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Title: The Childhood of Rome
Author: Lamprey, Louise
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                       [Illustration: Cover image]

 [Illustration: Marcia wove her basket, putting a band of red around the
                                 curve.]



                              THE CHILDHOOD
                                OF ROME
                                   By
                                L. LAMPREY

                          WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
                            EDNA F. HART-HUBON

                      [Illustration: Printer’s sign]
BOSTON
LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY
1925



                           _Copyright, 1922,_
                      BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

                          _All rights reserved_



                 PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



                                   TO
                           MAITLAND C. LAMPREY



                               INTRODUCTION


It is scarcely necessary to say that these stories are not meant to be
taken as history, even legendary history. The tales of the founding of
Rome and of the early life of the Italian races are many and
contradictory. It is quite possible that future discoveries may disprove
half the theories now held on these subjects. There must have been,
however, heroic semi-savage figures like the Romulus of the legends, and
the aim of the author has been to re-create in some degree the atmosphere
and the surroundings in which they may have lived.

The various customs and events introduced here were not, probably, part of
the history of one generation. It is possible, however, that as a tree
grows from a seed, the laws of the future city were foreshadowed and
suggested in the relations between the Romans as individuals and between
the town on the Palatine and its neighbors.

It will be observed that the forms of Latin and Italian names used in
these stories do not follow the usual classic Latin style and end in “us.”
It is said by some authors that the original immigrants from whose customs
and traditions Roman civilization developed came from Greece, and in that
case such Greek forms as “Vitalos” might have been preserved long after
such clipped forms as “Marcus” and “Marcs” became current. Inasmuch as
Italian peasant names hardly ever end in anything but a vowel it seems
illogical to take it for granted that in a colony of farmers, such as the
men who founded Rome, the names would all have taken the classical Latin
form at first. They would have been much more likely to vary according to
the ancestry, dialect and intelligence of the family. Later they would
tend to a conventional form as certain families of distinction set a
standard for others to follow and took pride in keeping their own speech
correct.

In short, the period described here is a transition stage, and like any
age of the founding of a new civilization, contains incongruous elements.
It has been stated that even in the great days of the Roman Empire the
number of people who actually spoke correct classical Latin was extremely
small in proportion to the whole population of any city.



                           THE LIVING LANGUAGE


  Sing a song of little words, homely parts of speech,
  Phrases children use at play, songs that mothers teach,—
  Who would think when Rome was new, they used that language then—
  Table, chair and family, map and chart and pen?

  Sing a song of stately ways, camp and square and street,
  Consuls, tribunes, governors, the legion’s myriad feet,
  If those wise men so long ago had not known what to say,
  All they gave us readymade we should not have to-day.

  Clear and straight and brief their talk in country or in town.
  Lucid, vivid, accurate the thoughts that they set down.
  Still the world is using words that bear the Roman stamp—
  Coined in forum, villa, temple, market place or camp.
  Still our thoughts take day by day those shapes of long ago—
  If you read the dictionary you will find it’s so.



                                 CONTENTS


CHAPTER                               PAGE
     I.   THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE           3
    II.   TEN FAMILIES                  17
   III.   THE SACRED YEAR               28
    IV.   THE BANDITTI                  40
     V.   THE WOLF CUB                  55
    VI.   BOUNDARY LINES                68
   VII.   MASTERLESS MEN                81
  VIII.   THE BEEHIVE TEMPLE            94
    IX.   THE SQUARE HILL              108
     X.   THE KINSMEN                  117
    XI.   THE TAKING OF ALBA LONGA     130
   XII.   THE RING WALL                140
  XIII.   THE SOOTHSAYERS              152
   XIV.   BREAD AND SALT               161
    XV.   THE TRUMPERY MAN             174
   XVI.   THE GREAT DYKE               184
  XVII.   THE WAR DANCE                196
 XVIII.   THE PEACE OF THE WOMEN       208
   XIX.   THE PRIEST OF THE BRIDGE     224
    XX.   THE THREE TRIBES             233
   XXI.   UNDER THE YOKE               243
  XXII.   THE GOAT’S MARSH             251
          A ROMAN ROAD                 261



                              ILLUSTRATIONS


Marcia wove her basket, putting a band of red around      _Frontispiece_
the curve
                                                                    PAGE
Other flocks of sheep and other men with oxen were                    12
hurrying to shelter
The patriarch looked at the fire on the altar                         21
All the young voices took up the song                                 33
The people gathered in the public square                              45
Whoever they were, it was proper at this time to offer                59
food to strangers
“I have seen something like this before,” he said                     72
The lad went straight down the mountainside with his                  79
wolf at his heels
The little maidens walked soberly together                            96
The little creatures inside the basket were not cubs or              103
lambs
“Victory! Vic-to-ry! Romulus forever!”                               132
Then they blessed him and crowned him with the victor’s              139
crown of laurel
A plan of Rome in classical times, showing the seven                 144
hills
The copper plow was drawn by a white bull and a white                147
cow
They sat together that night and watched the moon sail               161
grandly over the flood
Mamurius lifted her in his strong arms and carried her               170
through the door
Toto spread out his gay cloth upon the ground                        178
There was a gleam of bright metal in the hole they were              203
digging
Emilia was allowed to sit with them and spin and sew                 216
His mother molded for him men and animals                            235
Far away, in a cavern on a mountain height, there lived              259
for many years an old shepherd



                          THE CHILDHOOD OF ROME



                                    I


                           THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE


Marcia, the little daughter of Marcus Vitalos the farmer, sat on a
sheltered corner of a stone wall, making a willow basket. Basket weaving
was one of the first things that all children of her people learned, and
she was very clever at it. Her strong, brown fingers wove the osiers in
and out swiftly and deftly, as a bird builds its nest. The boys and girls
cut willow shoots, and reeds, and grasses that were good for this work, at
the proper time, and bound them together in bundles tidily, for use later
on. The straw, too, could be used for making baskets and mats after the
grain was threshed out of it.

A great many baskets were needed, for they were used to hold the grain,
and the beans, and the onions, and the dried fruit, and the various other
things that a thrifty family kept stored away for provisions. They were
also used to gather things in and to carry them in, and sometimes they
took the place of dishes in serving fruit or nuts. Almost every size and
shape and kind could be made use of somewhere. The one Marcia was making
was round and squat and quite large, and it was to have an opening at the
top large enough to put one’s hand into easily, and a cover to fit.

The house in which she lived was one of the oldest in the village on the
slopes of the Mountain of Fire. It was so old that there was no knowing
how many children had grown up in it, but they were all of the same
family,—the family of the Marcus Vitalos Colonus who built it in the first
place. This long-ago settler was called Colonus, the farmer, not because
he was the only farmer in the neighborhood, for everybody worked on the
land, but because he was an unusually good one, a leader among them in the
understanding of the good brown earth and all its ways.

His sons after him took the name Colonus, for among their people it was
considered very important to belong to a good family. As soon as a man’s
name was mentioned his ancestry was known, if he had any worth the naming.
The ancestor of all this people was said to have been Mars, the god of
manhood and all manly deeds. Their names showed this, for the common ones
were Marcus, Mamurius, Mavor, Mamertius and so on, with some other name
added to describe their occupations, or the place where they lived, or
some peculiar thing about them. Plautus meant the splay-footed man;
Sylvius, the man of the forest; Marinus, the seaman,—and there had been a
Marcus Vitalos Colonus in this family, ever since the first one. Marcia’s
elder brother, two years older than she was, had this name, but he was
usually called Marcs, for in their language the last syllable was apt to
be slurred over.

