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Full text of "The story of Damon and Pythias"



Story 

AMON and 
YTHIA 





ALBERT PAYSON TERHUNE 



THE STORY OF 
DAMON AND PYTHIAS 



THE INCIDENTAL Music FOR THE 
PRODUCTION OF DAMON AND 
PYTHIAS WAS WRITTEN BY PRO- 
FESSOR M. WINKLER AND is 
PUBLISHED AND SOLD BY THE 
CARL FISHER Music HOUSE, 
COOPER SQUARE, NEW YORK. 




O Unrvtrsal Ftlm Manufacturing Co, 

THE CHARACTERS OF DAMON AND PYTHIAS, AS PRODUCED BY THE 
UNIVERSAL FILM MANUFACTURING COMPANY. 



THE STORY OF 

iattuw 



BY 



ALBERT PAYSON TERHUNE 



ADAPTED AND ILLUSTRATED FROM THE PHOTO-PLAY 

CONCEIVED AND PRODUCED BY THE UNIVERSAL 

FILM MANUFACTURING COMPANY 



* 'Greater love hath no man than this, that 
a man lay down his life for his friend. 

JOHN 11: 53. 




N EW YORK 

GROSSET AND DUNLAP 

PUBLISH ERS 



Copyright, 1915 by 
GROSSET & DUNLAP 

AND 

THE UNIVERSAL FILM MANUFACTURING COMPANY 






FOREWORD 

The pages of history and the traditions of the 
" long ago " furnished no scene that should count for 
more in man's relation with his fellows, as day by 
day he lives his life, than the one laid in Sicily and 
furnished by DAMON and PYTHIAS. 

Its elaboration in the play of that name by John 
Banim found a welcome in the public heart, and later 
the friendship of these two was made the basis for 
a society, established in the City of Washington, 
February 19, 1864. 

This society has developed into one of the great 
Fraternities, with membership rapidly nearing eight 
hundred thousand splendid men, known as the " Or- 
der of Knights of Pythias." That Sicilian scene is 
so human, so filled with lessons that mean for mu- 
tual, community and universal good, that the de- 
votees of that great Order gladly encouraged every 
effort to disseminate the lessons to be found therein. 

It teaches and will develop the spirit of fraternal- 
ism a spirit that should have a place in the heart 
and life of every well-meaning individual. 

As an entirely and distinctive business enterprise, 
wholly separate and apart from the Order referred 
to, The Universal Films Company has reproduced 



912964 



FOREWORD 

the wondrous grouping of the scenes that faithfully 
represent many incidents in the lives of these, our 
prototypes, and to aid in the better understanding 
and appreciation thereof. This publication, the 
first presentation in book form of the lives of these 
men, by Albert Payson Terhune, with its human side, 
its realistic settings, its poetry, its tenderness, its 
strength in characterization, and touching pathos 
will illumine the subject and hold the thought, and 
from it all life will be enriched and humanity bene- 
fited by the films and by the publication of the story of 
DAMON and PYTHIAS. 





A& fou 



LIMA, Ohio, December 12, 1914. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I THE FRIENDS i 

II IN THE CITY n 

III PYTHIAS' BETROTHAL . .... -, 23 

IV HE WHO COVETS V 36 

V OUT OF THE WAY . . . 50 

VI THE VISIONS . . . . , .' ',. 67 

VII THE VICTOR'S RETURN . 85 

VIII THE PLAN is DIVULGED 100 

IX IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT . . .... . . .114 

X THE PLOT FRUSTRATED 132 

XI THE RACE . V . . / , 142 

XII THE WEDDING HOUR . , .; 168 

XIII A FRIEND'S STRONG ARM 179 

XIV FROM GLADNESS INTO GLOOM 188 

XV A FREEMAN'S LEGACY 196 

XVI A LIFE FOR A LIFE! 205 

XVII LOST! .212 

XVIII THE Vow ./..-. V, .. . . . . 217 

XIX THE UNKNOWN . . 7 , '. . . . . . . . 221 

XX THE PRISONER . . . , ... 231 

XXI TEMPTATION 239 

XXII "CAUTION!" . .y. 247 

XXIII HUSBAND AND WIFE . 253 

XXIV DAMON'S RIDE . . . 263 

XXV FOR FRIENDSHIP! 274 

XXVI THE HEADSMAN 279 

XXVII SUNSET 284 

XXVIII FRIENDSHIP'S ALTAR 296 



THE STORY OF 
DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

CHAPTER I 

THE FRIENDS 

THE late afternoon sun bathed the Sicilian 
hillside in soft rays. It tinged with shell- 
pink a villa of glistening white marble, mid- 
way of the verdant slope. Through the foliage, pur- 
ple-patched with grapes, that covered the pergola 
of the garden, a single beam slanted down upon the 
figure of a man who sat beside a playing fountain. 

From the white toga he wore, with its broad badge 
of purple upon the breast, his rank as a senator of 
Syracuse in the year 480 B. C. was proclaimed. 

A woman and child his wife and little son sat 
near him; but of their presence he seemed oblivious. 
One hand shading his eyes, he was lost in a reverie. 
Now and again his other hand clenched upon his 
knee, as though at some thought which he found dis- 
pleasing. 

But if he paid no heed to the two who shared his 
occupancy of that Eden-spot, the eyes of the woman, 
at least, turned often upon her lord's averted head. 



2 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

She mafktfd his locked jaw, the restless opening 
and shutting of bis hand; signs of a bitter mental 
struggle going on within hirr ; and her experience and 
love enabled her to read these as a frown of tender 
concern deepened between her brows. 

At last, with a murmured word to the child, she 
rose and crossed to where the Senator sat. 

" Damon, what is it? " she asked softly. 

At the light touch on his shoulder, the man roused 
from his meditation with a guilty start. 

" Hermion, I I crave your pardon! " he stam- 
mered, quickly. 

Looking up into the dark, lovely face that bent 
so solicitously over him, he laid his hand on hers. 

u For a moment my thoughts were wool-gather- 
ing," he explained, lamely. 

4 What is it? " she repeated in the same anxious 
tone, not deceived by his pretense at lightness. 
" You are troubled with something >can you not 
confide in me? " 

" It is nothing," he reassured her, with a forced 
smile. " Sit here beside me. Nothing is wholly bad 
in life, with you to share it." 

Instead, she sank on the turf at his knee. 
* You are my husband," she said simply; " and 
I have tried to be a dutiful and obedient wife; but 
if I have failed, you shall tell me wherein my fault 
has lain. Have I broken the laws laid down for 
womankind ? Have I touched wine ? Have I been 



THE FRIENDS 3 

meddlesome in the affairs of others? Have I ever 
spoken before men, save in your presence and at your 
wish? These things I know I have not done. But 
perhaps in some other way I have displeased you " 

He checked her with a grave headshake. 

" You are a wife without a fault," he declared, his 
deep, sad voice softening into a gentleness that ac- 
corded oddly with his stern face. 

" Then is it your child's health that disturbs your 
peace of mind but no, that cannot be." A tear 
trembled on the long lower lashes of her violet eyes. 
" It is six weeks since you ordered me to bring him 
here, away from the heat and dust of the city, which 
you thought were causing him to grow pale. And 
now he is the very picture of sturdy, blooming health, 
as you yourself must see . It is as I feared the 
root of your melancholy brooding. However once 
it may have been, time and that familiarity, which we 
are told brings indifference to a long-held treasure, 
have worked their change upon your heart; and now 
you do not love me." 

He took her dusky head, bound with its coral-hued 
fillet, between his hands. " Not love you ! " With 
a low cry, he folded her head to his breast in a rush 
of passion. 

" If I could find words to tell you of my love! " 
he breathed, looking off over his clenched arms as 
though to ward away some unseen thing that threat- 
ened to snatch from them the treasure they held. 



4 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

44 But they would be but words. And so useless to 
make you understand ! You are my life all that 
makes it worth the living, is bound up in you and in 
that fair child, yonder, which you have given me." 

With a sigh of content, her doubts on this point 
set at rest by the vibrant sincerity in his voice, Her- 
mion raised her lips to his. 

44 But now I have distressed you," he reproached 
himself after a pause, rising to pace restlessly to and 
fro. 44 Wretched actor that I am, not to have been 
better able to conceal my feelings ! " 

44 You could not hide your moodiness from me, 
"Damon," she told him with a sad little smile; " even 
if this were the first time you had shown it. I have 
noticed, of late, how abstracted you have become. 
Every time you have come out here to visit little 
Xextus and me, I have seen your eyes turn back to the 
city, while your features grew hard. It it was 
that made me think some fairer face than mine per- 
chance having attracted you, that your heart was 
there.' 9 

He halted, to gaze through the vista between two 
columns of the peristyle in which he stood, upon the 
white house-tops of the town that lay touched with 
mother-of-pearl by the sunset glow in the valley be- 
neath. 

44 Ay, my heart is there," he said, musingly. 
44 Not in the keeping of any one of that city's thou- 
sands, but in the city itself." He sighed, wearily. 



THE FRIENDS 5 

" And oh, Syracuse, city of my birth, how you wring 
that heart of mine at times ! " 

She watched him; and of a sudden buried her face 
in her hands. 

" Oh, what suffering I am forced to undergo," she 
moaned, " by the fate that makes me a statesman's 
wife! And there are those down there, I suppose, 
who envy me ! If they but knew what I endure, not 
the lowliest of them but would pity me, instead. 
Harassed, daily, hourly, by what apprehensions, 
dreads! Oh, Damon, Damon!" she broke off, 
catching at his robe and drawing him to her. " I 
am afraid! " 

He seated himself beside her, taking her again in 
his sheltering embrace. " Afraid of what?" he 
questioned gently, as to a dark-affrighted child. 

She shook her head impatiently. " How can I 
put all the fears, the terrors that assail me, into one 
word? I am afraid that is all. Of something, 
I know not what; but," and she laid a hand upon 
the garment that fluttered above her heart, " some- 
thing I feel, here, is menacing our happiness." 

" No, no ! " he soothed. " Nothing will harm 
you, or me please the gods ! " 

Glancing up, she surprised the stern lines in which 
his face was chiseled as he still sat looking down, 
above her head, at the distant town. 

She turned hot eyes upon sun-kissed Syracuse. 
" Oh, I hate that city! " she exclaimed, fiercely. 



6 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

44 And I, too, hate it," he responded, between his 
set lips " sometimes. For the crass indifference 
of its masses, as well as for the corruption and dis- 
honor of its ruling classes, that each day is bringing 
it nearer its ruin, and," his voice dropping, " that 
of any honest man, as inevitably, who tries to stay 
the disaster." 

" That was what you brooded upon? " she asked, 
half- fearfully, as she nestled closer. " You fear an 
impending danger, too?" 

44 No, no! " he repeated his reassurance. " Noth- 
ing threatens us." 

He added to himself the grim word " Yet! " 

44 Then of what were you thinking just now? " she 
persisted. " Perhaps it was of Pythias, your 
friend?" 

He shook off liis air of somber gravity, and glanced 
toward the sundial. 

44 True," he answered; " for on Pythias my 
thoughts did turn. It is strange that he is not yet 
come, when it is already past the hour he set for his 
visit." 

His eyes swept the garden. The child, playing 
among its fluted columns, was the only living thing 
in it that met his gaze. 

44 Shall I send Xextus to look for him?" ques- 
tioned Hermion. 4 ' He loves Pythias; and the eyes 
of Love, they say, are keen. From the knoll that 



THE FRIENDS 7 

tops the slope behind us, perhaps he might spy him on 
the road winding up from the city " 

But before the order could be given, the garden 
rang with a glad treble shout. In a scamper of short 
tunic-skirts and sandaled feet, the lad, halting in his 
play, had run straight as a dart toward the doorway 
of the tablinum of the villa that gave into the gar- 
den, wherein stood the stalwart, armored figure of a 
man. 

" Pythias! " cried the boy; and found breath to 
utter no more; as he swung aloft to the shoulder of 
the laughing giant who caught his joyous onslaught, 
and thus repelled it, in his strong arms. 

" Ho, now, my hero-baby!" the arrival laughed 
up at the squirming, big-eyed figure perched beside 
his plumed helmet. u And can you guess the prize 
thatf is held by this citadel you've so boldly 
stormed? " 

He forgot that the lad, from his coign of vantage 
upon his shoulder, could look down along his back, 
and thus obtain an unobstructed view of the contents 
of the right hand he was guardedly holding behind 
him. 

" Give them to me, Pythias! " crowed the child, 
kicking his heels in impatient; delight against the bur- 
nished breastplate of his captor. " Oh, give them to 
me quickly! " 

The man thus wildly importuned, glanced up with 



8 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

a start of surprise and caught the direction of his 
companion's eyes. 

With a deep, full-throated laugh, he swung the 
boy to the ground. From behind him, he brought 
forth a miniature shield, which he gave into the small 
hands that were eagerly upstretched to receive it. 
Then followed a sword its blade of lead, and 
with point and edges so blunt as to render the weapon 
harmless to a juvenile wielder. And, last of all, a 
helmet was produced before the lad's joy-wide eyes; 
a helmet, plumed and steel-studded as was the giver's 
own and, wonder of wonders ! so exact a replica 
of that bigger headpiece as to bear a visor that was 
moveable. 

So cunningly wrought a plaything must have 
meant the labor of weeks on the part of some silver- 
smith, and in consequence had entailed a goodly 
drain on its donor's purse. Setting the casque upon 
the child's bronze curls, and so completing his mock 
armament, the man swung the tiny, warlike figure 
about. 

" Now, sir, salute your mother and father," he 
ordered, " as a soldier should! " 

Smiling at them past the child who was standing 
in stiff salute with the hilt of the mimic sword pre- 
sented to his lips, the visitor advanced upon his 
grown-up watchers. 

He bowed over the woman's hand. And, then, in 
a stride, he stood before the man. 



THE FRIENDS 9 

Their right hands gripped ; as our greeting is from 
man to man to-day. What passed in that clasp was 
not discernible to the eye; but in the eagerly smiling 
affection with which each regarded the other's face, 
the warmth of the friendship that existed between 
them was plainly revealed. 

Both were of noble proportions; the blonde head 
of the soldier had the advantage of perhaps an inch 
over the other's prematurely whitened locks, but this 
a-nd the warrior's mightier breadth, as well, were off- 
set by the power of intelligence that shone from the 
statesman's countenance. It would have been odd 
if a pair so well matched should not have been drawn 
by the call of like to like, into friendship. 

But the years that had passed since their first meet- 
ing had steadily disclosed the fidelity, courage and 
honor that were at the core of each of the two 
friends' character, and had long since ripened their 
feeling of mutual respect into an enduring love. 

Now, as he looked into the other's face, reading 
there the shadow of care that underlay its expression 
of pleased welcome, the soldier's free hand clapped 
[Damon's shoulder in rough sympathy. 

" I have heard how the election went to-day," he 
said. " Philistius was raised to the presidency of 
the senate ; so that means you were defeated." 

" Defeated," nodded the togaed one, the tired 
smile still playing about his lips. " The vote was 
three to one we were a hopeless minority. But," 



io DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

he went on, " how heard you this, Pythias, when you 
are but to-day returned from the fighting in the 
South? And how have the wars used you? Not 
ill, so far as eye may see." 

The other was scanning his features anxiously. 

" The city is full of the talk of the royalists' vic- 
tory to-day; I had been deaf not to overhear it," he 
said. " I hastened here to you as soon as I could, to 
tell you that you must not take this too much to heart, 
Damon." 

'* The mere result is not what grieves me, since I 
expected it," the statesman answered; "it is what 
must follow on the result." 

With a shrug, he turned away, signing his guest to 
seat himself. 

" But I bring you news," announced Pythias, with 
a return to his former light-hearted manner, as he 
found a place on the marble brim of the fountain 
between DUmon and the latter's wife. " News that 
will cheer you out of your despondency." 

"News?" his friend repeated, curiously. 

" The best in all the world to me. And so it will 
be to you, Damon, I am sure. And to you, Her- 
mion, who are also my friend." 

Regarding the warrior's radiant countenance, 
Damon turned to his wife with a smile. 

" We will first hear what this good news of Pyth- 
ias is," he said. " And then he and I will talk alone 
upon another matter." 



CHAPTER II 

IN THE CITY 

* '"^t ^"OU hear them shout your name ? " 

^L/ " Yes, but I am wondering if such a 

M demonstration, following so close on the 

heels of what to-day befell in the Senate, is altogether 



wise." 



The speakers stood on a certain street-corner of 
Syracuse, at the moment that the trio we left back 
at the villa on the hillside were seated around the 
fountain in its garden. 

One of the two on the corner of the street a 
man with a bronzed, wind-bitten visage and of 
mighty stature was a soldier. 

The other was likewise clad in the helmet and 
breastplate of a warrior. He was hatchet-faced. 
A pair of hawk eyes looked piercingly out from 
above his Roman nose. For the rest, his face was 
thin-lipped, lean-jowled, of a puttyish-gray complex- 
ion. The silver buckles that fastened his lambre- 
quin of Tyrian purple to the points of his shoulders 
did not come within a foot of his strapping compan- 
ion's. But somehow perhaps it was from the 
commanding gleam that shot forth from those steel- 
gray eyes of his he seemed the larger of the two. 

ii 



12 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

His name, even then, was being roared in the 
nearby market place. 

As the seas break first upon the rocks with a 
boom! to be followed by the hiss of falling spray, 
so the guttural mob-yell rose, with the last syllable 
sibilantly prolonged, thus : 

" Dion-ysius-s-s ! " 

Again, from another quarter, the rough-lunged 
shout thundered between the echoing house-sides of 
the narrow streets. 

" Dionysius Triomphe! " 

The thin lips of the man thus hailed twitched. 
He had spoken in jest; his apprehension at the wide- 
spread proclamation of his name through the city 
being voiced with a fine tinge of sarcasm. But the 
gentle irony of his utterance had been wholly lost 
upon the thick-skinned son-of-battle at his side. 
Now, the latter turned to regard his chief. 

" Not wise? " he repeated, staring. " And what 
have you, Dionysius, the almighty warlord, to fear 
from the puny tailors, jewelers, and wineshop-keep- 
ers who might if they dared! raise their voices 
in protest at your rule? Are not a picked company 
of your warriors, with me at their head, stationed 
here in the city? And scattered, through the mob, 
at every street-crossing and alley-turning from east 
to western gates, are not a horde of your followers 
among the thousands waiting, in readiness to do 
your will " 



IN THE CITY 13 

11 But unarmed," quickly interposed the other, the 
catlike smile still curving his cameo lips. " Un- 
armed. iYou forget that, my Procles. And' so of 
what avail is their willingness to fight my fight; 
when they stand without the wherewithal to do so? " 

Turning, the soldier flung out a long arm toward 
the turrets of a fortress behind them. 

" There are your arms," he answered, with grim 
eagerness. " Yes yours; if you will but utter the 
command, and let me to my work. In one bold dash 
only, I pledge you, my handful of ironguts shall win 
that citadel and all in it " 

Stepping back to regard him from under uplifted 
brows, the general raised his hands in a gesture of 
effeminate horror. 

" You would attack the city's garrison? " he said. 
" And from within the town itself, where we are 
held to be its friends? But this is treason! " 

The warrior stood tensely watching him, in no way 
deceived this time by the mock sobriety of the other's 
speech; which, indeed, could not have cheated a 
child, accompanied as it was by a frank widening of 
the satiric smile upon the hatchet features. 

" Give the word," he answered through his 
clenched teeth, " and you shall see how quickly I will 
obey." 

The other's gaze traveled toward the fort to 
which his companion had pointed. High against the 
heavens, his sharp eyes made out what to another 



14 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

would have been only an indistinguishable speck; 
the form of an eagle. Its outstretched wings and 
fiercely majestic head tipped with gold by a ray of 
the setting sun that shot just then through a cloud- 
rift, the bird circled directly above that armory's bat- 
tlements. It seemed to mean an augury to the 
watching leader. The smile had given way on his 
countenance before a look of hard purpose, as he 
turned back. 

" I have tasted blood to-day,'* he said, squaring 
his shoulders; and, with the motion, the mantle of 
his former sneering suavity dropped wholly from 
him. ' They thought they had me worsted the 
dogs ! " he went on half to himself, his eyes narrow- 
ing bitterly. " But I have whipped them to their 
kennels. It is not a year since I was flung down, 
disgraced, frpm the high office to which at last I had 
climbed. Too bold, in that I impeached the magis- 
trates for what I deemed treason in accepting the 
terms of surrender from a foe I would have crushed 
still further to wring a heavier indemnity from them 
for our own gain * an exceeded authority,' that was 
the charge by which they caused my downfall. Not 
a year ago ! And now I have won back my power, 
but in redoubled measure. I have worked ! worked ! 
worked ! as no man ever before me has worked. To 
bribe the controlling vote of the Senate, on one hand; 
to gain the trust and following of the army, on the 
other. It has meant sleepless nights. It has meant 



IN THE CITY 15 

the surrendering of every pleasure to unending toil. 
But I have done it. They did not know the man they 
sought to break. They do not know me yet. But 
they shall, to their cost, ere I am done." 

He leveled his right arm past his lieutenant, car- 
ried out of his wonted taciturn astuteness by his own 
fierce review. 

" Go! " he rasped "The garrison I will take. 
Its arms, and store of food and gold shall equip these 
men of mine against a future time of need That 
is," he added, his voice descending from its pitch of 
passion to the thoughtful key of one who is accus- 
tomed, as a successful strategist, to weigh every plan 
down to its smallest detail, " that is, if the men under 
you are as eager as you say you are, yourself, to at- 
tempt the attack. You have sounded them? " 

Procles nodded, with a reassuring smile. 

" And they are ready," he answered. " Your 
gold, that I distributed among them this noon at your 
bidding, has whetted their appetite for more. The 
heaped-up, yellow contents of those coffers back there 
is the goal on which the greedy eyes of every rascal 
of the lot are set. How willingly at your command 
they would storm that, or any other stronghold, 
wherein lies so rich a treasure for their sacking, you 
have only to hear them acclaim you to know as 
now!" 

Fainter, the rioters having passed into some 
farther thoroughfare, the triumphantly chorused 



1 6 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

roaring of the name " Dionysius " came again to 
their ears. 

" Be off! " curtly ordered the lean-visaged chief. 
" Tell them what I say the citadel falls. But 
first lead them here. There may be one or two who, 
at the last moment, would hesitate at the actual 
striking of so bold a blow. And all depends on the 
unexpected effect of their solid, fearless rush. I 
think a few words of encouragement from me may 
be of help. Bring my wolf-pack here, and I will 
speak to them." 

The soldier saluted, and set off upon his errand. 
At the next turning he passed a man, the train of 
his toga draped over one shoulder across a heroic 
stomach that quaked, jellylike, as he walked, who 
was approaching along the narrow, chariot-rutted 
street. 

The rotund one halted before the armored figure 
of Dionysius who barred his way; Dionysius whose 
head was turned at that moment to look measuringly 
up along the ledges on the pedestal of a statue be- 
hind him; a pedestal which might serve as steps to 
the platform of the monument and from which a 
view of all the wide space, at the intersection of those 
two streets, could be commanded. 

" I salute you, Dionysius," the pedestrian hailed 
in a furry, fawning voice. 

The other, turning, nodded an indifferent greet- 
ing. He contemplated the speaker without any par- 




Universal Film Manufacturing Co. 

SCENE ON THE ESTATE OF DAMON. 




Universal Ftlm Manufacturing Co. 

CALANTHE AND PYTHIAS. 



IN THE CITY 17 

ticular fondness; sweeping him from the sleek black 
curls that framed his smiling, oily-skinned face, to 
the plump bare calves that bowed under the hem of 
his robe with the task of supporting the vast girth 
above them. The granite eyes beneath the bur- 
nished helmet's visor held only the coldly appraising 
look of one who regards a chattel. 

" Damocles," the general questioned, " why has 
not Philistius accompanied you? " 

" He follows ! " The answer came with placating 
haste. " He but tarried at the banquet, given by his 
admiring friends in honor of his well-merited elec- 
tion, to join in a last pledging of his name, a cup 
to each letter. Ten cups, only, in all." 

Dionysius' mouth-corners were twitching. Look- 
ing beyond the fat sycophant, he had spied a lean 
figure, clad also in the toga of senatorial rank, and 
with a fringe of white hair surrounding the bald 
crown of his head, coming toward them along the 
winding thoroughfare. 

" Ah, Philistius!" he hailed, his voice vibrant 
with mockery. " Let me add my congratulations ! 
So you wined and dined thus early, I learn ! A cup 
to each letter? Royal honors! Those whose votes 
elevated you to your high place, I presume, com- 
panioned you in this feast of celebration? Yes. 
To be sure. A little getting together, to decide 
which one shall be given some well-paid office, which 
this, or that. Quite right. But you will not for- 



1 8 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

get," with a sudden biting lack of levity in the mas- 
terful voice, " whose gold paved the way for it all. 
Yet I do not begrudge you your pickings," he care- 
lessly went on. " Enrich yourselves, all of you, at 
the public's cost, while you may. It is on a higher 
goal my eyes are set." 

From the head of the street just then, a wild shout 
went up; louder, because much nearer, than any of 
those which the wind had borne that way before. 

" The soldiers are at hand, and with them the 
curious rabble," the commander told the two. " It 
would be wisest, perhaps, in view of what I am about 
to say, if you were not seen here with me. Go, then, 
to the square before the Academy and await my 
coming." 

As the white-robed pair departed, the street rang 
with the clash of arms. Pouring forward, a shield- 
and-sword-brandishing, shouting, semi-drunken band, 
into the alleylike thoroughfare, the chosen bodyguard 
of Dionysius swept toward him. They were bearing 
with them, bumped and jostled against the house- 
sides, as chips on a surging wave, a body of the idly 
inquisitive citizenry; as their chief had announced. 

And, as one such chip out of the many is oft-times 
tossed aloft by the breakers, so now there rose upon 
a doorstep the wild-eyed figure of a blonde and 
pimply-chinned young man. He shook his fists 
above the heads of the crowd. 

" Fools I " he exhorted them. " Will you stand 



IN THE CITY 19 

quietly by, and see them carry out the purpose which 
they have shouted; grinning in your very faces? 
You will see our treasury fall into their thieving 
hands and not lift a finger to stop them ? What 
if they are armed, and you are not? We outnumber 
them, twenty to one. Fall on them, with me ! Or 
do you want a tyrant's rule ? This is treating you to 
a taste of what you will have in store, once that iron- 
shod despot, Dion " 

A soldier, springing out from the rest, checked 
the socialist's words with a leveled sword-point at 
his throat. 

But the fanatic raved on : 

" Be men, to-day or slaves forever ! I call on 
you to " The soldier drove the weapon forward. 
It bit deep into the orator's throat. 

Without a second glance behind him at the figure 
of the unknown youth, fallen curiously limp across 
the doorstep, the slayer leaped down among his 
fellows. 

A welcoming roar burst from them as, crowding 
round the statue's base, they looked up at the short, 
square-shouldered form of Dionysius himself who 
stood upon its platform. 

Dionysius signed for silence; and it came. 

" My friends," spoke the gaunt-cheeked general, 
smilingly pointing toward the citadel's turrets, " they 
tell me there is a goodly sum of new-minted money 
there. Also, that the treasury is but ill-defended. 



20 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

How true that last may be, I do not know. But this 
I do : I think I may claim the friendship of the man 
who to-day has been chosen president of the senate. 
If any assault you might make upon that garrison 
were to fail, I am sure I could put forward the word 
that would spare any one of you from punishment. 
I can say no more. But perhaps I have no need to 
add anything further, to speed you on to that golden 
storehouse ? " 

With an affirmative shout, mixed of laughter and 
cheers, the guerilla mob surged forward up the 
street, its eyes fixed with one covetous accord upon 
the battlements of the fortress. 

Dionysius, descending from the monument, walked 
in their hurried wake to the public square two cor- 
ners ahead. 

" Philistius," was his first greeting of the pair he 
had sent on there before him, " I wanted to ask you 
in what manner your election was received this morn- 
ing within the senate chamber? " 

The leader-elect of that body shrugged. 

" How could it be received?" he said, smiling. 
" We outnumbered them so completely as to drown 
their hisses with our cheers, even as our votes 
drowned theirs." 

'* But there must have been some expression upon 
some face," the other persisted, impatiently; " the 
face for example of one to whom the outcome meant 



IN THE CITY 21 

bitterer disappointment than to any other there. I 
mean Damon. Did he rail against the decision, or 
sit gnawing his knuckles, instead, in glum dejection? 
Or how took he the result? " 

" He must have expected it," indifferently replied 
Philistius. 

" I watched him," put in Damocles, with a true 
courtier's instinct perceiving what the general wanted 
to know, and eager to please him. " I marked how 
his brows drew together, as with bodily pain. His 
lips pressed tight shut, his hands clenched at his sides. 
He rose from his place without a word. He had not 
joined the groans of his party. But it was as though 
a full ten years had been added to him; so drooped 
his shoulders, so bowed was his head, as he passed 
out through the doors." 

" Good ! " the soldier approved, vindictively. " I 
am glad if it roweled him. It was he who led the 
attack upon me, a year ago. He is still my enemy. 
And, by Pollux, I am his for I do not forget. 
He shall learn, and soon, that this triumph of to-day 
is but a single step in my march." 

He addressed Philistius. 

' What think you, now ? Would the senate be of 
a mind to disband, and name me ruler if it were 
asked of them say, on the morrow? " 

" Nay, be patient," protested the president 
" That will come in time. We must not risk all, nor 



22 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

hasten matters unduly. There are still those upon 
our side who need to be talked into a stiffer backbone 
for so bold a move." 

The other nodded, the eager light fading from his 
eyes. " I can wait," he said, in the grimly laconic 
tone of one who has proved his right to the palm of 
Patience. 

" There are some of that number of whom Philis- 
tius speaks," the greasily opulent Damocles informed 
him, " who will be waiting, even now, at my house to 
meet you and hear your plan discussed. Let us walk 
there." 

But if the general heard him, he gave no sign. 
Crossing the square in front of them were a bevy 
of maidens. All of them were fair to see; but one 
the center of the group, and, so, apparently their 
leader or mistress was fairest of all. 

" Come, Dionysius," said Philistius, starting off. 

" Yes, yes," the warlord answered vaguely, his 
eyes still following the girl. " In a moment, broth- 
ers, in a moment." 



CHAPTER III 

PYTHIAS' BETROTHAL 

PYTHIAS, in the garden of the hillside villa, 
meantime was trying, in a fit of wholly un- 
wonted embarrassment, to tell the great 
tidings that filled his brain. 

" But I think I can guess what your news is," 
Damon was saying. " And indeed, Pythias, you are 
right in believing that whatever good-fortune falls 
to your lot brings equal joy to me." 

The soldier laughed, with a schoolboy's zest. 

" See if you can foretell what my tidings are I " 
he invited. " You could not do it, I am sure, in a 
week's trying. But, go on what think you is the 
confidence? " 

The other smiled at him in fond assurance. 

" Why, what could it be but one thing? To me 
who am acquainted with your valor, and seeing you 
freshly returned from battle, as now, it is no difficult 
matter to apprehend what good news to yourself, and 
to those who have your interests at heart, you bring 
back. Your prowess has won you promotion. You 
have been given a higher rank in the army than you 
held before." 

23 



24 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

"No!" 

Pythias was laughing at him, boyishly. 

" It has nothing to do," Damon questioned, his 
forehead crinkling, " with a triumph won by your 
feats of arms? " 

"Nothing!" 

The blonde warrior laughingly shook his head. 

:< That is," after an instant's thoughtful pause he 
corrected himself, " it may be that some tale of the 
successes that have met my efforts in the field, being 
borne to her ears, helped to sway her heart toward 
me. She has told me she admires bravery in a man. 
She" 

The other checked him with brows incredulously 
uplifted. 

" She ? " he repeated. " What mean these ' shes ' 
and * hers ' in your speech, Pythias ? Explain your- 
self!" 

But, by this time having guessed what the other's 
tidings were to be, the smile had returned to his lips 
as he watched the soldier. 

" Well, there you have it ! " declared Pythias, 
spreading out his hands, an embarrassed flush suffus- 
ing the tan of his handsome face. " Such is my news. 
I love, at last; and, praise Venus, am loved in return. 
But by what a maid ! Damon, she is fair fair," 
he launched, with a rush of lover's eloquence, into 
a description of his adored one, " as the rosy dawn 
itself. Such laughing eyes she has ! Such dimpling 



PYTHIAS' BETROTHAL 25, 

cheeks! She is like some young daughter of the 
goddess of laughter, sent down to earth to show us 
dreary mortals what joyous life may be. Not the 
Graces themselves could outvie the poetry of motion 
in her going. Light as thistledown " 

44 Pythias turned orator! " murmured the states- 
man in wonder. " But who is this Divinity, may one 
inquire? " 

" She is Calanthe," Pythias replied. " And if you 
but knew her, you too would chant her praises with- 
out ever wearying. She is the daughter of Arria (a 
widow of means whose house is in the street of the 
Three Arches). It was while I was on furlough, 
three months ago, that first I met her. Before a 
dozen words had passed between us, love had en- 
tered my heart; and 'twas the same with her. She 
promised to name me the day she would be mine, 
when I returned again from the wars. And she had 
kept her word, within this same hour. We are 
plighted to take the marriage vow, a fortnight from 
to-morrow." 

Damon, rising soberly, took the other's hand. 

" I wish you as much happiness, as I have found 
in wedlock with this sweet woman, here. The gods 
granting me that prayer, you will not need to sacri- 
fice to them for any further favor." 

His friend, grown serious likewise, looked from 
one to the other of the pair before him. 

" Indeed," he said, " I would ask for nothing 



26 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

more than that. That I may know throughout my 
future married life the same rich content you have 
found in yours I echo your great wish." 

Damon, with a deepening of the gravity on his 
countenance, turned to the woman who sat on the 
fountain's marble brim beside him. 

" Leave me to talk for a while with Pythias, 1 ' he 
gently ordered. 

But even when Hermion had departed into the 
villa, Damon was silent. He took up his slow pacing 
back and forth once more, with hands clasped behind 
him. Watching his frowning profile, his friend's 
look of concern returned. 

" Damon " laying a hand again upon his shoul- 
der to stop him in the midst of his restless walk, and 
so swing him about to gain a full look into his face, 
" what is preying upon your mind? " 

The senator reseated himself upon the brink of the 
fountain. 

" I did not speak of it before her," the soldier 
went on, still regarding him from under a worried 
frown, " for fear of rousing her alarm " 

" She suspects, I fear," Damon, glancing toward 
the doorway behind them, broke in musingly, half to 
himself. " But she does not know, not yet. 
That is why I sent her away." 

"Know? Suspect?" repeated the warrior, in 
stark mystification. " What, will you tell me ? 
Perhaps, because I speak of noting its effect upon 



PYTHIAS' BETROTHAL 27 

you, you think I, too, suspect the cause of your un- 
easy mind. But, I assure you, I do not ! What has 
gone amiss with you in my absence? " 

The other looked up at him grimly. 

" You told me," he answered with meaning, " that 
you had heard the result of the election to-day." 

Sitting down beside him, his friend held him off by 
both shoulders. 

" New silver among those locks, at the temples," 
he read aloud the inventory which his shrewd gaze 
made. " A fresh network of wrinkles beside the 
eyes. A brow deeper-furrowed by at least three 
added creases. Man, you have aged five years in 
the six months since I saw you last! And all for 
what? Because of a change in our country's poli- 
tics ? A change that will be forgotten in less than a 
decade in another change, as that will be lost to 
memory in another, and so on as the history of 
affairs of state, since first they began, has ever proven. 
You surely have not been so foolish as to brood over 
such a trifling matter! If nothing more than that 
has destroyed your peace of mind, be advised by 
me : Think no more of it. You take far too seri- 
ously the office you hold." 

14 The office I hold I " echoed the other reflectively; 
and so sat for a space in thought. With a slow 
smile, he turned at length to his well-meaning ad- 
viser. 

" Pythias," he said, leaning forward and speaking 



28 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

with forefinger illustratively laid across one palm, 
" you are a general in the army of this country of 
ours. You have sworn, on accepting your commis- 
sion, to defend with your life its gates, should they 
be attacked by some enemy. Suppose hostile hordes 
were at hand, to storm those same gates. That they 
were even now swarming over the walls, to put to 
the torch all this fair land of yours and mine. Has 
that, thus far in the history of nations, not been 
done, and then forgotten in succeeding time of peace, 
which in turn has been blotted from the minds of men 
in red war's new coming? What would you do, 
then? Throw down the sword and shield you had 
vowed to your country's defense, and run to save 
your own life because you knew the incident would 
be forgotten in a few years ? " 

" No ! " flared the other. " No, by Mars ! You 
know me better ! " 

The statesman rose, with a shrug. 

" Exactly so," he responded, resuming his restive 
pacing as before. " I, too, took a vow, when I ac- 
cepted my commission as a servant of the people. 
It was to defend our country's welfare. Not, as in 
your case, with brawn. But with brain. And now 
an enemy does threaten us. One viler than any bar- 
barian tribe that might be sent to scale our walls, 
since it is from within the walls themselves the men- 
ace comes at the hands of traitors. And you call 
this a trifling matter; one I ought to take less to 



PYTHIAS' BETROTHAL 29 

heart? When I see the land I have pledged myself 
to protect so endangered? And myself too weak to 
redeem that pledge ? For, Pythias, you would have 
an army at your back to repel that other attack. 
And what have I? We are so few so pitifully 
few," he clenched his hands in impotent. anguish; 
" we who hold our patriotism higher than the highest 
bribe could reach as against the number we op- 
pose. You do not guess why I am near to the brink 
of distraction. But think of yourself in my place, 
and you will quickly understand. I must I will 
hold to my vow, no matter what the cost ! " 

He halted to gaze, as before, down upon the 
roof-tops of the town in the far-off vale. But 
now his eyes, as they rested upon it, held a zealot's 
fire. 

" One deed only can end it ! " he breathed. " And 
that deed I must take into my own hands. I have 
seen it coming. For that reason, I sent her and the 
child out here into the country on pretext of the little 
one's health. But in reality it was to have them 
safe out of harm's way, when the time comes to 
strike the blow " 

" Damon, are you mad? " queried the soldier, half 
starting up and gazing at him, aghast. " If I catch 
your meaning but, listen to me : this must cease. 
Promise me you will do nothing rash. I must have 
your word that you do not even contemplate " 

The ther checked him with a warning gesture. 



30 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

A servant, sent back by Hermion to bring in the little 
boy, had emerged just then from the villa. 

He was a man of middle age, whose dark, humble 
eyes were set in a lean, war-seamed face. The green 
of the slave-tunic blending in the foliage against 
which he stood at the rear of the garden while he 
looked for his small charge, lent an added obscurity 
to his presence. 

Turning back to his guest, Damon waved an in- 
viting hand toward a bowl of fruit on a nearby pedes- 
tal. Pythias shook his head. The other, following 
the soldier's gaze, looked around again to ascertain 
whether the servant had carried out his errand and 
gone. 

But Xextus, playing among the pillars of the 
peristyle pillars which he called his soldiers 
and being of no mind to give up his sport so soon, 
had turned, at the head of his slender white, marble 
legions at the approach of the slave ; brows martially 
beetling under the toy helmet, mimic sword akimbo, 
to repel the attack of the invader. 

The slave had given back a step before the tiny, 
militant figure. All the color drained from his 
cheeks, he was looking, not at the child, but through 
him, as though upon some dread vision he saw there. 

Damon, watching, understood what was passing 
through the fellow's thoughts. His own sped back 
to a street in Rome, through which he had been 



PYTHIAS' BETROTHAL 31 

walking, the business of state that had taken him 
to that city being completed, on his way from the 
Forum to his lodgings in the Palatine, on a day three 
years before. 

Midway of the street before him, he had seen a 
small group gathered near the deadwall of a build- 
ing. It had comprised three young men, in the in- 
signia of Roman officers, and another, of their own 
age, whose robe, gathered in the expansive folds of 
a fop's, revealed him to be a gentleman of leisure; as 
readily as did his over-ringed white hands. 

Damon had perceived that one of the soldiers was 
just then adding a fresh spot of red to the two or 
three that already marred the white skirt of his 
tunic, as he held the hem of that garment to a thumb 
which had apparently been wounded by an accidental 
scratch. 

u And we contend that the blood of a slave is of 
no different color than yours or ours/* another of 
the officers had been saying, loud enough for Damon 
to overhear as he drew nearer. "But come; the 
question is soon settled. You have a few sesterces, 
perhaps, my good Pyrrhus, with which to back your 
opinion in the matter." 

" It is impossible that a slave's blood could be of 
the same hue as a patrician's," the coxcomb had made 
answer with disdainful assurance. " But I will 
wager on it, gladly. A sestertium * that I am right." 

* $400 in our currency. 



32 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Damon had halted. He had come close enough 
to the group by that time to see over their heads. 
And thus he had made the discovery that it contained 
yet another member. It was this same slave upon 
whom his gaze now rested, that he had then seen 
standing with his back to the wall, hemmed in by the 
knot of disputants. Ashen cheeked, then as now, 
the wretch had been staring in dumb, sick-eyed terror 
at the short swords of two of the three officers. 

" Stay a moment," the soldier with the bleeding 
thumb had objected. " We have not yet decided 
who pays for your slave. We shall open him well, 
in order to leave no doubt in your mind. Shall we 
agree that you are to stand his loss, along with the 
wager, if your judgment is proved wrong? And we 
to reimburse you for him, in case we are the losers? " 

" That will be another sestertium," the dandy, in 
smiling confidence, had nodded his agreement to the 
terms. " I paid that much for him to Draco, the 
dealer, last summer but he has proved worth the 
price. I would hesitate to lose so good a servant, 
were it not that, with the two sestertia which I am 
about to receive from you, it should not be a difficult 
matter for me to find another as good. Strike, 
Hecale, and you, Gracchus, and let us have the 
matter put to the proof! " 

Damon had stepped forward. 

" Your pardon, sirs," he had apologized quietly 
for his intrusion. 



PYTHIAS' BETROTHAL 33 

The three officers, at sight of his senatorial toga, 
had given way before him respectfully. The fop, 
however, had shown no such deference for the 
stranger's rank. Turning, he had looked the in- 
truder up and down with haughty eyes. 

" Why," he had begun, coldly, " I, myself, can 
see no reason why you should be granted pardon for 
breaking in upon a conversation that does not pos- 
sibly concern " 

" A desire to be of service to you," Damon had 
bowed, in unsmiling response, " by settling the dis- 
cussion I have overheard you engaged in, is my ex- 
cuse. It entitles me, I think, to forgiveness for the 
interruption. Your friends, these soldiers, are 
right. The blood that runs through the veins of 
that vassal," tapping his breast, " is the same as 
mine. Its color is no different from any other fel- 
low-being's. I would not advise you to touch him 
with your swords, since " and Damon had placed 
a bag of gold pieces in the hand of the astonished ex- 
quisite " since, on the payment to you of twice 
what I have heard you say he cost you, he now be- 
longs to me." 

Beckoning the slave to his side, Damon had been 
about to walk on. 

" I am not a slave-dealer! " the young dandy had 
checked him, in a tone of scornful wrath. 

" Nor are you a fit master for any slave," the older 
man, turning to face him, had answered with laconic 



34 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

sternness. " Nor fit to hold knightly rank. A true 
knight does no man wrong." 

He had passed on down the street. The servant 
whose life he had saved had followed at his heels 
and had thenceforth loved him as a dog its master. 


Now Damon spoke with quiet, but obedience- 
compelling, firmness to the child. 

" Xextus, go into the house with Lucullus," he 
directed. 

The lad, dropping his pose of playful menace be- 
fore the servant, turned at the voice of paternal au- 
thority. The slave had got back his grip on him- 
self. Stepping forward, with a bow of apology to 
his master and the latter' s guest for his intrusion 
upon their occupancy of the garden, Lucullus picked 
the child up in his arms and convoyed his burden of 
protestingly wriggling small boyhood into the villa. 

Damon, turning back from watching their de- 
parture, saw his friend frowningly regarding the 
ground at his feet. 

14 But enough of my troubles," the statesman, 
with a self-condemnatory headshake, went on in a 
tone of assumed lightness " This is a bright day 
for you, Pythias do not let me cloud it by bother- 
ing you with my cares." 

Pythias rose, the troubled wrinkle still between his 
brows. 

" It is not as bright a day for me as it was, I can- 



PYTHIAS' BETROTHAL 35 

not but admit," he answered ruefully. ' To come 
back this way and find you so sore distressed, grieves 
me" 

" Do not let it grieve you," the other interrupted, 
laying his hand in turn upon his shoulder with an 
affectionate smile. " It has been good to see you. 
But I have made you spend too much time away from 
your Calanthe. I would not have you think ill of 
me. So, if you are in haste to return to the city " 

" But 'tis a strange thing," the soldier broke in, 
" how love works in one. It is all new to me. But, 
though I left her not an hour ago, I am a-hunger at 
this moment for another sight of her, as though it 
were a week since we parted." 

" I will summon Hermion," his host responded, 
with an understanding nod, " that we may both take 
leave of her. For I shall accompany you on your 
journey. I must know," he continued, with a return 
of his former seriousness, as he looked down again 
upon the town " what is going on there." 

Pythias stepped to his side. 

