched on in isolated detachments, or 
lagged behind one another at long intervals. They 
ate grapes along the margin of the vines. They lay 
on the grass and gazed with stupefaction upon the 
large, artificially twisted horns of the oxen, the sheep 
clothed with skins to protect their wool, the furrows 
crossing one another so as to form lozenges, and the 
ploughshares like ships' anchors, with the pome- 
granate trees that were watered with silphium. Such 
wealth of the soil and such inventions of wisdom 
dazzled them. 

In the evening they stretched themselves on the 
tents without unfolding them; and thought with re- 
gret of Hamilcar's feast, as they fell asleep with their 
faces towards the stars. 

In the middle of the following day they halted on 
the bank of a river, amid clumps of rose-bays. Then 
they quickly threw aside lances, bucklers and belts. 
They bathed with shouts, and drew water in their 
helmets, while others drank lying flat on their stom- 
achs, and all in the midst of the beasts of burden 
whose baggage was slipping from them. 

Spendius, who was seated on a dromedary stolen 
in Hamilcar's parks, perceived Matho at a distance, 
with his arm hanging against his breast, his head 
bare, and his face bent down, giving his mule drink, 



and watching the water flow. Spendius immediately 
ran through the crowd calling him, "Master! master!" 

Matho gave him but scant thanks for his blessings, 
but Spendius paid no heed to this, and began to 
march behind him. from time to time turning rest- 
less glances in the direction of Carthage. 

He was the son of a Greek rhetor and a Campan- 
ian prostitute. He had at first grown rich by dealing 
in women; then, ruined by a shipwreck, he had 
made war against the Romans with the herdsmen of 
Samnium. He had been taken and had escaped; he 
had been retaken, and had worked in the quarries, 
panted in the vapour-baths, shrieked under torture, 
passed through the hands of many masters, and ex- 
perienced every frenzy. At last, one day, in despair, 
he had flung himself into the sea from the top of a 
trireme where he was working at the oar. Some of 
Hamilcar's sailors had picked him up when at the 
point of death, and had bt ought him to the ergastu- 
lum ot Megara, at Carthage. But, as fugitives were 
to be given back to the Romans, he had taken ad- 
vantage of the confusion to fly with the soldiers. 

During the whole of the march he remained near 
Matho; he brought him food, assisted him to dis- 
mount, and spread a carpet in the evening beneath 
his head. Matho at last was touched by these at- 
tentions, and by degrees unlocked his lips. 

He had been born in the gulf of Syrtis. His father 
had taken him on a pilgrimage to the temple of Am- 
nion. Then he had hunted elephants in the forests 
of the Garamantes. Afterwards he had entered the 
service of Carthage. He had been appointed tetrarch 
at the capture of Drepanum. The Republic owed 
him four horses, twenty-three medimni of wheat, and 


a winter's pay. He feared the gods, and wished to 
die in his native land. 

Spendius spoke to him of his travels, and of the 
peoples and temples that he had visited. He knew 
many things: he could make sandals, boar-spears 
and nets; he could tame wild beasts and could cook 

Sometimes he would interrupt himself, and utter 
a hoarse cry from the depths of his throat; Matho's 
mule would quicken his pace, the others would hasten 
after them, and then Spendius would begin again 
though still torn with agony. This subsided at last 
on the evening of the fourth day. 

They were marching side by side to the right of 
the army on the side of a hill; below them stretched 
the plain lost in the vapours of the night. The lines 
of soldiers also were defiling below, making undu- 
lations in the shade. From time to time these passed 
over eminences lit up by the moon; then stars would 
tremble on the points of the pikes, the helmets would 
glimmer for an instant, all would disappear, and 
others would come on continually. Startled flocks 
bleated in the distance, and a something of infinite 
sweetness seemed to sink upon the earth. 

Spendius, with his head thrown back and his eyes 
half-closed, inhaled the freshness of the wind with 
great sighs; he spread out his arms, moving his 
fingers that he might the better feel the caress that 
streamed over his body. Hopes of vengeance came 
back to him and transported him. He pressed his 
hand upon his mouth to check his sobs, and half- 
swooning with intoxication, let go the halter of his 
dromedary, which was proceeding with long, regular 
steps. Matho had relapsed into his former melancholy; 



his legs hung down to the ground, and the grass 
made a continuous rustling as it beat against his 

The journey, however, spread itself out without 
ever coming to an end. At the extremity of a plain 
they would always reach a round-shaped plateau; then 
they would descend again into a valley, and the 
mountains which seemed to block up the horizon 
would, in proportion as they were approached, glide 
as it were from their positions. From time to time 
a river would appear amid the verdure of tamarisks 
to lose itself at the turning of the hills. Sometimes 
a huge rock would tower aloft like the prow of a 
vessel or the pedestal of some vanished colossus. 

At regular intervals they met with little quadran- 
gular temples, which served as stations for the pil- 
grims who repaired to Sicca. They were closed like 
tombs. The Libyans struck great blows upon the 
doors to have them opened. But no one inside re- 

Then the cultivation become more rare. They 
suddenly entered upon belts of sand bristling with 
thorny thickets. Flocks of sheep were browsing 
among the stones; a woman with a blue fleece about 
her waist was watching them. She fled screaming 
when she saw the soldiers' pikes among the rocks. 

They were marching through a kind of large pas- 
sage bordered by two chains of reddish coloured hil- 
locks, when their nostrils were greeted with a nauseous 
odour, and they thought that they could see some- 
thing extraordinary on the top of a carob tree: a 
lion's head reared itself above the leaves. 

They ran thither. It was a lion with his four 
limbs fastened to a cross like a criminal. His huge 


muzzle fell upon his breast, and his two fore-paws, 
half-hidden beneath the abundance of his mane, were 
spread out wide like the wings of a bird. His ribs 
stood severally out beneath his distended skin; his 
hind legs, which were nailed against each other, 
were raised somewhat, and the black blood, flowing 
through his hair, had collected in stalactites at the 
end of his tail, which hung down perfectly straight 
along the cross. The soldiers made merry around; 
they called him consul, and Roman citizen, and threw 
pebbles into his eyes to drive away the gnats. 

But a hundred paces further on they saw two 
more, and then there suddenly appeared a long file 
of crosses bearing lions. Some had been so long 
dead that nothing was left against the wood but the 
remains of their skeletons; others which were half 
eaten away had their jaws twisted into horrible gri- 
maces; there were some enormous ones; the shafts of 
the crosses bent beneath them, and they swayed in 
the wind, while bands of crows wheeled ceaselessly 
in the air above their heads. It was thus that the 
Carthaginian peasants avenged themselves when they 
captured a wild beast; they hoped to terrify the 
others by such an example. The Barbarians ceased 
their laughter and were long lost in amazement. 
'•What people is this," they thought, "that amuses 
itself by crucifying lions!" 

They were, besides, especially the men of the 
North, vaguely uneasy, troubled, and already sick. 
They tore their hands with the darts of the aloes; 
great mosquitoes buzzed in their ears, and dysentery 
was breaking out in the army. They were weary at 
not yet seeing Sicca. They were afraid of losing 
themselves and of reaching the desert, the country of 


sands and terrors. Many even were unwilling to ad- 
vance further. Others started back to Carthage. 

At last on the seventh day, after following the 
base of a mountain for a long time, they turned ab- 
ruptly to the right, and there then appeared a line of 
walls resting on white rocks and blending with 
them. Suddenly the entire city rose; blue, yellow, 
and white veils moved on the walls in the redness 
of the evening. These were the priestesses of Tanith, 
who had hastened thither to receive the men. They 
stood ranged along the rampart, striking tambourines, 
playing lyres, and shaking crotala, while the rays of 
the sun, setting behind them in the mountains of 
Numidia, shot between the strings of their lyres over 
which their naked arms were stretched. At intervals 
their instruments would become suddenly still, and a 
cry would break forth strident, precipitate, frenzied, 
continuous, a sort of barking which they made by 
striking both corners of the mouth with the tongue. 
Others, more motionless than the Sphynx, rested on 
their elbows with their chins on their hands, and 
darted their great black eyes upon the army as it 

Although Sicca was a sacred town it could not 
hold such a multitude; the temple alone, with its ap- 
purtenances, occupied half of it. Accordingly the Bar- 
barians established themselves at their ease on the 
plain; those who were disciplined in regular troops, and 
the rest according to nationality or their own fancy. 

The Greeks ranged their tents of skin in parallel 
lines; the Iberians placed their canvas pavilions in a 
circle; the Gauls made themselves huts of planks; the 
Libyans cabins of dry stones, while the Negroes with 
their nails hollowed out trenches in the sand to 


sleep in. Many, not knowing where to go, wan- 
dered about among the baggage, and at nightfall lay 
down in their ragged mantles on the ground. 

The plain, which was wholly bounded by moun- 
tains, expanded around them. Here and there a palm 
tree leaned over a sand hill, and pines and oaks 
flecked the sides of the precipices: sometimes the 
rain of a storm would hang from the sky like a long 
scarf, while the country everywhere was still covered 
with azure and serenity; then a warm wind would 
drive before it tornadoes of dust, and a stream would 
descend in cascades from the heights of Sicca, where, 
with its roofing of gold on its columns of brass, rose 
the temple of the Carthaginian Venus, the mistress of 
the land. She seemed to fill it with her soul. In 
such convulsions of the soil, such alternations of tem- 
perature, and such plays of light would she manifest 
the extravagance of her might with the beauty of her 
eternal smile. The mountains at their summits were 
crescent-shaped; others were like women's bosoms 
presenting their swelling breasts, and the Barbarians 
felt a heaviness that was full of delight weighing 
down their fatigues. 

Spendius had bought a slave with the money 
brought him by his dromedary. The whole day long 
he lay asleep stretched before Matho's tent. Often he 
would awake, thinking in his dreams that he heard 
the whistling of the thongs; with a smile he would 
pass his hands over the scars on his legs at the place 
where the fetters had long been worn, and then he 
would fall asleep again. 

Matho accepted his companionship, and when he 
went <>u' Spendius would escort him like a lictor 


with a long sword on his thigh; or perhaps Matho 
would rest his arm carelessly on the other's shoulder, 
for Spendius was small. 

One evening when they were passing together 
through the streets in the camp they perceived some 
men covered with white cloaks; among them was 
Narr' Havas, the prince of the Numidians. Matho 

"Your sword!" he cried; "I will kill him!" 

"Not yet!" said Spendius, restraining him. Narr' 
Havas was already advancing towards him. 

He kissed both his thumbs in token of alliance., 
showing nothing of the anger which he had experi- 
enced at the drunkenness of the feast; then he spoke 
at length against Carthage, but did not say what 
brought him among the Barbarians. 

"Was it to betray them, or else the Republic?" 
Spendius asked himself; and as he expected to profit 
by every disorder, he felt grateful to Narr' Havas for 
the future perfidies of which he suspected him. 

The chief of the Numidians remained amongst the 
Mercenaries. He appeared desirous of attaching Matho 
to himself. He sent him fat goats, gold dust, and 
ostrich feathers. The Libyan, who was amazed at 
such caresses, was in doubt whether to respond to 
them or to become exasperated at them. But Spen- 
dius pacified him, and Matho allowed himself to be 
ruled by the slave, remaining ever irresolute and in 
an unconquerable torpor, like those who have once 
taken a draught of which they are to die. 

One morning when all three went out lion-hunting, 
Narr' Havas concealed a dagger in his cloak. Spendius 
kept continually behind him, and when they returned 
the dagger had not been drawn. 



Another time Narr' Havas took them a long way 
off, as far as the boundaries of his kingdom. They 
came to a narrow gorge, and Narr' Havas smiled as 
he declared that he had forgotten the way. Spendius 
found it again. 

But most frequently Matho would go off at sun- 
rise, as melancholy as an augur, to wander about the 
country. He would stretch himself on the sand, and 
remain there motionless until the evening. 

He consulted all the soothsayers in the army one 
after the other, — those who watch the trail of ser- 
pents, those who read the stars, and those who breathe 
upon the ashes of the dead. He swallowed galbanum, 
seseli, and viper's venom which freezes the heart; 
Negro women, singing barbarous words in the moon- 
light, pricked the skin of his forehead with golden 
stylets; he loaded himself with necklaces and charms; 
he invoked in turn Baal-Khamon, Moloch, the seven 
Kabiri, Tanith, and the Venus of the Greeks. He en- 
graved a name upon a copper plate, and buried it in 
the sand at the threshold of his tent. Spendius used 
to hear him groaning and talking to himself. 

One night he went in. 

Matho, as naked as a corpse, was lying on a 
lion's skin flat on his stomach, with his face in both 
his hands; a hanging lamp lit up his armour, which 
was hooked on to the tent-pole above his head. 

"You are suffering?" said the slave to him. 
"What is the matter with you? Answer me?" And 
he shook him by the shoulder calling him several 
times, "Master! master!" 

At last Matho lifted large troubled eyes towards him. 

"Listen!" he said in a low voice, and with a 
finger en his lips. "It is the wrath of the Gods! 


Hamilcar's daughter pursues me! I am afraid of her, 
Spendius!" He pressed himself close against his 
breast like a child terrified by a phantom. ''Speak to 
me! I am sick! I want to get well! I have tried 
everything! But you, you perhaps know some 
stronger gods, or some resistless invocation?" 

"For what purpose?" asked Spendius. 

Striking his head with both his fists, he replied: 

"To rid me of her!" 

Then speaking to himself with long pauses he said: 

"I am no doubt the victim of some holocaust 
which she has promised to the gods? — She holds me 
fast by a chain which people cannot see. If I walk, 
it is she that is advancing; when I stop, she is rest- 
ing! Her eyes burn me, I hear her voice. She en- 
compasses me, she penetrates me. It seems to me 
that she has become my soul! 

"And yet between us there are, as it were, the 
invisible billows of a boundless ocean! She is far 
away and quite inaccessible! The splendour of her 
beauty forms a cloud of light around her, and at 
times I think that I have never seen her — that she 
does not exist — and that it is all a dream!" 

Matho wept thus in the darkness; the Barbarians 
were sleeping. Spendius, as he looked at him, re- 
called the young men who once used to entreat him 
with golden vases in their hands, when he led his 
herd of courtesans through the towns; a feeling of 
pity moved him, and he said — 

"Be strong, my master! Summon your will, and 
beseech the gods no more, for they turn not aside at 
the cries of men! Weeping like a coward! And you 
arc not humiliated that a woman can cause you so 
much suffering?" 


"Am I a child?" said Matho. "Do you think 
that I am moved by their faces and songs ? We kept 
them at Drepanum to sweep out our stables. I have 
embraced them amid assaults, beneath failing ceilings, 
and while the catapult was still vibrating! — But she, 
Spendius, she! " 

The slave interrupted him: 

"If she were not Hamilcar's daughter " 

"No!" cried Matho. "She has nothing in com- 
mon with other daughters of men! Have you seen 
her great eyes beneath her great eyebrows, like suns 
beneath triumphal arches? Think: when she appeared 
all the torches grew pale. Her naked breast shone 
here and there through the diamonds of her necklace; 
behind her you perceived as it were the odour of a 
temple, and her whole being emitted something that 
was sweeter than wine and more terrible than death. 
She walked, however, and then she stopped." 

He remained gaping with his head cast down and 
his eyeballs fixed. 

"But I want her! I need her! I am dying for 
her! I am transported with frenzied joy at the 
thought of clasping her in my arms, and yet 1 hate 
her, Spendius! I should like to beat her! What is 
to be done? I have a mind to sell myself and be- 
come her slave! You have been that! You were 
able to get sight of her; speak to me of her! Every 
night she ascends to the terrace of her palace, does 
she not? Ah! the stones must quiver beneath her 
sandals, and the stars bend down to see her!" 

He fell back in a perfect frenzy, with a rattling in 
his throat like a wounded bull. 

Then Matho sang: "He pursued into the forest 
the female monster, whose tail undulated over the 


dead leaves like a silver brook." And with lingering 
tones he imitated Salammbô's voice, while his out- 
spread hands were held like two light hands on the 
strings of a lyre. 

To all the consolations offered by Spendius, he re- 
peated the same words; their nights were spent in 
these wailings and exhortations. 

Matho sought to drown his thoughts in wine. 
After his fits of drunkenness he was more melancholy 
still. He tried to divert himself at huckle-bones, and 
lost the gold plates of his necklace one by one. He 
had himself taken to the servants of the Goddess; but 
he came down the hill sobbing, like one returning 
from a funeral. 

Spendius, on the contrary, became more bold and 
gay. He was to be seen in the leafy taverns dis- 
coursing in the midst of the soldiers. He mended old 
cuirasses. He juggled with daggers. He went and 
gathered herbs in the fields for the sick. He was 
facetious, dexterous, full of invention and talk; the 
Barbarians grew accustomed to his services, and he 
came to be loved by them. 

However, they were awaiting an ambassador from 
Carthage to bring them mules laden with baskets of 
gold; and ever beginning the same calculation over 
again, they would trace figures v/ith their fingers in 
the sand. Every one was arranging his life before- 
hand; they would have concubines, slaves, lands; 
others intended to bury their treasure, or risk it on a 
vessel. But their tempers were provoked by want of 
employment; there were constant disputes between 
horse-soldiers and foot-soldiers, Barbarians and Greeks, 
while there was a never-ending din of shrill female 


Every day men came flocking in nearly naked, and 
with grass on their heads to protect them from the 
sun; they were the debtors of the rich Carthaginians 
and had been forced to till the lands of the latter, but 
had escaped. Libyans came pouring in with peasants 
ruined by the taxes, outlaws, and malefactors. Then the 
horde of traders, all the dealers in wine and oil, who 
were furious at not being paid, laid the blame upon 
the Republic. Spendius declaimed against it. Soon 
the provisions ran low; and there was talk of advan- 
cing in a body upon Carthage, and calling in the 

One evening, at supper-time, dull cracked sounds 
were heard approaching, and something red appeared 
in the distance among the undulations of the soil. 

It was a large purple litter, adorned with ostrich 
feathers at the corners. Chains of crystal and gar- 
lands of pearls beat against the closed hangings. It 
was followed by camels sounding the great bells 
that hung at their breasts, and having around them 
horsemen clad from shoulder to heel in armour of 
golden scales. 

They halted three hundred paces from the camp 
to take their round bucklers, broad swords, and 
Boeotian helmets out of the cases which they carried 
behind their saddles. Some remained with the 
camels, while the others resumed their march. At 
last the ensigns of the Republic appeared, that is to 
say, staves of blue wood terminating in horses' heads 
or fir cones. The Barbarians all rose with applause ; 
the women rushed towards the guards of the Legion 
and kissed their feet. 

The litter advanced on the shoulders of twelve 
Negroes who walked in step with short, rapid 


strides; they went at random to right or left, being 
embarrassed by the tent-ropes, the animals that were 
straying about, or the tripods where food was being 
cooked. Sometimes a fat hand, laden with rings, 
would partially open the litter, and a hoarse voice 
would utter loud reproaches; then the bearers would 
stop and take a different direction through the camp. 

But the purple curtains were raised, and a human 
head, impassible and bloated, was seen resting on a 
large pillow; the eyebrows, which were like arches 
of ebony, met each other at the points; golden dust 
sparkled in the frizzled hair, and the face was so wan 
that it looked as if it had been powdered with mar- 
ble raspings. The rest of the body was concealed 
beneath the fleeces which filled the litter. 

In the man so reclining the soldiers recognised the 
Suflet Hanno, he whose slackness had assisted to lose 
the battle of the /Egatian islands; and as to his vic- 
tory at Hecatompylos over the Libyans, even if he 
did behave with clemency, thought the Barbarians, 
it was owing to cupidity, for he had sold all the cap- 
tives on his own account, although he had reported 
their deaths to the Republic. 

After seeking for some time for a convenient place 
from which to harangue the soldiers, he made a sign; 
the litter stopped, and Hanno, supported by two 
slaves, put his tottering feet to the ground. 

He wore boots of black felt strewn with silver 
moons. His legs were swathed in bands like those 
wrapped about a mummy, and the flesh crept through 
tne crossings of the linen; his stomach came out be- 
yond the scarlet jacket which covered his thighs; the 
folds of his neck fell down to his breast like the dew- 
laps of an ox ; his tunic, which was painted with 


flowers, was bursting at the arm-pits; he wore a 
scarf, a girdle, and an ample black cloak with laced 
double sleeves. But the abundance of his garments, 
his great necklace of blue stones, his golden clasps, 
and heavy earrings only rendered his deformity still 
more hideous. He might have been taken for some 
big idol rough-hewn in a block of stone; for a pale 
leprosy, which was spread over his whole body, 
gave him the appearance of an inert thing. His 
nose, however, which was hooked like a vulture's 
beak, was violently dilated to breathe in the air, 
and his little eyes, with their gummed lashes, shone 
with a hard and metallic lustre. He held a spatula 
of aloe-wood in his hand wherewith to scratch his 

At last two heralds sounded their silver horns; the 
tumult subsided, and Hanno commenced to speak. 

He began with an eulogy of the gods and the 
Republic; the Barbarians ought to congratulate them- 
selves on having served it. But they must show 
themselves more reasonable; times were hard, "and 
if a master has only three olives, is it not right that 
he should keep two for himself?" 

The old Suffet mingled his speech in this way 
with proverbs and apologues, nodding his head the 
while to solicit some approval. 

He spoke in Punic, and those surrounding him 
(the most alert, who had hastened thither without 
their arms), were Campanians, Gauls, and Greeks, so 
that no one in the crowd understood him. Hanno, 
perceiving this, stopped and reflected, swaying him- 
self heavily from one leg to the other. 

It occurred to him to call the captains together; 
then his heralds shouted the order in Greek, the Ian- 


guage which, from the time of Xanthippus, had been 
used for commands in the Carthaginian armies. 

The guards dispersed the mob of soldiers with 
strokes of the whip; and the captains of the Spartan pha- 
lanxes and the chiefs of the Barbarian cohorts soon 
arrived with the insignia of their rank, and in the 
armour of their nation. Night had fallen, a great 
tumult was spreading through the plain; fires were 
burning here and there; and the soldiers kept going 
from one to another asking what the matter was, and 
why the SufTet did not distribute the money? 

He was setting the infinite burdens of the Repub- 
lic before the captains. Her treasury was empty. 
The tribute to Rome was crushing her. "We are 
quite at a loss what to dol She is much to be 

From time to time he would rub his limbs with 
his aloe-wood spatula, or perhaps he would break off 
to drink a ptisan made of the ashes of a weasel and 
asparagus boiled in vinegar from a silver cup handed 
to him by a slave; then he would wipe his lips with 
a scarlet napkin and resume: 

"What used to be worth a shekel ot silver is now 
worth three shekels of gold, while the cultivated lands 
which were abandoned during the war bring in 
nothing! Our purpura fisheries are nearly gone, and 
even pearls are becoming exorbitant; we have scarcely 
unguents enough for the service of the gods ! As for 
the things of the table, I shall say nothing about 
them; it is a calamity! For want of galleys we are 
without spices, and it is a matter of great difficulty 
to procure silphium on account of the rebellions on 
the Cyrenian frontier. Sicily, where so many 
slaves used to be had, is now closed to us! 


Only yesterday I gave more money for a bather and 
four scullions than I used at one time to give for a 
pair of elephants!" 

He unrolled a long piece of papyrus; and, without 
omitting a single figure, read all the expenses that 
the government had incurred; so much for repairing 
the temples, for paving the streets, for the construc- 
tion of vessels, for the coral-fisheries, for the enlarge- 
ment of the Syssitia, and for engines in the mines in 
the country of the Cantabrians. 

But the captains understood Punic as little as the 
soldiers, although the Mercenaries saluted one another 
in that language. It was usual to place a few Car- 
thaginian officers in the Barbarian armies to act as 
interpreters; after the war they had concealed them- 
selves through fear of vengeance, and Hanno had not 
thought of taking them with him; his hollow voice, 
too, was lost in the wind. 

The Greeks, girthed in their iron waist-belts, 
strained their ears as they strove to guess at his 
words, while the mountaineers, covered with furs like 
bears, looked at him with distrust, or yawned as they 
leaned on their brass-nailed clubs. The heedless Gauls 
sneered as they shook their lofty heads of hair, and 
the men of the desert listened motionless, cowled in 
their garments of grey wool; others kept coming up 
behind; the guards, crushed by the mob, staggered 
on their horses; the Negroes held out burning 
fir branches at arm's length; and the big Cartha- 
ginian, mounted on a grassy hillock, continued his 

The Barbarians, however, were growing impatient; 
murmuring arose, and every one apostrophized him. 
Hanno gesticulated with his spatula; and those who 


wished the others to be quiet shouted still more 
loudly, thereby adding to the din. 

Suddenly a man of mean appearance bounded to 
Hanno's feet, snatched up a herald's trumpet, blew 
it, and Spendius (for it was he) announced that he 
was going to say something of importance. At this 
declaration, which was rapidly uttered in five different 
languages, Greek, Latin, Gallic, Libyan and Balearic, 
the captains, half laughing and half surprised, replied: 
" Speak 1 Speak!" 

Spendius hesitated; he trembled; at last, address- 
ing the Libyans who were the most numerous, he 
said to them: 

"You have all heard this man's horrible threats!" 

Hanno made no exclamation, therefore he did not 
understand Libyan; and, to carry on the experiment, 
Spendius repeated the same phrase in the other Bar- 
barian dialects. 

They looked at one another in astonishment; then, 
as by a tacit agreement, and believing perhaps that 
they had understood, they bent their heads in token 
of assent. 

Then Spendius began in vehement tones: 

"He said first that all the Gods of the other na- 
tions were but dreams beside the Gods of Carthage! 
He called you cowards, thieves, liars, dogs, and the 
sons of dogs! But for you (he said that!) the Repub- 
lic would not be forced to pay tribute to the Ro- 
mans; and through your excesses you have drained 
it of perfumes, aromatics, slaves, and silphium, for 
you are in league with the nomads on the Cyrenian 
frontier 1 But the guilty shall be punished! He read 
the enumeration of their torments; they shall be made 
to work at the paving of the streets, at the equip- 


ment of the vessels, at the adornment of the Syssitia, 
while the rest shall be sent to scrape the earth in the 
mines in the country of the Cantabrians." 

Spendius repeated the same statements to the 
Gauls, Greeks, Campanians and Balearians. The Mer- 
cenaries, recognising several of the proper names 
which had met their ears, were convinced that he 
was accurately reporting the SufTet's speech. A few 
cried out to him ; "You lie!" but their voices were 
drowned in the tumult of the rest; Spendius added: 

"Have you not seen that he has left a reserve of 
his horse-soldiers outside the camp? At a given sig- 
nal they will hasten hither to slay you all." 

The Barbarians turned in that direction, and as the 
crowd was then scattering, there appeared in the 
midst of them, and advancing with the slowness of a 
phantom, a human being, bent, lean, entirely naked, 
and covered down to his Hanks with long hair bris- 
tling with dried leaves, dust and thorns. About his 
loins and his knees he had wisps of straw and linen 
rags; his soft and earthy skin bung on his emaciated 
limbs like tatters on dried boughs; his hands trembled 
with a continuous quivering, and as he walked he 
leaned on a staff of olive-wood. 

He reached the Negroes who were bearing the 
torches. His pale gums were displayed in a sort of 
idiotic titter; his large, scared eyes gazed upon the 
crowd of Barbarians around him. 

But uttering a cry of terror he threw himself be- 
hind them, shielding himself with their bodies. 
"There they are! There they are!" he stammered 
out, pointing to the SufTet's guards, who were mo- 
tionless in their glittering armour. Their horses, daz- 
zled by the light of the torches which crackled in the 


darkness, were pawing the ground; the human spectre 
struggled and howled: 

"They have killed them!" 

At these words, which were screamed in Bal- 
earic, some Balearians came up and recognised him; 
without answering them he repeated: 

"Yes, all killed, all! crushed like grapes! The 
fine young men! the slingers! my companions and 

They gave him wine to drink, and he wept; then 
he launched forth into speech. 

Spendius could scarcely repress his joy, as he ex- 
plained the horrors related by Zarxas to the Greeks 
and Libyans; he could not believe them, so appro- 
priately did they come in. The Balearians grew pale 
as they learned how their companions had perished. 

It was a troop of three hundred slingers who had 
disembarked the evening before, and had on that day 
slept too late. When they reached the square of Kha- 
mon the Barbarians were gone, and they found them- 
selves defenceless, their clay bullets having been put 
on the camels with the rest of the baggage. They 
were allowed to advance into the street of Satheb as 
far as the brass sheathed oaken gate; then the people 
with a single impulse had sprung upon them. 

Indeed, the soldiers remembered a great shout; 
Spendius, who was flying at the head of the columns, 
had not heard it. 

Then the corpses were placed in the arms of the 
Pataec gods that fringed the temple of Khamon. Thev 
were upbraided with all the crimes of the Merce- 
naries; their gluttony, their thefts, their impiety, their 
disdain, and the murder of the fishes in Salammbô's 
garden. Their bodies were subjected to infamous 


mutilations; the priests burned their hair in order to 
torture their souls; they were hung up in pieces in 
the meat-shops; some even buried their teeth in them, 
and in the evening funeral-piles were kindled at the 
cross-ways to finish them. 

These were the flames that had gleamed from a 
distance across the lake. But some houses having 
taken fire, any dead or dying that remained were 
speedily thrown over the walls; Zarxas had remained 
among the reeds on the edge of the lake until the fol- 
lowing day; then he had wandered about through the 
country, seeking for the army by the footprints in the 
dust. In the morning he hid himself in caves; in 
the evening he resumed his march with his bleeding 
wounds, famished, sick, living on roots and carrion; 
at last one day he perceived lances on the horizon, 
and he had followed them, for his reason was dis- 
turbed through his terrors and miseries. 