It was very quiet in the village just now, for all the men were off
getting in the harvest. The grain lands and the pastures were some
distance away, wherever the land was suitable for crops or grazing. Every
morning, directly after breakfast, every one who had anything to do away
from the village went out, and usually did not come back until supper
time. It was said that the first Marcus Vitalos was the leader who had
persuaded the people to settle down in one place instead of moving about,
driving their herds here and there. It was said also that he began the
custom of a common meal in the middle of the day for all the men who were
working on the land. This not only saved time and trouble, but made them
better acquainted and gave them time to talk over and plan the work during
the hottest part of the day. When the day’s toil was finished, each man
returned to his own house and had supper with his family. The houses were
built, not too near together, around an open square. The wall around the
house enclosed the sheepfold and the cattle sheds besides. The people
worked and played together for much of the time, but there was a certain
plot of ground that came down from father to son in each family and
belonged to that family alone. Nobody else had any rights there at all.

The people were very careful to do everything according to custom. Almost
everything they did had been worked out long ago into a sort of system,
which was considered the best possible way to do it. Certain customs were
always observed because the gods of the land were said to be pleased with
them. Whether the gods had anything to do with it or not, these children
of Mars were certainly more prosperous than most of their neighbors, and
had many things which they might not have had if it had not been for their
careful ways. The soil of the sunshiny mountain slopes was rich and
fruitful and easy to work; the clear mountain waters were pleasant and
wholesome, and in certain places there were hot springs which had been
found good to cure disease. It was not strange that they believed the gods
took especial care of them and would go on being kind to them so long as
proper respect was shown.

Marcia wove her basket, putting a band of red around the curve before she
began to draw it in, and her thoughts went far and near, as thoughts do.

The family spent very little time indoors when it was possible to be in
the open air. The mother sat spinning in the doorway, and the baby played
at her feet. The father was harvesting, and Marcs was out with the sheep.
The next younger brother, Bruno they called him, had gone fishing. Supper
was in an earthen pot comfortably bubbling over the fire. It would be
ready by the time they all came home. Marcia had had her dinner and helped
clear away before she came out here. Although the people had some
vegetables and herbs, their main crop was grain. It was a kind of cereal a
little like wheat and a little like barley, with a small hard kernel, and
they called it “corn,” which meant something that is crushed or ground
into meal. When it was pounded in a mortar and then boiled soft, it made
good porridge. Boiled until it was very thick, and poured out on a flat
stone or board to cool, it could be cut into pieces and eaten from the
hand. The children had all they wanted, with some goat’s-milk cheese and
some figs. Marcia could hear them laughing and shouting as they played
with the pet kid. He was old enough now to butt the smaller ones right
over on their backs, and he did it whenever they gave him a chance.

Marcia was rather a silent girl, with a great deal of long black hair in
heavy braids, level black brows over thoughtful eyes, and a square little
chin. As she began to draw in her basket at the top, she was thinking of
the stories the old people sometimes told about a long-ago time when their
ancestors lived in another and far more beautiful place. There the rivers
ran over sands that gleamed like sunshine, and all the land was like a
garden. The houses were larger than any here and built of a white stone.
There were stone statues like those she and Marcs sometimes made in clay
for the children to play with, but as large as men and women and painted
to look like life. The gods came and went among the children of men and
taught them all that they have ever known, but much had since been
forgotten. So ran the story.

Sometimes in the heart of this mountain there were rumblings underground,
as if the thunder had gone to earth like a badger. The old people said
then that the smith of the gods was working at his forge. The noises were
made by his hammer, beating out weapons for the gods. The plume of smoke
that drifted lazily up from the deep bowl-shaped hollow in the mountain
top came from his fires. To these people the mountain was like a great
still creature, maybe a god in disguise. The forest hung on the slopes
above like a bearskin on the shoulders of a giant. Up higher were barren
rocks and cliffs, where nothing grew.

Marcia looked up at the mighty crest so far above, and then down across
the valley, where the stubble of the grain fields shone golden in the
westering sun. The river, winding away beyond it, was bluer than the sky.
She wondered whether, if her people should ever go away, they would tell
their children how beautiful this land was. But of course they never would
go. They had lived too long where they were ever to be willing to leave
their home on the mountain. No other place could be like it. The floods
that sometimes ruined the lowlands never rose as high as this; the
wandering, warlike tribes that sometimes attacked their neighbors did not
trouble them here. They belonged to the mountain, as the chestnut trees
and the squirrels did.

“Me make basket,” announced her little sister, pulling at the withes, her
rag doll tumbling to the ground as she tried to scramble up on the wall.
“Up! up!”

“O Felic’la (Kitty), don’t; you’ll spoil sister’s work! I’ll begin one for
you.”

The Kitten had got her name from her disposition, which was to insist on
doing whatever she saw any one else doing, just long enough to make
confusion wherever she went. What with showing the little fingers how to
manage the spidery ribs of the little basket she began, and working out
the braided border of her own basket, Marcia’s attention was fully taken
up.

She did not even see that Marcs was driving in the sheep until they began
crowding into the sheepfold. The walls of this, like the walls of the
house itself, were of stone, laid by that long-ago Colonus, and as solid
and firm as if they were built yesterday. The stones were not squared or
shaped, and there was no mortar, but they were fitted together so cleverly
that they seemed as solid as the mountain itself. They hardly ever needed
repair. The roofs, of seasoned chestnut boughs woven in and out, seemed
almost as firm as the stonework. This place had been settled when the
farmers had to fight wolves every year. Even now, if the wolves had a hard
winter and got very hungry, they sometimes came around and tried to get at
the sheep. Then the men would take their spears and long knives and go on
a wolf-hunt. But that had not happened now for several years.

Why were the sheep coming in so early?

Marcs looked rather disturbed, and he was in a hurry. Bruno too was coming
home without any fish, an unusual thing for him; and he looked both scared
and puzzled. The mother was standing in the door, shading her eyes with
her hand and looking at the sky. Marcs caught sight of the girls in their
corner.

“You had better pick up all that and go in,” he called to them. “Pater
sent us home as quick as we could scamper. See how strange the sky is.”

They all looked. Little Felic’la, with round eyes, dropped her basket and
pointed.

“Giants,” said she.

It did not take much imagination to see, in the dark clouds spreading over
the heavens, huge misty figures like gigantic men, or like gods about to
descend upon the earth.

“Mater,” said Bruno, “the spring and the stream have dried up.”

The father was hurrying up from the grain fields, and the boys ran to help
him manage the frightened cattle and get the load under cover. Other
flocks of sheep and other men with oxen were hastening to shelter. The sky
was growing darker and darker. Blue lights were wavering in the marshy
lands by the river. The fowls, croaking and squawking in frightened haste,
huddled on to their roosts, all but Felic’la’s pet white chicken, which
scuttled for the house. Birds were flying overhead, uttering some sort of
warnings in bird language, but there was no understanding what they said.

[Illustration: Other flocks of sheep and other men with oxen were hurrying
                               to shelter]

Suddenly there was a crash as if the earth had cracked in two. Everything
turned black. The air was filled with smoke and dust and ashes raining
down from the sky.

Marcia caught up her little sister and the baskets together and groped her
way to the door. Her mother darted out to drag them in and barred the door
against the unknown terrors outside. The boys and their father were under
the cattle shed, with the stout timber brace against the door; it had been
made to keep out wild beasts. In the roar of the tumult outside the
loudest shout could not have been heard.

The terrific detonations above were heavier than any thunder that ever
rolled down the valley, sharper than any blows of a giant hammer. The
earth trembled and rocked under foot. Then came a pounding from all sides
at once, like the trampling of frantic herds. An avalanche of dust and
cinders came through the smoke hole and put out the fire. Part of the roof
had fallen in, for they could hear stones tumbling down on the earth
floor. Through the opening they saw a crimson glow spreading over the sky.
Only the beams in one corner, the corner where the mother and her children
were, still held firm.