" But remember," he charged, " I have asked you 
to pledge me that you will make no rash move. 
You must be careful, Damon. Not alone for your- 
self for I know too well how little you would 
think of that but for the sake of all of us who 
love you, you will attempt nothing desperate. ' Cau- 
tion!'"^ 



CHAPTER IV; 

HE WHO COVETS 

UP the winding, chariot-rutted road ran 
Calanthe, pursued by her maidens. The 
gay breeze, borne from the blue waters of 
the Mediterranean, whipped her gold bronze curls 
into her laughing eyes, whence she shook them free ; 
and lifted the silken folds of her snow white dra- 
peries, till they snapped smartly about her tiny, san- 
daled feet and slender ankles. 

She turned, both hands clasped to her wind-tossed 
locks and called gayly to her companions. 

"Sluggards, heavy-footed ones!" she mocked. 
'' What is it that weights your steps? Calanthe out- 
strips you all; and despite the strong breezes and 
the hills to climb, is not a bit the worse for breath. 
Come, come, vie with her fleetness, lest she call you 
old and that before you have found your life- 
mates! " 

A slender maid, whose sleek, jet-black head was 
closely bound with golden fillet, darted up the slope 
in pursuit. With gay, little outbursts of mirth the 
remaining four gave chase. Beauty, grace, gayety, 
and the unbridled spirit of happy youth, on the green 

36 



HE WHO COVETS 37j 

hills outside Syracuse, while below, in the heart of 
the city, craft, hatred and the shedding of blood ruled 
supreme. 

" Calanthe, do not be so willing, nay anxious to 
be rid of us, on this, one of the last days of your 
freedom, " gasped Eunice, the leader of the pursuing 
band, grasping the flying folds of her companion's 
tunic. 

With a little shout of dismay, the fleet Calanthe 
tripped and fell to the green sward. Her maids 
swooped down upon her and held her prisoner, while 
she pleaded in vain. 

" Always do those filled with conceit tumble to 
earth, before they have soared too high, sweet," cen- 
sured Eunice, pressing close a tiny red garland that 
encircled the brow of the captured one. 

" And now that you have tasted the dust, we will 
set you free, on the sole account that, in so short a 
time, you will be bound for always and never again 
taste freedom ! " chaffed another. 

" Who speaks of freedom and those bound? " in- 
dignantly demanded the tortured one. " 'Tis but 
the lack of that same prison cell and those iron chains, 
that tips your tongues with smarting language. 
Who would not be bound in the arms of him who is 
beautiful and beloved by all the city? Who would 
not inhabit a cell, with a lover whose voice is liquid 
music, whose eyes are fiery pools with wondrous 
depths to be sounded? " 



38 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Flinging her rose garland into the face of the open- 
mouthed Eunice, Calanthe sprang from the ring of 
admiring maids and darted toward her mother's 
garden. 

Down at the foot of the hill, a figure, lean but 
squat, with helmet and breastplate catching the low- 
slant rays of a late sun and red-striped mantle wrap- 
ping its ill-shaped knotty legs in obedience to the 
wind, plodded its upward path. 

With the grim, sardonic persistence that character- 
ized all his acts, Dionysius was in pursuit. Men of 
state, his hirelings, awaited to thresh out the ways 
and means to a throne the overthrow of a popu- 
lace ruled city, the introduction of a crown. 
And he, whose brow the crown was to grace, gasped 
and fought for breath, as he pursued, uphill, the 
lithe, fascinating form of a Grecian maid. 

The ascent accomplished, he leaned upon the stone 
gate and surveyed the roof-tops of the city he had 
just left. With a sudden victorious gesture, laden 
with vindictiveness, he flung aloft his right arm and 
extended it, as in a sort of benediction, toward Syra- 
cuse a benediction that was grooved with curses ; 
then he turned, and, with a slight pressure, swung 
in the gate and stepped into the garden of Arria, 
mother of Calanthe. 

Treading a graveled path, brilliantly bordered 
with a variety of blooms, Dionysius came upon a 
shaded, green-carpeted grove of silver birch trees. 



HE WHO COVETS 39 

~In the center, a fountain of shell-pink marble, flecked 
with gray held crystal clear waters, that reflected 
the slender, white tree trunks. And around the 
basin sported Calanthe and her maids. 

" It is not fitting that we be so joyous and without 
sacred calm, having but just come from the temple, 
where we offered sacrifice to insure your happiness in 
coming marriage," expostulated Eunice, suddenly 
dropping to the ground in sedate determination. 

' You talk as though my marriage were but the 
approach to my tomb ! " pouted Calanthe. " I will 
not have it so. My heart is brimful of joy and hope 
and my head abuzz with divine ideas of what happi- 
ness will be mine. Come, let us dance! Come, 
Eunice ! See, I plead so prettily, dear one." 

Thus cajoled, Eunice sprang to her feet and lifted 
her slender arms above her head. 

" This time it shall be the dance of lilies,*' she 
ordained. " Pure, cold, sedate, like a sheaf of the 
blossoms themselves. Gather some to be borne on 
our arms a symbol of our chastened spirits." 

" No not lilies," objected Calanthe. "They 
are beauteous blooms for altar or casket But for 
love ! For love, sweet Eunice, there must be roses ; 
pink and creamy yellow, for the love that not yet has 
flamed; but red, crimson-red for a love like mine. 
Is it not so, my maids, that the red, red rose betokens 
love?" 

"It is indeed!" interposed a rasping voice. 



40 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" But who has brought such worldly knowledge to 
so sweet an innocent as Calanthe ? " 

Eunice, in sudden fright, dropped her perfumed 
burden of pink and crimson and darted to Calanthe's 
side. With a harsh laugh Dionysius, a jarring, in- 
congruous note in the gay garden, stepped into view. 
One by one the other maids shrank behind the trem- 
bling figure of their leader. 

u Why this fright? Why this fleeing as from a 
monster? I was but looking on, in profound ad- 
miration of your dancing." 

Dionysius for whom men sold their souls, whose 
raised hand in battle drove hordes of brave soldiers 
to their deaths, was plainly aggrieved at the uncon- 
cealed horror in the pretty eyes of the huddled group 
before him. 

Her first dismay allayed, Calanthe woke to the 
realization that before her stood her lover's general. 
She knew the utter awe in which this man was held. 
She felt that if she were to help Pythias at all, her 
first duty was not to offend his superior. Taking 
Eunice by the hand, she pulled her forward. 

" Look you, Eunice, 'tis Dionysius, the overlord of 
our army! " (" My Pythias " was trembling on her 
lips, but with a sudden burst of diplomacy she substi- 
tuted " our army.") " It is an honor to be visited 
in our little garden, by one whose name rings through 
the streets of Syracuse! " 

With a sudden, forced humility, the maids bent 




Universal Film Manufacturing Co. 

CALANTHE AND HER MAIDS. 




Universal Film Manufacturing Co. 

"OH, MY PYTHIAS. YOU WILL NOT GO?' 



HE WHO COVETS 41 

low before the armored figure. Then, as silently, 
rose to their feet and stood grave and abashed. 
The warlord took off his helmet. A stray shaft of 
sunlight fell on his head, accentuating the hollows 
under the high cheekbones, the sunken, gimlet eyes 
and the knotted tautness of the mouth corners. 

" It is not thus that I would see you," he observed. 
" So suddenly has the light gone from your eyes and 
the laughter from your lips. Be gay again and let 
me feast my weary eyes on the grace of your steps 
and the music of your mirth. Will you not bid me 
be seated, fair Calanthe? " 

" In this grove we have not a bench, my lord, but 
if the fountain edge will " 

" The fountain edge shall be my seat. And you 
will sit beside me? " 

Calanthe twisted her pretty hands in sudden ter- 
ror. Half unconsciously she fell back a step toward 
Eunice, who was looking on, resentment plainly 
graven on her lovely face. This intruder! What 
right had he to invade the privacy of a maid's gar- 
den? A warlord in pursuit of a dancing gazelle! 
Indeed it was a strange combination and not at all 
to her liking. She went forward and slipped an arm 
about Calanthe's waist. 

" Do you know when first I saw you, Calanthe? " 
questioned Dionysius, an amused gleam transforming 
the cold steel of his eyes. " 'Twas but a half hour 
since, outside the entrance to the Academy. Grave 



42 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

affairs of state were weighing on my shoulders. 
Senators stood by to beg my indulgence and ask ad- 
vice. A parcel of fools, not yet convinced of my 
supremacy, were about to be convinced by means 
best known to my satellites, when suddenly there 
burst upon my vision a dream of loveliness and youth 
yourself, Calanthe! " 

Eunice's hold tightened about the slender waist of 
her loved companion. Calanthe, a sullen crimson 
spreading, as spilled blood, under the velvet white- 
ness of her flesh, closed and opened her hands con- 
vulsively. Dionysius laughed. 

" Think you 'tis often that generals of invincible 
armies push to one side the powerful ones and pursue 
to mountaintops a tiny maid, unused to the life and 
gayeties of cities? " 

Calanthe dropped in a quivering, disconcerted 
heap, at his feet. With a sudden gesture he stooped 
and lifted her by her little icy hands. 

" Do not hide your beauty, sweet one," he be- 
sought; not restrained by his openmouthed audience 
of awestruck maidens. " It has ne'er been my good 
fortune to look upon such rounded damask cheeks, 
such snowy shoulders or such luscious lips. From 
whence comes your wondrous loveliness, Calanthe? " 

" Oh, my lord, you do but joke with me." Calan- 
the's voice was choked with fear and indignation. 
" I am but a poor subject for your brilliant speeches; 
and for beauty I am badly off. Why, the face of 



HE WHO COVETS 43 

jiny of my maids, reflected in this fountain, casts to 
the heavens a far more glorious image than my 



own." 



" It is not true," murmured the overlord, pressing 
too closely her imprisoned hands. " Your fingertips 
are chilled, child. I would cast a wager they were 
not so before my approach. Come, look into my 
eyes with those violet orbs that drew me hither. 
Have no fear. All my power fades before your 
glance and my stern will shall be clay to your pretty 
fingers. Come, look! " 

With an intimate gesture, Dionysius tilted up the 
dimpled chin and smiled into the frightened face. 
Calanthe broke from his grasp and turned as if to 
flee. 

Suddenly came thoughts of Pythias, resplendent 
in war regalia, strong, erect, beautiful as the sunlit 
day. This man was his overlord. If he wished to 
confer favors, he, and he alone, held the power to 
do so. If he wished to overwhelm and disgrace, he 
had but to raise a finger. 

A poor helpmeet would she be for her lover, if at 
the first distaste, she escape the mighty one and thus 
destroy his chances, when their relationship should 
be discovered. 

" Your pretty words are overwhelming," she said. 
" And my poor brain is stunned with the honor. 
Pray let us converse on other matters, for the mo- 
ment, till I get back my calm of everyday existence. 



44 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Think you that there will be more battle to call our 
army again to the front? " 

"Battle? Army? What coarse words to issue 
from the velvet lips of a sweet flower like yourself ! 
What know you of battles and armies, tender one? 
Your converse should be of butterflies and blossoms, 
of sunshine and sweets. Speak not again of battle. 
The clash of swords is a memory that grates my ears, 
when I am seated here in your perfumed paradise. 
What do you know of battle, child? " 

" Alas, but little ! I would know more, but no 
one will speak to me of it. It would be wonderful 
to see the fire of men's spirits as they dash into the 
fray. To hear the dull roar of trampling hoofs and 
chariot wheels. ,To note the blood-red quivering 
nostrils of the steeds, urged into the thick of the fight- 
ing; and the harsh clang of sword on shield, when it 
fails to penetrate. It mounts to my brain like wine 
and it is just the imagining of my foolishness/' 

Dionysius glanced through half-shut lids. His 
under lip was caught in sudden misgiving, lending his 
face the expression of a swooping hawk. 

u That is not the imagining of either a foolish, or 
an adroit, mind. You have been spoken to by a sol- 
dier who has seen battle. Your soul has caught the 
war-fire from his. Was it the spark of love that 
performed the ignition? Who was he who inspired 
you?" 

" Your surmise is incorrect, my lord. But often 



HE WHO COVETS 45 ; 

have I heard my elders speak of ancestors great in 
battle. The spirit is in the sons of our family, from 
their sires, and grandsires. But I, alas, a girl, can 
share none of it and sit, an alien, on the outside rank, 
to listen and that is all." 

" I think there is something secreted from me. 
In that tender breast is locked a something I am 
ignorant of." 

Dionysius clamped his pointed chin between a 
nervous thumb and forefinger. It was a gesture 
well known to his associates and feared by his under- 
lings. 

" But since you ask of present battle news and the 
possibility of our army being again called forth, fair 
Calanthe, I will say that I know not what conditions 
are at Agrigentum. For days past, my ambitions 
have been resting here, in Syracuse. By nightfall, 
however, there should be word. Now come, enough 
of this grave talk. Your snowy brow is furrowed 
and your cheek is faded ashen. If you would 
please me, dance. Entrance me, as you did when, 
unseen, I saw your golden sandals flashing in the 
dying sun, as you lifted your rosy feet in gay meas- 
ures. Dance, Calanthe dance for me and en- 
thrall me!" 

" Dance with your love roses," whispered Eunice. 
" The aged fool need not know that they signify 
the twined hearts of Pythias and you. Dance for 
him, with the love of Pythias shrouding your soul; 



46 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

and the mountain of conceit will take unto himself 
the radiance of your glance." 

" I will! " agreed Calanthe, bounding to her feet 
and gathering with a wild suddenness the scattered 
garlands. 

For a moment she poised on the tips of her toes, 
arms thrown aloft, twined with crimson blooms. 
Her head thrown back, revealed the perfect line of 
throat melting into bosom. Dionysius watched with 
greedy eyes. 

As the dance grew more and more violent he 
leaned forward, from the fountain edge, his thin 
lips compressed and twitching at the corners, his 
eyes narrowed and pierced by a lustful gleam, his 
nostrils dilating and contracting spasmodically. 

Faster and faster spun Calanthe, till she was but 
a blur of silken whiteness, gold and crimson. Then, 
in a final burst of abandon, she flung far the scarlet 
garland and fell to earth, a panting, radiant, laugh- 
ing sprite. 

For the space of a second Dionysius sat motion- 
less, while a dull flood of color surged under his 
sallow skin and sought his temples. There it 
pounded at his brain until his breath came in quick, 
hot gasps. Uttering a sound half triumph, half 
goulishness, he snatched the pulsing Calanthe from 
the ground, pinioned her in a vise-like grip and fas- 
tened his dry, burning lips to her mouth. 

Eunice and the maids gasped in horror to see their 



HE WHO COVETS 47 

mistress so assailed; yet made no advance to rescue 
her from the arms of the vandal. 

Calanthe needed no aid. At first contact her heart 
had stood still in her breast. Then the sickening 
terror of it gave her strength, superhuman strength, 
and she fought and kicked and bit her way to free- 
dom. 

Once out of his grasp, outraged, quivering with 
anger, she raised her hand and cut him sharply across 
the mouth. 

" Now go ! " she commanded, imperious in her 
fury. " Warlord, general, commander of men, that 
you are, you have for once stepped too far. Leave 
this garden and do not enter it again, whether there 
be pretext or whether there be none. Go ! " 

Dionysius bent to take his helmet from the foun- 
tain edge, his eyes still fastened on the indignant 
maid before him. As if in insolent retort, he pulled 
down one corner of his purpling mouth and laughed. 
It curdled the blood of his victim, but she stood, 
taut and defiant, her hand still indicating the white 
stone gate. 

And a moment later, through this same gate, 
slouched Dionysius, the warlord of Syracuse, to be 
greeted by Damocles and Philistius, who had come 
in search of him, alarmed at his long absence. 

" What has kept you, Dionysius? " queried Philis- 
tius, a hint of petulance in his tone. " There were 
several awaiting you at the house of Damocles, to 



48 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

discuss, in serious vein, that which you so keenly de- 
sire and you came not." 

" Hold," muttered the general. " I have been 
much worried and distressed. I " 

He cast a crafty look back over his shoulder, 
where could be dimly seen a white-robed, closely 
huddled group, through the silver birches. 

Philistius followed the look and grinned. Damo- 
cles, unknowing and slow to comprehend, looked 
from one to the other in blank bewilderment. 

"What is this secret understanding? This ex- 
change of shoulder-shrugs and lifted eyebrows? Is 
there that afloat that would not interest me ? " 

Philistius pointed expressively to the distant gar- 
den and tapped Dionysius on the shoulder. 

" There must be other maids as fair," he sug- 
gested significantly. " For this one is the property 
of none other than our famed Pythias. Calanthe, 
daughter of Arria and betrothed of Pythias, to whom 
she is plighted to take the marriage vow a fortnight 
from to-morrow." 

Damocles awoke from his nebulous condition. 

" Knew you it not? " he asked, in bland and child- 
like manner; "all Syracuse has known. He is in- 
deed a lucky warrior, to attain a bosom flower as 
fair as she. Hal And so you thought she'd be 
enamored of your charms and flutter to your em- 
brace?" 

" Enough of this insensate jesting," croaked 



HE WHO COVETS 49 

Dionysius. " A man may view a maid without 
thoughts of theft or of wedding feast. She is but a 
pretty child. Let us proceed. The descent will not 
tax the breath, as did the mounting." 

But in his brain the persistent taunt, " The be- 
trothed of Pythias ! " drove him to madness, till he 
thought aloud: 

" So 'tis from him she absorbed the fire of war. 
It was he who filled her pretty head with battle 
tales. Pythias! Forsooth it will bear looking 
into. That Pythias should possess what Dionysius 
covets! It will indeed bear looking into! " 



CHAPTER V. 

OUT OF THE WAY 

A SLAVE swung back the heavy folds of pur- 
ple velvet that concealed the portal of the 
inner courtyard. From afar, the roar of 
voices, broken now and again by blatant trumpeting, 
rumbled into the silence of the dwelling of Diony- 
sius. The slave, black ebony limbs rigid, thin arms 
folded stiffly, stood in silence, awaiting his master. 
In the polished marble floor the sheen of his flesh 
was reflected. From countless polished urns of brass 
and silver it was thrown back at him. 

A sound from without caused him to shiver 
slightly. The next instant the purple folds behind 
him parted and Dionysius, followed by Damocles, 
strode into the room. 

"Have ye not progressed?" Damocles was ask- 
ing with some asperity. " We have attained the 
vantage ground whence your broad view may take a 
boundless prospect. Is it not enough to report for 
so short a period of labor? " 

Dionysius swung upon him viciously. 

" So short a period of labor! I have labored all 
the years that have been mine. I have labored from 

50 



OUT OF THE WAY 51 

my infancy. I shall labor to my grave. When 
others sleep, I plan. When others play, I dream. 
And my dreams merge into plans and my plans 
into realities. But the striving for greater and still 
greater rewards in life has sapped the life blood 
from my arteries and dried the energies I once pos- 
sessed." 

' Think, when downcast, of the day when the 
great reward shall come," urged Damocles, stretch- 
ing his length upon a gaudy silken couch, brave in 
gold trappings and fringes. " Think of the time, 
when borne through the city's streets, in your regal 
chariot, the populace shall hail you " 

Dionysius leaped forward and laid a forbidding 
hand over the mouth of the speaker. 

" S-h-h ! " he hissed, glancing from side to side 
and behind him, at the draped portals. " Who may 
not hear, when least it is expected ? The word itself 
has never crossed my lips, nor shall it till the day 
when it is no more a matter of conjecture." 

As he whispered the last words his glance fell 
upon the African slave standing motionless inside 
the portal. Amazed, his eyes wandered from the 
huge, broad-toed feet, flattened on the marble floor, 
to the head, bound in folds of green and crimson 
silks. 

The expression that distorted his features was first 
one of nameless terror that broadened into baffled 
rage. With a mighty oath he strode toward the 



2 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

stiffened figure and tore from its head the soft, glis- 
tening mass of silk. As if unfurling a banner, he 
whipped it against the air, till not a fold remained; 
then with twitching, uncertain fingers tore it to shreds 
and cast it to the floor. 

The slave remained motionless. Not a ripple of 
the ebony flesh greeted this maniacal outburst. 
Dionysius, feet spread, arteries on neck and temples 
swelled to bursting, stood before him, choking out a 
torrent of words. 

" What mean you, black scum that you are, by de- 
fying my commands of the manner of clothing your 
body? Have I not often said that I wish no orna- 
mentation, no superfluous display of silken stuffs, 
no ? Bah ! Of what use to spend the energy I so 
sadly need upon the crass stupidity of a slave born 
without the means of thinking! Begone! And 
bring a bowl, full, double spiced and heated through, 
that Damocles and I may forget your transgres- 
sions! " 

As the velvet folds fell behind the retreating slave, 
Dionysius sank into a cushioned seat and dropped 
his head upon a trembling hand. Twice he started 
to speak, then hesitated, as if not knowing in just 
what terms to couch his explanation. 

Damocles, half-raised on one fat elbow, watched 
him with the keenness of an obese hawk. 

" Why this sudden passion vented upon an of- 
fenseless slave?" he asked at length. " Is it that 



OUT OF THE WAY 53 

your tense control must snap, to send relief to your 
worried brain? " 

To the half-buried sting in the words of compas- 
sion, Dionysius paid no heed. But he gave answer 
to the direct question. 

" I ask no clemency or indulgence. I require 
none. When once this brain and self-control of 
mine shall snap, as some frail glass stem, then will 
the workings of my heart be still and the breath no 
longer ooze from my lungs. Nay! I ask no relief. 
But I demand obedience and it is one of my uncom- 
promising rules that no attendant about my dwelling 
shall wear draperies that might act as nests of con- 
cealment." 

" Nests of concealment!" echoed the amazed 
Damocles. "What is your meaning, Dionysius?" 

An utter silence followed. Damocles with curi- 
osity writ large upon his fat-joweled, blue-red counte- 
nance looked through, rather than at him. Diony- 
sius' brows were shirred into a hundred creases, his 
lips so tightly clamped together, that they radiated 
blue-white lines that ate into his cheeks. 

At last he spoke : 

'' These are the days when a man who is ambitious 
protects his life by warding off what might come, not 
that which is already here." 

' You mean " gasped Damocles, rising in sudden 
horror from the couch. 

" Just that," agreed Dionysius; " but look not so 



54 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

perturbed. My fears cannot jeopardize your 
safety, my friend." 

" But here, you fear? Here, within the walls of 
your own dwelling, you dare not trust the hands that 
serve you? " 

" Fear always the nearest hand, regardless of the 
body to which it may be fastened," warned the over- 
lord grimly. " Remember the dagger point will find 
its mark, only when drawn at a close angle. Ah, the 
bowl! And the scent of spices touches my nostrils 
with a pleasing sting." 

Silently the slave drew an onyx pedestal before 
the couch of Damocles and placed thereon a steaming 
tankard. From side stands of ivory and pearl, he 
took two goblets of beaten silver and dipped them 
into the hot liquid, presenting the first to Damocles, 
the remaining one to his master. 

Dionysius placed a cupped hand on either side of 
the goblet and raised it, at arm's length, above his 
head. 

" In this draught we drown all our fears and worri- 
some imaginings," he proposed, " and from its stim- 
ulus, shall be born the undaunted knowledge of fu- 
ture triumph a future not far distant, I swear 
it!" 

With heads erect, elbows at right angles to their 
bodies and hands flattened against the goblet sides, 
the two men drank. 

But hardly had the first gulp gladdened their 



OUT OF THE WAY 55 

throats, when sounds of an altercation, outside the 
portal, arose, above the distant clamor of the crowded 
streets. The voices of slaves and pages raised in 
protest were drowned by the resonant commands 
of one of higher culture. Nearer and nearer came 
the violent group, until the purple velvet hanging 
was swayed to and fro in answer to the physical 
struggle that was taking place on the other side. 

With a mighty wrench the hanging was torn from 
its fastenings and a cluster of mauling, viciously hos- 
tile men, fell over the threshold. 

From the kicking, thumping mass, one man de- 
tached himself. With a triumphant cry he headed 
for Dionysius, followed by the howling attendants. 
Breathless, scratched and bleeding, he fell at th,e 
feet of the warlord and extended a strip of parch- 
ment. 

At sight of the bruised, exhausted stranger, Diony- 
sius fell back a step or two, until he found support 
against the jellylike anatomy of Damocles. As the 
intruder remained silent and still kneeling, Dionysius 
flung aloft his right arm, in wrath. 

" What is this ? " he asked his vassals, his voice 
high pitched in anger. " Has this household of 
mine suddenly become like a thing gone mad? Are 
my commands not to be obeyed nay, even are they 
to be ignored? Speak up, one or all, I wish to hear 
your miserable excuses. Then shall I say what I 
shall say ! " 



56 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" My lord, we did protest! " one piping voice tes- 
tified with all the vehemence born of a severely 
bruised nose. 

" Aye, protest! And your protests, six in all, did 
not quell the protest of this one stranger. Monu- 
ments of strength have I, to protect the gateways of 
my home ! Who is this man ? " 

" A messenger from Agrigentum," gasped the 
stranger. " Spent with travel, but with news of 
grave importance and requests, my lord." 

Urgently he pressed the parchment into the hands 
of Dionysius. But the fingers did not open to re- 
ceive it. Instead, the kneeling figure was waived 
again into the clutch of the waiting slaves. 

'* Take him from my presence and strip him to 
his dust-bitten hide ! " directed Dionysius. " When 
he has had complete change of clothing, bring him 
to me. Then will I peruse the messages from 
Agrigentum." 

Through a half draped doorway, to the left of 
the inner courtyard, could be seen the band of slaves 
ripping the armor and clothing from the body of 
the exhausted messenger. His flesh, gray-white, 
where exposed, was separated in well defined sec- 
tions from the purity of the sheltered stretches of 
skin. There were ridges dull scarlet and inflamed, 
alternating with grooves deep cut, from the tightened 
straps and trappings he had worn. 

Dionysius looked on, perturbed; Damocles, as 




i Universal film Manufacturing Co. 

LYING UNDER THE SHADIEST TREES WAS CALANTHE, ATTENDED 
BY HER MAIDS. 



OUT OF THE WAY 57 

though he were witnessing a performance arranged 
for his exclusive amusement. Dionysius broke the 
silence. 

" All the day, yes, and for days past, have I known 
that summons from Agrigentum must come. A 
strange certainty of disaster has hovered about me, 
till I welcomed the night to close my eyes, if not my 
brain, to its insistent whisperings." 

" The news may be of the best," quoth Damocles, 
comfortably yawning behind his pudgy, over-ringed 
hand. " You are unnecessarily disturbed." 

"If his tidings were of the best, think you this 
man, lacking food, dirty, and exhausted, would break 
into my presence and pant out his need of haste? 
No, there is something needed. Here he comes, in 
different garb and stripped of all possible weapons! 
Now we shall learn the text of the messages." 

" My lord, conditions are grave indeed at Agrigen- 
tum," reported the messenger. " There is immedi- 
ate need of additional armies and, most urgent of 
all is the necessity of a master mind like yours, my 
lord, to diagram and strategize against the Cartha- 
ginians, who have but little of the science of war- 
fare's finer points." 

A gesture stilled the garrulous outburst. Diony- 
sius unrolled the parchment and let it dangle from 
his hand. His eyes rapidly traced the scrawled 
characters. In the gravity of his reading, his eyes 
receded deeper and deeper into his skull, until the 



58 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

overhanging brows seemed to shelter mere cavities. 

" They have need, indeed ! " he exclaimed to Dam- 
ocles. " My commanders on the field have allowed 
early defeat to damper ardor and destroy the vision 
of a possible victory. They see gray. And I am 
the only one who can bring the rose gleam through 
the soddenness. Yes, I must go. Although affairs 
are fast approaching an important issue, I must leave 
my ambition to strangers and go ! " 

He sighed heavily. 

Damocles, slow to thought, and ponderous after 
he achieved it, woke to the situation and struck him 
sharply on the shoulder. The triumph of having 
solved a difficult dilemma shone from his small, sea- 
green eyes. He fairly beamed upon the general. 

It was this apparently foundationless satisfaction 
that roused Dionysius to vehement language. 

" Speak! " he rasped out. " What is the reason 
of this widening grin and winking eye? Have you 
but now waked to the point of a comic tale told 
yesterday, or has the cup just quaffed touched fire to 
your brain? " 

Impervious to these sarcastic shafts, Damocles 
proceeded to unfold his plan. 

" Less than an hour back," he strove for oratorical 
inflection and effective pose, " I heard you murmur 
that if Pythias, the idol of Syracuse, possess that 
which Dionysius covet, there would have to be a 
sudden turn in affairs. Can you see light now, my 



OUT OF THE WAY 59 

Dionysius ? A kind fate has made to your order the 
very situation you desired so fervently." 

" I am rarely slow to comprehension," interrupted 
Dionysius irritably, " but if you wish me to grasp 
the import of this master stroke of yours, I fear 
you must speak more into my mind and less out of 
your own. What is it that you wish to say, Damo- 
cles? Dress it in few words and those of the plain- 
est. One always carries low-priced cloth to a poor 
tailor and rich materials to the skilled one. So is it 
with language, my friend simple words to the slow 
in thought. The brilliant-minded, only, may juggle 
with embroidered phrases ! " 

" It is this, then," Damocles explained. " Why 
go to Agrigentum, when Pythias is here? He has 
just returned from wars in the South. He is cov- 
ered with glory. His name slips from the mouths 
of the populace as glibly as the names of their gods. 
Moreover he holds, in the hollow of his hand, the 
heart of the fair Calanthe. Once away, who knows 
but that your fame and that position you are about 
to attain will win over the maid. It is not an im- 
possible thing." 

" Send Pythias to Agrigentum? " meditated Diony- 
sius. " If he be killed in battle, well " 

" Well " echoed Damocles. 

" It shall be done ! " decided the warlord. " Know 
you where a messenger may find Pythias at this mo- 
ment? His departure must.be immediate. The 



60 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Carthaginians have chilled the blood of our bravest. 
Aid must go to them before that blood is too hope- 
lessly congealed." 

The messenger from Agrigentum stepped forward 
to hear the commands that were to follow. 

" Pythias is at the home of Arria, at this moment," 
divulged Damocles, overinflated at the vital role of 
creator of ideas and informer of whereabouts, 
" Send the messenger direct and he will be here in 
but few moments." 

Dionysius directed the messenger. 

" The first house on the hill that leads down past 
the Academy Square. There is a grove of silver 
birch at the end of a flowered walk," he added, and 
then railed at his own stupidity. 

" And now that all is settled so wisely and so well, 
may we not quaff in peace, and let the liquid coat 
our stomachs with cheer and our brains with wit? " 
There was a plaintive plea in Damocles' request. 
An unquaffed bowl was tragedy sufficient to cast down 
his spirits for the week. 

Deaf to the entreaty, Dionysius walked out upon 
his balustrade and gazed aloft, where on a strip of 
white road, indistinct in the dusk, a single horseman 
urged his steed ahead. It was the messenger from 
Agrigentum. Dionysius strangled the chuckle that 
gurgled in his throat. 

In an onyx-paved hall, with pillars of green mot- 



OUT OF THE WAY 61 

tied marble, blazed ten torches in bronze bowls. The 
apartment thus vividly lighted, reflected a myriad of 
gleams in the translucency of its flooring. 

Calanthe, in brilliant yellow tunic, sat on a low- 
cushioned bench, her slender fingers threading the 
golden curls of Pythias, who was seated at her feet. 
Standing above them, his purple-banded toga show- 
ing dead black arid white in the torchlight, was 
Damon. With arms folded loosely across his broad 
chest, his face wreathed in smiles that breathed a 
benediction upon the young lovers, he stood, witness 
to their happiness. 

" A fortnight is too short a time is it not, Da- 
mon?" Calanthe pouted prettily and looked up 
into the fine, gentle face of her lover's friend. 

" A fortnight is a lifetime, lived twice," supple- 
mented Pythias, eagerly. " You, who have found 
such profound and lasting happiness in wedlock, must 
tell her so, Damon. The fickle maid would hold me 
distant many months I doubt not if I should so 
allow. Ah, my sweet, know you not that life is too 
short a term in which to crowd the rapture of a 
perfect love ? And Youth that which blesses you 
and me at this moment, on the morrow, or the mor- 
row after that, will take wing and never more re- 
turn. A fortnight is " 

The irregular hoofbeats of a tired steed drifted 
in to them, through the white-and-gold draperies. 
Pythias jumped to his feet. 



62 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

'Tis the sound of a horse that is goaded to 
hot speed," he exclaimed, running to the draped bal- 
cony that overlooked the entrance path. " He stops 
here! A man alights! Are you expecting mes- 
sages of importance, Damon, that they seek you out 
here?" 

" I am expecting nothing," replied the statesman. 
" The messages I have this day received have 
weighed my heart with lead all save one. If the 
messenger is seeking me, it is an unexpected sum- 



mons." 



The curtains shrouding the entrance to the outer 
vestibule parted and Eunice ran to Calanthe's side. 

" There is, outside, a handsome messenger. 
Though wan and worn of feature, yet his form is 
superb and like unto a " 

4 Whom does he seek?" interrupted Damon, 
smiling indulgently upon the maid's glowing descrip- 
tion. 

Eunice's face was suffused with tender blushes. 

" Had you not asked, sir, I would have neglected 
to say. It is Pythias he seeks. He begs admit- 



tance." 



" Pythias ! " Calanthe darted to her feet and ran 
into the protecting circle of her loved one's arm. 
" But why why does he seek Pythias, at this 
hour?" 

" Let us have him in. That is the shortest way to 
discern why," suggested Damon. 



OUT OF THE WAY 63 

In an instant the messenger stood upon the 
threshold. His seamed face was lit by the fires of 
an undying patriotism. He knelt before the giant 
warrior. 

" I have come to summon you to Dionysius, who 
in turn was importuned by our generals at Agrigen- 
tum. We have need of a master mind there. We 
have need of a steel-clad courage. Dionysius awaits 
you at his dwelling. I should not, perhaps, have de- 
livered the message. I may incur his wrath that it 
came from other lips than his own." 

" He will indeed be wrathful," interposed Damon, 
smiling in derision. " On a slimmer excuse than 
that, can our Dionysius vent his spleen. It is the 
training for his throne in Syracuse, eh, Pythias? " 

" I know not if that be true, my Damon. Diony- 
sius is revered on the battlefield, his " 

* Yea, he is revered when his countenance is 
turned to the revering ones. But let the back of his 
head smile upon them, and lo, the rumble of choked 
curses rises to wound the ears. He has lived for 
self alone. He has sacrificed his friends, his honor, 
his home, upon the altar of a boundless ambition for 
place and for power. He does pollute the air he 
breathes ! " 

Pythias raised a protesting palm. 

" A true knight should ever wear the armor of 
truth and the shield of virtue; against which the 
shafts of vice and falsehood cannot prevail. Diony- 



64 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

sius has ever inspired me to brave deeds he is the 
model and I the Calanthe, sweet, why do you 
cling to me so tremblingly? And are these tremors 
that shake your slender body? Speak, dear one! 
What has affrighted you? " 

" War! " gasped the maiden. " Oh, my Pythias, 
you will not go you will not ! Promise me you 
will not go! " 

"Not go, light of my heart! You have heard 
the command from the overlord. I am but a sol- 
dier. I obey." 

" But he he " she faltered. 

"He? What? Calanthe. Speak not in 
snatches, I pray you, dear. My time is short. I 
must accompany the messenger and receive my or- 
ders." 

" No, no, a thousand times no 1 You shall not 
go, my Pythias. Would you leave me here to eat 
my heart out, alone and unprotected? " 

" Nay," corrected her lover, smiling with deep 
and trusting affection into the eyes of Damon. " Not 
unprotected. For while Damon lives are you safe 
and furnished with a protector, far more capable 
than I. It will be but another link in the golden 
chain that binds us." 

" But if you if there should happen so terrible 
a thing that I might see you nevermore? If you 
should not return ! " 

Torn with hysterical weeping and the panic of 



OUT OF THE WAY 65 

parting, Calanthe sank to the floor at her lover's feet. 
Pythias bent and drew her into his arms. 

u Sweet one, you are the core of life to me. There 
is no thought of one save you and never shall be. 
This is not fitting a soldier's mate. When the call 
to battle comes, he must attend. He must close the 
tender by-ways of his heart and live only in his mind. 
Come, smile for me, my Calanthe." 

"If you should not return! " sobbed the maid, 
still clinging to him in terror. 

Damon walked to a low stone table on which grew 
a pot of myrtle. Snapping a slender sprig of it, he 
turned and approached Pythias. 

With right arm extended, elbow straightened and 
fingers closed he laid the bit of green in Pythias' 
palm. 

" See, Calanthe," he lifted the drooping head of 
the grief-stricken girl and pointed to the symbol. 
" He will return. And his eyes shall search the 
horizon for the sight of your lovely face and the 
wonder of your greeting. He will return." 

Pythias released her and grasped, with both of 
his, the hand of his loved friend. 

" You will be her protection when I am not here 
to see ? It were absurd to ask it so completely 
will you watch over her, e'en without my bidding. 
I have but two words more to say: f Caution! ' and 
'farewell!'" 

He gathered the sobshaken figure of Calanthe in 



66 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

his arms, kissed her pale forehead, her tear-washed 
lids and tender mouth, then strode from the room, 
followed by the messenger. 

Out on the moonlit balcony, a silken yellow tunic 
gleamed a spot of gold in the clear whiteness of 
the night. And when the dark spots that were 
horses and their riders were swallowed by the black 
shadows of Syracuse a prostrate, weeping girl hid 
her eyes in her hands, to shut out the radiance of the 
moon. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE VISIONS 

THE mountain slope, overlooking the sun- 
kissed Mediterranean, was bathed in the 
full glow of midday. The breeze, toss- 
ing the treetops, turned the silver undersides of the 
dull-green foliage to the skies. Birds, strange yel- 
low and black striped, preened on the upper branches. 
As the wind veered about from time to time, zeph- 
yrs, laden with the odors of orange and olive blos- 
soms, were borne to the sea. 

Far off the blue expanse was flecked with white, 
and here and there moved a vessel that gave the 
appearance of a huge centipede pushing itself 
through the water the war triremes, propelled by 
three banks of oarsmen. 

Far up the mountain side, lying under the hugest, 
shadiest tree, was Calanthe, attended by her maids. 
On the ground was spread a cloth of blue worked in 
silver, and laid thereon were silver dishes, filled with 
fruits and sweets. 

But Calanthe heeded them not. Her gaze was 
fastened on the line where distant waters met a still 
more distant sky. A trireme worked, swiftly, into 

67 



68 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

her line of vision. She shuddered and again hid her 
head in her arms. 

" What is it that has brought fresh sorrow to your 
eyes, dear one?" Eunice bent above her mistress 
and placed a protecting arm about the white shoul- 
ders. 4 You must not allow this utter submission to 
grief. It has fed upon your cheek till, even now, 
you look a shadow of the maid who bade her lover 
farewell. What is this fresh sorrow? " 

' The trireme ! " Calanthe jumped to her feet 
and clenched her trembling hands. " I hate the 
thing that brings the thought of war! That vessel, 
propelled by near two hundred men, bent on destruc- 
tion of life, floats upon the calm bosom of my fair 
Mediterranean and blots the picture. Ah, that I 
should have the cruel fate of loving one whose duty 
it is to fly into, peril at his country's command! " 

" It is wondrous to be the bride of a soldier-gen- 
eral ! " urged Eunice. " What maid but would covet 
the honor? And with one as beautiful and strong 
as your Pythias! Calanthe, you do not thank the 
gods sufficiently for the marvels they have be- 
stowed." 

'The gods!" the bitterness in the exclamation 
shocked the ^istening maids to silence. " I am a 
human and my heart cries out for its loved one. I 
am miserable miserable and afraid ! It is of no 
use to beseech the gods to send me my happiness. 
It was they who snatched it from me ! " 



THE VISIONS 69 

" Calanthe ! " breathed Eunice, awestruck by the 
seeming sacrilege. " You must not speak so, or as 
punishment it may happen that Pythias will not re- 
turn." 

At thought of this terrible possibility Calanthe 
was again plunged into the deepest grief. Face 
down on the green sward, she wept her heart out, 
while her maids one and all tried to devise some 
means of solace. 

" Come romp through the groves with me," be- 
seeched Eunice, lifting the bronze-gold head to her 
shoulder. " We will give chase to humming birds 
and gather the blooms from which they've sipped. 
And you have tasted not one of the almond sweets 
that Artullo prepared for you, with such loving care, 
this morn." 

" Ah, Eunice, my faithful companion, I care not 
for sweets. When the heart is hungry, there is no 
hunger elsewhere. I am a sorry comrade since 
Pythias went away; if I were but strongly willed, I 
would control my sadness and refrain from darken- 
ing your existence. Love plays strange pranks. 
Come, dear, I'll try to do better. Moaning will not 
make him return earlier than he is able to. We'll 
stroll through the woodlands and see which of 
us is most apt at duplicating the call of the strange 
birds, which have lately flown hither from the 
South." 

" You will be, of course," declared one of the 



70 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

maidens, enthusiastically, " you are always most apt, 
no matter what we attempt." 

" Follow me! " called Calanthe gayly, " an extra 
portion of sweets to her who first lays hand on my 
tunic folds. Follow ! " 

Down the slope sped the fleet-footed girl. On 
and on catching at tree trunks to aid her balance 
in slippery places, and turning once or twice to wave 
a tantalizing hand at her pursuers. At the foot of 
the hill where the huge, flat rocks jutted out into 
the sea, she waited, till they had gained her side. 

With arms outspread, her face flushed from vio- 
lent exercise, her background the sapphire blue of 
the Mediterranean, she presented an entrancing pic- 
ture. 

"If Pythias could see you now!" exclaimed 
Eunice, bounding toward her. ' You are so beau- 
tiful that way, sweet. Not since the day your lover 
left, have I seen the crimson in your cheek and the 
sparkle in your eyes. Is she not beautiful? " 

Eunice turned and consulted the little band of 
stragglers. One by one they knelt in mock obeisance 
and chanted: 

" She is indeed a queen of beauty! " 

" I will not be chaffed," pouted the reigning one. 
"Look! Beyond the third huge tree whose leaves 
are rimmed with scarlet ! What is that yawning hole 
that wicked looking cavity of blackness? " 



THE VISIONS 71 

The maids looked, with fear, from one to the 
other. None volunteered the answer to Calanthe's 
question. Struck by the sudden silence she searched 
the face of her companions. 

"Why do you not answer?" she demanded im- 
periously. " What is there about that strange and 
unalluring place that I may not know? Is it the 
abode of a wicked one or " 

Eunice was the first to speak. 

" We must not speak of things profane, to you, 
Calanthe. That is the cave of Galatea, the dwell- 
ing place of Hecati, the witch, who professes to 
know most things, aye, even more than the gods 
themselves. She is shunnned by those who live an 
upright life. Only the corrupt and cruel consult her 
ill-smelling flames and magic waters, to find out how 
best to thwart their foes." 

" And knows she all things, as she professes to 
do? " inquired Calanthe with warm interest. " Can 
she speak of things that concern the planets and has 
she sight to see a hundred leagues and tell what is 
happening there? " 

u All that and more they say she does," acknowl- 
edge Eunice reluctantly. " But it is not for you to 
show interest in a vile person of this sort. Come, 
let us away from the neighborhood of her cave. I 
shudder at its nearness." 

" I shall enter it! " announced Calanthe. 



72 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

"What!" shrieked the chorus of maidens. 
" Calanthe, daughter of Arria, enter the cave of 
Hecati?" 

" You must not," was Eunice's stern command. 
'* We, your maids, are responsible for your safe- 
keeping. I will not allow it." 

" 4 Allow J ! 'Tis a strange word from maid to 
mistress. I shall do as I have said. Let not the 
question of permission enter into it. Am I not staid 
enough to wed, when my lord returns from the wars? 
If so, then am I capable of entering the cave of He- 
cati and of coming out unharmed." 

" What madness is this? " wailed Eunice in great 
distress. " If she were human, yes. But she is 
strange, misshapen and vile in tongue. You must 
not!" 

" She is an oracle, consulted by many older and 
wiser than I am and for far less vital reasons. I, 
too, would know of things to which the vision of my 
young eyes is closed. I would know if " 

" You must not! See, at your feet, dear one, I 
plead, Calanthe! Have wisdom! Do not do this 
thing!" 

The violet eyes looked down into the troubled 
black ones. The obstinate light that had glit- 
tered but a moment before faded into softness and 
was submerged in tears. Impulsively Calanthe 
dropped to her knees and placed her arms in a close 
embrace, about the shoulders of the suppliant girl. 



THE VISIONS 73 

" List to me, Eunice," she began sadly. " A mo- 
ment since when I leaped down the mountainside 
and bade you follow, it was not from lightness of 
heart or any desire to take up again the sports of 
youth that I have so completely dropped. 'Twas 
but because I knew I had made your life dreary 
since my Pythias bade me farewell. The doubt of 
his safety, the possibility that he may not escape the 
enemy's sword, is driving me to madness ! I can 
bear it no longer. You would not have me torn with 
torture, would you? " 

" I would lay down this poor life of mine to save 
you but an instant's dread," said Eunice simply. " I 
serve not because it is my station, but because the 
dictates of my heart make me cling to you, sweet mis* 



tress." 



" I know it well. Then let me go, Eunice. And 
you keep watch above the entrance, so if harm 
threatens I may warn you. I go to consult sibyl's 
fires and look into the depth of her charmed pools, 
in hope of having visions of my loved one, my val- 
iant Pythias." 