The indignation of the soldiers, restrained so long 
as he was speaking, broke forth like a tempest; they 
were going to massacre the guards together with the 
Sufïet. A few interposed, saying that they ought to 
hear him and know at least whether they should be 
paid. Then they all cried: "Our money!" Hanno 
replied that he had brought it. 

They ran to the outposts, and the Suffet's baggage 
arrived in the midst of the tents, pressed forward by 
the Barbarians. Without waiting for the slaves, they 
very quickly unfastened the baskets; in them they 
found hyacinth robes, sponges, scrapers, brushes, per- 
fumes, and antimony pencils for painting the eyes — 
ail belonging to the guards, who were rich men and 
accustomed to such refinements. Next they uncov- 
ered a large bronze tub on a camel: it belonged to 


the Sufifet who had it for bathing in during his journey; 
for he had taken all manner of precautions, even going 
so far as to bring caged weasels from Hecatompylos, 
which were burnt alive to make his ptisan. But, as 
his malady gave him a great appetite, there were also 
many comestibles and many wines, pickle, meats and 
fishes preserved in honey, with little pots of Com- 
magene, or melted goose-fat covered with snow and 
chopped straw. There was a considerable supply of it; 
the more they opened the baskets the more they 
found, and laughter arose like conflicting waves. 

As to the pay of the Mercenaries it nearly filled 
two esparto-grass baskets; there were even visible in 
one of them some of the leathern discs which the 
Republic used to economise its specie; and as the 
Barbarians appeared greatly surprised, Hanno told them 
that, their accounts being very difficult, the Ancients 
had not had leisure to examine them. Meanwhile 
they sent them this. 

Then everything was in disorder and confusion: 
mules, serving men, litter, provisions, and baggage. 
The soldiers took the coin in the bags to stone 
Hanno. With great difficulty he was able to mount 
an ass; and he fled, clinging to its hair, howling, 
weeping, shaken, bruised, and calling down the curse 
of all the gods upon the army. His broad necklace 
of precious stones rebounded up to his ears. His 
cloak which was too long, and which trailed behind 
him, he kept on with his teeth, and from afar the 
Barbarians shouted at him, " Begone coward! pig! sink 
of Moloch! sweat your gold and your plague! quicker! 
quicker!" The routed escort galloped beside him. 

But the fury of the Barbarians did not abate. 
They remembered that several of them who had set 


out for Carthage had not returned; no doubt they had 
been killed. So much injustice exasperated them, and 
they began to pull up the stakes of their tents, to roll 
up their cloaks, and to bridle their horses; every one 
took his helmet and sword, and instantly all was 
ready. Those who had no arms rushed into the 
woods to cut staves. 

Day dawned; the people of Sicca were roused, and 
stirring in the streets. "They are going to Car- 
thage," said they, and the rumour of this soon spread 
through the country. 

From every path and every ravine men arose. 
Shepherds were seen running down from the moun- 

Then, when the Barbarians had set out, Spendius 
circled the plain, riding on a Punic stallion, and at- 
tended by his slave, who led a third horse. 

A single tent remained. Spendius entered it. 

"Up, master! rise! we are departing!" 

"And where are you going?" asked Matho. 

"To Carthage!" cried Spendius. 

Matho bounded upon the horse which the slave 
held at the door. 


1 ii ..«f- -. .fit 

M J M 


i | 

i , 



HE moon was rising just above the 
waves, and on the town which 
was still wrapped in darkness there 
glittered white and luminous 
specks: — the pole of a chariot, a 
dangling rag of linen, the corner of a 
wall, or a golden necklace on the bosom of a god. 
The glass balls on the roofs of the temples beamed 
like great diamonds here and there. But ill-defined 
ruins, piles of black earth, and gardens formed deeper 
masses in the gloom, and below Malqua fishermen's 
nets stretched from one house to another like gigantic 
bats spreading their wings. The grinding of the hy- 
draulic wheels which conveyed water to the highest 
storys of the palaces, was no longer heard; and the 
camels, lying ostrich fashion on their stomachs, rested 
peacefully in the middle of the tenaces. The porters 
were asleep in the streets on the thresholds of the 
houses; the shadows of the colossuses stretched across 
the deserted squares; occasionally in the distance the 
smoke of a still burning sacrifice would escape through 
the bronze tiling, and the heavy breeze would waft 
the odours of aromatics blended with the scent of the 
^ ( 5 . ) 


sea and the exhalation from the sun-heated walls. 
The motionless waves shone around Carthage, for 
the moon was spreading her light at once upon the 
mountain-circled gulf and upon the lake of Tunis, 
where flamingoes formed long rose-coloured lines 
amid the banks of sand, while further on beneath the 
catacombs the great salt lagoon shimmered like a 
piece of silver. The blue vault of heaven sank on the 
horizon in one direction into the dustiness of the 
plains, and in the other into the mists of the sea, and 
on the summit of the Acropolis, the pyramidal cy- 
press trees, fringing the temple of Eschmoun, swayed 
murmuring like the regular waves that beat slowly 
along the mole beneath the ramparts. 

Salammbô ascended to the terrace of her palace, 
supported by a female slave who carried an iron dish 
filled with live coals. 

In the middle of the terrace there was a small 
ivory bed covered with lynx skins, and cushions 
made with the feathers of the parrot, a fatidical animal 
consecrated to the gods; and at the four corners rose 
four long perfuming-pans filled with nard, incense, 
cinnamomum, and myrrh. The slave lit the perfumes. 
Salammbô looked at the polar star; she slowly saluted 
the fou^ points of heaven, and knelt down on the 
ground in the azure dust which was strewn with 
golden stars in imitation of the firmament. Then 
with both elbows against her sides, her fore-arms 
straight and her hands open, she threw back her head 
beneath the rays of the moon, and said: 

"O Rabetna! — Baalet! — Tanith!" and her voice 
was lengthened in a plaintive fashion as if calling 
to some one. "Anaïtis! Astartel Derceto! Astoreth! 
Mylitta! Athara! Elissa! Tiratha! — By the hidden sym- 


bols, — by the resounding sistra, — by the furrows of 
the earth, — by the eternal silence and by the eternal 
fruitfulness, — mistress of the gloomy sea and of the 
azure shores, O Queen of the watery world, all 

She swayed her whole body twice or thrice, and 
then cast herself face downwards in the dust with 
both arms outstretched. 

But the slave nimbly raised her, for according to 
the rites some one must catch the suppliant at the 
moment of his prostration; this told him that the 
gods accepted him, and Salammbô's nurse never 
failed in this pious duty. 

Some merchants from Darytian Gaetulia had brought 
her to Carthage when quite young, and after her en- 
franchisement she would not forsake her old masters, 
as was shown by her right ear, which was pierced 
with a large hole. A petticoat of many-coloured 
stripes fitted closely on her hips, and fell to her ankles, 
where two tin rings clashed together. Her somewhat 
flat face was yellow like her tunic. Silver bodkins of 
great length formed a sun behind her head. She 
wore a coral button on the nostril, and she stood be- 
side the bed more erect than a Hermes, and with her 
eyelids cast down. 

Salammbô walked to the edge of the terrace; her 
eyes swept the horizon for an instant, and then were 
lowered upon the sleeping town, while the sigh that 
she heaved swelled her bosom, and gave an undula- 
ting movement to the whole length of the long white 
simar which hung without clasp or girdle about her. 
Her curved and painted sandals were hidden beneath 
a heap of emeralds, and a net of purple thread was 
filled with her disordered hair. 


But she raised her head to gaze upon the moon, 
and murmured, mingling her speech with fragments 
of hymns; 

"How lightly turnest thou, supported by the im- 
palpable ether! It brightens about thee, and 'tis the 
stir of thine agitation that distributes the winds and 
fruitful dews. According as thou dost wax and wane 
the eyes of cats and spots of panthers lengthen or 
grow short. Wives shriek thy name in the pangs of 
childbirth! Thou makest the shells to swell, the wine 
to bubble, and the corpse to putrefy! Thou formest 
the pearls at the bottom of the sea! 

"And every germ, O goddess! ferments in the 
dark depths of thy moisture. 

"When thou appearest, quietness is spread abroad 
upon the earth; the flowers close, the waves are 
soothed, wearied man stretches his breast toward 
thee, and the world with its oceans and mountains 
looks at itself in thy face as in a mirror. Thou art 
white, gentle, luminous, immaculate, helping, purify- 
ing, serene!" 

The crescent of the moon was then over the 
mountain of the Hot Springs, in the hollow formed 
by its two summits, on the other side of the gulf. 
Below it there was a little star, and all around it a 
pale circle. Salammbô went on: 

"But thou art a terrible mistress! — Monsters, terri- 
fying phantoms, and lying dreams come from thee; 
thine eyes devour the stones of buildings, and the 
apes are ever ill each time thou growest young again. 

"Whither goest thou? Why dost thou change 
thy forms continually? Now, slender and curved 
thou glidest through space like a mastless galley; and 
then, amid the stars, thou art like a shepherd keeping 



his flock. Shining and round, thou dost graze the 
mountain-tops like the wheel of a chariot. 

"O Tanith! thou dost love me? I have looked so 
much on thee! But no! thou sailest through thine 
azure, and I — 1 remain on the motionless earth. 

"Taanach, take your nebal and play softly on the 
silver string, for my heart is sad!" 

The slave lifted a sort of harp of ebony wood, 
taller than herself, and triangular in shape like a delta; 
she fixed the point in a crystal globe, and with both 
hands began to play. 

The sounds followed one another hurried and deep, 
like the buzzing of bees, and with increasing sono- 
rousness floated away into the night with the com- 
plaining of the waves, and the rustling of the great 
trees on the summit of the Acropolis. 

"Hush!" cried Salammbô. 

"What ails you, mistress? The blowing of the 
breeze, the passing of a cloud, everything disquiets 
you just now! " 

"I do not know," she said. 

"You are wearied with too long prayers!" 

"Oh! Taanach, I would fain be dissolved in them 
like a flower in wine!" 

"Perhaps it is the smoke of your perfumes?" 

"No!" said Salammbô; "the spirit of the gods 
dwells in fragrant odours." 

Then the slave spoke to her of her father. It was 
thought that he had gone towards the amber coun- 
try, behind the pillars of Melkarth. "But if he does 
not return," she said, "you must nevertheless, since 
it was his will, choose a husband among the sons of 
the Ancients, and then your grief will pass away in a 
nan's arms." 


"Why?" asked the young girl. All those that she 
had seen had horrified her with their fallow-deer 
laughter and their coarse limbs. 

"Sometimes, Taanach, from the depths of my be- 
ing there exhale as it were hot fumes heavier than 
the vapours from a volcano. Voices call me, a globe 
of fire rolls and mounts within my bosom, it stifles 
me, I am at the point of death; and then, something 
sweet, flowing from my brow to my feet, passes through 
my flesh — it is a caress enfolding me, and I feel my- 
self crushed as if some god were stretched upon me. 
Oh! would that I could lose myself in the mists of the 
night, the waters of the fountains, the sap of the trees, 
that I could issue from my body, and be but a breath, 
or a ray, and glide, mount up to thee, O Mother!" 

She raised her arms to their full length, arching her 
form, which in its long garment was as pale and 
light as the moon. Then she fell back, panting, on 
the ivory couch; but Taanach passed an amber neck- 
lace with dolphin's teeth about her neck to banish 
terrors, and Salammbô said in an almost stifled voice: 
"Go and bring me Schahabarim." 

Her father had not wished her to enter the college 
of priestesses, nor even to be made at all acquainted 
with the popular Tanith. He was reserving her for 
some alliance that might serve his political ends; so 
that Salammbô lived alone in the midst of the palace. 
Her mother was long since dead. 

She had grown up with abstinences, fastings and 
purifications, always surrounded by grave and ex- 
quisite things, her body saturated with perfumes, and 
her soul filled with prayers. She had never tasted 
wine, nor eaten meat, nor touched an unclean animal, 
nor set her heels in the house of death. 


She knew nothing of obscene images, for as each 
god was manifested in different forms, the same prin- 
ciple often received the witness of contradictory cults, 
and Salammbô worshipped the goddess in her sidereal 
presentation. An influence had descended upon the 
maiden from the moon; when the planet passed di- 
minishing away, Salammbô grew weak. She lan- 
guished the whole day long, and revived at evening. 
During an eclipse she had nearly died. 

But Rabetna, in jealousy, revenged herself for the 
virginity withdrawn from her sacrifices, and she tor- 
mented Salammbô with possessions, all the stronger 
for being vague, which were spread through this be- 
lief and excited by it. 

Unceasingly was Hamilcar's daughter disquieted 
about Tanith. She had learned her adventures, her 
travels, and all her names, which she would repeat 
without their having any distinct signification for her. 
In order to penetrate into the depths of her dogma, 
she wished to become acquainted, in the most secret 
part of the temple, with the old idol in the magnifi- 
cent mantle, whereon depended the destinies of 
Carthage, for the idea of a god did not stand out 
clearly from his representation, and to hold, or even 
see the image of one, was to take away part of his 
virtue, and in a measure to rule him. 

But Salammbô turned around. She had recognised 
the sound of the golden bells which Schahabarim wore 
at the hem of his garment. 

He ascended the staircases; then at the threshold 
of the terrace he stopped and folded his arms. 

His sunken eyes shone like the lamps of a sepul- 
chre; his long thin body floated in its linen robe 
which was weighted by the bells, the latter alternat- 


ing with balls of emeralds at his heels. He had 
feeble limbs, an oblique skull and a pointed chin; 
his skin seemed cold to the touch, and his yellow 
face, which was deeply furrowed with wrinkles, was 
as if it contracted in a longing, in an everlasting 

He was the high priest of Tanith, and it was he 
who had educated Salammbô. 

" Speak!" he said. "What will you?" 
"I hoped — you had almost promised me — " She 
stammered and was confused; then suddenly: "Why 
do you despise me? what have I forgotten in the 
rites? You are my master, and you told me that no 
one was so accomplished in the things pertaining to 
the goddess as I; but there are some of which you 
will not speak. Is it so, O father?" 

Schahabarim remembered Hamilcar's orders, and 

"No, I have nothing more to teach you!" 
"A genius" she resumed, "impels me to this 
love. I have climbed the steps of Eschmoun, god of 
the planets and intelligences; I have slept beneath the 
golden olive of Melkarth, patron of the Tyrian colo- 
nies; 1 have pushed open the doors of Baal-Khamon, 
the enlightener and fertiliser; I have sacrificed to the 
subterranean Kabiri, to the gods of woods, 
winds, rivers and mountains; but, can you under- 
stand? they are all too far away, too high, too insen- 
sible, while she — I feel her mingled in my life; she 
fills my soul, and I quiver with inward startings, as 
though she were leaping in order to escape. Me- 
thinks I am about to hear her voice, and see her face, 
lightnings dazzle me and then I sink back again into 
the darkness." 



Schahabarim was silent. She entreated him with 
suppliant looks. At last he made a sign for the dis- 
missal of the slave, who was not of Chanaanitish 
race. Taanach disappeared, and Schahabarim, raising 
one arm in the air, began: 

"Before the gods darkness alone was, and a 
breathing stirred dull and indistinct as the conscience 
of a man in a dream. It contracted, creating Desire 
and Cloud, and from Desire and Cloud there issued 
primitive Matter. This was a water, muddy, black, 
icy and deep. It contained senseless monsters, inco- 
herent portions of the forms to be born, which are 
painted on the walls of the sanctuaries. 

"Then Matter condensed. It became an egg. It 
burst. One half formed the earth and the other the 
firmament. Sun, moon, winds and clouds appeared, 
and at the crash of the thunder intelligent creatures 
awoke. Then Eschmoun spread himself in the starry 
sphere; Khamon beamed in the sun; Melkarth thrust 
him with his arms behind Gades; the Kabiri de- 
scended beneath the volcanoes, and Rabetna like a 
nurse bent over the world pouring out her light like 
milk, and her night like a mantle." 

"And then?" she said. 

He had related the secret of the origins to her, to 
divert her from sublimer prospects; but the maiden's 
desire kindled again at his last words, and Schahaba- 
rim, half yielding resumed: 

"She inspires and governs the loves of men." 

"The loves of men!" repeated Salammbô dream- 

"She is the soul of Carthage," continued the priest; 
"and although she is everywhere diffused, it is here 
the she dwells, beneath the sacred veil." 


"O father!" cried Salammbô, "I shall see her, 
shall I not? you will bring me to her! I had long 
been hesitating; I am devoured with curiosity to see 
her form. Pity! help me! let us go?" 

He repulsed her with a vehement gesture that was 
full of pride. 

" Never! Do you not know that it means death? 
The hermaphrodite Baals are unveiled to us alone who 
are men in understanding and women in weakness. 
Your desire is sacrilege; be satisfied with the knowl- 
edge that you possess!" 

She fell upon her knees placing two fingers against 
her ears in token of repentance; and crushed by the 
priest's words, and filled at once with anger against 
him, with terror and with humiliation, she burst into 
sobs. Schahabarim remained erect, and more insensi- 
ble than the stones of the terrace. He looked down 
upon her quivering at his feet, and felt a kind of joy 
on seeing her suffer for his divinity whom he him- 
self could not wholly embrace. The birds were al- 
ready singing, a cold wind was blowing, and little 
clouds were drifting in the paling sky. 

Suddenly he perceived on the horizon, behind 
Tunis, what looked like slight mists trailing along the 
ground; then these became a great curtain of dust 
extending perpendicularly, and, amid the whirlwinds 
of the thronging mass, dromedaries' heads, lances and 
shields appeared. It was the army of the Barbarians 
advancing upon Carthage. 


Beneath the Walls of Carthage. 

OME country people, riding on asses 
or running on foot, arrived in the 
town, pale, breathless, and mad with 
fear. They were flying before the 
army. It had accomplished the 
journey from Sicca in three days, in 
order to reach Carthage and wholly exterminate it. 

The gates were shut. The Barbarians appeared 
almost immediately; but they stopped in the middle 
of the isthmus, on the edge of the lake. 

At first they made no hostile announcement. Sev- 
eral approached with palm branches in their hands. 
They were driven back with arrows, so great was the 

In the morning and at nightfall prowlers would 
sometimes wander along the walls. A little man care- 
fully wrapped in a cloak, and with his face concealed 
beneath a very low visor, was especially noticed. He 
would remain whole hours gazing at the aqueduct, 
and so persistently that he doubtless wished to mis- 
lead the Carthaginians as to his real designs. Another 
man, a sort of giant who walked bareheaded, used to 
accompany him. 



But Carthage was defended throughout the whole 
breadth of the isthmus: first by a trench, then by a 
grassy rampart, and lastly by a wall thirty cubits 
high, built of freestone, and in two storys. It con- 
tained stables for three hundred elephants with stores 
for their caparisons, shackles, and food; other stables 
again for four thousand horses with supplies of barley 
and harness, and barracks for twenty thousand sol- 
diers with armour and all materials for war. Towers 
rose from the second story, all provided with battle- 
ments, and having bronze bucklers hung on cramps 
on the outside. 

This first line of wall gave immediate shelter to 
Malqua, the sailors' and dyers' quarter. Masts might 
be seen whereon purple sails were drying, and on 
the highest terraces clay furnaces for heating the pickle 
were visible. 

Behind, the lofty houses of the city rose in an am- 
phitheatre of cubical form. They were built of stone, 
planks, shingle, reeds, shells, and beaten earth. The 
woods belonging to the temples were like lakes of 
verdure in this mountain of diversely-coloured blocks. 
It was levelled at unequal distances by the public 
squares, and was cut from top to bottom by count- 
less intersecting lanes. The enclosures of the three 
old quarters which are now lost might be distin- 
guished; they rose here and there like great reefs, or 
extended in enormous fronts, blackened, half-covered 
with flowers, and broadly striped by the casting of 
filth, while streets passed through their yawning aper- 
tures like rivers beneath bridges. 

The hill of the Acropolis, in the centre of Byrsa, 
was hidden beneath a disordered array of monuments. 
There were temples with wreathed columns bearing 



6ronze capitals and metal chains, cones of diy stones 
with bands of azure, copper cupolas, marble archi- 
traves, Babylonian buttresses, obelisks poised on their 
points like inverted torches. Peristyles reached tc 
pediments; volutes were displayed through colonnades^ 
granite walls supported tile partitions; the whole 
mounting, half-hidden, the one above the other in a 
marvellous and incomprehensible fashion. In it might 
be felt the succession of the ages, and, as it were, 
the memorials of forgotten fatherlands. 

Behind the Acropolis the Mappalian road, which 
was lined with tombs, extended through red lands in 
a straight line from the shore to the catacombs; then 
spacious dwellings occurred at intervals in the gar- 
dens, and this third quarter, Megara, which was the 
new town, reached as far as the edge of the cliff, 
where rose a giant pharos that blazed forth every 

In this fashion was Carthage displayed before the 
soldiers quartered in the plain. 

They could recognize the markets and crossways 
in the distance, and disputed with one another as to 
the sites of the temples. Khamon's, fronting the 
Syssitia, had golden tiles; Melkarth, to the left of 
Eschmoun, had branches of coral on its roofing; be- 
yond, Tanith's copper cupola swelled among the palm 
trees; the dark Moloch was below the cisterns, in the 
direction of the pharos. At the angles of the pedi- 
ments, on the tops of the walls, at the corners of the 
squares, everywhere, divinities with hideous heads 
might be seen, colossal or squat, with enormous bel- 
lies, or immoderately flattened, opening their jaws, 
extending their arms, and holding forks, chains or 
javelins in their hands; while the blue of the sea 


stretched away behind the streets which were ren- 
dered still steeper by the perspective. 

They were filled from morning till evening with a 
tumultuous people; young boys shaking little bells, 
shouted at the doors of the baths; the shops for hot 
drinks smoked, the air resounded with the noise of 
anvils, the white cocks, sacred to the Sun, crowed on 
the terraces, the oxen that were being slaughtered 
bellowed in the temples, slaves ran about with bas- 
kets on their heads; and in the depths of the porti- 
coes a priest would sometimes appear, drapea in a 
dark cloak, barefooted, and wearing a pointed cap. 

The spectacle afforded by Carthage irritated the 
Barbarians; they admired it and execrated it, and 
would have liked both to annihilate it and to dwell 
in it. But what was there in the Military Harbour 
defended by a triple wall? Then behind the town. 
at the back of Megara, and higher than the Acropolis, 
appeared Hamilcar's palace. 

Matho's eyes were directed thither every moment. 
He would ascend the olive trees and lean over with 
his hand spread out above his eyebrows. The gar- 
dens were empty, and the red door with its black 
cross remained constantly shut. 

More than twenty times he walked round the 
ramparts, seeking some breach by which he might 
enter. One night he threw himself into the gulf and 
swam for three hours at a stretch. He reached the 
foot of the Mappalian quarter and tried to climb up 
the face of the cliff. He covered his knees with 
blood, broke his nails, and then fell back into the 
waves and returned. 

His impotence exasperated him. He was jealous 
of this Carthage which contained Salammbô, as 


if of some one who had possessed her. His nerve- 
lessness left him to be replaced by a mad and con- 
tinual eagerness for action. With llaming cheek, 
angry eyes, and hoarse voice, he would walk with 
rapid strides through the camp; or seated on the 
shore he would scour his great sword with sand. 
He shot arrows at the passing vultures. His heart 
overflowed into frenzied speech. 

"Give free course to your wrath like a runaway 
chariot," said Spendius. "Shout, blaspheme, ravage 
and slay. Grief is allayed with blood, and since you 
cannot sate your love, gorge your hate; it will sus- 
tain you! " 

Matho resumed the command of his soldiers. He 
drilled them pitilessly. He was respected for his 
courage and especially for his strength. Moreover he 
inspired a sort of mystic dread, and it was believed 
that he conversed at night with phantoms. The 
other captains were animated by his example. The 
army soon grew disciplined. From their houses the Car- 
thaginians could hear the bugle-flourishes that reg- 
ulated their exercises. At last the Barbarians drew 

To crush them in the isthmus it would have been 
necessary for two armies to take them simultaneously 
in the rear, one disembarking at the end of the gulf 
of Utica, and the second at the mountain of the Hot 
Springs. But what could be done with the single 
sacred Legion, mustering at most six thousand men P 
If the enemy bent towards the east they would join 
the nomads and intercept the commerce of the desert. 
If they fell back to the west, Numidia would rise. 
Finally, lack of provisions would sooner or later lead 
them to devastate the surrounding country like grass- 


hoppers, and the rich trembled for their fine country- 
houses, their vineyards and their cultivated lands. 

Hanno proposed atrocious and impracticable meas- 
ures, such as promising a heavy sum for every Bar- 
barian's head, or setting fire to their camp with ships 
and machines. His colleague Gisco, on the other 
hand, wished them to be paid. But the Ancients de- 
tested him owing to his popularity; for they dreaded 
the risk of a master, and through terror of monarchy 
strove to weaken whatever contributed to it or might 
re-establish it. 

Outside the fortifications there were people of an- 
other race and of unknown origin, all hunters of the 
porcupine, and eaters of shell-fish and serpents. They 
used to go into caves to catch hyenas alive, and 
amuse themselves by making them run in the even- 
ing on the sands of Megara between the stelae of the 
tombs. Their huts, which were made of mud and 
wrack, hung on the cliff like swallows' nests. There 
they lived, v/ithout government and without gods, 
pell-mell, completely naked, at once feeble and fierce, 
and execrated by the people of all time on account 
of their unclean food. One morning the sentries per- 
ceived th-it they were all gone. 

At last some members of the Great Council ar- 
rived at a decision. They came to the camp without 
necklaces or girdles, and in open sandals like neigh- 
bours. They waited at a quiet pace, waving saluta- 
tions to the captains, or stopped to speak to the 
soldiers, saying that all was finished and that justice 
was about to be done to their claims. 

Many of them saw a camp of Mercenaries for the 
first time. Instead of the confusion which they had 
pictured to themselves, there prevailed everywhere 


terrible silence and order. A grassy rampart formed 
a lofty wall round the army immovable by the shock 
of catapults. The ground in the streets was sprinkled 
with fresh water; through the holes in the tents 
they could perceive tawny eyeballs gleaming in the 
shade. The piles of pikes and hanging panoplies daz- 
zled them like mirrors. They conversed in low tones. 
They were afraid of upsetting something with their 
long robes. 

The soldiers requested provisions, undertaking to 
pay for them out of the money that was due. 

Oxen, sheep, guinea fowl, fruit and lupins were 
sent to them, with smoked scombri, that excellent 
scombri which Carthage dispatched to every port. 
But they walked scornfully around the magnificent cat- 
tle, and disparaging what they coveted, offered the 
worth of a pigeon for a ram, or the price of a pome- 
granate for three goats. The Eaters of Uncleanness 
came forward as arbitrators, and declared that they 
were being duped. Then they drew their swords 
with threats to slay. 

Commissaries of the Great Council wrote down the 
number of years for which pay was due to each sol- 
dier. But it was no longer possible to know how 
many Mercenaries had been engaged, and the Ancients 
were dismayed at the enormous sum which they 
would have to pay. The reserve of silphium must be 
sold, and the trading towns taxed; the Mercenaries 
would grow impatient; Tunis was already with them; 
and the rich, stunned by Hanno's ragings and his 
colleague's reproaches, urged any citizens who might 
know a Barbarian to go to see him immediately in 
order to win back his friendship, and to speak him 

fair. Such a show of confidence would soothe them» 



Traders, scribes, workers in the arsenal, and whole 
familles visited the Barbarians. 

The soldiers allowed all the Carthaginians io come 
in, but by a single passage so narrow that four men 
abreast jostled one another in it. Spendius, standing 
against the barrier, had them carefully searched; facing 
him Matho was examining the multitude, trying to 
recognize some one whom he might have seen at Sa- 
lammbo's palace. 

The camp was like a town, so full of people and 
of movement was it. The two distinct crowds mingled 
without blending, one dressed in linen or wool, with 
felt caps like fir-cones, and the other clad in iron 
and wearing helmets. Amid serving men and itinerant 
vendors there moved women of all nations, as brown 
as ripe dates, as greenish as olives, as yellow as 
oranges, sold by sailors, picked out of dens, stolen 
from caravans, taken in the sacking of towns, women 
that were jaded with love so long as they were 
young, and plied with blows when they were old, 
and that died in routs on the roadsides among the bag- 
gage and the abandoned beasts of burden. The wives 
of the nomads had square, tawny robes of drome- 
dary's hair swinging at their heels; musicians from 
Cyrenaïca, wrapped in violet gauze and with painted 
eyebrows, sang, squatting on mats; old Negresses 
with hanging breasts gathered the animals' dung that 
was drying in the sun to light their fires; the Syra- 
cusan women had golden plates in their hair; the Lu- 
sitanians had necklaces of shells; the Gauls wore wolf 
skins upon their white bosoms; and sturdy children, 
vermin-covered, naked and uncircumcised, butted with 
their heads against passers-by, or came behind them 
like young tigers to bite their hands. 


The Carthaginians walked through the camp, sur- 
prised at the quantities of things with which it was 
running over. The most miserable were melancholy, 
and the rest dissembled their anxiety. 

The soldiers struck them on the shoulder, and ex- 
horted them to be gay. As soon as they saw any 
one, they invited him to their amusements. If they 
were playing at discus, they would manage to crush 
his feet, or if at boxing to fracture his jaw with the 
very first blow. The slingers terrified the Carthagin- 
ians with their slings, the Psylli with their vipers, and 
the horsemen with their horses, while their victims, 
addicted as they were to peaceful occupations, bent 
their heads and tried to smile at all these outrages. 
Some, in order to show themselves brave, made signs 
that they should like to become soldiers. They were 
set to split wood and to curry mules. They were 
buckled up in armour, and rolled like casks through 
the streets of the camp. Then, when they were 
about to leave, the Mercenaries plucked out their hair 
with grotesque contortions. 