At last the rain of ashes was over, the stones no longer fell, and it was
light enough for them to see each other’s faces. They had no way of
knowing how long they had crouched there in the dark, but they had been
there all night. The house had no windows and only one door. Now the
father and the boys were trying to get the door open against a heap of
fallen roof beams and thatch and stones and ashes and broken furniture. In
a minute or two they got it far enough open to let them in.

“Are you safe, Livia? And the children?” The man’s deep voice was shaking.
But even as he spoke he saw that they were alive and unhurt. He took his
baby boy from his wife’s arms, and put the other arm round the two girls,
while the little boys clung to him as far up as they could reach. Livia
sprang up at the first sight of Marcs and Bruno, for Marcs was bleeding
all down one side of his face and his shoulder, where a stone had glanced
along.

“I was trying to catch the white heifer,” he said rather shamefacedly,
“but she got away. It’s only a scrape along the skin—let me go, Mater.”
And before she had fairly done washing off the blood and bandaging the
cuts, he was out from under her hands and out of doors after Bruno.

Cautiously they all went out, and stood outside the wall, gazing about
them. Everything as far as they could see was gray with ashes and cinders
and stones. Here and there the woods were on fire. Far up toward the top
of the mountain, one tall tree by itself was burning like a torch. An
arched hole was broken out in the cliff above, and down through it flowed
a fiery river of molten rock, like boiling honey or liquid flame, cooling
as it went. Ravines were broken out, great slices of rock and earth had
fallen or slid, and the river, choked by fallen trees and earth and rocks,
was tearing out another channel for itself. The very face of the earth was
strange and unnatural.

The walls of their own house and of most of the others in the village had
been wrenched and thrown down in places by the twisting of the earth. Then
the roof had given way under the pelting rocks. In the corner where Livia
and her children had taken shelter, one timber, a tree trunk set deep in
the ground, had held firm and kept the roof from falling. The same thing
had happened in the narrow cattle shed. They went on to see how their
neighbors had fared.

There was less loss of life than one might have expected, considering that
the oldest man there had never seen anything like this. The people were
trained to obey orders and look out for themselves. The father was the
head of the family, and in any sudden emergency the people did not run
about aimlessly but looked to whoever was there to give orders. The
children had each the care of some younger child or some possession of the
family. Even Felic’la, trotting along beside Marcia, held tightly in her
arms her white chicken. The chicken was trying to get away, but Felic’la
felt that this was no time for the family to be separated.



                                    II


                               TEN FAMILIES


Whatever the strange and terrible outbreak of the Mountain of Fire could
have meant, the people had no thought of abandoning the land. Within a few
days they were repairing or rebuilding their huts and returning to the
habits of their daily life. Centuries might pass, more than one such
calamity might befall the village, but there would still be men living on
the same spot where their forefathers lived, on the slopes of the Mountain
of Fire.

All the same, a great change had taken place, and they felt it more as
time went on. They began to see that the land that had once brought forth
food for them all would not now feed them with any such abundance. They
would be lucky if they could secure enough food to keep them alive. Some
of the fields were burned over by the lava stream; some were ruined by the
dammed-up river. Cattle and sheep had been killed or had run away. Much of
the grain and wool and other provision for the future had been destroyed.
It was a very hard winter.

Yet rather than leave their homes and be strangers and outcasts without a
country, they endured cold and scarcity and every kind of discomfort, even
suffering. Outside the land they knew were unknown terrors,—races who did
not speak their language or worship their gods; soil whose ways they did
not understand, and very likely far worse troubles than had come upon them
here. Most of the people simply made up their minds that what must be,
they must endure, because anything else would only be a change for the
worse.

There were a few, however, who did not take this view. The first to
suggest that some might go away was Marcus Colonus. He spoke of it to a
little group of his friends while they were in the forest cutting wood.
Sylvius, whose wife and children were killed when the stones fell, and
Urso the shaggy hunter, who never feared anything, man or beast, and
Muraena the metal-worker, a restless fellow who knew that he could get a
living wherever men used plows and weapons, all agreed that if Colonus
went they would go. If ten heads of households joined the party, it would
make a clan. But first the head of the village must be consulted.

Old Vitalos was the grandfather of Marcus Colonus and related in one way
or another to nearly every person in the village. When his grandson came
to him and told what he had in mind, the old chief stroked his long white
beard and did not answer at once. He seemed to be thinking, and he thought
for a long time.

Before written histories, or pictured records, or even songs telling the
history of a people, were in use, the memories of the old folk formed the
only source of information that there was. As old men will, they told what
they knew over and over again, and those who heard, even if they did not
know they were remembering it, often remembered a story and told it over
again, when their time came. The experiences and the wisdom that old
Vitalos had gathered in the eighty years of his useful life were stored in
his mind in layers, like silt in the bed of a river. Now he was digging
down into his memory for something that had happened a long time ago.

When he had done thinking, he spoke.

“My son,” he said, “you tell me that you desire to go forth and make your
home in another land.”

“I desire it not, my father,” said Colonus, “unless it is the will of the
gods. I have thought that it may be best.”

He did not know it, but while the old man’s mind was busy with the past,
his keen old eyes were busy with the strong, well-built figure, the
stubborn chin and the fearless eye of this man of his own blood. Colonus
walked with the long, sure step of the man who knows where he is going.
The fingers of his hand were square-tipped and rugged, the kind that can
work. He was Saturn’s own man, made to work the land and produce food for
his people. He would not give up easily, nor would he be dismayed by
difficulties.

“And where will you go?” was the chief’s next question.

“That I do not know,” said Colonus. “Yet something I do know. The mountain
folk are not friends to us, and we should have to fight them. Their land
is all one fortress, not easy to take. To the sea we will not go, for we
know nothing of the ways of the sea-tamers. Perhaps our gods would not
help us in those things, which are strange to our lives. There remains the
plain beyond the marsh, where the river runs out of the valley. I have
been there only once, but I remember it. Around it are mountains, and the
plain itself is broken by low hills, as we have seen from our heights. In
such a land we might live according to customs of our forefathers. The
little hills can be defended, and if enemies come we can see them from far
off. Is this a good plan that we make, my father?”

The patriarch looked at the fire on the altar, which burned in his house
as in every other house of the village; then he looked keenly at his
grandson.

      [Illustration: The patriarch looked at the fire on the altar]

“There are two ways of living in a strange place, Marcus Colonus,” he
said. “One is, to live after the manner of those who are born there, obey
their gods, learn their law, eat their food, work as they do, join in
their feasts and their games. The other is to fight them, and drive them
away, or make them your servants. Which is your choice?”

Colonus hesitated. “My father,” he said, “to take the first path, I must
change my nature and become another man, which I would not do even if I
could. Here or in another country, or in the moon if men could go there, I
should be Colonus, the farmer,—not a sailor, or a trader, or any other
man. To take the second way I must be leader of many fighting men, and
this is not possible, since if we go we must take our wives and children.
It is in my mind, my father, that there may be a middle way. If we hold to
our own customs and are faithful to our own gods and to one another,
surely the gods should keep faith with us. If we hurt not the people of
the land where we go, but stand ready to defend ourselves against any who
try to attack us, they may allow us to live as we please. If not, then
must we fight for the right to live.”