" Tread softly that you rouse not her ire," cau- 
tioned Eunice. " If her mood be queer she will drive 
us all away." 

With wary step the six young maids approached 
the cave of Hecati. The mouth of the cavern was 
such as must have sheltered a dragon that belched 
flame and blazing cinders, in some prehistoric time. 



74 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

A step inside the outer edge and all was inky black- 
ness. 

Quivering with excitement and admiration of their 
mistress' daring the five attendants crouched on the 
ground above the overhanging rock. Calanthe, 
alone, made the descent. 

Grasping the rough edges of the jagged rocks 
with her slender well-kept hands, she found footing 
among the knotted roots that made a difficult ap- 
proach. A final leap brought her to the entrance 
itself and for a moment she stood there, the warm 
rays of the sun shining on her right, the dank odors 
of the depths rising on her left. 

Waving a courageous farewell to Eunice, whose 
pretty face bent over the rock edge, Calanthe stepped 
further into the gloom. At first there was just black- 
ness and no sight of living thing. She seemed to be 
enveloped in a raw moisture that cut to her bone 
marrow and paralyzed her courage. Something 
thudded awkwardly against her sandals. In fright 
she darted back to the entrance and found 'twas but a 
cumbersome turtle trying to make room for her. 

" I shall learn nothing," she told herself sternly, 
" if my bravery is vanquished by so small a thing. 
I wonder would it be best to summon her above. It 
is strange there are no hints of lights, if there are 
fires. It is strange that she herself would not come 
forward to " 

At the very moment a click of blunted wood, fall- 



THE VISIONS 75 

ing on the slippery surfaces of stone, smote her ears. 
Taking shape from the gloom, emerged a figure, 
shrouded in rags and topped by a mass of matted 
hair. 

The head too large for the body and elongated 
by a sharpened chin, wagged uncertainly from side 
to side, as if hung on wires without anchorage. The 
face, of olive complexion on one cheek and smooth 
as that of Eunice's own, was florid blond and choked 
with warts and moles on the other. 

When she stood, her back bore resemblance to 
a twig that had snapped in the bending. When she 
walked, the looseness of her joints gave her the 
weird effect of being saved from utter disintegra- 
tion by the stout branch upon which she leaned her 
weight. 

" Hast come to me for aid?" The stentorian 
tones, heavier in caliber than those of the most power- 
ful orator, caused Calanthe to shrink against the 
slimy walls of the inner cave. 

" You are Hecati? " she breathed in sudden ter- 
ror. 

" I am Hecati, who bringeth light when darkness 
reigns, who lifteth veils and shows the scenes be- 
yond. I am Hecati who is sought by the states- 
man that he may know the will of the fickle people ; 
by the trembling maid that she may discover the 
inner thoughts of him whom she adores; by the sol- 
dier who sets forth to battle and seeks to know if 



76 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

again he shall cross the threshold of his own court- 
yard." 

4 Your uncanny wisdom is the marvel of Syra- 
cuse," faltered Calanthe. " I have come to seek 
knowledge. Will you give me aid ?" 

Hecati turned, with much difficulty, and led the 
way. Down a flight of rough hewn steps, slippery 
with mold, she shuffled. At the bottom she held 
aloft a torch. It flared on a cave room, empty, save 
for a bench, a dying fire, and, in the center, a wide, 
shallow basin supported on iron standards. 

A cold slippery something dropped from above 
and clung to Calanthe's shoulder buckle. She 
screamed wildly and strove to find the steps again. 

4 What fright at a harmless lizard ! " scorned 
Hecati, removing the dreaded reptile. " My cave 
is filled with strange creatures that I have made my 
pets. Seat yourself on yonder bench and we will 
consult the enchanted waters." 

A dark, loosely-shaped mass lumbered from a cor- 
ner, advanced a short distance and settled, queerly, 
into a hunched ball. 

" That! That thing! It moves! I must go 
let me mount above ! I am stifled with fear ! " 

" That is but an humble octopus that one day I 
rescued from the buffeting waves and have since 
sheltered in my abode. See how limply he casts his 
tentacles about and fuses them in his lumped body. 
Note how he lifts his weight to a height and then 



THE VISIONS 77 

thumps forward, moving the same distance each 
time. That is the way he walks. Do not fear him, 
for, although he could fasten one of those eight arms 
about your slender neck, and crush the breath from 
your lungs, he will not do so, unless you display 
fear." 

Calanthe sat, huddled in loathing and constant ter- 
ror of a slimy attack from one or the other of these 
strange creatures. 

" If it please- you, we will consult the enchanted 
water on the instant, that I may again mount to the 
pure air and sunshine," she begged piteously. 

:t Tell me not of your mission," commanded 
Hecati. " I will tell it you, in all its detail. You 
are Calanthe, betrothed of Pythias, who has been 
sent to war by the tyrant Dionysius, who hopes that 
he may meet a violent death." 

" I knew it ! I was sure of it ! " cried Calanthe. 
'* The heaviness of my heart and the bewilderment 
in my brain, both spoke of death. Tell me it will 
not be ! Tell me ! " Her voice rose to an hysteri- 
cal screech and echoed wildly through the hollow 
cave. 

" Do not interrupt me ! " Hecati's inflection was 
harsh and biting. " Dionysius himself is enamored 
of you. By sending Pythias to almost certain death, 
he strives to obtain you for his own ! " 

" And I have come to ask you, O Hecati, to look 
into the magic waters and consult the mystic flames, 



78 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

that you may convey to me news of my loved one's 
absence. If he be safe? When his return? Look 
into the waters, O sibyl, and tell me what is there ! " 

Hecati seized Calanthe's wrist in a viselike grip. 
Step by step, murmuring strange incantations, she 
led her to the shallow basin in the center of the cave. 
With her right hand she brandished aloft a blazing 
torch and slowly lowered it to within a finger's length 
of the water's surface. 

Suddenly there was born, in the depths of the pool, 
a sullen, red glow that spread until it had laid a vivid 
background. 

Hecati dropped the torch. Across the basin's 
width, she seized the hands of Calanthe and held 
them in a grip that would have tortured had the in- 
terest been less keen. 

Slowly traced upon the red appeared a vision of 
battle. Chariots dashed on and off the scene. Gen- 
erals standing erect, beside their charioteers, gave 
imperious orders and watched them carried out. 
Scaling-ladders of wondrous length and stoutness of 
construction were laid against high walls, and sol- 
diers, brandishing shields and swords and echoing 
hoarse war cries, mounted them, only to be cast to 
earth by a well-aimed sword-thrust or huge rocks 
thrown with deadly skill. 

In dread fascination Calanthe's eyes devoured the 
scene. In vain she sought for the stalwart form 
of her own true knight. As chariot after chariot 



THE VISIONS 79 

moved across the scene she eagerly scanned the faces 
always to be disappointed. 

Slowly the vision started to fade. 

" That is but a part of what I am able to disclose 
to you," the half-intelligible words came from the 
sybil's lips as she again lifted the torch. " That 
was the battlefield of Agrigentum and its walled fort- 
ress, held by the Carthaginians. We will call back 
the vision and search for Pythias. The third vision 
will determine his ultimate fate." 

The torch crackled above the basin. Breathless, 
Calanthe leaned far over the dark waters and watched 
for the red glow. This time it spread more rap- 
idly. Again the steep wall with its besiegers the 
wild dashing to and fro of mounted soldiers the 
casting of javelins and the closer fighting with sword 
and shield, flashed into view. 

In the distance, the funnels of smoke ascending 
from burning houses, the flight and capture of ter- 
ror-stricken maids and the sight of bodies ground 
under vicious chariot wheels, made the scene one of 
utter horror and sickening reality. 

With nails digging deep into her rosy palms, 
Calanthe searched the war-crazed multitude for a 
sight of her lover's mighty stature and blond curls. 
A chariot driven with the daring of a hundred furies, 
almost wholly obscured by the clouds of dust it had 
raised, was forging into the foreground. One 
swift glance into those fearless eyes told Calanthe 



8o DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

she had found her Pythias. She stretched out her 
arms ! it was then the picture faded to darkness. 

" It was he ! I have looked upon his face ! He 
still lives! O Hecati, delay not an instant before 
you call forth the third vision. I scarce can still the 
awful thumping of my heart. It leaps and bounds 
as if it would escape the confines of my breast ! Call 
the third vision, O marvelous sybil! " 

Hecati took an unlighted torch from a corner of 
the cave and approached the mystic flames. At first 
contact it burst into a blaze and sent forth explosive 
sounds. Chanting a strange ode, the old witch 
passed the burning brand, in three unbroken circles, 
around the head of Calanthe, then suspended it 
above the waters. The red was more brilliant now. 
For a long time the sheet of color was unbroken by 
tracing of any sort. Then, slowly, a scene was born. 

The first impression was that of utter destruction. 
Bodies filled the grooves cut by chariot wheels; 
bodies lay one slung upon the other, lifeless limbs 
hopelessly mingled. Horses stark, in the death 
sleep, stretched taut hoofs across the forms of their 
beloved masters. Chariots, splintered to atoms, 
cluttered the roads; and the gates of the impregnable 
fortress lay battered from their hinges. 

Suddenly a spot of light started to glow at the fort- 
ress entrance. Its brilliance sent blinding rays to 
light the ghastliness of the scene. A dark spot be- 
gan to assume shape in the center of the light. A 



THE VISIONS 8 1 

chariot drawn by four coal-black steeds galloped 
into view. 

Its sole occupant, masterful, erect, with gold curls 
reflecting the radiance in the form of a halo, flung 
aloft a triumphant hand and led the procession of 
victory. 

" Pythias! My Pythias! Tis he! Safe 
safe from death free to return to me ! Say 'tis 
true, that which the vision discloses. It would not 
play me false ! O Hecati, your oath that it would 
not play me false ! " 

There was no answer. 

The sybil, still bent above the silent waters, was 
intent on the final scene. To the joyous maid's de- 
lighted eyes appeared the streets of Syracuse, athrong 
with people, madly rioting to obtain a view of what 
was happening. Down the winding road came the 
same chariot, driven by the same man and, amid the 
wild enthusiasm, he alone was calm as the heavens 
echoed with the cries of: 

" Pythias! Triomphe!" 

Hysterical with joy, Calanthe sought the slippery 
steps and mounted to the cavern's mouth. 

44 Eunice! Eunice!" her joyous call echoed 
through the cave and up the mountainside. " Eunice, 
I have seen " 

A dark figure blocked her path ! Standing against 
the sunlight, his helmet a dazzling expanse of metal, 
stood Dionysius, a taunting smile disfiguring his lips. 



82 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Calanthe's former fear of the tyrant was de- 
stroyed. The victory in her heart gave her an 
exultant feeling of power. What had she to fear? 
Her lover, alive, victorious, coming soon to her arms ! 
What terrors could fate now conceal? 

" Never has the earth vomited forth so exquisite 
a bit as now! " he greeted her with exaggerated 
homage. " But why should Calanthe, favored of 
the gods, seek knowledge from the bowels of the 
underground? What was't troubling her sweet im- 
agination? " 

Calanthe assumed a defiant attitude. 

" Where are my maids? " she demanded. " And 
how came you here? " 

" They were perched on yonder overhanging rock, 
but, at my approach, they scattered as does the 
frightened goose-flock at my chariot wheels. They 
are wandering above. I see the glimmer of their 
robes. And as for me I was but riding through 
the woodland and came upon this fair scene. " 

" Then stand aside and permit me to go to where 
they await me ! " 

" Why so sudden your departure? 'Tis a pleas- 
ant place for converse. None could be better, with 
undisturbed view of sea and distant warships. 
When tempted to flight, fair Calanthe, call to mind 
that I am overlord; and Pythias my underling! You 
wish him well? Why interrupt his chances of a 
certain, future supremacy?" 



THE VISIONS 83 

All the pent-up anger, whipped to a frantic mad- 
ness by the sudden relief from agony and suspense, 
burst forth in ringing recrimination. 

" Speak not his name, O cruel and double-deal- 
ing tyrant ! Do I not know that you sent him to al- 
most certain death at Agrigentum? I have not 
mentioned word of your ill-chosen visit to my gar- 
den. If I had but breathed a word of your vile at- 
tentions to either Pythias or Damon " 

" Damon! " the name hissed from the lips of the 
warlord as though it were a drop of water touching a 
red hot surface. " What know you of him? " 

"What know I of him?" Calanthe raised her 
brows in scorn. " He is the trusted friend and 
comrade of Pythias, and my protector in his ab- 



sence." 



The general threw back his head and gave utter- 
ance to weirdly mirthful sounds. 

"Your protector? How is't that the negligent 
Damon is not here, at this moment, to protect you 
from my unwelcome attentions? " 

" For the reason that when I wander in the wood- 
lands with my maids, he does not dream that there 
exists a man sufficient coward, and vile-spirited, to 
molest me ! " 

" Ha ! The quick retort and the vengeance of a 
little vixen! Your training has been in a good 
school since Pythias set forth to Agrigentum. 
'Twill be but poor solace if it is his death-chilled 



84 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

body they bear back on litter or martial shield. To 
whom will you turn then, little spitfire? " 

" 'Twill not be necessary to turn to you, e'en 
though your aid would be forthcoming. I fear me 
not. Aye, but the gods have other goods in store. 
For the second time, O Dionysius, your plans will 
not bear fruit. For in a vision of enchanted waters, 
a source of information that never lies, have I viewed 
any Pythias, gloriously triumphant, hailed as king 
among men, drive through the streets of Syracuse, 
to the cheering of a populace gone mad ! " 

Waiting but an instant to see the effect of her 
words eat into his soul, Calanthe leaped from the 
cavern's mouth and darted up the hill, calling blithely 
to her maids. 

While, left behind, the lean figure turned into the 
black, ill-smelling moistures of HecatTs cave and 
stumbled below to verify the vision of the enchanted 
waters. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE VICTOR'S RETURN 

A FORTNIGHT later, fair Syracuse had 
donned her holiday attire. The too-eager 
warmth of the sun's rays were tempered to 
balmy mildness by the sudden, east winds. The 
cloudless, vivid blue of the sky seemed but a reflec- 
tion of the sea, and it, in turn, sent back the image 
of the sky. 

Along the Sterian Way, the mansions of the rich 
blazed with gold-worked banners, unfurled from 
window ledges, and in the heart of the city's streets, 
the wine shops, jewelers' dwellings and tailors' es- 
tablishments, ran riot with draperies of brilliant 
color. 

Senators, in purple-or-red-banded togas, were 
stopped on their way to the Senate House, to be 
greeted ardently by those who, on ordinary occa- 
sions, would not dare to bend a head in friendly salu- 
tation. 

Children, on street corners, tossed golden oranges 
to each other, in excited play, and were not repri- 
manded by their elders. The tension of suppressed 
anticipation surcharged the atmosphere. 

85 



86 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Up on the hill that led from the Academy Square, 
in a grove of silver birch, beside a shell pink marble 
fountain, knelt Calanthe. Her rounded form was 
draped in silken folds of palest azure confined at 
the waist by a cestus of wrought silver. Silver san- 
dals graced her tiny feet, and, at the moment, her 
maids were trying a variety of garlands in her 
bronze-gold locks. 

4 The forget-me-nots are to my taste, fair one," 
quoth Eunice, gazing with clasped hands, in rapt ad- 
miration. '* They match so well the coloring of 
your tunic and set at defiance the violet of your eyes." 

" Forget-me-nots are pretty," acknowledged Ca- 
lanthe, bending forward to get a better view in the 
fountain depths, " but they are sickly sentimental. 
Much as I've mourned my true knight's absence and 
torn my soul with agony in fear of his safety, yet I 
could not meet him, in full gaze of the public, with 
forget-me-nots twined in my tresses." 

" Then it must be the star-anemone," decreed 
Eunice, " for other bloom would but destroy the 
sweet coloring of your robe. Think you that from 
all the populace his glance will single you out for first 
welcome ? " 

" 'Tis what I hope," breathed Calanthe raptur- 
ously. " Ne'er has the city been dressed in shades 
more brilliant; and the wild buzzing and bustling of 
the people to and fro is fair entrancing. Oh, 'tis 
good to be a maid who is welcoming to wedlock the 



THE VICTOR'S RETURN 87 

victor of a hundred battles and the idol of his 
city!" 

" Hark! I hear the sound of distant trumpeting. 
In what manner was Pythias to reach Syracuse? 
Can it be that he has touched the shore ? " exclaimed 
Eunice, running to the pergola whence she could get 
unobstructed view of the sea. 

" He comes in a Carthaginian trireme, n Calanthe 
called after her. " A mighty capture, which, even 
before it was ta'en, he designated as the vessel on 
which he would make his homeward trip. At the 
shore he will be met by his war chariot, drawn by 
four dusky steeds of Arabia. From there he pro- 
ceeds at the head of his conquering army through the 
city's streets." 

" He has touched shore ! I see the flash of armor 
in lines of light and restive horses held in check by 
pages, all in scarlet!" The high-pitched tones, 
fraught with restrained excitement, floated back to 
the lovely maid kneeling beside her fountain. She 
smiled at her reflection and folded soft white hands 
across her breast. 

An excited Eunice pulled her to her feet and gave 
the final pat to the star-anemone garland. A sheer, 
white scarf, dropped carelessly upon the ground, she 
draped over the pretty head and shoulders. 

'Tis the command of your mother," she told 
Calanthe. " She thinks it not seemly for maid, upon 
her wedding eve, to walk in the city streets so un- 



88 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

abashed. And besides, conceited one, the shimmer 
of it and the fact that it half conceals your charms, 
lends an added fascination to your appearance. 
Now let us away lest we lose our chosen location 
from which the view will be the best." 

On a street corner, before the largest sweet-and- 
fruit shop in Syracuse, stood Damon. His arms 
folded closely across his chest, his head sunk in silent 
meditation, he was a powerful and impressive figure. 

His gaze wandered to the scurrying crowds, the 
high-spirited horses whose steps were curbed with 
difficulty. From this, he raised his eyes to the Sen- 
ate House, from whose portals, Philistius, accom- 
panied by a group of his questionable satellites, was 
at that moment issuing. 

" Ah, Syracuse ! " he murmured sadly. " I am at 
last forced to despair of thee! Sicily, land of my 
birth my country still thou hast closed thine 
ears to the call of righteousness and fallen into the 
hands of those who would barter freedom for a great 
man's feast ! " 

A slave, drunk with the wine he had pilfered from 
his master's cellars, reeled against the senator and 
caromed into the roadway. From afar a blast of 
trumpets cut the air. The sodden man raised aloft 
an imaginary goblet and shouted to the skies : 

" Pythias ! Pythias ! Triomphe! " 

Damon looked down with gentle commiseration 



THE VICTOR'S RETURN 89 

and bent to lift the prostrate one, who was trying so 
ineffectually to get to his feet. 

" It is for the best that you find the portals of 
your master's house as quickly as you can," he sug- 
gested, trying to shake him back to a half-normal 
condition. u Soon the crowds will fill the streets 
and byways and there is small chance for one like 
you, when once they start jostling." 

"Pythias! Pythias! Victor!" reiterated the 
man, sullenly, and lurched from his rescuer's grasp 
to stumble up the street, toward the Temple. 

Now, from all sides, the populace poured in. 
Esquires, warriors, senators and merchants; gay 
women of the city; and mothers bearing their chil- 
dren aloft above the heads of the surrounding crowds. 
They surged through the thoroughfares, as an im- 
petuous stream that is dammed will gush through 
the first available opening. 

Damon, silent and erect, his mind busy with the 
disquieting rumors that were afoot, remained where 
he had taken his stand. Jostled from side to side 
by the oncoming multitude, his face lost not its^ calm, 
nor his eyes their look of deep and vital thought. 

The houses bordering the street were points of 
vantage for which many fought. Windows, doors, 
projecting roofs and porticoes, all, were blocked with 
groups of eager sightseers. From the temples is- 
sued dancing maidens bearing long garlands wound 
round and round their graceful bodies. The Senate 



90 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

poured forth its crowd of white togaed statesmen, 
and, shrilly, from the crest of the hill, sounded the 
blast that announced the van of the triumphal pro- 
cession. 

Silhouetted against the blue-gold horizon, six trum- 
peters on snow-white steeds led the way. Ten paces 
behind, a double row of youthful pages in tunics of 
white and gold, yellow jewels on their breasts, 
strewed blossoms from urns carried in their left 
arms. 

Followed then, the line of dancing maidens, with 
multi-colored draperies fluttering in the breeze; gay 
laughter issuing from their lips, as they trod upon 
the flowerstrewn path. 

For a second's time there was naught to follow. 
Then above the hill crest rose the snorting heads and 
arched necks of four coal-black steeds, heavy in 
beaten silver harness and trappings of sapphire blue. 
Bit by bit they mounted to the horizon line and stood, 
stamping their slender limbs, in impatience to pro- 
ceed. 

They drew a chariot of ivory and silver, that now 
was half-hid by floral garlands. The helmet of the 
man, sole occupant of the triumphal car, caught the 
fire of the sun's rays and dazzled the eyes of the as- 
sembled multitudes. Amid deafening cheers and 
hoarse roars he raised a commanding hand and ex- 
tended it toward his beWed city. 

The crowds, gone mad with patriotism and hero- 



THE VICTOR'S RETURN 91 

worship, waved banners and helmets in mid air. 
The streets of Syracuse were rent with wild cries; 
and suddenly the horses, in obedience to a tug at the 
reins, began the descent. 

Buried in the crowd, on the steps of a monument, 
stood Calanthe, her gauze veil folded around her 
head and shoulders, her tense hands crossed and 
gripping her own arms in an ecstasy of excitement. 
Her eyes, one moment darting smiles, the next 
bathed in tears of joy, never left the stalwart form 
of the returning conqueror. 

It seemed as if she thought by the intensity of her 
gaze to draw his glance to her slim form. Until his 
chariot had passed her and proceeded further into 
the city's heart she had hoped for his radiant smile. 
It had fallen about her, as he greeted his welcomers; 
but not on her alone. Eunice, perceiving her disap- 
pointment, slipped her arm comfortingly about Ca- 
lanthe's waist. 

" In the great numbers he could not find your fairy 
form," she whispered. " Did you see how his eyes 
were searching? Whene'er he saw a group of maids 
I perceived his scrutiny of them and when he found 
you not, some of the laughter faded from his eyes." 

" 'Tis sweet of you so to concoct tales that should 
bring solace to my heart," murmured Calanthe, turn- 
ing to leave the monument steps, " but I saw those 
things of which you speak, not at all. I saw, indeed, 
the laughter in his eyes and when they fell on strange 



92 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

groups of maidens, I saw that same laughter rekin- 
dle, instead of fade. Why should it not be so? 
Why should a man whose path is a fiery blaze of 
adulation, seek for one poor jasmine flower, whose 
fragrance can not surmount the fumes of incense? " 

" Pythias worships you, the breath you draw, the 
ground o'er which you trod. 'Tis wrong and faith- 
less of you to so denounce him, when in the midst of 
thousands, he has not the keenness of vision to dis- 
cover a single maid. When but a few days back 
your eyes were dimmed and your cheek lily-pale, from 
weeping at his possible fate, you said that all the 
world through would you laugh, if he but came back 
to you in all his health and strength." 

Calanthe hid her face on Eunice's shoulder in 
sudden contrition. 

" I know I am ill-deserving of happiness, sweet," 
she confessed softly. " But my heart was so cast 
down, for I had planned and planned how it would 
be; that my eyes should meet his, across the sea of 
heads, and now " 

" See below, in front of the Senate House he has 
halted his chariot! There seems to be a block to 
his further progress. Many people are running 
thither, and there are loud cries and brandishing of 
shields. Come, let us go, Calanthe ! " 

In front of the Senate all was rioting and con- 
fusion. Damon, assaulted by Procles and his com- 



THE VICTOR'S RETURN 93 

rades, as the chariot of Pythias approached, was 
beating back his assailants. The surrounding crowd, 
not knowing the cause of the fray, stood open- 
mouthed and motionless. 

In a flash Pythias leaped from his chariot and 
brandishing his sword plunged into the fighting, curs- 
ing the group surrounding Damon. 

" Back on your lives ! " he commanded in ringing 
tones. " Treacherous cowards that you are, thus to 
attack a man unarmed and undefended ! You know 
this honest sword I brandish. You have seen it hew 
down ranks in Carthage. Would you now taste its 
cold steel in your quaking hearts ? For now Damon 
has his armor on, courageous ones. / am his shield, 
his sword, his helmet! And when I thus protect 
him, it is but mine own heart's blood that I de- 
fend!" 

Procles and his associates fell back into the surg- 
ing, curious crowds. Before the sword of Pythias 
there was no argument. 

" 'Tis a lucky stroke of Fate for him, that at this 
instant your chariot descended the hill," muttered 
the henchman of Dionysius. " Here, in Syracuse, 
we have had enough of his long robe of peace wherein 
he wraps his stern philosophy. See that you teach 
him better manners, O conquering hero ! " 

With harsh laughs of derision Procles motioned to 
his satellites to proceed. 

Thus left alone, Damon and Pythias looked deep 



94 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

into each other's eyes. And with the look, went the 
clasp of hand so firm, so honest, so all-understanding 
of the spirit of true friendship. 

" What was't brought this display of ruffianism? " 
asked Pythias, leading the way to his chariot, through 
the crowds of admiring citizens. 

' When I was awaiting your approach, Lucullus 
ran up behind me and in voice trembling with excite- 
ment, broke the news that our citadel was taken. 
That Dionysius, heading a troop of soldiers, had, by 
rude force, seized the arms and treasure in it. I 
could not believe such base rumor and was voicing 
my disbelief, when lo! from the fortress wall was 
unfurled the standard of the tyrant and from the 
gateways poured his most notorious satellites, high- 
heaped with arms and plunder! " 

" Our citadel in that fierce soldier's power ! " 
Pythias made a move as if again to draw his sword. 
" Then, by the gods, is Syracuse gone mad ! " 

Damon laid an affectionate hand on the broad 
shoulders of his dearest friend. 

" Do not shade the prospect of your joys with 
griefs of state, my Pythias. I know that on the 
morrow you will wed the sweetest maid in Syracuse. 
Your wedding day must be but sunshine and roses. 
Let these dark matters go." 

" Nay, how can I let them go when they bring fur- 
rows to your brow and sighs to your lips ? And be- 
sides, what caused Procles to draw sword against 



THE VICTOR'S RETURN 95 

you? Can I be happy when your life is thus endan- 
gered?" 

" In answer to my charge that his master Dio- 
nysius was a parricide and tyrant, the audacious slave 
branded me liar and traitor and gave commands to 
his followers to hew me down! " 

" Dionysius has become a danger to our city," said 
Pythias slowly. " I have heard, on my way home 
from Agrigentum, that the man has gone so far as 
to wish a throne on which to rest his limbs." 

" He has publicly expressed his wish," interposed 
Damon indignantly, " and unless the Senate wake to 
the grave menace of this man, his wish will be 
granted." 

' You are jesting, Damon," laughed the young 
general. u Syracuse ruled over by a king? It is 
preposterous ! Why, I would as soon think of my- 
self as candidate, as of him. His power in the city 
is overestimated." 

" If, contrary to the rules of our city, a soldier 
were allowed inside the portals of our senate house, 
I would take you thither, to view for yourself the 
undercurrent that now runs deep in our affairs of 
state. Here lately I have so often wished that my 
lot had been the blest content of private life. This 
hopeless service of the state galls me and I grow 
old." 

From behind the pillars of the Academy emerged 
two forms. The one square squat, in armor; the 



96 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

other draped in purple-banded toga. Slowly, Dio- 
nysius and Damocles descended the steps. 

" Look you where stand the two strange friends," 
observed Damocles, craftily. " The intimacy be- 
tween Damon and Pythias is the marvel of Syracuse. 
The stern, pedantic statesman and the young soldier 
general. It is a strange combination for a friend- 
ship such as theirs." 

u Friendship," snapped Dionysius viciously. 
" There is not a state of true friendship extant. 
Every man has the price at which to value comrade- 
ship. This pair is no different from the rest." 

" This pair is the exception to the rule, Dio- 
nysius," insisted Damocles. " I have heard it said 
that" 

u Heard ! Heard I " mimicked the other. " Do 
not quote from the converse of dullards. You may 
have heard, but you do not know. See the way the 
crowds bow at the feet of Pythias and cast glances of 
idolatry at his effeminate blond curls. We must do 
something, Damocles, to lessen this fellow's favor in 
the eyes of the rabble." 

" Can not your brilliant mind discover some good 
way?" 

Dionysius shot a shrewd glance at his companion, 
from under narrowing lids. 

" It was you, Damocles, who conceived of sending 
Pythias to Agrigentum, in my stead. And from 
Agrigentum and almost certain death, he has re- 



H J 




THE VICTOR'S RETURN 97 

turned triumphant, and rivals me in Syracuse! He 
must be submerged ! I will not have my toil of years 
go all for naught, because a young and foppish sol- 
dier, with blond curls and a pleasing smile, has run 
his sword through a small parcel of Carthaginians! " 

' Think well, Dionysius, and some plan will come 
to you." 

"Are you speaking with sarcastic shading?" 
rasped out the overlord. " I do not like the manner 
of your inflection. There is no courtesy in your 
tone. Ah-h-h!" 

He gripped the flabby forearm of the rotund 
Damocles in a sudden, vicious clutch. A shaking 
forefinger designated the opposite side of the road 
where Calanthe and her maids sped to the side of 
Pythias. 

" There is another reason why this young warrior 
of ours must be humbled to the dust ! I have sworn 
that that maid shall find shelter in my ardent arms 
and there, too, he blocks the way! " 

" Can you not send him off to the wars again? 
And if there be no war, can you not, with your 
wondrous ingenuity, stir up a broil that might be 
called a war? " 

u Do not plagiarize on your own creations! " Dio- 
nysius bade him with cold scorn. " Either cull a 
novelty from your garden of thoughts or offer none 
at all." 

" He has magnificent steeds to draw his chariot," 



98 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

observed Damocles irrelevantly. " They appear to 
me of finer mettle than your own." 

For an instant, Dionysius looked sharply at his 
friend, then slapped his palms together with a re- 
sounding whack. 

" I have the plan ! " he ground out between 
clenched teeth. u By to-morrow our bundle of con- 
ceit in yonder chariot will be prostrate in the dust, 
with the heels of Syracuse upon his neck! Let us 
hasten across and talk with our famed pair of friends. 
Think you they will find it wise to be civil to me? " 

" Do you advance your plan, to-day? " questioned 
Damocles with much curiosity. " And can you not 
give me a slight idea of what it will involve? " 

" It is sufficient for you to know, for the moment, 
that it was born of your witless ravings. Hurry your 
fat legs across the space that still intervenes. I do 
not choose that Pythias have too long love-sessions 
with this pearl whom I desire." 

" The feast we did attend yesternight has filled 
me with complaints; and my legs refuse to hasten. 
Likewise, my heart thumps most uncomfortably in 
my breast and my head is filled with trumpet blasts, 
where none exist." 

Dionysius raised a protesting hand. 

" Add to the list that it will be very painful duty 
to pierce you, playfully, with my sharpest sword, so 
that your end from acute suffering will be swift and 
not an unskilled work! Forget your ailments and 



THE VICTOR'S RETURN 99 

polish up what brain remains to you, for to-night you 
are to do some cunning work for me. And then 
then will dawn the morrow ! " 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE PLAN IS DIVULGED 

6 * "IF SHALL not pout; for 'tis not well behaved. 
Neither shall I weep; for 'tis unfitting a 

JL. soldier's mate. Whether I shall stamp my 
feet and exhibit my overseasoned temper, or grace- 
fully submit to neglect and unresponsive treatment, I 
have not yet decided. Yet I am sore offended." 

Calanthe stood in her garden, whither Pythias had 
barne her, accompanied by Damon. Arria, her 
mother, had come from the house and approached 
the little group. 

" Has the suspense of waiting for your return 
gone to our little Calanthe's head? " she interrupted, 
with a hint of mischief in her soft brown eyes. " For 
days and nights past she has been like a caged dove, 
whimpering for its mate ; and now that he is come she 
deports herself in heartless manner." 

Pythias rose to give courteous salutation. 

" Do not reprove the child," he besought with 
mock gravity. " We must allow her much. For 
Venus, when she rose from out the sea, to smile upon 
our Grecian isles and fill them with everlasting 
verdure, was not more beautiful than she." 

100 



THE PLAN IS DI^lfiQED . , ! 101 

" Ah, you think with soft wor,dp tp : .Ki'dfeiypbr : false 
oblivion to me," persisted Calanthe, as a spoiled child 
who will not be quieted. " From this hill that over- 
looks the sea, Eunice kept watch and at first sight of 
the Carthaginian trireme touching these shores, 
shouted the news to me and I did haste, with all 
speed, to a point of vantage on the steps of the statue 
of Mercury, there to watch your glorious entrance 
into the city and wait for your smile. But it came 



not." 



" Nay, do not chide me, my soft Calanthe. If 
my eyes did not single you out, my heart was bursting 
with thoughts of you and of our wedding on the 



morrow." 



" You made sacrifice of your first moment here, to 
friendship, not love! 'Twas Damon you greeted 
with the first word, the first hand clasp ! " 

Pythias looked to where his friend was standing, 
wrapped in moody thought. Hre called, to rouse him 
from his meditation. Damon drew near, asking 
pardon for his seeming preoccupation. 

" There is some malignant worry feeding upon 
your heart, my Damon," observed Pythias, with 
much concern. "Will you not confide in me? 
Come, I will make you smile. Do you knew what 
this sweet maid has been pouring into my ears ? Re- 
proaches for the depth of our friendship. She 
deems it improper to sacrifice to friendship the mo- 
ments that could be spent with the loved ones. Are 



102 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

you not arrogant at having caused the seeds of jeal- 
ousy to spring in so fair a breast? " 

Damon seized the tiny hand that hung limply at 
Calanthe's side. 

" Do not underrate the glory of friendship, sweet 
girl. What many de-em ' friendship ' is so weak in 
strength at most times, that it should not be dignified 
by the solemn term. Remember always that the 
warmth of friendship, like that of love, is not 
chilled by the winds that blow from the valley of 
death." ' 

Calanthe, abashed, sought shelter in her lover's 
arm. 

1 You must not disclose all the whims which I con- 
fide to you," she whispered. " I would not have 
Damon disturbed by my silly plaints.*' 

" Of what was Dionysius speaking when he held 
you in such earnest consultation?" questioned Da- 
mon, seating himself beside his friend. " Was't of 
his ambitions and designs upon our city? " 

1 You are ov-er-morose, and see but blackness in 
all his deeds, I fear. His talk to-day was of joyous 
things the games to be held on the morrow in 
honor of my return. It has been ordered that all 
toil shall cease, throughout the entire morn; that the 
populace throng the Circus at an early hour; and 
there will be discus throwing, wrestling, foot races 
and chariot contests. Then, in the afternoon, when 
all Syracuse is feasting and pledging our happiness 



THE PLAN IS DIVULGED 103 

in the spiced bowl, my sweet Calanthe and I will 
celebrate our marriage feast." 

" Are you to take part in the games and shall I be 
there to gaze upon you from a box all draped in 
standards?" Calanthe clapped her hands and 
danced up and down in gay anticipation. 

" It was for the express purpose of asking me to 
compete in the chariot races that Dionysius accosted 
me." 

"And you consented?" questioned Damon, 
hastily. 

14 I did. I would pit my black steeds against the 
best in Syracuse, nay in all Sicily. Besides, the fever 
of the race fires my blood and gives me keen enjoy- 



ment." 



" Against whom are you to contest? Did Dio- 
nysius name the others in the race? " 

" What do the others matter? In a time of de- 
feat the names of those vanquished sink into oblivion. 
'Tis only the victor's identity that bursts from the 
lips of the audience. And you well know the name 
of Pythias, my Damon! " 

" List to the boastful one ! " mocked Calanthe. 
" If it were not for the fact that I would lose the 
honor of placing the wreath upon your brow, I could 
find it in my heart to wish for your defeat." 

" I am not boasting for myself," declared Pythias 
simply. " I know the mettle of my horses, that is 
all. They have drawn my chariot in times of stress. 



io 4 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

They have never faltered, never failed me. A slave 
could hold the reins as well but he will not." 

" I must go to my home to rest in preparation for 
the sports to-morrow," Damon laid a gentle hand 
on Pythias' shoulder. " These affairs of state o'er- 
fret me and I fear I lose my capacity to enjoy the 
lighter things of life. Calanthe, you must look to it 
that your young lord does not attempt the statesman's 
sorry part. 'Twill pale his face and make him find 
in lovely nature but one blend of dismal colorless 
sterility." 

" I would not even if I could; I could not even 
if I would; so there's an end on't," smiled Pythias, 
tightening his clasp on his sweet burden. " But you 
speak of resting for the games to-morrow as if that 
were the day's important event. You say nothing of 
my wedding feast." 

" And I intended, even unbidden, to be there. 
The wedding of a man and maid is always a joyous 
sight; but, when looked upon from friendship's eye, 
its bliss is tenfold. So, until the morn, farewell." 

Meantime, in the dwelling of Dionysius, sat 
Damocles quaffing hot wines; in vain attempt to still 
the plaints of his mutinous stomach. A sorry figure 
of a senator with head-band at a distressed angle on 
his fast-thinning locks; and toes turned in, with no 
regard for grace of attitude. 

"Wilt cease this sickish bellowing?" growled 



THE PLAN IS DIVULGED 105 

Dionysius, pacing the floor in rage. " I seek to dis- 
close a deep-laid plan which exacts wariness and cun- 
ning from him who is to carry it out, and you sit be- 
fore me with the expression of a calf gone ill! " 

" I am afflicted with an inward torture that is diffi- 
cult to bear," groaned Damocles, " but I will listen 
with alertness and strive to execute your plans with 
daring." 

"With daring!" Dionysius burst into satirical 
laughter. " From present appearance you have as 
much daring about you, as a rabbit that is pursued 
by a hungry fox! Speak not of daring with a coun- 
tenance gone green, for I would fain give my strength 
to earnest thought instead of violent mirth." 

" Proceed," moaned Damocles, too miserable to be 
offended. 

" I have explained the main points of the plot. 
What now falls to you is the work of completing it 
with prudence and sly skill. If there should be a 
shade of suspicion, the great project as well as the 
lesser one of to-morrow will be frustrated and your 
reputation gone." 

" You lay stress on my reputation! " blurted out 
Damocles, with the mournful petulance of one who is 
dispirited and overruled. " What shreds would be 
left of yours, I ask, if the plot failed? " 

" We are not dealing in ' ifs ' and ' buts,' " hurled 
Dionysius, sending a stool, with a resounding crash, 
to the polished floor. " Get from under my feet be- 



io6 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

fore my temper breaks all bounds and vents itself 
upon your pain-ridden body! " 

With lagging step and muttered phrases that he 
took care should not assume the definite in syllables, 
Damocles took his departure. 

Down the steps of Dionysius' dwelling he dragged 
his swollen, sandaled feet and, once upon the street, 
heaved a sigh, whose resonance was echoed from the 
nearest hills. 

He looked about in search of a possible spy. Not 
because he felt there would be one in hiding; but 
rather for the reason that sudden realization of his 
importance in a great intrigue, assailed him and 
he was getting into the character. 

The horizon was comparatively clear. The mul- 
titudes had departed to their homes to feast, in pri- 
vate, after the splendid spectacle of the day. All 
was silence. 

With pudgy hand grasping a queer-looking bag, 
Damocles walked through the Via Academica as far 
as the public square. Then he turned sharply to his 
right and sought the twisted by-ways and queer, over- 
hanging buildings that sheltered the poorer mer- 
chants of Syracuse. 

As he progressed, a solitary figure in the deserted 
streets, bursts of laughter and the click of bowl upon 
bowl accosted his ears. The populace was making 
merry; and he, faint in spirit and disconsolate in 
body, was on his way to a malicious deed. 



THE PLAN IS DIVULGED 107 

He arrived at a corner where the roofs of houses 
jutting out, from opposite sides, made an archway. 
Through this he passed. The steps he descended 
a few paces on were worn smooth with shallow hol- 
lows in their centers. His feet slipped into them 
as had the feet of hundreds who descended in search 
of wine. 

As he entered the inner room a crowd of roughly 
clothed folk started in astonishment at sight of his 
senatorial toga. 

The proprietor ran from his cask-room and bowed 
before him, uttering squeals of satisfaction, half ex- 
pressions of abject subservience. 

Damocles cast his weary bulk upon the hard sur- 
face of a cracked stone seat. He rested an elbow 
on the stone table before him and motioned imperi- 
ously to the squawking little figure that danced before 
his eyes. 

His order of the best in the house brought addi- 
tional protestations of gratitude and humility. The 
men at the adjoining table began to regard him with 
suspicion. As soon as the proprietor had disap- 
peared into the recesses of his cask room, Damocles 
leaned toward his nearest neighbor and designated 
with a lordly thumb that he wished converse with 
him. 

The man, afright at the sudden honor, hesitated 
to obey; whereupon one of his companions rose to 
comply with the summons. This roused the rest of 



io8 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

the group, which, fired by wine, were anxious to be 
in the game, whatever it might be. 

" I want but two," announced Damocles, impa- 
tiently. 

The dictum caused such discord among the ruf- 
fians that for a moment it appeared as though there 
would be damaged countenances before the two were 
chosen. 

The entrance of the proprietor, bearing his most 
vivid bowl, was the signal for quiet. He placed the 
most priceless treasure of his collection of pottery 
before the noble patron and poured the ruby-hued 
liquid from a queer flagon that he rested upon his hip. 

Damocles ordered two bowls of the same stuff for 
his invited guests. At the violent protest of the 
owner, who was speechless at the thought of wasting 
such value upon so poor a pair, the senator displayed 
his displeasure. 

" I order and you serve ! " he commanded, with 
grim relish in the act of treading under heel, as he 
had just been trodden by the overgeneral. 

The two ruffians waited for him to divulge his 
plans. That the plans were secret and felonious in 
character they had no doubt. And they stood ready 
to comply, did the reward but fit the deed. Dio- 
nysius, with the unerring instinct of one steeped in 
polite crime, had sent Damocles to the right place. 
In the handbook of a despot there are informations 
that would not bear the searching light of day. 



THE PLAN IS DIVULGED 109 

Still Damocles remained silent, his pale loose lips 
buried in the fragrant draught, his eyes shifting from 
the admiring proprietor to the group of drinkers at 
the other table. 

The more intelligent of the two honored guests 
waved an expressive hand at his ignoble associates. 
Whether they interpreted his gesture aright could not 
be guessed. Certain it is they did not follow its sug- 
gestion. 

Their interest was too keen to suit the visiting 
senator. He did not know the degree of their acute- 
ness and he was unwilling to speculate. Also, the 
solicitous proprietor troubled him grievously. 

It was enough to be sent on a dark mission where 
the body protested. To be plagued by over-atten- 
tion and by too vivid curiosity when one had arrived 
was exasperating. 

Damocles summoned closer the shrimplike owner. 

' You will get rid of those men," he commanded 
quietly. 

' You would drive away my customers? " shrilled 
the little man, forgetting, for the instant, the impor- 
tance of his patron. Then in sudden terror, he scut- 
tled to the adjoining table and, by a series of gesticu- 
lations and expletives, cleared the room. 

Damocles put down his bowl and scanned the fea- 
tures of the man facing him. His glance, so pene- 
trating and severe, had the desired effect. The two 
villains began to snort and shift under it. And in 



no DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

their coward souls was born a fear of the mighty 
one, who also dabbled in iniquity. 

The proprietor, having barred the door to all cus- 
tomers for as long as it pleased the influential guest 
to remain, hopped back into his presence and stood 
with arms akimbo, displaying great interest in the 
scene about to be enacted. 

Damocles pointed a puffy ringed forefinger toward 
the cask room and glared. Incredulous and humili- 
ated to find that he was not to be a party to the plot, 
the owner shuffled from the room. 

Then it was that Damocles raised to the table 
edge the queer leather bag and as it hit the stone a 
clink from its depths spoke of but one thing gold ! 

For many minutes were the three heads in close 
location ; and so softly spoken were the demands and 
the assents that not a syllable cut the air to where the 
proprietor crouched behind his hugest vat. 

Damocles rose from his bench, raised aloft a bag 
of gold and dropped it once again upon the stone so 
that the metal sound might fire the avarice of the 
two and spur them on to perform well what he had 
commanded. 

" And when 'tis done and completely so, then will 
another purse as large as this find its way to you, 
that you may spend its contents in this place," he 
said aloud, thus placating the wounded soul of the 
proprietor, whom he knew would overhear. 

The men cast themselves before him in servile 



THE PLAN IS DIVULGED in 

gratitude. Damocles clapped his hands in sum- 
mons. The appeased landlord darted into sight; 
and muttered his appreciation when his eye fell upon 
the size of the gold coin dropped into his palm. 

In his eagerness to unbar the door and give 
egress to his noble guest, he slipped upon the damp 
stones and in sudden precipitation met too violently 
the unevenness of his cellar floor. But, with a 
bound, he was on his feet, though sadly bruised, and 
withdrew the heavy oaken barrier. 

Damocles went out, without a backward glance. 
He could now seek Dionysius and, with a certain 
amount of haughtiness, tell of his skill in accomplish- 
ing so soon the errand that he had set out upon. 
When one has no need of qualifying phrases or half- 
baked excuses there must always be arrogance, in 
some amount. 

