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
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
Copyright, 1915 by
GROSSET & DUNLAP
THE UNIVERSAL FILM MANUFACTURING COMPANY
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
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.
LIMA, Ohio, December 12, 1914.
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
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-
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-
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
" 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
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-
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
" 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
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
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
" 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
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
" 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
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
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
" 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
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,
'* 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
" 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."
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
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.
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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
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
" 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
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
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
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-
" 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
'* 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
" 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
" 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
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."
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
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
24 DAMON AND PYTHIAS
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? "
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.
The other checked him with brows incredulously
" She ? " he repeated. " What mean these ' shes '
and * hers ' in your speech, Pythias ? Explain your-
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
" 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
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
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
" 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
" 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-
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
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
" 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
" 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-
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-
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
HE WHO COVETS 37j
hills outside Syracuse, while below, in the heart of
the city, craft, hatred and the shedding of blood ruled
" 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
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
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
"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
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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
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-
" 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-
" 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
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
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-
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-
Once out of his grasp, outraged, quivering with
anger, she raised her hand and cut him sharply across
" 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
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
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-
" 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
" 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! "
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
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-
' 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
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-
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-
" 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
" 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
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-
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
" 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
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
" 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-
" 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-
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
" 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-
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-
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-
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" 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'
" 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
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
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
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-
'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-
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,
" 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
" 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-
"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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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*
" 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-
" 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-
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
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
" 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-
" 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-
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
Calanthe sat, huddled in loathing and constant ter-
ror of a slimy attack from one or the other of these
" 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
" 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
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
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
" 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-
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-
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
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
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-
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.
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
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
" 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
" 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-
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
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-
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-
" 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
" 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-
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-
" 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
' 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
" 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
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
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
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-
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
"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
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
" 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
" 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-
" 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 ! "
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."
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
Calanthe, abashed, sought shelter in her lover's
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
"And you consented?" questioned Damon,
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-
" 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
" 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
"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
" 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
" 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
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
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
As he entered the inner room a crowd of roughly
clothed folk started in astonishment at sight of his
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 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
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-
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
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
" 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-
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
Damocles summoned closer the shrimplike owner.
' You will get rid of those men," he commanded
' 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
" 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
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
" 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
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
And once again the regular breathing told of
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
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-
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
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
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
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
IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT 117
" 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
"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-
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-
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-
" Have thought of the stable boys? " was the wary
" 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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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-
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
" 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
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-
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-
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
" 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
"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
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
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! "
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-
" 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
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'
" 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-
" 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
" 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,
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
"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
" 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-
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
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.
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
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
" 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-
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
" 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
" We have done well to rouse enthusiasm of such
power," commented Damocles, with a chuckle of
"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-
" 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
Damocles spoke, his tones honeyed with submis-
" 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
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
"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
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
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
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-
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
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
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-
THE RACE 157
" So wonderful is their friendship ! " supplemented
" 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
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
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
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
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-
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-
With an over-low reverence, he left their board
THE RACE 161
and found his way, a bit uncertainly, to his own cir-
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
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
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
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-
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
Opposite, Dionysius, with mouth drawn at one
corner and lids half shut, looked upon her grief
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
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
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.
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
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
'' 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
Eunice caressed the bent head and shaking shoul-
" 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
" 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
"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
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
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
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.
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
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-
" 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
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
" 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
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
" Seat yourself and wait until the important busi-
A FRIEND'S STRONG ARM 185
ness of the day be finished," commanded Philistius
"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
" 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-
" 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.
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
" 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
" 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 ! "
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-
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-
"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
" 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
"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
" 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
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
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
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-
"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
" 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-
" 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
" 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-
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-
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
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
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
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
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-
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--
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-
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
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-
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-
" 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
" 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-
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 ! '
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
" 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.
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
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
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?
" 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
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!
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!'
66 TT MUST speak to him! I will speak to
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
"What can be done? Speak quickly, that I may
do all that lies in my poor power. Will Diony-
' 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."
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
" 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-
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
" 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.
A GRAY-BEARDED man, whose tangled
white hair cascaded out from his hood and
over his forehead, loitered near the city
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.
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
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-
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
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
" 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-
" 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! "
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
A light touch on her arm made her turn. Through
a mist of tears she saw the old one-eyed freedman
" You are Calanthe?" asked the old man, his
voice very gentle. " You are Calanthe, the bride of
" 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
" What are you saying? " she faltered, trembling
at his words and tone. " What do you know of
" 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."
" 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
" 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-
The officer, saluting stiffly, stood aside for the
freedman and Calanthe to pass.
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.
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
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
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" Who are you," demanded Pythias, " that bids
me before my time? Has the tyrant relented
" Dionysius does not relent. It is not his way.
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."
" 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-
" 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
" Quick! " ordered Pythias. " The way out! I
must go! "
"Go? Many a prisoner has hoped that. But
" 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
"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
" It holds what all men seek and what you have
won: Love! "
" 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 "
" 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
u T n
" You doubt me? Turn and look! There is my
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
" Calanthe ! " gasped Pythias. " Jove above !
HE sprang to meet her. But as he reached
her the girl stepped back. A fugitive
memory had come to her of their last
" 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
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-
" 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."
" But, Pythias, surely Creugas explained to
" 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-
" Then would you have me sink to his level by
breaking faith with him?"