But many, from foolishness or prejudice, innocently 
believed that all the Carthaginians were very rich, and 
they walked behind them entreating them to grant 
them something. They requested everything that they 
thought fine: a ring, a girdle, sandals, the fringe of a 
robe, and when the despoiled Carthaginian cried — 
"But I have nothing left. What do you want?" 
they would reply, "Your wife!" Others even said, 
"Your life!" 

The military accounts were handed to the cap- 
tains, read to the soldiers, and definitively approved. 
Then they claimed tents; they received them. Next 
the polemarchs of the Greeks demanded some of the 


handsome suits of armour that were manufactured at 
Carthage; the Great Council voted sums of money for 
their purchase. But it was only fair, so the horsemen 
pretended, that the Republic should indemnify them 
for their horses; one had lost three at such a siege, 
another, five during such a march, another, fourteen 
in the precipices. Stallions from Hecatompylos were 
offered to them, but they preferred money. 

Next they demanded that they should be paid in 
money (in pieces of money, and not in leathern coins) 
for all the corn that was owing to them, and at the 
highest price that it had fetched during the war; so 
that they exacted four hundred times as much for a 
measure of meal as they had given for a sack of 
vheat. Such injustice was exasperating; but it was 
necessary, nevertheless, to submit. 

Then the delegates from the soldiers and from the 
Great Council swore renewed friendship by the Genius 
of Carthage and the gods of the Barbarians. They 
exchanged excuses and caresses with oriental demon- 
strativeness and verbosity. Then the soldiers claimed, 
as a proof of friendship, the punishment of those who 
had estranged them from the Republic. 

Their meaning, it was pretended, was not under- 
stood, and they explained themselves more clearly by 
saying that they must have Hanno's head. 

Several times in the day, they left their camp, and 
walked along the foot of the walls, shouting a demand 
that the SulTet's head should be thrown to them, and 
holding out their robes to receive it. 

The Great Council would perhaps have given way 
but for a last exaction, more outrageous than the rest; 
they demanded maidens, chosen from illustrious fami- 
lies, in marriage for their chiefs. It was an idea 


which had emanated from Spendius, and which many 
thought most simple and practicable. But the as- 
sumption of their desire to mingle with Punic blood 
made the people indignant; and they were bluntly 
told that they were to receive no more. Then they 
exclaimed that they had been deceived, and that if 
their pay did not arrive within three days, they would 
themselves go and take it in Carthage. 

The bad faith of the Mercenaries was not so com- 
plete as their enemies thought. Hamilcar had made 
them extravagant promises, vague, it is true, but at 
the same time solemn and reiterated. They might 
have believed that when they disembarked ajt Car- 
thage the town would be abandoned to them, and that 
they should have treasures divided among them; and 
when they saw that scarcely their wages would be 
paid, the disillusion touched their pride no less than 
their greed. 

Had not Dionysius, Pyrrhus, Agathocles, and the 
generals of Alexander furnished examples of marvel- 
lous good fortune? Hercules, whom the Chanaanites 
confounded with the sun, was the ideal which shone 
on the horizon of armies. They knew that simple 
soldiers had worn diadems, and the echoes of crum- 
bling empires would furnish dreams to the Gaul in 
his oak forest, to the Ethiopian amid his sands. But 
there was a nation always ready to turn courage to 
account; and the robber driven from his tribe, the 
parricide wandering on the roads, the perpetrator of 
sacrilege pursued by the gods, all who were starving 
or in despair strove to reach the port where the 
Carthaginian broker was recruiting soldiers. Usually 
the Republic kept its promises. This time, however, 
the eagerness of its avarice had brought it into peril- 


ous disgrace. Numidians, Libyans, the whole of 
Africa was about to fall upon Carthage. Only the 
sea was open to it, and there it met with the 
Romans; so that, like a man assailed by murderers, it 
felt death all around it. 

It was quite necessary to have recourse to Gisco, 
and the Barbarians accepted his intervention. One 
morning they saw the chains of the harbour lowered, 
and three flat-bottomed boats passing through the 
canal of the Taenia entered the lake. 

Gisco was visible on the first at the prow. Be- 
hind him rose an enormous chest, higher than a cata- 
falque, and furnished with rings like hanging crowns. 
Then appeared the legion of interpreters, with their 
hair dressed like sphinxes, and with parrots tattooed 
on their breasts. Friends and slaves followed, all 
without arms, and in such numbers that they shoul- 
dered one another. The three long, dangerously-loaded 
barges advanced amid the shouts of the onlooking 

As soon as Gisco disembarked, the soldiers ran to 
meet him. He had a sort of tribune erected with 
knapsacks, and declared that he should not depart be- 
fore he had paid them all in full. 

There was an outburst of applause, and it was a 
long time before he was able to speak. 

Then he censured the wrongs done to the Repub- 
lic, and to the Barbarians; the fault lay with a few 
mutineers who had alarmed Carthage by their violence. 
The best proof of good intention on the part of the 
latter was that it was he, the eternal adversary of the 
Suffet Hanno, who was sent to them. They must 
not credit the people with the folly of desiring to pro- 
voke brave men, nor with ingratitude enough not to 


recognise their services; and Gisco began to pay the 
soldiers, commencing with the Libyans. As they had 
declared that the lists were untruthful, he made no 
use of them. 

They defiled before him according to nationality, 
opening their fingers to show the number of their 
years of service; they were marked in succession with 
green paint on the left arm; the scribes dipped into 
the yawning coffer, while others made holes with a 
style on a sheet of lead. 

A man passed walking heavily like an ox. 

"Come up beside me," said the SufTet, suspecting 
some fraud; "how many years have you served?" 

"Twelve," replied the Libyan. 

Gisco slipped his fingers under his chin, for the 
chin-piece of the helmet used in course of time to oc- 
casion two callosities there; these were called carobs, 
and "to have the carobs" was an expression used to 
denote a veteran. 

"Thief!" exclaimed the SufTet, "your shoulders 
ought to have what your face lacks!" and tearing off 
his tunic he laid bare his back which was covered 
with a bleeding scab; he was a labourer from Hippo- 
Zarytus. Hootings were raised, and he was decapitated. 

As soon as night fell, Spendius went and roused 
the Libyans, and said to them: 

"When the Ligurians, Greeks, Balearians, and men 
of Italy are paid, they will return. But as for you, 
you will remain in Africa, scattered through your 
tribes, and without any means of defence! It will be 
then that the Republic will take its revenge! Mistrust 
the journey! Are you going to believe everything 
that is said? Both the SufTets are agreed, and this 
one is imposing on you! Remember the Island of 


Bones, and Xanthippus, whom they sent back to 
Sparta in a rotten galley!" 

"How are we to proceed?" they asked. 

"Reflect!" said Spendius. 

The two following days were spent in paying the 
men of Magdala, Leptis, and Hecatompylos; Spendius 
went about among the Gauls. 

"They are paying off the Libyans, and then they 
will discharge the Greeks, the Balearians, the Asiatics 
and all the rest! But you, who are few in number, 
will receive nothing! You will see your native lands 
no more! You will have no ships, and they will kill 
you to save your food!" 

The Gauls came to the Suffet. Autaritus, he whom 
he had wounded at Hamilcar's palace, put questions 
to him, but was repelled by the slaves, and disap- 
peared swearing that he would be revenged. 

The demands and complaints multiplied. The 
most obstinate penetrated at night into the Suffet's 
tent; they took his hands and sought to move him 
by making him feel their toothless mouths, their 
wasted arms, and the scars of their wounds. Those 
who had not yet been paid were growing angry, 
those who had received the money demanded more 
for their horses; and vagabonds and outlaws assumed 
soldiers' arms and declared that they were being for- 
gotten. Every minute there arrived whirlwinds of men, 
as it were; the tents strained and fell; the multitude, 
thick pressed between the ramparts of the camp, 
swayed with loud shouts from the gates to the centre. 
When the tumult grew excessively violent Gisco 
would rest one elbow on his ivory sceptre and stand 
motionless looking at the sea with his fingers buried 
in his beard. 


Matho frequently went off to speak with Spendius; 
then he would again place himself in front of the 
Suffet, and Gisco could feel his eyes continually like 
two flaming phalaricas darted against him. Several 
times they hurled reproaches at each other over the 
heads of the crowd, but without making themselves 
heard. The distribution, meanwhile, continued, and 
the Suffet found expedients to remove every obstacle. 

The Greeks tried to quibble about differences in 
currency, but he furnished them with such explana- 
tions that they retired without a murmur. The Negroes 
demanded white shells such as are used for trading 
in the interior of Africa, but when he offered to send 
to Carthage for them Ihey accepted money like the 

But the Balearians had been promised something 
better, namely, women. The Suffet replied that a 
whole caravan of maidens was expected for them, but 
the journey was long and would require six moons 
more. When they were fat and well rubbed with 
benjamin they should be sent in ships to the ports of 
the Balearians. 

Suddenly Zarxas, now handsome and vigorous, 
leaped like a mountebank upon the shoulders of his 
friends and cried: 

"Have you reserved any of them for the corpses?" 
at the same time pointing to the gate of Khamon in 

The brass plates with which it was furnished from 
top to bottom shone in the sun's latest fires, and the 
Barbarians believed that they could discern on it a 
trail of blood. Every time that Gisco wished to speak 
their shouts began again. At last he descended with 
measured steps, and shut himself up in his tent. 


When he left it at sunrise his interpreters, who 
used to sleep outside, did not stir; they lay on their 
backs with their eyes fixed, their tongues between 
their teeth, and their faces of a bluish colour. White 
mucus flowed from their nostrils, and their limbs were 
stiff, as if they had all been frozen by the cold during 
the night. Each had a little noose of rushes round his 

From that time onward the rebellion was un- 
checked. The murder of the Balearians which had 
been recalled by Zarxas strengthened the distrust in- 
spired by Spendius. They imagined that the Republic 
was always trying to deceive them. An end must be 
put to it! The interpreters should be dispensed with! 
Zarxas sang war-songs with a sling around his head; 
Autaritus brandished his great sword; Spendius whis- 
pered a word to one or gave a dagger to another. 
The boldest endeavoured to pay themselves, while 
those who were less frenzied wished to have the dis- 
tribution continued. No one now relinquished his 
arms, and the anger of all combined into a tumultuous 
hatred of Gisco. 

Some got up beside him. So long as they vocif- 
erated abuse they were listened to with patience; but 
if they tried to utter the least word in his behalf they 
were immediately stoned, or their heads were cut off 
by a sabre-stroke from behind. The heap of knapsacks 
was redder than an altar. 

They became terrible after their meal and when 
they had drunk wine! This was an enjoyment for- 
bidden in the Punic armies under pain of death, and 
they raised their cups in the direction of Carthage in 
derision of its discipline. Then they returned to the 
slaves of the exchequer and again began to kill. The 


word strike, though different in each language, was 
understood by all. 

Gisco was well aware that he was being aban- 
doned by his country; but in spite of its ingratitude 
he would not dishonour it. When they reminded him 
that they had been promised ships, he swore by Moloch 
to provide them himself at his own expense, and pull- 
ing off his necklace of blue stones he threw it into 
the crowd as the pledge of his oath. 

Then the Africans claimed ihe corn in accordance 
with the engagements made by the Great Council. 
Gisco spread out the accounts of the Syssitia traced 
in violet pigment on sheep skins; and read out all 
that had entered Carthage month by month and day 
by day. 

Suddenly he stopped with gaping eyes, as if he 
had just discovered his sentence of death among the 

The Ancients had, in fact, fraudulently reduced 
them, and the corn sold during the most calamitous 
period of the war was set down at so low a rate that, 
blindness apart, it was impossible to believe it. 

" Speak!" they shouted. "Louder! Ah! he is try- 
ing to lie, the coward! Don't trust him." 

For some time he hesitated. At last he resumed 
his task. 

The soldiers, without suspecting that they were 
being deceived, accepted the accounts of the Syssitia 
as true. But the abundance that had prevailed at 
Carthage made them furiously jealous. They broke 
open the sycamore chest; it was three parts empty. 
They had seen such sums coming out of it, that they 
thought it inexhaustible; Gisco must have buried 
some in his tent. They scaled the knapsacks. Matho 


led them, and as they shouted "The money! the 
money!" Gisco at last replied: 

"Let your general give it to you!" 

He looked them in the face without speaking, with 
his great yellow eyes, and his long face that was 
paler than his beard. An arrow, held by its feath- 
ers, hung from the large gold ring in his ear, and a 
stream of blood was trickling from his tiara upon his 

At a gesture from Matho all advanced. Gisco held 
out his arms; Spendius tied his wrists with a slip 
knot; another knocked him down, and he disappeared 
amid the disorder of the crowd which was stumbling 
over the knapsacks. 

They sacked his tent. Nothing was found in it 
except things indispensable to life; and, on a closer 
search, three images of Tanith, and, wrapped up in 
an ape's skin, a black stone which had fallen from the 
moon. Many Carthaginians had chosen to accompany 
him; they were eminent men, and all belonged to the 
war party. 

They were dragged outside the tents and thrown 
into the pit used for the reception of filth. They were 
tied with iron chains around the body to solid stakes, 
and were offered food at the point of the javelin. 

Autaritus overwhelmed them with invectives as 
he inspected them, but being quite ignorant of his 
language they made no reply; and the Gaul from time 
to time threw pebbles at their faces to make them 
cry out. 

The next day a sort of languor took possession of 
the army. Now that their anger was over they were 
seized with anxiety. Matho was suffering from vague 



melancholy. It seemed to him that Salammbô had in- 
directly been insulted. These rich men were a kind of 
appendage to her person. He sat down in the night 
on the edge of the pit, and recognised in their groan- 
ings something of the voice of which his heart was 

All, however, upbraided the Libyans, who alone 
had been paid. But while national antipachies revived, 
together with personal hatreds, it was felt that it 
would be perilous to give way to them. Reprisals 
after such an outrage would be formidable. It was 
necessary, therefore, to anticipate the vengeance of 
Carthage. Conventions and harangues never ceased. 
Every one spoke, no one was listened to; Spendius, 
usually so loquacious, shook his head at every pro- 

One evening he asked Matho carelessly whether 
there were not springs in the interior of the town. 

"Not one!" replied Matho. 

The next day Spendius drew him to the bank of 
the lake. 

"Master!" said the former slave, "If your heart 
is dauntless, I will bring you into Carthage." 

"How?" repeated the other, panting. 

"Swear to execute all my commands and to fol- 
low me like a shadow!" 

Then Matho, raising his arm towards the planet of 
Chabar, exclaimed: 

"By Tanith, I swear!" 

Spendius resumed: 

"To-morrow after sunset you will wait for me at 
the foot of the aqueduct between the ninth and tenth 
arcades. Bring with you an iron pick, a crestless 
helmet, and leathern sandals." 


The aqueduct of which he spoke crossed the 
entire isthmus obliquely, — a considerable work, after- 
wards enlarged by the Romans. In spite of her dis- 
dain of other nations, Carthage had awkwardly 
borrowed this novel invention from them, just as 
Rome herself had built Punic galleys; and five rows 
of superposed arches, of a dumpy kind of architecture, 
with buttresses at their foot and lions' heads at the 
top, reached to the western part of the Acropolis, 
where they sank beneath the town to incline v/hat 
was nearly a river into the cisterns of Megara. 

Spendius met Matho here at the hour agreed upon. 
He fastened a sort of harpoon to the end of a cord 
and whirled it rapidly like a sling; the iron instrument 
caught fast, and they began to climb up the wall, the 
one after the other. 

But when they had ascended to the first story the 
cramp fell back every time that they threw it, and in 
order to discover some fissure they had to walk along 
the edge of the cornice. At every row of arches they 
found that it became narrower. Then the cord relaxed. 
Several times it nearly broke. 

At last they reached the upper platform. Spendius 
stooped down from time to time to feel the stones 
with his hand. 

''Here it is," he said; "let us begin!" And lean- 
ing on the pick which Matho had brought they 
succeeded in disengaging one of the flagstones. 

In the distance they perceived a troop of horse- 
men galloping on horses without bridles. Their 
golden bracelets leaped in the vague drapings of their 
cloaks. A man could be seen in front crowned with 
ostrich feathers, and galloping with a lance in each 


"Narr* Havas!" exclaimed Matho. 

"What matter?" returned Spendius, and he leaped 
into the hole which they had just made by removing 
the flagstone. 

Matho at his command tried to thrust out one of 
the blocks. But he could not move his elbows for 
want of room. 

"We shall return," said Spendius; "go on in 
front/' Then they ventured into the channel of water. 

It reached to their waists. Soon they staggered, and 
were obliged to swim. Their limbs knocked against 
the walls of the narrow duct. The water flowed 
almost immediately beneath the stones above, and 
their faces were torn by them. Then the current car- 
ried them away. Their breasts were crushed with 
air heavier than that of a sepulchre, and stretching 
themselves out as much as possible with their heads 
between their arms and their knees close together, 
they passed like arrows into the darkness, choking, 
gurgling, and almost dead. Suddenly all became 
black before them, and the speed of the waters re- 
doubled. They fell. 

When they came to the surface again, they re- 
mained for a few minutes extended on their backs, 
inhaling the air delightfully. Arcades, one behind 
another, opened up amid large walls separating the 
various basins. All were filled, and the water 
stretched in a single sheet throughout the length of 
the cisterns. Through the air-holes in the cupolas on 
the ceiling there fell a pale brightness which spread 
upon the waves discs, as it were, of light, while the 
darkness round about thickened towards the walls and 
threw them back to an indefinite distance. The 
slightest noise made a great echo. 


Spendius and Matho commenced to swim again, 
and passing through the opening of the arches, 
traversed several chambers in succession. Two other 
rows of smaller basins extended in a parallel direction 
on each side. They lost themselves; they turned, and 
came back again. At last something offered a resist- 
ance to their heels. It was the pavement of the gal- 
lery that ran along the cisterns. 

Then, advancing with great precautions, they felt 
along the wall to find an outlet. But their feet 
slipped, and they fell into the great centre-basins. 
They had to climb up again, and there they fell again. 
They experienced terrible fatigue, which made them 
feel as if all their limbs had been dissolved in the 
water while swimming. Their eyes closed; they were 
in the agonies of death. 

Spendius struck his hand against the bars of a 
grating. They shook it, it gave way, and they found 
themselves on the steps of a staircase. A door of 
bronze closed it above. With the point of a dagger 
they moved the bar, which was opened from with- 
out, and suddenly the pure open air surrounded them. 

Th- night was filled with silence, and the sky 
seemed at an extraordinary height. Clusters of trees 
projected over the long lines of walls. The whole 
town was asleep. The fires of the outposts shone 
like lost stars. 

Spendius, who had spent three years in the 
ergastulum, was but imperfectly acquainted with the 
different quarters. Matho conjectured that to reach 
Hamilcar's palace they ought to strike to the left and 
cross the Mappalian district. 

"No," said Spendius," take me to the temple of 


Matho wished to speak. 

''Remember!" said the former slave, and raising 
his arm he showed him the glittering planet of 

Then Matho turned in silence towards the Acrop- 

They crept along the nopal hedges which bordered 
the paths. The water trickled from their limbs upon 
the dust. Their damp sandals made no noise; 
Spendius, with eyes that flamed more than torches, 
searched the bushes at every step; — and he walked 
behind Matho with his hands resting on the two 
daggers which he carried on his arms, and which 
hung from below the armpit by a leathern band. 




FTER leaving the gardens Matho 
and Spendius found themselves 
checked by the rampart of Me- 
gara. But they discovered a 
breach in the great wall and 
passed through. 
The ground sloped downwards, forming a kind of 
very broad valley. It was an exposed place. 

"Listen/* said Spendius, "and first of all fear 

nothing! I shall fulfil my promise " 

He stopped abruptly, and seemed to reflect as 
though searching for his words, — "Do you remem- 
ber that time at sunrise when I showed Carthage to 
you on Salammbô's terrace? We were strong that 
day, but you would listen to nothing!" Then in a 
grave voice: "Master, in the sanctuary of Tanith 
there is a mysterious veil, which fell from heaven and 
which covers the goddess." 
"I know," said Matho. 

Spendius resumed: " It is itself divine, for it forms 
part of her. The gods reside where their images are. 
It is because Carthage possesses it that Carthage is 
powerful." Then leaning over to his ear: "I have 
brought you with me to carry it off!" 




Matho recoiled in horrcr. "Begone! look for some 
one else! I will not help you in this execrable crime!" 

"But Tanith is your enemy," retorted Spendius; 
"she is persecuting you and you are dying through 
her wrath. You will be revenged upon her. She 
will obey you, and you will become almost immortal 
and invincible." 

Matho bent his head. Spendius continued: 

"We should succumb; the army would be annihi- 
lated of itself. We have neither flight, nor succor, 
nor pardon to hope for! What chastisement from the 
gods can you be afraid of since you will have their 
power in your own hands? Would you rather die 
on the evening cf a defeat, in misery beneath the 
shelter of a bush, or amid the outrages of the popu- 
lace and the flames of funeral piles ? Master, one day 
you will enter Carthage among the colleges of the 
pontiffs, who will kiss your sandals; and if the veil 
of Tanith weighs upon you still, you will reinstate it 
in its temple. Follow me! come and take it." 

Matho was consumed by a terrible longing. He 
would have liked to possess the veil while refraining 
from the sacrilege. He said to himself that perhaps 
it would not be necessary to take it in order to 
monopolise its virtue. He did not go to the bottom 
of his thought but stopped at the boundary, where it 
terrified him. 

"Come on!" he said; and they went 01T with 
rapid strides, side by side, and without speaking. 

The ground rose again, and the dwellings were 
near. They turned into the narrow streets amid the 
darkness. The strips of esparto-grass with which the 
doors were closed, beat against the walls. Some 
camels were ruminating in a square before heaps of 


cut grass. Then they passed beneath a gallery cov- 
ered with foliage. A pack of dogs were barking. 
But suddenly the space grew wider and they recog- 
nised the western face of the Acropolis. At the foot 
of Byrsa there stretched a long black mass: it was 
the temple of Tanith, a whole made up of monu- 
ments and galleries, courts and fore-courts, and 
bounded by a low wall of dry stones. Spendius and 
Matho leaped over it. 

This first barrier enclosed a wood of plane-trees as 
a precaution against plague and infection in the air. 
Tents were scattered here and there, in which, during 
the daytime, depilatory pastes, perfumes, garments, 
moon-shaped cakes, and images of the goddess with 
representations of the temple hollowed out in blocks 
*f alabaster, were on sale. 

They had nothing to fear, for on nights when the 
planet did not appear, all rites were suspended; nev- 
ertheless Matho slackened his speed, and stopped be- 
fore the three ebony steps leading to the second 

"Forward!" said Spendius. 

Pomegranates, almond trees, cypresses and myr- 
tles alternated in regular succession; the path, which 
was paved with blue pebbles, creaked beneath their 
footsteps, and full-blown roses formed a hanging 
bower over the whole length of the avenue. They 
arrived before an oval hole protected by a grating. 
Then Matho, who was frightened by the silence, said 
to Spendius: 

"It is here that they mix the fresh water and the 

"I have seen all that," returned the former slave, 
"in Syria, in the town of Maphug;" and they as- 


cended into the third enclosure by a staircase of six 
silver steps. 

A huge cedar occupied the centre. Its lowest 
branches were hidden beneath scraps of material and 
necklaces hung upon them by the faithful. They 
walked a few steps further on, and the front of the 
temple was displayed before them. 

Two long porticoes, with their architraves resting 
on dumpy pillars, flanked a quadrangular tower, the 
platform of which was adorned with the crescent of a 
moon. On the angles of the porticoes and at the 
four corners of the tower stood vases filled with 
kindled aromatics. The capitals were laden with 
pomegranates and coloquintidas. Twining knots, 
lozenges, and rows of pearls alternated on the walls, 
and a hedge of silver filigree formed a wide semicir- 
cle in front of the brass staircase which led down 
from the vestibule. 

There was a cone of stone at the entrance be- 
tween a stela of gold and one of emerald, and Matho 
kissed his right hand as he passed beside it. 

The first room was very lofty; its vaulted roof 
was pierced by numberless apertures, and if the head 
were raised the stars might be seen. All round the 
wall rush baskets were heaped up with the firstfruits 
of adolescence in the shape of beards and curls of 
hair; and in the centre of the circular apartment the 
body of a woman issued from a sheath which was 
covered with breasts. Fat, bearded, and with eyelids 
downcast, she looked as though she were smiling, 
while her hands were crossed upon the lower part of 
her big body, which was polished by the kisses of 
the crowd. 

Then they found themselves again in the open air 


in a transverse corridor, wherein there was an altar 
of small dimensions leaning against an ivory door. 
There was no further passage; the priests alone could 
open it; for the temple was not a place of meeting 
for the multitude, but the private abode of a divinity. 

"The enterprise is impossible," said Matho. "You 
had not thought of this! Let us go back!" Spen- 
dius was examining the walls. 

He wanted the veil, not because he had confi- 
dence in its virtue (Spendius believed only in the 
Oracle), but because he was persuaded that the Car- 
thaginians would be greatly dismayed on seeing 
themselves deprived of it. They walked all round 
behind in order to find some outlet. 

Aedicules of different shapes were visible beneath 
clusters of turpentine trees. Here and there rose 
a stone phallus, and large stags roamed peacefully 
about, spurning the fallen fir-cones with their cloven 

But they retraced their steps between two long 
galleries which ran parallel to each other. There were 
small open cells along their sides, and tambourines 
and cymbals hung against their cedar columns from 
top to bottom. Women were sleeping stretched on mats 
outside the cells. Their bodies were greasy with ua- 
guents, and exhaled an odour of spices and extin- 
guished perfuming-pans; while they were so covered 
with tattooings, necklaces, rings, vermilion, and an- 
timony that, but for the motion of their breasts, they 
might have been taken for idols as they lay thus on 
the ground. There were lotus-trees encircling a foun- 
tain in which fish like Salammbô's were swimming; 
and then in the background, against the wall of the 
temple, spread a vine, the branches of which were of 


glass and the grape-bunches of emerald, the rays from 
the precious stones making a play of light through 
the painted columns upon the sleeping faces. 

Matho felt suffocated in the warm atmosphere 
pressed down upon him by the cedar partitions. Ail 
these symbols of fecundation, these perfumes, radi- 
ations, and breathings overwhelmed him. Through 
all the mystic dazzling he kept thinking of Salammbô. 
She became confused with the goddess herself, and 
his love unfolded itself all the more, like the great 
lotus-plants blooming upon the depths of the waters. 

Spendius was calculating how much money he 
would have made in former days by the sale of these 
women; and with a rapid glance he estimated the 
weight of the golden necklaces as he passed by. 

The temple was impenetrable on this side as on 
the other, and they returned behind the first chamber. 
While Spendius was searching and ferreting, Matho 
was prostrate before the door supplicating Tanith. 
He besought her not to permit the sacrilege, and 
strove to soften her with caressing words, such as 
are used to an angry person. 

Spendius noticed a narrow aperture above the 

"Rise!" he said to Matho, and he made him stand 
erect with his back against the wall. Placing one 
foot in his hands, and then the other upon his head, 
he reached up to the air-hole, made his way into it 
and disappeared. Then Matho felt a knotted cord — 
that one which Spendius had rolled around his body 
before entering the cisterns — fall upon his shoulders, 
and bearing upon it with both hands he soon found 
himself by the side of the other in a large hall filled 
with sh.iHow. 


Such an attempt was something extraordinary. 
The inadequacy of the means for preventing it was 
a sufficient proof that it was considered impossible. 
The sanctuaries were protected by terror more than 
by their walls. Matho expected to die at every step. 

However a light was flickering far back in the 
darkness, and they went up to it. It was a lamp 
burning in a shell on the pedestal of a statue which 
wore the cap of the Kabiri. Its long blue robe was 
strewn with diamond discs, and its heels were fastened 
to the ground by chains which sank beneath the pave- 
ment. Matho suppressed a cry. "Ah! there she is! 
there she is!" he stammered out. Spendius took up 
the lamp in order to light himself. 

"What an impious man you are!" murmured 
Matho, following him nevertheless. 

The apartment which they entered had nothing in it 
but a black painting representing another woman. 
Her legs reached to the top of the wall, and her body 
filled the entire ceiling; a huge egg hung by a thread 
from her navel, and she fell head downwards upon 
the other wall, reaching as far as the level of the 
pavement, which was touched by her pointed fingers. 

They drew a hanging aside, in order to go on 
further; but the wind blew and the light went out. 

Then they wandered about, lost in the complica- 
tions of the architecture. Suddenly they felt some- 
thing strangely soft beneath their feet. Sparks crackled 
and leaped; they were walking in fire. Spendius 
touched the ground and perceived that it was care- 
fully carpeted with lynx skins; then it seemed to 
them that a big cord, wet, cold, and viscous, was 
gliding between their legs. Through some fissures cut 
in the wall there fell thin white rays, and they ad- 


vanced by this uncertain light. At last they distin- 
guished a large black serpent. It darted quickly away 
and disappeared. 

"Let us fly!" exclaimed Matho. "It is she! I 
feel her; she is coming." 

"No, no," replied Spendius, "the temple is empty." 

Then a dazzling light made them lower their eyes. 
Next they perceived all around them an infinite num- 
ber of beasts, lean, panting, with bristling claws, and 
mingled together one above another in a mysterious 
and terrifying confusion. There were serpents with 
feet, and bulls with wings, fishes with human heads 
were devouring fruit, flowers were blooming in the 
jaws of crocodiles, and elephants with uplifted trunks 
were sailing proudly through the azure like eagles. 
Their incomplete or multiplied limbs were distended 
with terrible exertion. As they thrust out their tongues 
they looked as though they would fain give forth 
their souls; and every shape was to be found among 
them as if the germ-receptacle had been suddenly 
hatched and had burst, emptying itself upon the walls 
of the hall. 