The old chief smiled. “My son,” he said, “you are wise with the wisdom of
youth. Yet sometimes that is better than the unbelief of age. It is better
to die fighting strangers than to die by starvation, or to fall upon one
another, and I have had fear that one or the other might happen here, for
truly the land is changed. It may be that this plan of yours shall end in
new branching out of our people, the Ramnes, and in new power to our
gods,—and if so, surely the gods will lead you.

“Now I have a story to tell you, and you will give careful heed to it, and
not speak of it lightly, but store it away in the secret places of your
mind. Sit down here, close to me, for I do not wish to be heard by any
listener.

“Many years ago, before you were born, or ever the road was made over the
marsh or the bridge across the river, our people were at war with a
strange people from the north. My son, whom you resemble, went to fight
against them and did not come back. Whether he died in battle and was left
on some unknown field we did not know. We never knew, until in after
years, one who was taken prisoner with him came back, his hair white as
snow, and told what he had seen.

“In that country of which you have spoken, where a plain stretches away
toward the sea, and is guarded with mountains and divided by a yellow
river, there are people who speak a language like ours and are sons of
Mars, as we are. Some live in the hills and some in the plain, and some on
the Long White Mountain. Beyond the river the people are strange in every
way and their gods are also strange and terrible.

“Now among the people of the Long White Mountain was a chief with two
sons, and when he died the elder should have been ruler in his place. But
the younger one, an evil man, stole into his brother’s place and killed
his sons, and forbade his daughter to marry. Here my son was taken as a
captive, and he became a servant to that chief.

“The daughter of the elder brother was a fair woman, and my son was a
strong and comely man, and in secret they married. Then did my son escape,
thinking to come back with an army and bring away his wife with their twin
boys. But the wicked chief discovered what had been done, and killed the
mother and the children, and sent a war party after my son to kill him
also. He could have escaped even then, for he crossed a river in flood by
swimming. But when they called to him that his wife and her two sons were
dead, he returned across the river and fought his pursuers until they
killed him. Then he went to find his beloved in that unknown country which
is neither land nor water and is full of ghosts.

“Now it is in my mind that if that evil chief is dead, the people of his
country may welcome you among them. Or if he is not dead, and the elder
brother still lives, he may be your friend, since we are of one race and
speak one language. In any case it is well for you to know what has
happened there in other days, for before we plant a field we desire to
know whether wheat, or lentils, or thistles, or salt was last sown there.
I was told also that the evil man who killed the mother and the babes
declared that the father of the children was the god Mars himself, not
wishing that any kinswoman of his should be known to be a wife to a
captive and a stranger. Now, my son, go, and peace go with you.”

Colonus rose and bowed to the old man, and went home.

Now the way was clear to prepare for the emigration, and from time to time
others came to talk about it and join the company. Besides the four men
who had made the plan in the first place, there were finally seven
others,—Tullius, who knew all the ancient laws and customs well, Piscinus
the fisherman, Pollio the leather worker, Cossus, an old and wary fighter,
the two Nasos, quiet and able farmers (all of whose children had the big
nose that marked the family), and Calvo, whose great-grandfather had
bequeathed to his descendants a tendency to grow bald young. Calvo already
had a little thin spot on the crown of his head, though he was not much
over thirty. Among them they had all the most necessary trades and could
supply most things they needed. But every one of them was also a good
farmer; in fact, in such migrations the settlers were most generally known
as _coloni_ or farmers. They had to understand the care of the land in
order to get through the first years without starving to death, for there
were no cities where they went.

Muraena could make unusually fine weapons, and he took care that each of
the party should be provided with the best that he could make. The grain
was chosen with care, for when they found the place for their settlement
they would want it for seed. The finest animals were chosen to stock the
farms. The women who were not going made gifts of their best weaving to
the housewives who were. The lads who were old enough to fight gave
especial attention to their bows and their slings, and spent a good deal
of time practicing.

All the men who had agreed to go had sons and daughters except Sylvius,
and most of the children were old enough to do something to help. They
were very much excited, and secretly most of them were rather scared.

There was no priest in the company; that is to say, there was no man who
had nothing else to do, for that was not the custom among the Ramnes. They
chose a man they all trusted for this office. Tullius was chosen priest by
the _coloni_. It was due to his advice that the water jars and the leather
bottles for water-carrying were well selected, strong and numerous. It was
a hobby of his, the drinking of pure water, and he believed it had more to
do with health than any other one thing. He also believed that the gods do
not protect the careless and the lazy. For instance, if a man were to pray
to Mars to keep his house from being destroyed by fire, and then burn
brush on a windy day in summer, when the wind was blowing that way, and a
spark happened to light on the thatch, Mars would not be likely to put it
out. He would let it burn. If the gods went to the trouble of saving
people from the consequences of not using common sense, they would show
themselves to be fools, and not in the least god-like. Tullius prayed at
all proper times, but when he was working he worked with his head as well
as with his hands. He said that that was what heads were for.



                                   III


                             THE SACRED YEAR


In the month of spring when day and night are equal, and the young lambs
frisk on new grass, a company of young men and girls went slowly out from
a little town on the eastern side of a great mountain range. The long
narrow country stretching out into the sea, which is now called Italy, is
divided by this range lengthwise into two parts, and in the earliest days
of the country the people on one side had hardly anything to do with those
on the other. On the coast toward the sunrise were many harbors, and
seafaring men from other countries came there sometimes to trade. On the
other side, the young people who were now setting their faces westward did
not at all know what they would find.

They were all of about the same age, and they looked grave and a little
anxious; some of the girls had been crying. The day had come when they
were to leave the place where they had been born and brought up and go
into an unknown world, and it was not likely that they would ever come
back.

They belonged to the Sabine people, who used to live on the banks of the
rivers not far from the coast, and kept cattle and sheep and goats, and
raised grain and different kinds of vegetables, and had vineyards. The
land was so rich that they had more food and other things than they
needed, and used to trade more or less with the strangers from other
countries. So many strangers came there and settled in course of time that
the first inhabitants were crowded back toward the mountains, away from
the sea. Then war parties of Umbrians from the north came pushing their
way into the country, and the peaceable farming folk were obliged to
retreat still farther up the rivers into the mountain, and clear new land
and settle it. This happened all a long time ago. It was not easy to live
there, and they were poorer than they used to be, for so much of the land
was rock and forest that they had to spend a great deal of their time
getting it into a fit condition for either grain or cattle or anything
else. But they learned to do most things for themselves, as mountain
people do; they were not afraid of hard work or danger, and although they
lived plainly they were comfortable.

But even here they were not let alone. About twenty years earlier, before
any of these boys and girls were born, the Umbrian war parties came up
into the higher valleys, and the Sabines had to fight for their very
lives. They won the war and drove back the invaders in the end, but it
began to seem that some day they would be wiped out altogether and
forgotten.

After this war there were some hard years. Many of the men had been
killed, and the fields had been neglected when the fighting was going on.
Where the enemy came they trampled down and ruined the vineyards, and
burned houses and barns, and drove off the flocks and herds for their own
use. That one year of war almost ruined the work that had been done in
half a lifetime. If they were to be obliged to spend half their time
defending what land they had, every year would be worse than the last.

Finally Flamen the priest, the man most respected in the central and
largest of the towns, spoke of an old custom called the “sacred spring.”
It was a method of making sacrifice to the gods when things came to a very
evil pass indeed. In a way it was a sacrifice, and in a way it was a
chance of saving something from the general ruin. Flamen believed that if
they kept a “sacred spring” their guardian god, Mars, would help them. All
this happened a long time before the calamity that drove the emigrants to
set out from the Mountain of Fire. There are all sorts of reasons why
people change their place of living and begin new settlements in a strange
country, but in those days it was a much more serious matter than it is
now, and it took almost a life-and-death reason to make them do it.