* 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
" It is the bitterest drop in my death cup. I would
eagerly die ten thousand times if I might save you
" 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
" 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.
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.
"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
" 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-
;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
the bitterness of death before my hour? I cannot
go, I will not go ! "
" Pythias " began Creugas.
" 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
" 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
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
"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
"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.
" 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-
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
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.
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-
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
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-
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."
" 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-
" 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
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
" 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."
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
" Are you so unhappy, then, when I am absent? "
"Unhappy? I do not live. I only wait. Oh,
my own husband, if I should tell you how I fear and
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
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
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
" 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 '
" 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
" 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 "
" 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
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,
25 8 DAMON AND PYTHIAS
" To Syracuse," finished Damon; and his voice
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 "
" 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
"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
"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-
" 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-
"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
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
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
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 ! "
OUT through the gateway tp the road sprang
" 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-
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
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
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."
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-
" 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
" 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-
" 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
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,
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-
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
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
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-
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-
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-
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-
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
And the sun dropped lower and lower. Now it
hung scarce a hand-breadth above the western moun-
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. .
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
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-
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
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
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.
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
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
" 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
The hour was come.
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.
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
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-
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-
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
At sight of the sinister dwarfish man, a shudder
ran through the crowd, followed by a long sigh of
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.
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'
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
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-
Nor could Creugas' urging shake her resolve.
And at last the old man had limped away, mumbling
protests against her stubbornness.
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
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
" I have come," began the old man, " to tell
" 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? " 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.
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
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
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
Calanthe's frightened gaze turned instinctively
from the oncoming soldiers to the westering sun.
The red orb's lower rim was wellnigh kissing the
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
"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-
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
"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
a-thrill with hope. " There is glorious news for
" 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-
" 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
" 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
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
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
" 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
"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
housetops. And, beyond, toward the plain he
stared. Nowhere could he see the hurrying figure
The sun's lower rim touched the mountain top to
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
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-
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
" He will not come ! " repeated the heartbroken
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
"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:
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
Pythias arose from his knees and ran to the scaf-
" 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.
" 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
"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
" 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-
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!" 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
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
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
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
" 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
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!"
STORIES OF RARE CHARM BY
Hay be had wfaeraver books art said. Ask for Crossot and Dunlap's list.
Illustrated by W. L. Jacobs
"The Harvester," David Langston, is
a man of the woods and fields, who draws
his living from the prodigal hand of Mother
Nature herself. It the book had nothing in
it but the splendid figure of this man, with
his sure gnp on life, his superb optimism,
and his almost miraculous knowledge of
nature secrets, it would be notable. But
when the Girl comes to his "Medicine
Woods," and the Harvester's whole sound,
healthy, large outdoor being realizes that
this is the highest point of life which has
come to him there begins a. romance,
troubled and interrupted, yet of the rarest idyllic quality.
FRECKLES. Decorations by E. Stetson Crawford
Freckles is a nameless waif when the tale opens, but the way in
which he takes hold of life; the nature friendships he forms in the
great Limberlost Swamp; the manner in which everyone who meets
nim succumbs to the charm of his engaging personality; and his love-
story with "The Angel" are full of real sentiment.
A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST.
Illustrated by Wladyslaw T. Brenda.
sheer beauty of her soul, and the purity of her vision, she wins from
barren and unpromising surroundings those rewards of high courage.
It is an inspiring story of a life worth while and the rich beauties
of the out-of-doors are strewn through all its pages.
AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW.
Illustrations in colors by Oliver Kemp. Design and decorations by
Ralph Fletcher Seymour.
The scene of this charming, idyllic love story is laid in Central
Indiana. The story is one of devoted friendship, and tender self-
sacrificing love; the friendship that gives freely without return, and
the love that seeks first the happiness of the object. The novel is
brimful of the most beautiful word painting of nature, and its pathos
and tender sentiment win endear it to all.
Ask for compete free list of C. & D. Po^vJar Copyrighted Fiction
GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26th ST., NEW YORK
STORIES OF THE KENTUCKY MOUNTAINS
May be had wherever books are told. *l Ask for Gromt and Dunlap's list.
THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE. /
Illustrated by F. C. Yohn.
> The "lonesome pine" from which the
story takes its name was a tall tree that
stood in solitary splendor on a mountain
top. The fame of the pine lured a young
engineer through Kentucky to catch the
trail, and when he finally climbed to its
shelter he found not only the pine but the
foot-prints of a girl. And the girl proved
engineer a madder chase
of the lonesome pine."
THE LITTLE SHEPHERD OF KINGDOM COME
Illustrated by F. C. Yohn.
This is a story of Kentucky, in a settlement known as "King-
dom Come." It is a life rude, semi-barbarous; but natural
and honest, from which often springs the flower of civilization.
" Chad." the "little shepherd" did not know who he was nor
whence he came he had just wandered from door to door since
early childhood, seeking shelter with kindly mountaineers who
gladly fathered and mothered this waif about whom there was
such a mystery a charming waif, by the way, who could play
the banjo better that anyone else in the mountains.
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
Included in this volume is " Hell fer-Sartain" and other
stories, some of Mr. Fox's most entertaining Cumberland valley
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
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
THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY
^___ . ,