Round the latter were twelve globes of blue crys- 
tal, supported by monsters resembling tigers. Their 
eyeballs were starting out of their heads like those of 
snails, with their dumpy loins bent they were turn- 
ing round toward the background where the supreme 
Rabbet, the Omnifecund, the last invented, shone 
splendid in a chariot of ivory. 

She was covered with scales, feathers, flowers, and 
birds as high as the waist. For earrings she had sil- 
ver cymbals, which flapped against her cheeks. Her 
large fixed eyes gazed upon you, and a luminous 
stone, set in an obscene symbol on her brow, lighted 


the whole hall by its reflection in red copper mirrors 
above the door. 

Mantho took a step forward; but a flag stone 
yielded beneath his heels and immediately the spheres 
began to revolve and the monsters to roar; music 
rose melodious and pealing, like the harmony of the 
pianets; the tumultuous soul of Tanith was poured 
streaming forth. She was about to arise, as lofty as 
the hall and with open arms. Suddenly the monsters 
closed their jaws and the crystal globes revolved no 

Then a mournful modulation lingered for a time 
through the air and at last died away. 

"And the veil?" said Spendius. 

Nowhere could it be seen. Where was it to be 
found? How could it be discovered? What if the 
priests had hidden it? Matho experienced anguish of 
heart and felt as though he had been deceived in his 

"This way!" whispered Spendius. An inspiration 
guided him. He drew Matho behind Tanith's chariot," 
where a cleft a cubit wide ran down the wall from 
top to bottom. 

Then they penetrated into a small and completely 
circular room, so lofty that it was like the interior of 
a pillar. In the centre there was a big black stone, 
of semispherical shape like a tambourine; flames were 
burning upon it; an ebony cone, bearing a head and 
two arms, rose behind. 

But beyond it seemed as though there were a 
cloud wherein were twinkling stars; faces appeared 
in the depths of its folds — Eschmoun with the Ka- 
biri, some of the monsters that had already been seen, 
the sacred beasts of the Babylonians, and others with 


which they were not acquainted. It passed beneath 
the idol's face like a mantle, and spread fully out was 
drawn up on the wall, to which it was fastened by 
the corners, appearing at once bluish as the night, 
yellow as the dawn, purple as the sun, multitudinous, 
diaphanous, sparkling, light. !t was the mantle of 
the goddess, the holy za'imph which might not be 

Both turned pale. 

"Take it!" said Matho at last. 

Spendius did not hesitate, and leaning upon the 
idol he unfastened the veil, which sank to the ground. 
Matho laid his hand upon it; then he put his head 
through the opening, then he wrapped it about his 
body, and he spread out his arms the better to view it. 

"Let us go!" said Spendius. 

Matho stood panting with his eyes fixed upon the 
pavement. Suddenly he exclaimed: 

"But what if I went to her? I fear her beauty 
no longer! What could she do against me? I am 
now more than a man. I could pass through flames 
or walk upon the sea! I am transported! Salammbô! 
Salammbô! I am your master!" 

His voice was like thunder. He seemed to Spen- 
dius to have grown taller and transformed. 

A sound of footsteps drew near, a door opened, 
and a man appeared, a priest with lofty cap and 
staring eyes. Before he could make a gesture Spen- 
dius had rushed upon him, and clasping him in his 
arms had buried both his daggers in his sides. His 
head rang upon the pavement. 

Then they stood for a while, as motionless as the 
corpse, listening. Nothing could be heard but the 
murmuring of the wind through the half-opened door. 


The latter led into a narrow passage. Spendius 
advanced along it, Matho followed him, and they 
found themselves almost immediately in the third en- 
closure, between the lateral porticoes, in which were 
the dwellings of the priests. 

Behind the cells there must be a shorter way out. 
They hastened along. 

Spendius squatted down at the edge of the fountain 
and washed his bloodstained hands. The women 
slept. The emerald vine shone. They resumed their 

But something was running behind them under the 
trees; and Matho, who bore the veil, several times 
felt that it was being pulled very gently from below. 
It was a large cynocephalus, one of those which dwelt 
at liberty within the enclosure of the goddess. It 
clung to the mantle as though it had been conscious 
of the theft. They did not dare to strike it, however, 
fearing that it might redouble its cries; suddenly its 
anger subsided, and it trotted close beside them 
swinging its body with its long hanging arms. Then 
at the barrier it leaped at a bound into a palm tree. 

When they had left the last enclosure they directed 
their steps towards Hamilcar's palace, Spendius un- 
derstanding that it would be useless to try to dis- 
suade Matho. 

They went by the street of the Tanners, the 
square of Muthumbal, the green market and the cross- 
ways of Cynasyn. At the angle of a wall a man 
drew back frightened by the sparkling thing which 
pierced the darkness. 

"Hide the zaïmph!" said Spendius. 

Other people passed them, but without perceiving 



At last they recognised the houses of Megara. 

The pharos, which was built behind them on the 
summit of the clifT, lit up the heavens with a great 
red brightness, and the shadow of the palace, with 
its rising terraces, projected a monstrous pyramid, as 
it were, upon the gardens. They entered through the 
hedge of jujube-trees, beating down the branches 
with blows of the dagger. 

The traces of the feast of the Mercenaries were 
everywhere still manifest. The parks were broken 
up, the trenches drained, the doors of the ergastulum 
open. "No one was to be seen about the kitchens or 
cellars. They wondered at the silence, which was 
occasionally broken by the hoarse breathing of the 
elephants moving in their shackles, and the crepitation 
of the pharos, in which a pile of aloes was burning. 

Matho, however, kept repeating: 

"But where is she? I wish to see her! Lead 

"It is a piece of insanity!" Spendius kept saying. 
"She will call, her slaves will run up, and in spite of 
your strength you will die!" 

They reached thus the galley staircase. Matho 
raised his head, and thought that he could perceive 
far above a vague brightness, radiant and soft. Spen- 
dius sought to restrain him, but he dashed up the 

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 dis- 
appeared, and he had since been continually ascend- 
ing 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 ex- 
cess 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 
H walked round it slowly. 

A milky light filled the sheets of talc which closed 
the little apertures in the wall, and in their symmet- 
rical 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 in- 
creased. 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 stand- 


ing 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 en- 
crusted 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 

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 on 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 back- 
ground 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, com- 
municating 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 Salammbô 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 Salammbô, 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 zaïmph shone a mass 
of rays. 

"Do you remember it?" said Matho. "You ap- 
peared 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. Salammbô 
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 zai'mph towards her, was 
about to enfold her in an embrace. She was stretch- 
ing 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 

"Fly! they are hastening hither!" 

A great tumult came upwards shaking the stair- 
cases, and a flood of people, women, serving-men, 
and slaves, rushed into the room with stakes, toma- 
hawks, 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 zaïmph 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 

"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 

"A curse upon you, you who have plundered Tanith! 
Hatred, vengeance, massacre, and grief 1 May Gurzil, 
god of battles, rend you! may Mastiman, god of the 
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! 

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 zaïmph 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 inacces- 
sible 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 bv 
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 
around him. 

A vague clamor 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, and 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 Salammbô 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 coios- 
suses, 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 Sa- 
lammbô's imprecations resounded many times renewed. 

Suddenly a long arrow whistled past, then another, 
and stones began to buzz about him ; but the missiles, 
being badly aimed (for there was the dread of hitting 
the zaïmph), 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 mul- 
titude clapped their hands. 

He ran up to the great gate, which was closed. 
It W2S 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 as 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 swing- 
ing of the gate. With a bound he grasped it, stiffen- 
ing 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 
za'imph from his neck, and raised it as high as possi- 
ble 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 for- 
tune of Carthage depart. 




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 ex- 

"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 zaïmph 
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 wil! bring her 
back! And if they show themselves I will crush 
them like vipers! 1 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 zaïmph abruptly and threw it into a corner, 
heaping up fleeces above it. A murmuring of voices 
was heard, torches gleamed, and Nan*' 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 upon his shoulder; his teeth were dis- 
played in a continual smile; his eyes seemed sharp- 
ened like arrows, and there was something observant 
and airy about his whole demeanour. 

He declared that he had come to join the Merce- 
naries, 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 

"\ 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 zaïmph 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 tdgQ 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 ar- 
rival of a genius. As to seizing the zaïmph, 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 na- 
tions. 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 possess- 
ing a weapon; when villages rebelled the inhabitants 
were sold; governors were esteemed like wine- 
presses, according to the quantity which they suc- 
ceeded in extracting. Then beyond the regions 
immediately subject to Carthage extended the allies, 
paying only a moderate tribute, and behind the allies 
roamed the Nomads, who might be let loose upon 
them. By this system the crops were always abun- 
dant, the studs skilfully managed, and the plantations 

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 in- 
creased, so that nearly all the towns of Libya 
had surrendered to Regulus. To punish them, a 
thousand talents, twenty thousand oxen, three hun- 
dred bags of gold dust, and considerable advances of 
grain had been exacted from them, and the chiefs of 
the tribes had been crucified or thiown 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. 
Transportations, 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 wait- 
ing 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 v/ith 
the iron of the ploughs; the children sharpened jave- 
lins at the doors, and the women gave their neck- 
laces, rings, earrings, and everything that could be 
employed for the destruction of Carthage. Piles of 
lances were heaped up in the county 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 schalischim of 
the Barbarians. 

Reinforcements of men poured in at the same 
time. The aborigines appeared first, and were fol- 
lowed 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 sen- 
tries on the platform of the aqueduct, and near them 
rose at intervals brazen vats, in which floods of as- 
phalt were boiling. Below in the plain the great 
crowd stirred tumultously. They were in a state of 



uncertainty, feeling the embarrassment with which 
Barbarians are always inspired when they meet with 

Utica and Hippo-Zarytus refused their alliance. 
Phoenician colonies like Garthage, 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 stronger 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 into 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 im- 
mediately. Nan*' Havas was opposed to this: an ad- 
vance should first be made upon the frontier. This 
was the opinion of the veterans, and of Matho him- 
self, 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 com- 
mand. 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 prov- 
inces, the citizens not paying contributions as they did 
at Rome. Carthage was wanting in political genius. 
Her eternal anxiety for gain prevented her from hav- 
ing 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 thou- 
sand 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 govern- 

First, the power rested with all, without any one 
being strong enough to engross it. Private debts 
were considered as public debts, men of Chanaani- 
tish race bad a monopoly of commerce, and by mul- 
tiplying 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 whiJi the laws 
were elaborated, chose the inspectors of the exchequer, 
who on leaving office nominated the hundred mem- 
bers of the Council of the Ancients, themselves de- 
pendent on the Grand Assembly, or general gathering 
of aU 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 col- 
lection 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 gov- 
ernment, from the procuring of pepper to the extermina- 
tion 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 
over the dishes, and their large earrings hanging down 
among the flagons, — all fat and lusty, half-naked, 
smiling and eating beneath the blue sky, like great 
sharks sporting in the sea. 

But just now they were unable to dissemble their 
anxiety; they were too pale for that. The crowd 
which waiteu for them at the gates escorted them to 
their palaces in order to obtain some news from them. 
As in times of pestilence, all the houses were shut; 
the streets would fill and suddenly clear again; peo- 
ple ascended the Acropolis or ran to the harbour, 
and the Great Council deliberated every night. At 
last the people were convened in the square of 
Khamon, and it was decided to leave the manage- 
ment of things to Hanno, the conqueror of Hecatom- 

He was a true Carthaginian, devout, crafty, and 
pitiless towards the people of Africa. His revenues 
equalled those of the Barcas. No one had such ex- 
perience in administrative affairs. 

He decreed the enrolment of all healthy citizens, 
he placed catapults on the towers, he exacted ex- 
orbitant supplies of arms, he even ordered the con- 
struction of fourteen galleys which were not required, 
and he desired everything to be registered and care« 



fully set down in writing. He had himself conveyed 
to the arsenal, the pharos, and the treasuries of the 
temples; his great litter was continually to be seen 
swinging from step to step as it ascended the stair- 
cases of the Acropolis. And then in his palace at 
night, being unable to sleep, he would yell out war- 
like manoeuvres in terrible tones so as to prepare 
himself for the fray. 

In their extremity of terror all became brave. The 
rich ranged themselves in line along the Mappalian 
district at cockcrow, and tucking up their robes prac- 
tised themselves in handling the pike. But for want 
of an instructor they had disputes about it. They 
would sit down breathless upon the tombs and then 
begin again. Several even dieted themselves. Some 
imagined that it was necessary to eat a great deal in 
order to acquire strength, while others who were in- 
convenienced by their corpulence weakened them- 
selves with fasts in order to become thin. 

Utica had already called several times upon Car- 
thage for assistance; but Hanno would not set out un- 
til the engines of war had been supplied with the last 
screw. He lost three moons more in equipping the 
one hundred and twelve elephants that were lodged 
in the ramparts. They were the conquerors of 
Regulus; the people loved them; it was impossible to 
treat such old friends too well. Hanno had the brass 
plates which adorned their breasts recast, their tusks 
gilt, their towers enlarged, and caparisons, edged 
with very heavy fringes, cut out of the handsomest 
purple. Finally, as their drivers were called Indians 
(after the first ones, no doubt, who came from the 
Indies) he ordered them all to be costumed after the 
Indian fashion; that is to say, with white pads round 


their temples, and small drawers of byssus, which 
with their transverse folds looked like two valves of a 
shell applied to the hips. 

The army under Autaritus still remained before 
Tunis. It was hidden behind a wall made with mud 
from the lake, and protected on the top by thorny 
brushwood. Some Negroes had planted tall sticks 
here and there bearing frightful faces, — human masks 
made with birds' feathers, and jackals' or serpents' 
heads, — which gaped towards the enemy for the pur- 
pose of terrifying him; and the Barbarians, reckoning 
themselves invincible through these means, danced, 
wrestled, and juggled, convinced that Carthage would 
perish before long. Any one but Hanno would easily 
have crushed such a multitude, hampered as it was 
with herds and women. Moreover, they knew noth- 
ing of drill, and Autaritus was so disheartened that 
he had ceased to require it. 

They stepped aside when he passed by rolling his 
big blue eyes. Then on reaching the edge of the 
lake he would draw back his sealskin cloak, unfasten 
the cord which tied up his long red hair, and soak 
the latter in the water. He regretted that he had not 
deserted to the Romans along with the two thousand 
Gauls of the temple of Eryx. 

Often the sun would suddenly lose his rays in the 
middle of the day. Then the gulf and the open sea 
would seem as motionless as molten lead. A cloud 
of brown dust stretching perpendicularly would speed 
whirling along; the palm trees would bend and the 
sky disappear, while stones would be heard rebound- 
ing on the animals' cruppers; and the Gaul, his lips 
glued against the holes in his tent, would gasp with 
exhaustion and melancholy. His thoughts would be 


of the scent of the pastures on autumn mornings, of 
snowflakes, or of the bellowing of the urus lost in 
the fog, and closing his eyelids he would in imagi- 
nation behold the fires in long, straw-roofed cot- 
tages flickering on the marshes in the depths of the 

Others regretted their native lands as well as he, 
even though they might not be so far away. Indeed 
the Carthaginian captives could distinguish the velaria 
spread over the courtyards of their houses, beyond 
the gulf on the slopes of Byrsa. But sentries marched 
round them continually. They were all fastened to a 
common chain. Each one wore an iron carcanet, and 
the crowd was never weary of coming to gaze at 
them. The women would show their little children 
the handsome robes hanging in tatters on their wasted 

Whenever Autaritus looked at Gisco he was seized 
with rage at the recollection of the insult that he had 
received, and he would have killed him but for the oath 
which he had taken to Narr' Havas. Then he would 
go back into his tent and drink a mixture of barley 
and cumin until he swooned away from intoxication, 
• — to awake afterwards in broad day light consumed 
with horrible thirst. 

Matho, meanwhile, was besieging Hippo-Zarytus. 
But the town was protected by a lake, communica- 
ting with the sea. It had three lines of circumvalla- 
tion, and upon the heights which surrounded it there 
extended a 'all fortified with towers. He had never 
commanded in such an enterprise before. Moreover, 
he was beset with thoughts of Salammbô, and he 
raved in the delight of her beauty as in the sweet- 
ness of a vengeance that transported him with pride. 


He felt an acrid, frenzied, permanent want to see her 
again. He even thought of presenting himself as the 
bearer of a flag of truce, in the hope that once within 
Carthage he might make his way to her. Often he 
would cause the assault to be sounded and waiting 
for nothing rush upon the mole which it was sought 
to construct in the sea. He would snatch up the 
stones with his hands, overturn, strike, and deal 
sword-thrusts everywhere. The Barbarians would 
dash on pell-mell; the ladders would break with a 
loud crash, and masses of men would tumble into 
the water, causing it to fly up in red waves against 
the walls. Finally the tumult would subside, and the 
soldiers would retire to make a fresh beginning. 

Matho would go and seat himself outside the 
tents, wipe his blood-splashed face with his arm, and 
gaze at the horizon in the direction of Carthage. 

In front of him, among the olives, palms, myrtles 
and planes, stretched two broad ponds which met 
another lake, the outlines of which could not be seen. 
Behind one mountain other mountains reared them- 
selves, and in the middle of the immense lake rose 
an island perfectly black and pyramidal in form. On 
the left, at the extremity of the gulf, were sand-heaps 
like arrested waves, large and pale, while the sea, flat 
as a pavement of lapis-lazuli, ascended by insensible 
degrees to the edge of the sky. The verdure of the 
country was lost in places beneath long sheets of yel- 
low; carobs were shining like knobs of coral; vine 
branches drooped from the tops of the sycamores; the 
murmuring of the water could be heard; crested 
larks were hopping about, and the sun's latest fires 
gilded the carapaces of the tortoises as they came 
forth from the reeds to inhale the breeze. 



Matho would heave deep sighs. He would lie flat 
on his face, with his nails buried in the soil, and 
weep; he felt wretched, paltry, forsaken. Never 
would he possess her, and he was unable even to 
take a town. 

At night when alone in his tent he would gaze 
upon the zaïmph. Of what use to him was this thing 
which belonged to the gods? — and doubts crept into 
the Barbarians thoughts. Then, on the contrary, it 
would seem to him that the vesture of the goddess 
was depending from Salammbô, and that a portion of 
her soul hovered in it, subtler than a breath; and he 
would feel it, breathe it in, bury his face in it, and 
kiss it with sobs. He would cover his shoulders with 
it in order to delude himself into believing that he 
was beside her. 

Sometimes he would suddenly steal away, stride 
in the starlight over the sleeping soldiers as they lay 
wrapped in their cloaks, spring upon a horse on 
reaching the camp gates, and two hours later be at 
Utica in Spendius's tent. 

At first he would speak of the siege, but his com- 
ing was only to ease his sorrow by talking about 
Salammbô. Spendius exhorted him to be prudent. 

"Drive away these trifles from your soul, which is 
degraded by them! Formerly you were used to obey; 
now you command an army, and if Carthage is not 
conquered we shall at least be granted provinces. 
We shall become kings!" 

But how was it that the possession of the zaïmph 
did not give them the victory ? According to Spen- 
dius they must wait. 

Matho fancied that the veil affected people of 
Chanaanitish race exclusively, and, in his Barbarian- 


like subtlety, he said to himself: ''The zaïmph will 
accordingly do nothing for me, but since they have 
lost it, it will do nothing for them." 

Afterwards a scruple troubled him. He was afraid 
of offending Moloch by worshipping Aptouknos, the 
god of the Libyans, and he timidly asked Spendius to 
which of the gods it would be advisable to sacrifice 
a man. 

"Keep on sacrificing!" laughed Spendius. 

Matho, who could not understand such indiffer- 
ence, suspected the Greek of having a genius of whom 
he would not speak. 

All modes of worship, as well as all races, were 
to be met with in these armies of Barbarians, and 
consideration was had to the gods of others, for they 
too, inspired fear. Many mingled foreign practices 
with their native religion. It was to no purpose that 
they did not adore the stars; if a constellation were 
fatal or helpful, sacrifices were offered to it; an unknown 
amulet found by chance at a moment of peril became 
a divinity; or it might be a name and nothing more, 
which would be repeated without any attempt to under- 
stand its meaning. But after pillaging temples, and see- 
ing numbers of nations and slaughters, many ultimately 
ceased to believe in anything but destiny and death; — 
and every evening these would fall asleep with the 
placidity of wild beasts. Spendius had spit upon the 
images of Jupiter Olympius; nevertheless he dreaded 
to speak aloud in the dark, nor did he fail every day to 
put on his right boot first. 

He reared a long quadrangular terrace in front of 
Utica, but in proportion as it ascended the rampart 
was also heightened, and what was thrown down by 
the one side was almost immediately raised again by 



the other. Spendius took care of his men; he dreamed 
of plans and strove to recall the stratagems which he 
had heard described in his travels. But why did Narr' 
Havas not return? There was nothing but anxiety. 

Hanno had at last concluded his preparations. One 
night when the*e was no moon he transported his 
elephants and soldiers on rafts across the gulf of Car- 
thage. Then they wheeled round the mountain of 
the Hot Springs so as to avoid Autaritus, and con- 
tinued their march so slowly that instead of surprising 
the Barbarians in the morning, as the SurTet had cal- 
culated, they did not reach them until it was broad 
daylight on the third day. 

Utica had on the east a plain which extended to 
the large lagoon of Carthage; behind it a valley ran 
at right angles between two low and abruptly termi- 
nated mountains; the Barbarians were encamped fur- 
ther to the left in such a way as to blockade the 
harbour; and they were sleeping in their tents (for on 
that day both sides were too weary to fight and were 
resting) when the Carthaginian army appeared at the 
turning of the hills. 

Some camp followers furnished with slings were 
stationed at intervals on the wings. The first line 
was formed of the guards of the Legion in golden 
scale-armour, mounted on their big horses, which 
were without mane, hair, or ears, and had silver 
horns in the middle of their foreheads to make them 
look like rhinoceroses. Between their squadrons were 
youths wearing small helmets and swinging an ashen 
javelin in each hand. The long files of the heavy in- 
fantry marched behind. All these traders had piled as 
many weapons upon their bodies as possible. Some 
might be seen carrying an axe, a lance, a club, and 


two swords all at once; others bristled with darts like 
porcupines, and their arms stood out from their 
cuirasses in sheets of horn or iron plates. At last the 
scaffoldings of the lofty engines appeared: carroba- 
listas, Jonagers, catapults and scorpions, rocking on 
chariots drawn by mules and quadrigas of oxen; and 
in proportion as the army drew out, the captains ran 
panting right and left to deliver commands, close up 
the files, and preserve the intervals. Such of the An- 
cients as held commands had come in purple cassocks, 
the magnificent fringes of which tangled in the white 
straps of their cothurni. Their faces, which were 
smeared all over with vermilion, shone beneath enor- 
mous helmets surmounted with images of the gods; 
and, as they had shields with ivory borders covered 
with precious stones, they might have been taken for 
suns passing over walls of brass. 

But the Carthaginians manoeuvred so clumsily that 
the soldiers in derision urged them to sit down. 
They called out that they were just going to empty 
their big stomachs, to dust the gilding of their skin, 
and to give them iron to drink. 

A strip of green cloth appeared at the top of the 
pole planted before Spendius's tent: it was the signal. 
The Carthaginian army replied to it with a great noise 
of trumpets, cymbals, flutes of asses' bones, and 
tympanums. The Barbarians had already leaped out- 
side the palisades, and were facing their enemies 
within a javelin's throw of them. 

A Balearic slinger took a step forward, put one of 
his clay bullets into his thong, and swung round his 
arm. An ivory shield was shivered, and the two 
armies mingled together. 

The Greeks made the horses rear and fall back upon 


their masters by pricking their nostrils with the points 
of their lances. The slaves who were to hurl stones 
had picked such as were too big, and they accord- 
ingly fell close to them. The Punic foot-soldiers 
exposed the right side in cutting with their long 
swords. The Barbarians broke their lines; they 
slaughtered them freely; they stumbled over the dying 
and dead, quite blinded by the blood that spirted 
into their faces. The confused heap of pikes, helmets, 
cuirasses and swords turned round about, widening 
out and closing in with elastic contractions. The gaps 
increased more and more in the Carthaginian cohorts, 
the engines could not be got out of the sand; and 
finally the Suffet's litter (his grand litter with crystal 
pendants), which from the beginning might have been 
seen tossing among the soldiers like a bark on the 
waves, suddenly foundered. He was no doubt dead. 
The Barbarians found themselves alone. 

The dust around them fell and they were beginning 
to sing, when Hanno himself appeared on the top of 
an elephant. He sat bare-headed beneath a parasol 
of byssus which was carried by a negro behind him. 
His necklace of blue plates flapped against the flowers 
on his black tunic; his huge arms were compressed 
within circles of diamonds, and with open mouth he 
brandished a pike of inordinate size, which spread out 
at the end like a lotus, and flashed more than a mir- 
ror. Immediately the earth shook, — and the Barba- 
rians saw all the elephants of Carthage, with their gilt 
tusks and blue-painted ears, hastening up in single 
line, clothed with bronze and shaking the leathern 
towers which were placed above their scarlet capari- 
sons, in each one of which were three archers bend- 
ing large bows. 


The soldiers were barely in possession of their 
arms; they had taken up their positions at random. 
They were frozen with terror; they stood unde- 

Javelins, arrows, phalaricas, and masses of lead 
were already being showered down upon them from 
the towers. Some clung to the fringes of the ca- 
parisons in order to climb up, but their hands were 
struck off with cutlasses and they fell backwards upon 
the swords' points. The pikes were too weak and 
broke, and the elephants passed through the phalanxes 
like wild boars through tufts of grass; they plucked up 
the stakes of the camp with their trunks, and traversed 
it from one end to the other, overthrowing the tents 
with their breasts. All the Barbarians had fled. They 
were hiding themselves in the hills bordering the 
valley by which the Carthaginians had come. 

The victorious Hanno presented himself before the 
gates of Utica. He had a trumpet sounded. The 
three Judges of the town appeared in the opening 01 
the battlements on the summit of a tower. 

But the people of Utica would not receive such 
well-armed guests. Hanno was furious. At last they 
consented to admit him with a feeble escort. 

The streets were too narrow for the elephants. 
They had to be left outside. 

As soon as the Suflet was in the town the princi- 
pal men came to greet him. He had himself taken to 
the vapour baths, and called for his cooks. 

Three hours afterward he was still immersed in 
the oil of cinnamomum with which the basin had 
been filled; and while he bathed he ate flamingoes 
tongues with honied poppy-seeds on a spread ox-hide. 


Beside him was his Greek physician, motionless, in a 
long yellow robe, directing the re-heating of the bath 
from time to time, and two young boys leaned over 
the steps of the basin and rubbed his legs. But at- 
tention to his body did not check his love for the 
commonwealth, for he was dictating a letter to be 
sent to the Great Council, and as some prisoners had 
just been taken he was asking himself what terrible 
punishment could be devised. 

"Stop!" said he to a slave who stood writing in 
the hollow of his hand. "Let some of them be 
brought to me! I wish to see them!" 

And from the bottom of the hall, full of a whitish 
vapour on which the torches cast red spots, three 
Barbarians were thrust forward: a Samnite, a Spartan, 
and a Cappadocian. 

"Proceed!" said Hanno. 

"Rejoice, light of the Baals! your Suflet has ex- 
terminated the ravenous hounds ! Blessings on the 
Republic! Give orders for prayers!" He perceived 
the captives and burst out laughing: "Ah! ha! my 
fine fellows of Sicca! You are not shouting so loudly 
to-day! It is I ! Do you recognize me? And where 
are your swords? What really terrible fellows!" and 
he pretended to be desirous to hide himself as if 
he were afraid of them. "You demanded horses» 
women, estates, magistracies, no doubt, and priest- 
hoods! Why not? Well, I will provide you with 
the estates, and such as you will never come out of! 
You shall be married to gibbets that are perfectly 
new I Your pay? it shall be melted into your mouths 
in leaden ingots! and I will put you into good and 
very exalted positions among the clouds, so as to 
bring you close to the eagles!" 


The three long-haired and ragged Barbarians looked 
at him without understanding what he said. Wounded 
in the knees, they had been seized by having ropes 
thrown over them, and the ends of the great chains 
on their hands trailed upon the pavement. Hanno 
was indignant at their impassibility. 

"On your knees! on your knees! jackals! dust! ver- 
min! excrements! And they make no reply! Enough! 
be silent! Let them be flayed alive! No! presently!" 

He was breathing like a hippopotamus and rolling 
his eyes. The perfumed oil overflowed beneath the 
mass of his body, and clinging to the scales on his 
skin, made it look pink in the light of the torches. 

He resumed: 

"For four days we suffered greatly from the sun. 
Some mules were lost in crossing the Macaras. In 

spite of their position, the extraordinary courage 

Ah! Demonades! how I suffer! Have the bricks re- 
heated, and let them be red-hot!" 

A noise of rakes and furnaces was heard. The in- 
cense smoked more strongly in the large perfuming- 
pans, and the shampooers, who were quite naked and 
were sweating like sponges, crushed a paste com- 
posed of wheat, sulphur, black wine, bitch's milk, 
myrrh, galbanum and storax upon his joints. He was 
consumed with incessant thirst, but the yellow-robed 
man did not yield to this inclination, and held out to 
him a golden cup in which viper broth was smok- 

"Drink!" said he, "that the strength of sun-born 
serpents may penetrate into the marrow of your bones, 
and take courage, O reflection of the gods! You 
know, moreover, that a priest of Eschmoun watches 
those cruel stars round the Dog from which your 



malady is derived. They are growing pale like the 
spots on your skin, and you are not to die from 
them. " 

"Oh! yes, that is so, is it not?" repeated the 
SurTet, "I am not to die from them!" And his vio- 
laceous lips gave forth a breath more nauseous than 
the exhalation from a corpse. Two coals seemed to 
burn in the place of his eyes, which had lost their 
eyebrows; a mass of wrinkled skin hung over his fore- 
head; both his ears stood out from his head and were 
beginning to increase in size; and the deep lines 
forming semicircles round his nostrils gave him a strange 
and terrifying appearance, the look of a wild beast. 
His unnatural voice was like a roar; he said: 

"Perhaps you are right, Demonades. In fact there 
are many ulcers here which have closed. I feel robust. 
Here! look how I am eating!" 