When villages agreed to keep a sacred year, as these finally did, they
gave to the gods everything that was born in that year. The cattle, sheep,
goats and poultry were killed in sacrifice, when they were grown. But the
children born that spring were not killed. They were taught that when they
were old enough they were to go out and build homes for themselves in
another land, trusting in the great and wise god Mars to show them where
to go. If this was done, even though the Umbrians attacked the country
again and again, and killed off the people or made them slaves, there
would still be Sabine men and women living in the old ways, somewhere in
the world. And now the time had come for them to set out to find their new
home.

Flamen the priest gave a daughter in the year of the sacred spring; Maurs
the smith gave a son. Almost every family in all the country round had a
son or daughter or at least a near relative who was going. Some of the
young people were married before the day came for them to go; in fact,
there were a great many brides and grooms in the party. The parents had
given their children plenty of seed grain and roots and plants, cuttings
of shrubs and trees and vines, animals and fowls to stock their farms,
provision for the journey, and whatever clothing and other goods they
could carry without the risk of being delayed or tempting plunderers to
kill them for their riches. Everything that could be done was done to make
their great undertaking successful.

At daybreak on the day that had been decided upon, the farewell ceremonies
began. Hymns were sung and a feast was held, prayers and sacrifices were
made; there were all sorts of farewell wishes and loving hopes and
instructions. Nothing, however, could make it anything but a very solemn
occasion. The young people must go beyond the mountains, for on this side
they could have no hope of finding any place to live. No one knew what
awaited them. But whatever happened, no one would have dreamed of breaking
the promise made to the gods. A pledge is a pledge, and not the shrewdest
cheat can deceive the gods, for they know men’s hearts.

          [Illustration: All the young voices took up the song]

Flam’na, the wife of young Mauros the maker of swords, looked back just
once as they lost sight of the village. Then she led in the singing of the
last of the farewell songs. She had a beautiful voice, clear and strong
and sweet; her husband’s deeper tones joined hers, and then all the young
voices took up the song as streams run into a river. The fathers and
mothers heard the wild music of their singing floating down from the
mountain forest as they climbed the narrow trail. They were following a
path which the young men knew from their hunting expeditions, which led
around the shoulder of the mountain to a pass through which they could
cross and go down the other side. Now that they were fairly on their way,
the care of the young animals they were driving, all of them full of life
and not at all used to keeping together in strange woods, took up most of
the attention of the whole party.

On the western slopes, as far as the hunters had ever gone, there were no
people living in villages—only scattered woodcutters and hunters, and here
and there a poor ignorant family in a little clearing. If they went far
enough down to reach the upper valleys of streams or rivers, they might
find just the sort of place they wanted for their new home. Others must
have done this in the past, or there would never have been the custom of
the sacred spring, for the emigrant parties would have been all killed off
or starved to death. The young men said that what others had done they
could do, and they went valiantly on, chanting a marching song.

In these spring days, as time passed, the mornings were earlier and the
twilights later. They lived well while their provisions lasted, and there
was game in the forest and fish in the little streams. They always carried
coals from their camp fires to light the next fires, and in the cool
evenings the leaping flames were pleasant. They also kept wild beasts from
coming too near.

There were three groups of the young people, from three different
villages. At night they gathered in three camps; each “company” which ate
bread together was made up of relatives and friends. After they had
crossed the mountain pass and before they had gone very far on the other
side, they halted for a day to talk matters over and decide what to do
next. It was very important now to take the right course.

The youths gathered under a huge oak to hold a council while their wives
and sisters and cousins busied themselves with affairs of their own. The
men would have to do the fighting, and the girls were quite willing to
leave the general plans to them. They were a sober and serious group of
young fellows as they sat there in the dappling sunshine. It was enough to
make any man serious. Mars had brought them so far without any serious
mishap, and he might go on protecting them all the rest of the way; but
the question was, how to discover what was best to do. All the ways down
the mountain looked very much alike, and yet one might lead into a country
inhabited by fierce and cruel enemies, and another into a barren rocky
waste, and another to a fertile valley.

Mauros was their leader, so far as they had one, but he called on each man
in turn to say what he thought. There seemed to be a good deal of doubt
about the wisdom of so large a party traveling together. The chances were
against their finding a valley large enough for all to live in. They were
not likely to find so much cleared land or good pasture in any one place.
If they were to separate, and each party took a different direction, one
or another certainly ought to be able to find the right sort of place.
Perhaps all of them would. Even one of the camps was strong enough to
defend itself against any ordinary enemy. They were all young and strong,
active and full of courage, and as time went on they would be traveling
lighter and lighter, for the provisions would be eaten up and the spare
animals killed for food. They decided to do this, to offer a sacrifice to
Mars and pray to him to direct them. The next morning all were ready to go
on and waited only for a sign.

Each of the gods had certain favorite animals, birds and plants. Mars had
plenty of servants he could send to do his will, and surely he would show
them what to do.

Flam’na stood with her cousins, watching Mauros as he stood in the center
of the silent group under the great oak tree. The fires were flickering
slowly down to red coals, and a little wind blew from the west. Suddenly
their lead-ox, the wisest of the team, lifted his head and sniffed the
breeze, pawed the earth, bellowed, and plunged down a grassy glade,
followed more slowly by the other oxen and the whole party in that camp.
The ox was one of the beasts of Mars. Nothing could be clearer than this.
Mauros turned and waved a laughing farewell to the other camps, and raced
on to make sure that the ox did not get out of sight. Before they had gone
very far they came to a tiny brook, which went chuckling on as if it knew
something interesting. They followed it downward and began to find more
and more grass as the valley widened and the trees grew less thick.
Finally they found a place where the water was good and the soil rich, and
there was room for all their beasts to graze. They called the town they
built there Bovianum, after the ox of Mars. They were sometimes called by
their neighbors the Bovii, the cattlemen, for herds of cattle were not
very common in that part of the country.

In the camp to the right of this, not long after the departure of the ox,
one of the girls saw something red moving high up on the trunk of a tree,
and pointed it out to her brother. His eyes followed hers, and soon all
the company gathered in the edge of the woodlands, watching that scarlet
dot among the thick leaves. Then, with a sudden rush of little wings, a
green woodpecker flew down from the tree top and perched on a bough just
over their heads. He looked down knowingly into the upturned, eager faces,
and with a cheery call flew away down a ravine, and alighted again.
Breathless, wide-eyed and silent, they ventured nearer. He beat his tiny
tattoo on the bark as if he were sounding a drum, and flew on. Now scarlet
was the color of Mars, the drum was his favorite instrument of music, and
Picus the woodpecker was his own bird. Following their little feathered
guide, they went farther and farther north until they found a home among
the spurs of the Apennines. They called themselves the Picentes, the
Woodpecker People, and their children all knew the story of the sacred
spring and the bird of Mars.

The third company had no time to watch the others, for some wolves had
winded their sheep, and the young men had to run to fight them off. Some
of them chased the skulking gray thieves for some distance and came back
with the news that the wolves had led them southward to a rocky height,
where they could look over the tops of the trees below and see an
uncommonly fine place for the colony. This was as plain a sign as one
could ask for, and the whole party, in great satisfaction and relief, went
on to the home that the wolves had found for them. The wolf was another of
the beasts of Mars. This settlement took the name of the Herpini, the Wolf
People.

All three of the Sabine colonies prospered and grew strong, and although
they had little to do with each other they lived in peace with relatives
and neighbors. There came to be many villages on the slopes of the
Apennines in which the Sabine language was spoken. This was the last time
that they were forced to keep a Sacred Year, for the Umbrian war parties
left them alone, and perhaps did not even know where they were; and the
mountain land was pleasant and fertile, out of the way of floods. There
was no reason in the world why the brave young couples who founded their
homes here, and worked and played and kept holiday, and loved the green
earth as all their forefathers had loved it, should not be prosperous and
happy, and they were, for many a long year.