So, Damocles, retreading the way to the dwelling 
of the overlord found the day more bright, the poor 
streets more unworthy of his august presence and the 
malady of stomach greatly subdued. 

In the square before the Senate House, he was 
accosted by Damon, who was about to mount the 
steps. 

" Do you go into the Senate at such an hour? " 
questioned Damocles in patronizing manner. " It 
must be that it is indeed deserted at this time. Do 
you seek some one? Or are you bent on delving 
still more profoundly into philosophic tomes?" 



ii2 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

'Whence come you, Damocles?" retorted Da- 
mon, making no pretense at answering the cynical 
query. 'Tis a queer portion of the city from which 
you turned into the square. Which seek you ? Dis- 
cernment or diversion? " 

" I went to aid a vassal who has fallen ill and who 
craved my presence. I " 

' The publican turned priest ! " ejaculated Damon; 
and, without further parley, mounted the steps and 
disappeared behind the pillars of the Senate House. 

Damocles, having received so rude a jolt to his 
newly acquired arrogance, clenched his purple-veined 
fist and shook it, vindictively, at the retreating form. 

Without further interruption he reached the house 
of Dionysius and entered its portals. Encountering 
no slave in the outer courtyard, he penetrated to the 
inner room. 

There, stretched upon a couch, gorgeous in black 
and gold coverings and softened with many cushions, 
he came upon the general. With head thrown back 
and limp arms dropping to the polished floor, Dio- 
nysius presented a right ungraceful picture. Fur- 
thermore from his open mouth there issued raucous 
sounds, indicative of profound slumber. 

A sudden rage took possession of Damocles to 
find this man enjoying that which he himself so sadly 
needed and could not get! He bent and rudely 
shook the sleeper. Dionysius opened but one of his 
tightly closed eyes. 



THE PLAN IS DIVULGED 113 

"What is it?" he questioned, drowsily. 

" It is I, Damocles," announced the other, with 
triumph and emphasis. " I have come to tell you 
that it is accomplished 1 That the preparations have 
been perfected by my hand. That " 

'* Tell it me when I awaken," ordered the mas- 
ter. " Just now my eyes are weary and I have not 
the will to hear you prate of your adroitness. Con- 
serve it for a more auspicious moment. I wish 
quiet." 

And once again the regular breathing told of 
peaceful slumber. 



CHAPTER IX 

IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 

NIGHT had fallen. In the Circus stables, 
the boys by the light of torches finished the 
rubbing down of horses that were to com- 
pete on the morrow. The restless stamping of the 
mettled steeds echoed through the low stone build- 
ings, and disturbed the sluggards who had fallen to 
slumber, leaving the bulk of their work till early 
dawn. 

One by one the workers ceased. Aratus, the last 
to cast his brushes into a corner, laid caressing hands 
on the glossy blackness of the four who were to pull 
the chariot of Pythias. 

The beautiful animals, freed of their cumbersome 
trappings, arched graceful necks and looked with 
mild affectionate eyes at the boy who had been work- 
ing so arduously on their shining coats. 

He raised himself, on tiptoe, to whisper into the 
ear of Mentum, his favorite. 

" You must carry your master to victory, on the 
morrow," he breathed, as if in conversation with a 
human. " Much is at stake. So light a thing it re- 

114 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 115 

quires to upset the popularity of a favorite, that if 
Aristle defeat Pythias, his fame will suffer. And 
they who, to-day, shouted themselves to hoarseness, 
in fervent welcome of the hero, to-morrow will for- 
get his past glories and place upon his neck the heel 
of disrepute." 

The steed, with head tilted, to receive more easily 
the words of warning, tossed his mane and nodded 
violently. This disturbed the others in adjoining 
stalls, and they renewed their restive stamping. 

Aratus quieted them with gentle words of reas- 
surance and patted each upon the nose. He hesi- 
tated a moment longer beside Mentum, and wound 
his arm closely about the smooth neck. 

" You have understanding of the words I utter," 
he said softly. " There are those who would deride 
the thought. But I know that if it takes the last 
atom of strength in your slender limbs, and that 
after, you perish, you will draw your master's chariot 
to victory." 

Aratus pulled an armful of hay from the large 
stores at the corridor-end and arranged it in a loose 
mound outside the stall of his favorite. With a 
last, careful look at his four charges, he cast his lean 
young body on the improvised couch and folded his 
arms above his head. 

Fatigued in body from his hard labors, and his 
mind at rest at having so thoroughly performed 
them, yet were his eyes wide in wakefulness. Twice 



116 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

he rose and looked out of the narrow, oblong win- 
dows, only to return to his twisting and tossing. 

A horse in the adjoining section, watched over by 
Lertes, whinnied. The plaintive sound in the dead 
quiet that had fallen, struck his ears with a sense of 
warning. Then again, all was still. 

With thoughts of the festive day approaching, he 
sank to slumber, his thin, young arms flung wide and 
touching the stone floor; his knees drawn up, in un- 
conscious protection against the cool, night air which 
was blown through the narrow windows. 

In the white moonlight without, the city of Syra- 
cuse lay shrouded in slumber. The multitude, in 
joyous anticipation of the sports on the morrow, had 
early sought their couches. 

From out the shadow of a pretentious dwelling 
on the Via Greca, two figures crept with fear and 
caution in their every move. The taller of the two 
darted ahead and sought the shelter of the next deep 
shadow. 

His companion, having caught up with him, the 
pair emerged into the full light and started to saun- 
ter up the hill. 

" Mind well your gait," warned the shorter man; 
" 'tis not a night for errand like ours. In this bril- 
liant moon can everything be seen." 

" The city sleeps," remarked the other, looking 
down upon the silent roofs and deserted moonlit 
streets. 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 117 

"Who knows?" 

" After the day of feasting and reception to the 
warrior and in thought of the early hour at which 
they must rise again, the wise have long since sought 
their slumbers." 

"And the unwise?" quoth the other, quietly. 
" They also have eyes to see and ears to hear. They 
also have tongues with which to spread alarm. Sup- 
pose the maid, Calanthe, wakeful from thoughts of 
the morrow, stand at her window, looking upon the 
beauty of the night? What if Pythias, himself, can- 
not content his brain to sleep and strides upon his 
balcony to breathe the freedom of the sky? " 

1 Your unquiet thoughts are the imaginings of a 
mind of guilt," remonstrated the companion. " Not 
one of the happenings of which you've spoken will 
transpire. So rest your soul and do your work. 
When your heart fails, call again to your ears the 
clink of the purse of gold as it fell on the stone table 
and recall that, on the morrow, the dose will be re- 
peated!" 

As they mounted the final steepness of the Circus 
hill, a low, peculiar sound smote their ears. 

"What was't?" gasped the taller of the two. 
'* Was it man or beast? Was it welcome or warn- 
ing?" 

They shrank into the first recess that presented 
its shelter. Flattened against the wall, their arms 
outspread and fingers clinging to the irregularity in 



n8 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

surface, they listened, with bated breath, for a dread 
repetition. It came not. 

Cautiously they peered without. The scene was 
unchanged. The dazzling white light bathed more 
completely the sleeping city. The shadows were 
blacker and more sharply defined, in contrast. 

'Your wits are easily shaken I" charged one. 
" If but your^brain could be startled into action as 
readily, then were the deed already completed." 

" Speak not of wits shaken," countercharged the 
other. 'Twas your fingers that clutched my arm 
in terror and your feet that first sought concealment. 
Methinks that even now your stomach quakes with 
fear of an unknown spy, while I I " 

He strode boldly into the full glare and raised his 
arms aloft, in brave defiance. 

14 Now that we have accomplished the ascent, let 
us approach the stables, and, looking through the 
window's, determine in what location these steeds are 
housed," he called loftily to his fainthearted com- 
panion. 

" Have thought of the stable boys? " was the wary 
retort. 

" Stable boys! " guffawed the other. " They are 
the last we have to fear. For first, they sleep with 
the profoundness of death, exhausted from their 
heavy labors; and second, if they should be aroused, 
a few drachmas would soon quell their murmurs of 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 119 

dissent. Come, be brave ! Follow in the footsteps 
of your leader who knows no fear." 

Inside the stable, the young Aratus stretched his 
thin legs and turned to find greater comfort on his 
couch of hay. The stiffness of his wrist and elbow 
joints, result of his vigorous rubbing, drove him to 
sit erect, to try to ease their aching. 

From outside he caught the boastful whispering 
of the braggart. At first, his mind, clogged with 
unslept slumbers, strove in vain to grasp the reality 
and then the import of the words. He crawled 
along the floor till he crouched directly beneath the 
nearest window. 

He could hear a man urging another to display of 
bravery. He did not recognize the voices, but knew 
them to be none of those whose horses were sheltered 
with the stable walls. Fearing to wait too long to 
learn their identity, he straightened his lithe body 
and with a sudden spring, stood on tiptoe and gazed 
through the opening. 

He saw in the blinding glare of white light two 
men whose garb proclaimed them of the sort who, 
without earnest occupation of any sort, frequent the 
wine cellars and are for hire when the deed is dark. 

The vague feeling of danger that had clamored at 
his heart throughout the early night now redoubled. 
The presence of these men presaged ill. If he were 
detected by them before their plans were carried out, 



120 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

it would mean his destruction. He glanced with 
horror at the short swords, unsheathed, that were 
stuck through the leathern loops of their girdles. 

They turned suddenly, and, in the direct shafts of 
light, their features, unmasked, were plainly visible. 
Aratus remembered where he had seen them. That 
very afternoon toward dusk when the streets were 
still thronged with the gay crowds who were loath 
to seek their own roofs, he had watched them stum- 
ble from the wine cellar of Cicatrum on the Via 
Steres. Much the worse for wine, the one acting as 
standard for the other, they had proceeded to an 
humble dwelling on the outskirts of the town. 

The boy dropped in affright to the floor and 
scrambled back to his couch. There, he assumed a 
posture of utter languor, his eyes tightly closed, his 
chin dropped and mouth opened to emit the deep, 
regular sounds of a person sunk in slumber. 

A moment after, the whisperings approached the 
window and an ugly head, with protruding eye and 
bulbous nose, was thrust through. Aratus gulped in 
sudden dread, but did not interrupt his forced, even 
breathing. He was thankful that the head obscured 
the beam that had, a moment before, slanted through 
the window and cast its radiance upon his prostrate 
body. 

The head was withdrawn and quick consultation 
taken. Every word, with here and there a final let- 
ter blurred, drifted in to his alert ears. He dared 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 121 

not open his eyes for fear that they were waiting to 
trap him. 

As he listened, his heart chilled with the horror 
of the plan they proposed. His mind ordinarily not 
quickly roused to thought, struggled to devise a so- 
lution to the situation. The dastardly ones must be 
thwarted. But how? 

He concluded from their talk of purses and gold 
and their humorous verbal caricatures, that they had 
been hired by Damocles, at the instigation of Dio- 
nysius. How could he, a stable boy, hope to suc- 
cessfully frustrate the schemes of two of the mighti- 
est in the city? 

Nevertheless he would try. For his beloved mas- 
ter's sake he would risk attack and even annihilation, 
in an attempt to prevent this vile design. Their 
every move, carefully planned, the two men turned 
to seek the gates. 

On the instant, Aratus kicked the sleeping Men- 
turn with as much force as he could summon to his 
fear-paralyzed limbs. 

The blooded steed, which slept lightly, jumped 
wildly to his feet and pawed furiously at the wall 
that separated his stall from the next. The noise 
awoke the other horses. They joined in a chorus of 
neighs and snorts and their hoofs beat the stone until 
the clamor was deafening. 

Aratus, in pretense of having been but suddenly 
awakened, called to his charges. From other sec- 



122 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

tions of the stable the boys came running, stumbling 
over their weary feet, their hands waving in panic at 
the unlocked for agitation. Aratus jumped to the 
window and saw, far down the hill, two fleeing fig- 
ures. As he watched, they reached the lower streets 
and disappeared amid the closely placed buildings. 

He seized Lertes roughly by the shoulders. 

" Keep watch! " he commanded hoarsely, " while 
I speed down into the city. There is a plot afoot 
that means dishonor to us all, and, if the authorities 
do but hear of it, I have no doubt but that our 
severed heads will stain the chopping block a sullen 



crimson ! " 



Lertes, petrified with fear at his possible fate, 
opened his lips to question; but, from the dry walls 
of his frightened throat, no sound issued. Before 
his moistened tongue could form a syllable, Aratus 
had darted from the stables. 

Down the hillside he sped. His tired legs, driven 
to speed by a passionate fire of devotion, bore him 
to the portal of Arria's house. His sister, Eunice, 
favorite of Calanthe's handmaidens, would recog- 
nize his call and give him entrance. 

Hardly had the low sound left his lips, when a 
startled figure, swathed in white, appeared on the 
balcony over his head. 

"Aratus!" called Eunice in sudden dismay. 
"What brings you at this hour? Is it a message 
of alarm you bear? Is it from Pythias? Speak, 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 123 

Aratus ! My heart is suffocating me in its wild 
leaping! " 

" I can not speak at this distance, Eunice," gasped 
the boy, clutching his parched throat. ' You must 
open the gate to me and rouse your mistress. Come ! 
For whate'er is done must be done quickly." 

The slender form disappeared behind the heavy 
draperies and a moment later the ponderous door 
swung on its hinges and admitted the breathless 
messenger to the inner courtyard. 

"Where is your mistress?" demanded Aratus. 
" It is most important that she be awakened. What 
I have to say is of her intimate concern. Come, 
Eunice, let us to her chamber and rouse her." 

" No ! " Eunice stayed his steps with an impera- 
tive hand. " I have but just succeeded in soothing 
her to slumber. All the night she has been pacing 
the floor, unwilling to seek her couch. To calm her 
restless spirit I did anoint her fair body with per- 
fumed oils and smooth her tresses with quieting 
hands, until at last her lovely eyes closed in peaceful 
sleep. I will not wake her. Deliver me your mes- 
sage and speak softly lest the whole household wake 
and be affrighted." 

" This is not a time to consider slumber. The 
honor of Pythias and his repute in Syracuse will be 
as naught on the morrow unless he is warned, on 
the instant, of the plot that is on foot to disgrace 
him." 



124 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" Disgrace him? " breathed Eunice, grasping her 
brother's arm in disbelief. 

"List closely to my message," entreated Aratus; 
" do not ask me whys and wherefores. In times like 
this every moment is an added stumbling block to 
my purpose of defeating these vile criminals. Dio- 
nysius, who they say is enamored of your lovely mis- 
tress, Calanthe, and jealous of the glories cast at 
Pythias' feet this day, has got 'his henchman, Dam- 
ocles, to hire men of low origin to perform a das- 
tardly deed. 

4 To-night, when I was sleeping in the stables, I 
overheard the two plotting. They were upon the 
point of removing the steeds of Pythias from their 
stables. Their intention was to drive them many 
leagues in the dead quiet of the night, so that on the 
morrow, spent and strained, they will not be fit com- 
petitors for the fresh, highspirited chargers of 
Aristle. 

" It has been accomplished before. And stable 
boys upon awaking, have found their horses whipped 
to a lather, panting in the stalls. Not knowing how 
they came to be in such condition, and fearful lest 
their masters flog them for neglect, these boys have 
brushed and rubbed until the sleek look has returned 
and none was the wiser. But the master was de- 
feated in the contests! " 

"Why did you not assault the villains?" ques- 
tioned Eunice, with great contempt. " Would it not 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 125 

have been a surer and a more manly act than to flee, 
breathless, to warn a timid, defenseless woman and 
break her slumbers? " 

" I could not beat them single-handed. They 
bristled with short swords and they had the sinews 
of a Hercules. Nor could I rely upon the other 
boys within the stables. For, so avaricious are they, 
that their mouths begin to water at sight of ten 
drachmas and they could drive their souls to murder 
for a silver piece. I took the wisest course, roused 
the stable, frightened the criminals away, and, with- 
out divulging my secret to any, sped here." 

" Then, is't not finished? Have not the monsters 
been alarmed for all time? Have they not sought 
their dwellings? " 

" You do not know, O sister, what a purse of gold 
will do. These same men, fortified with more wine, 
will again mount the hill when all has quieted. And 
this time, lest they be foiled in their intentions! will 
they use violence and destroy all who stand in their 
path. That is why I have come. Rouse your mis- 
tress, Eunice, and allow her to say what is best to 
do." 

Eunice clasped her robe more closely about her 
and sped into an apartment hung with folds of palest, 
rose pink. In the center gleamed a square pool in 
whose green-blue depths were reflected the pillars 
and rails surrounding it. Beside the steps, stretched 
on a couch of white, deep with silken cushions, lay 



126 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

the sleeping Calanthe, her dimpled arms crossed on 
her rounded breasts, her sweet lips parted in a trem- 
ulous smile. 

The maid stood over her sleeping mistress, loath 
to disturb her sweet dreams. But the pacing to and 
fro of Aratus, whose steps resounded on the polished 
floor of the inner court, and the fear that if dishonor 
befell Pythias, Calanthe's heart would break, com- 
pelled her to action. 

She bent low, slipped a gentle arm under her mis- 
tress's shoulders and raised her to a sitting position, 
smoothing her brow with a quieting hand. 

Calanthe thus awakened, started in bewilderment. 
Then, as the familiar objects of her own apartment 
were disclosed to her, she sought the face of her 
maid, in silent question. 

The expression she saw there alarmed her. She 
darted an anxious glance about the room to see if 
her mother and other members of the household had 
been thus aroused. From without, the monotonous 
tread of Aratus' sandaled feet came to her ears and 
she jumped from her couch dragging her embroidered 
coverlets with her and trailing them across the floor, 
half-way to the portal. 

Eunice seized her hands and knelt at her feet. 
The startled violet eyes looked with the dread of 
one, unknowing, into the eyes of one who knew. 

" Pythias ! " she murmured at last in little chok- 
ing gasps. " Harm has come to him ! I know it 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 127 

I am certain. Speak! Who is he who paces so 
unceasingly outside ? Have you lost tongue, Eunice ? 
Or do you torture with suspense because the truth 
is more horrible than the uncertainty? " 

" Nothing has happened, sweet one. But unless 
we act quickly the honor of your young lord may 
be at stake. My brother Aratus, who is stable boy 
at the Circus, as you know, has just fled hither to in- 
form you that he overheard a plot to tire the steeds 
of Pythias by driving them many miles, in the secret 
night, so that, on the morrow, in contest with Aristle, 
they must suffer defeat." 

" Whose plot is this?" breathed Calanthe, her 
eyes aflash with sudden indignation.. " Diony- 
sius " 

Eunice nodded assent 

" 'Twas he who conceived of it and his gold went 
for the purchase price. Men do these things and 
lay the burden of their crimes at love's door, hoping 
to receive absolution from Eros, at whose shrine they 
worship. Come, let me clothe you in your softest 
robes and you and I, attended by my brother, will 
speed to Pythias and warn him of his danger." 

With swift hands Eunice fastened the silver shoul- 
der buckles and put in place the broidered cestus. 
The rosy feet were slipped into soft padded sandals 
and the bronze-gold head swathed in gauze scarves. 

u So that your disguise may be complete," urged 
Eunice, " throw this mauve mantle, that is your 



128 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

mother's, about you and hold the thick folds well 
over your mouth and chin, for the night air is treach- 
erous and the dew, though naught but drops of opal 
moisture, chilling to your tender feet." 

" My mother! " panted Calanthe, shivering in 
vague dread of the weirdness of her errand. 
" Should I not rouse her and bid her accompany us? 
She will think it strange if " 

"She will not know you will not tell her of 
it?" implored Eunice on her knees. " Because if 
the information become too-widely known, those in 
authority will search for the informer and my brother 
will be put to death, in secret, by the followers of 
Dionysius. Do not wake your mother, sweet." 

Calanthe raised the pleading maid and folded her 
in her soft arms. 

" Do you think that I would knowingly bring harm 
to one who has risked so much to save my Pythias 
from dishonor? Think you I do not know that if 
your brother did but submit to bribery, he could have 
made a goodly sum and no one would have been the 
wiser? I would have ta'en my mother with me as 
protection." 

" Aratus will be our protection," answered Eunice, 
wrapping her mistress closely in her mantle. " He 
would kill one who'd dare to interfere with our 
progress. For, as you know, his worship of your 
sweet self is as profound as mine own." 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 129 

Silently, with cautious step, the two maidens sought 
the inner courtyard. At their approach Aratus ran 
to the heavy portal and swung it wide. 

" Be careful lest it clang," warned Eunice, bracing 
her slim, young body against the oaken panels, to 
decrease its impetus. " Now that we are safely out, 
we must do naught to arouse suspicion." 

" We must not go by the road," announced Ca- 
lanthe as she caught sight of the dazzling white 
stretch that led to the dwelling of Pythias. " Let 
us through the garden, then along the wooded path 
that follows the brook in whose purling waters we 
bathed our ankles that day, so many months ago, 
when first my Pythias saw me." 

" It is a longer way," objected Aratus, who lived in 
dread lest the knaves return and bribe his associates 
while he was absent. 

" It is a safer way," reproved Calanthe. " And 
it is wise to sacrifice time to safety, when we are sur- 
rounded by plotters all intent upon our downfall. 
Lead the way, Eunice." 

The three figures, now hid in the complete ob- 
scurity of dense, overhanging foliage, now distinct, 
where the silver rays penetrated to small cleared 
spaces, moved silently on their way. 

Strange wood-calls that sounded ghostly on the 
silent night, made the maidens shrink more closely 
into their all-enveloping mantles. Obsessed by the 



130 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

weirdness of the night and the unearthly radiance of 
the moon, Calanthe thought of Hecati and wondered 
if she were wandering at large. 

She uttered a wild, little cry and clutched at 
Eunice's arm. 

"We have reached the outer hedge," the maid 
reassured her. " Just a step inside and we are safe. 
Aratus, quicken your steps and rouse Pythias' slave. 
He sleeps outside his master's chamber. Tell him 
to give message that Calanthe awaits him, in the 
garden. Haste, for the cold night has chilled her 
hands and tremors shake her form." 

In the black shade of an arbor "of evergreens, Ca- 
lanthe clung to Eunice and watched, with suspense- 
sharpened eyes for first sight of her lover. The 
minutes seemed an eternity. She felt her knees lose 
their strength. Her brain reeled in bewilderment. 
What was the delay? Had he sickened? Had he 
been slain on his couch? Had Dionysius ? 

Suddenly, in the white light reflected from the 
marble steps, she saw the form of her knight. As 
he advanced the moon caught the glitter of his hel- 
met and made it a dazzling crown for his handsome 
face. 

Calanthe, not recovered from the shock of her 
rude awakening, exhausted from her hurried journey 
through the woodland and torn with the agony of 
suspense, watched his approach. But the sight of 



IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 131 

him in all his strength and beauty, safe, and eager 
for her greeting swept over her in a great engulfing 
wave and as he reached her side, she swooned in his 
protecting arms. 



CHAPTER X 

THE PLOT FRUSTRATED 

AT the stables Lertes held sway and threat- 
ened, with instant punishment, him who 
first showed signs of flight or great fear. 

" I know no more of this sudden riot and dark 
mystery than do you. Harm threatened, of that 
I'm sure. Did not Aratus warn me that unless he 
should flee and carry warning, on the instant, our 
heads would stain to sullen crimson the murderous 
ax of the executioner? " 

u And does belief of all you hear penetrate so 
sharply to your brain that you must needs follow 
every edict and not stop to call your soul your own ? " 
derisively questioned one of the boys, who tended 
the horses of Aristle. 

Lertes frowned darkly on the speaker and shook 
a defiant fist under his broad and flattened nostrils. 

" Give not tongue to your ignorance I " he men- 
aced shrilly. " Your closed lips might vaguely sug- 
gest that pearls of wisdom fell from their shelter. 
But when you separate their closeness and sounds do 
issue from between, then are all thoughts of wisdom 
but a merry jest and you the jester! " 

132 



THE PLOT FRUSTRATED 133 

" What waked the steeds when they had but just 
fallen to slumber? " questioned another, rubbing his 
heavy, red-rimmed eyes and showing his huge teeth 
in an all-enveloping yawn. 

" That I know not," acknowledged Lertes, " nor 
does anyone of us save Aratus. And he fled with 
such suddenness that not a word of information was 
forthcoming. He will tell us all when he returns." 

" But will he return? " asked a third, stretching 
his limbs so tautly that his joints cracked in rebel- 
lion. " I trust him not. He is too learned, too 
given to dreams and too full of devotion to his mas- 
ters. Will he return? " 

" What advantage to him not to? " argued Lertes, 
not finding logical denial to launch against this latest 
skeptic. " Voice no more of your doubts and mis- 
givings for should he return laden with rewards to be- 
stow on us for having done our duty, I will see to it 
that he who was most distrustful goes forth with 
empty palms to seek position elsewhere." 

The Arabian steeds of Pythias, unused to strange 
voices and chafing at the absence of Aratus and his 
caressing pats, pulled at their ropes and shook their 
manes from side to side, until the evenly combed 
hairs were all atangle. 

Lertes entered the stall of Mentum and sought 
to quiet his exhibitions of ugly temper. He reached 
up and strove to smooth the arched neck, as he had 
seen Aratus do. The thankless animal, as reward, 



i 3 4 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

swooped down and caught his tunic between his 
strong, even teeth. Then with his struggling, kick- 
ing burden he tossed his head and struck first one 
wall, then the other with the helpless Lertes, while 
the boy's comrades looked on aghast and motion- 
less. 

" Kick him I Lash him ! Help me ! " gurgled 
the powerless one as his shins came in sharp contact 
with the stone-edge. 

But rather than risk their sound limbs and cow- 
ardly hides to the viciousness of the exasperated 
steed, they watched their companion receive bruise 
after bruise, and lifted not a finger to aid him in his 
peril. 

Suddenly there was a sound of scurrying feet and 
Aratus and Pythias dashed into the stables and made 
for the spot where the craven group watched the 
antics of the enraged Mentum. 

"Down!" shouted Aratus in ringing tones. 
" What means this display of temper, O wicked one? 
The whip shall greet your hide for this ! " 

Mentum, at the first familiar syllable, pricked up 
his narrow pointed ears and dropped his victim in 
a sudden heap. As Lertes scrambled to his feet and 
dashed from the stall to guard against a possible 
repetition, the horse hung his head and looked sadly, 
but with a tinge of drollery, from the corner of his 
large, soft eyes. 

His dilated nostrils quivered sensitively and he 



THE PLOT FRUSTRATED 135 

sought to condone his sudden aggression by laying 
his head softly on the shoulder of the stern Aratus, 
who was about to administer punishment. 

" Do not lash him," interposed Pythias, placing 
a protecting hand on his well-loved favorite. " He 
was disturbed at the clamor and missed your touch 
to quiet him." 

Aratus, only too glad of an excuse to pet the ani- 
mal, dropped the leathern thong to the floor of the 
stall, whence as if in gentle rebuke, Mentum lifted 
it between his teeth and laid it carefully in Aratus' 
palm. 

" I will make it right with the boy who suffered 
through his playfulness," said Pythias, looking to 
the corner where Lertes, nursing his cuts and bruises, 
glowered, while they made much of the animal who 
had just treated him so harshly. 

" We have no time to lose," warned Aratus, as 
Pythias, his cheek pressed closely to that of the cul- 
prit, whispered words of consolation into his listen- 
ing ear. 

" Yes, we must act quickly," he agreed, stepping 
outside the stall and advancing to where the boys 
stood, their mouths wide with curiosity, their eyes 
dulled from disturbed slumbers. " I will explain the 
case in few words. Do you all pay strict attention, 
grasp well my instructions and in the end will you all 
profit! A silver piece to each who does well what 
he is bidden." 



136 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

The situation having assumed a definite monetary 
value, the interest shown became vital. They 
crowded close about the young general, fearful of 
losing a word that might aid them in the performance 
of his demands. Even Lertes, whose soul was 
wounded far more deeply than his flesh, pressed close 
and forgot his animosity of a moment since. 

* You all were on the streets of Syracuse this day 
and saw the people welcome me from my Cartha- 
ginian triumphs/' said Pythias, with not a vestige of 
the braggart in his words. " My reception has not 
pleased one who is most powerful in the city and he 
has plotted to cause my defeat in to-morrow's contest 
in the arena. 

" My horses are to be driven and purposely tired, 
while Syracuse sleeps; so that after the first dash of 
the race, the steeds of Aristle, fresh from their sta- 
bles, will far outstrip me. Thus has Dionysius 
planned for my downfall. Two ruffians will visit the 
stables, perform the deed and receive as payment a 
bag of gold. 

" I have come to defeat their plans and I desire 
your aid. If you had assisted them in their foul 
purpose they would have bestowed, as bribe money, 
not more than five drachmas apiece; while I will 
give, for faithful service and a quiet tongue, a silver 
piece to all alike." 

Aratus walked to the stalls of his charges, untied 
the ropes that held two captive and led them to the 



THE PLOT FRUSTRATED 137 

center of the stable floor. Pythias seized the hal- 
ters and waited till Aratus had released the two re- 
maining. He then led the way to another section 
of the stables and halted before the stalls where the 
horses of Aristle were confined. 

" Loose their halters ! " he commanded Aratus, 
" and lead them to the other section." 

At first comprehension of the plan on foot, the 
swarthy stable boy in the service of Aristle, the fore- 
most charioteer of Sicily, darted under the arm of 
Pythias and made for* the open door. 

" Pursue him ! " Aratus raised the cry. " A 
double reward for him who makes the capture ! " 

In but a moment they dragged him back, protesting 
all in vain, his clothing caked with mud where they 
had thrown him to the ground. 

"Thought you to warn your master?" queried 
Pythias. " 'Twas a loyal attempt and so shall I tell 
him when the race is o'er and I have won. For 
the present you shall be bound and gagged so that 
when the scoundrels come again, your lamentations 
will be choked to silence. Bind him securely, you 
others, and cast him where the eyes of the intruders 
will find him not." 

A gag of hay forced between the complaining lips 
prevented all sound from escaping. The squirming 
arms and kicking legs were bound securely at wrist 
and ankle with slender leathern thongs that bit deep. 

Thus, securely guarded against future outbreaks,, 



138 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

the helpless form was borne to an inner room where 
were stored the worn trappings and harnesses of 
other years. 

" The time draws near for a second attempt.' 1 
Pythias walked to the window and surveyed the scene 
before him. At the base of the hill, he thought he 
discerned two black specks creeping from shadow to 
shadow. He rubbed his eyes and looked more 
closely. Just then they reached a space that was 
without shadow. He saw one man leap with great 
bounds across the moonlit spot. In sudden anger 
he turned from the window. 

u Even now they mount the hill! " he shouted to 
the boys who eagerly awaited the signal to take part 
in this exciting comedy. " Remember well my warn- 
ing. Cast yourselves about the floor and assume at- 
titudes of deep slumber. When they enter, do not 
stir. If they should trip over your prostrate bodies, 
make no sign. I would enjoin you to be most care- 
ful, for if they detect that you are but acting, in- 
flamed with wine, as they are, they might do vio- 
lence and turn this jest of ours to tragedy. As for 
myself, I will seek concealment in the stores of hay. 
From that shelter I can watch the proceedings, un- 
seen and unheard. Haste ! For I hear their heavy 
feet crunch into the gravel of the roadway." 

The scene that met the eyes of the two hirelings 
was one of utter peace and quiet. Here and there 
the sleeping form of a stable boy was lighted by the 



THE PLOT FRUSTRATED 139 

moonbeams that penetrated to the main corridor. 
The horses in their stalls, quieted but not yet asleep, 
nodded drowsily. 

The taller of the two grasped the arm of his com- 
panion and pointed a finger of scorn at the sleepers. 

" Did I not tell you that they would be our last 
fear?" he questioned boastfully, and with strange 
mouthings, due to recent draughts of wine. " Mighty 
guardians of blooded steeds are they! See their 
deathlike stupor. One could blow a trumpet blast 
and succeed only in ruffling their dreams ! They are 
but poor beasts, who are driven to work, that they 
have food to place between their lips. While we, 
just for a night's pastime such as this, are presented 
with a double purse of gold and are enabled to feast 
for weeks to come. 'Tis well to be born with skill." 

Pythias, secreted in the hay, began to suffer from 
the intense heat. If they would but hasten to their 
deed and give him freedom! He stretched forth 
his hand and pulled loose a small clump that choked 
his breathing. As the cool air greeted his nostrils 
he breathed deeply. 

The shorter rascal, who was bent on untying the 
first horse, rushed from the stall and clutched fran- 
tically at his accomplice's arm. 

" What was't? " he gasped, his swollen eyes blink- 
ing in terror, his unsteady knees clicking in comic 
manner. 

"What was what?" blandly inquired the other, 



140 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

throwing off his uncomfortably tight grip. " Ne'er 
shall I take you again on such errand. You would 
shatter the calm of the surest of men, with your wild 
gibberings and your hearing of sounds that never 
were born. When next I am commissioned to carry 
out a difficult problem you shall remain at home. 
And when I return victorious, you, white-livered 
craven, shall sit the other side of the table and try 
to stem the tides that rise from your watering lips, 
as I quaff bowl after bowl and offer you none." 

Thus threatened with an arid future, the timorous 
one took courage and led two of the horses from 
their stalls. 

" See," he mocked in newly-acquired bravado, " I 
can kick the hounds and rouse them not! " 

He applied his broad knobby toes to the back of 
the feigning Aratus. The slim body lifted slightly 
from the floor, in obedience to the kick, and, when 
it was withdrawn, sank, as supine as before. 

This caused great mirth between the two. And 
if it had not happened that the wiser one, through 
his soddenness, awoke to the realization that dawn 
was not far distant, the foolish member would have 
spent the hours that were to come in lavishly dis- 
tributing all kicks that he was capable of admin- 
istering. 

Carefully they piloted the four steeds to the open 
doorway. Each, after many unsuccessful attempts, 
mounted one and led the other by shortened halter. 



THE PLOT FRUSTRATED 141 

Down the hillside, in a direction opposite to the city, 
they galloped. As the echoing hoof beats grew 
fainter and fainter, Pythias crawled from his lair, 
wellnigh spent with the humid heat, and roused his 
conspirators. 

Unfastening a leathern pouch from his wide belt 
he presented a silver piece to each. Unrestrained 
joy reigned. Not only was the pay munificent, but 
the complete deception delighted their souls. For, 
in the frail mind of each of us lurks the fond thought 
that he shelters the genius of an actor. 

While the happy ones joined hands and jumped 
about in high glee, Pythias entered the room of old 
harnesses and trappings. Squirming on the floor, 
in a dark, cobwebbed corner, lay the gagged and 
bound stable boy of Aristle, bitter hatred and revolt 
shining from his flashing eyes. 

Pythias bent, loosened the clenched fingers of one 
bound hand and placed in the hot, wet palm, six 
coins of silver. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE RACE 

DAWN broke, mauve and silver, from the 
horizon of the sea. It coated the still 
waters with a frostlike sheen, that warmed 
gradually to color. It deepened from mauve to dull 
rose, from rose to pink, from pink to scarlet and 
gold; until the vaulted skies reflected its radiance 
and the feathery clouds curled soft corners and dyed 
themselves in its shades. 

The hush over the city of Syracuse lifted, first 
with low, indistinct rumbling as of preparation far 
distant, that shook the surface of the earth. Later, 
the monotony of sound was punctuated here and there 
by a shrill call, a crash of metal gates and the excited 
conversation of gathering crowds. 

Looking down from the Circus Hill, the narrow 
streets and by-ways assumed the appearance of an un- 
covered beehive. Streams of humanity moving, yet 
having no definite objective point, wound in and out 
the gayly decorated houses. 

In the richer neighborhoods, the gates remained 
closed. But in the gardens, slaves ran excitedly to 
and fro. Handmaidens gathered sheafs of rich 
blooms for their mistresses' litters. Stable boys 

142 



THE RACE 143 

groomed stamping horses and guardians of the wine 
cellars filled huge flagons with gold and ruby liquids. 

In the apartment of Calanthe, Eunice, wan from 
insufficient sleep, took from its wardrobe the tunic 
of silver cloth embroidered with coral beads that 
her mistress was to wear to the games. Calanthe, 
in her bath, sang softly a simple melody taught her 
by an old nurse. 

" Do you not feel the thrill that throbs through 
the very air?" she demanded eagerly. " 'Tis a 
wondrous day! Think you that ever before had 
maiden so much happiness crowded into a single 
block of hours? First the games and the chariot 
race in which her lover will be victor! Then " 

" Hush ! " Eunice bade her in sudden apprehen- 
sion. ' l When you are so sure of victory it is but 
tempting the gods to thwart your assurance. Since 
our troublous night I have had strange misgivings. 
If the subterfuge were discovered ! If Dionysius " 

A handmaiden folded a fleecy robe about the glis- 
tening, wet body of her young mistress. Calanthe 
stepped from the pool and threw herself at length 
upon a couch. 

" If it were not imperative that I be robed so 
early to proceed to the Circus, I would love it well 
to slumber but a little while longer. My broken 
rest and our strange errand, in the dead of night, 
have weighted my eyelids. But was it not an unusual 
adventure?' 7 she finished, enthusiastically. 



144 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Her maidens, with soft cloths, dipped into jars 
of porcelain and gently rubbed her rosy flesh with 
perfumes and nourishing oils. She lay looking up 
with dreamy eyes at the star-flecked ceiling of her 
chamber. 

" No one but Eunice may arrange my tresses on 
this day," she said, glancing with deep affection at 
her favorite maid. " And it must be so marvelously 
done that when my Pythias gazes upon me, from 
his chariot, in the arena, his heart will bound with 
pride in his possession ! " 

" Has his heart not bounded thus, always, since 
the first moment your sweet lips agreed to be be- 
trothed to him?" questioned Eunice, indulgent in 
her adoration. " I fear you wish to attract the 
glances of others that they may whisper, ' All his 
luck lies not in the games. Look what a pearl be- 
yond price he takes to his bosom to-day ! ' Is that 
not so, spoiled one ? " 

" No, it is not so ! " was the indignant denial, as 
Calanthe sat erect to add vehemence to her words. 
" And yet," she mused naively, " it will be well for 
the criminal and ill-featured Dionysius to see that 
which he has so completely lost." 

" Rid your mind of such worldly thoughts ! " 
Eunice exclaimed in mock-reproof. u On the wed- 
ding day of maid must no thought of other than her 
lover dwell, even for an instant, in her pretty head. 
If Pythias but knew your designs in making your 



THE RACE 145 

appearance so wonderfully alluring, then would he 
shroud your features in a thick veil and drape your 
rounded form with mantles not transparent." 

Calanthe raised her glowing arms and sighed hap- 
pily. 

" That will come soon enough," she pouted. 
" For from this night forth, it will be expected of 
me that I consider all the earth populated by just 
one man and that my husband." 

She ran to the edge of the pool and gazed long 
upon her reflection there. 

"Am I beautiful enough for him?" she asked at 
length, a shadow of doubt creeping into her voice. 
" In this new tunic I have not the youthful look that 
I have been accustomed to gaze upon. A sedate- 
ness rests upon my shoulders that makes me fear to 
look too close, lest I see age creep on with stealthy 
step." 

" Foolish girl ! " Eunice shook her playfully and 
pulled loose a curl or two that they might rest lov- 
ingly upon the damask cheek. " The breaking dawn 
envies your fresh beauty. 'Tis the fault of the tunic. 
The rich material and the stiffness of its folds con- 
ceals the youthful grace of your figure." 

" Then will I wear one I have worn before. Bring 
me one of azure and bind my hair with silver fillets. 
Oh, Eunice, I desire much to don my wedding robes 
and catch but a tiny glance of my reflection in their 
chaste beauty. But my mother says that the wear- 



146 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

ing of a bridal robe before the bridal hour presages 
ill. Think you the tale is true ? " 

" I think whate'er your mother speaks is truth," 
replied Eunice, shocked at the thought of doubting 
her elders. " Come, hasten, Calanthe ! Slip your 
feet into the silver sandals that I may adjust the 
straps. There is still much to do and our appear- 
ance at the Circus must not be delayed." 

" I would not give thought to starting for a full 
hour, or still longer," objected Calanthe. " None 
but the rabble enters the gates of the Circus at this 
hour. The noble and very rich, with seats procured, 
make their entrance but just before the start." 

From the streets arose a very hubbub of cheers; 
and voices, some dissenting, some with hearty words 
of greeting, intermingling with shrill accusation, 
floated in through the heavy draperies. Snatching 
up a veil Calanthe wound it round her head and 
shoulders and drew Eunice out on the balcony beside 
her. 

" Oh, is't not wonderful? " she breathed in hushed 
tones. " Ne'er before, in this short memory of 
mine, has the scene been so amazing." 

Calanthe threw her arms about her maid and held 
her tightly, in a sudden rush of ecstasy. Thus, 
clasped closely, they surveyed the bustle of the scene 
before them. 

In Syracuse, on a day of this sort, the games were 
free ; therefore, at the first hour of dawn, the rabble, 



THE RACE 147 

fearful lest there be not room for all, despite the 
huge capacity of the Circus, wound their way from 
the city's streets to camp about the entrance gates. 

This struggling stream of humanity was now in 
progress. It wound, snakewise, from the Senate 
Square, up to the portals, where it seemed to flatten 
and spread. Only the Circus attendants knew what 
scenes of violent contention would take place when 
first the blast sounded as signal for the swinging in 
of the huge, bronze-bound gates. 

And once admitted, would they feast and doze 
upon the benches, whence naught but an upheaval of 
the earth or a menacing group of short swords could 
drive them forth. 

" What is it they bear in their arms? " questioned 
Calanthe, looking upon the queer bundles of all sizes 
and shapes. 

" Food, wine, robes to protect against the elements, 
if the elements do protest," Eunice told her. " They 
go prepared for comfort for the day. These great 
times come but seldom in the poorer man's existence, 
and when they do, he gets from them all the gayety 
they contain." 

" Oh, let us haste to the scene, ourselves! " urged 
Calanthe. " I would be seated to view this strange 
assemblage burst into the Circus and find their places. 
iWould it not be sport, Eunice, to see it all, aye, from 
the very beginning? " 

" Your mother would not allow it. Neither would 



i 4 8 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Pythias countenance your presence there before the 
proper time. Besides, the garlands for your litter 
will have to be exchanged. I had given orders that 
they were to be of coral-colored blooms to match 
the coral beading of your tunic. And now, since you 
have changed to azure, must white be substituted? 
Wilt change your mind in love, as easily as in cos- 
tume? " she asked playfully. 

Outside the entrance gates of the Circus all was 
confusion. The first arrivals, in fear of being dis- 
placed from their position, flattened themselves 
against the massive, oaken panels, so that when the 
signal sounded and the gates swung in, they would 
be the first to enter. 

They did not stop to calculate that, in the fearful 
pressure, the impetus with which the crowd behind 
pressed upon them would result in their being cast 
to the ground, where over their prostrate bodies the 
others would rush in and there seek choice position. 

Grasping their bundles closely, with faces strained 
and eyes darting from side to side, they waited for 
the signal. 

Suddenly the air was rent with a shrill blast. 
Three times it sounded. Dead silence followed. 
Then there fell upon the ear the harsh brazen clang 
of a huge metal gong, struck with iron hammers. 

As the last stroke died upon the dawn, the massive 



THE RACE 149 

bolts of the Circus portals were shot back and slowly 
they yawned on their hinges. 

Into the emptiness shot the mob as if projected 
from a catapult. Those in the van were over- 
whelmed as they had been many times before. And 
while they struggled, prostrate, to maintain their hold 
upon their treasures, they shouted hoarse curses at 
their oppressors. 

In an incredibly short time the unreserved spaces 
were filled, with no chance of any future arrival find- 
ing room. It now remained for the nobles and the 
very rich to make their entrance. This, as much as 
the games that followed, delighted the soul of the 
proletariat. For, on this day, was all the splendor 
of wealth and position flaunted in extravagant glare. 
The classes came to be admired, the masses to envy 
and give homage as it has been and always will 
be, world without end. 

When the first sharp rays of the morning sun 
slanted up from the horizon line and struck the edges 
of the roof-tops, the procession of wealth began. 

Warriors, resplendent in full regalia, their breast- 
plates dazzling mirrors for the rising sun, strode in 
on foot, followed by their vassals laden with various 
aids to their comfort. 

Statesmen, with white togas edged in scarlet and 
purple; rich merchants whose robes were overladen 
with trimmings of great cost, so that they might im- 



150 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

press more deeply the success they had made in 
trade. 

Beautiful women in shimmering draperies, lounged 
upon silken cushions, in their covered litters, and 
were borne to their private boxes by ebony-skinned 
slaves. Children in short, full tunics and bare dim- 
pled knees, drank enthusiasm from their elders and 
waved gay banners in the crowd. 

Preceded by six attendants bearing bowls and cov- 
ered dishes, from which there were wafted savory 
odors that assailed the nostrils of the hungry, Diony- 
sius, seated in a huge chair of gilded woods, cush- 
ioned in purple, made his entrance. 

He had discarded his armor. Upon his brow his 
fast-thinning locks were bound by a golden band. 
His frame was folded in a black mantle, broidered 
with a design of golden laurel leaves. 

The rabble, realizing that this was an entrance of 
the first magnitude, got to its feet, and cheered madly. 
The chair was borne around the arena, skirting close 
to the lowest tier, so that all might see the Great 
One. Dionysius lifted a bored hand in greeting, as 
the people of Syracuse shouted their enthusiasm. It 
was the cause of comments, as he meant it should be. 