And less from greediness than from ostentation, 
and the desire to prove to himself that he was in 
good health, he cut into the forcemeats of cheese and 
marjoram, the boned fish, gourds, oysters with eggs, 
horse-radishes, truffles, and brochettes of small birds. 
As he looked at the prisoners he revelled in the im- 
agination of their tortures. Nevertheless he remem- 
bered Sicca, and the rage caused by all his woes 
found vent in the abuse of these three men. 

"Ah! traitors! ah! wretches! infamous, accursed 
creatures! And you outraged me! — me! the SurTet! 
Their services, the price of their blood, say they! Ah! 
yes! their blood! their blood! 1 ' Then speaking to 
himself: — :< All shall perish! not one shall be sold! It 
would be better to bring them to Carthage! I should 
be seen — but, doubtless, I have not brought chains 
enough? Write: Send me — How many of them are 


there? go and ask Muthumbal! Go! no pity! and let 
all their hands be cut off and brought to me in bas- 

But strange cries at once hoarse and shrill pene- 
trated into the hall above Hanno's voice and the 
rattling of the dishes that were being placed around 
him. They increased, and suddenly the furious 
trumpeting of the elephants burst forth as if the 
battle were beginning again. A great tumult was 
going on around the town. 

The Carthaginians had not attempted to pursue 
the Barbarians. They had taken up their quarters at 
the foot of the walls with their baggage, mules, serv- 
ing men, and all their train of satraps; and they 
made merry in their beautiful pearl-bordered tents, 
while the camp of the Mercenaries was now nothing 
but a heap of ruins in the plain. Spendius had re- 
covered his courage. He despatched Zarxas to Matho, 
scoured the woods, rallied his men (the losses had 
been inconsiderable), — and they were re-forming their 
lines, enraged at having been conquered without a 
fight, when they discovered a vat of petroleum which 
had no doubt been abandoned by the Carthaginians, 
Then Spendius had some pigs carried off from the 
farms, smeared them with bitumen, set thern on fire, 
and drove them towards Utica. 

The elephants were terrified by the flames and 
fled. The ground sloped upwards, javelins were 
thrown at them, and they turned back; — and with 
great blows of ivory and trampling of feet they ripped 
up the Carthaginians, stifled them, flattened them, 
the Barbarians descended the hill behind them; the 
Punic camp, which was without entrenchments was 
sacked at the first rush, and the Carthaginians were 



mished against the gates, which were not opened 
through fear of the Mercenaries. 

Day bioke, and Matho's foot-soldiers were seen 
coming up from the west. At the same time horse- 
men appeared; they were Narr' Havas with his Nu- 
midians. Leaping ravines and bushes they ran down 
the fugitives like greyhounds pursuing hares. This 
change of fortune interrupted the SufTet. He called 
out to be assisted to leave the vapour bath. 

The three captives were still before him. Then a 
Negro (the same who had carried his parasol in the 
battle) leaned over to his ear. 

"Well?" replied the SufTet slowly. "Ah! kill 
them!" he added in an abrupt tone. 

The Ethiopian drew a long dagger from his girdle 
and the three heads fell. One of them rebounded 
among the remains of the feast, and leaped into the 
basin, where it floated for some time with open 
mouth and staring eyes. The morning light entered 
through the chinks in the wall; the three bodies 
streamed with great bubbles like three fountains, and 
a sheet of blood flowed over the mosaics with their 
powdering of blue dust. The SufTet dipped his 
hand into this hot mire and rubbed his knees with 
it: it was a cure. 

When evening had come he stole away from the 
town with his escort, and made his way into the 
mountain to rejoin his army. 

He succeeded in finding the remains of it. 

Four days afterward he was on the top of a defile 
at Gorza, when the troops under Spendius appeared be- 
low. Twenty stout lances might easily have checked 
them by attacking the head of their column, but the 
Carthaginians watched them pass by in a state of 


stupefaction. Hanno recognised the king of the 
Numidians in the rearguard; Narr' Havas bowed to 
him, at the same time making a sign which he did 
not understand. 

The return to Carthage took place amid all kinds 
of terrors. They marched only at night, hiding in 
the olive woods during the day. There were deaths 
at every halting-place; several times they believed 
themselves lost. At last they reached Cape Hermaeum, 
where vessels came to receive them. 

Hanno was so fatigued, so desperate — the loss of 
the elephants in particular overwhelmed him — that he 
demanded poison from Demonades in order to put an 
end to it all. Moreover he could already feel himself 
stretched upon the cross. 

Carthage had not strength enough to be indignant 
with him. Its losses had amounted to one hundred 
thousand nine hundred and seventy-two shekels of 
silver, fifteen thousand six hundred and twenty-three 
shekels of gold, eighteen elephants, fourteen members 
of the Great Council, three hundred of the rich, eight 
thousand citizens, corn enough for three moons, a 
considerable quantity of baggage, and all the engines 
of war! The defection of Narr' Havas was certain, 
and both sieges were beginning again. The army 
under Autaritus now extended from Tunis to Rhades. 
From the top of the Acropolis long columns of smoke 
might be seen in the country ascending to the sky; 
they were the mansions of the rich, which were on 

One man alone could have saved the Republic. 
People repented that they had slighted him, and the 
peace party itself voted holocausts for Hamilcar's re- 



The sight of the zaïmph had upset Salammbô. At 
night she thought that she could hear the footsteps 
of the goddess, and she would awake terrified and 
shrieking. Every day she sent food to the temples. 
Taanach was worn out with executing her orders, 
and Schahabarim never left her. 


Hamilcar Barca. 

HE Announcer of the Moons, who 
watched on the summit of the 
temple of Eschmoun every night 
in order to signal the disturbances 
of the planet with his trumpet, one 
morning perceived towards the west 
something like a bird skimming the surface of the 
sea with its long wings. 

It was a ship with three tiers of oars and with a 
horse carved on the prow. The sun was rising; the 
Announcer of the Moons put up his hand before his 
eyes, and then grasping his clarion with outstretched 
arms sounded a loud brazen cry over Carthage. 

People came out of every house; they would not 
believe what was said; they disputed with one 
another; the mole was covered with people. At last 
they recognised Hamilcar's trireme. 

It advanced in tierce and haughty fashion, cleaving 
the foam around it, the lateen-yard quite square and 
the sail bulging down the whole length of the mast; 
its gigantic oars kept time as they beat the water; 
every now and then the extremity of the keel, which 
was shaped like a plough-share, would appear, and 
the ivory-headed horse, rearing both its feet beneath 


the spur which terminated the prow, would seem to 
be speeding over the plains of the sea. 

As it rounded the promontory the wind ceased^ 
the sail fell, and a man was seen standing bareheaded 
beside the pilot. It was he, Hamilcar, the Suflet! 
About his sides he wore gleaming sheets of steel; a 
red cloak, fastened to his shoulders, left his arms 
visible; two pearls of great length hung from his ears, 
and his black, bushy beard rested on his breast. 

The galley, however, tossing amid the rocks, was 
proceeding along the side of the mole, and the crowd 
followed it on the flag-stones, shouting: 

"Greeting! blessing! Eye of Khamon! ah! de- 
liver us! Tis the fault of the rich! they want to put 
you to death! Take care of yourself, Barca!" 

He made no reply, as if the loud clamour of 
oceans and battles had completely deafened him. 
But when he was below the staircase leading down 
from the Acropolis, Hamilcar raised his head, and 
looked with folded arms upon the temple of Esch- 
moun. His gaze mounted higher still, to the great 
pure sky; he shouted an order in a harsh voice to his 
sailors; the trireme leaped forward; it grazed the idol 
set up at the corner of the mole to stay the storms; 
and in the merchant harbour, which was full of filth, 
fragments of wood, and rinds of fruit, it pushed aside 
and crushed against the other ships moored to stakes and 
terminating in crocodiles' jaws. The people hastened 
thither, and some threw themselves into the water to 
swim to it. It was already at the very end before 
the gate which bristled with nails. The gate rose, 
and the trireme disappeared beneath the deep arch. 

The Military Harbour was completely separated 
from the town; when ambassadors arrived, they had 


to proceed between two walls through a passage 
which had its outlet on the left in front of the temple 
of Khamoun. This great expanse of water was as 
round as a cup, and was bordered with quays on 
which sheds were built for sheltering the ships. Be- 
fore each of these rose two pillars bearing the horns 
of Ammon on their capitals and forming rontinuous 
porticoes all round the basin. On an island in the 
centre stood a house for the marine Suflet. 

The water was so limpid that the bottom was 
visible with its paving of white pebbles. The noise 
of the streets did not reach so far, and Hamilcar as 
he passed recognised the triremes which he had 
formerly commanded. 

Not more than twenty perhaps remained, under 
shelter on the land, leaning over on their sides or 
standing upright on their keels, with lofty poops and 
swelling prows, and covered with gildings and mystic 
symbols. The chimaeras had lost their wings, the 
Pataec Gods their arms, the bulls their silver horns; 
— and half-painted, motionless, and rotten as they 
were, yet full of associations, and still emitting the 
scent of voyages, they all seemed to say to him, like 
mutilated soldiers on seeing their master again, "'Tis 
we! 'tis we! and you too are vanquished!" 

No one excepting the marine SufTet might enter 
the admiral's house. So long as there was no proof 
of his death he was considered as still in existence. 
In this way the Ancients avoided a master the more, 
and they had not failed to comply with the custom 
in respect to Hamilcar. 

The SufTet proceeded into the deserted apartments. 
At every step he recognised armour and furniture — 
familiar objects which nevertheless astonished him, 



and in a perfuming-pan in the vestibule there even 
remained the ashes of the perfumes that had been 
kindled at his departure for the conjuration of Melkarth. 
It was not thus that he had hoped to return. Every- 
thing that he had done, everything that he had seen, 
unfolded itself in his memory: assaults, conflagrations, 
legions, tempests, Drepanum, Syracuse, Lilybaeum, 
Mount Etna, the plateau of Eryx, five years of battles, 
— until the fatal day when arms had been laid down 
and Sicily had been lost. Then he once more saw 
the woods of citron-trees, and herdsmen with their 
goats on gray mountains; and his heart leaped at the 
thought of the establishment of another Carthage 
down yonder. His projects and his recollections 
buzzed through his head, which was still dizzy from 
the pitching of the vessel; he was overwhelmed with 
anguish, and, becoming suddenly weak, he felt the 
necessity of drawing near to the gods. 

Then he went up to the highest story of his 
house, and taking a nail-studded staple from a golden 
shell, which hung on his arm, he opened a small 
oval chamber. 

It was softly lighted by means of delicate black 
discs let into the wall and as transparent as glass. 
Between the rows of these equal discs, holes, like 
those for the urns in columbaria, were hollowed out. 
Each of them contained a round dark stone, which 
appeared to be very heavy. Only people of superior 
understanding honoured these abaddirs, which had 
fallen from the moon. By their fall they denoted the 
stars, the sky, and fire; by their colour dark night, 
and by their density the cohesion of terrestrial things. 
A stifling atmosphere filled this mystic place. The 
round stones lying in the niches were whitened 


somewhat with sea-sand which the wind had no 
doubt driven through the door. Hamiicar counted 
them one after the other with the tip of his finger; 
then he hid his face in a saffron-coloured veil, and, 
falling on his knees, stretched himself on the ground 
with both arms extended. 

The daylight outside was beginning to strike on 
the folding shutters of black lattice-work. Arbores- 
cences, hillocks, eddies, and ill-defined animals ap- 
peared in their diaphanous thickness; and the light 
came terrifying and yet peaceful as it must be behind 
the sun in the dull spaces of future creations. He 
strove to banish from his thoughts all forms, and all 
symbols and appellations of the gods, that he might 
the better apprehend the immutable spirit which out- 
ward appearances took away. Something of the 
planetary vitalities penetrated him, and he felt withal 
a wiser and more intimate scorn of death and of every 
accident. When he rose he v/as filled with serene 
fearlessness and was proof against pity or dread, and 
as his chest was choking he went to the top of the 
tower which overlooked Carthage. 

The town sank downwards in a long hollow 
curve, with its cupolas, its temples, its golden roofs, 
its houses, its clusters of palm trees here and there, 
and its glass balls with streaming rays, while the 
ramparts formed, as it were, the gigantic border of 
this horn of plenty which poured itself out before 
him. Far below he could see the harbours, the 
squares, the interiors of the courts, the plan of the 
streets, and the people, who seemed very small and 
but little above the level of the pavement. Ah) if 
Hanno had not arrived too late on the morning of 
the Aegatian islands! He fastened his eyes on the 



extreme horizon and stretched forth his quivering 
arms in the direction of Rome. 

The steps of the Acropolis were occupied by the 
multitude. In the square of Khamon the people were 
pressing forward to see the SufTet come out, and the 
terraces were gradually being loaded with people; a 
few recognised him, and he was saluted; but he re- 
tired in order the better to excite the impatience of 
the people. 

Hamilcar found the most important men of his 
party below in the hall: Istatten, Subeldia, Hictamon, 
Yeoubas and others. They related to him all that 
had taken place since the conclusion of the peace: 
the greed of the Ancients, the departure of the sol- 
diers, their return, their demands, the capture of 
Gisco, the theft of the zaïmph, the relief and subse- 
quent abandonment of Utica; but no one ventured to 
tell him of the events which concerned himself. At 
last they separated, to meet again during the night at 
the assembly of the Ancients in the temple of Moloch. 

They had just gone out when a tumult arose out- 
side the door. Some one was trying to enter in 
spite of the servants; and as the disturbance was in- 
creasing Hamilcar ordered the stranger to be shown in. 

An old negress made her appearance, broken, 
wrinkled, trembling, stupid-looking, wrapped to the 
heels in ample blue veils. She advanced face to face 
with the SufTet, and they looked at each other for 
some time; suddenly Hamilcar started; at a wave of 
his hand the slaves withdrew. Then, signing to her 
to walk with precaution, he drew her by the arm 
into a remote apartment. 

The negress threw herself upon the floor to kiss 
his feet; he raised her brutally. 


"Where have you left him, Iddibal?" 

"Down there, Master;" and extricating herself 
from her veils, she rubbed her face with her sleeve; 
the black colour, the senile trembling, the bent figure 
disappeared, and there remained a strong old man 
whose skin seemed tanned by sand, wind, and sea. 
A tuft of white hair rose on his skull like the cres* 
of a bird; and he indicated his disguise, as it lay on 
the ground, with an ironic glance. 

"You have done well, Iddibal! Tis well!" Then 
piercing him, as it were, with his keen gaze: "No 
one yet suspects ? " 

The old man swore to him by the Kabiri that the 
mystery had been kept. They never left their cottage, 
which was three days' journey from Hadrumetum, on 
a shore peopled with turtles, and with palms on the 
dune. "And in accordance with your command, O 
Master! I teach him to hurl the javelin and to drive 
a team." 


" He is strong, is he not?" 

"Yes, Master, and intrepid as well! He has no fear 
of serpents, or thunder, or phantoms. He runs bare- 
footed like a herdsman along the brinks of precipices." 

"Speak! speak! " 

"He invents snares for wild beasts. Would you 
believe it, that last moon he surprised an eagle; he 
dragged it away, and the bird's blood and the child's 
were scattered in the air in large drops like driven 
roses. The animal in its fury enwrapped him in the 
beating of its wings; he strained it against his breast, 
and as it died his laughter increased, piercing and 
proud like the clashing of swords." 

Hamilcar bent his head, dazzled by such presages 
of greatness. 



"But he has been for some time restless and dis- 
turbed. He gazes at the sails passing far out at sea; 
he is melancholy, he rejects bread, he inquires about 
the gods, and he wishes to become acquainted with 

"No, no! not yet!" exclaimed the Suffet. 

The old slave seemed to understand the peril 
which alarmed Hamilcar, and he resumed: 

11 How is he to be restrained ? Already I am 
obliged to make him promises, and I have come to 
Carthage only to buy him a dagger with a silver 
handle and pearls all around it." Then he told how, 
having perceived the Suffet on tiie terrace, he had 
passed himself off on the warders of the harbour as 
one of Salammbô's women, so as to make his way 
in to him. 

Hamilcar remained for a long time apparently lost 
in deliberation; at last he said: 

"To-morrow you will present yourself at sunset 
behind the purple factories in Megara, and imitate a 
jackal's cry three times. If you do not see me, you 
will return to Carthage on the first day of every 
moon. Forget nothing! Love him! You may speak 
to him now about Hamilcar." 

The slave resumed his costume, and they left the 
house and the harbour together. 

Hamilcar went on his way alone on foot and 
without an escort, for the meetings of the Ancients 
were, under extraordinary circumstances, always 
secret, and were resorted to mysteriously. 

At first he went along the western front of the 
Acropolis, and then passed through the Green Market, 
the galleries of Kinisdo, and the Perfumers' suburb. 
The scattered lights were being extinguished, the 


broader streets grew still, then shadows glided through 
the darkness. They followed him, others appeared, 
and like him they all directed their course towards 
the Mappalian district. 

The temple of Moloch was built at the foot of a 
steep defile in a sinister spot. From below nothing 
could be seen but lofty walls rising indefinitely like 
those of a monstrous tomb. The night was gloomy, 
a greyish fog seemed to weigh upon the sea, which 
beat against the cliff with a noise as of death-rattles 
and sobs; and the shadows gradually vanished as 
if they had passed through the walls. 

But as soon as the doorway was crossed one 
found oneself in a vast quadrangular court bordered 
by arcades. In the centre rose a mass of architecture 
with eight equal faces. It was surmounted by cupolas 
which thronged around a second story supporting a 
kind of rotunda, from which sprang a cone with a 
re-entrant curve and terminating in a ball on the sum- 

Fires were burning in cylinders of filigree-work 
fitted upon poles, which men were carrying to and 
fro. These lights flickered in the gusts of wind and 
reddened the golden combs which fastened their 
plaited hair on the nape of the neck. They ran 
about calling to one another to receive the Ancients. 

Here and there on the flag-stones huge lions were 
couched like sphinxes, living symbols of the devour- 
ing Sun. They were slumbering with half-closed 
eyelids. But roused by the footsteps and voices they 
rose slowly, came towards the Ancients, whom they 
recognised by their dress, and rubbed themselves 
against their thighs, arching their backs with sono- 
rous yawns; the vapour of their breath passed acrosf 


the light of the torches. The stir increased, doors 
closed, all the priests fled, and the Ancients disap- 
peared beneath the columns which formed a deep 
vestibule round the temple. 

These columns were arranged in such a way that 
their circular ranks, which were contained one within 
another, showed the Saturnian period with its years, 
the years with their months, and the months with 
their days, and finally reached to the walls of the 

Here it was that the Ancients laid aside their 
sticks of narwhal's horn, — for a law which was al- 
ways observed inflicted the punishment of death upon 
any one entering the meeting with any kind of 
weapon. Several wore a rent repaired with a strip 
of purple at the bottom of their garment, to show 
that they had not been economical in their dress 
when mourning for their relatives, and this testimony 
to their affliction prevented the slit from growing 
larger. Others had their beards inclosed in little bags 
of violet skin, and fastened to their ears by two 
cords. They all accosted one another by embracing 
breast to breast. They surrounded Hamilcar with 
congratulations; they might have been taken for 
brothers meeting their brother again. 

These men were generally thick-set, with curved 
noses like those of the Assyrian colossi. In a few, 
however, the more prominent cheek-bone, the 
taller figure, and the narrower foot, betrayed an African 
origin and nomad ancestors. Those who lived con- 
tinually shut up in their counting-houses had pale 
faces; others showed in theirs the severity of the 
desert, and strange jewels sparkled on all the fingers 
of their hands, which were burnt by unknown suns. 


The navigators might be distinguished by their roll- 
ing gait, while the men of agriculture smelt of the 
wine-press, dried herbs, and the sweat of mules. 
These old pirates had lands under tillage, these money- 
grubbers would fit out ships, these proprietors of 
cultivated lands supported slaves who followed trades. 
All were skilled in religious discipline, expert in 
strategy, pitiless and rich. They looked wearied of 
prolonged cares. Their flaming eyes expressed dis- 
trust, and their habits of travelling and lying, traffick- 
ing and commanding, gave an appearance of cunning 
and violence, a sort of discreet and convulsive bru- 
tality to their whole demeanour. Further, the influence 
of the god cast a gloom upon them. 

They first passed through a vaulted hall which 
was shaped like an egg. Seven doors, corresponding 
to the seven planets, displayed seven squares of differ- 
ent colours against the wall. After traversing a long 
room they entered another similar hall. 

A candelabrum completely covered with chiselled 
flowers was burning at the far end, and each of its 
eight golden branches bore a wick of byssus in a 
diamond chalice. It was placed upon the last of the 
long steps leading to a great altar, the corners of 
which terminated in horns of brass. Two lateral 
staircases led to its flattened summit; the stones of it 
could not be seen; it was like a mountain of heaped 
cinders, and something indistinct was slowly smoking 
on the top of it. Then further back, higher than the 
candelabrum, and much higher than the altar, rose 
the Moloch, all of iron, and with gaping apertures in 
his human breast. His outspread wings were stretched 
upon the wall, his tapering hands reached down to 
the ground; three black stones bordered by yellow circles 


represented three eyeballs on his brow, and his bull's 
head was raised with a terrible effort as if in order 
to bellow. 

Ebony stools were ranged round the apartment. 
Behind each of them was a bronze shaft resting on 
three claws and supporting a torch. All these lights 
were reflected in the mother-of-pearl lozenges which 
formed the pavement of the hall. So lofty was the 
latter that the red colour of the walls grew black as 
it rose towards the vaulted roof, and the three eyes 
of the idol appeared far above like stars half lost in 
the night. 

The Ancients sat down on the ebony stools after 
putting the trains of their robes over their heads. 
They remained motionless with their hands crossed 
inside their broad sleeves, and the mother-of-pearl 
pavement seemed like a luminous river streaming 
from the altar to the door and flowing beneath their 
naked feet. 

The four pontiffs had their places in the centre, 
sitting back to back on four ivory seats which formed 
a cross, the high-priest of Eschmoun in a hyacinth 
robe, the high-priest ofTanith in a white linen robe, 
the high-priest of Khamon in a tawny woollen robe, 
and the high-priest of Moloch in a purple robe. 

Hamilcar advanced towards the candelabrum. He 
walked all round it, looking at the burning wicks; 
then he threw a scented powder upon them, and 
violet flames appeared at the extremities of the 

Then a shrill voice rose; another replied to it, 
and the hundred Ancients, the four pontiffs, and Ha- 
milcar, who remained standing, simultaneously in- 
toned a hymn, and their voices — ever repeating the 



same syllables and strengthening the sounds — rose, 
grew loud, became terrible, and then suddenly were 

There was a pause for some time. At last Hamil- 
car drew from his breast a little three-headed statu- 
ette, as blue as sapphire, and placed it before him. 
It was the image of Truth, the very genius of his 
speech. Then he replaced it in his bosom, and all, 
as if seized with sudden wrath, cried out: 

"They are good friends of yours, are the Barba- 
rians! Infamous traitor! You come back to see us 
perish, do you not? Let him speak! — No! no!" 

They were taking their revenge for the constraint 
to which political ceremonial had just obliged them; 
and even though they had wished for Hamilcar's re- 
turn, they were now indignant that he had not an- 
ticipated their disasters, or rather that he had not 
endured them as well as they. 

When the tumult had subsided, the pontiff of 
Moloch rose: 

"We ask you why you did not return to Car- 

"What is that to you?" replied the Suflfet disdain- 

Their shouts were redoubled. 

"Of what do you accuse me? I managed the 
war badly perhaps! You have seen how I order my 
battles, you who conveniently allow Barbarians " 

"Enough! enough!" 

He went on in a low voice so as to make him- 
self the better listened to: 

"Oh! that is true! I am wrong, lights of the 
Baals; there are intrepid men among you! Gisco, 
rise!" And surveying the step of the altar with half- 



closed eyelids, as if he sought for some one, he re- 
peated : 

"Rise, Gisco! You can accuse me; they will pro- 
tect you! But where is he?" Then, as if he re- 
membered himself: "Ah! in his house, no doubt! 
surrounded by his sons, commanding his slaves, 
happy, and counting on the wall the necklaces of 
honour which his country has given to him!" 

They moved about raising their shoulders as if 
they were being scourged with thongs. "You do 
not even know whether he is living or dead!" And 
without giving any heed to their clamours he said 
that in deserting the Suffet they had deserted the 
Republic. So, too, the peace with Rome, however 
advantageous it might appear to them, was more 
fatal than twenty battles. A few — those who were 
the least rich of the Council and were suspected of 
perpetual leanings towards the people or towards 
tyranny — applauded. Their opponents, chiefs of the 
Syssitia and administrators, triumphed over them in 
point of numbers; and the more eminent of them 
had ranged themselves close to Hanno, who was sit- 
ting at the other end of the hall before the lofty 
door, which was closed by a hanging of hyacinth 

He had covered the ulcers on his face with paint. 
But the gold dust on his hair had fallen upon his 
shoulders, where it formed two brilliant sheets, so 
that his hair appeared whitish, fine, and frizzled like 
wool. His hands were enveloped in linen soaked in 
a greasy perfume, which dripped upon the pavement, 
and his disease had no doubt considerably increased, 
for his eyes were hidden beneath the folds of his eye- 
lids. He had thrown back his head in order to see. 


Mis partisans urged him to speak. At last in a hoarse 
and hideous voice he said: 

"Less arrogance, Barca! We have all been van- 
quished! Each one supports his own misfortune! 
Be resigned!" 

"Tell us rather," said Hamilcar, smiling, "how it 
was that you steered your galleys into the Roman 
fleet ? " 

"I was driven by the wind," replied Hanno. 

"You are like a rhinoceros trampling on his dung: 
you are displaying your own folly! be silent!" And 
they began to indulge in recriminations respecting the 
battle of the Aegatian islands. 

Hanno accused him of not having come to meet 

"But that would have left Eryx undefended. You 
ought to have stood out from the coast; what pre- 
vented you? Ah! I forgot! all elephants are afraid of 
the sea!" 

Hamikar's followers thought this jest so good that 
they burst out into loud laughter. The vault rang 
with it like the beating of tympanums. 

Hanno denounced the unworthiness of such an in- 
sult; the disease had come upon him from a cold 
taken at the siege of Hecatompylos, and tears flowed 
down his face like winter rain on a ruined wall. 

Hamilcar resumed: 

"If you had loved me as much as him there would 
be great joy in Carthage now! How many times did 
1 not call upon you! and you always refused me 
money! " 

"We had need of it," said the chiefs of the Syssitia. 

"And when things were desperate with me — we 
drank mules' urine and ate the straps of our sandals; 


when I would fain have had the blades of grass 
soldiers, and made battalions with the rottenness of 
our dead, you recalled the vessels that 1 had left!" 

"We could not risk everything," replied Baat- 
Baal, who possessed gold mines in Darytian Gaetulia. 

"But what did you do here, at Carthage, in your 
houses, behind your walls? There are Gauls on 
the Eridanus who ought to have been roused, Cha- 
naanites at Cyrene who would have come, and while 
the Romans send ambassadors to Ptolemaeus " 

"Now he is extolling the Romans to us!" Some 
one shouted out to him: "How much have they paid 
you to defend them ? " 

"Ask that of the plains of Bruttium, of the ruins 
of Locri, of Metapontum, and of Heraclea! I have 
burnt all their trees, I have pillaged all their temples, 
and even to the death of their grandchildren's grand- 
children " 

"Why! you declaim like a rhetor!" said Ka- 
pouras, a very illustrious merchant. "What is it that 
you want ?" 

"I say that we must be more ingenious or more 
terrible! If the whole of Africa rejects your yoke the 
reason is, my feeble masters, that you do not know 
how to fasten it upon her shoulders! Agathocles, 
Regulus, Cœpio, any bold man has only to land and 
capture her; and when the Libyans in the east con- 
cert with the Numidians in the west, and the Nom- 
ads come from the south, and the Romans from 
the north" — a cry of horror rose — "Oh! you will 
beat your breasts, and roll in the dust, and tear your 
cloaks! No matter! you will have to go and turn 
the mill-stone in the Suburra, and gather grapes on 
the hills of Latium." 


They smote their right thighs to mark their sense 
of the scandal, and the sleeves of their robes rose 
like large wings of startled birds. Hamilcar, carried 
away by a spirit, continued his speech, standing on 
the highest step of the altar, quivering and terrible; 
he raised his arms, and the rays from the candela- 
brum which burned behind him passed between his 
fingers like javelins of gold. 

"You will lose your ships, your country seats, 
your chariots, your hanging beds, and the slaves 
who rub your feet! The jackal will couch in your 
palaces, and the ploughshare will upturn your tombs. 
Nothing will be left but the eagles' scream and a 
heap of ruins. Carthage, thou wilt fall!" 

The four pontiffs spread out their hands to avert 
the anathema. All had risen. But the marine Suffet, 
being a sacerdotal magistrate under the protection of 
the Sun, was inviolable so long as the assembly of 
the rich had not judged him. Terror was associated 
with the altar. They drew back. 