                                    IV


                               THE BANDITTI


When the Sabines came to the western side of the mountain range, they did
not try to plow much land at first. They had to find out what the land was
like.

People who lived by pasturing their cattle and sheep wherever it was
convenient hardly ever settled in the same place for good, because the
pasture differs from year to year even in the same neighborhood. A
hillside which is rich and green in a wet year may be barren and dry when
there are long months with no rain. A valley that is rich in long juicy
grass in spring may be under water later in the summer. Herdsmen need to
range over a wide country, and especially they need this if they keep
sheep. The sheep nibble the grass down to the roots, and when they have
finished with a field there is nothing on it for any other animal that
year. But the true farmer, who uses his land for a great many different
purposes, can shift his crops and his pasturage around so that he can have
a home, and this was what the Sabines wished to do.

For a farm of this kind, a place between mountain and plain is best, with
a variety of soil and good water supply. In such a mountain valley as the
Herpini chose, with wooded heights above it, the roots of the trees bind
the earth together and keep the wet of the winter rains from drying up, so
that there is not often either flood or drought, and almost always good
grass is found somewhere in the neighborhood. The people began by raising
beans and peas to dry for winter, and herbs for flavoring, and in the
summer they had kale and other fresh vegetables. Now and then, for a
holiday, they killed a sheep or a young goat or a calf and had a feast.
The heart and inner organs were burned on the altar for an offering to the
gods; the flesh was served out to the people, cooked with certain herbs
used according to old rules. For vineyards and grain fields, which needed
a certain kind of soil, they chose, after awhile, exactly the ground which
suited them, and plowed their common land, and sowed their corn and
planted their vines.

Most of the farm land was worked by all the people in common. This was a
very old custom. There were good reasons for it. In farming, the work has
to be done when the weather is suitable. The planting or haying or
harvesting cannot be put off. By working in company the men saved time and
labor, and if one happened to be ill the land was taken care of all the
same, and nothing was lost. Also, in this way all of the land suitable for
a certain crop was used for that crop. Nobody was wasting time and
strength trying to make rocky or barren soil feed his family, while his
strength and skill were needed on good ground. The third and perhaps the
best reason was, that in this way the houses were not scattered, but close
together, so that no enemy could attack any one in the village without
fighting all. The village was clean and wholesome, because no animals were
kept there except as pets. The flocks and herds were taken care of by men
and boys trained to that work. Each man had for his own the land around
his own house, and every year he was allowed a part of the common land for
his especial use, but he did not own it as he owned his house and lot,—the
_heredium_, as it was called.

Everything connected with the cultivation of the land was in the hands of
twelve men chosen for it, called the Arval Brethren, or the Brethren of
the Field. It was their work to see that all was done according to the
well-proved rules and customs, that the gods received due respect, and
that the festivals in their honor were held in proper form.

In a society where people have to depend upon each other in this way,
there is no room for a person who will not fit in, and who expects to be
taken care of without doing his share of the work. Here and there, in one
village and another, a boy grew up who shirked his work, took more good
things than his share and made trouble generally. Sometimes he got over it
as he grew older, but sometimes he did not; and if he could not live
peaceably at home, he had to be driven out to get his living where he
could. There was no place in a village ruled by the gods for any one who
did not respect and obey the laws.

These outlaws did not starve, for they could get a kind of living by
fishing and hunting, and they stole from the ignorant country people and
from travelers. They were known after awhile as _banditti_, the banished
men, the men who had been driven out of civilized society. Some of them
left their own country altogether and went down to the seashore, or into
the strange land across the yellow river. The people in the villages did
not know much about them. They were very busy with their own concerns.

There were two great festivals in the year, to do honor to the gods of the
land. One was in the shortest days of the year, early in winter. This was
the feast of Saturn. He was the god who filled the storehouses, who sent
water to drench the earth and feed the crops, who looked after the silent
world of the roots and underground growing things generally. When his
feast was held, the harvest was all in, the wine was made, and it was time
to choose the animals to be killed for food and not kept through the
winter. For four or five days there was a general jollification. No work
was done except what was necessary. There was feasting and singing and
story telling, and some of the wilder youths usually dressed up in
fantastic costumes like earth spirits, and wound up the holiday with
dancing and songs and shouting and all sorts of antics. Sometimes a clever
singer made new songs to the old tunes, with jokes and puns about
well-known people of the place. These songs were always done in a certain
style, and this style of verse came to be known later as Saturnian poetry,
and the sly personal fun in them was called satirical. It was part of the
joke that the singer should keep a perfectly grave face.

         [Illustration: The people gathered in the public square]

The other festival came in the spring, when the grass was green and the
leaves were fresh and bright, and flowers were wreathing shrubs and
hillsides like dropped garlands. It was in honor of the beautiful
open-handed goddess called Dea Dia, or sometimes Maia. One spring morning
the children of the village could hear the blowing of the horn in the
public square, and then they all understood that the priest was about to
give out the announcement of the festival of Maia. They crowded up to
hear, even more excited and joyous than the older people.

There were no books or written records; not even a written language was
known to the villagers. The priest of the village, who kept account of the
days when ceremonies were due, and the changes of the moon, gave out the
news, each month, of the things which were to happen. The months were not
all the same length, and no two villages had just the same calendar. The
year was counted from the founding of the city, whenever that was, and
naturally it was not the same in different places. The people gathered in
the public square, waiting to hear what Emilius the priest had to tell
them.

He was a tall and noble-looking man, generally beloved because he always
tried to deal justly and kindly with his neighbors, and was so wise that
he usually succeeded. The person who paid him the deepest and most
reverent attention was little Emilia, his daughter, who believed him to be
the wisest and best of men. She stood with her mother in a little group
directly in front of him, looking up at him with her deep, serious blue
eyes, in happy pride.

Emilia was six and a half years old. This would be her first May festival,
to remember, for she had been ill the year before when it came, and one’s
memory is not very good before one is five years old. Her bright
gold-brown hair curled a little and looked like waves of sunshine all over
her graceful small head. It was tied with a white fillet to keep it out of
her eyes, and in the fillet, like a great purple jewel, was thrust an
anemone from a wreath her mother had been making. Her mother dressed her
in the finest and softest of undyed wool, bleached white as snow. She wore
a little tunic with a braided girdle, and over her shoulders a square of
the same soft cloth as a mantle; it looked like the wings of a white bird
as it shone in the morning sun. On her feet were sandals of kidskin, and
around her neck was a necklace of red beads that had come from far away. A
trader brought them from the place by the seashore where such things were
made. From this necklace hung a round ball of hammered copper, made to
open in two halves, and inside it was a little charm to keep off bad
spirits. The charm was made of the same red stone and looked like the head
of a little goat.

Emilia had never in her life known what it was to be afraid of any one, or
to see any one’s eyes rest upon her unkindly. The world was very
interesting to her. It was filled with wonderful and beautiful things,
especially just now. Each day she saw some new flower or bird or plant or
animal she had never seen before. Spring in those mountains was very
lovely. It hardly seemed as if it could be the real world.

The people were all rather fine-looking and strong and active. They worked
and played in the open air and led healthy lives, and being well and full
of spirits, there was really no reason why they should be ugly.

Emilius told them when the feast of Maia would take place. The moon, which
was called the measurer, was all they had to go by in reckoning the year.
The feast was to be the day after it changed. Emilius repeated the names
of the Brethren of the Field, and mentioned things that should be done to
prepare for the feast, and that was all.