But, in his sunken breast, the triumph in his heart 
was pounding thickly and his brain conceived the 
thought : 

" A step nearer. There are not many left for me 
to travel. I have the people with me." 



THE RACE 151 

Some one called his name. It was taken up on 
all sides and soon all the Circus rang with shrill cries 
of " Dion-ysius-s-s ! " 

His four stout servants bore him up an aisle and 
rested his chair in the exact center of his box. Im- 
mediately was he followed there by Damocles and 
Philistius. 

" We have done well to rouse enthusiasm of such 
power," commented Damocles, with a chuckle of 
smug satisfaction. 

"We?" Dionysius' brows arched themselves in 
derision. " And what have you done, O noble sir, 
to further the enthusiasm? Did the crowd perceive 
your Apollo-like physique in my wake ? Or did you 
cast coins to the rabble and thus move them to this 
great display of spirit? " 

" I did neither," was the irate retort. " That 
show of patriotic fire was not a case of spontaneity. 
It is the result of hard and honest labors on the part 
of Philistius and myself. We are the ones who 
have educated the citizens of Syracuse up to your 
standards. Where would be your prospects of a 
throne if it were not for us? Is not Philistius presi- 
dent of the Senate? Can he not say yea or nay? 
Is it not to him you'll look upon the great day, to 
take your hand and lead you to the crown? " 

Dionysius leaned forward in his chair, his chin 
sunk in the palm of his hand, his brows meeting, in 
rounded protuberances over his nose. His eyes, 



152 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

baleful from the depths of their bony sockets, scored 
the plump anatomy of the prince of sycophants be- 
fore him. 

" Philistius, as it happens, will be the lucky man 
upon whose arm I'll lean to ease my progress to the 
throne. You will be there to tread behind. You 
will bear my mantle and my reproaches. And if 
you chafe my amiable nature, you will be there just 
so long and not a moment longer. All that you've 
said is true. But you have not laid stress upon the 
fact that, lacking both Philistius and yourself, Diony- 
sius would have gained the position that he sought. 
And so shall it be, when centuries after your repute 
has vanished from the page of history, will the fame 
of Dionysius blaze from tongue to tongue, as though 
his life were but just lived." 

A litter, brilliant with spangled hangings, was con- 
veyed past the box. As if by magic, the mask of 
malicious sarcasm on Dionysius' face dissolved into 
a veneer of suave benignity. He smiled. The fair 
occupant fell back, panting, on her pillows. The 
mighty one had shown his favor! The little by- 
play was not lost upon the two men. This was but 
another mild proof of the hold that the warrior gen- 
eral exerted over all who came under his hypnotic 
sway. 

Damocles spoke, his tones honeyed with submis- 
siveness. 

" My hasty speech was born of that same physical 



THE RACE 153 

upset of which I did complain yesterday. My stom- 
ach is so " 

u Truths that would not otherwise fall upon the 
outside air, find utterance from an afflicted stomach. 
When a man is bent with suffering, it matters not, 
at the moment, whether the future hold for him 
opulence or oblivion. And so his words come un- 
garnished from the depths." 

Damocles searched for phrases to smooth the ire 
of his lord and found them not. No one, but 
himself, knew how he had lost slumber, performed 
distasteful errands and risked the disfavor of his 
associates in the Senate, to find patronage in this 
man's eyes. And now, in a careless-uttered accu- 
sation, had he destroyed what advancement he had 
achieved! The pity of it overwhelmed him. He 
huddled into his billows of fat and pondered on his 
desolateness. 

At the gates appeared another procession. It 
comprised a group of slaves, two litters (one mauve, 
one azure), with occupants veiled, and a band of 
graceful handmaids, from whose slim shoulders 
hung a continuous rope of blossoms, that hedged 
their mistress in. 

Dionysius sat erect, his eyes strained, his nostrils 
quivering in sudden perturbation. 

" It is Calanthe and her retinue, is it not?" he 
questioned Damocles, sharply. 

14 None other but that haughty maid! " exclaimed 



154 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

the wily sycophant, his heart aglow at being again 
restored to the position of informer. " See how 
erect she holds her disdainful head and her lips are 
curved in scorn as if she knew your eyes were upon 
her!" 

"They are?" Dionysius, whose eyesight, at a 
distance, was none too good, laid compelling fingers 
on the arm of his sycophant. " Look well. See if 
her glance travels to this box. Her own is on the 
opposite side of the arena, and perhaps they will bear 
her litter only halfway 'round." 

" That is their intention," announced Damocles, 
as the gay little cavalcade turned sharply to the left. 
" Methinks that in a few hours' time the haughty 
maid, cast down at the utter defeat of her Pythias, 
will be glad to smile upon your advances. When 
others scorn him instead of casting garlands at his 
feet, then will her scorn become assured. A maid 
of wondrous beauty, accustomed as she is to adula- 
tion, does not continue to worship where others de- 
ride. That much have I culled from my study of 
human nature, Dionysius." 

" We shall see," muttered the other. " And, in 
the seeing, hope that this profound observation of 
yours have more weight than other gems of your 
over-fat philosophy." 

At the other side of the arena, Calanthe's maids 
arranged her chair. Her eyes sought the gayly dec- 
orated box where Dionysius and his satellites were 



THE RACE 155 

seated. She would have rejoiced could she have 
leaned far over the rail and shaken a small, vindic- 
tive fist at the base plotter. Instead, she clenched 
her tiny palms, when her thoughts fell on the man- 
ner in which his design had been frustrated. 

At last every available space was filled. The 
gates were closed to those unlucky enough to have 
delayed too long; and a flourish of trumpets called 
for silence. 

Instantly the gaze of all those thousands seated 
in the fifty tiers of the Circus structure was directed 
towards the tribunal, reared on a stone platform, jut- 
ting out over the arena, opposite the main entrance. 

There, under purple awnings that later in the 
day, when the sun was high, would cast a grateful 
shade, sat the aedile. The multitude, sunk to silence 
and motionless in the grim intensity of their interest, 
waited, breathless, for the first announcement. 

A low, broad entrance, under the tribunal, threw 
back its doors and slowly there issued the great pro- 
cession. First, the editor and civic authorities of 
the city, givers of the games. They were resplen- 
dent in vari-colored robes of superb quality and heavy 
ornamentation, and their chariots were a riot of gay 
blossoms. 

Followed, then, the contestants of the day, each 
in the costume in which he would wrestle, box or 
run. When this part of the procession had covered 
a quarter of the arena course, to the wild cheering 



156 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

of the people, all eyes were again turned to the en- 
trance. 

With a sullen rumbling, faint at first, then grow- 
ing more distinct, the two chariots dashed into view ; 
then did the people stand upon the benches and the 
clamor deepened. Hardly a man in that vast as- 
sembly but had laid a wager, no matter how small, 
upon the outcome of the race hence the doubled 
enthusiasm. 

The splendid chariots, the one inlaid with ivory 
and silver, the other rich in mother-of-pearl and thin, 
gold lines, were drawn slowly around the entire 
course. The high-spirited fours, their coats the 
glossy black of polished jet, lifted their slender limbs 
in haughty consciousness of being the admired of the 
throng. 

As the chariot of Pythias reached Calanthe's box, 
a figure of noble proportion and massive head, 
wrapped in white-and-red folds of a senator's toga, 
rose from concealment behind her chair and waved 
a triumphant greeting. 

On the other side of the arena, Dionysius darted 
forward in his chair. 

" It is Damon ! " he exclaimed excitedly. " I had 
not seen him enter. Where came he? By what 
portal? And why secretly? Neither is his wife 
Hermion nor his boy Xextus with him. Yet, at sight 
of him, is Pythias' faith in his own infallibility re- 
doubled." 



THE RACE 157 

" So wonderful is their friendship ! " supplemented 
Damocles. 

" I still maintain that each would have his price. 
Would there might be test of my assertion ! Look ! 
Here they come. Note the fire of Aristle's steeds. 
E'en before the start, do they show their superiority. 
The plot so well accomplished as it was, was worth 
full double the purchase price." 

Calanthe's gaze was fixed upon the face of Diony- 
sius as her lover's chariot approached his box. 

" See ! " she bade Damon look, with sudden in- 
tensity. " He consults Damocles and curls his mouth 
corners in scorn. They are discussing their vile 
plan. Ah! What a change will come over those 
two hard countenances when once the race is run! " 

The chariots disappeared whither they had come. 
Now the crowd settled well forward in their seats. 
The asdile rose. Few could hear his words, but 
the introductory remarks were always much the same. 
Two heralds, one stationed at each projecting cor- 
ner of the tribunal platform, sounded blasts on their 
trumpets. 

The gates flew open and a group of discus throw- 
ers ran to the center of the arena. The contest was 
close. At the ending, the victor was borne around 
the course, astride the shoulders of the defeated 
athletes. 

Then followed foot races, jumping, tests of en- 
durance and wrestling matches. Between each two 



158 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

events, the voices of the crowds rose to a babel of 
sound. There were controversies, good-natured and 
otherwise. Twice did the guardians of peace in- 
terfere where, on the commoners' benchs, men grew 
too free with their blows and too careless of their 
epithets. 

At midday, the programme, with the exception of 
the chariot race, was concluded. The editor an- 
nounced the period of recess. 

At once all those who had coin to buy with, made 
hurried exit to the outside portico, where the food 
vendors had set up quarters. 

Those remaining in their seats opened the vari- 
ous bundles they had carried since dawn and started 
to feast. There was much competition in display 
of what each had brought. And upon the quality 
of the bundles' contents was the caste of its owner 
rated. 

At a table, in a place of prominence, reclined Dio- 
nysius, flanked on either side by Damocles and Philis- 
tius. They ate little, but their purchases of rich wines 
soothed the chief vendor, who wished all there as- 
sembled to see his distinguished patrons and judge 
his service accordingly. 

Nearby, Calanthe and her mother were seated 
with Damon and Pythias. In answer to Damon's 
pleading with him to quaff a bowl, to add strength 
to his wrists, Pythias raised a protesting hand. 

" What need have I of artificial strength, born of 



THE RACE 159 

the treacherous grape? " he scoffed. " I leave such 
bolstering to my rival." 

He glanced significantly to where Aristle, having 
paused beside the table of Dionysius, had raised a 
flagon to his lips. Dionysius caught the look and, 
in defiance, refilled, himself, the empty tankard that 
Aristle set upon the board. 

Pythias leaned close to Damon. 

" If he will fill it a few times more, then will it 
not be necessary to run the race at all ! What folly 
to befog his brain, even though they think his vic- 
tory assured! " 

Dionysius, misinterpreting Pythias' expression for 
one of empty bragging, and slightly the worse for 
wine, himself, decided that the time had come to per- 
form his well-planned maneuver that was to deflect 
any suspicion from him. 

He clapped his hands. A slave standing near, 
whose eyes had wellnigh fallen from their sockets, 
watching the rare wines disappear into the gullets 
of his master's friends, woke from his trance and 
fell on affrighted knee before Dionysius' couch. In 
answer to the curtly delivered command, he darted 
back into the Circus. 

When he returned, he bore on his left arm a robe 
of state. Dionysius lifted the folds of this garment, 
extracted what was hidden underneath and strode to 
the table where Calanthe and her party were feast- 
ing. 



160 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

He bent low in exaggerated humility and drew 
from under his mantle a wreath of laurel leaves 
knotted with the colors of Syracuse. 

" I have brought to you," he murmured in appro- 
priate tones of gentle felicitation, " the victor's 
crown. E'en before the race is run, I place it in your 
care, with confidence. For the victor," he indicated 
Pythias with a wide-swung flourish, " I am sure, 
would not care to have it placed upon his brow by 
any but your fair hands." 

He extended the tribute of honor in both bony 
palms. Calanthe, startled, half rose, but made no 
response. Damon, with a mighty effort of will, con- 
trolled his clenched fist, in its upward flight. Pythias, 
alone, remained calm and with the same expression 
of pleased pride upon his features, took the slender 
green wreath from the grasp of the warlord and 
placed it gently in Calanthe's hands. 

" We will try, with all our strength," he made 
answer, " not to betray your fond hopes in our su- 
periority. And in pledge of it, will you not drain a 
bowl with us? " 

" I think it were wiser not," Dionysius, non- 
plussed for a moment, spoke more of the truth than 
he intended. " I have partaken freely, and, the heat 
of the day upon us, my senses may not be keen 
enough to appreciate to the full the joys of your tri- 
umph." 

With an over-low reverence, he left their board 



THE RACE 161 

and found his way, a bit uncertainly, to his own cir- 
cle. 

From within came three shrill trumpet blasts, the 
signals for the end of feasting. Many, leaving their 
pages to pay the accounting, hastened back to their 
seats, loath to lose a moment of the exciting contest 
that w.ould end only too soon. 

Pythias stood erect, extended both hands to his 
loved one, and besought her to set the seal of suc- 
cess upon his brow. With love and sincerity and 
not a hint of abashment at the scurrying crowds, 
Calanthe took his handsome face between her rosy 
palms and pressed her red lips to his forehead. 
Pythias extended his right hand to Damon. 

The grip of the two whitened the knuckles and 
strained the veins to prominence. Then released, 
their palms slid gently past each other, till only the 
finger tips remained touching. 

Back in the Circus, enthusiasm, fortified with much 
food and wine, had risen to fever heat. Wild shouts 
and snatches of stirring song were heard. Men 
I waved banners and besought all to become seated as 
quickly as possible, so that the great event of the 
day, upon which their silver would be won or lost, 
might take place. 

At last, confusion silenced, all listened with alert 
ears to the announcement of the editor. 



1 62 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

The course was two parasangs long. The start- 
ing and finishing point was the granite pillar directly 
opposite the tribunal. The contestants were Aristle, 
first charioteer of all Sicily, and Pythias, hero of 
Carthage. 

All this the crowd already knew. But they lis- 
tened with as much intensity as if they were re- 
ceiving, for the first time, information that meant 
life or death. 

The editor resumed his seat. The trumpets 
sounded short and sharp. The starters, one for 
each of the contestants, leaped from the sides of 
the arena to give aid, should any be needed in start- 
ing the excited fours. 

Once more the trumpet blasts crashed upon the 
air. Instantaneously the gatekeeper threw open the 
stalls. From each rushed a chariot, with the thun- 
derous velocity of a fast-approaching storm. 

The vast assemblage rose, irrepressible and elec- 
trified. They leaped upon the benches and rent 
the air with screams and hoarse yells. This was 
what they had been waiting for! The pent-up en- 
thusiasm, mingling with the fever of hero worship, 
whipped them to a frenzy. 

The chalked line was stretched across the course. 
It was a difficult feat to force the two fours to nose 
it evenly. The midday sun beat down upon the 
fine white sand of the arena and cast a dazzling 
glare into the eyes of the competitors. 



THE RACE 163 

Not for an instant did they remove their gaze 
from the heads of their chafing steeds. The clamor 
of the multitude struck their ears and turned to fire 
the blood that coursed through their tense bodies. 
At moments like this, the souls of men, in the frenzy 
of triumph, can laugh at death, or regard it with 
an utter calm. 

Aristle dark, lithe, his sleek, black head with 
snowhite forehead-band thrown back, held his taut 
reins with a skill that brought delight to those who 
had laid their wagers on his previous record. His 
tunic was orange, striped in gold. His bared legs, 
glistening from the brisk rubbing he had just re- 
ceived, showed swarthy against the white high-laced 
boots. 

Pythias, blond and statuesque, a monument of 
strength, was clad in crimson, striped with white. 
His gold locks, escaping from the broad crimson 
band that bound them tightly, were lifted by soft 
breezes that had just risen from the sea. The 
crowd that had cast garlands at his feet on his re- 
turn the day before cheered him madly. 

Above in her chair, soothed by the firm confidence 
of Damon in his friend, Calanthe bent forward with 
tightly clasped hands. The laurel wreath, on a 
stand before her eyes, seemed but an omen of de- 
feat. She understood full well Dionysius' method 
in presenting it. 

At the finish, if Aristle won, he would send a dele- 



1 64 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

gation of pages to her box and have them bear back, 
across the arena, in full view of the multitude, the 
victor's crown. This would so strongly emphasize 
the defeat of Pythias that there would follow hisses 
and other signs of violent disapproval. Also would 
it put Dionysius, himself, in the fair light of having 
desired that his general, who rivaled him in warfare, 
be the victor. This would be proof sufficient, to the 
rabble, that the noble heart of the overlord sheltered 
no jealousy. 

The trumpeters, at a given signal from the editor, 
blew a vigorous blast. The judges dropped the 
rope. An attendant leaped to position behind each 
charioteer. The two contestants flung wide their 
long leathern lashes and cracked them fiercely. 
With vicious snorts, their nostrils blood red, their 
eyes, with crimson-flecked whites, rolling madly, the 
fours dashed forward! 

Thousands held their breath. Up where the 
asdile sat, merchants of high station redoubled their 
wagers. The race was on ! The souls of two men 
waged battle. And a multitude, with strained eyes 
and throats parched with excitement, bent over the 
course and urged them to victory or defeat I 

The first round was half accomplished. Aristle 
a full length ahead, leaned over his horses' backs 
and slashed their sleek coats. Pythias, still erect, 
used his long whip not at all. 

Voices shouted directions at him. His admirers 



THE RACE 165] 

urged him to the lash. But he heeded nothing save 
the judgment of his own calm brain. 

The first round completed, Aristle had gained in 
the lead. The speed with which his wheels ground 
into the white sand cast glistening sprays of the 
tiny particles. They struck the nostrils of the 
steeds behind and drove them to frenzy. 

With feet spread and tunic snapping sharply in 
the breeze, Aristle plied his whip. Wider and 
wider grew the space that separated the two char- 
iots! 

Calanthe jumped from her chair and bent her 
slender body over the box edge. Her shrill cries 
were drowned in the wild roars about her. Damon 
seized her arm and drew her gently to her seat. In 
wild despair she hid her face in her trembling hands 
and wept. 

Opposite, Dionysius, with mouth drawn at one 
corner and lids half shut, looked upon her grief 
and smiled. 

The third round accomplished, the multitude drew 
breath. It was resolving itself into a one-sided af- 
fair. With a lead as great as his, even a poorer 
charioteer than Aristle could not help but conquer. 
The stake holders began to figure up their gains or 
losses. 

At the beginning of the fourth round it was 
noticed that the sides of Aristles' four were flecked 
with creamy lather, while the others were but glis- 



1 66 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

tening wet. A few feet further on their mouths 
dripped foam and their jaws sagged at the sawing 
bit. 

Then did Pythias raise his arm. Stretched taut, 
with muscles like rippling steel, he unfurled his lash 
and brought it down with a demon's fury on the 
satin hide of Mentum. The animal, accustomed as 
he was to caresses and words of deep affection, 
reared on his slender hoofs and then dashed for- 
ward, as if from death itself. 

With heads down and bodies flattened to the 
ground so that they had the appearance of actually 
skimming the surface of the course, Pythias' four 
devoured the space intervening. On and on they 
dashed! Each revolution of the wheels diminished 
the lead of the chariot ahead. 

With feet braced against the quadriga sides and 
reins held loosely in his iron grip, Pythias smote 
the air in a continuous cracking of his whip. Not 
once again did the sting eat into the coats of his 
horses. But the dire sound and the mad fear of 
a repetition of their punishment crazed them till 
their hoofs shot from under their steaming bodies 
with redoubled speed. 

On and on! Their noses came abreast of the 
tail end of Aristle's chariot. The body of Aristle 
lunged forward over the chariot edge as if suspended 
from above. His curses rent the air. His whip 
curled and flattened, cracked and cut. The lines 



THE RACE 167 

where it had burned into the flesh, spurted red. The 
foaming lather was dyed crimson with the drops 
that oozed so slowly. 

On and on! The eight black steeds, nose and 
nose, spun round the curve of the fifth lap. At its 
completion would the victor be proclaimed. 

Inch by inch, urged by words of impetuous plead- 
ing that sank into their ears despite the deafening 
cheers, the horses of Pythias gained upon their com- 
petitors in the race. 

Leading by a head, then by a neck, further on by 
a half body-length they flew over the ground. 
Within a half a round of the goal they left the 
others in their wake. Faster! Faster! Into the 
home stretch they galloped! Drunk with triumph, 
Pythias flung his whip from him, and, with a final 
plunge, whirled across the goal line victor! 

Halfway down the side, the chariot of Aristle 
came to a dead half. The outside horse, his hide 
cut to ribbons, dropped in his tracks; and over the 
chariot edge hung the limp body of the best char- 
ioteer in all Sicily; his whip frayed and broken, dan- 
gling from his unconscious hand. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE WEDDING HOUR 

DIONYSIUS paced the floor of his inner 
courtyard. His threatening brow, under 
his disordered locks, grew sterner and more 
creased. His bony hands now clasped behind him, 
now clenched aloft in menacing gesture, brought 
terror to the heart of Damocles, who, muddled with 
much wine and an afternoon devoid of slumber, sat 
as one drugged, or foolish. 

In the background, silent, and shrouded in deep 
thought, stood Philistius, full of wise suggestions, 
but fearing to offer one. Twice he put foot for- 
ward as if to interrupt the ceaseless pacing of the 
over-general and twice did he withdraw it in im- 
minent fear of the burst of wrath he might bring 
down upon his whitening head. 

" Didst see the frenzy, the utter madness of the 
crowds?" hissed Dionysius between his tightly 
clenched teeth. " Didst note how men of prom- 
inence leaped into the arena, and throwing them- 
selves upon his chariot, did permit their bodies to be 
dragged through the burning sands, as proof of 
their insane worship? Didst behold the women 

168 




Universal Film Manufacturing Co. 



PYTHIAS DEFEATS ARISTLE, THE BEST CHA] 




EER OF SICILY, AND CLAIMS THE PRIZE. 



THE WEDDING HOUR 169 

cast garlands, aye, even their jewels, at his horses' 
feet and clasp their hands in rapture as the animals 
trod upon the tokens and destroyed their beauty and 
their value? " 

There was no answer. Both had seen. But 
reply, in the affirmative, would have been but oil 
upon the flames of Dionysius' mighty wrath. The 
wise man would allow him to continue his soliloquy 
without comment or interruption. 

A slave bearing a message bidding his master to 
a huge feast at the dwelling of one of his generals, 
was seized by the neck and thrown with violence 
to the marble floor ; where his poor thick skull struck 
with a resounding whack. 

Damocles' nerves, in such a tender condition be- 
fore the incident, were wellnigh shattered at the 
sight. It would have taken but little more to re- 
duce him to maudlin grief. Philistius, perceiving 
his sad plight, administered a telling thump between 
his shoulderblades and warned him, silently, against 
succumbing. 

'' There is no time to lose ! " thundered Diony- 
sius, halting in his angry pacing to shake a violent 
finger in the face of his plump satellite. " This 
afternoon, while Damon attends the festival of 
Calanthe and his companion, Pythias, is the auspi- 
cious moment for them to proclaim me king in the 
Senate. Mark well, 'tis the first time the word itself 
has passed my lips. Nor would it now, but my ire 



170 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

is raised to boiling and I am bound to conquer this 
pair who would submerge me, no matter how rash 
the deed that accomplishes it ! Haste to the Senate, 
Philistius, and propose the plan. Damocles shall 
follow and, when I am declared a monarch, will he 
speed to my side to summon me thither. I shall 
await, with impatience ! " 

Philistius sought to question, but on second 
thought, and second sight of the midnight brow, 
resolved that deeds without questions were what 
was desired. He turned and left the chamber. 

Damocles, awake to the realization that he was 
the only remaining target for the venomous shafts 
of the irate warrior, rose, with bland, ingratiating 
smile and observed that if he were to follow 'twere 
well the following be immediate. 

" Seat yourself! " commanded his chief, without 
once turning to ascertain if he had risen. " Would 
you amble to the Senate and muddle, in your bovine 
way, a situation as momentous as this? 'Tis best 
you store your carcass here until it has been decided. 
Then can you act as messenger." 

"What think you will be said, when the great 
plan is propounded?" 

The platitudinous query acted as bellows upon 
the smoldering embers of Dionysius' wrath. He 
strove for speech drastic enough to penetrate the 
elephantine hide before him. He choked, sput- 



THE WEDDING HOUR 171 

tered, purpled in the face, and, lest he commit bodily 
harm, strode from the room. 

A half hour later, a messenger, fleet of foot, ran 
down the steps of the Senate and darted off in the 
direction of the outskirts of the city. If one had 
followed, it would have been ascertained that he 
sought the home of Damon, where, spent and pant- 
ing, he arrived, to find that the Senator was at 
the house of Arria, waiting to be present at the wed- 
ding feast of Calanthe and Pythias. 

Lucullus, faithful slave of Damon, took the grim 
message and without a moment's delay leapt astride 
a saddled steed and sped, with all haste, to deliver 
it to his master. 

In the dwelling of Arria, all was rejoicing. In 
her private apartment, Eunice and the other hand- 
maids robed their tremulous young mistress in her 
wedding garments. They carried on a steady stream 
of gay chattering so that her mind would not have 
time to dwell upon the parting from her mother 
whom she adored. 

There was laughter closely mixed with tears and 
ready blushes displaced too soon by lilylike pallor. 
When she rested her slim fingers on Eunice's arm, 
in gentle caress, the chill of Calanthe's flesh struck 
terror to the heart of her handmaid. 

" What is it, sweet? " she asked at last. " Why 
have your hands the chill of death? The hour ar- 



172 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

rives when you are to be joined in wedlock to the 
one whom you worship. ;Your mind is secure in the 
fact that he adores you above all else and only 
to-day was he made the idol of all Syracuse and 
victor in the great chariot race. You have all things 
to make you delirious with joy; and underneath it all 
I know there lurks a dread. Of what, I cannot 
fathom. Will you not confide in me, dear one? 
If there is aught that I can do, no matter at what 
sacrifice, you know it shall be done." 

Calanthe clung to her in sudden fright and sank 
sobbing to her knees. 

" Oh Eunice, there has been an unknown fear in 
my heart the livelong day. I cannot fix it to any 
cause, nor can I rid myself of it. It clutches at my 
soul when I am gayest and shrivels the laughter on 
my lips. It dances before my eyes, when my sight 
is rosy, and draws a pall of black that shuts out the 
sunshine." 

Eunice caressed the bent head and shaking shoul- 
ders. 

" It is the effect of your long period of anxiety, 
while Pythias was at the wars. That, followed by 
the great joy and excitement of his glorious home- 
coming and the later agitation of the games, has 
played havoc with your health, dear. Cease weep- 
ing, foolish child! Would you hurry to your hus- 
band with orbs red-rimmed and swollen? It cannot 
be at all pleasing for a man to take a weeping bride 



THE WEDDING HOUR 173 

to his arms. Look, Calanthe ! There in the garden 
he awaits you. See how strong his body and how 
handsome his features. There is not a maid in 
Syracuse but envies you this day. What would they 
think if they could see you weep ? " 

" I do not want to weep," whispered Calanthe 
piteously. "I love him so, Eunice! With all the 
ardor of my heart I adore and worship him! I 
know that life can hold no greater joy than to belong 
to him for always and yet, there is a something 
that grips my brain and warns me of approaching 
disaster." 

" Walk to your bath and gaze upon your beau- 
teous reflection," suggested Eunice slyly. '* What 
you will see there would drive the tears from any 
eye. And when you have looked, stroll into the 
garden where they await you; and when you see the 
light of admiration and the pride of possession 
gleam from his dear eyes then will your sadness 
take wing. Oh, Calanthe, never has your beauty 
dazzled as it does this hour, as you stand there in 
your spotless wedding robes, white as the breast of 
a tender dove ! " 

" I will gaze at my reflection in his dear eyes. 
From this time forth will they be my twin mirrors. 
But I fear me they will flatter. I go. Oh, Eunice, 
I could weep with happiness but I will not." 

She trailed her glistening robes over the smooth, 
green sward. Under a huge tree her mother held 



174 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

gay converse with Damon and Pythias. In spite 
of charitable intentions she found it in her heart 
to resent this devoted friendship. Nay, one could 
not call it friendship, according to the common 
definition. This was something vital, of the sublim- 
ity of deathless love. And was there room in the 
life of one man for two such loves? 

Damon turned and caught sight of her dazzling 
white robes through the green foliage. He laid a 
gentle hand on Pythias' shoulder and revolved him, 
slowly, till his eye, too, caught the lovely picture. 

With arms extended, and eyes earnestly fixed on 
his, Calanthe advanced and did not halt until, her 
head on his broad breast and his arms clasping her, 
she murmured against his cheek: 

" I love you, my own true Knight. Never must 
you leave mq. For I will flourish only on your 
breast. And if it be withdrawn from my support, 
will I fade and die. Hold me to you closely for 
all time and I will ask from the gods no other favor 
all my life long." 

Damon looked upon the two, so beautiful in their 
young love dream and smiled with a great joy. 

" Ne'er before have you known the completeness 
of life, my Pythias," he said softly. "With this 
sweet flower in your heart, will you be able to achieve 
even greater things than formerly. A love like 
yours and hers makes all things possible. Oh, cher- 
ish her well; for her heart is pure and all yours, 



THE WEDDING HOUR 175 

alone. See, on yonder dial the sun proclaims that 
'tis but a short hour to the festival. My heart is 
light within my breast to think that I am able to see 
my dearest friend accomplish his greatest wish." 

The hoof beats of a horse driven to its topmost 
speed, echoed loudly, through the trees. A tall, 
spare figure, dark of skin, bounded swiftly over the 
path and dropped to one knee before Damon. 

" Lucullus 1 " the stately Senator spoke his dis- 
approval. "What brings you? Have I not told 
you times without number that when I am on friendly 
visits, you must not follow or summon me on foolish 
pretext?" 

"Oh, my lord!" gasped the slave, "this is no 
foolish pretext. But a moment since a messenger 
from the Senate galloped up to your house to bid 
you hasten there immediately. The members of 
your faction implore your speed, for Dionysius has 
been declared a king! " 

Damon bent and dragged Lucullus to his feet. 

"Has been declared, you say?" he questioned, 
unbelieving. " Is there not a slip in your way of 
joining the words? Do you not mean he desires 
to be named a king? Think well, Lucullus! " 

" Nay, my lord," declared the slave vehemently, 
" ' has been ' is the message as I received it. Oh, 
please, my lord, hasten to where thy presence is 
sore needed." 

Pythias stepped forward and twined his arm 



176 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

through that of his friend. His face, so lately 
steeped in smiles, had shadowed. 

" He is sore needed here," he rebuked Lucullus. 
'* Would have him leave me at the hour of my wed- 
ding feast, to fight for a thankless city? " 

" Have you not fought for that same city? " 

" But in warrior's fashion, my Damon, which 
is " 

4 Which is no different in principle than that of 
statesman. Only in method are they unlike and 
yours the greater peril. A king! Think on't, 
Pythias! Now are we and our wretched city un- 
done. But, by the gods, will I oppose him, e'en 
though Aetna vomit fire on his behalf! " 

" Go you to the Senate, now, before the hour 
for our festivities?" Pythias, doubting his ears, 
searched his friend's face for answer. 

" Assuredly I go," was the amazed retort. " Do 
you suppose that I could remain away and let the 
coward Senate sanction this dastardly deed, x without 
my words of Ah ! I have forgot my sword. As 
guest at. thy banquet, my Pythias, I came unarmed 
give me your weapon." 

Pythias' hand closed on the sword's hilt and 
pushed to one side Damon's eager fingers. 

' What use will you make of it, should I give it 
to your keeping? " 

"No matter!" Damon reached impatiently for 
the steel. 




Universal Ftlm Manufacturing Co. 

"DIONYSIUS, KING? BY ALL THE GODS, i WILL OPPOSE HIM!' 



THE WEDDING HOUR 177 

Calanthe threw herself upon her lover's breast, her 
white arms tight about his neck. 

" Stay his mad passion, dear one! " she pleaded 
wildly; " by my love do I beseech you." 

" You go to the Senate? Then go I with you," 
said Pythias quietly. 

Calanthe tightened her grasp convulsively. 

"Nay, you must not! You shall not!" she 
screamed, in shrill terror. 

" He shall not," exclaimed Damon decisively. 
" Give me your sword, Pythias. I promise on the 
faith of an old friendship that I will do naught in 
passion. Come, Calanthe, sweet, assume thy right 
and take him deeper into the garden where he may 
learn the names of all of your favorite flowers. 
Soon the hour for the sweet rite will come and 
then " he sighed deeply and clasped his feverish 
brow with a trembling hand. 

" Nay, Damon, Calanthe knows not what is at 
stake. I must " 

4 You must remain here, at her side. And may 
the gods pour over your dear heads their choicest 
blessings. Farewell, my well beloved friend. If 
I am not here in person, yet will my heart be beside 
you at the banquet hall, when your feast is merriest. 
And, who knows, it may be possible that I return 
to see you united. Farewell, sweet maid and 
you, stanchest of friends." 

" Damon ! " called Pythias, making an effort to 



178 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

break from the soft arms that bound him fast. 
"Damon! I " 

Calanthe pressed her soft cheek against his and 
clung to him in wondrous sweetness. 

" On your wedding day, my knight, think you 'tis 
proper that you call ' O Damon ! ' in great distress, 
when here, upon your breast, there lives a maid 
whose heart hungers for your lips to breathe ' O 
Calanthe, dearest! ' " 

The powerful warrior enclosed his sweet burden 
in all-protecting arms and inclined his head till his 
full, red lips brushed just the edge of her rosy ear. 

" O Calanthe, dearest, best beloved ! " he 
breathed, with fervent passion. 



CHAPTER XIII 
A FRIEND'S STRONG ARM 



* *"^t ^OU do not scorn my deep friendship for 
^L/ Damon, do you, dearest?" Pythias 
M searched the face of his loved one with 
anxious eagerness. " I cannot well expect a maid 
to understand the profoundness of it. 'Tis not like 
the love of man and woman that can be severed 
when assaulted by an unkind word, or deed and 
be ne'er thought of again. 'Tis not the love that 
is slain through pride or pique. Nay, no matter 
what my Damon's words or deeds, always will the 
deep walls of my heart be open to him and likewise 
will my strong, right arm do battle for his cause ! " 

Calanthe, murmuring in petulant fashion, un- 
clasped her dimpled arms from about her lover's 
neck and wandered a little way from him. In her 
childish pettishness, she crushed, under her tiny, 
white sandals, a clump of purple violets. 

Arria, her mother, spoke her disapproval. 

" If in her obstinacy she will not understand, then 
would I not waste both patience and breath in trying 
to explain. In her willful heart she knows full well 

179 



i8o DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

that a friendship such as yours for Damon is un- 
usual in this world of deceit and conspiracy among 
men. Yet she will not grant its beauty, because her 
jealousy is roused and she fears your love for her 
will be diminished by this other drain. 'Twere well 
to punish such perverseness ! " 

Pythias took hold of one little, trusting hand and 
drew his sweet one back to the shelter of his arms. 
She hid a scarlet cheek in the folds of his tunic. 

" I shall have to spend all the idle hours of my 
life in trying to persuade her that naught but deep 
love for her sweet self fills this worthless heart of 
mine," he murmured indulgently. " But also must 
she learn that whate'er I'd do in friendship's name, 
for Damon, that would he do for me and more." 

" It would render your cup of happiness complete 
if he could escape the Senate in time to reach here 
for the sweet feast that is to join you," observed 
Arria, with gentle understanding. " Think you he 
will find it possible? " 

Suddenly there arose from without the garden 
gates the sounds of violent controversy. 

Pythias leaned forward to ascertain, if possible, 
what the trouble was. He heard a rough, deep 
voice shout insolent taunts. These were always fol- 
lowed by a chorus of derisive epithets. 

Arria, in great distress, begged him to discover 
who had chosen the quiet spot before her home for 
challenges and the measuring of swords. 



A FRIEND'S STRONG ARM 181 

But before he had chance to step outside the 
gate, Lucullus, panting and disheveled, appeared be- 
fore him. 

" My master craves your indulgence for his per- 
sistent intrusion upon your happy hours, but in try- 
ing to leave this dwelling, on his way to the Senate 
he found that Dionysius had forestalled him by 
placing outside the walls, as guard, a band of ruf- 
fians headed by Procles. iWith drawn swords and 
shields brandishing in air, do they seek to prevent 
my master from reaching the Senate in time to offer 
protest to this crowning. So he bade me hasten to 
you and tell you of his plight." 

"Where is he, Lucullus?" demanded Pythias, 
driving his helmet far down upon his brow. 

"Hark! From here can you hear the imper- 
tinent threats of the hired minions of Dionysius. 
Right outside yonder gates is he detained at the 
sword's point." 

With a muttered oath that boded ill for the hire- 
lings, Pythias seized from an attendant the latter's 
sword and started down the pathway. Midway in 
his flight he was pursued by Calanthe who besought 
him earnestly to beware the violence of the men in 
the employ of his bitterest enemy. 

u Do not delay me, sweet," he implored and 
shook loose her clinging arms. " Each moment that 
is lost diminishes Damon's chances of reaching the 
Senate in time." 



1 82 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" I will accompany you, then," she declared ob- 
stinately. " I cannot stay this side the wall to listen 
to menacing sounds, not knowing how you fare." 

Pythias dashed ahead and sought the main en- 
trance of the dwelling. Once outside he ran to 
where he saw the band of ruffians threatening his 
friend. With sword raised in defiance he bore down 
upon them. 

" Hold, ye cowards ! " he shouted in ringing scorn 
and plunged into their midst like some fury sent by 
the gods. " Why, Procles, what game is this you 
play? Are you not ashamed to rush upon a single 
man, in coward numbers? Bah, I have seen you 
do good work in battle time and so I took you for 
a soldier. Fie upon you ! " 

" They are orders to be obeyed," was the sullen 
answer. " It has been decreed that this man be 
kept from the Senate for the day and we have 
kept him." 

11 Nay, be not so calm in your assurance," warned 
Pythias grimly. " Not yet have you kept my friend, 
a Senator, from his rightful seat in the Senate house, 
nor will you. You know well I am not given to 
empty threats. You also know the strength of my 
right arm and the clean cut it makes when my lifted 
sword descends. And, by the gods, I swear that 
unless you and your band of scoundrels stand back, 
and give Damon free passage, will I hew down as 
many as I may, before I am overwhelmed! " 



A FRIEND'S STRONG ARM 183 

The group broke into sullen mutterings and half- 
affrighted, half abashed, fell back a few paces to 
wait the decision of their leader. 

" I know the meagre sum that Dionysius prom- 
ised you, when the errand was arranged for," ven- 
tured Pythias cautiously, as he saw them confer 
among themselves. " He does not pay well in pro- 
portion to the dastardliness of his missions. So 
look for an increase in your pockets if you fall back 
without another attempt to prevent Damon's anx- 
ious haste.' 7 

" Because you are a warrior like ourselves, will 
we observe your wishes," growled Procles, wonder- 
ing what his fate would be when Dionysius found 
out his treachery. 

" Amend your statement, my friend," said Pythias 
with smiling sarcasm. " Because I am a warrior 
who can plate your fingers with gold, instead of 
silver, is what you meant to say. Well, here it is." 

He cast a small, soft leathern pouch upon the 
ground at the feet of Procles and turned to speed 
Damon on his way. The older man grasped his 
hand in fervent grip, while tears suffused his eyes. 

" Thanks to you, my gallant soldier and fast 
friend, I am safe and free to proceed in my poor 
attempt to halt this monster ere he complete the 
ruination of our beloved city, our fickle Syracuse! 
Now go you again to your sweet maid's side." 

Calanthe ran forward, and, in deep remorse, 



1 84 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

thrust her little hands into the sincere grasp of 
Pythias' friend. His noble face was lined with the 
cares that were being thrust, so unceasingly, upon 
him. In her heart a great pity stirred. Pythias, 
delighted to see her capitulate so completely, drew 
her again to his side. 

" Now must Damon hasten to the Senate, dear 
one; may the gods watch over his path, and grant 
that he may quell the tyrant who sought so basely 
to humiliate me and now seeks to make us all slaves, 
under his iron hand." 

Together they watched him descend the hill. At 
last, a mere moving speck, they saw him disappear 
between the huge pillars of the senate house. 

Philistius sprang from his bench as the irate Sen- 
ator, his locks disarranged, his breath coming in 
quick, short gasps, dashed into the senate room and 
raised an enraged, protesting arm. 

" Who is't breaks in so rudely to disturb our grave 
deliberations?" he thundered. 

Damon halted before the president's seat and 
looked upon him with scorn. 

" Who is it? " he echoed. " Why, a Senator, my 
good Philistius. None but a Senator. But one who 
has so many biting questions with which to ply you 
that methinks, before your tongue has answered 
them all, must it call for water to ease its parched 
surfaces! " 

" Seat yourself and wait until the important busi- 



A FRIEND'S STRONG ARM 185 

ness of the day be finished," commanded Philistius 
angrily. 

"That I will not!" exclaimed Damon, moving 
still a step nearer. " What strange times have we 
fallen upon that, in the open streets, nay at the very 
doors of a friend's dwelling, have I encountered 
soldiers and satellites with brandished swords, at- 
tempting to obstruct my way hither? Whose mouth 
in this assembly here gave privilege to a ruffian 
soldier, that he dare hold a pointed weapon to my 
throat and threaten boldly to bathe it in my blood, 
should I protest? Answer me that, O Philistius, 
and we will have done with the first question." 

Disregarding Damon's burning rage and his dra- 
matic interrogation, Philistius apologetically ad- 
dressed the Senate. 

" Let not this rash man, with his unbridled tongue, 
disturb the grave consideration with which we were 
discussing the " 

With a savage gesture, Damon wheeled upon his 
fellow-Senators. 

" Aye, that is what he will do ! It is for that 
that he has fled from the wedding festivities of his 
dearest friend and been accosted by a band of hired 
scoundrels, upon the public streets. It is for that, 
that he will talk until the breath that fills his lungs 
shall be exhausted." 

From a corner of the third bench, a ponderous 
figure, but lately arrived, rose and walked to the 



i86 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

front of the senate chamber. He was greeted with 
much acclaim. Assuming a still more central posi- 
tion, he coolly pushed to one side the imposing 
figure of the protesting Senator, and opened his 
mouth to speak. 

" I do but require to know from you," he began 
in oily accents, " what now would be our likely fate 
had we not had to guide us a hand and head as 
marvelously skillful as that of our Dionysius?" 

A moment's pause. Waiting for the applause 
that he so thoroughly expected, Damocles blinked 
his small eyes and smiled encouragement with his 
fat lips. Damon took advantage of the silence. 

"What fate, you ask, O unctuous pessimist? 
Well, here's your answer. The fate of freemen, 
in the full exercise of all a freeman's rights. Free 
to walk unmolested in the streets. Free to speak 
and act in our councils. Free to cast to earth a 
man who dares declare himself a " 

Philistius stepped down from the president's chair 
and raised his arms in supplication. 

" I do entreat you, Senators," he petitioned, try- 
ing to drown the excited tones of the speaker, " to 
protect me from this scolding damagogue." 

Damon whirled upon him in mighty wrath. His 
right arm raised, with clenched- fist, seemed about to 
descend upon his maligning chief. 

" Demagogue! " he cried hoarsely. ' Who was 
the demagogue, who, at my challenge, was denounced 



A FRIEND'S STRONG ARM 187, 

silenced by this same Senate? When you have 
once begun the list of accusations, follow it to its 
end and rest assured that you, and not myself, 
will suffer most before 'tis done." 

Damocles, in half-drowsy protest, stepped be- 
tween. 

" Silence, Damon, silence ! " he reprimanded. 
" Let the council use its privilege.' 1 

At sound of the whining voice that strove so hard 
to be sonorous, Damon bent low, in mock humility. 

" Who bids me silence? " he questioned with cut- 
ting sarcasm. " Ah! 'Tis none other than Damo- 
cles ! The pliant willow Damocles ! The pro- 
ficient parasite Damocles ! The fawning fool 
Damocles! What is it that you dare propose? 
That I be silent and listen to your words of wisdom? 
(Very well, that much will I grant you. I shall be 
silent as the tomb for a limited time. Proceed." 

Damon took his seat. His right arm rested 
lightly upon his knee. His left, concealed beneath 
the folds of his crimson-bordered white toga, 
guarded carefully its burden. 



A' 



CHAPTER XIV 

FROM GLADNESS INTO GLOOM 

A ND these are impertinent and strangely 
fashioned pansies. Upon each velvety 
bloom there is concealed a saucy face 
that is if you look with the eye of understanding. 
And these are violets, brought first from Parina, 
which is the city of their origin. And these lilies 
which do contain in their tiny bells a perfume that 
delights the nostrils, and these " 

Pythias gazed over his shoulder toward the city. 
His eyes were troubled, his lips compressed in dread 
suspense. 

" You do not listen," objected Calanthe with 
petulance. " Did not Damon bid me tell you of all 
my favorite plants and flowers? And when I do, 
you reward me with an unseeing gaze and a mind 
that wanders." 

" Ah, dear one, if you could know how I fear for 
Damon's safety. Those men who are plotting so 
vilely against our fair city, with no thought save 
for their secret "gain, will stop at nothing to achieve 
their ambitions. Damon will oppose them and 

he took my sword ! " 

188 



FROM GLADNESS INTO GLOOM 189 

Calanthe felt him tremble under her loving clasp. 
She leaned her head against his shoulder and sought 
to comfort him. 