Hamilcar had ceased speaking, and was panting 
with eye fixed, his face as pale as the pearls of his 
tiara, almost frightened at himself, and his spirit lost 
in funereal visions. From the height on which he 
stood, all the torches on the bronze shafts seemed 
to him like a vast crown of fire laid level with the 
pavement; black smoke issuing from them mounted 
up into the darkness of the vault; and for some 
minutes the silence was so profound that they could 
hear in the distance the sound of the sea. 

Then the Ancients began to question one another. 
Their interests, their existence, were attacked by the 
Barbarians. But it. was impossible to conquer them 
without the assistance of the Suffet, and in spite of 


their pride this consideration made them forget every 
other. His friends were taken aside. There were in- 
terested reconciliations, understandings, and promises. 
Hamilcar would not take any further part in any gov- 
ernment. All conjured him. They besought him; and 
as the word treason occurred in their speech, he fell 
into a passion. The sole traitor was the Great Coun- 
cil, for as the enlistment of the soldiers expired with 
the war, they became free as soon as the war was 
finished; he even exalted their bravery and all the 
advantages which might be derived from interesting 
them in the Republic by donations and privileges. 

Then Magdassin, a former provincial governor, said, 
as he rolled his yellow eyes: 

" Truly Barca, with your travelling you have be- 
come a Greek, or a Latin, or something! Why speak 
you of rewards for these men ? Rather let ten thou- 
sand Barbarians perish than a single one of us!" 

The Ancients nodded approval, murmuring: — 
"Yes, is there need for so much trouble? They can 
always be had! " 

"And they can be got rid of conveniently, can 
they not ? They are deserted as they were by you in 
Sardinia. The enemy is apprised of the road which 
they are to take, as in the case of those Gauls in 
Sicily, or perhaps they are disembarked in the middle 
of the sea. As 1 was returning I saw the rock quite 
white with their bones!" 

"What a misfortune!" said Kapouras impudently. 

" Have they not gone over to the enemy a hun- 
dred times?" cried the others. 

"Why, then," exclaimed Hamilcar, "did you re- 
call them to Carthage, notwithstanding your laws ? 
And when they are in your town, poor and numerous 



amid all your riches, it does not occur to you to 
weaken them by the slightest division! Afterwards 
you dismiss the whole of them with their women 
and children, without keeping a single hostage! Did 
you expect that they would murder themselves to 
spare you the pain of keeping your oaths ? You hate 
them because they are strong! You hate me still 
more, who am their master! Oh! 1 felt it just now 
when you were kissing my hands and were all put- 
ting a constraint upon yourselves not to bite them ! " 

If the lions that were sleeping in the court had 
come howling in, the uproar could not have been 
more frightful. But the pontiff of Eschmoun rose, 
and, standing perfectly upright, with his knees close 
together, his elbows pressed to his body, and his 
hands half open, he said: 

" Barca, Carthage has need that you take the gen- 
eral command of the Punic forces against the Merce- 

"1 refuse," replied Hamilcar. 

"We will give you full authority," cried the chiefs 
of the Syssitia. 


"With no control, no partition, all the money that 
you want, all the captives, all the booty, fifty zereths 
of land for every enemy's corpse." 

"No! no! because it is impossible to conquer with 

"He is afraid!" 

"Because you are cowardly, greedy, ungrateful, 
pusillanimous and mad!" 

"He is careful of them!" 

"In order to put himself at their head," said some 



''And return against us," said another; and from 
the bottom of the hall Hanno howled: 

"He wants to make himself king!" 

Then they bounded up, overturning the seats and 
the torches: the crowd of them rushed towards the 
altar; they brandished daggers. But Hamilcar dived 
into his sleeves and drew from them two broad cut- 
lasses; and half stooping, his left foot advanced, his 
eyes flaming and his teeth clenched, he defied them 
as he stood there beneath the golden candelabrum. 

Thus they had brought weapons with them as a 
precaution; it was a crime; they looked with terror 
at one another. As all were guilty, every one be- 
came quickly reassured; and by degrees they turned 
their backs on the SufTet and came down again mad- 
dened with humiliation. For the second time they 
recoiled before him. They remained standing for 
some time. Several who had wounded their fingers 
put them to their mouths or rolled them gently in 
the hem of their mantles, and they were about to de- 
part when Hamilcar heard these words: 

"Why! it is a piece of delicacy to avoid distress- 
ing his daughter! " 

A louder voice was raised: 

"No doubt, since she takes her lovers from among 
the Mercenaries!" 

At first he tottered, then his eyes rapidly sought 
for Shahabarim. But the priest of Tanith had alone 
remained in his place; and Hamilcar could see only 
his lofty cap in the distance. All were sneering in 
his face. In proportion as his anguish increased their 
joy redoubled, and those who were behind shouted 
amid the hootings: 

" He was seen coming out of her room!" 


"One morning in the month of Tammouz!" 

"It was the thief who stole the zaïmph!" 

"A very handsome man!" 

"Taller than you!" 

He snatched off his tiara, the ensign of his rank 
— his tiara with its eight mystic rows, and with an 
emerald shell in the centre — and with both hands 
and with all his strength dashed it to the ground; 
the golden circles rebounded as they broke, and the 
pearls rang upon the pavement. Then they saw a 
long scar upon the whiteness of his brow; it moved 
like a serpent between his eyebrows; all his limbs 
trembled. He ascended one of the lateral staircases 
which led on to the altar, and walked upon the latter! 
This was to devote himself to the god, to offer him- 
self as a holocaust. The motion of his mantle agi- 
tated the lights of the candelabrum, which was lower 
than his sandals, and the fine dust raised by his foot- 
steps surrounded him like a cloud as high as the 
waist. He stopped between the legs of the brass 
colossus. He took up two handfuls of the dust, the 
mere sight of which made every Carthaginian shud- 
der with horror, and said: 

"By the hundred torches of your Intelligences! by 
the eight fires of the Kabiri ! by the stars, the meteors, 
and the volcanoes! by everything that burns! by the 
thirst of the desert and the saltness of the ocean! by 
the cave of Hadrumetum and the empire of Souls! 
by extermination! by the ashes of your sons and the 
ashes of the brothers of your ancestors with which I 
now mingle my own! — you, the Hundred of the 
Council of Carthage, have lied in your accusation of 
my daughter! And I, Hamilcar Barca, marine Suffet, 
chief of the rich and ruler of the people, in the 



presence of bull-headed Moloch, I swear" — they ex- 
pected something frightful, but he resumed in a loftier 
and calmer tone — "that I will not even speak to her 
about it!" 

The sacred servants entered wearing their golden 
combs, some with purple sponges and others with 
branches of palm. They raised the hyacinth curtain 
which was stretched before the door; and through 
the opening of this angle there was visible behind 
the other halls the great pink sky which seemed to 
be a continuation of the vault and to rest at the hori- 
zon upon the blue sea. The sun was issuing from 
the waves and mounting upwards. It suddenly struck 
upon the breast of the brazen colossus, which was 
divided into seven compartments closed by gratings. 
His red-toothed jaws opened in a horrible yawn; his 
enormous nostrils were dilated, the broad daylight 
animated him, and gave him a terrible and impatient 
aspect, as if he would fain have leaped without 
to mingle with the star, the god, and together trav- 
erse the immensities. 

The torches, however, which were scattered on the 
ground, were still burning, while here and there on the 
mother-of-pearl pavement was stretched from them 
what looked like spots of blood. The Ancients were 
reeling from exhaustion; they filled their lungs inhal- 
ing the freshness of the air; the sweat flowed down 
their livid faces; they had shouted so much that they 
could now scarcely make their voices heard. But 
their wrath against the SufTet was not at all abated; 
they hurled menaces at him by way of farewells, and 
Hamilcar answered them again. 

"Until the next night, Barca, in the temple of 


"I shall be there!" 

"We will have you condemned by the rich!" 

"And I you by the people!" 

"Take care that you do not end on the cross!" 

"And you that you are not torn to pieces in the 

As soon as they were on the threshold of the court 
they again assumed a calm demeanor. 

Their runners and coachmen were waiting for them 
at the door. Most of them departed on white mules. 
The Sufiet leaped into his chariot and took the reins; 
the two animals, curving their necks, and rhythmically 
beating the rebounding pebbles, went up the whole 
of the Mappalian Way at full gallop, and the silver 
vulture at the extremity of the pole seemed to fly, so 
quickly did the chariot pass along. 

The road crossed a field planted with slabs of stone, 
which were pointed on the top like pyramids, and 
had open hands carved out in the centre as if all 
the dead men lying beneath had stretched them out 
towards heaven to demand something. Next there 
came scattered cabins built of earth, branches, and 
bulrush-hurdles, and all of a conical shape. These 
dwellings, which became constantly denser as the 
road ascended towards the Suffet's gardens, were ir- 
regularly separated from one another by little pebble 
walls, trenches of spring water, ropes of esparto-grass, 
and nopal hedges. But Hamilcar's eyes were fastened 
on a great tower, the three storys of which formed 
three monster cylinders — the first being built of stone, 
the second of brick, and the third all of cedar — sup- 
porting a copper cupola upon twenty-four pillars of 
juniper, from which slender interlacing chains of brass 



hung down after the manner of garlands. This lofty 
edifice overlooked the buildings — the emporiums and 
mercantile houses — which stretched to the right, while 
the women's palace rose at the end of the cypress 
trees, which were ranged in line like two wails of 

When the echoing chariot had entered through the 
narrow gateway it stopped beneath a broad shed in 
which there were shackled horses eating from heaps 
of chopped grass. 

All the servants hastened up. They formed quite 
a multitude, those who worked on the country estates 
having been brought to Carthage through fear of the 
soldiers. The labourers, who were clad in animals' 
skins, had chains riveted to their ankles and trailing 
after them; the workers in the purple factories had 
arms as red as those of executioners; the sailors wore 
green caps; the fishermen coral necklaces; the hunts- 
men carried nets on their shoulders; and the people 
belonging to Me^ara wore black or white tunics, 
leathern drawers, and caps of straw, felt or linen, 
according to their service or their different occupations. 

Behind pressed a tattered populace. They lived 
without employment remote from the apartments, 
slept at night in the gardens, ate the refuse from the 
kitchens, — a human mouldiness vegetating in the 
shadow of the palace. Hamilcar tolerated them from 
foresight even more than from scorn. They had all 
put a flower in the ear in token of their joy, and many 
of them had never seen him. 

But men with head-dresses like the Sphinx's, and 
furnished with great sticks, dashed into the crowd, 
striking right and left. This was to drive back the 
slaves, who were curious to see their master, so that 


he might not be assailed by their numbers or incon- 
venienced by their smell. 

Then they all threw themselves flat on the ground, 

"Eye of Baal, may your house flourish!" And 
through these people as they lay thus on the ground 
in the avenue of cypress trees, Abdalonim, the 
Steward of the stewards, waving a white mitre, 
advanced towards Hamilcar with a censer in his hand. 

Salammbô was then coming down the galley stair- 
case. An her slave women followed her; and, at 
each of her steps, they also descended. The heads 
of the Negresses formed big black spots on the line 
of the bands of the golden plates clasping the fore- 
heads of the Roman women. Others had silver 
arrows, emerald butterflies, or long bodkins set like 
suns in their hair. Rings, clasps, necklaces, fringes, 
and bracelets shone amid the confusion of white, 
yellow, and blue garments; a rustling of light material 
became audible; the pattering of sandals might be 
heard together with the dull sound of naked feet as 
they were set down on the wood;— and here and 
there a tall eunuch, head and shoulders above them, 
smiled with his face in air. When the shouting of 
the men had subsided they hid their faces in their 
sleeves, and together uttered a strange cry like the 
howling of a she-wolf, and so frenzied and strident 
was it that it seemed to make the great ebony stair- 
case, with its thronging women, vibrate from top 
to bottom like a lyre. 

The wind lifted their veils, and the slender stems 
of the papyrus plants rocked gently. It was the month 
of Schebaz and the depth of winter. The flowering 
pomegranates swelled against the azure of the sky. 



and the sea appeared through the branches with an 
island in the distance half lost in the mist. 

Hamilcar stopped on perceiving Salammbô. She 
had come to him after the death of several male chil- 
dren. Moreover, the birth of daughters was consid- 
ered a calamity in the religions of the Sun. The 
gods had afterwards sent him a son; but he still felt 
something of the betrayal of his hope, and the shock, 
as it were, of the curse which he had uttered against 
her. Salammbô, however, continued to advance. 

Long bunches of various-coloured pearls fell from 
her ears to her shoulders, and as far as her elbows. 
Her hair was crisped so as to simulate a cloud. 
Round her neck she wore little quadrangular plates of 
gold, representing a woman between two rampant 
lions; and her costume was a complete reproduction 
of the equipment of the goddess. Her broad-sleeved 
hyacinth robe fitted close to her figure, widening out 
below. The vermilion on her lips gave additional 
whiteness to her teeth, and the antimony on her eye- 
lids greater length to her eyes. Her sandals, which 
were cut out in bird's plumage, had very high heels, 
and she was extraordinarily pale, doubtless on account 
of the cold. 

At last she came close to Hamilcar, and without 
looking at him, without raising her head, said to him: 

"Greeting, eye of Baalim, eternal glory! triumph! 
leisure! satisfaction! riches! Long has my heart been 
sad and the house drooping. But the returning mas- 
ter is like reviving Tammouz; and beneath your gaze, 
O father, joyfulness and a new existence will every- 
where prevail!" 

And taking from Taanach's hands a little oblong 
vase wherein smoked a mixture of meal, butter, car- 


damom, and wine: "Drink freely," said she, "of the 
returning cup, which your servant has prepared!" 

He replied: "A blessing upon you!" and he me- 
chanically grasped the golden vase which she 
held out to him. 

He scanned her, however, with such harsh atten- 
tion, that Salammbô was troubled and stammered out: 

"They have told you, O Master!" 

"Yes! I know!" said Hamilcar in a low voice. 

Was this a confession, or was she speaking of the 
Barbarians? And he added a few vague words upon 
the public embarrassments which he hoped by his 
own sole efforts to clear away. 

"O father!" exclaimed Salammbô, "you will 
not obliterate what is irreparable!" 

Then he drew back and Salammbô was astonished 
at his amazement; for she was not thinking of Car- 
thage but of the sacrilege in which she found her- 
self implicated. This man, who made legions tremble 
and whom she hardly knew, terrified her like a god; 
he had guessed, he knew all, something awful was 
about to happen. "Pardon!" she cried. 

Hamilcar slowly bowed his head. 

Although she wished to accuse herself she dared 


not open her lips; and yet she felt stifled with the 
need of complaining and being comforted. Hamilcar 
was struggling against a longing to break his oath. 
He kept it out of pride or from the dread of putting 
an end to his uncertainty; and he looked into her face 
with all his might so as to lay hold on what she 
kept concealed at the bottom of her heart. 

By degrees the panting Salammbô, crushed by such 
heavy looks, let her head sink below her shoulders. 
He was now sure that she had erred in the embrace 



af a Barbarian; he shuddered and raised both his fists. 
She uttered a shriek and fell down among her women, 
who crowded around her. 

Hamilcar turned on his heel. All the stewards fol- 
lowed him. 

The door of the emporiums was opened, and he 
entered a vast round hall from which long passages 
leading to other halls branched off like the spokes 
from the nave of a wheel. A stone disc stood in the 
centre with balustrades to support the cushions that 
were heaped up upon carpets. 

The Suffet walked at first with rapid strides; he 
breathed noisily, he struck the ground with his heel, 
and drew his hand across his forehead like a man an- 
noyed by flies. But he shook his head, and as he 
perceived the accumulation of his riches he became 
calm; his thoughts, which were attracted by the vistas 
in the passages, wandered to the other halls that were 
full of still rarer treasures. Bronze plates, silver in- 
gots, and iron bars alternated with pigs of tin brought 
from the Cassiterides over the Dark Sea; gums from 
the country of the Blacks were running over their bags 
of palm bark; and gold dust heaped up in leathern 
bottles was insensibly creeping out through the worn- 
out seams. Delicate filaments drawn from marine 
plants hung amid flax from Egypt, Greece, Taprobane 
and Judaea; madrepores bristled like large bushes at 
the foot of the walls; and an indefinable odour — the 
exhalation from perfumes, leather, spices, and ostrich 
feathers, the latter tied in great bunches at the very 
top of the vault — floated through the air. An arch 
was formed above the door before each passage with 
elephants' teeth placed upright and meeting together 
at the points. 


At last he ascended the stone disc. All the stew- 
ards stood with arms folded and heads bent while 
Abdalonim reared his pointed mitre with a haughty 

Hamilcar questioned the Chief of the Ships. He 
was an old pilot with eyelids chafed by the wind, 
and white locks fell to his hips as if dashing foam of 
the tempests had remained on his beard. 

He replied that he had sent a fleet by Gades and 
Thymiamata to try to reach Eziongaber by doub- 
ling the Southern Horn and the promontory of Aro- 

Others had advanced continuously towards the west 
for four moons without meeting with any shore; but 
the ships' prows became entangled in weeds, the 
horizon echoed continually with the noise of cataracts, 
blood-coloured mists darkened the sun, a perfume- 
laden breeze lulled the crews to sleep; and their mem- 
ories were so disturbed that they were now unable to 
tell anything. However, expeditions had ascended the 
rivers of the Scythians, had made their way into Col- 
chis, and into the countries of the Jugrians and of 
the Estians, had carried off fifteen hundred maidens in 
the Archipelago, and sunk all the strange vessels sail- 
ing beyond Cape Oestrymon, so that the secret of the 
routes should not be known. King Ptolemaeus was 
detaining the incense from Schesbar; Syracuse, Elathia, 
Corsica, and the islands had furnished nothing, and the 
old pilot lowered his voice to announce that a trireme 
was taken at Rusicada by the Numidians, — "for they 
are with them, Master." 

Hamilcar knit his brows; then he signed to the 
Chief of the Journeys to speak. This functionary was 
enveloped in a brown, ungirdled robe, and had his 


head covered with a long scarf of white stuff which 
passed along the edge of his lips and fell upon his 
shoulder behind. 

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

Hamilcar understood; the Mercenaries were in oc- 
cupation of the country. He leaned upon his other 
elbow with a hollow groan; and the Chief of the 
Farms was so afraid to speak that he trembled hor- 
ribly in spite of his thick shoulders and his big red 
eyeballs. His face, which was as snub-nosed as a 
mastiff's, was surmounted by a net woven of threads 


of bark; he wore a waist-belt of hairy leopard's ski», 
wherein gleamed two formidable cutlasses. 

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

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

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

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

"Be silent! Am I a pauper, then? No lies! speak 
the truth! I wish to know all that I have lost to the 
last shekel, to the last cab! Abdalonim, bring me 


the accounts of the ships, of the caravans, of the 
farms, of the house! And if your consciences are not 
clear, woe be on your heads! Go out!" 

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

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

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

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

Abdalonim hesitated in surprise at such generosity. 

Hamilcar snatched the strips of linen from his 

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

The Steward of the stewards, after a long salu- 
tation, resumed: 

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


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

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

"Enough! What have you paid?" 

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

"I know! How many lost?" 

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

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


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

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

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

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

"Rise!" said he; and he descended. 

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

"You see, Eye of Baal," said the servant, trem- 
bling, "they have not taken everything yet! 2nd these 



are each fifty cubits deep and filled up to the brim! 
During your voyage I had them dug out in the 
arsenals, in the gardens, everywhere! your house is 
full of corn as your heart is of wisdom." 

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

Then when they were at the extremity of the pas- 
sage, Abdalonim, with one of the keys hanging at 
his girdle, opened a large quadrangular chamber 
divided in the centre by pillars of cedar. Gold, 
silver, and brass coins were arranged on tables or 
packed into niches, and rose as high as the joists of 
the roof along the four walls. In the corners there 
were huge baskets of hippopotamus skin supporting 
whole rows of smaller bags; there were hillocks 
formed of heaps of bullion on the pavement; and 
here and there a pile that was too high had given 
way and looked like a ruined column. The large 
Carthaginian pieces, representing Tanith with a horse 
beneath a palm-tree, mingled with those from the 
colonies, which were marked with a bull, star, globe, 
or crescent. Then there might be seen pieces of all 
values, dimensions, and ages arranged in unequal 
amounts — from the ancient coins of Assyria, slender 
as the nail, to the ancient ones of Latium, thicker 
than the hand, with the buttons of Egina, the tablets 
of Bactriana, and the short bars of Lacedaemon; many 
were covered with rust, or had grown greasy, or, 
having been taken in nets or from among the ruins 
of captured cities, were green with the water or 


blackened by fire. The Suffet had very speedily cal- 
culated whether the sums present corresponded with 
the gains and losses which had just been read to 
him; and he was going away when he perceived 
three brass jars completely empty. Abdalonim turned 
away his head to mark his horror, and Hamilcar, re- 
signing himself to it, said nothing. 

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

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

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

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


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

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

The fires from the stones and the flames from 
the lamp were mirrored in the great golden shields. 
Hamilcar stood smiling with folded arms, and was 



less delighted by the sight of his riches than by the 
consciousness of their possession. They were inac- 
cessible, exhaustless, infinite. His ancestors sleeping 
beneath his feet transmitted something of their eter- 
nity to his heart. He felt very near to the subterranean 
deities. It was as the joy of one of the Kabiri; and 
the great luminous rays striking upon his face looked 
like the extremity of an invisible net linking him 
across the abysses with the centre of the world. 

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

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

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

Along the walls of the circular gallery, from 
which the passages branched off, were piled little 


beams of algummim, bags of Lawsonia, cakes of 
Lemnos-earth, and tortoise carapaces filled with 
pearls. The SufTet brushed them with his robe as he 
passed without even looking at some gigantic pieces 
of amber, an almost divine material formed by the 
rays of the sun. 

A cloud of odourous vapour burst forth. 

"Push open the door!" 

They went in. 

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

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

To show his vigilance the Chief of the Odours 
offered the SufTet a little malobathrum to taste in an 
electrum spoon; then he pierced three Indian bezoars 
with an awl. The master, who knew the artifices 
employed, took a horn full of balm, and after hold- 
ing it near the coals inclined it over his robe. A 
brown spot appeared; it was a fraud. Then he 
gazed fixedly at the Chief of the Odours, and with- 


out saying anything flung the gazelle's horn full in 
his face. 

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

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

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

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

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

He went to the other side of the gardens to make 
an inspection in their cottages, of the domestic 
artisans whose productions were sold. There were 
tailors embroidering cloaks, others making ne\;>, 


others painting cushions or cutting out sandals, and 
Egyptian workmen polished papyrus with a shell, 
while the weavers' shuttles rattled and the armourers* 
anvils rang. 

Hamilcar said to them: 

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

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

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

At every step he discovered some new disaster, 
some further proof of the thing which he had forbid- 
den himself to learn. Here he was soiling his purple 
boots as he crushed the filth under-foot; and he had 
not all these men before him at the end of a catapult 
to make them fly into fragments! He felt humiliated 



at having defended them; it was a delusion and a 
piece of treachery; and as he could not revenge him- 
self upon the soldiers, or the Ancients, or Salammbô, 
or anybody, and his wrath required some victim, he 
condemned all the slaves of the gardens to the mines 
at a single stroke. 

Abdalonim shuddered each time that he saw him ap- 
proaching the parks. But Hamilcar took the path to- 
wards the mill, from which there might be heard 
issuing a mournful melopœia. 

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

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

He asked for Giddenem, the governor of the slaves, 
and that personage appeared, his rank being displayed 


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

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

"You are weakening them! " said the Suflet. 

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

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

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

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

He was astonished that the children were so few. 
"The house ought to have births every year, Gidde- 


nem. You will leave the huts open every night to 
let them mingle freely." 

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

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

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

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

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

" Away with him!" 

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

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

"Who cut off your arm?" 

"The soldiers, Eye of Baal." 

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

"And you, who did that to you?" 

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

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

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


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

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

''Bring them here!" he cried; "and brand them 
on the forehead with red-hot irons as cowards 1" 

Then they brought and spread out in the middle 
of the garden, fetters, carcanets, knives, chains for 
those condemned to the mines, cippi for fastening the 
legs, numellae for confining the shoulders, and scor- 
pions or whips with triple thongs terminating in brass 

All were placed facing the sun, in the direction of 
Moloch the Devourer, and were stretched on the 
ground on their stomachs or on their backs, those, 
however, who were sentenced to be flogged standing 
upright against the trees with two men beside them, 
one counting the blows and the other striking. 

In striking he used both his arms, and the whis- 
tling thongs made the bark of the plane-trees fly. 
The blood was scattered like rain upon the foliage, 
and red masses writhed with howls at the foot of 
the trees. Those who were under the iron tore their 
faces with their nails. The wooden screws could be 


heard creaking; dull knockings resounded; sometimes 
a sharp cry would suddenly pierce the air. In the 
direction of the kitchens, men were brisking up burn- 
ing coals with fans amid tattered garments and scat- 
tered hair, and a smell of burning flesh was perceptible. 
Those who were under the scourge, swooning, but 
kept in their positions by the bonds on their arms, 
rolled their heads upon their shoulders and closed 
their eyes. The others who were watching them be- 
gan to shriek with terror, and the lions, remembering 
the feast perhaps, stretched themselves out yawning 
against the edge of the dens. 

Then Salammbô was seen on the platform of her 
terrace. She ran wildly about it from left to right. 
Hamilcar perceived her. It seemed to him that she 
was holding up her arms towards him to ask for 
pardon; with a gesture of horror he plunged into the 
elephants' park. 

These animals were the pride of the great Punic 
houses. They had carried their ancestors, had tri- 
umphed in the wars, and they were reverenced as 
being the favourites of the Sun. 

Those of Megara were the strongest in Carthage. 
Before he went away Hamilcar had required Abda- 
lonim to swear that he would watch over them. 
But they had died from their mutilations; and only 
three remained, lying in the middle of the court in 
the dust before the ruins of their manger. 

They recognised him and came up to him. 

One had its ears horribly slit, another had a large 
wound in its knee, while the trunk of the third was 

cut off. 

They looked sadly at him, like reasonable crea- 
tures; and the one that had lost its trunk tried by 


stooping its huge head and bending its hams to 
stroke him softly with the hideous extremity of its 

At this caress from the animal two tears started 
into his eyes. He rushed ;;t Abdalonim. 

"Ah. wretch! the cross! the cross!" 

Abdalonim fell back swooning upon the ground. 

The bark of a jackal rang aom behind the pur- 
ple factories, the blue smoke of which was ascend- 
ing slowly into the sky; Hamilcar paused. 

The thought of his son had suddenly calmed him 
like the touch of a god. He caught a glimpse of a 
prolongation of his might, an indefinite continuation 
of his personality, and the slaves could not under- 
stand whence this appeasement had come upon him. 

As he bent his steps towards the purple factories 
he passed before the ergastulum, which was a long 
house of black stone built in a square pit with a 
small pathway all round it and four staircases at the 

Iddibal was doubtless waiting until the night to 
finish his signal. "There is no hurry yet," thought 
Hamilcar; and he went down into the prison. Some 
cried out to him: "Return;" the boldest followed 

The open door was flapping in the wind. The 
twilight entered through the narrow loopholes, and 
in the interior broken chains could be distinguished 
hanging from the walls. 

This was all that remained of the captives of war! 

Then Hamilcar grew extraordinarily pale, and those 
who were leaning over the pit outside saw him rest- 
ing one hand against the wall to keep himself from 



But the jackal uttered its cry three times in suc- 
cession. Hamilcar raised his head; he did not speak 
a word nor make a gesture. Then when the sun 
had completely set he disappeared behind the nopal 
hedge, and in the evening he said as he entered the 
assembly of the rich in the temple of Eschmoun : 

" Luminaries of the Baalim, I accept the com- 
mand of the Punic forces against the army of the 


The Battle of the Macaras. 

N THE following day he drew two 
hundred and twenty-three thou- 
sand kikars of gold from the Sys- 
sitia, and decreed a tax of fourteen 
shekels upon the rich. Even 
the women contributed; payment 
was made in behalf of the children, and he com- 
pelled the colleges of priests to furnish money — a 
monstrous thing, according to Carthaginian customs. 
He demanded all the horses, mules, and arms. A 
few tried to conceal their wealth, and their property 
was sold; and, to intimidate the avarice of the rest, 
he himself gave sixty suits of armour, and fifteen 
hundred gomers of meal, which was as much as was 
given by the Ivory Company. 

He sent into Liguria to buy soldiers, three thou- 
sand mountaineers accustomed to fight with bears; 
they were paid for six moons in advance at the rate 
of four minae a day. 

Nevertheless an army was wanted. But he did 
not, like Hanno, accept all the citizens. First he re- 
jected those engaged in sedentary occupations, and 


then those who were big-bellied or had a pusillani- 
mous look; and he admitted those of ill-repute, the 
scum of Malqua, sons of Barbarians, freed men. For 
reward he promised some of the New Carthaginians 
complete rights of citizenship. 

His first care was to reform the Legion. These 
handsome young fellows, who regarded themselves as 
the military majesty of the Republic, governed them- 
selves. He reduced their officers to the ranks; he 
treated them harshly, made them run, leap, ascend 
the declivity of the Byrsa at a single burst, hurl 
javelins, wrestle together, and sleep in the squares at 
night. Their families used to come to see them and 
pity them. 

He ordered shorter swords and stronger buskins. 
He fixed the number of serving-men, and reduced the 
amount of baggage; and as there were three hundred 
Roman pila kept in the temple of Moloch, he took 
them in spite of the pontiff's protests. 

He organised a phalanx of seventy-two elephants 
with those which had returned from Utica, and others 
which were private property, and rendered them 
formidable. He armed their drivers with mallet and 
chisel to enable them to split their skulls in the fight 
if they ran away. 