Far up on the heights of the mountain above, in among the rocks where
nothing grew except wind-stunted trees and patches of moss and fern, there
was another settlement of which the village people knew nothing. Two of
its men happened to be farther down the mountain than usual, hunting, when
this announcement was made. They got up on a rock overgrown with bushes,
where they could look down into the village, and lay watching what went
on. They were not beautiful or happy. They looked as they lay on the rock,
spying over the edge with their hard, greedy eyes under shaggy unkempt
locks, rather like wild beasts.

One was a runaway from this very place, and he knew it was nearly time for
the May festival. His name was Gubbo, and he had been cast out of the
village because he was cruel. He liked to torment animals and children; he
liked to compel others to give him what he wanted. When finally he had
been caught slashing at the favorite ox of a man he had had a quarrel
with, he had been beaten and kicked out and told never to come back. He
had wandered about for some years, and then joined the banditti on the
mountain.

These banditti came from many towns; some were even of another race, of
the strange people beyond the river. There were not very many of them, but
there were enough to surprise and beat down a much larger number if
circumstances favored. Their usual plan was not to fight in the open, but
creep up near a place where stores or treasure happened to be kept, when
the most skillful thieves would get in and carry off the plunder to the
hiding-place of the others, who stood ready to fight or to act as porters,
whichever might be necessary. If they were chased, the best runners drew
off the pursuers after them and joined the rest of the band later.

They did not spend all or even very much of their time in their mountain
den. They had picked this country as their headquarters because it was
largely wilderness above the farming belt. The rocks held many caves and
good strongholds. Often they went off and were gone for perhaps a month at
a time, prowling about distant settlements, or haunting the roads the
traders traveled. Many a luckless merchant had been knocked on the head
from behind, or dragged out of his boat and drowned, by these thieves,
with no one to tell the tale.

They had found the Sabines here when they came, and it had not seemed
worth while—yet—to quarrel with them. The scattered country folk, who went
in deadly fear of the robbers and did whatever they were told, said that
the farmers could fight, and kept watch over what they had, and had very
little but their animals and food stores. There was no use in provoking a
war with them. The better plan would be to terrify them so thoroughly that
they would give the bandits anything they asked, to keep the peace.

There was no use in upsetting these quiet folk so that they could not
work. They could be told that unless they brought to a certain place, at
certain times, grain, cattle and other provision, and left them for the
outlaws, something terrible would happen to them. They certainly could not
hunt the mountains over for the band, and they could not know how many or
how few there were. This plan worked well in other places, and it would do
very well here.

The leader, the oldest of the robbers, had once been a slave, and he knew
all the things that are done to slaves who resist their masters. The
others were afraid of him, and there were very few other things in the
world of which they were afraid. He listened to the report of Gubbo and
his companion, and sent them back to watch the village during the time of
the festival, see who the chief men were, how well off the people seemed
to be, how many fighting men they had, and where they kept their grain and
other stores.

For five days one or the other of the bandits was always watching from the
edge of the rock. If they had been the kind of men to understand beauty,
they must have owned that the festival of Maia was a beautiful sight. But
it only made them angry and bitter to think that they could not have all
the comforts these people had. Often they did not have enough to eat, and
then there would be a raid on some village, and all the men would eat far
more than was comfortable, and drink more than was at all wise, and the
feast usually ended in a fight. This festival in the village was not at
all like that.

The young girls had a great part in the dancing and singing and
processions of Maia. A tall pillar, decorated with garlands and strips of
colored cloth, had been set up, and a circle of white-robed little
maidens, with wreaths of flowers on their heads, danced around it. Little
Emilia sat sedately in the center, wand in hand, and directed the dancing.
There were stately processions, and marching and countermarching of white
figures bearing garlands; the oxen appeared with their horns wreathed in
flowers; blossoms were strewn all over the public square as the day
passed. The blessing of Maia was asked upon the springing grain, now
standing like a multitude of fairy sword blades above the brown soil; upon
the bean and pea vines climbing as fast as ever they could up the poles
set for them; upon the vineyards, every vine of which was tended like a
child; and upon the orchards, all one drift of warm white petals blowing
on the wind. The chestnut trees were a-bloom and looked like huge tents
with great candelabra set here and there over them; and the steady hum of
the bees was like the drone of a chanter.

When the day was over, and all the people were asleep, the spies went back
to the den in the rocks and told what they had seen.

The chief decided that these people were to be let alone all through the
summer and early fall, until all their stores of wine and grain and fat
beasts were in, and they went afield to get nuts in the forest. That would
be the time to strike. The child of the head priest could be carried off,
perhaps, or the son of the chief man of the village. Then one of the
country people would be sent to tell the villagers that unless they agreed
to furnish provisions at certain times and places, the child would be
killed. That would bring them to heel.

So the summer passed, and the unconscious, happy people prayed for a good
harvest.



                                    V


                               THE WOLF CUB


The new moon was rising above a wet waste of marsh and tussock and
tasseled reeds. A man and two boys climbed hastily up a hill. Before them
they drove a bleating, cold, rain-wet, bewildered flock. As any shepherd
will admit, sheep are among the silliest creatures in the world, and if
there is any way for them to get themselves into trouble they will do it.
Even so small a flock as this had proved it abundantly.

A dry time, when all the grass in the usual pastures was burned brown or
eaten down to the roots, had been followed by a rainy fall and winter. The
shepherd and his two foster sons—his wife had long been dead—left their
hillside pastures by the river and went with their flock wherever they
could find any grass. They meandered about for some time on the great
plain that was usually too wet for sheep; that grass was rank and
sometimes unwholesome, but it was better than nothing. When the wet
weather began, they were on the other side, and they edged up among the
foothills of the mountains that stood around it, wherever they could
without getting into trouble with people who had cattle there. They would
have had more difficulty than they did if it had not been for the wolf cub
which the taller of the two boys had tamed. He was named Pincho, and he
seemed to be everywhere at once. No sheep ever delayed for an instant in
obeying him.

For hours they herded the tired flock up and down, among hills and
gullies, until they came on a little hollow among bushes, out of the way
of the water, where they could stop and get a little sleep. The man and
the boys were all three wet, cold and hungry, even hungrier than the sheep
were, for they could not eat grass; hungrier than Pincho, who now and then
caught some sort of wild creature and ate it on the spot. They ate what
little they had left, and then one kept watch while the others slept, by
turns, in the driest place that could be found.

When it was light enough to see, they looked about to find out where they
were. Farther down the slope and to one side of them was a village, and
the people there kept sheep and also cattle. Nobody seemed to be doing
much work, for half the men were standing about talking, and the shrill
note of a flute player came up the hill as if it were a signal.

The boys did not know what this meant, for they had never been near a
village on a holiday,—and not often at any time. But the shepherd knew; he
knew that it must be a feast day, and he told the boys that if they wished
to go to the village and see what was going on, he would look after the
sheep. They must not try to go in unless they were asked, and they ought
not to take Pincho; some one might see him and kill him for a wolf, not
knowing that he was tame.

But Pincho had something to say about that. He had no intention of being
left behind, and the shepherd had to cut a thong off his sheepskin cloak
to tie up the determined beast. Then when the boys were about two-thirds
of the way to the village, something came sniffing at their heels, and
there was Pincho, with the thong trailing after him; he had gnawed it in
two.

His young master only laughed. “Here, Pincho!” he said good-humoredly, and
as the young wolf came and licked his hand he made a loop of the trailing
end and thrust his strong brown fingers into it. And so they came up to
the edge of the village where the people were making ready the feast,—two
boys and a wolf.