" I was amazed that you saw fit to give it to him," 
she said gently. " Why did you not remain firm in 
your refusal? " 

" He promised me that he would do naught in 
passion and his promise is more binding than the 
solemn oaths of ten men ! " 

He clapped his hands suddenly. A slave stand- 
ing in a grove nearby obeyed the summons. 

" Haste you to the senate house as fast as feet 
can fly and bring me word of Damon. It is now 
a full ten minutes since I dispatched a messenger 
and he has not returned. Bring news I Whether 
it be bad or ill. I must have news ! " 

The man did not wait for the final words. His 
body was already a brownish blur upon the road- 
way. 

4 Will you hear more of flowers?" pleaded Ca.- 
lanthe, desolate in her failure to amuse him. 

" I will hear of one flower, dear. Never will I 
close my ears to news of you, my own true flower. 
What is't that you resemble, sweet? A moss rose- 
bud, or a dainty bluebell? In my eyes shall you al- 
ways be a very garland of blossoms, with every 
beauty of each and the perfume of them all. Ah, 
I fear 'tis a sorry bridal day for you, my loved one. 
It is an unkind fate that " 



190 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

A messenger, whose brow dripped sweat as he 
pushed back his matted locks, ran through the trees 
and knelt before the pair. Pythias shook him im- 
patiently. 

"What is the delay? Speak, fool! What is 
your message? " 

" I have none," panted the slave. " When I ap- 
proached the senate house those on guard recog- 
nized that I belonged to you, O master, and drove 
me hence at the point of daggers drawn from their 
wide belts ! " 

"And you heard?" 

" I heard naught but a hum of conversation within 
the walls. Only once a shout arose and it was 
quickly stifled." 

" A shout? " Pythias questioned him in an agony 
of doubt. " Was it Damon's voice that shouted? " 

" I do not know, my lord. It would require a 
closer knowledge of his voice, to say if it were his 
or no." 

"What did you see?" 

" I saw nothing. Not one has entered or left 
the Senate since I arrived. But on every step does 
a soldier stand and guard, as if in expectation of 
trouble." 

" And naught else that your eye rested on, struck 
you as peculiar? Neither on the way there, nor 
on the homeward trip? " 

" O my master, I had almost forgot in my dis- 



FROM GLADNESS INTO GLOOM 191 

appointment at returning empty-handed. As I was 
driven from the senate steps, the hangings conceal- 
ing the wide portal of a dwelling opposite, were 
pulled aside and I did witness, sitting at a table sur- 
rounded by his friends, Dionysius, splendid in robes 
of state. He was smiling broadly at the sallies of 
his satellites and " 

"Ah I" Pythias breathed more freely. "Then 
Dionysius is not within the senate house? That 
is good news, even if you have brought no 
other." 

The slave rose and fell back to await further 
summons. Arria came from the house and moved 
toward them, her face betraying her unhappiness. 

" The hour has arrived. The maids are waiting 
with arms piled high with blossoms plucked to strew 
upon your path. The solemn wedding feast is 
awaiting you and the guests are assembled and eag- 
erly demand your coming. Come, my daughter. 
Once more before you leave your mother's house let 
her enfold you in her arms and kiss your brow, as 
was her wont when she held you, a rosy infant, to 
her breast." 

Calanthe left her lover's side and twined her arms 
lovingly about her adored parent. 

" Do not speak as if I were to leave you and go 
to a far distant place, my mother. Always will a 
great portion of my heart be yours. In years to 
come, if I have children of my own, I will but wish 



192 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

that they may love me with one half the tenderness 
I feel for you." 

Arria folded her closely to her breast and pressed 
a long, solemn kiss upon the snowy brow. 

" Now we will proceed to the feast," she an- 
nounced. " See, Calanthe? Here come your 
maids. Are they not beautiful, garbed in their shin- 
ing bridal robes and with their fair young arms so 
choked with perfumed blossoms? Art prepared to 
start?" 

4 Yea," murmured the little bride, extending a 
timid hand to her lord. 

" Attend a moment," he requested, a hint of 
apology in the words. " I am sore distressed. If 
we can wait but a moment more, the second mes- 
senger will be here with word of Damon. Then 
will I go to the feast with lighter heart. If it were 
possible, I would postpone the feast an hour longer 
so that he could be present" 

" We cannot delay even for a moment," declared 
Calanthe, racked with a return of jealousy. 
" Would you have the freshly culled flowers wither, 
so that our pathway will be strewn with dead petals ? 
An ill omen e'en before the festival. Come, join 
your hand to mine, my Pythias. The maids ap- 
proach." 

"I cannot!" 

"Cannot?" Calanthe flared under the finality in 
his voice. " When your bride bids you to the feast, 



FROM GLADNESS INTO GLOOM 193 

you lag behind with eyes fastened on the dusty city 
and languish for word of a friend?'* 

" Be patient but a moment longer, sweet. The 
messenger must return at any instant. You would 
not have me plight my troth with mind upset and 
aching heart? Do not be harsh, my beloved. Just 
a moment longer! " 

" Speak to him, mother," implored the girl, try- 
ing her best to choke back angry tears. " Tell him 
that I will not be flaunted before my friends. Why, 
even my maids will smile me to scorn if I am made 
sit back to welcome a slave who will tell if Damon is 
without, or within, or vanished from the scene ! " 

" I can understand his state of mind," remon- 
strated her mother. " He fears a dastardly deed 
from which he could protect his friend were he there 
beside him." 

" But he is not beside him, nor could he be." Ca- 
lanthe's tones rose shrill and hysterical. " Has he 
not told me, often, that a soldier may not lift his 
helmet in the senate house. What good will be ac- 
complished by his fixed watching from a hill?" 

" I think it would be wiser to proceed and have 
the festival over," acknowledged Arria, reluctantly. 
"It is of such short duration. Then can he go to 
procure news himself." 

Standing where he could obtain the best view of 
the winding road, Pythias, with anxious brow, kept 
a strained watch upon the approach. 



194 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Calanthe, with crimson cheeks and flashing eyes, 
ran to his side and tapped him sharply on the arm. 
He started, suddenly, from his troubled revery. 
And when he saw her white robed figure close beside 
him stretched out a tender arm and sought to draw 
her to him. 

"Well?" she questioned with strange feverish- 
ness. 

" A moment longer," he begged. 

She threw back her head and laughed. A laugh 
that was not good to hear and illsuited to her dainty 
beauty. 

" Come now or not at all ! " she challenged 
resolutely, her eyes alight with a harsh brilliancy. 

Pythias stared as if unhearing. He seized her 
elbows and looked deep into her hostile eyes. 

" Why, Calanthe, dearest," he murmured, hurt 
and broken. " You did not mean to " 

" I have not uttered a word that I did not mean 
from the depths of my heart," she interrupted defi- 
antly. " Do not waste breath upon a useless repeti- 
tion of my name, or in a string of endearing terms. 
I have lost interest in words. If you would give me 
proof of your love, do as I request. I would have 
laughed in derision had anyone suggested to me, 
ever, that I, Calanthe, would so far lose her maidenly 
reserve as to beseech a man to drag her to her nup- 
tial feast." 

Pythias faced her sternly. 



FROM GLADNESS INTO GLOOM 195 

" In a moment of possible tragedy," he accused 
coldly, " you speak of your lightly wounded pride 
and give me choice of flying to the feast, sick at 
heart or not at all. Cannot your mind grasp the 
horror of this thing? Think you that, I, who, I am 
sure, have proved my adoration of you a hundred- 
fold, will consent to give such sinful added proof? 
For 'twould be but sinful to face the festive rites, 
when my dear friend, surrounded by his enemies and 
unprotected by my presence, may perish? You ask 
that which I cannot do." 

Calanthe's scarlet cheeks faded to a ghastly pallor. 
Her lips parted as if to question, but no sound came. 
Her rounded arms that had been clasped so proudly 
to her breast, dropped, lifeless, at her sides, spilling 
their burden of waxen lilies. She bent her head and 
looked upon their spotlessness. 

" I remember once I said that lilies were beau- 
teous blooms for shrine or for tomb but not for 
love. Not for love," she repeated in vague so- 
liloquy. 



CHAPTER XY 
A FREEMAN'S LEGACY 

A SINGLE ray of the bright, afternoon sun 
shrank along the marble floor of the 
senate house, now splashing into a bril- 
liant pool of gold, now wavering and fading, gov- 
erned by a blowing clump of foliage directly outside 
the window by which it entered. 

The cool breeze penetrated to the inner room 
where excited statesmen welcomed it, and breathed 
with renewed delight. 

Philistius bent forward in his chair, kept a sharp 
eye on the figure of Damon, silent and forbidding 
in his corner of the bench. He noted the convul- 
sive opening and closing of his hand, the fire that 
darted from his eye as words in praise of Dionysius 
fell from Damocles' lips. 

" And so do we prove that 'twas he who gov- 
erned our fair city, though we have feigned the gov- 
erning, ourselves," declaimed the speaker, trem- 
bling lest he should forget the words his master has 
thrust in his mouth. 

* This being so," interrupted Philistius sternly, 
" who is so fit as he, in this extremity, to be the 

196 



A FREEMAN'S LEGACY 197 

single pillar on whose strength all power should 
rest? What need has the state of our crowded and 
contentious councils? And therefore, Senators 
countrymen from henceforth I do submit that we 
dissolve. That for the purpose of a better and a 
wiser government and for the general welfare of 
our great city we choose as king Dionysius our 
natural ruler." 

Damon bounded from the bench, his face flaming 
to purple, the arteries swelling to ropelike promi- 
nence on his temples. 

"A king! A king!" he shouted. "Are your 
ears sealed, O fathers, that you hear not? Or do 
you hear and suffer your lips to be dumb ? A king ! 
Know you what it means? " 

From various points of the room came Voices 
raised in approbation. 

" I do approve," said one. 

" And I." 

"And so do I," declared a third. 

Damocles turned to the amazed Damon wearing 
a look of smug gratification that seemed designed 
for his rippling jowls, so well he wore it. 

" All are content," he remarked. 

Damon strode indignantly to the steps that led 
to the president's chair. 

"All? All are content? A nation's right be- 
trayed and none dares open his mouth to shout, 
'Nay, I am not content I 7 Content? Mark well 



198 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

my form, for here am I, a Senator, and from the 
depths of my being do I cry to the echo of the 
vaulted heavens : * Slaves ! Parricides ! Assassins, 
all ! ' I blush to look around and think that once 
I called you men. What are your thoughts that 
with your own free, willing hands you tie a stone 
each to his brother's neck and drown like dogs, in 
the tide of this disgrace! What strange hellborn 
power, working for evil, in your minds, has per- 
suaded you to dig your own dark graves and creep 
into them to die, while common cutthroats stand 
above and moisten the earth that covers you with 
the blood of your children and their children?" 

" I have not sanctioned it," a voice, afraid of 
its own sound upon the air, drifted to the fore. 

" Nor I ! ? ' 

" Nor have I ! " the refrain gained slightly in the 
power of repetition. 

Damon stretched out his hand in gratitude. 

" For these few voices, thanks. But, alas, they 
sound too lonely. Oh, open up your hearts, my 
brothers! Think! Think! There you sit, inani- 
mate as if you, yourselves, were of one material with 
the benches on which you crouch ! See ! I will not 
chide nor rail, nor curse you. With blinded eyes 
and weak words, with heart shattered by this fell 
blow, do I implore you. If I were gifted with a 
flow of words that could paint pictures for your eyes 
to gaze upon, would I speak of our fathers' sacred 



A FREEMAN'S LEGACY 199 

images; of old men, our grandsires; of affrighted 
mothers, holding forth, in shaking hands, the squirm- 
ing bodies of their innocent infants, whom you would 
make slaves. But I am not blessed with eloquence. 
My tongue makes but a poor attempt to put in 
gilded dress the agonies of my heart. So do I 
but entreat you to think once again." 

Philistius rose from his chair and descended the 
steps. His lips broadened into a grin of ridicule. 
With stately step he found his way to the main en- 
trance of the senate house. There he raised an 
arm, in signal, to one who was standing without. 

The eyes of all the Senators were fastened on him, 
as he remained there, motionless. Curiosity ran 
riot. A subtle whispering rustled on the air. 
Damon, on the steps, bent forward in tense concen- 
tration, held the folds of his toga more closely to 
his body. His eyes burned into those of his hostile 
brothers. 

Suddenly, there was a ringing shout of triumph 
from the guards outside. Philistius extended his 
hand, grasped one stretched out to meet it, and 
turning, led Dionysius to the center of the senate 
chamber ! Dionysius, whose gorgeous robes of 
state, donned to lend regal atmosphere, trailed over 
the marble blocks and weighted his squat shoulders. 

Left, unsupported, the cynosure of eyes both 
friendly and inimical, he raised a deprecatory hand 
in answer to the cheering. 



200 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" Is this indeed the vote? " his first words, soft, 
with unbelief well-feigned, inflamed Damon to 
frenzy ! 

4 There is no vote ! " he exclaimed viglently. 
" Philistius, keep your seat! Keep in your places, 
Senators 1 " 

Seemingly oblivious to the interruption, Diony- 
sius spoke again. 

" I ask, is this the vote? " 

" Oh, gracious liege and sovereign, it is indeed 
the vote, echoed from every throat here, in rever- 
ential acknowledgment of your dominion." Philis- 
tius voiced the lie with glib serenity. 

Damon forced his way through the group of ad- 
miring satellites. He stood glaring fiercely into the 
sunken eyes of the newly proclaimed king. 

" I say it is not the vote ! " he ground out through 
his tightly clamped teeth. " Think you that by 
criminal process you can build a throne in this, our 
senate house? " 

" In my capacity as head and organ of the city 
council I do asseverate it is the vote. All hail, then, 
Dionysius, King of Syracuse, all hail! " 

Philistius dropped in servile worship. With one 
accord the senators, save those few whose faint dis- 
senting voices had been submerged, and Damon, 
bent the knee. 

Dionysius, with superbly simulated self-abase- 
ment, mounted the steps of the chair of state, his 



A FREEMAN'S LEGACY 201 

kingly mantle of royal purple splashed with gold, 
flowing over the steps, from the topmost one to 
the base. Having attained the summit, he leaned 
his weight upon the president's table and raised a 
hand in benediction. 

Damon, aghast at the triumph of the conspiracy, 
stared, wild-eyed and raving. 

" My country ! Oh, my ruined, pillaged coun- 
try." 

Dionysius addressed his subjects: 

" That we may have fitting quiet and solemnity 
in which to assume, with dignity, our garb of power, 
we do now take our first right ; and order from this, 
that was the senate house, the rash and tumultuous 
men who would still tamper with the city's peace. 
We have no objection to rivalry that has weight, 
but this, the vain contentious variety, is preposterous, 
and vexing! " 

With a low, wild cry, Damon bounded up the 
steps. He thrust his rage-distorted face so close to 
the cold cynical eyes, that his hot breath seared the 
paleness of Dionysius' cheek. 

"There is no rivalry between us!" he hissed, 
pressing still closer. " Only one move is left by 
which to still forever your base ambitions. Know 
you what it is? " 

Cowed by the nearness of the man, Dionysius 
sought support lest he fall backwards to the plat-- 
form floor. 



202 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" Know you what it is? " reiterated Damon, fol- 
lowing, inch by inch, as the other retreated. 

"Away! Out of the Senate!" commanded the 
king, his voice breaking with hysterical terror. 

Damon's lips shrank back from his teeth in a 
widening, ghastly smile. From his throat issued a 
weirdly guttural chuckle. 

" Know you what it is? " he repeated with mad- 
dened persistency. 

But now, his body, pressed against the shrinking 
man, in calm, tenacious obstinacy, had forced him 
to the extreme side of the platform where he clung 
to the wall to save himself from the sheer drop to 
the floor. 

As if congealed where they stood, the Senators 
looked upon the drama that was enacted. Not a 
man but felt that his very breathing was a disturb- 
ing element in the dead silence. 

Damon, his forehead-band pushed from his head 
and hanging by one whitening lock, his face purple 
blotched, with insane rage, his eyes narrowed 
to two fiery slits, in his head, thrust his feet forward 
and pressed his knee against the thigh of his shrink- 
ing enemy. 

Dionysius suffocated by his nearness, his soul 
quaking with guilty dread, threw his arms across 
his face and cowered in his corner. They made 
two striking, tragic spots the crimson and the 



A FREEMAN'S LEGACY 203 

royal purple splashed with gold against the mar- 
ble walls. 

" Know you what it Is? " 

Maddened by the dogged repetition and the 
blood-curdling fate that it suggested, Dionysius 
screamed a command: 

" My guards ! My guards ! Here ! I " 

" Know you what it is?" the phrase drilled the 
craven brain. The new king swayed upon his 
numbed feet. 

" My guards! " he shrieked helplessly. 

A chorus of hoarse shouts and the trampling of 
many feet sounded from without. 

The bronze doors of the senate house were swung 
back until they struck the granite pillars with a 
harsh and deafening clang. Procles and his soldiers 
rushed over the threshold. 

Blinking in the half-light, they stood without com- 
prehending the situation. 

"I proclaim him a traitor! Seize him!" yelled 
Dionysius, with shrill impatience. 

"Traitor, say you? Traitor! Well, then, be- 
fore they seize this traitor, receive, O King, a free- 
man's legacy! " 

With a mighty wrench Damon tore loose his left 
arm from its confining folds. The force of his 
gesture ripped his toga from his shoulder. It 
dropped to his hip, exposing his splendid chest and 



204 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

massive arm. In his clenched fist the glitter of a 
short sword rent the gloom. 

As the weapon was about to descend, Procles 
bounded forward, and, with a flying leap, seized 
the upraised wrist and bore it backward, wrenching 
the arm in the socket and almost tearing the liga- 
ments from their fastenings. 

In the first agonizing pain, Damon whitened and 
swayed as if to swoon. The voice of Dionysius 
brought him back to consciousness. 

" Behold this proud, assassinating demagogue ! " 
he exclaimed; his bravery returned at seeing his as- 
sailant in the grip of two strong men. " He whets 
his dagger in philosophy, this pupil of the cutthroat 
school! His last deed is done, however. For 
here we do condemn him to a public death ; and from 
his blood will we mix a rare cement to our mon- 
archy!" 

His white lips compressed in agonizing pain, his 
face ashen, Damon flung back his retort: 

" To one who never yet has wished to survive 
his country, death is indeed a royal gift. Lead me 
to the scaffold, sever my head from my suffering 
body, yet will my dead lips move once again and, 
gushing blood, form the word * Traitor ! ' 



CHAPTER XVI 

A LIFE FOR A LIFE! 

THE wail of strange stringed instruments was 
wafted from the interior of the house. 
The maids laid upon the stone steps their 
floral burdens, and gazed sadly to where Pythias 
strove to bring back to reason their angered mistress. 

" How extravagant are his promises, now that 
she is deaf to them! " thought Eunice, and curled 
her lips in unconscious sarcasm. " Methinks it is 
the habit of men to appreciate that which they have 
only when it has slipped so far from their posses- 
sion that it requires mighty effort to bring it back. 
Yea, that is the mold of men, mayhap of women, 
too," she added, reluctant to credit the latter state- 
ment's truth, however. 

" I will attend her to her chamber,'* she an- 
nounced, her angry eyes scorning the figure of 
Pythias. 

" It is not necessary," he rebuked sternly. " I 
will bear her hither in my arms if she desires to go. 
Do you wish me to place you on your couch, sweet? " 
He bent and attempted to look into the eyes that 
were turned from his. 

205 



2o6 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" Can you not see that she is in no mood or con- 
dition for questions?" exclaimed Eunice, appealing 
to Arria for corroboration. "If you will let me 
soothe her for a short time, then will she recover 
her normal state and come into the garden, her rosy, 
happy self once more." 

" Calanthe, turn not your dear eyes from mine," 
pleaded Pythias, piteously. " Am I grown so dis- 
tasteful to your heart that you cannot bear to look 
upon my features? See, I make promise to do all 
that you desire. And on my knees, I'll beg for- 
giveness for my obstinate refusals of a moment 



since." 



The white, forbidding face held no sign of yield- 
ing. Arria touched her daughter's hand and 
smoothed her soft cheek. 

" There must be forgiveness granted when for- 
giveness is sought," she advised gently. " Always 
in the lives of man and woman do occasions arise 
when the mantle of humility must envelop one or 
the other. Remember that if its folds fall upon 
your beloved to-day, and you refuse him absolution, 
so will he turn a deaf ear, when on the morrow the 
cloak enshroud you. Forgive and be forgiven, child. 
Well learned, this formula will do much to bring 
you everlasting happiness." 

Eunice not daring to add to, or detract from, the 
counsel given, looked on, filled with pity for her 
sweet Calanthe, who had in one short day learned 



A LIFE FOR A LIFE! 207 

so completely that e'en the brightest sunshine and 
the bluest sky can be darkened by ungracious acts 
and harsh words. 

Pythias tightened his hold upon her in dread lest 
she disregard her mother's admonition and dart 
from his arms in anger. Her body, weak from men- 
tal struggling and many tears, her mind cleared and 
receptive, Calanthe lifted her white arms and 
brought her lover's mouth down to her soft lips. 
In a long, solemn kiss were all hard thoughts 
brushed away, and smiles reigned where frowns and 
deep lines had been. 

"Will you proceed to the feast now?" asked 
Pythias, anxious to prove on the instant how firm was 
his purpose to please. 

" First must I seek my chamber and repair the 
ravages that this long waiting has put upon me." 
Calanthe smiled as she made answer: " Now will 
I keep you chafing with impatience, outside my door, 
while I call out to you, ' Be not impatient, Pythias, 
'tis but with a moment longer.' Come, Eunice, you 
must smooth with perfumed cream the tracks that 
frowns have left behind them; and bathe to their 
accustomed brilliance my reddened eyes. I would 
be as fair a bride as e'er trod bridal dance. Come 
make me so, my Eunice." 

Pythias watched her disappear through her 
draped balcony. Then only did the dread thoughts 
return. As if waking to the realization that he 



208 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

had been unfaithful to a solemn vow, he bounded to 
the spot from which he could obtain a full view of 
the road. Then, on the dusty whiteness, a dark 
spot that flew over the ground drew nearer and 
nearer. 

Pythias pressed tense fingers to his throbbing tem- 
ples. He could feel the terror in that bounding 
figure. Before he knew the message that it brought, 
his soul was plunged into an agony of despair, firm 
in the knowledge that the worst had happened. 

Nearer and nearer flew the dark spot. The short 
brown tunic and swarthy legs could now be distin- 
guished. Dreading the moment when the actual 
words would fall upon his apprehensive ears, 
Pythias stood as if turned to stone, his eyes strain- 
ing in their sockets, his lips dry and burning, parted 
by short, gasping breaths. 

A moment longer! The man who had been the 
spot dashed through the trees and fell flat, his arms 
and legs outspread, before the young general. It 
was Lucullus! His black face blotched where dust 
had caked in the sweat that poured from his brow. 
His eyeballs bloodshot, his beady eyes rolling in an 
agony of terror, he sought to deliver his message. 
The lips moved, the tongue shot out from between 
the parched lips, but all that was audible were rasp- 
ing sounds that rattled drily and then ceased. 

"Damon? Your master? What what " 

Lucullus rolled laboriously to his side. He at- 




Universal Film Manufacturing Co. 

"GO I MUST ! MY FRIEND IS IN DANGER." 



A LIFE FOR A LIFE! 209 

tempted to prop his aching body on one elbow and 
thus rise, but strength had deserted his limbs. 
Pythias slipped his hands under the slave's armpits 
and lifted him, allowing him to rest his weight 
against his own body. 

" Now speak! Every moment wasted may mean 
much to him. Tell me briefly. Tell me what " 

" O my lord," panted Lucullus, " I have brought 
news that will rend your heart in two. And when 
I have delivered it, then do I wish for naught but 
to die. My master, my worshiped master, is is 
condemned to public death. But an hour they have 
given him before he mounts the scaffolding and 
bends his noble head to the murderous ax." 

" Death ! Public death 1 Condemned to 
death ! " Pythias muttered the words unintelligi- 
bly. Then suddenly becoming lucid, " For what? 
By whom?" 

" For assaulting Dionysius when he had just been 
declared king. He had a sword. He rarely car- 
ries one. And this was not his own. With the 
weapon he sought to assassinate the sovereign, but 
before he could accomplish it, was his sword-arm 
half torn from its socket and he was taken prisoner. 
O my lord, my master's dearest friend, can you not 
do something to prevent this awful thing? " 

The slave sank again to the ground, his black 
body torn with sobs. He kissed the feet of Pythias 
and besought him to hasten to the city. Then, half 



210 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

dead from lack of food and over-straining, stag- 
gered to his feet and pointed a shaking hand toward 
the rooftops, glistening in the sun. 

Pythias passed his dry palms over his burning 
forehead and following the pointed finger, could 
discern a slow procession moving from the senate 
house. It was headed by soldiers bearing spears, 
whose sharpened points caught the rays of the sun 
and glistened, at that great distance, like diamonds 
rolling in the sand. 

In the center of these dazzling spear ends, he 
could detect a spot of white and crimson, and shin- 
ing above it a whitened head. A dry sob shook his 
huge frame. He stretched his arms in piteous sup- 
plication toward the city, and, without a backward 
glance, rushed from the grove, Lucullus following 
at his heels. 

All was quiet in Calanthe's garden. A mocking 
bird's taunting call quivered through the trees. A 
sudden breeze borne upward from the sapphire 
waters of the Mediterranean stirred the flower beds 
and filled the air with an intoxicating riot of per- 
fume. From the temple the wailing of the stringed 
instruments was wafted to the gardens. The light 
laughter of maidens who pelted each other with 
roses, rang out with gay insistence. 

Calanthe, radiant in her freshened robes, crept 
slyly from the portal. It was her intention to steal 
upon her lover, unsuspecting, and throw herself into 



A LIFE FOR A LIFE! 211 

his eager arms. She glanced about, cautiously. 
His form was nowhere visible. Oh ! he was in hid- 
ing from her! 'Twas too bad he had forestalled 
her. 

She darted lightly from corner to corner, peer- 
ing behind huge tree trunks, stooping to part the 
spreading branches of flowering bushes. Not a ves- 
tige of his tunic or bright armor was to be seen. 

Petulant at his success in eluding her, she called 
his name : 

" Pythias ! Come from your place of hiding. I 
am weary of searching. Pythias! Dear one! 
Disclose yourself." 

The mocking bird's jeering call floated again on 
the breeze then all was stillness. 

In abrupt, petrifying fear, Calanthe turned her 
eyes toward the city. Far down the road, fleeing 
as if from death, instead of toward it, were two 
figures and one was blond of curls, with stalwart 
form clad in polished armor. 



CHAPTER XVII 

LOST! 

DOWN in the public square, the crowds that 
had assembled in the Circus at dawn of 
that same day, now satiated with games 
and the feasting and drinking that followed, again 
surged into the streets. Their dulled senses, anxious 
for sleep but a moment before, had been whipped 
to a new, keen excitement. 

The news spread as will a tongue of flame upon 
a sea of oil. Those who had buried themselves 
behind barred doors and shuttered windows were 
roused by considerate neighbors, who kn,ew how 
acute would be their disappointment were they to 
miss this marvelous event. 

Along the streets, each by-way tributary adding 
its small stream to the flood of humanity in the main 
squares, poured the frenzied mob, now solemnly 
silent, now rumbling low, whether in protest or ap- 
probation, no one could determine. 

In the center of the hollow square of soldiers, 
who carried their spears in readiness to defend, 
walked Damon. From his fine shoulders his toga 

212 



LOST! 213 

hung in tatters. His flesh so fair in contrast to the 
sunbaked skins of warriors, showed milkwhite 
against the crimson of his torn mantle. His head 
well up and eyes defiant, though not bold, conveyed 
to the excited crowd that here was no craven no 
trembling coward was about to find his fate. The 
spirit of a brave man mixed with the gravity of a 
philosopher and the keen intelligence of a states- 
man was to be sacrificed on the block. 

As the people grew accustomed to the thought, 
there arose muffled threats and violent denuncia- 
tions. These were quickly snuffed out, however, 
by an impressive spear point, or a well-aimed kick 
from a soldier's metal-tipped sandal. 

When the procession had advanced halfway, a 
group of men issued from the main portal of the 
senate house and, posed upon the steps, presented a 
strange, gorgeous note on the background of this 
grim tragedy. 

Dionysius, attended by his satellites, his crown 
upon his brow, gratified to think that his first act 
of royal authority was so spectacular in character, 
looked upon the scene in search of his servants to 
bear him, in his chair, to the spot of execution. 

Damocles was sent to summon the negligent 
slaves. As his flat feet descended, ponderously, 
upon each successive step, he mused upon the hap- 
penings of the day. 

He had played a tedious, uncomplaining part in 



214 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

each event that had brought Dionysius a step nearer 
to the throne. 'In the crowning moment to-day, 
in the senate house, had he not acted as target for 
the violence of this same Damon, upon having pro- 
posed the kingly candidate? It was by the mercy 
of the gods that that audacious dagger had not been 
drawn at his plump throat. Yes, he had been a 
victim of insult and insinuation, but now his assail- 
ant was on his way to the headsman's block. He 
had met his fate. There was some satisfaction in 
that. Damocles' step was lighter at the thought, 
but only a few paces further on, it again grew 
weighty. Another thought had come. What, 
after all this service, was going to be his share? 
When he had made plaintive request for reward, 
before this, the answer had always been " Wait until 
'tis accomplished." 

Well, it had been accomplished. And yet here 
was he doing errands in the same manner, not one 
bit elevated from his. former position of super-page. 
Damocles halted in his path and glanced back over 
his shoulder. His small eyes, blazing with sudden 
resentment, sought the royal purple spot that be- 
trayed the arch-conspirator. 

There came to him, in all its significance, the 
certain knowledge, that never, promises or no, 
would. he get reward of any sort. His labors had 
been obtained, under false pretense and spurious 



LOST! 215 

promises. Angry humiliation overwhelmed him, 
and, in deep-dyed revenge upon his betrayer, Damo- 
cles went to his dwelling and did not seek for the 
chair-bearers of the king! 

Before it turned into the adjoining square, the 
procession halted again to give the soldiers a chance 
to clear the choked thoroughfares. 

Damon's eyes, unseeing, scanned the horizon. 
First he gazed toward Lutania, where he pictured 
his beautiful summer home nestling in its verdant 
setting. He could imagine, so easily, his wife and 
child, under the blossoming orange trees. His 
wife ! His child ! 

Tears, unbidden, sprang to his eyes. He bent his 
head in shame. A man he was. And men, with 
right graven upon their hearts, go to their deaths 
uncomplaining. His vision cleared, he gazed aloft, 
to the nearest hill. There in the white marble 
temple, heavy with the scent of blossoms, was 
Pythias, his beloved friend, joined in wedlock to his 
sweet Calanthe. There would he have been, a happy 
spectator, if 

A wild shout rang out upon the air. The crowd 
parted as if cloven by a mighty sword. Coming 
toward him, with arms outstretched, was Pythias! 
AndMirectly behind shone the dark face of Lucullus. 
His friend and his adoring slave both come to 
comfort his last hour. 



2i6 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Pythias attempted to rush into his eager arms. 
On the instant, the two first soldiers crossed their 
long spears and formed a barrier to his progress. 




Universal Film Manufacturing Co, 

"MY MASTER IS CONDEMNED TO PUBLIC DEATH." 




Universal Film Manufacturing Co, 

"OH, HE WILL NEVER COME BACK!' 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE VOW 

66 TT MUST speak to him! I will speak to 
him." 

JL The attendant guard was adamant. 

" O Damon ! My Damon ! Dearly beloved 
friend, doom and death in one short hour! They 
cannot butcher you before we have talked together. 
Even a criminal is allowed to tell his dying wish to 
a friend. Stand aside ! Here, Procles ! Bid these 
men allow me to embrace my friend. Ah ! " 

The barrier removed, Pythias dashed into the hol- 
low square and folded Damon in his strong young 
arms. 

"What can be done? Speak quickly, that I may 
do all that lies in my poor power. Will Diony- 
sius ?" 

' With Dionysius naught is of avail," said Da- 
mon bitterly. " He has denied me but a few hours' 
respite that my wife and child may journey from our 
country home and bid me farewell ! " 

" He has forbidden that?" 

' Yea, 'twas the only request I made, and as 
quickly as 'twas asked, so quickly was't denied." 

217 



2i 8 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" And you would see them to bid them farewell? " 
asked Pythias earnestly. " It is the most important 
of your last desires? " 

Damon gripped his friend's*hand in the clasp of 
steel. His eyes, for the first time, brimmed over 
and tears rained down his livid cheeks. 

" If my life were measured by destiny, into a 
thousand years of happiness, yet would I give every 
minute of that thousand years for just one moment, 
now, in which I could press my wife and son to my 
heart ! Just to have kissed them my sweet wife 
and my adored son." 

Pythias gave him an earnest glance. It held out 
promise, promise of hope. 

" Lead me to Dionysius, Procles. I mean unto 
the king since that is now his name. Lead me unto 
the king; I have a request to make. Ah! Here he 
comes, borne in his chair, flanked by his satellites 
all save Damocles. Halt him on his way ! " 

In the center of the densely crowded roadway, 
where the people were torn between their desire to 
view the new king and their curiosity about the 
doomed Senator, Pythias threw himself upon his 
knees. 

" Behold me, Dionysius, at your feet," he cried 
in great distress. "Hear me! I have won many 
battles for you, I shall win many more before my 
day of usefulness is over. Also, I do not wish for 
glory. If there is any, I will bestow it gladly on 



THE VOW 219 

your shoulders. This is my one prayer: Grant 
that Damon journey to his summer home to take 
leave of his sweet wife and child. 

"Nay! " as he saw the hand raised in cold de- 
nial. " Dost think that I would ask it if I were not 
prepared to give security for his return? I am pre- 
pared. Permit that he do this and put me in chains, 
in his stead. Plunge me into his dungeon, a pledge 
for his return. If you do this, may the gods build 
up your greatness as high as their own heavens! " 

Dionysius smiled in amused contempt. 

" What is the cause of all this agitation and talk 
of sacrifice and such? Is he your brother, this Da- 
mon?" 

Dionysius motioned to have Damon brought to 
him. The doomed man, expecting nothing save the 
harsh treatment he had already been accorded, 
looked with deep hatred upon the seated king. 

" If I should grant this, your friend's request," 
Dionysius questioned him, " are you quite sure that 
you would come and ransom him at sunset? " 

A radiance overspread the features of Damon. 
He advanced his left foot, placed his left hand upon 
his left breast and raised his closed right hand as if 
about to strike a downward blow. 

" I do solemnly swear I will return at the ap- 
pointed hour," he recited slowly and with imposing 
gravity. 

" Then 'tis granted," announced Dionysius. 



220 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" Away, at once, and haste ! Conduct that man te 
prison." He indicated Pythias. 

The two friends' hands remained locked in a close 
embrace, for the duration of a minute's time. Then 
Damon, his face lighted by a divine happiness, broke 
through the crowd. As he disappeared from view, 
Pythias, with hands clasped behind him, took his 
place in the hollow square and marched with buoy- 
ant step to his cell. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE UNKNOWN 

A GRAY-BEARDED man, whose tangled 
white hair cascaded out from his hood and 
over his forehead, loitered near the city 
gate. 

Few gave a second glance to the somewhat bent 
old form in its sober woolen garb of a freedman. 
Such few as chanced to notice him turned away 
in pity or in disgust. For his lean and wrinkled 
face was blotched and twisted as by the blood-fire 
sickness, and one of his eyes was wholly closed as 
by the same malady's ravages. He was not a sight 
to inspire interest or liking. 

Through the dusty gateway plodded the noon- 
day throngs: the water-vendor, his wares in drip- 
ping pigskins athwart the back of his mangy don- 
key; the camel-train, the ugly beasts' padded feet 
stirring up puffs of hot white dust at every step : 
the half-naked slaves of some rich man bearing along 
their master in a curtained litter; sweating as they 
moved under the avalanche of coppery sunlight; 
these and hundreds of others filled the space on 
either side of the wide-flung gates. 

221 



222 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

To all, the old man granted but scant attention. 
His single eye was piercing the throng for something 
he sought; his ears seemed strained for some special 
sound, through the babel of traffic. 

And, as he stood there humbly, unnoticed, in the 
glare of dust, it seemed that he saw at last what he 
sought. 

Out through the crowd that debouched from a 
nearby street thundered a mighty gray horse, on 
whose back rode a spare, stern faced man, his sena- 
torial toga blowing loose behind him in the wind. 
At his side, clutching his stirrup leather, ran a swart- 
faced slave. 

At sight of the plunging horse, a buzz of excla- 
mations arose. No swaggering bully nor overhur- 
ried shopman but made room for those rearing fore- 
legs and flashing hoofs. A lane was cleared for 
the rider's passage. The way to the open gates 
was free. 

On dashed the horse, spurred by his senatorial 
rider; the slave at the stirrup being jerked from the 
ground at each bound. Then, alL at once, in the 
very gateway, the horseman pulled back his steed 
with a suddenness that wellnigh threw the nettled 
gray brute on its haunches. 

There, in the very center of the broad gateway, 
heedless of the peril of death beneath the thunder- 
ing hoofs, stood a girl ; Calanthe ! In her bridal 



THE UNKNOWN 223 

white, she stood there> her face upraised and pale, 
unprotected beneath the blazing sky. 

"Hold, sir! " she cried, throwing forward one 
smooth arm to check the rider. "Damon! One 
moment, wait ! " 

Damon, irked at the halt, none the less bent courte- 
ously toward her. From his impassive face, the 
girl could not have guessed how bitterly he grudged 
these moments he must waste in speech with her in- 
stead of adding them to the hoarded minutes he 
wished to spend at the side of his adored Hermion. 

" Damon! " cried Calanthe, " I must speak with 
you. I hurried here. I feared I would be too 
late." 

" There was delay," said Damon. " Lucullus, 
my slave, here, lost his road in fetching my horse 
from the stables. I must " 

" Stay, Damon! " she implored. "Is what they 
tell me true?" 

"I would gladly stay at any time but this," he 
broke in. " A brother's betrothed is sacred to me, 
and her wishes are as his own. But I entreat you 
not to shorten the mere hand's breadth of time given 
to my heart. / I " 

" Is it true? " she insisted. " Is it true that you 
have pledged my husband's life for your safe re- 
turn?" 

" It is better that I should say to my wife, l Her- 



224 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

mion, I must die ! ' than that others should say to 
her to-morrow: * Hermion, he is dead!' ' 

" No ! " blazed the girl. " On the morrow you 
will say to her, ' Pythias has died for me!' To- 
morrow, safe from Syracuse, you will " 

"Calanthe!" he cried, aghast. ".You believe 
that? You believe I would betray him? My 
friend, my brother? You believe ? " 

" I hear folk around me whisper: ' Damon goes 
free! Pythias pays the price. Damon will not re- 
turn. No mortal would twice thrust his head into 
the lion's jaws.' I heard " 

"You heard, Calanthe? When the breath of 
scandal touches the garments of a fellow-being, many 
are ready to condemn! I'll not swear to you that 
I shall come back. For when men lift their hands 
in oath to the gods, it is to give assurance to a 
doubt. To swear that I will return to my friend 
would profane the sanctity of friendship. Good-by. 
On the sixth hour I come back." 

" No, no ! " she shrieked, seizing his bridle in an 
ecstasy of terror. " You shall not go. You shall 
not! I am a woman. I know what women's 
hearts lead them to do. Even as now I grasp the 
bridle rein, so will Hermion grasp your soul and 
your will-power. Her arms around your neck; her 
tears on your face, her sobbed entreaties in your 
ears you cannot withstand her. You cannot! 
Mortal man cannot. I know 1 know! " 




s 



THE UNKNOWN 225 

Lucullus darted forward, waiting for no word of 
command from his master. Tenderly, yet with ir- 
resistible wiry strength, he loosed the anguished girl's 
grip from the rein, lifted her from the ground and 
set her to one side of the roadway. 

" Damon!" she screamed. "Mercy! Have 
mercy ! " 

" May the gods help and comfort you, maiden! " 
groaned Damon, striking spur again into his horse's 
flanks. Lucullus, at a bound, was once more at the 
stirrup. And, out through the gateway, shot the 
great gray horse. 

" Oh, he will never come back! " wept Calanthe, 
heedless of the ring of staring, sympathetic faces 
around her. " He will never come back. His wife 
his child they will not let him return. His 
heart will bind him to them with ropes of steel. 
Pythias! The friend who must die for his craven 
friend!" 

A light touch on her arm made her turn. Through 
a mist of tears she saw the old one-eyed freedman 
beside her. 

" You are Calanthe?" asked the old man, his 
voice very gentle. " You are Calanthe, the bride of 
Pythias?" 

" His bride? " echoed the desolated girl. " I was 
to be his bride. But oh, Damon will not return ! 
I know he will not." 

" He will not," assented the old man, his voice 



226 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

as solemn, as hopeless, as the toll of the passing 
bell. 

" What are you saying? " she faltered, trembling 
at his words and tone. " What do you know of 
him?" 

" I know," sadly repeated the old man, " that 
Damon will never come back. Not at the allotted 
sixth hour or at any later day." 

" What do you mean ? Who are you ? " 
' Who am I ? My name will mean little enough 
to you. I am Creugas, a freedman. I am a serv- 
ant in the house of Dionysius, the tyrant." 

" Of Dionysius ! " she shuddered. 

" On whom be the black curse of Pluton!" he 
added. " Yet, now you must believe I know whereof 
I speak. Damon will not return." 

1 Will not return?" she repeated, womanlike de- 
fending where late she had accused. " What can the 
tyrant or any of his household know of such devo- 
tion as binds these two friends together? They " 

1 We can know nothing of it," sighed Creugas. 
" Friendship and loyalty are strangers to our house. 
But we who serve him can know something of the 
tyrant's mind. It is from that knowledge I say 
Damon will not return." 

" You mean that he " 

" I mean that my master has sent ahead a half 
score of his mounted guard, to intercept Damon ere 
he can mount the hillside to his home. They will 



THE UNKNOWN 227 

be awaiting him in the patch of woodland at the 
mountain-foot. Damon will not emerge alive from 
that strip of forest. Think you it was by mistake 
his slave was kept so long at saddling his horse and 
bringing the steed to him? The guards must need 
gain the start they needed." 

"No! No!" 

" That is why I say Damon will not return and 
that Pythias is doomed to die ! " 

" The monster ! To give Damon the six-hour 
reprieve, as a cat might let a mouse think to escape ! 
Oh, Pythias ! " 

" It is not the way of Dionysius," said Creugas, 
grimly, " to give aught in foolish generosity. As 
well might both Pythias and Damon have known, 
had they but paused to think. He is resolved on 
Damon's death " 

" But Pythias ? " 

" Pythias won the chariot race. Pythias over- 
threw the foes of Syracuse. The mob and the sol- 
diery shout overloud when Pythias appears in the 
streets. Dionysius is glad to rid himself of so popu- 
lar a man. A man who might well threaten the 
throne itself. He dared not lay hands openly on 
Pythias; for the people love the blond giant. But 
none dare censure him for taking the life Pythias has 
willingly placed in pawn." 

" Oh, gods ! " she moaned in mortal terror. " Is 
there no way to save him ? No way ? Sir, you voice 



228 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

is kind. From a kind heart you have come to warn 
me. Help me now! Help me to save my be- 
loved ! You can help Pythias escape ? Oh, you can 
doit? You will?" 

" Yes," said the old man, simply. " And so shall 
I pay two debts : A debt of hate to the tyrant, my 
master; a debt of love to Pythias, who once saved 
the life of my only son in battle." 

" May the gods, in their mercy, bless you I " 
" I am blessed by your gratitude. I ask no more." 
" How can you save him? " 

" By helping him to fly with you from Syracuse." 
" Can you release him first from the serpent's 
coils? From the power of Dionysius? " 

" Yes. If you both will obey my directions." 
" Oh, we shall obey you, sir. Do not fear for 
that. And to our death-day we shall pray the gods 
to shower rich blessings on the head of Creugas, our 
rescuer, our hero, our preserver." 

" Then come with me at once to Pythias," 
" But he is in prison. How can we ? " 
The old man thrust from his cloak a skinny hand, 
clothed and distorted. On one of its fingers blazed 
a strangely carved ring. 

" The tyrant's," he explained briefly. " His 
signet ring. Before it, all doors must open. He 
laid it aside as he entered the baths but now. I was 
in attendance on him. Come." 

Side by side they girdled the gateway square and 



JHE UNKNOWN 229 

passed down a tortuous and ill-smelling alley. At 
the alley's farther end they came out upon the agora, 
or market place, the vast area at whose farthest cor- 
ner loomed the dirty brownish mass of stone that was 
the city prison. 

Midway of the agora, still crowded on this day, 
despite the heat of the hour they were confronted 
by a dazzlingly clad young officer of the newly ar- 
rived regiment encamped upon the Epipolae to the 
north. The officer, seeing a gloriously beautiful girl 
accompanied only by an old man shabbily attired, 
made his way forward through the press and stood 
smiling down on Calanthe. 

" Will Venus not pause to brighten the day for 
Mars?" he begged, laying his hand caressingly on 
the shrinking girl's shoulder. " The sky is aflame 
from the sun's kisses, and my heart too is ablaze. 
Does love find no place in your dear eyes? " 

As he spoke he uncermoniously thrust aside the 
old freedman. 