He would not allow his generals to be nominated 
by the Grand Council. The Ancients tried to urge 
the laws in objection, but he set them aside; no one 
ventured to murmur again, and everything yielded to 
the violence of his genius. 

He assumed sole charge of the war, the govern- 
ment, and the finances; and as a precaution against 
accusations he demanded the SufTet Hanno as ex- 
aminer of his accounts. 
.*— 17 


He set to work upon the ramparts, and had the 
old and now useless inner walls demolished in order 
to furnish stones. But difference of fortune, replacing 
the hierarchy of race, still kept the sons of the van- 
quished and those of the conquerors apart; thus the 
patricians viewed the destruction of these ruins with 
an angry eye, while the plebeians, scarcely knowing 
why, rejoiced. 

The troops defiled under arms through the streets 
from morning till night; every moment the sound of 
trumpets was heard; chariots passed bearing shields, 
tents, and pikes; the courts were full of women en- 
gaged in tearing up linen; the enthusiasm spread 
from one to another, and Hamilcar's soul filled the 

He had divided his soldiers into even numbers, 
being careful to place a strong man and a weak one 
alternately throughout the length of his files, so that 
he who was less vigorous or more cowardly might 
be at once led and pushed forward by two others. 
But with his three thousand Ligurians, and the best 
in Carthage, he could form only a simple phalanx of 
four thousand and ninety-six hoplites, protected by 
bronze helmets, and handling ashen sarissae fourteen 
cubits long. 

There were two thousand young men, each 
equipped with a sling, a dagger, and sandals. He 
reinforced them with eight hundred others armed 
with round shields and Roman swords. 

The heavy cavalry was composed of the nineteen 
hundred remaining guardsmen of the Legion, covered 
with plates of vermilion bronze, like the Assyrian 
Clinabarians. He had further four hundred mounted 
archers, of those that were called Tarentines, with 


caps of weasel's skin, two-edged axes, and leathern 
tunics. Finally there were twelve hundred Negroes 
from the quarter of the caravans, who were mingled 
with the Clinabarians, and were to run beside the 
stallions with one hand resting on the manes. All 
was ready, and yet Hamilcar did not start. 

Often at night he would go out of Carthage alone 
and make his way beyond the lagoon towards the 
mouths of the Macaras. Did he intend to join the 
Mercenaries? The Ligurians encamped in the Map- 
palian district surrounded his house. 

The apprehensions of the rich appeared justified 
when, one day, three hundred Barbarians were seen 
approaching the walls. The SufTet opened the gates 
to them; they were deserters; drawn by fear or by 
fidelity, they were hastening to their master. 

Hamilcar's return had not surprised the Mercena- 
ries; according to their ideas the man could not die. 
He was returning to fulfil his promise; — a hope by 
no means absurd, so deep was the abyss between 
Country and Army. Moreover they did not believe 
themselves culpable; the feast was forgotten. 

The spies whom they surprised undeceived them. 
It was a triumph for the bitter; even the lukewarm 
grew furious. Then the two sieges overwhelmed 
them with weariness; no progress was being made; 
a battle would be better! Thus many men had left 
the ranks and were scouring the country. But at 
news of the arming they returned; Matho leaped for 
joy. "At last! at last!" he cried. 

Then the resentment which he cherished against 
Salammbô was turned against Hamilcar. His hate 
could now perceive a definite prey; and as his venge- 
ance grew easier of conception he almost believed 


that he had realised it and he revelled in it already. 
At the same time he was seized with a loftier tender- 
ness, and consumed by more acrid desire. He saw 
himself alternately in the midst of the soldiers bran- 
dishing the Suffet's head on a pike, and then in the 
room with the purple bed, clasping the maiden in his 
arms, covering her face with kisses, passing his 
hands over her long, black hair; and the imagination 
of this, which he knew could never be realised, tor- 
tured him. He swore to himself that, since his com- 
panions had appointed him schalishim, he would 
conduct the war; the certainty that he would not re- 
turn from it urged him to render it a pitiless one. 

He came to Spendius and said to him: 

"You will go and get your men! ! will bring 
mine! Warn Autaritus! We are lost if Hamilcar at- 
tacks us! Do you understand me? Rise!" 

Spendius was stupefied before such an air of 
authority. Matho usually allowed himself to be led, 
and his previous transports had quickly passed away. 
But just now he appeared at once calmer and more 
terrible; a superb will gleamed in his eyes like the 
flame of sacrifice. 

The Greek did not listen to his reasons. He was 
living in one of the Carthaginian pearl-bordered tents, 
drinking cool beverages from silver cups, playing at 
the cottabos, letting his hair grow, and conducting 
the siege with slackness. Moreover, he had entered 
into communications with some in the town and 
would not leave, being sure that it would open its 
gates before many days were over. 

Narr' Havas, who wandered about among the 
three armies, was at that time with him. He sup- 
ported his opinion, and even blamed the Libyan for 


wishing in his excess of courage to abandon their 

"Go, if you are afraid!" exclaimed Matho; "you 
promised us pitch, sulphur, elephants, foot-soldiers, 
horses! where are they?" 

Narr' Havas reminded him that he had exterminated 
Hanno's last cohorts; — as to the elephants, they were 
being hunted in the woods, he was arming the foot- 
soldiers, the horses were on their way; and the 
Numidian rolled his eyes like a woman and smiled 
in an irritating manner as he stroked the ostrich 
feather which fell upon his shoulder. In his presence 
Matho was at a loss for a reply. 

But a man who was a stranger entered, wet with 
perspiration, scared, and with bleeding feet and 
loosened girdle; his breathing shook his lean sides 
enough to have burst them, and speaking in an un- 
intelligible dialect he opened his eyes wide as if he 
were telling of some battle. The king sprang out- 
side and called his horsemen. 

They ranged themselves in the plain before him 
in the form of a circle. Narr' Havas, who was 
mounted, bent his head and bit his lips. At last he 
separated his men into two equal divisions, and told 
the first to wait; then with an imperious gesture he 
carried off the others at a gallop and disappeared on 
the horizon in the direction of the mountains. 

"Master!" murmured Spendius, "I do not like 
these extraordinary chances — the SufTet returning, 
Narr' Havas going away " 

"Why! what does it matter?" said Matho dis- 

It was a reason the more for anticipating Hamil- 
car by uniting with Autaritus. But if the siege of the 


towns were raised, the inhabitants would come out 
and attack them in the rear, while they would have 
the Carthaginians in front. After much talking the 
following measures were resolved upon and immedi- 
ately executed. 

Spendius proceeded with fifteen thousand men as 
far as the bridge built across the Macaras, three miles 
from Utica; the corners of it were fortified with four 
huge towers provided with catapults; all the paths 
and gorges in the mountains were stopped up with 
trunks of trees, pieces of rock, interlacings of thorn, 
and stone walls; on the summits heaps of grass were 
made which might be lighted as signals, and shep- 
herds who were able to see at a distance were posted 
at intervals. 

No doubt Hamilcar would not, like Hanno, ad- 
vance by the mountain of the Hot Springs. He would 
think that Autaritus, being master of the. interior, 
would close the route against him. Moreover, a 
check at the opening of the campaign would ruin 
him, while if he gained a victory he would soon 
have to make a fresh beginning, the Mercenaries be- 
ing further off. Again, he could disembark at Cape 
Grapes and march thence upon one of the towns. 
But he would then find himself between the two 
armies, an indiscretion which he could not commit 
with his scanty forces. Accordingly he must pro- 
ceed along the base of Mount Ariana, then turn to 
the left to avoid the mouths of the Macaras, and 
come straight to the bridge. It was there that Matho 
expected him. 

At night he used to inspect the pioneers by torch- 
light. He would hasten to Hippo-Zarytus or to the 
works on the mountains, would come back again, 



would never rest. Spendius envied his energy; but 
in the management of spies, the choice of sentries, 
the working of the engines and all means of defence, 
Matho listened docilely to his companion. They spoke 
no more of Salammbô, — one not thinking about her, 
and the other being prevented by a feeling of shame. 

Often he would go towards Carthage, striving to 
catch sight of Hamilcar's troops. His eyes would 
dart along the horizon; he would lie flat on the 
ground, and believe that he could hear an army in 
the throbbing of his arteries. 

He told Spendius that if Hamilcar did not arrive 
within three days he would go with all his men to 
meet him and offer him battle. Two further days 
elapsed. Spendius restrained him; but on the morn- 
ing of the sixth day he departed. 

The Carthaginians were no less impatient for war 
than the Barbarians. In tents and in houses there 
was the same longing and the same distress; all were 
asking one another what was delaying Hamilcar. 

From time to time he would mount to the cupola 
of the temple of Eschmoun beside the Announcer of 
the Moons and take note of the wind. 

One day — it was the third of the month of Tibby 
— they saw him descending from the Acropolis 
with hurried steps. A great clamour arose in the 
Mappalian district. Soon the streets were astir, and 
the soldiers were everywhere beginning to arm sur- 
rounded by weeping women who threw themselves 
upon their breasts; then they ran quickly to the 
square of Khamon to take their places in the ranks. 
No one was allowed to follow them or even to speak 
to them, or to approach the ramparts; for some min- 


utes the whole town was as silent as a great tomb. 
The soldiers as they leaned on their lances were 
thinking, and the others in the houses were sigh- 

At sunset the army went out by the western gate; 
but instead of taking the road to Tunis or making for 
the mountains in the direction of Utica, they continued 
their march along the edge of the sea; and they soon 
reached the Lagoon, where round spaces quite 
whitened with salt glittered like gigantic silver dishes 
forgotten on the shore. 

Then the pools of water multiplied. The ground 
gradually became softer, and the feet sank in it. 
Hamilcar did not turn back. He went on still at 
their head; and his horse, which was yellow-spotted 
like a dragon, advanced into the mire flinging froth 
around him, and with great straining of the loins. 
Night — a moonless night — fell. A few cried out that 
they were about to perish; he snatched their arms 
from them, and gave them to the serving-men. 
Nevertheless the mud became deeper and deeper. 
Some had to mount the beasts of burden; others 
clung to the horses' tails; the sturdy pulled the weak, 
and the Ligurian corps drove on the infantry with 
the points of their pikes. The darkness increased. 
They had lost their way. All stopped. 

Then some of the Suffet's slaves went on ahead 
to look for the buoys which had been placed at in- 
tervals by his order. They shouted through the 
darkness, and the army followed them at a distance. 

At last they felt the resistance of the ground. 
Then a whitish curve became dimly visible, and they 
found themselves on the bank of the Macaras. In 
spite of the cold no fires were lighted 


In the middle of the night squalls of wind arose. 
Hamilcar had the soldiers roused, but not a trumpet 
was sounded: their captains tapped them softly on 
the shoulder. 

A man of lofty stature went down into the water. 
It did not come up to his girdle; it was possible to 

The Suffet ordered thirty-two of the elephants to 
be posted in the river a hundred paces further on, 
while the others, lower down, would check the lines 
of men that were carried away by the current; and 
holding their weapons above their heads they all 
crossed the Macaras as though between two walls. 
He had noticed that the western wind had driven the 
sand so as to obstruct the river and form a natural 
causeway across it. 

He was now on the left bank in front of Utica, 
and in a vast plain, the latter being advantageous for 
his elephants, which formed the strength of his army. 

This feat of genius filled the soldiers with en- 
thusiasm. They recovered extraordinary confidence. 
They wished to hasten immediately against the Bar- 
barians; but the Suffet made them rest for two hours. 
As soon as the sun appeared they moved into the 
plain in three lines — first came the elephants, and 
then the light infantry with the cavalry behind it, the 
phalanx marching next. 

The Barbarians encamped at Utica, and the fifteen 
thousand about the bridge were surprised to see the 
ground undulating in the distance. The wind, which 
was blowing very hard, was driving tornadoes of 
sand before it; they rose as though snatched from 
the soil, ascended in great light-coloured strips, then 
parted asunder and began again, hiding the Punic 


army the while from the Mercenaries. Owing to the 
horns, which stood up on the edge of the helmets, 
some thought that they could perceive a herd of oxen ; 
others, deceived by the motion of the cloaks, pre- 
tended that they could distinguish wings, and those 
who had travelled a good deal shrugged their shoul- 
ders and explained everything by the illusions of the 
mirage. Nevertheless something of enormous size 
continued to advance. Little vapours, as subtle as 
the breath, ran across the surface of the desert; the 
sun, which was higher now, shone more strongly: a 
harsh light, which seemed to vibrate, threw back the 
depths of the sky, and permeating objects, rendered 
distance incalculable. The immense plain expanded in 
every direction beyond the limits of vision; and the 
almost insensible undulations of the soil extended to 
the extreme horizon, which was closed by a great 
blue line which they knew to be the sea. The two 
armies, having left their tents, stood gazing; the 
people of Utica were massing on the ramparts to 
have a better view. 

At last they distinguished several transverse bars 
bristling with level points. They became thicker, 
larger; black hillocks swayed to and fro; square 
thickets suddenly appeared; they were elephants and 
lances. A single shout went up: "The Carthagin- 
ians!" and without signal or command the soldiers 
at Utica and those at the bridge ran pell-mell to fall 
in a body upon Hamilcar. 

Spendius shuddered at the name. "Hamilcar! 
Hamilcar!" he repeated, panting, and Matho was not 
there ) What was to be done? No means of flight! 
The suddenness of the event, his terror of the Suffet, 
and above all, the urgent need of forming an im- 


mediate resolution, distracted him; he could see him- 
self pierced by a thousand swords, decapitated, dead. 
Meanwhile he was being called for; thirty thousand 
men would follow him; he was seized with fury 
against himself; he fell back upon the hope of 
victory; it was full of bliss, and he believed himself 
more intrepid than Epaminondas. He smeared his 
cheeks with vermilion in order to conceal his pale- 
ness, then he buckled on his knemids and his cuirass, 
swallowed a patera of pure wine, and ran after his 
troops, who were hastening towards those from 

They united so rapidly that the Suffet had not time 
to draw up his men in battle array. By degrees he 
slackened his speed. The elephants stopped; they 
rocked their heavy heads with their chargings of 
ostrich feathers, striking their shoulders the while 
with their trunks. 

Behind the intervals between them might be seen 
the cohorts of the velites, and further on the great 
helmets of the Clinabarians, with steel heads glancing 
in the sun, cuirasses, plumes, and waving standards. 
But the Carthaginian army, which amounted to eleven 
thousand three hundred and ninety-six men, seemed 
scarcely to contain them, for it formed an oblong, 
narrow at the sides and pressed back upon itself. 

Seeing them so weak, the Barbarians, who were 
thrice as numerous, were seized with extravagant joy. 
Hamilcar was not to be seen. Perhaps he had re- 
mained down yonder? Moreover what did it matter? 
The disdain which they felt for these traders strength- 
ened their courage; and before Spendius could com- 
mand a manœuvre they had all understood it, and 
already executed it. 


They deployed in a long, straight line, overlapping 
the wings of the Punic army in order to completely 
encompass it. But when there was an interval of 
only three hundred paces between the armies, the ele- 
phants turned round instead of advancing; then the 
Clinabarians were seen to face about and follow them; 
and the surprise of the Mercenaries increased when 
they saw the archers running to join them. So the 
Carthaginians were afraid, they were fleeing! A tremen- 
dous hooting broke out from among the Barbarian 
troops, and Spendius exclaimed from the top of his 
dromedary: "Ah! I knew it! Forward! forward!" 

Then javelins, darts, and sling-bullets burst forth 
simultaneously. The elephants feeling their croups 
stung by the arrows began to gallop more quickly; a 
great dust enveloped them, and they vanished like 
shadows in a cloud. 

But from the distance there came a loud noise of 
footsteps dominated by the shrill sound of the trum- 
pets, which were being blown furiously. The space 
which the Barbarians had in front of them, which 
was full of eddies and tumult, attracted like a whirl- 
pool; some dashed into it. Cohorts of infantry ap- 
peared; they closed up; and at the same time all the 
rest saw the foot-soldiers hastening up with the 
horsemen at a gallop. 

Hamilcar had, in fact, ordered the phalanx to break 
its sections, and the elephants, light troops, and cav- 
alry to pass through the intervals so as to bring them- 
selves speedily upon the wings, and so well had he 
calculated the distance from the Barbarians, that at the 
moment when they reached him, the entire Cartha- 
ginian army formed one long straight line. 

In the centre bristled the phalanx, formed of syn- 



tagmata or full squares having sixteen men on each 
side. All the leaders of all the files appeared amid 
long, sharp lanceheads, which jutted out unevenly 
around them, tor the first six ranks crossed their 
sarissae, holding them in the middle, and the ten lower 
ranks rested them upon the shoulders of their com- 
panions in succession before them. Their faces were all 
half hidden beneath the visors of their helmets; their 
right legs were all covered with bronze knemids; 
broad cylindrical shields reached down to their knees; 
and the horrible quadrangular mass moved in a single 
body, and seemed to live like an animal and work 
like a machine. Two cohorts of elephants flanked it 
in regular array; quivering, they shook off the splin- 
ters of the arrows that clung to their black skins. The 
Indians, squatting on their withers among the tufts of 
white feathers, restrained them with their spoon- 
headed harpoons, while the men in the towers, who 
were hidden up to their shoulders, moved about iron 
distaffs furnished with lighted tow on the edges of 
their large bended bows. Right and left of the elephants 
hovered the slingers, each with a sling around his 
loins, a second on his head, and a third in his right 
hand. Then came the Clinabarians, each flanked by 
a negro, and pointing their lances between the ears of 
their horses, which, like themselves, were completely 
covered with gold. Afterwards, at intervals, came 
the light-armed soldiers with shields of lynx skin, 
beyond which projected the points of the javelins 
which they held in their left hands; while the Taren- 
tines, each having two coupled horses, relieved this 
wall of soldiers at its two extremities. 

The army of the Barbarians, on the contrary, had 
not been able to preserve its line. Undulations and 


blanks were to be found through its extravagant 
length; all were panting and out of breath with their 

The phalanx moved heavily along with thrusts 
from all its sarissae; and the too slender line of the 
Mercenaries soon yielded in the centre beneath the 
enormous weight. 

Then the Carthaginian wings expanded in order to 
fall upon them, the elephants following. The phalanx, 
with obliquely pointed lances, cut through the Bar- 
barians; there were two enormous, struggling bodies; 
and the wings with slings and arrows beat them back 
upon the phalangites. There was no cavalry to get 
rid of them, except two hundred Numidians operating 
against the right squadron of the Clinabarians. All 
the rest were hemmed in, and unable to extricate 
themselves from the lines. The peril was imminent, 
and the need of coming to some resolution urgent. 

Spendius ordered attacks to be made simultaneously 
on both flanks of the phalanx so as to pass clean 
through it. But the narrower ranks glided below the 
longer ones and recovered their position, and the pha- 
lanx turned upon the Barbarians as terrible in flank as 
it had just been in front 

They struck at the staves of the sarissae, but the 
cavalry in the rear embarrassed their attack; and the 
phalanx, supported by the elephants, lengthened and 
contracted, presenting itself in the form of a square, a 
cone, a rhombus, a trapezium, a pyramid. A twofold 
internal movement went on continually from its head 
to its rear; for those who were at the lowest part of 
the files hastened up to the first ranks, while the lat- 
ter, from fatigue, or on account of the wounded, fell 
further back. The Barbarians found themselves thronged 


upon the phalanx. It was impossible for it to ad- 
vance; there was, as it were, an ocean wherein leaped 
red crests and scales of brass, while the bright shields 
rolled like silver foam. Sometimes broad currents 
would descend from one extremity to the other, and 
then go up again, while a heavy mass remained 
motionless in the centre. The lances dipped and 
rose alternately. Elsewhere there was so quick a play 
of naked swords that only the points were visible, 
while turmse of cavalry formed wide circles which 
closed again like whirlwinds behind them. 

Above the voices of the captains, the ringing of 
clarions and the grating of lyres, bullets of lead and 
almonds of clay whistled through the air, dashing the 
sword from the hand or the brain out of the skull. 
The wounded, sheltering themselves with one arm be- 
neath their shields, pointed their swords by resting 
the pommels upon the ground, while others, lying in 
pools of blood, would turn and bite the heels of those 
above them. The multitude was so compact, the dust 
so thick, and the tumult so great that it was impos- 
sible to distinguish anything; the cowards who offered 
to surrender were not even heard. Those whose 
hands were empty clasped one another close; breasts 
cracked against cuirasses, and corpses hung with head 
thrown back between a pair of contracted arms. 
There was a company of sixty Umbrians who, firm 
on their hams, their pikes before their eyes, immova- 
ble and grinding their teeth, forced two syntagmata to 
recoil simultaneously. Some Epirôte shepherds ran 
upon the left squadron of the Clinabarians, and whirl- 
ing their staves, seized the horses by the mane; the 
animals threw their riders and fled across the plain. 
The Punic slingers scattered here and there stood gap- 


ing. The phalanx began to waver, the captains ran 
to and fro in distraction, the rearmost in the files 
were pressing upon the soldiers, and the Barbarians 
had re-formed; they were recovering; the victory was 

But a cry, a terrible cry broke forth, a roar of pain 
and wrath: it came from the seventy-two elephants 
which were rushing on in double line, Hamilcar hav- 
ing waited until the Mercenaries were massed together 
in one spot to let them loose against them; the Indi- 
ans had goaded them so vigorously that blood was 
trickling down their broad ears. Their trunks, which 
were smeared with minium, were stretched straight 
out in the air like red serpents; their breasts were fur- 
nished with spears and their backs with cuirasses; 
their tusks were lengthened with steel blades curved 
like sabres, — and to make them more ferocious they 
had been intoxicated with a mixture of pepper, wine, 
and incense. They shook their necklaces of bells, and 
shrieked; and the elephantarchs bent their heads be- 
neath the stream of phalaricas which was beginning to 
fly from the tops of the towers. 

In order to resist them the better the Barbarians 
rushed forward in a compact crowd; the elephants 
flung themselves impetuously upon the centre of it. 
The spurs on their breasts, like ships' prows, clove 
through the cohorts, which flowed surging back. 
They stifled the men with their trunks, or else 
snatching them up from the ground delivered them 
over their heads to the soldiers in the towers; with 
their tusks they disembowelled them, and hurled 
them into the air, and long entrails hung from their 
ivory fangs like bundles of ropes from a mast. The 
Barbarians strove to blind them, to hamstring them; 


others would slip beneath their bodies, bury a sword 
in them up to the hilt, and perish crushed to death; 
the most intrepid clung to their straps; they would 
go on sawing the leather amid flames, bullets, and 
arrows, and the wicker tower would fall like a tower 
of stone. Fourteen of the animals on the extreme 
right, irritated by their wounds, turned upon the sec- 
ond rank; the Indians seized mallet and chisel, ap- 
plied the latter to a joint in the head, and with all 
their might struck a great blow. 

Down sank the huge beasts, falling one above 
another. It was like a mountain; and upon the heap 
of dead bodies and armour a monstrous elephant, 
called "The Fury of Baal," which had been caught 
by the leg in some chains, stood howling until the 
evening with an arrow in its eye. 

The others, however, like conquerors, delighting 
in extermination, overthrew, crushed, stamped, and 
raged against the corpses and the débris. To repel 
the maniples in serried circles around them, they 
turned about on their hind feet as they advanced, 
with a continual rotatory motion. The Carthagini- 
ans felt their energy increase, and the battle began 

The Barbarians were growing weak; some Greek 
hoplites threw away their arms, and terror seized 
upon the rest. Spendius was seen stooping upon his 
dromedary, and spurring it on the shoulders with two 
javelins. Then they all rushed away from the wings 
and ran towards Utica. 

The Clinabarians, whose horses were exhausted, 
did not try to overtake them. The Ligurians, who 
were weakened by thirst, cried out for an advance 
towards the river. But the Carthaginians, who were 

3—18 r 


posted in the centre of the syntagmata, and had suf- 
fered less, stamped their feet with longing for the 
vengeance which was flying from them; and they 
were already darting forward in pursuit of the Merce- 
naries when Hamilcar appeared. 

He held in his spotted and sweat-covered horse 
with silver reins. The bands fastened to the horns 
on his helmet flapped in the wind behind him, and 
he had placed his oval shield beneath his left thigh. 
With a motion of his triple-pointed pike he checked 
the army. 

The Tarentines leaped quickly upon their spare 
horses, and set off right and left towards the river 
and towards the town. 

The phalanx exterminated all the remaining Barba- 
rians at leisure. When the swords appeared they 
would stretch out their throats and close their eye- 
lids. Others defended themselves to the last, and 
were knocked down from a distance with flints like 
mad dogs. Hamilcar had desired the taking of pris- 
oners, but the Carthaginians obeyed him grudgingly, 
so much pleasure did they derive from plunging their 
swords into the bodies of the Barbarians. As they 
were too hot they set about their work with bare 
arms like mowers; and when they desisted to take 
breath they would follow with their eyes a horseman 
galloping across the country after a fleeing soldier. 
He would succeed in seizing him by the hair, hold 
him thus for a while, and then fell him with a blow 
of his axe. 

Night fell. Carthaginians and Barbarians had dis- 
appeared. The elephants which had taken to flight 
roamed in the horizon with their fired towers. These 
burned here and there in the darkness like beacons 



naif lost in the mist; and no movement could be dis- 
cerned in the plain save the undulation of the river, 
which was heaped with corpses, and was drifting 
them away to the sea. 

Two hours afterwards Matho arrived. He caught 
sight in the starlight of long, uneven heaps lying 
upon the ground. 

They were files of Barbarians. He stooped down; 
all were dead. He called into the distance, but no 
voice replied. 

That very morning he had left Hippo-Zarytus with 
his soldiers to march upon Carthage. At Utica the 
army under Spendius had just set out, and the in- 
habitants were beginning to fire the engines. All had 
fought desperately. But, the tumult which was going 
on in the direction of the bridge increasing in an in- 
comprehensible fashion, Matho had struck across the 
mountain by the shortest road, and as the Barbarians 
were fleeing over the plain he had encountered no- 

Facing him were little pyramidal masses rearing 
themselves in the shade, and on this side of the river 
and closer to him were motionless lights on the sur- 
face of the ground. In fact the Carthaginians had 
fallen back behind the bridge, and to deceive the 
Barbarians the SufTet had stationed numerous posts 
upon the other bank. 

Matho, still advancing, thought that he could dis- 
tinguish Punic ensigns, for horses' heads which did 
not stir appeared in the air fixed upon the tops of 
piles of staves which could not be seen; and further 
off he could hear a great clamour, a noise of songs, 
and clashing of cups. 


Then, not knowing where he was nor how to 
find Spendius, assailed with anguish, scared, and lost 
in the darkness, he returned more impetuously by 
the same road. The dawn was growing grey when 
from the top of the mountain he perceived the town 
with the carcasses of the engines blackened by the 
flames and looking like giant skeletons leaning against 
the walls. 

All was peaceful amid extraordinary silence and 
heaviness. Among his soldiers on the verge of the 
tents men were sleeping nearly naked, each upon his 
back, or with his forehead against his arm which 
was supported by his cuirass. Some were unwind- 
ing bloodstained bandages from their legs. Those 
who were doomed to die rolled their heads about 
gently; others dragged themselves along and brought 
them drink. The sentries walked up and down along 
the narrow paths in order to warm themselves, or 
stood in a fierce attitude with their faces turned to- 
wards the horizon, and their pikes on their shoulders. 
Matho found Spendius sheltered beneath a rag of 
canvas, supported by two sticks set in the ground, 
his knee in his hands and his head cast down. 

They remained for a long time without speaking. 

At last Matho murmured: ''Conquered!" 

Spendius rejoined in a gloomy voice: "Yes, con- 

And to all questions he replied by gestures of de- 

Meanwhile sighs and death-rattles reached them. 
Matho partially opened the canvas. Then the sight 
of the soldiers reminded him of another disaster on 
the same spot, and he ground his teeth: " Wretch 1 
once already " 



Spendius interrupted him: "You were not there 

"It is a curse!" exclaimed Matho. "Nevertheless, 
in the end I will get at him! I will conquer him! 

I will slay him! Ah! if I had been there! " The 

thought of having missed the battle rendered him 
even more desperate than the defeat. He snatched 
up his sword and threw it upon the ground. "But 
how did the Carthaginians beat you?" 

The former slave began to describe the manoeuvres. 
Matho seemed to see them, and he grew angry. The 
army from Utica ought to have taken Hamilcar in 
the rear instead of hastening to the bridge. 

"Ah! I know!" said Spendius. 

"You ought to have made your ranks twice as 
deep, avoided exposing the velites against the pha- 
lanx, and given free passage to the elephants. Every- 
thing might have been recovered at the last moment; 
there was no necessity to fly." 

Spendius replied: 

"I saw him pass along in his large red cloak, 
with uplifted arms and higher than the dust, like an 
eagle flying upon the flank of the cohorts; and at 
every nod they closed up or darted forward; the 
throng carried us towards each other; he looked at 
me, and I felt the cold steel as it were in my heart." 

"He selected the day, perhaps?" whispered Matho 
to himself. 

They questioned each other, trying to discover 
what it was that had brought the Suffet just when 
circumstances were most unfavourable. They went 
on to talk over the situation, and Spendius, to exten- 
uate his fault, or to revive his courage, asserted that 
some hope still remained. 


"And if there be none, it matters not!" said 
Matho; "alone, I will carry on the war!" 

"And I too!" exclaimed the Greek, leaping up; 
he strode to and fro, his eyes sparkling, and a strange 
smile wrinkling his jackal face. 

"We will make a fresh start; do not leave me 
again! I am not made for battles in the sunlight — 
the flashing of the swords troubles my sight; it is a 
disease, I lived too long in the ergastulum. But give 
me walls to scale at night, and I will enter the cita- 
dels, and the corpses shall be cold before cock-crow! 
Show me any one, anything, an enemy, a treasure, 
a woman, — a woman," he repeated, "were she a 
king's daughter, and I will quickly bring your desire 
to your feet. You reproach me for having lost the 
battle against Hanno, nevertheless I won it back 
again. Confess it! my herd of swine did more for us 
than a phalanx of Spartans." And yielding to the 
need that he felt of exalting himself and taking his 
revenge, he enumerated all that he had done for the 
cause of the Mercenaries. "It was I who urged on 
the Gaul in the Suffet's gardens! And later, at Sicca, 
I maddened them all with fear of the Republic! Gisco 
was sending them back, but I prevented the interpret- 
ers speaking. Ah! how their tongues hung out of 
their mouths! do you remember? I brought you into 
Carthage; I stole the zai'mph. I led you to her. I 
will do more yet: you shall see!" He burst out 
laughing like a madman. 

Matho regarded him with gaping eyes. He felt in 
a measure uncomfortable in the presence of this man, 
who was at once so cowardly and so terrible. 

The Greek resumed in jovial tones and cracking 
his fingers: 


"Evoe! Sun after rain! I have worked in the 
quarries, and I have drunk Massic wine beneath a 
golden awning in a vessel of my own like a Ptole- 
maeus. Calamity should help to make us cleverer. 
By dint of work we may make fortune bend. She 
loves politicians. She will yield!" 

He returned to Matho and took him by the arm. 

"Master, at present the Carthaginians are sure of 
their victory. You have quite an army which has 
not fought, and your men obey you. Place them in 
the front; mine will follow to avenge themselves. I 
have still three thousand Carians, twelve hundred 
slingers and archers, whole cohorts! A phalanx even 
might be formed; let us return!" 

Matho, who had been stunned by the disaster, had 
hitherto thought of no means of repairing it. He 
listened with open mouth, and the bronze plates 
which circled his sides rose with the leapings of his 
heart. He picked up his sword, crying: 

" Follow me; forward!" 

But when the scouts returned, they announced 
that the Carthaginian dead had been carried off, that 
the bridge was in ruins, and that Hamilcar had dis- 


In the Field. 

AMILCAR had thought that the Mer- 
cenaries would await him at Utica, 
or that they would return against 
him; and finding his forces in- 
sufficient to make or to sustain an 
attack, he had struck southwards 
along the right bank of the river, thus protecting 
himself immediately from a surprise. 

He intended first to wink at the revolt of the 
tribes and to detach them all from the cause of the 
Barbarians; then when they were quite isolated in 
the midst of the provinces he would fall upon them 
and exterminate them. 

In fourteen days he pacified the region comprised 
between Thouccaber and Utica, with the towns of 
Tignicabah, Tessourah, Vacca, and others further to 
the west. Zounghar built in the mountains, Assou- 
ras celebrated for its temple, Djeraado fertile in juni- 
pers, Thapitis, and Hagour sent embassies to him. 
The country people came with their hands full of 
provisions, implored his protection, kissed his feet 
and those of the soldiers, and complained of the Bar- 



barians. Some came to offer him bags containing 
heads of Mercenaries slain, so they said, by them- 
selves, but which they had cut off corpses; for many 
had lost themselves in their flight, and were found 
dead here and there beneath the olive trees and 
among the vines. 

On the morrow of his victory, Hamilcar, to dazzle 
the people, had sent to Carthage the two thousand 
captives taken on the battlefield. They arrived in 
long companies of one hundred men each, all 
with their arms fastened behind their backs with a 
bar of bronze which caught them at the nape of the 
neck, and the wounded, bleeding as they still were, 
running also along; horsemen followed them, driving 
them on with blows of the whip. 

Then there was a delirium of joy! People re- 
peated that there were six thousand Barbarians killed; 
the others would not hold out, and the war was fin- 
ished; they embraced one another in the streets, and 
rubbed the faces of the Pataec Gods with butter and 
cinnamomum to thank them. These, with their big 
eyes, their big bodies, and their arms raised as high 
as the shoulder, seemed to live beneath their fresh- 
ened paint, and to participate in the cheerfulness of 
the people. The rich left their doors open; the 
city resounded with the noise of the timbrels; 
the temples were illuminated every night, and the 
servants of the goddess went down to Malqua and 
set up stages of sycamore-wood at the corners of 
the cross-ways, and prostituted themselves there. 
Lands were voted to the conquerors, holocausts to 
Melkarth, three hundred gold crowns to the Suffet, 
and his partisans proposed to decree to him new 
prerogatives and honours. 


He had begged the Ancients to make overtures to 
Autaritus for exchanging all the Barbarians, if neces- 
sary, for the aged Gisco, and the other Carthaginians 
detained like him. The Libyans and Nomads com- 
posing the army under Autaritus knew scarcely any- 
thing of these Mercenaries, who were men of Italiote 
or Greek race; and the offer by the Republic of so 
many Barbarians for so few Carthaginians, showed 
that the value of the former was nothing and that of 
the latter considerable. They dreaded a snare. Au- 
taritus refused. 

Then the Ancients decreed the execution of the 
captives, although the Suffet had written to them not 
to put them to death. He reckoned upon incorpora- 
ting the best of them with his own troops and of 
thus instigating defections. But hatred swept away 
all circumspection. 

The two thousand Barbarians were tied to the 
stelae of the tombs in the Mappalian quarter; and 
traders, scullions, embroiderers, and even women, — the 
widows of the dead with their children — all who 
would, came to kill them with arrows. They aimed 
slowly at them, the better to prolong their torture, 
lowering the weapon and then raising it in turn; and 
the multitude pressed forward howling. Paralytics 
had themselves brought thither in hand-barrows; many 
took the precaution of bringing their food, and re- 
mained on the spot until the evening; others passed 
the night there. Tents had been set up in which 
drinking went on. Many gained large sums by hiring 
out bows. 

Then all these crucified corpses were left upright, 
looking like so many red statues on the tombs, and 
the excitement even spread to the people of Malqua, 


who were the descendants of the aboriginal families, 
and were usually indifferent to the affairs of their 
country. Out of gratitude for the pleasure it had 
been giving them they now interested themselves in 
its fortunes, and felt that they were Carthaginians, 
and the Ancients thought it a clever thing to have 
thus blended the entire people in a single act of ven- 

The sanction of the gods was not wanting; for 
crows alighted from all quarters of the sky. They 
wheeled in the air as they flew with loud hoarse 
cries, and formed a huge cloud rolling continually 
upon itself. It was seen from Clypea, Rhades, and 
the promontory of Hermseum. Sometimes it would 
suddenly burst asunder, its black spirals extending far 
away, as an eagle clove the centre of it, and then 
departed again; here and there on the terraces the 
domes, the peaks of the obelisks, and the pediments 
of the temples there were big birds holding human 
fragments in their reddened beaks. 

Owing to the smell the Carthaginians resigned 
themselves to unbind the corpses. A few of them 
were burnt; the rest were thrown into the sea, and 
the waves, driven by the north wind, deposited them 
on the shore at the end of the gulf before the camp 
of Autaritus. 

This punishment had no doubt terrified the Bar- 
barians, for from the top of Eschmoun they could be 
seen striking their tents, collecting their flocks, and 
hoisting their baggage upon asses, and on the evening 
of the same day the entire army withdrew. 

It was to march to and fro between the mountain 
of the Hot Springs and Hippo-Zarytus, and so debar 


the Suffet from approaching the Tyrian towns, and 
from the possibility of a return to Carthage. 

Meanwhile the two other armies were to try to 
overtake him in the south, Spendius in the east, and 
Matho in the west, in such a way that all three 
should unite to surprise and entangle him. Then they 
received a reinforcement which they had not looked 
for: Nan*' Havas reappeared with three hundred camels 
laden with bitumen, twenty-five elephants, and six 
thousand horsemen. 

To weaken the Mercenaries the Suffet had judged 
it prudent to occupy his attention at a distance in his 
own kingdom. From the heart of Carthage he had to 
come to an understanding with Masgaba, a Gaetulian 
brigand who was seeking to found an empire. 
Strengthened by Punic money, the adventurer had 
raised the Numidian States with promises of freedom. 
But Narr' Havas, warned by his nurse's son, had 
dropped into Cirta, poisoned the conquerors with the 
water of the cisterns, struck off a few heads, set all 
right again, and had just arrived against the Suffet 
more furious than the Barbarians. 

The chiefs of the four armies concerted the ar- 
rangements for the war. It would be a long one, 
and everything must be foreseen. 

It was agreed first to entreat the assistance of the 
Romans, and this mission was offered to Spendius, 
but as a fugitive he dared not undertake it. Twelve 
men from the Greek colonies embarked at Annaba in 
a sloop belonging to the Numidians. Then the chiefs 
exacted an oath of complete obedience from all the 
Barbarians. Every day the captains inspected clothes 
and boots; the sentries were even forbidden to use a 
shield, for they would often lean it against their lance 


and fall asleep as they stood; those who had any 
baggage trailing after them were obliged to get rid 
of it; everything was to be carried, in Roman fashion, 
on the back. As a precaution against the elephants 
Matho instituted a corps of cataphract cavalry, men 
and horses being hidden beneath cuirasses of hippo- 
potamus skin bristling with nails; and to protect the 
horses' hoofs boots of plaited esparto-grass were made 
for them. 

It was forbidden to pillage the villages, or to tyr- 
annise over the inhabitants who were not of Punic 
race. But as the country was becoming exhausted, 
Matho ordered the provisions to be served out to the 
soldiers individually, without troubling about the 
women. At first the men shared with them. Many 
grew weak for lack of food. It was the occasion of 
incessant quarrels and invectives, many drawing away 
the companions of the rest by the bait or even by 
the promise of their own portion. Matho commanded 
them all to be driven away pitilessly. They took 
refuge in the camp of Autaritus; but the Gaulish and 
Libyan women forced them by their outrageous treat- 
ment to depart. 

At last they came beneath the walls of Carthage to 
implore the protection of Ceres and Proserpine, for in 
Byrsa there was a temple with priests consecrated to 
these goddesses in expiation of the horrors formerly 
committed at the siege of Syracuse. The Syssitia, 
alleging their right to waifs and strays, claimed the 
youngest in order to sell them; and some fair Lace- 
daemonian women were taken by New Carthaginians 
in marriage. 

A few persisted in following the armies. They 
ran on the flank of the syntagmata by the side of 


the captains. They called to their husbands, pulled 
them by the cloak, cursed them as they beat their 
breasts,, and held out their little naked and weeping 
children at arm's length. The sight of them was un- 
manning the Barbarians; they were an embarrass- 
ment and a peril. Several times they were repulsed, 
but they came back again; Matho made the horsemen 
belonging to Narr' Havas charge them with the point 
of the lance; and on some Balearians «shouting out to 
him that they must have women, he replied: "/ 
have none!" 

Just now he was invaded by the genius of Mo- 
loch. In spite of the rebellion of his conscience, he 
performed terrible deeds, imagining that he was thus 
obeying the voice of a god. When he could not rav- 
age the fields, Matho would cast stones into them to 
render them sterile. 

He urged Autaritus and Spendius with repeated 
messages to make haste. But the SurTet's operations 
were incomprehensible. He encamped at Eidous, 
Monchar, and Tehent successively; some scouts be- 
lieved that they saw him in the neighbourhood of 
Ischiil, near the frontiers of Narr' Havas, and it was 
reported that he had crossed the river above Tebourba 
as though to return to Carthage. Scarcely was he in 
one place when he removed to another. The routes 
that he followed always remained unknown. The 
SufTet preserved his advantages without offering battle, 
and while pursued by the Barbarians seemed to be 
leading them. 

These marches and counter marches were still 
more fatiguing to the Carthaginians; and Hamilcar's 
forces, receiving no reinforcements, diminished from 
day to day. The country people were now more 


backward in bringing him in provisions. In every 
direction he encountered taciturn hesitation and hatred; 
and in spite of his entreaties to the Great Council no 
succour came from Carthage. 

It was said, perhaps it was believed, that he had 
need of none. It was a trick, or his complaints were 
unnecessary; and Hanno's partisans, in order to do 
him an ill turn, exaggerated the importance of his 
victory. The troops which he commanded he was 
welcome to; but they were not going to supply all 
his demands continually in that way. The war was 
quite burdensome enough! it had cost too much, and 
from pride the patricians belonging to his faction sup- 
ported him but slackly. 

Then Hamilcar, despairing of the Republic, took 
by force from the tribes all that he wanted for the 
war — grain, oil, wood, cattle, and men. But the in- 
habitants were not long in taking to flight. The vil- 
lages passed through were empty, and the cabins 
were ransacked without anything being discerned in 
them. The Punic army was soon encompassed by a 
terrible solitude. 

The Carthaginians, who were furious, began to 
sack the provinces; they filled up the cisterns and 
fired the houses. The sparks, being carried by the 
wind, were scattered far off, and whole forests were 
on fire on the mountains; they bordered the valleys 
with a crown of flames, and it was often necessary 
to wait in order to pass beyond them. Then the 
soldiers resumed their march over the warm ashes in 
the full glare of the sun. 

Sometimes they would see what looked like the 
eyes of a tiger cat gleaming in a bush by the side of 
the road. This was a Barbarian crouching upon his 


heels, and smeared with dust, that he might not be 
distinguished from the colour of the foliage; or per- 
haps when passing along a ravine those on the wings 
would suddenly hear the rolling of stones, and raising 
their eyes would perceive a bare-footed man bound- 
ing along through the opening of the gorge. 

Meanwhile Utica and Hippo-Zarytus were free 
since the Mercenaries were no longer besieging them. 
Hamilcar commanded them to come to his assistance. 
But not caring to compromise themselves, they an- 
swered him with vague words, with compliments 
and excuses. 

He went up again abruptly into the North, deter- 
mined to open up one of the Tyrian towns, though 
he were obliged to lay siege to it. He required a 
station on the coast, so as to be able to draw sup- 
plies and men from the islands or from Cyrene, and 
he coveted the harbour of Utica as being the nearest 
to Carthage. 

The SufTet therefore left Zouitin and turned the 
lake of Hippo-Zarytus with circumspection. But he 
was soon obliged to lengthen out his regiments into 
column in order to climb the mountain which sepa- 
rates the two valleys. They were descending at sun- 
set into its hollow, funnel-shaped summit, when they 
perceived on the level of the ground before them 
bronze she-wolves which seemed to be running across 
the grass. 

Suddenly large plumes arose and a terrible song 
burst forth, accompanied by the rhythm of flutes. It 
was the army under Spendius; for some Campanians 
and Greeks, in their execration of Carthage, had as- 
sumed the ensigns of Rome. At the same time long 
pikes, shields of leopard's skin, linen cuirasses, and 


naked shoulders were seen on the left. These were 
the Iberians under Matho, the Lusitanians, Balearians, 
and Gaetulians; the horses of Narr' Havas were heard 
to neigh; they spread around the hill; then came the 
loose rabble commanded by Autaritus — Gauls, Liby- 
ans, and Nomads; while the Eaters of Uncleanness 
might be recognised among them by the fish bones 
which they wore in their hair. 

Thus the Barbarians, having contrived their marches 
with exactness, had come together again. But them- 
selves surprised, they remained motionless for some 
minutes in consultation. 

The Suffet had collected his men into an orbicular 
mass, in such a way as to offer an equal resistance 
in every direction. The infantry were surrounded by 
their tall, pointed shields fixed close to one another 
in the turf. The Clinabarians were outside and the 
elephants at intervals further off. The Mercenaries 
were worn out with fatigue; it was better to wait 
till next day; and the Barbarians feeling sure of their 
victory occupied themselves the whole night in eat- 

They lighted large bright fires, which, while daz- 
zling themselves, left the Punic army below them in 
the shade. Hamilcar caused a trench fifteen feet 
broad and ten cubits deep to be dug in Roman 
fashion round his camp, and the earth thrown out 
to be raised on the inside into a parapet, on which 
sharp interlacing stakes were planted; and at sunrise 
the Mercenaries were amazed to perceive all the 
Carthaginians thus entrenched as if in a fortress. 

They could recognise Hamilcar in the midst of the 
tents walking about and giving orders. His person 
was clad in a brown cuirass cut in little scales; he 



was followed by his horse, and stopped from time 
to time to point out something with his right arm 

Then more than one recalled similar mornings when, 
amid the din of clarions, he passed slowly before 
them, and his looks strengthened them like cups of 
wine. A kind of emotion overcame them. Those, 
on the contrary, who were not acquainted with 
Hamilcar, were mad with joy at having caught him. 

Nevertheless if all attacked at once they would do 
one another mutual injury in the insufficiency of 
space. The Numidians might dash through; but the 
Clinabarians, who were protected by cuirasses, would 
crush them. And then how were the palisades to be 
crossed ? As to the elephants, they were not suffi- 
ciently well trained. 

"You are all cowards!" exclaimed Matho. 

And with the best among them he rushed against 
the entrenchment. They were repulsed by a vol- 
ley of stones; for the SufTet had taken their aban- 
doned catapults on the bridge. 

This want of success produced an abrupt change 
in the fickle minds of the Barbarians. Their extreme 
bravery disappeared; they wished to conquer, but 
with the smallest possible risk. According to Spen- 
dius they ought to maintain carefully the position 
that they held, and starve out the Punic army. But 
the Carthaginians began to dig wells, and as there 
were mountains surrounding the hill, they discovered 

From the summit of their palisade they launched 
arrows, earth, dung, and pebbles which they gathered 
from the ground, while the six catapults rolled inces- 
santly throughout the length of the terrace. 


But the springs would dry up of themselves; the 
provisions would be exhausted, and the catapults 
worn out; the Mercenaries, who were ten times as 
numerous, would triumph in the end. The Suffet 
devised negotiations so as to gain time, and one morn- 
ing the Barbarians found a sheep's skin covered with 
writing within their lines. He justified himself for his 
victory: the Ancients had forced him into the war, 
and to show them that he was keeping his word, he 
offered them the pillaging of Utica or Hippo-Zarytus 
at their choice; in conclusion, Hamilcar declared that 
he did not fear them because he had won over some 
traitors, and thanks to them would easily manage the 

The Barbarians were disturbed: this proposal of 
immediate booty made them consider; they were ap- 
prehensive of treachery, not suspecting a snare in the 
Suffet's boasting, and they began to look upon one 
another with mistrust. Words and steps were 
watched; terrors awaked them in the night. Many 
forsook their companions and chose their army as 
fancy dictated, and the Gauls with Autaritus went 
and joined themselves with the men of Cisalpine 
Gaul, whose language they understood. 

The four chiefs met together every evening in 
Matho's tent, and squatting round a shield, attentively 
moved backwards and forwards the little wooden 
figures invented by Pyrrhus for the representation of 
manœuvres. Spendius would demonstrate Hamilcar's 
resources, and with oaths by all the gods entreat 
that the opportunity should not be wasted. Matho 
would walk about angry and gesticulating. The v/ar 
against Carthage was his own personal affair; he was 
indignant that the others should interfere in it with- 


out being willing to obey him. Autaritus would 
divine his speech from his countenance and applaud. 
Narr' Havas would elevate his chin to mark his dis- 
dain; there was not a measure that he did not con- 
sider fatal; and he had ceased to smile. Sighs would 
escape him as though he were thrusting back sor- 
row for an impossible dream, despair for an abortive 

While the Barbarians deliberated in uncertainty, 
£he Suffet increased his defences: he had a second 
trench dug within the palisades, a second wall raised, 
and wooden towers constructed at the corners; and 
his slaves went as far as the middle of the outposts 
to drive caltrops into the ground. But the elephants, 
whose allowances were lessened, struggled in their 
shackles. To economise the grass he ordered the 
Clinabarians to kill the least strong among the stal- 
lions. A few refused to do so, and he had them 
decapitated. The horses were eaten. The recollec- 
tion of this fresh meat was a source of great sadness 
to them in the days that followed. 

From the bottom of the amphitheatre in which 
they were confined they could see the four bustling 
camps of the Barbarians all around them on the 
heights. Women moved about with leathern bottles 
on their heads, goats strayed bleating beneath the 
piles of pikes; sentries were being relieved, and eat- 
ing was going on around tripods. In fact, the tribes 
furnished them abundantly with provisions, and they 
did not themselves suspect how much their inaction 
alarmed the Punic army. 

On the second day the Carthaginians had re- 
marked a troop of three hundred men apart from 
the rest in the camp of the nomads. These were 


the rich who had been kept prisoners since the be- 
ginning of the war. Some Libyans ranged them 
along the edge of the trench, took their station be- 
hind them, and hurled javelins, making themselves a 
rampart of their bodies. The wretched creatures could 
scarcely be recognised, so completely were their faces 
covered with vermin and filth. Their hair had been 
plucked out in places, leaving bare the ulcers on their 
heads, and they were so lean and hideous that they 
were like mummies in tattered shrouds. A few 
trembled and sobbed with a stupid look; the rest 
cried out to their friends to fire upon the Barbarians. 
There was one who remained quite motionless with 
face cast down, and without speaking; his long white 
beard fell to his chain-covered hands; and the Car- 
thaginians, feeling as it were the downfall of the 
Republic in the bottom of their hearts, recognised 
Gisco. Although the place was a dangerous one 
they pressed forward to see him. On his head had 
been placed a grotesque tiara of hippopotamus leather 
incrusted with pebbles. It was Autaritus's idea; but 
it was displeasing to Matho. 

Hamilcar in exasperation, and resolved to cut his 
way through in one way or another, had the pali- 
sades opened; and the Carthaginians went at a furi- 
ous rate half way up the hill or three hundred paces. 
Such a flood of Barbarians descended upon them that 
they were driven back to their lines. One of the 
guards of the Legion who had remained outside was 
stumbling among the stones. Zarxas ran up to him, 
knocked him down, and plunged a dagger into his 
throat; he drew it out, threw himself upon the 
wound — and gluing his lips to it with mutterings of 
joy, and startings which shook him to the heels, 


pumped up the blood by breastfuls; then he quietly 
sat down upon the corpse, raised his face with his 
neck thrown back the better to breathe in the air, 
like a hind that has just drunk at a mountain stream, 
and in a shrill voice began to sing a Balearic song, 
a vague melody full of prolonged modulations, with 
interruptions and alternations like echoes answering 
one another in the mountains; he called upon his 
dead brothers and invited them to a feast; — then he 
let his hands fall between his legs, slowly bent his 
head, and wept. This atrocious occurrence horrified 
the Barbarians, especially the Greeks. 

From that time forth the Carthaginians did not at- 
tempt to make any sally; and they had no thought 
of surrender, certain as they were that they would 
perish in tortures. 

Nevertheless the provisions, in spite of Hamilcar's 
carefulness, diminished frightfully. There was not left 
per man more than ten k'hommers of wheat, three 
hins of millet, and twelve betzas of dried fruit. No 
more meat, no more oil, no more salt food, and not 
a grain of barley for the horses, which might be 
seen stretching down their wasted necks seeking in 
the dust for blades of trampled straw. Often the 
sentries on vedette upon the terrace would see in the 
moonlight a dog belonging to the Barbarians coming 
to prowl beneath the entrenchment among the heaps 
of filth; it would be knocked down with a stone, 
and then, after a descent had been effected along the 
palisades by means of the straps of a shield, it would 
be eaten without a word. Sometimes horrible bark- 
ings would be heard and the man would not come 
up again. Three phalangites, in the fourth dilochia 


of the twelfth syntagma, killed one another with 
knives in a dispute about a rat. 

All regretted their families, and their houses; the 
poor their hive-shaped huts, with the shells on the 
threshold and the hanging net, and the patricians 
their large halls filled with bluish shadows, where at 
the most indolent hour of the day they used to rest 
Hstening to the vague noise of the streets mingled 
with the rustling of the leaves as they stirred in their 
gardens; — to go deeper into the thought of this, and 
to enjoy it more, they would half close their eyelids, 
only to be roused by the shock of a wound. Every 
minute there was some engagement, some fresh 
alarm; the towers were burning, the Eaters of Un- 
cleanness were leaping across the palisades; their 
hands would be struck off with axes; others would 
hasten up; an iron hail would fall upon the tents. 
Galleries of rushen hurdles were raised as a protec- 
tion against the projectiles. The Carthaginians shut 
themselves up within them and stirred out no more. 

Every day the sun coming over the hill used, after 
the early hours, to forsake the bottom of the gorge 
and leave them in the shade. The grey slopes of 
the ground, covered with flints spotted with scanty 
lichen, ascended in front and in the rear, and above 
their summits stretched the sky in its perpetual pu- 
rity, smoother and colder to the eye than a metal 
cupola. Hamilcar was so indignant with Carthage 
that he felt inclined to throw himself among the Bar- 
barians and lead them against her. Moreover, the 
porters, sutlers, and slaves were beginning to mur- 
mur, while neither people, nor Great Council, nor any 
one sent as much as a hope. The situation was in- 


tolerable, especially owing to the thought that it 
would become worse. 

At the news of the disaster Carthage had leaped, 
as it were, with anger and hate; the Suffet would 
have been less execrated if he had allowed himself to 
be conquered from the first. 

But time and money were lacking for the hire of 
other Mercenaries. As to a levy of soldiers in the 
town, how were they to be equipped? Hamilcar had 
taken all the arms! and then who was to command 
them ? The best captains were down yonder with 
him! Meanwhile, some men despatched by the Suffet 
arrived in the streets with shouts. The Great Coun- 
cil were roused by them, and contrived to make 
them disappear. 

It was an unnecessary precaution; every one ac- 
cused Barca of having behaved with slackness. He 
ought to have annihilated the Mercenaries after his 
victory. Why had he ravaged the tribes ? The sacri- 
fices already imposed had been heavy enough! and 
the patricians deplored their contributions of fourteen 
shekels, and the Syssitia their two hundred and 
twenty-three thousand gold kikars; those who had 
given nothing lamented like the rest. The populace 
was jealous of the New Carthaginians, to whom he 
had promised full rights of citizenship; and even the 
Ligurians, who had fought with such intrepidity, 
were confounded with the Barbarians and cursed like 
them; their race became a crime, the proof of com- 
plicity. The traders on the threshold of their shops, 
the workmen passing plumb-line in hand, the vendors 
of pickle rinsing their baskets, the attendants in the 
vapour baths and the retailers of hot drinks all dis- 



cussed the operations of the campaign. They would 
trace battle-plans with their fingers in the dust, and 
there was not a sorry rascal to be found who could 
not have corrected Hamilcar's mistakes. 

It was a punishment, said the priests, for his long- 
continued impiety. He had offered no holocausts; he 
had not purified his troops; he had even refused to 
take augurs with him; and the scandal of sacrilege 
strengthened the violence of restrained hate, and the 
rage of betrayed hopes. People recalled the Sicilian 
disasters, and all the burden of his pride that they 
had borne for so long! The colleges of the pontiffs 
could not forgive him for having seized their treasure, 
and they demanded a pledge from the Great Council 
to crucify him should he ever return. 

The heats of the month of Eloul, which were ex- 
cessive in that year, were another calamity. Sicken- 
ing smells rose from the borders of the Lake, and 

were wafted through the air together with the fumes 
of the aromatics that eddied at the corners of the 
streets. The sounds of hymns were constantly heard. 
Crowds of people occupied the staircases of the tem- 
ples; all the walls were covered with black veils; 
tapers burnt on the brows of the Pataec Gods, and 
the blood of camels slain for sacrifice ran along the 
flights of stairs forming red cascades upon the steps. 
Carthage was agitated with funereal delirium. From 
the depths of the narrowest lanes, and the blackest 
dens, there issued pale faces, men with viper-like pro- 
files and grinding their teeth. The houses were filled 
with the women's piercing shrieks, which, escaping 
through the gratings, caused those who stood talking 
in the squares to turn round. Sometimes it was 
thought that the Barbarians were arriving; they had 


been seen behind the mountain of the Hot Springs; 
they were encamped at Tunis; and the voices would 
multiply and swell, and be blended into one single 
clamour. Then universal silence would reign, some 
remaining where they had climbed upon the frontals 
of the buildings, screening their eyes with their open 
hand, while the rest lay flat on their faces at the 
foot of the ramparts straining their ears. When their 
terror had passed off their anger would begin again. 
But the conviction of their own impotence would soon 
sink thern into the same sadness as before. 

It increased every evening when all ascended the ter- 
races, and bowing down nine times uttered a loud 
cry in salutation of the sun, as it sank slowly behind 
the lagoon, and then suddenly disappeared among 
the mountains in the direction of the Barbarians. 

They were waiting for the thrice holy festival 
when, from the summit of a funeral pile, an eagle 
flew heavenwards as a symbol of the resurrection of 
the year, and a message from the people to their Baal; 
they regarded it as a sort of union, a method of con- 
necting themselves with the might of the Sun. More- 
over, filled as they now were with hatred, they turned 
frankly towards homicidal Moloch, and all forsook 
Tanith. In fact, Rabbetna, having lost her veil, was 
as if she had been despoiled of part of her vir- 
tue. She denied the beneficence of her waters, she 
had abandoned Carthage; she was a deserter, an en- 
emy. Some threw stones at her to insult her. But 
many pitied her while they inveighed against her; 
she was still beloved, and perhaps more deeply than 
she had been. 

All their misfortunes came, therefore, from the loss 
of the zaïmph. Salammbô had indirectly participated 


in it; she was included in the same ill will; she must 
be punished. A vague idea of immolation spread 
among the people. To appease the Baalim it was 
without doubt necessary to offer them something of 
incalculable worth, a being handsome, young, virgin, 
of old family, a descendant of the gods, a human 
star. Every day the gardens of Megara were invaded 
by strange men; the slaves, trembling on their own 
account, dared not resist them. Nevertheless, they did 
not pass beyond the galley staircase. They remained 
below with their eyes raised to the highest terrace; 
they were waiting for Salammbô, and they would cry 
out for hours against her like dogs baying at the