" Oh, let us pass, sir! " begged the terrified Ca- 
lanthe. " We " 

" Your old scarecrow of an escort may pass, by all 
means, to the gutter where he belongs," laughed the 
officer. " But you will pause, I know to n 

" Friend," quietly interposed Creugas, " you seem 
to have traveled far. Have you? " 

" Yes," said the officer, with marked change of 
manner, as he glanced at the old man. 



230 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

"In the East?" asked Creugas, with an imper- 
ceptible gesture. 

The officer, saluting stiffly, stood aside for the 
freedman and Calanthe to pass. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE PRISONER 

THE grilled steel portcullis leading from the 
roadway into the prison yard next halted the 
two. With his open hand, Creugas smote 
on the portal. A drowsy turnkey hobbled into sight. 

Beholding merely an ill-dressed old man and a 
veiled woman (for Calanthe, warned by her meeting 
with the officer, had drawn her veil across her face) , 
he was turning away again with a growl of disgust 
at having been disturbed at his nap, when Creugas 
sharply hailed him. 

Creugas had thrust his lean arm through the grill. 
A bar of sunlight fell athwart the monarch's signet 
ring he wore. 

The turnkey hobbled nearer, blinked owlishly at 
the ring, then scuttled off, returning presently with 
the captain of the guard. At a word from the cap- 
tain, the portcullis was raised, and Creugas and Ca- 
lanthe entered under the gloomy stone arch. 

Creugas stepped to one side with the captain. For 
a moment, the two men conferred in low tones. 
Then Creugas rejoined the waiting girl. 

" Come," he said. 

231 



232 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Following the captain, they made their way across 
the courtyard, through a narrow and low-vaulted cor- 
ridor through an iron door out into a stone terrace. 
The door clanged shut behind them. 

The terrace was wide and was worn by the tramp- 
ing of many feet. On its farther side it was bounded 
by an eighteen-inch stone wall; a walk which over- 
looked a sheer drop of two hundred feet to the rocky 
seashore below. 

On the other side of the terrace was a line of 
barred cell doors. Toward one of these doors the 
officer pointed, handing Creugas a huge key. He 
himself withdrew through the corridor opening, clos- 
ing its door behind him. 

" Sit yonder," Creugas bade Calanthe, pointing 
to a stone seat against the prison wall. " Sit yon- 
der. And when I beckon, come." 

From the moment the officer had indicated one of 
the barred doors to Creugas, Calanthe had been un- 
able to keep her eyes off that one oblong of rusty 
iron. 

Creugas, seemingly reading her thoughts, had held 
her back by turning his skinny fingers in a fold of 
her robe. Now, as he released her and indicated 
the stone seat, she half turned toward the cell door 
instead. 

" Remember," he warned her, as tenderly as a 
fond father might chide a willful babe, " remember 
your promise to obey me, maiden." 



THE PRISONER 233 

With a quivering sigh she bowed her head and 
walked obediently to the stone seat. 

Here, such prisoners as by special favor were al- 
lowed a few minutes of daily exercise on the terrace, 
were wont to sit and rest, when the brief pacing to 
and fro on the stone flagging had proven too much 
for their wasted strength. 

Here, seated on the bench of stone, they could 
look across the dazzling blue sea to the happy Sicil- 
ian hills that laughed with their wealth of vine and 
corn and olive. Here they could gaze wistfully at 
the free clouds racing across the blue sky overhead; 
here watch the sea birds at play, the fisher children 
shouting gleefully to each other from boat to boat; 
here, lost to freedom, see all that was most free. 

Calanthe's great pansy eyes welled with tears at 
the thoughts, as she sank down on the greasy stone 
seat; perhaps the saddest-hearted mortal of all the 
sad-hearted who had sat there. For the others were 
captive of body but free of heart; while she, free of 
body, felt her heart loaded with carking fetters that 
crushed it beneath their weight. 

Old Creugas, key in hand, meatime, had gone to 
the door of the cell indicated by the captain. 

"My lord! Pythias!" he called through the 
bars. 

" Damon is returned at last? " came the voice of 
Pythias from the darkness of the cell. " I thought 
the six hours were long since passed. I have waited 



234 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

an eternity ! And yet I would he had not 



come." 



" The six hours have not yet sped. Nor all of 
one hour of them, Pythias," replied Creugas. " I 
wonder not you were deceived as to time's flight. I, 
too, have been a prisoner. And I know that to him 
who lies in a cell every hour is as a whole day whose 
hours are long. But come ! Time is precious." 

As he spoke he was fitting the huge key in the 
lock. 

" Who are you," demanded Pythias, " that bids 
me before my time? Has the tyrant relented 
and?" 

" Dionysius does not relent. It is not his way. 
Stand forth!" 

Creugas, as he spoke, threw wide the creaking iron 
door. Pythias reeling a little, moved forward across 
the threshold, shielding his eyes from the unaccus- 
tomed glare by means of his upraised arm." 

"Where are you leading me?" he queried, daz- 
edly. " Since Damon is not returned and since 
Dionysius does not relent. Why do you ? " 

" I am come to lead you to liberty." 

; ' Who are you?" queried Pythias, wonderingly 
surveying the ugly old man in his shabby woolen 
clothes. " Who are you that can set me free? " 

" A servant of Dionysius. I dwell beneath the 
tyrant's roof. By chance, a half hour since, I learned 
the secret of his plan." 



THE PRISONER 235 

" His plan? To hold me as hostage for my 
friend? 'Twas not his plan but mine." 

" No. His plan against your life." 

"My life?" 

" Your life." 

" You croak like a raven! " declared Pythias im- 
patiently. " He dare not plan against my life. He 
has publicly sworn to free me on Damon's return. 
A hostage may not be slain, unless the pledge be 
broken, whereon he is held. When Damon comes 
I shall be free. Dionysius is a warrior. He will 
not break warfare's rules that govern the treatment 
of a hostage." 

" He will not break them," agreed Creugas. 
" You are right. Even Dionysius dare not break 
such a law. 'Twould wreck him with the army." 

" Yet you say he plots my life." 

" It is so." 

" But how? When Damon shall return " 

" Damon will not return." 

" You lie ! Lucky it is that age and disease have 
scarred your face and form and that you are of ple- 
beian rank. Else bare-handed I would cram the 
vile lie down your throat." 

" Damon," repeated Creugas, flinching not before 
the advance of the indignant warrior, " will not re- 
turn." 

" By Castor! You presume upon your age and 
weakness! I " 



236 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" Damon will not return, because a dozen of the 
tyrant's men even now lie in wait to slay him." 

" Almighty gods of high Olympus ! What are 
you saying? " 

" You have known Dionysius. You have known 
him long and well. Does this deed of his seem so 
strange to you, Pythias? " 

" I had not thought that mortal man could " 

" Pythias, you are a warrior, not a thinker. I 
wonder not that this surprises you. Yet Damon 
might have thought, had not his brain been so filled 
with " 

" Quick! " ordered Pythias. " The way out! I 
must go! " 

"Go? Many a prisoner has hoped that. But 
whither? " 

" To mount my fleetest horse ! To ride after 
Damon. To warn him of his peril or to share it 
with him ! To die, if need be, sword in hand, at his 
side." 

"But" 

"He is my friend!" 

" He is leagues away by now and riding fast. A 
bird could not overtake him. Moreover, how 
would you go? Yonder lies the sea, two hundred 
feet below. On the other side is the prison wall." 

" Oh, my friend ! My friend ! " groaned Pythias. 
" And in his hour of mortal peril I stand helpless. 
I who would blithely die for him. I see it all, 



THE PRISONER 237 

too late! Dionysius hates us both. By this foul 
trick he rids himself of us." 

" No," contradicted Creugas. " Not of both of 
you. Of Damon alone." 

" What does life hold for me when my friend lies 
slain?" 

" It holds what all men seek and what you have 
won: Love! " 

"Calanthe!" 

" I come to save you. To give you freedom 
and your bride." 

" Is this a trick, too?" 

" I blame you not," said Creugas, sorrowfully, 
" that in your black hour you would smite aside even 
the hand stretched out to save you." 

"Speak out! I" 

" I owe you much. I hate the usurper king. I 
wish to serve you. I wish to thwart him. So I am 
here. Here to set you free. Calanthe shall share 
your flight. Your aged father " 

"My father!" 

" He shall join you. I have arranged it all. In 
Syracuse harbor lies a ship that will set sail at word 
from me; at the captain's first glimpse of the ring 
I wear." 

u T n 

" You doubt me? Turn and look! There is my 
proof." 

As Creugas spoke, he beckoned. Pythias, half 



238 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

suspecting a new ruse of the tyrant's, turned sharply 
about. Down the wind-swept terrace toward him, 
shining like a goddess in the sunlight, Calanthe was 
advancing. 

" Calanthe ! " gasped Pythias. " Jove above ! 
Calanthe I"- 



CHAPTER XXI 

TEMPTATION 

HE sprang to meet her. But as he reached 
her the girl stepped back. A fugitive 
memory had come to her of their last 
meeting. 

" Pythias," she said brokenly. " You shrank 
from me as though I were unworthy. Only this 
very day you spurned me for a mere friend's sake. 
You forswore love and me for Damon and friend- 
ship. How can I trust such love as yours? " 

" How can you trust it? " he cried eagerly. " As 
you can trust the high gods, as you can trust the 
golden sun and the tides. I love you ! With the 
heart, the soul, the body I have kept clean for your 
sake, I love you. Above all life and heaven I love 
you. Above all save honor. And for honor's 
sake I gave myself as pledge for my friend. My 
love for you shall not be less, Beloved, because my 
love for honor was greater." 

" Let us forget everything, then, except this won- 
drous love of ours, my Pythias. Love waits for us. 
Love and Freedom ! " 

Pythias caught her in his arms ; crushing her close 
239 



240 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

against his broad breast; showering kisses on her 
lips, her eyes, her fragrant hair. 

Then, as though parting from all that life held 
dear, he put her from him. Long and earnestly he 
looked upon the glory of sea and land and sky. And 
again his eyes rested adoringly on Calanthe. But 
there was no hope in their worshiping gaze; there 
was naught save the light of a great renuncia- 
tion. 

" It has been good," he said simply. " It has 
been good to hold you once more in my arms. It 
will make death sweeter." 

" Death! " echoed the girl, wonderingly. " Why, 
dear one, there is no talk of death. You are free." 

" No." 

" But, Pythias, surely Creugas explained to 
you" 

" That Damon will not return. Thus my pledge 
is forfeit. I must die, as I agreed, in his place." 

" You are a madman ! " exclaimed Creugas. 

" Perhaps. Dionysius spared the life of Damon 
for six hours on the security that I would remain 
imprisoned in his place until his return, and that 
if he should not return, I should die. I gave the 
pledge. It is forfeit, and my life with it." 

" But Dionysius has broken faith with you ! " pro- 
tested Creugas. 

" Then would you have me sink to his level by 
breaking faith with him?" 



TEMPTATION 241 

* Think of me, Pythias," besought Calanthe. 
1 Think of me ! Is my love nothing? " 

" It is earth and heaven! " 

" And is it nothing that my heart must break for 
you?" 

" It is the bitterest drop in my death cup. I would 
eagerly die ten thousand times if I might save you 
grief." 

" Pythias, this monster, Dionysius, has broken 
faith with you. You owe him nothing." 

" I owe my honor everything." 

" He has cheated you ! " 

" So this man says. It may be true. It may not. 
A thousand things may prove true or false. But 
my honor must stand true. Suppose this man lies? 
Suppose, at the appointed hour, Damon should re- 
turn as return he will, if one breath of life be left 
in his body suppose he return to keep his pledge? 
Return and find me faithless? Of his own wish he 
will come back to save me from death. He would 
come back to learn that of my own wish I had proven 
faithless and fled; that I had chosen happiness in- 
stead of honor." 

" If for one fleeting moment you think to impress 
Dionysius by such fortitude as yours," suggested 
Creugas, " then once and forever dismiss that hope. 
He will laugh at you as a fool who might have won 
freedom and who lacked the wit to outwit those who 
have maltreated him. A strange man, this king of 



242 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

ours. Deaf to honor, deaf to mercy, yet with a 
strange vein of philosophy in his head. A vein of 
philosophy stolen, perhaps, from the Athenian sages 
he loves to quote." 

Pythias was not listening. Again he was gazing 
deep into Calanthe's eyes as though to carry the 
memory of their loveliness with him into the next 
world. Creugas maundered on : 

' Why, but last night when oily Damocles supped 
with him and fell to praising his greatness, what does 
Dionysius do, of a sudden, but point upward so ! 
And Damocles looks up to see hanging above his 
head his own keen edged sword, suspended by a hair ! 
My faith! he rolls from his banqueting couch and 
scrambles across the room as though all hell were 
in pursuit. 4 See! ' prates Dionysius, after the fash- 
ion of Athenian philosophers. * See how all great- 
ness and safety and life itself hang on a single hair. 
When next you would fawn upon human greatness, 
remember the Sword of Damocles ! ' 

" Pythias ! " Calanthe was whispering. " Once 
more, for my sake, fly! The opportunity may not 
come again." 

" Here I abide," firmly responded Pythias, " and 
when Damon returns if return he may " 

" He will not return I " interposed Creugas. " By 
now the assassins are at his throat. There is noth- 
ing left for you to await here. Look! " he broke 
off, pointing seaward. 



TEMPTATION 243 

Across the harbor a galley had moved from the 
farther shore. Now she came to anchor barely a 
furlong away from the terrace. 

Her colored sails were half raised. Men 
crouched ready to run them up the polished mast 
at a single word of command. The slaves bent over 
the long, burnished oars, holding them above water, 
ready to catch water at the same word. 

Like a beautiful bird, ready and poised for flight, 
lay the galley on the glittering summer sea, a sight 
to thrill a traveler's soul. 

From the vessel's side a small boat was putting 
forth, propelled hy half-nude blacks, toward the 
watching group on the terrace. 

"Look!" repeated Creugas. "Yonder lies the 
ship that waits to bear you and your dear ones to 
freedom. Her boat is even now coming hither to 
fetch you away from this place of living death. At 
my orders, backed by this signet ring, all these things 
have been done. All these and more. A rope lad- 
der hangs from the coping of the wall behind you. 
Come" 

"Pythias!" cried the girl. "Come with us! 
Come! It is Liberty! Liberty and love! " 

" It is dishonor," Pythias made reply, white to 
the lips with the battle against his heart. 

" It is Happiness! " 

"No! It is disgrace!" 

" Pythias," urged Creugas, " your father is old 



244 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

and weak. He will die of grief at tidings of your 
death." 

" He would die of shame at tidings of my shame." 

" The boat ! " sobbed Calanthe. " See, it is draw- 
ing near. So near! Would you break my heart? " 

" You will remember me as the lover who loved 
you too well to ruin his honor for your sake." 

" Pythias," again broke in Creugas, his old voice 
vibrant with tenseness; the sweat pouring down his 
disfigured face. " Pythias, I have risked my life to 
save you. If we three do not make our escape, and 
make it with all speed, I am a dead man. Dionysius 
knows horribly well how to punish. I have risked 
all for you." 

" If all the world risked everything to lure me 
from honor my answer would be the same. Go, if 
you are in peril, man. Though by your own show- 
ing, you have merited death by betraying your mas- 
ter who trusts you and deems you his friend. The 
seeming friend of to-day may be the enemy of to- 
morrow. Go or stay. I have given you my an- 



swer." 



;t Pythias," pleaded Calanthe. "Hark! Do 
you hear the oars? They are below us, just below. 
Their plash is a song of freedom, of joy, of love, of 
a golden future for us both." 

" Of a black future built on blacker dishonor. 
No! Oh, Calanthe, my own, why make me taste 



TEMPTATION 245 

the bitterness of death before my hour? I cannot 
go, I will not go ! " 

" Pythias " began Creugas. 

"Enough!" 

" No. One word more. A word that must be 
spoken," insisted Creugas. " Yet a word I would 
fain have left unsaid. Dionysius has looked over- 
closely at Calanthe. You know how a fair face at- 
tracts him and to what lengths he will go to win 
what he desires. The tyrant's eyes have followed 
your love. L The tyrant's longing has compassed 
her about." 

" Peace ! " 

4 When you are no longer alive to protect her 
when by your mad folly you leave her defenseless in 
his hands " 

" Pythias," shuddered the girl. " He speaks 
truth. It is not alone yourself you will be saving. 
It will be I as well. Save me ! " 

The face of Pythias was ghastly. His lips were 
invisible from fierce pressure, his mouth was a hard- 
set line, his eyes were ablaze. 

His mighty body trembled as with an ague. His 
nails bit deep into the palms of his clenched hands, 
bit so deep that trickles of blood oozed out and 
flecked his whitened finger joints. He was in mortal 
anguish, in a travail of soul that shook him like an 
aspen. 



246 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Creugas stood aside. His work was done. He 
had played his last and strongest card. 

Calanthe threw her soft white arms about her 
lover's muscular throat and buried her face in his 
breast. 

"You must save me!" she wailed. " You can- 
not leave me to such a fate! Come! If not for 
your own sake, then for the sake of the woman you 
would vow to protect and to cherish. My sweet- 
heart, save me ! " 

A groan that seemed to tear spirit and body asun- 
der burst from the white lips of Pythias. 

" May all the gods protect you, my loved one ! " 
he panted. "If the vile tyrant lay so much as one 
finger on your dear head, I swear I shall rend my 
grave clothes and the earth that covers me, and come 
back from the tomb to destroy him." 

" No, no ! It is in life you must succor me ! 
Come ! The boat lies waiting! " 

" No ! Here honor and I are waiting. For the 
end!"- 

"Pythias!" she wept. "My lover, Pythias!" 

He broke from the sweet prison of her detaining 
arms and rushed back to his cell, clanging its iron 
door shut behind him. Calanthe took a wavering 
step toward the cell, then sank in a deathlike swoon 
at the feet of Creugas. 



CHAPTER XXII 

" CAUTION! " 

DAMON, meantime, did not slacken rein un- 
til he had left the city far behind him and 
had breasted the slope of the hills whereon 
stood his white villa. 

Through the plain and through the strip of wood- 
land at the mountain-foot he galloped, Lucullus still 
running at his stirrup leather, the slave's tireless 
wiry strength easily holding out in spite of the fear- 
ful pace. 

So had the Scythian foot soldiers for centuries 
been wont to run at the side of the cavalry; unweary- 
ing, no matter what the pace or how long the jour- 
ney; and helped along by their grip on the stirrup. 

The blazing noonday heat poured down on Da- 
mon's unsheltered head, his prematurely grizzled hair 
shining like soft silver in the pitiless glare. He 
heeded not the fierce heat, nor his sweating horse's 
gallant efforts. 

His eyes were fixed on the far-off hillside villa, 
the villa to which each stride of his horse brought 
him nearer; the villa that held all he loved most on 
earth; the wife of his heart, the child of his hopes. 

247 



248 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

By set of sun he would have passed forever from 
them. And he yearned unspeakably for the brief 
hour he might yet spend in the sunshine of their love. 

The moment's delay he had suffered through Ca- 
lanthe he had grudged as a man dying of thirst might 
grudge a spilled portion of his last cup of water. 

He was doing all in his power to atone for that 
delay by riding his horse with unsparing speed. And 
nobly did the splendid gray respond to the urging of 
spur and of voice. He seemed, by instinct, to know 
his master's gnawing desire; and with every atom 
of his peerless strength he sought to grant that de- 
sire. 

Through the woodland road at the hill-foot raced 
the gallant gray. Scare did he slacken speed as he 
breasted the steep rise of the hill. His nostrils were 
red and his eyes suffused. Yet he held to his task. 

The slave, by this time, was beginning to pant 
from fatigue and to stagger in his run. Damon 
alone of that speeding trio was unaware of the wild 
pace at which they were traveling. To him, the 
gray flying feet crawled at a snail's pace, so far did 
his own yearning outstrip the matchless horse's 
flight. 

At last, after what Damon fancied were centuries 
of wasted time, the plateau on the hillside was 
reached. And, presently foam flecked, bathed in 
sweat, his mottled sides heaving the grand horse 



" CAUTION ! " 249 

dropped from a run to a walk and stood at his mas- 
ter's door. 

Damon sprang to earth, shouted a direction to the 
weaned slave to care for the horse and to have him 
ready at the courtyard door in an hour's time, then 
dashed through the marble gateway. 

Xextus was playing in the sunken garden below 
the house; his tiny helmet and sword girded on, he 
was vehemently marshaling an army of scarlet pop- 
pies to an advance against some unseen invader. 

Hermion was nowhere in sight A question to a 
passing maidservant brought news that the mistress 
of the house was in the forest beyond the lawns, 
gathering myrtle for votive wreaths. Damon sent 
the maid running to fetch Hermion with all speed. 
Then he descended into the sunken garden. 

Xextus, turning at sound of his father's step, caught 
sight of the approaching figure and with a shout of 
delight, ran to meet him. 

" Father ! Father ! " he hailed, flinging his sturdy 
little arms about his sire's knees. " You are at home 
again ! We did not look for you. Oh, you have 
come back to play with me ! See, you shall help me 
mass my army. You you shall be general," he 
added in a burst of generosity, " and I will be your 
angelos or else your second-in-command! " 

Damon, his throat contracting, picked up the mar- 
tial boy and crushed the tiny fellow to his heart with 



250 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

such convulsive force that had not Xextus been a 
stoic warrior he would have cried out with pain. 

" Oh, my little boy!" murmured Damon, brok- 
enly, " my little, little boy! " 

Xextus looked up in sudden concern into the hag- 
gard, drawn face so close to his own. 

"Why, father!" he exclaimed, "you are sick. 
Or are you wounded ? Tell me ! " 

" No," denied Damon, regaining Spartan control 
of himself by mighty effort. " No ! But my time 
is short. I have but an hour here with you two who 
are so dear to me. Then I must go back." 

"To work?" 

" No. To rest." 

"But only one hour? It is not fair. Mother 
will be unhappy again." 

" Then her boy must comfort her. She will need 
all your comfort, my little Xextus. Remember that. 
And remember I leave her to your love and your 
care. As you grow up, think always of that ; no mat- 
ter what may happen. Your place is at her side; 
to be her soldier, her comforter. You will remem- 
ber?" 

" Yes. Why, yes. But you will be here, too." 

" If I am not, you must still remember. If she 
had only you " 

" But you must be here, my father ! You must. 
There would be no fun without you." 

" My soldier-boy, the day has come when other 



"CAUTION!" 251 

things than fun must claim you. You must be the 
staff and consoler of your mother when I am gone." 

" Gone ? Where ? Oh, I I am afraid ! " 

" A soldier must slay fear. You will slay it? And 
selfishness, too? And all thoughts save those of^ 
your mother, my Xextus? " 

"I I will try, sir. But how strangely you 
talk! And how pale you are! Where are you go- 
ing and why must you go? " 

" I am going on a long journey, little son of mine. 
A long journey. I am come here to say good-by to 
you and to your mother." 

" But why? " asked Xextus. " Why do you go? 
Why do you want to leave us? " 

" I do not want to. I would give my all to stay." 

" Then why do you go? Who sends you on this 
journey? " 

" The high gods." 

"The gods?" repeated the child in reverence. 
" Then then, I suppose you must go. Mother 
says we must always obey the gods. She has gone 
to weave a myrtle garland to lay at our shrine for 
your safe home coming. But but why can't the 
gods send some one else? Some one who hasn't a 
little son to miss him. Couldn't they? If I prayed 
very, very hard to them? " 

Damon's thoughts flashed back unbidden to a dun- 
geon opening on a prison terrace, where even now 
awaited " some one " whom the gods stood ready 



252 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

to send on the journey in his place. And his keen 
eyes grew misty at the vision. 

The light sound of a woman's running feet and the 
swish of a woman's drapery came to the ears of both; 
breaking in on the strange scene. 

" Go," he said gently. " Go back to your play, 
my lad. Your mother is returning and she and I 
have much to say. The time grows short." 



CHAPTER XXIII 

HUSBAND AND WIFE 

HERMION appeared at the head of the 
white stairway that led from the house 
down to the sunken garden. 

" Damon! " she called in glad wecome. 

Ere she could descend to him, her husband ran 
lightly up the steps to where she stood and caught 
her in his arms. The boy stood hesitating where 
his father had left him. 

" Damon ! " cried Hermion, an almost hysterical 
rapture in her sweet voice. u Oh, my husband, what 
a joyous surprise! I could scarce believe the news 
that you had returned. Hour after hour I have 
strained my eyes following every moving speck that 
journeys hitherward from the city; each time pray- 
ing the gods it might be you. And when at last you 
came I was not on the housetop watching for you. 
The world is worth living in again now that you are 
back." 

" Are you so unhappy, then, when I am absent? " 
he faltered. 

"Unhappy? I do not live. I only wait. Oh, 
my own husband, if I should tell you how I fear and 

253 



254 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

how desolate and sad I am when you are down in 
that distant city, away from me, oh, if I could 
make you understand all your presence means to 
me and how your every absence blots out my sun, 
you would never again have the heart to leave 



me." 



1 To leave you ! " murmured Damon under his 
breath. " Pitying gods, give me strength! " 

Hermion did not note his sudden agitation. Her 
eyes had fallen on Xextus, still standing at the foot 
of the steps. 

" Go and weave a garland for your father! " she 
called to him gayly. u The fairest garland that ever 
you wove to welcome him home to us again." 

The boy turned and went upon his mission. Her- 
mion noted the unwonted lagging of Xextus' feet 
and the sorrowful droop of his head; and she won- 
dered at his lack of wild spirits over his adored 
father's return. 

Hoping that Damon had not observed and been 
hurt by the child's dearth of eagerness in the home- 
coming, she glanced from the departing Xextus to 
her husband. So suddenly did her eyes meet Da- 
mon's that he had not time to mask the hopeless 
misery in his gaze. 

" What is it? " she asked in quick alarm. " Are 
you ill? The sun, the long ride " 

" Hermion," he interposed, his voice wondrous 
gentle, yet his words such as never before the calmly 



HUSBAND AND WIFE 255 

self-contained man had spoken to her. " Hermion, 
my wife, have I, in our married life, ever willingly 
made you suffer? Have ever I wounded you with 
hasty word or angry glance ? " 

"You?" she cried. "Never in all my life! 
How strangely you speak ! What put such thoughts 
in your mind? " 

u Have my thoughts strayed from you? Have I, 
save for urgent business of state, ever remained an 
hour from your side? Have I put aught before 
your happiness? " 

" No. No ! You know you have not. My 
true, gentle husband, you have been all the world to 
me ! You have made my life an endless joy. You 
have " 

" Be that my epitaph ! It is good to have heard 
such words from you, my glorious wife. They will 
be graven on my heart forevermore." 

" What are you hiding from me ? " she demanded, 
womanly intuition warning her even more sharply 
than did his words. " Why speak you of * epitaphs ' 
and?" 

" When I am dead you will remember with com- 
fort the praise you have just lavished on me." 

" When you are dead? Oh, I cannot understand 
you, Damon ! It is not like you to speak so. Why 
do you talk of death? You are ghastly pale and 
your eyes are dark with pain. Are you ill? Or 
does something cause you secret grief? Some new 



256 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

sorrow, it must be. For in all your brooding over 
the ill-fate of Syracuse you were never like this. 
Speak! Tell me! Oh, how politics and the wars 
and the city's corruption have wrecked our home 
peace! Tell me, I implore you! I am your wife; 
the partner of your grief. Not your plaything, to 
share naught but your idle joys. I must know. I 
must help. A wife can always help! " 

" Hermion," he said haltingly, " suppose I were 
to tell you the heaviest news your mind could im- 
agine, could you bear it?" 

" Bear it? I could laugh right blithely at it if it 
did not touch your life or our love. Those two 
are all that can matter to me. They are my world : 
your life and the love the high gods have given 
to us twain. What are your black tidings, dear 
heart? Dionysius has undermined your hopes and 
risen to power? " 

" Yes. And to the throne. But that is not my 



news." 



" The Carthaginians march on the city again? " 
" No. For the moment they crouch in their ken- 
nels and lick their sore wounds." 

" I can think of but one other tragedy that could 
move you so. Your friend, Pythias, something 
is amiss with him? He is not dead? " 
" No ! Praise the gods ! Not dead! " 
" Then the tidings are of yourself ! I knew it. 



HUSBAND AND WIFE 257 

Some misfortune has befallen you! Some danger 
threatens you. Tell me." 

" A hundred times, my Hermion, I have told my- 
self that you are the bravest woman I have known. 
I have told myself that whatever might befall, you 
would bear it gallantly; for my sake; for our boy's 
sake. That if death should be my portion " 

"Death? Death?" 

" Here is my will," he said, handing her a scroll. 
" Let that break the news to you. I cannot tell you. 
I thought I could. I cannot." 

"Death!" she repeated dully. "Death threat- 
ens you? From what evil source? " 

" From the law's hands." 

" The law? You who are the law's stanchest up- 
holder in these troublous days! It is not possible! 
For what offense? " 

" Dionysius has doomed me to death." 

"Dionysius?" she babbled, dazedly. "To 
death?" 

Then her dooping figure straightened and a sudden 
light of joy burned the tear mists from her eyes. 

" But you are here ! " she exulted, "you have es- 
caped ! Escaped to your own home ; unguarded, un- 
captured. We have only to fly to Greece to 
Italy to Egypt anywhere ! We shall be safe 
beyond the tyrant's reach. You must fly at once, 



to" 



25 8 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" To Syracuse," finished Damon; and his voice 
was dead. 

11 Into the very jaws of the death from whence you 
have escaped? Are you mad?" 

" I must go back to Syracuse," he insisted in the 
same lifeless voice. " Even now I would be lying 
dead there but that my friend " 

"No! No!" 

" But that my friend, Pythias, put on my fetters 
and gave himself up as hostage for my return. In 
this way alone was the tyrant persuaded to grant me 
these six hours of grace to ride hither and say fare- 
well to you and to our boy." 

Hermion sank heavily to the marble steps at his 
feet. She gripped the cold stone to save herself 
from fainting; to cling to her senses that swam so 
dizzily. 

"You are allowed" 

" To come here to bid you farewell and to place 
my testament in your hands. It was a strange freak 
of Dionysius' ever-strange mind. When Pythias 
volunteered to go to prison in my stead, and to the 
scaffold itself were I not to return at the appointed 
hour " 

"Return at the appointed hour?" gasped Her- 
mion, rising to her knees and enwrapping him in her 
arms. " You shall not return. By all the gods of 
Olympus and of hell, you shall not." 

"Not return?" Damon repeated. "Hermion! 



HUSBAND AND WIFE 259 

Not return? Not go back and free my friend from 
the fetters hung on him for my sake? Is this my 
loyal, honorable wife who gives me such vile coun- 
sel?" 

" It is your sane wife the wife who loves you 
too dearly to let you throw away your life in a fit 
of madness ! Here you are safe until we can flee. 
And here you shall stay." 

"And sacrifice Pythias' life? Oh, Hermion, it 
is you who have gone mad; to tempt me to such dis- 
honor! " 

"Dishonor?" she cried, beside herself with 
frenzy, her wonted meekness lost in the fierce battling 
for the man she loved; against himself. " Dis- 
honor? And what of me? What of Xextus? To 
save one's life, all wrong becomes right. The gods 
who gave us life have taught us to protect that life 
at every sacrifice. It is the voice of Nature itself 
that demands it. And all men forgive such a deed, 
because all men themselves would do the same thing 
in like circumstances. What of Pythias? He is 
your friend and mine. Many an hour shall I weep 
for his death. But all the hours in life were not 
enough for me to weep for yours. Live for me, 
Damon ! You shall not leave me ! What friend- 
ship is so precious as is love? " 

" I vowed to come back to my punishment." 

" And at the altar you vowed to live for me ! I 
hold you to that vow ! " 



260 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

"Hermion!" 

4 You shall not go ! I say you shall not go. See, 
my arms are locked about you! To leave me you 
must hew them away with your sword, for I shall 
never release you! " 

" Hermion! The hour passes!" 

" Then it shall pass. But you shall remain." 

He struggled to break her frantic hold. But her 
arms were so entwined he could not. 

" Mother! " called a clear, frightened voice from 
behind them. 

Xextus, the woven garland in his hands, stood 
looking at them in terror. 

" Hermion! " cried Damon in despair. " Loose 
me! The hour is past. I shall be late, unless " 

"You shall not go!" she moaned. "Xextus! 
Thank the gods you have come back ! Kneel beside 
me here. Pray to your father pray to him as 
though he were one of the gods themselves ! Pray 
not to be made an orphan ! Pray ! Pray not to be 
left fatherless so soon so soon ! Oh, Damon, my 
husband, look at us ! We are kneeling at your feet ! 
You cannot refuse us. You cannot leave us to die 
a hundred deaths, just that your friend may live ! " 

" No. That my pledged word may live ! You 
are urging me to dishonor. You are bidding me 
murder Pythias that I may live. Let me go ! " 

"No! Never! I" 



HUSBAND AND WIFE 261 

Her voice choked in her throat. The tight locked 
arms fell loose. Overburdened nature could endure 
no more. Even as Calanthe had done when hope 
died, Hermion fell back upon the marble and lay 
there, white as the stone itself, and as unconscious. 

Damon knelt beside her. His tears raining down 
on her pallid upturned face. He pressed his lips 
to hers; once and yet again. Then, staggering 
blindly to his feet, he stooped to kiss the weeping 
Xextus; and fled fled as for his life. 

" Father ! " wailed the child. " Father 1 " 

" Oh, gods whose faithful servant I have been," 
groaned Damon as he groped his way, tear-blinded, 
across the courtyard and to the gate, " have in your 
tender care my wife and my orphan child. Deal 
gently with those two who are so gentle ! Comfort 
and strengthen them. For naught save heavenly aid 
can help them now. Grant that my spirit may re- 
turn to soften their grief! I ask it, not in reward 
for aught that I have done, but for what I am to do. 
For I, a man, go forth to die for my fellow man." 

He reeled against the huge sundial that stood just 
within the gateway of the villa courtyard. The 
shock of the impact brought him to his senses. He 
brushed the tear-mists from his eyes with a palsied 
hand. And his glance fell on the dial. At sight of 
the late hour he cried aloud as though in mortal 
pain. 



V 

262 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

" I have overstayed my allotted time ! " he gasped. 
14 I must ride like the wind or I shall arrive too late ! 
Gods, lend speed to my horse's feet. For I ride to 
my death, that my friend may live ! " 



CHAPTER XXIV 

DAMON'S RIDE 

OUT through the gateway tp the road sprang 
Damon. 
" Lucullus ! " he shouted. "The sun is 
rushing down the sky. My horse. Is he ready as 
I bade you have him? " 

He halted, mouth open, eyes staring in blank hor- 
ror. 

In the roadway, where he had left the beautiful 
gray horse, the steed was lying, stone dead, in a wide 
pool of blood where blue flies buzzed and swarmed. 
The animal's throat was cut from ear to ear. 

Beside the dead horse, stood Lucullus; his dark 
face impassive as a mask; his eyes fixed on his mas- 
ter. In his hand he held a red-bladed knife. 

" Lucullus! " stammered Damon, aghast; his brain 
whirling. 

The slave, his expressionless eyes still on Damon's, 
opened his lips and spoke. In a heavy, unemotional 
voice he said: 

" My master, in Rome, years agone, you saved 
my life. As I have but now saved yours. Your 
horse lies dead. I slew him. But ere I did it, I 

263 



264 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

drove forth your stabled horses into the forest. 
'Twill take a full hour to find them. You cannot 
return to Syracuse to die. It is too late to go on 
foot. You will kill me for what I have done. 
Strike ! I shall have perished for you even as you 
would have perished for your friend." 

"Gods!" 

The expletive came from Damon's white lips 
almost in a yell, as, at last, he comprehended the 
fearful thing that had happened. 

" Slay me if you will," repeated the slave, dog- 
gedly. 

" Slay you ! " screamed the maddened man. " It 
is the least I can do to avenge my friend. Beast that 
has robbed me of my honor! " 

He leaped like a savage tiger upon the cowering 
Lucullus and seized him by the throat. 

His left hand buried in the slave's flesh, he whipped 
out his sword and poised it for a downward sweep 
to cleave the fellow's skull. Then he hesitated. 

" A Senator's blade would find ill rest in carrion 
like you!" he snarled. 'The precipice yonder is 
your fitting death." 

Dragging his victim along the ground, the infuri- 
ated Damon hastened toward a cliff edge, just be- 
yond the villa. As he went, he growled between his 
teeth : 

" Revenge and sacrifice ! Revenge on my violated 
pledge! Sacrifice to the red ghost of Pythias that 



DAMON'S RIDE 265 

soars above us, perchance, even now, clamoring to 
know why I, his friend, left him to die my death. 
With one thrust over the ledge I'll throw you down 
to hell; then leap after you and kill my own dis- 
grace." 

" Mercy ! " pleaded the slave, his stoic courage 
forsaking him in face of so hideous a death. 
" Mercy, my master! " 

" Mercy? " mocked the insane Damon. 
"Mercy? Aye, the mercy I showed to Pythias 
when I left him to die in my stead. To Pythias who 
trusted me and who, to the last, awaited my return ! 
The ax that severed his head from his body has 
deluged me in his blood. Mercy? Ask mercy of 
the furies of red hell; not from me ! " 

He had reached the cliff edge; an eighty foot 
sheer drop yawned before him, to the tooth-pointed 
black rocks in the valley beneath. 

Sheathing his sword, Damon gripped the writhing 
Lucullus by both shoulders and swung him aloft. 
The slave closed his eyes. 

Suddenly, with a shock that drove the breath from 
his body, he was dashed violently to earth, scarce six 
inches from the brink of the precipice. 

Lucullus started up; wondering at his own escape 
from the fate ordained for him by the master he had 
sought to save. 

Damon was running at the top of his speed along 
the cliff edge toward a path that wound its steep 



266 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

way down a milder slope of the precipice to the valley 
below. 

As he had swung the slave aloft, Damon had 
chanced to spy a mailed horseman cantering along 
the valley road beneath him. And the sight had 
filled him with a desperate hope. 

To the top of the path he dashed. And down the 
steep declivity he ran and rolled and fell; clutching 
at bushes that ripped from their roots at his grasp, 
clawing at the jutting rocks to steady himself; ever 
taking chances that threatened life and limb ; increas- 
ing his speed a pace which, on that hazardous cliffside, 
was suicidal. 

His toga was rent from him by the thorny 
branches of shrubs. Stones bruised and cut him. 
Earth and clay grimed his hands and face and gar- 
ments. 

At last he was brought up with a bone-racking 
jolt on the top of a bowlder that hung fifteen feet 
above the road. Heedless of life he sprang down; 
clearing the intervening space and landing in the 
wayside dust just in front of the amazed horseman, 
who had watched in wonder his breakneck down- 
ward progress from the cliff top. 

"Your horse, friend!" called Damon, stagger- 
ing to his feet, his mouth full of dust. " Your 
horse! At your own price and quickly! I offer fifty 
ounces of gold for him. J Tis twenty times his value. 
Your horse, I say! " 



DAMON'S RIDE 267 

The horse shied violently at the dusty, gesticu- 
lating apparation in the road; and the rider, deem- 
ing the unkempt and bleeding stranger a lunatic, 
drew back and would have ridden away. 

But Damon was at his side before he could touch 
spur to the beast. With the strength of a maniac 
he tore the man from the saddle, and hurled him 
headlong to earth. 

The rider, taken by surprise, fell with a crash of 
clanking armor. But he was a soldier; toughened 
in the Carthaginian wars and alert of wit and of 
body. Scare had he touched ground when he was 
on his feet again. 

His sword flashed from its scabbard and with an 
oath he rushed on his assailant. 

Damon, meantime, had sprung to the bridle of the 
rearing horse; jerked the brute's head downward 
and seized the mane, preparatory to vaulting into the 
saddle. 

But now, releasing the steed, he sprang nimbly 
aside-; barely in time to avoid the downward-swish- 
ing stroke of the dismounted soldier's heavy sword. 

t( lo Triomphe! " yelled the angry horseman, voic- 
ing his war-cry, as he smote again at the unkempt 
form before him. 

But Damon had drawn his own blade ; and that 
of the soldier smote ringingly against it. There was 
no time for explaining; for argument, for offer of 
money. The stranger, his martial honor tarnished 



268 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

by the overthrow from his horse, was in no mood 
for anything save bloodshed. 

Back and forth, up and down the dusty road, the 
two opponents fought; their breath coming hot and 
fast, their feet stamping in attack, retreat or recov- 
ery. Their battling swordblades clanged and 
whined and whistled the Eternal Hate Song of the 
Ages. 

Foot to foot, eye to eye, blade to blade, they 
fought; these two who, five minutes earlier, had 
never seen nor heard of each other, but who now 
sought to slay. 

The soldier fought furiously. But his fury was 
as nothing to his antagonist's. Damon had no 
hatred for his foe. But he was mad with eagerness 
to get away; to mount, to ride at killing speed to 
Syracuse to rescue his imperiled friend. 

This stranger barred his way. Only by slaying 
the man, apparently, could he hope to pass on. 
And, only by slaying him right swiftly, could he hope 
to be on time. Every second of delay weighed 
against the life of Pythias. 

Wherefore, disdaining to guard himself and seek- 
ing only to slay ere he should be slain, Damon pressed 
his opponent with the reckless fierceness of a cor- 
nered tiger. 

Back, step by step, he forced the soldier who, be- 
holding the other's wild recklessness of life and be- 
coming more and more convinced that he had to do 



DAMON'S RIDE 269 

with a maniac, was sore put to it to defend him- 
self. 

Damon beat down the soldier's guard and lunged 
swiftly. His sandaled foot slipped in the elusive 
dust, and momentarily he was thrown off his bal- 
ance. 

His foe's skilled eye was quick to see the brief 
advantage; and his foe's skill as a swordsman was 
equally quick to profit by it. 

Leaping in, the soldier struck. Damon, recover- 
ing himself, shrank aside from the blow, parrying 
as he dodged. His sudden avoidance and his inter- 
vening sword deflected the soldier's heavily descend- 
ing blade. 

Its edge missed Damon's skull and inflicted a 
gash in his left shoulder. Damon, before the sol- 
dier could recover from the impetus of that great 
stroke, caught the latter's blade on the flat of his 
own, and smote downward and to one side. 

The trick served. The soldier's sword flew in 
air and fell in the roadside bushes. The soldier 
stumbled backward, nursing a right arm that was 
numb to the shoulder. 

Damon sheathed his own blade and with almost 
the same gesture, pulled his purse from his belt and 
flung it at the other's feet. 

" In payment for your steed ! " he called, as he 
vaulted to the saddle and thundered away toward 
Syracuse, without so much as a backward look. 



270 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Vaguely he was glad he had not been obliged to 
slay this foeman against whom he held no hatred. 
To him the fellow had been but an obstacle as 
impersonal as a bowlder or a fallen tree across the 
road to be overcome at the least possible waste 
of time. That he had overcome him without shed- 
ding blood was a source of gratification to Damon. 

But these and all other thoughts were as mere 
blurs in his whirling brain. He, the wise, the calm, 
the icily clear thinker, was in a red swirl of horror. 
His mind refused its normal functions. 

He was possessed and obsessed by one single all- 
over-powering impulse : to reach Syracuse in time 
to redeem his friend's pledged life. 

He forced his reeling brain to some momentary 
semblance of its wonted clearness as the horse 
bounded down the mountain's lower slopes and into 
the wide plain that lay between the hill and the city. 

Was there a chance he could arrive in time ? 

The sun had slipped perilously low in the heavens. 
The shadows were lying in long and weirdly shaped 
formation along the plain. Sunset was at hand. 

When the red sun's rim should touch the crest of 
the far western mountains, Pythias must die. And 
the miles of the plain stretched drearily long between 
the frantic rider and Syracuse. 

To the finest edge, Damon had unwittingly pro- 
longed his stay with his wife and son, Hermion's 



DAMON'S RIDE 271 

passionate embrace chaining him to his home when 
he should have been departing. 

The slaying of his horse, and his own mad attempt 
at vengeance upon the too-faithful slave had further 
delayed him ; as had the brief clash at arms with the 
unknown soldier. 

He had wasted time. Time that was not his to 
waste. And his friend's life might be the forfeit. 
Thus fiercely did Damon blame himself, in merciless 
self-arraignment, forgetting that circumstances, and 
not he, were to blame. 

He knew, as a student of human nature, the odd 
twists of Dionysius' strange nature. He knew the 
tyrant would keep his word: He would not put 
Pythias to death one instant before the allotted time. 
But he would not delay one moment beyond that 
time. 

The whole issue rested with Damon ; even as Da- 
mon had proposed that it should. And, while Da- 
mon raved at his own delay, he could not in justice 
blame the tyrant for taking him at his word. 

In a torture-vision, the scene that must be enacted, 
burned itself into his soul. He seemed to behold 
the agora with the grim scaffold and grimmer exe- 
cutioner in its center; the silent, morbidly-fascinated 
throng crowding about the gruesome nucleus. 

He seemed to see Pythias proud, unflinching, 
his face alight with self-renunciation led forth 



272 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

from the gloom of the prison into the sunset square 
and to the scaffold; beside whose block the execu- 
tioner awaited him, ax in hand. 

Pythias ! The friend, the more-than-brother, who 
had trusted in Damon's promise to return and who 
would gladly lay down life that his comrade might 
live! 

Damon could almost hear the strangled weeping of 
Calanthe ; could see her fresh girlish beauty crushed 
forever to earth by the fearful tragedy that was to 
engulf her. 

Damon groaned aloud in horror. Frantically he 
flogged the galloping horse to greater speed. Dully 
he became aware that this lumbering hack-charger 
of the army was no match in speed for his own slain 
horse. 

The brute he now bestrode was one of the thou- 
sands which army contractors yearly bought up from 
farmers and from tradesmen and which, after a little 
veterinary treatment, they sold at huge profit to the 
government. 

Such horses, at a pinch, could be counted upon 
for a routine march or even for a lumbering cavalry 
charge. But for a race for life they were usually 
far out of their element. 

The horse was breathing in heaving grunts and, 
despite Damon's urging, was already beginning to 
slacken speed. To the rider's urging, the animal 
no longer responded. His was not the thorough- 



DAMON'S RIDE 273 

bred strain that makes the perfect horse kill itself 
from exertion at the behest of its master. 

The beast, bred rather to the plow than to the race 
course, was spiritless and tired; and saw no reason 
for tiring itself further. 

Damon's sword flashed out. With the flat of the 
blade he smote the sweating horse across the flanks. 
The blow raised a weal on the poor animal's skin, 
but added only a momentary flash of speed to its 
slackening pace. 

And the sun dropped lower and lower. Now it 
hung scarce a hand-breadth above the western moun- 
tains. 

Again and again the flogging sword blade rose and 
fell. And after the first few blows, the horse did 
not respond by even a brief outburst of speed to the 
cruel beating. A final frantic stroke, and the hilt 
turned in Damon's shaking hand. Not the flat but 
the edge of the blade smote the heaving flank. 

The horse staggered, lunged forward and fell ; its 
upper-leg sinew cut. . 



CHAPTER XXV 

FOR FRIENDSHIP! 

DAMON, wellnigh unseated by the horse's 
forward plunge, barely saved his leg from 
being crushed under the falling body. 
Swinging clear of the great tumbling bulk, he leaped 
to his feet. 

For an instant he stood, as one drugged to stu- 
pidity, gazing down at the struggling animal. His 
last hope was gone. Syracuse was a full five miles 
away. He was on foot. The sun was making 
ready to sink behind the black mountain range to 
westward. 

Five miles to go on foot ! And a distance that 
the fleetest horse could scarce hope to travel in so 
brief a space of time ! 

Half subconsciously, he drew his sword's keen 
edge across the throat of the crippled horse; mer- 
cifully ending the poor brute's agony. 

As he sheathed his blade, Damon noted that the 
left side of his torn and muddied tunic was wet with 
blood. Then for the first time he realized that he 
had been wounded during his combat with the sol- 
dier. 

274 



FOR FRIENDSHIP! 275 

Carelessly, with glazed eyes, he glanced at the 
flesh wound in his left shoulder. The wound was 
not dangerous. Yet it was bleeding freely; and 
the loss of blood was beginning to weaken the 
man. 

His knees shook and his legs felt strangely heavy 
as he started afoot toward the city. He made no 
effort to stanch the blood, miserably wishing the 
wound might have found his heart instead of his 
shoulder. 

Knowing full well the hopelessness of his quest, 
he nevertheless broke into a shambling run. His 
sword and embossed sword-belt and scabbard seemed 
heavy, so feeble was he growing through loss of 
blood. He cast them behind him in the road. 

His sandals weighted his tired feet. He kicked 
them off and reeled on, barefoot; the sharp stones 
of the road cutting unheeded into his soles. 

"Pythias!" he gasped, chokingly, as he ran. 
"Pythias!" 

And again : 

" Pythias! Friend who is even now perhaps dy- 
ing for me ! I have failed you. Would to the gods 
I might have died ere such an hour of shame ! " 

On, on, he staggered, drunkenly; along the road 
to Syracuse; sweating, bleeding, dust-choked, dizzy. 
His mind was clouded. His heart was dead. Yet 
he moved toward his goal, bitterly hopeless as he 
knew his journey now to be. Had his feet been 



276 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

hewn away he would have crawled onward upon his 
knees. 

He knew full well there was no chance. Yet, so 
long as the fiery sun still stood above the mountains 
he would hasten toward the scaffold with all the 
weak force he still possessed. After that 

" Gods ! " his blackened and cracked lips formed 
the words that his fear-sanded throat could scarcely 
voice. " High gods of Olympus ! In friendship's 
holy name I supplicate you! I who never asked a 
boon for myself! Grant a miracle that shall carry 
me to Syracuse to die in my friend's stead! Grant 
it and " 

He staggered blindly against something that 
blocked his way; and, reeling back from the impact, 
he sank into the dust. 

The shock partly cleared his eyes and his throbbing 
brain. Looking upward he saw above him a dark 
faced man clad in snow white; who, seated on a 
white horse, was gazing down at the fallen Damon 
in grave wonder. 

At sight of the horse, Damon, by a mighty ef- 
fort, got to his feet. He recognized the steed as 
a desert Arab of the fleetest breed; even as he recog- 
nized the rider as one of the Arabian sheiks who 
occasionally journey from the far off desert to Syra- 
cuse on business of tribal import. 

Damon's hand went to his side. But neither purse 
nor sword hung there. There was no way to bribe 



FOR FRIENDSHIP! 277 

or coerce the Arab into letting him have his steed. 
And he knew himself too weak from loss of blood to 
grapple the man barehanded. 

Even as Damon was rising, the sheik spoke. Ey- 
ing the disheveled and bleeding Senator, he said 
slowly : 

" Are not you that Damon who was to return to 
the city to ransom his friend's life? I was in the 
throng to-day and saw " 

" Yes ! " croaked Damon, hoarse, incoherent. 

' Yes ! And I am too late unless Your steed, 

Sheik! In Friendship's holy name lend him to me! 

I will return him and his weight in gold pieces if - " 

" In Friendship's name he is yours," returned the 
Sheik, gravely. " And let there be no talk of pay. 
Ride to redeem thy pledge ! " 

Dismounting, as he spoke, he fairly lifted the ex- 
hausted Damojn to the saddle. 

" May heaven thank you as I cannot! " panted 
Damon, urging the milk white steed into a run. 

The blooded horse need no whip nor spur. 
Across the plain he swept; neck outstretched; tiny 
feet flying like the hurricane. 

The wounded man crouched low in the saddle, his 
eyes on the sinking sun; praying against all hope, 
that he might yet be in time. 

The swart faced Arab sheik gazed after him. 

" May the spirits of the Simoon speed Massoud's 
feet and bear the gallant man to his hero-death! " 



278 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

he mused. ' To die as he thus will die shall prove 
to all future ages that Friendship is holier than all 
else on earth." 

And the westering sun touched the top of the 
black mountains. 

The hour was come. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE HEADSMAN 

BLACK shadows from Wall and turret lay 
thick across the market square of Syracuse. 
In the very midst of the agora a hideous 
platform has been built 

Around the platform's foot surged and murmured 
a vast crowd of men and women. The noise of 
shouting, of laughter, of babbling talk, that mark 
the presence of a crowd, were wholly absent. 

Save for the low murmur of hushed voices, the 
throng around the scaffold-foot was silent, void of 
life. The faces of its men were white and tense. 
More than once the stifled sound of its women's 
weeping broke upon the stillness. 

The people of Syracuse had come forth into the 
agora to see a brave man die. From lip to lip sped 
low-muttered rumors. One man declared that Da- 
mon had returned and was even now about to be led 
forth to death. Another whispered that the Sena- 
tor had been waylaid by Dionysius' assassins a^id was 
even now dead. A third said that Pythias had aban- 
doned all hope of his friend's promised return and 
was prepared to meet his doom as a hero should. 

279 



280 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

At this last rumor, a wave of anger swept the 
crowd. Pythias was their idol. Gladly would hun- 
dreds of them have risked life for the dashing young 
general if, by that risk, he could have been saved. 

But, lining the square's edges, stood rank upon 
rank of Dionysius' picked veterans; full armed; iron 
of face; ready to sweep the market place empty and 
to deluge its pavement with blood at the lightest 
command of their King. 

Wherefore, heavy of heart, helpless to strike a 
blow for their hero, the people stood in tearful or 
muttering grief, and awaited the drama's next scene. 

Even the most casual resident of Syracuse, re- 
entering the city after an absence, that afternoon, 
would at once have known that something was much 
amiss. 

Usually, the sunset hour was the gayest of the 
twenty-four. The fierce heat of the day was then 
past; the cool breeze was setting in from the Medi- 
terranean; the toil of the masses was over and the 
time for recreation had begun. 

Then it was that from a hundred walled gardens 
came the soft twanging of lutes and the murmur of 
song and of laughter. Through the amber light 
the nightingale's sweet plaint awoke. The fishers' 
chant arose from the shore as the returning seamen 
hauled in their brown nets. 

Through the alleys of the ilex, white robed lovers 
strolled arm in arm. Tradesfolk sat pleasantly gos- 



THE HEADSMAN 281 

siping in front of their shops. Groups of women 
and girls loitered beside the public fountain, their 
light laughter mingling prettily with the plash of the 
water. Children played and shouted in streets and 
agora. And over all brooded the sweet peace of 
the dying day; the beauty of the sunset skies; the 
joy of work done and rest begun. 

This afternoon the wonted charm and glamour of 
the sunset hour were missing. No music or laugh- 
ter arose. No child shouted; no lover sang his woo- 
ing. 

Instead, the ominous hush, the heartsick murmur, 
the occasional clank of swords or shield or breast- 
plate. A man was to die. A man the city loved. 
And the city held its breath in horror and suspense. 

And the next move in the grisly drama the 
drama for whose unfolding the populace waited with 
fascinated dread was quick to be made. 

The rusty portcullis of the prison at the square's 
upper end was raised. The creaking of the grill in 
its grooves and the raucous jar of its chains rang 
audibly throughout the whole hushed square. 

Ten thousand eyes were turned toward the dirty- 
brown building. 

Through the grim archway, under the raised port- 
cullis, marched six prison guards; each in full armor; 
each with sheathed gladius at belt and each gripping 
a keen pointed pilum, which he carried at " guard/' 

In the midst of this clump of armed men strode 



282 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

a hideous figure: a short, squat man, apelike of 
build; his short legs surmounted by an abnormally 
muscular trunk from whose shoulders hung arms as 
long and as sinewy as a gorilla's. 

His face was bestial ; with small glittering eyes, a 
grotesquely flattened nose, low forehead, a bristling 
black beard and close-cropped hair. His dress con- 
sisted of a sleeveless jerkin and short kilt; the cos- 
tume affected by butchers of that time. 

Over his shoulder he carried a long hafted ax 
with an enormous curved blade; the badge of his 
calling. 

At sight of the sinister dwarfish man, a shudder 
ran through the crowd, followed by a long sigh of 
horrified loathing. 

Well did everyone there know the newcomer; and, 
in the streets, women were wont to draw aside their 
robes as he passed; and even the children would spit 
at him and hiss. 

He was Matho, the public executioner. 

Then, as in later and more civilized countries, the 
public executioner was held in abhorrence and dread 
by the public at large. His office was hereditary; 
descending from father to son. No one, save out- 
casts urged thereto by fear, would associate with 
him. He was shunned like a leper. 

Solitary, embittered, a creature of wholesale 
hatred, Matho lived out his days; as friendless in 
the teeming city of Syracuse as he would have been 



THE HEADSMAN 283 

on a desert island ; forbidden even to occupy a house 
within the city limits or to drink at a city tavern. 

In a little hut-community beyond the gates, he 
dwelt; his companions and neighbors, the paraschites 
(undertakers and embalmers), those accused of 
witchcraft and criminals who were in hiding. 

Only on occasions when a man must die to satisfy 
the law, was Matho allowed to set foot in the agora. 
And then, only when surrounded by a highly neces- 
sary band of bodyguards to protect him from the 
hatred of the people. 

This afternoon, the thick-packed crowd parted 
readily before the advance of Matho and his six 
guards. The mass of people parted to make a lane 
for them; as one draws back from a slimy serpent. 
There was less of fear of the guard in their move- 
ment than of aversion to the man who was guarded. 

Matho, unhindered, strode through the press; to 
the low flight of four steps that led upward to the 
platform of the scaffold. In the middle of the plat- 
form the headsman's block had been placed. It was 
a cylinder of wood whose summit had been hollowed 
to allow the neck of a victim to fit into it. 

Matho walked over to the block; placed one foot 
on it, tested the edge of his ax and waited. 

The sun was touching the western mountains. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

SUNSET 

MEANTIME, within the prison, Calanthe 
cowered. Refusing all of Creugas' pleas 
to leave the gloomy place, she had re- 
mained on the terrace outside of the door of Pythias' 
cell. 

Recovering from her swoon, she had hastened to 
the closed and barred door as fast as her faltering 
steps could bear her. Then, as near as possible 
to her sweetheart, she had pressed her fair warm 
body against the cold bars and called aloud to the 
captor. 

Creugas, by entreaties and almost by physical 
force, had sought to make her come away with him. 
But her one reply had been : 

" After sunset to-day Pythias and I shall be as 
far apart as are the Earth and the Elysian Fields. 
For this poor space of time that is left to us, let me 
be as near to him as I may. It is all that is left to 
him in life. It is all that will be left to me to re- 
member." 

Nor could Creugas' urging shake her resolve. 
And at last the old man had limped away, mumbling 
protests against her stubbornness. 

284 



SUNSET 285 

Through the long afternoon, as the sun, inch by 
inch, dipped toward the western horizon, the girl 
had knelt there against the bars, calling now and then 
to her prisoned lover; her love words deadened by 
the iron of the door. 

None molested her. Perhaps the power of the 
signet ring, shown by Creugas to the guard-captain,, 
prevented the turnkeys or soldiers from ordering her 
away. Perhaps the power of her own heart-broken 
love softened their rough hearts and made them leave 
her to her grief. 

And so the afternoon had dragged by, on leaden 
feet. The shadows lengthened and the sunset 
breeze drifted in from sea. And at last the weep- 
ing girl felt a hand on her bowed head. 

"No. No!" she wailed. " Not yet. Not 
yet!" 

She looked up to see Creugas bending over her. 
Behind him were soldiers. The men at arms stood 
out of earshot at the entrance to the inner corridor 
of the prison. Creugas, if he had accompanied them 
thither, had apparently bidden them wait at the ter- 
race-end while he spoke with Calanthe. 

" Leave me! " implored the girl, recognizing him. 
u Leave me with him alone, here until the 
last." 

" I have come," began the old man, " to tell 
you " 

" There are no tidings that can interest me now,'* 



286 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

she interrupted. " Oh, will you not leave me ? Do 
not think I am thankless for the service you sought 
to render him. Later, when all is over I can 
thank you, perhaps, as I should. But now I can 
think only of my loved one who must die." 

" Perhaps he need not die," said Creugas, gently. 

" Need not need not die ? " she echoed, incred- 
ulous; then: "No, good friend. You are wrong. 
He will not consent to escape; even if you can still 
save him that way." 

" I cannot," returned the old man. " Fortune 
never gives twice the same chance to the same man. 
To-day, Pythias had his chance. And he hurled it 
away from him, for honor's sake. That chance has 
flown. See, the ship that awaited him has sailed." 
4 Then, why do you come here to ? " 

" I come to tell you that there is hope for Pythias." 

"Hope? What hope can there be? His life 
hangs on Damon's return. And Damon cannot re- 
turn; for did not the assassins of Dionysius lie in wait 
for him in the woodland at the mountain-foot and 
slay him? " 

"No!" 

" No? " she cried, trembling all over. " But you 
told me " 

" I told you what I myself heard from the tyrant's 
own lips. Ten minutes ago I learned Dionysius 
changed his plans he is ever changeable, when the 
whim strikes him and recalled the murderers. 



SUNSET 287 

He is resolved not to cog fate's dice, he says; but 
to let the event shape itself. If Damon returns be- 
fore the sun has set, Pythias shall live. If he re- 
turns not, Pythias dies in his place. But the tyrant 
has not interfered with Damon's journey. The re- 
sult is on the knees of the gods." 

The girl sprang up; her lassitude gone, her face 
aglow, her eyes starlike and sparkling. 

" Oh, may the gods bring you wealth and bliss ! " 
she cried, impulsively seizing the old man's lean hand 
and covering it with kisses. " You have brought me 
to light and air, out of the grave. Pythias will be 
saved, then! " 

"If friendship be so sacred a thing as he and 
Damon have ever boasted," said Creugas. " If 
friendship be more to Damon than is Self, then 
Pythias shall live. If he prefer life rather than 
sarifice, then Pythias dies. All hangs on the weight 
of Damon's friendship, as weighed against love of 
life and wife and child. Few could withstand the 
test, perhaps none." 

"None?" she repeated, indignantly. "Have 
you forgot that for friendship's sake, Pythias this 
very day did turn his back on life and freedom? 
Shall Damon do less? " 

" That," replied Creugas dryly, " remains to be 
proven. 'Tis that which the tyrant himself waits 
in hot impatience to discover. He could not at first 
believe that friendship was so strong as to make 



288 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

Pythias yield himself hostage in Damon's stead. 
Nor, now, can he believe that Damon will be so 
great a fool as to come back and die when he may 
remain away and live." 

Calanthe scarce heard. A cloud had crossed the 
roseate glad hopes that had so suddenly sprung to 
life within her. She remembered her own earlier 
fears lest Damon might not withstand the terrible 
test; lest Hermion's tears might win him from 
honor ; lest the sight of his adored boy might melt his 
resolve. 

Yet only for an instant did she let her mind dwell 
on such morbid fears. The newborn hope was too 
strong to be long clouded. 

With her bare fists she beat upon the iron door of 
Pythias' cell, shrilling rapturously : 

" Pythias! Pythias, my lover, my lover! 
There is hope for you ! " 

Forgetting that her joyous news could not pierce 
the thick metal of the door, she cried it over and 
again. 

Steps and the clank of arms sounded behind her. 
The captain of the guard and a troop of twenty 
heavy-armed hopleit soldiers were advancing toward 
the cell. 

Calanthe's frightened gaze turned instinctively 
from the oncoming soldiers to the westering sun. 
The red orb's lower rim was wellnigh kissing the 
mountain crest. 



SUNSET 289 

And again sick fear possessed her. On a mad 
impulse she threw herself in front of the cell, her 
arms flung wide across it. 

" You shall not take him ! " she wept. " Grant 
him time ! Damon may yet come will yet come 

to take his place on the scaffold ! You reach my 
lover only across my corpse." 

The guard-captain's gnarled face took on a look 
of irritation. He stepped forward as though to 
drag the frantic bride away from the cell door. 

But Creugas, as if by accident, interposed his body 
between the girl and the captain. And the sunset 
rays, touching his uplifted hand, set the signet ring 
to flashing ominously. 

The Captain halted; irresolute; then, choking 
back his annoyance, said in gruff kindliness : 

" Lady, we do not come to take him to his death, 

if Damon returns. And there are still some few 
minutes lacking ere the hour of sunset. We come 
by orders of his gracious Majesty, the King, to lead 
the prisoner to the scaffold; there to wait Damon's 
coming." 

"But why ?" 

" 'Tis at the scaffold, not here in prison, Damon 
will seek him if he arrives by any chance at the last 
moment," explained Creugas. " And by going to 
the scaffold, forthwith, Pythias can behold his friend 
as he arrives. Were Damon to seek him here at 
the prison, much time might well be lost in gaining 



290 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

ingress. Come, sir!" to the guard-captain, " to 
your task. The lady will not oppose you. And, by 
the authority vested in me, I command that she be 
permitted to accompany her husband to the scaf- 
fold." 

Again, the Captain scowled, and seemed as though 
he were about to refuse. And again Creugas raised 
the shining hand that bore the monarch's signet ring. 

" As you say ! " grumbled the Captain. " If there 
be complaint or rebuke, for so irregular an act, I look 
to you to make my peace with the King." 

" Do not fear," said Creugas brusquely, " but 
make haste. The King's orders are yet unfulfilled." 

The soldier, as though irked at being forced to 
take orders from an ill-clad civilian, seemed about to 
rebuke the authoritative old man. But, again, on 
second thought, he swallowed his resentment. 

He strode to the cell door, unbarred it and flung 
it open. 

"Come forth !" he ordered. 

Pythias, deadly pale, yet his eyes fearless and his 
brow calm, stepped out upon the terrace. As be- 
fore, his glance swept sea and sky, lingering in brief 
dread on the low sun. 

Then he saw Calanthe and he stretched out his 
arms to her in silence. She fled to their mighty 
refuge and lay close to his breast. 

"My sweetheart!" she said softly, her voice 



SUNSET 291 

a-thrill with hope. " There is glorious news for 
you." 

" Damon has returned? " asked Pythias, more in 
sorrow than in hope. " My friend, then, must die? " 

" He has not returned," she made reply. " But 
he may return. The tyrant's order to slay him, as 
he rode, was countermanded. He was not way- 
laid." 

" Then he will be here." 

There was a calm certainty in Pythias's tone. 

" May the gods grant it ! " prayed Calanthe. 

" Come ! " ordered the Captain. " You are to 
await him on the scaffold." 

" On the scaffold? " echoed Pythias, recoiling ever 
so slightly. 

" It is the King's command," said the Captain. 

" I am ready," answered Pythias, his face and 
voice as calm as those of a man who fares forth to a 
feast. 

At a word from the Captain, the twenty hopleits 
formed in double rank about the prisoner. Calanthe, 
clinging to her husband's arm, pressed the closer to 
him as the armored men hemmed them in. Directly 
behind Pythias and Calanthe, in the dual hedge of 
soldiers, stood old Creugas. 

" March! " rasped the Captain, drawing his sword 
and taking his place at the little procession's head. 

The soldiers stepped forward as one man, in their 



292 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

leader's wake, their short heavy swords drawn. In 
the space between their double ranks walked Pythias 
and Calanthe, followed closely by Creugas. 

In this formation the party moved through the 
wide door into the prison, along its corridor and 
across the courtyard to the raised portcullis, where 
stood four spearmen on guard. 

The spearmen saluted, drew aside to let them 
pass, and then followed them as a rear rank, march- 
ing abreast. Behind the departing group, the port- 
cullis clanged down. 

Out into the sunset square marched Pythias, his 
guard in close order around him. At sight of the 
prisoner a groan as of physical pain went up from the 
thousands of onlookers that filled the square and the 
surrounding roofs and windows. 

At sight of the captive, all eyes were turned from 
the scaffold, with its grim form of the executioner 
standing, ax in hand, beside his block. There was 
an involuntary general movement toward the man 
who walked amid his guards; a movement of sym- 
pathy, of affection, of fierce pity. 

Well it was for the carrying out of Dionysius' 
' orders, that so many and such heavy-armed soldiers 
had been chosen for the prisoner's escort; else had 
the crowd torn Pythias free. As it was, the people 
surged like angry waves on every side of the pro- 
cession, sweeping up to the very sword-points of the 
hopleit guard. 



SUNSET 293 

Through the press, the Captain and his men 
marched. The people gave back, threateningly and 
hesitatingly, before their steel clad progress; weep- 
ing, murmuring, cursing. 

Pythias, his fair head erect, marched gallantly 
among his captors. The bright eye did not flinch 
even at sight of scaffold, block and headsman nor 
did the proud step lag. 

Firmly, he trod, shoulders back, eyes steady, white 
brow unruffled. One arm was about Calanthe, sup- 
porting her frightened steps. His firm set lips 
moved only to whisper words of love and good cheer 
to her; words which old Creugas, hobbling just be- 
hind, craned his stringy neck to catch. 

And thus, through the helplessly sympathetic 
crowd, they came at length to the scaffold. At the 
foot of its steps, the Captain halted. 

Creugas drew him aside and whispered earnestly 
to him for a moment or two. The Captain listened, 
at first impatiently; but with growing respect. When 
Creugas had finished, the Captain saluted. 

Creugas asked him a question. The Captain an- 
swered and Creugas made his way back to Calanthe 
and Pythias. 

" I have ordered the Captain," he said, " to keep 
sharp lookout for sign of Damon's coming; and to 
give you every moment that the tyrant's commands 
will permit." 

"Where is Dionysius?" queried Calanthe. "I 



294 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

had thought he would not miss this chance to gloat 
over his foe? " 

' Trouble yourself no more, then," said Creugas. 
" He is beholding all. Yet not where the people, 
should they seek to riot, can harm him." 

"Where, then?" asked Pythias, looking around. 

" See you the high tower above the prison? Then 
look closer. Upon its top, do you see three men 
standing? The parapet shields them and half-con- 
ceals them from the crowd." 

"I see them. But " 

" The central man of the three, he with the pur- 
ple mantle which masks his lower face, is Dio- 
nysius. His companions are Procles and Damocles." 

" But, seeing you with us, will he not " 

" Ere he can lay hands on me," said Creugas, " I 
shall be far beyond his power. Nor will he risk ob- 
servation by sending orders hither until the crowd 
has dispersed. The execution is in the hands of the 
Captain, yonder. He " 

The Captain approached, and motioned Pythias 
to mount the scaffold. Pythias obeyed; moving with 
regal trend as though mounting a throne. Calanthe, 
her arms locked about him, climbed the steps at his 
side. The officer stepped forward to prevent her. 
A word from Creugas checked him. And Creugas 
himself mounted the steps at their heels. 

Pythias looked about him; his keen eyes sweeping 
the crowd that filled the agora and blackened the 



SUNSET 295 

housetops. And, beyond, toward the plain he 
stared. Nowhere could he see the hurrying figure 
he sought. 

The sun's lower rim touched the mountain top to 
westward. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

FRIENDSHIP'S ALTAR 

CALANTHE, even more eagerly than Pyth- 
ias, gazed in every direction for sign of 
Damon's coming. Out over the plain 
roved her wide eyes; scanning such patches of the 
distant road as were visible ; seeking ever for the 
gray steed and his togaed rider. But the road 
seemed empty. 

Nor, through the crowd, was there sign of Damon 
shouldering his way forward to save his friend. 

" He will not come ! " she wept. 

And at sight of her tears, a noise of sobbing rose 
from the crowd. Women wept aloud. Men, in a 
gust of righteous rage at her grief, jostled forward, 
hands on knife hilts; threatening, growling, mouth- 
ing: 

Up to the ring of steel-clad soldiers who sur- 
rounded the scaffold, rushed the crowd; only to give 
back before the bristling line of sword points and 
spears. 

" He will not come ! " repeated the heartbroken 
girl. 

296 




Universal Film Manufacturing Co. 

"DIONYSIUS, TYRANT THOUGH HE BE, WILL NEVER SEVER FRIEND- 
SHIP SUCH AS THIS." 



FRIENDSHIP'S ALTAR 297 

" May the gods help him in the misfortune that 
has befallen him ! " said Pythias. " Were it hu- 
manly possible, he would be here ere now. He has 
been slain." 

" Perhaps," suggested Creugus, " he suddenly 
finds his life over-sweet to throw away." 

" Old man," rebuked Pythias sternly, " your with- 
ered heart has never known true friendship or stirred 
to the call of honor. Else you would unsay those 
lying words." 

" Creugas ! " broke in Calanthe. " You have 
pointed out Dionysius to me, on yonder tower. Take 
me to him, take me to him, my friend." 

1 To what purpose? " 

" That. I may kneel at his feet and implore of him 
my lover's life." 

" As well kneel to yon sinking sun and bid it stand 
still," answered Creugas. '' There is no mercy in 
the tyrant. You would but humble yourself in v'ain, 
to throw yourself on the mercy of the merciless." 

1 You shall not do it, my Calanthe," Pythias en- 
joined. " You shall not kneel to him. I am in the 
hands of the gods; not of the tyrant." 

" But I " 

" It is useless," supplemented Creugas. " Even 
were there time which there is not you could 
not reach him. For fear of a rising of the people 
in Pythias 7 behalf, Dionysius has not only gone to the 
tower's roof, but he has had the doors behind him 



298 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

barred; and soldiers of his own household guard 
stand s before the doors. No one can pass to him." 

" Prisoner," intervened the Captain, coming to- 
ward them, " the hour is at hand. Two minutes re- 
main to you to make your peace with the gods." 

" I have not waited until my death hour," re- 
turned Pythias, " to make my peace on high. I go 
to my death a brave and stainless soldier. Even as 
I have sought to teach my followers how to live, so 
now will I teach them how a true man can die. 
Calanthe! " he added, turning to the weeping girl, a 
catch in his own deep voice. " Sweetheart of mine, 
I shall wait for you at the Gateway of Life. When- 
ever the time may come, my own, I shall be waiting. 
For, Elysium will not be Elysium until you share it 
with me. Death cannot break the golden chain of 
such love as ours. Be brave, my glorious one. 
Tears are not for the bride of a soldier. One last 
kiss the last of many thousand " 

Their lips met in a long, long embrace. Then 

" Should Damon still live, do not upbraid him," 
Pythias besought. " He has much to live for. If 
he be not dead, then have the gods in their wisdom 
thrown some obstacle in the way of his return. He 
is not false to me. Be sure of that. Tell him I held 
him guiltless." 

" The hour has fallen," said the officer, laying a 
heavy hand on Pythias' arm. " Come ! " 

Shaking off the touch, Pythias gathered the maiden 



FRIENDSHIP'S ALTAR 299 

into his arms and strained her to his heart. Then, 
gently disengaging her arms that clung so tensely to 
him, and not daring to look again into her weeping 
eyes, he turned and walked to the block. Kneeling 
beside it he laid his head in the grisly hollow that 
awaited it. Calanthe would have run forward, but 
the Captain of the guard detained her. 

The executioner stepped forward; spat on his cal- 
loused palm, balanced the great ax in his grasp and, 
swinging the weapon on high, awaited the Captain's 
command to strike. 

From the hushed crowd arose a gasp of mortal 
horror. And, through that _gasp, came a cry ; 
hoarse, spent, yet terrible in its intensity. An in- 
stant's pause and then fifty voices from one end of 
the agora took up the cry; and it swelled into a 
yell of 

"Damon! Damon! Damon! DAMON!" 

The Captain, the word of command trembling on 
his lips, turned to note the cause of the outcry. The 
square's eastern end was in wild tumult. The close 
packed watchers broke up in an eddying mass; an 
eddy that swirled onward; nearer and ever nearer to 
the scaffold. And now fifty voices had grown to a 
thousand; all shrieking: 

"Damon!" 

The Captain's sharp glance pierced the nearing 
eddy. He saw all at once that its nucleus was a di- 
sheveled man, with blood streaming from a wound in 



3 oo DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

the shoulder and drenching his torn and soiled tunic; 
a man whose head was bare, and whose gray locks 
hung loose and disarranged, clotted with blood and 
dirt; whose ashen face was a mask of torture. 

"Hold!" called Creugas, imperiously thrusting 
aside the headsman's poised ax. 'Tis Damon! " 

Calanthe, with a shriek of joy, stared at the ap- 
proaching man. Weak, staggering drunkenly, 
Damon was forging ahead, toward the scaffold; 
helped on in his weak progress by scores of strong 
arms. 

Pythias arose from his knees and ran to the scaf- 
fold edge. 

" My friend ! " he cried brokenly. " My friend ! 
Oh, my friend! " 

Damon had reached the scaffold's foot. Reeling 
up the steps, he collapsed, exhausted, at the feet of 
Pythias; gasping breathlessly: 

" You live ! You still live/ Oh, all the gods be 
praised ! I am on time. I could not urge my horse 
through the thick crowd that walled in the square. 
I" 

" Damon ! " Calanthe was weeping, as she knelt 
at the wounded man. " Forgive me that I doubted 
you ! Forgive me that I doubted the holy power of 
friendship ! " 

" Friendship ! " muttered Damon, dazedly. 

Then, at the word, a delirium of ecstasy gripped 
him. Forgot were his fatigue, his wound, his weak- 



FRIENDSHIPS ALTAR 301 

ness. To his feet he struggled and stood swaying 
there, glaring wildly out over the tumultuous multi- 
tude that shouted itself crazy on every side of 
him. 

"Have I fallen from my horse ?" he mumbled, 
dizzily. " Or has the soldier slain me and am I in 
the House of the Dead? The gods know I would 
have died for my friend. And all that mere mortal 
could do I did. Yet I I am too late ! " 

"Damon! My friend! My brother!" cried 
Pythias, seizing his hands. 

The touch lent new life to the delirious man. He 
stood erect, as though fresh and unwounded ; and he 
laughed aloud in boyish triumph. 

" You live ! " he exulted. " You do live ! Then 
it was not a dream. Yet, there is the block. I stand 
upon the scaffold. The gods be praised, it is for me 
not you! Oh, this is the happiest hour of my 
life. I am here! n 

Staggering to the platform's edge, he threw out 
his arms. Instantly the clamorous crowd grew silent 
in expectation. 

" Friendship triumphs 1 " cried Damon, his voice 
ringing forth like a silver clarion. " Friendship tri- 
umphs! And I, a Friend, am greater than your 
King ! This scaffold is my throne ; a throne more 
glorious than Jupiter's own. I am to die. Yet 
Friendship shall live. Dionysius lives, yet his glory 
shall die; while mine shall wax ever brighter and 



302 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

brighter until it has eclipsed the sun itself. lo Tri- 
omphe! " 

A roar from ten thousand throats hysterically 
caught up the cry; and walls and hills echoed with 
" lo Trlomphe! " 

"Dionysius! Tyrant!" screamed Damon, car- 
ried away by the thrill of cheers. " Did ever Syra- 
cuse acclaim you as now in my person it acclaims 
Friendship? When were you hailed by shouts like 
these? Again, my friends! Shout! And let the 
noise of your applause rise to high heaven itself! 
lo Triomphe!" 

" lo Triomphe!" roared ten thousand voices. 

" Tell me ! " cried Damon, laughing wildly as he 
faced the captain of the guard. " Where is your 
tyrant master? Where does he hide? I fain would 
look on his defeat and laugh at him." 

" Then," spoke a voice behind him, " look and 
laugh!" 

Damon's bloodshot eyes turned and met those of 
Creugas. And, as he looked, Creugas raised both 
hands to his own head and face. 

In one gesture he drew away his hands and with 
them came the gray hair and beard. A sweep of his 
cloak-edge and the disfiguring red blotches and dark 
lines were wiped from his cheeks. 

" Dionysius! " gasped Calanthe. 

" Dionysius! " echoed Damon and Pythias, in one 
breath. 



FRIENDSHIP'S ALTAR 303 

" Dionysius," replied the King, his inscrutable 
gaze resting on each in turn, " the tyrant on whom 
you would fain i look and laugh.* What, man? " he 
went on, as the three stared upon him aghast, in- 
credulous, spellbound. " No laughter? Yet I 
merit laughter. For I am become the butt of mine 
own jest." 

Again his hawk eyes swept them. And still they 
were silent. To Pythias and to Calanthe, the trans- 
formation of the doddering old meddler, Creugas, 
into Dionysius himself, was little short of miracu- 
lous. It held them dumb. 

Damon, on the other hand, was scarce fit for 
speech. The momentary exaltation had passed; and 
weakness and pain surged wave-like over him. He 
had kept his vow. He had returned to lay down his 
life for his friend. He was in time for the sacrifice. 
Nothing else, for the instant, really mattered. That 
the tyrant had suddenly appeared out of space and 
confronted him roused scant interest in the exhausted 
man's mind. 

" Yes," resumed Dionysius, a half-sad smile curv- 
ing his thin lips, " I am become the butt of mine own 
sorry wit. I pray your heed while I tell in a mere 
mouthful of words the tale of the jest. Pythias, I 
have ever envied you : Your youth, your strength, 
your power to make the commons love you. Aye, 
and your power to win this maid. But most of all 
I envied you the one thing which I, with all my wiles 



3 o 4 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

and all my force have never been able to win. Can 
you guess what that is? " 

" Respect? " queried Pythias, at a venture. 

Dionysius winced, ever so little; then forced back 
the wry smile to his lips. 

" Perhaps Respect were worth the envying," he 
made reply. " And perhaps I have it not; but only 
its twin brother, Fear. Yet it was not of Respect 
that I spoke ; but of Friendship. Yes, of that friend- 
ship which knitted your soul to Damon's with ropes 
of steel ; and that I now know must knit it so until the 
mortal casket is forever stilled." 

He paused, then went on : 

" I envied such wondrous Friendship. I could 
inspire fear, flattery, service, and even a cringing rev- 
erence. But even as I greedily filled my purse with 
such coins as those, I realized they were of base 
metal and that friendship alone is of true gold. And 
Friendship was beyond my winning. So, like the fox 
in the fable of ^Esop the Slave, I feigned to scorn 
what was above my reach. I told others yea, and 
I told myself that Friendship was but an empty 
name; that at the first clash with Self-interest, it 
would crumble to nothingness. Thus did Dionysius, 
your King, seek to console himself for what could 
never be his. And thus did he seek to make gratified 
ambition take its place; even as men who are starv- 
ing chew bits of wood or straw in place of food. 

" Then, this day, came an hour when I felt I could 



FRIENDSHIP'S ALTAR 305 

prove, once and forever, how frail a thing is Friend- 
ship; and that henceforth I should the less miss its 
possession. Therefore, I let Damon go free while 
you stayed in his place, to take on yourself his fate 
should he not return. I was full sure he would not 
come back to meet his death. For I knew the love 
of wife and child are all-powerful. Combined with 
the love of life, I believed they would burst Friend- 
ship's stoutest bonds." 

" You believed that of me? " cried Damon, 
" and yet you let me go? " 

" To prove the worthlessness of Friendship was a 
far dearer wish to me than to glut my vengeance on a 
foe. So I freed you ; with no thought that I should 
again set eyes on you. But not even yet was I content. 
I was fain to prove Friendship's weakness in the 
case of Pythias as well. Wherefore, I spread before 
him such temptation as I believed no mortal could 
resist. I played upon every emotion a true man may 
feel. I offered him freedom, the love of his be- 
trothed, reunion with his loved father, the chance to 
begin life afresh in other lands. He refused for 
Friendship's sake. I told him you were slain and 
that his sacrifice was futile. Still, in Friendship's 
name, he would not yield. I sought to shake his re- 
solve by pointing out dangers that awaited Calanthe. 
In all, he was steadfast. And at last I knew that at 
least one-half of my experiment had failed. To the 
very foot of the scaffold I tempted him. And he 



306 DAMON AND PYTHIAS 

stood firm. Then, even as I took comfort in the 
thought that you at least had proven false, you re- 
turned. The jest is at my expense. You do well 
to say you wish to laugh at me. For I am beaten. 
Yet not by any mortal ; but by something that is im- 
mortal ; by Friendship." 

" And now," broke in Damon, " now that you have 
yourself proven how weak is the strongest monarch, 
compared with Friendship's power, have done with 
speaking of that which you can never hope to under- 
stand. And turn to that which is within your pow- 
ers. I am your enemy. I sought to kill you. I am 
here upon the scaffold to pay my debt. Glut your 
revenge to the full. Bid your headsman to strike. 
I am ready." 

4 To strike?" echoed Dionysius, as if but half- 
comprehending; then : " When the high gods thwart 
our puny mortal plans, do we repay them by laying 
impious hands upon their altars? Nay, we dare not; 
even if we would. And to-day I am face to face 
with that which is holier and higher than all the gods 
of Olympus. I stand before the altar of Friendship. 
And I dare not defile so sacred a shrine. In slaying 
you, I would not be ridding myself of a foe. I 
would be committing sacrilege upon a Deity." 

" I am to be imprisoned, then, instead? Far 
rather would I die. If I am to be parted from those 
I love, let it be by death, not by a living sepulchre of 
stone." 



FRIENDSHIP'S ALTAR 307 

" I spoke not of prisons. Friendship cannot be 
fettered. Peace ! " as he raised his hand to check 
Damon's exclamation of wonder. " Peace until I 
have issued my commands! " 

To the Captain he continued: 

" Send forth a herald to proclaim that Damon is 
pardoned ! The ' tyrant ' Dionysius gives him back 
his life. His life and his liberty. Yet not to him, 
but to Friendship ! To that which all my power can- 
not buy me ; nor all his misfortunes snatch from him. 
He is free!" 



THE END 



STORIES OF RARE CHARM BY 

GENE STRATTON-PORTER 

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THE HARVESTER 



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Illustrated by Wladyslaw T. Brenda. 




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Illustrations in colors by Oliver Kemp. Design and decorations by 
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THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE. / 
Illustrated by F. C. Yohn. 

> The "lonesome pine" from which the 
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A KNIGHT OF THE CUMBERLAND./ 
Illustrated by F. C. Yohn. 

The scenes are laid along the waters of the Cumberland* 
the lair of moonshiner and f eudsman. The knight is a moon- 
shiner's son, and the heroine a beautiful girl perversely chris- 
tened "The Blight." Two impetuous young Southerners' fall 
under the spell of "The Blight's " charms and she learns what 
a large part jealousy and pistols have in the love making of the 
mountaineers. 

Included in this volume is " Hell fer-Sartain" and other 
stories, some of Mr. Fox's most entertaining Cumberland valley 
narratives. 

Ask for complete fret list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction 

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26th ST., NEW YORK 




MYRTLE REED'S NOVELS 

May be had wherever books are sold. A;k for firosset & Dunlsp's list 



LAVENDER AND OLD LACE. 

A charming story of a quaint corner of 
New England where bygone romance finds a 
modem parallel. The story centers round 
the coming of love to the young people on 
the staff of a newspaper and it is one of the 
prettiest, sweetest and quaintest of old fash- 
ioned love stories, * * * a rare book, ex- 
quisite in spirit and conception, full of 
delicate fancy, of tenderness, of delightful 
humor and spontaniety. 



A SPINNER IN THE SUN. 

Miss Myrtle Reed may always be depended upon to write a story 
in which poetry, charm, tenderness and humor are combined into a 
:lever and entertaining book. Her characters are delightful and she 
always displays a quaint humor of expression and a quiet feeling of 
pathos which give a touch of active realism to all her writings. In 
"A Spinner in the Sun" she tells an old-fashioned love story, of a 
veiled lady who lives in solitude and whose features her neighbors 
have never seen. There is a mystery at the heart of the book that 
throws over it the glamour of romance. 

THE MASTER'S VIOLIN, 

A love story in a musical atmosphere. A picturesque, old Ger- 
man virtuoso is the reverent possessor of a genuine "Cremona." He 
consents to take for his pupil a handsome youth who proves to have 
an aptitude for technique, but not the soul of an artist The youth 
has led the happy, careless life of a modern, well-to-do young Amer* 
lean and he cannot, with his meagre past, express the love, the passion 
and the tragedies of life and all its happy phases as can the master 
who has lived life in all its fulness. But a girl comes into his life a 
beautiful bit of human driftwood that his aunt had taken into her 
heart and home, and through his passionate love for her, he learns 
the lessons that life has to give and his soul awakes. 

Founded on a fact that all artists realize. 

Ask for a complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction 



GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26th ST., NEW YORK 



GROSSET& DUN LAP'S 

DRAMATIZED NOVELS 

THE KIND THAT ARE MAKING THEATRICAL HISTORY 
May be had wherever books art sold. Ask for Gresset & Dunlap's Oat 

WITHIN THE LAW. By Bayard Veiller & Marvin Dana. 
Illustrated by Wm. Charles Cooke. 

This is a novellzation of the immensely successful play which ran 
for two years in New York and Chicago. 

The plot of this powerful novel is of a young woman's revenge 
directed against her employer who allowed her to be sent to prison 
for three years on a charge of theft, of which she was innocent. 

WHAT HAPPENED TO MARY. By Robert Carlton Brown. 
Illustrated with scenes from the play. 

This is a narrative of a young and innocent country girl who is 
suddenly thrown into the very heart of New York, "the land of her 
dreams, where she is exposed to all sorts of temptations and dangers. 

The story of Mary is being told in moving pictures and played in 
theatres all over the world. 

THE RETURN OF PETER GRIMM. By David Belasco. 
Illustrated by John Rae, 

This is a novelization of the popular play in which David War, 
field, as Old Peter Grimm, scored such a remarkable success. 

The story is spectacular and extremely pathetic but withal, 
powerful, both as a book and as a play. 
THE GARDEN OF ALLAH. By Robert Hichens.; 

This novel is an intense, glowing epic of the great desert, sunlit 
barbaric, with its marvelous atmosphere of Yastness and loneliness, 

It is a book of rapturous beauty, vivid in word painting. The play 
has been staged with r -vgnificent cast and gorgeous properties. 
BEN HUR. A Tale of the Christ. By General Lew Wallace. 

The whole world has placed this famous Religious-Historical Ro- 
mance on a height of pre-eminence which no other novel of its time 
has reached. 1 he clashing of rivalry and the deepest human passions, 
the perfect reproduction of brilliant Roman life, and the tense, fierce 
atmosphere of the arena have kept their deep fascination. A tre- 
mendous dramatic success. 

BOUGHT AftD PAID FOR. By George Broadhurst and Arthur 
Hornblow. Illustrated with scenes from the play. 

A stupendous arraignment of modern marriage which has created 
an interest on the stage that is almost unparalleled. The scenes are laid 
in New York, and deal with conditions among both the rich and poor. 

The interest of the story turns on the day-by-day developments 
which show the young wife the price she has paid. _ 

A sk for compete fret list of G. & D. Popular Co^yriglted Fiction 

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26th ST.. NEW YORK 



YB 39975 



912964 



THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 

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