The lads were both rather tall for their years, and moved with the wild
grace of creatures that constantly use every muscle and never get stiff or
lazy. They wore only the shepherd’s tunic of sheepskin with the wool
outward, and a braided leather girdle to hold a knife and a leather pouch.
In his left hand each held a crook, with a sharp flint point at the other
end so that it could be used as a spear if a weapon were needed. The
taller led the wolf, which fawned and licked his bare feet; the other, who
was not quite so dark of hair and eye, was playing on a reed pipe, taking
up the call of the pipers and weaving it into a simple melody. For a
moment the people did not know who they could be. All the shepherd boys in
that neighborhood were known. Surely only gods come out of the forest
would be accompanied by a wolf.

They did not enter the village. They halted on the outside where they
could look into the square and see what was going on, and they stared in
silent wonder, like animals.

The fact was that they were so hungry that if they had dared, they would
have rushed on the tables and seized the bread and meat and honey cakes,
and run away into the forest to devour them as if they were wolves
themselves. As it was, the intelligent nose of Pincho caught the maddening
odor of meat, and it was all his master could do to hold him.

[Illustration: Whoever they were, it was proper at this time to offer food
                              to strangers]

Whoever they were, it was proper at this time to offer food to strangers,
and if they were gods or wood spirits this was the way to find it out. The
wife of Emilius the priest, a tall and gracious woman, took up a flat
basket-work tray and filled it with portions of the various good things on
the nearest table. By the way they took the food and ate it, she saw that
they were probably only hungry boys. Pincho got the bones, but only when
it was certain they were not mutton bones. He had never been allowed to
find out what the flesh of a sheep was like. This was a portion of a
yearling calf.

The matron’s little daughter, a straight, slender, bright-haired child,
came with her, and when Pincho sniffed curiously at her little sandalled
feet she did not draw back, but stooped and patted his head. The boy with
the reed pipe, when he had finished his share of the food, sidled away
toward the musicians, but the other one stayed where he was, his arm round
the shaggy neck of the young wolf, and they asked him questions. He
explained, when they were able to make out what he said—for he spoke in a
thick voice as the peasants did—that he and his brother lived with a
shepherd on the other side of the great plain. The shepherd had told them
to ask whether they might let their sheep graze here awhile, until the
water had gone down so that they could get back. Emilius the priest and
some of the other men were there by this time, and they said that this
would be allowed.

“Why do you stay away from your own village on a holiday?” asked the child
straightforwardly.

“We have no village,” the boy answered. “We live by ourselves.”

The little maiden knit her straight, dark, delicate brows. People who had
no village and lived by themselves had never come to her knowledge before.
She thought it must be very dull not to have any holidays, or playmates.

“Do the sheep and the wolves live together in your country?” she asked,
watching Pincho’s wedge-shaped, savage head as he gnawed his bone.

“No; but Pincho is not really a wolf. He is my friend.”

“How can you be friends with a wolf?” persisted the small questioner.
“Wolves are thieves and murderers. They kill sheep. If they killed only
the old sheep, I would not care. The old ram with horns knocks people
down. But they kill the little lambs.”

“Pincho has never killed a sheep.”

“Emilia, my child,” said her mother, “it is time for the dance of the
children.” And she led her little daughter away.

The boys of the village were very curious about Pincho. He had been caught
when he was a tiny cub and his mother had been killed. There were two
cubs, but the other one died. This one slept at his master’s feet every
night. The lad beckoned to his brother, who began to play a curious, jerky
tune, and then the boy and the wolf danced together, to the wonder and
entertainment of the villagers. Then in his turn the boy began to ask
questions. What was a holiday and why did they keep it?

The boys explained that there were many holidays at different times. There
was one in the later days of winter called the Lupercal, in honor of the
god who protected the sheep. That was the shepherds’ festival, and when it
took place, the young men ran about with thongs in their hands, striking
everybody who came in the way. The day they were now keeping was Founder’s
Day, in honor of the founder of their town.

This was puzzling. How could one man found a town? A town grew up where
many people came to live in one place.

“Nay, my son,” said a white-haired old man, the oldest man in the village,
who had sat down near the group. He spoke in the language the shepherd
spoke, so that it was easy to understand him. “That is nothing more than a
flock of crows or a herd of cattle that eat together where there is food.
The man who founds a city determines first to make a home for the spirits
of his people, as a man who builds a house makes a home for his family.
His gods dwell in this place, and he himself will dwell there when he is
dead, and his spirit is joined to theirs. Without the good will of the
spirits there is no good fortune. How can men know what is wise to do, or
what is right, if they do not ask help of the gods, as a child asks its
father’s will? Have you never heard this? Has your father not told you?”

“We have neither father nor mother,” said the boy, but not
shamefacedly,—even a little proudly. “We were found when we were little
children by Faustulus the shepherd who is to us as a father, and we serve
him.”

This did seem rather strange. Some of the village people drew back and
whispered among themselves. Could the lads be gods or spirits indeed? They
were strong and handsome—but who knew what things lived in the forest?

“Nay,” said Emilius, “they have eaten our salt.”

“The shepherd sometimes prays,” the lad was saying thoughtfully. “He prays
when he has lost his way. I asked him once when I was very small what he
was saying, and he said that he prayed to his god. He said the god was
like a man, but had goat’s legs and little horns under curling hair, and
played on a reed pipe. My brother said that he had seen him in the forest,
but I never did. When the shepherd sees anything unlucky, he makes the
sign of his god—thus.”

He held up his fist with all the fingers except the little finger doubled
in; this, with the thumb, stuck straight up. “He calls it ‘making the
horns.’ ”

“The people across the river have many gods,” he went on cheerfully. “Once
I ran away and found a boat, and went over there, to see what it was like.
The priests watch the flight of birds for signs; and the people give a
great deal of time to fortune telling. An old witch told mine for love,
and she said that I should rule over a great people. Then I laughed and
came away, for I knew that she must think me a fool to be pleased with
lies. She said that their laws were taught the priests by a little man no
bigger than a child, who came up out of a field which a farmer was
plowing.”

The priest Emilius smiled. “My son,” he said kindly, “these things are
foolish and lead to nothing. If you will stay with us and help to tend our
flocks, you shall learn of our gods, and live as we do, sharing our work
and our play. But unless you obey our law we cannot let you stay. The gods
are not pleased when strangers come into their sacred places.

“The founder of our city is as a kind father who watches us and sees what
we do, whether it is good or whether it is evil. Our children are his
children, and our fortunes are his care, as they were when he was alive
and ruled his people wisely as a father. This is why we honor him. Will
you stay with us and be our herd boy?”

The lad stood up, his staff in one hand, the other in the loop of the
wolf’s collar. “We owe the shepherd our lives,” he said, with his proud
young head erect. “We will go back to him and serve him until we are men.
When I am a man, I think I will found a city of my own.”

His brother laughed. In a flash the lad turned on him and knocked him
down. Emilius caught him by the shoulder.

“My boy,” he said sternly, “there must be no quarreling on a holiday. Go
back to your own place, for you are right to cherish your foster father.
In good or bad fortune, in all places and at all times, it is right to
return kindness for kindness, to show reverence to the old who have cared
for the young.”

The villagers, puzzled, curious and a little afraid, watched the two wild
figures and their strange companion move away into the long shadows of the
woodlands. They did not come back when any one could see them, but about a
week later there was found at the door of the priest a basket woven
roughly but not unskillfully of the bark of a tree, lined with fresh
leaves and filled with wild honey and chestnuts.



                                    VI


                              BOUNDARY LINES


The boy with the pet wolf did not come again to the village where he had
first seen a holiday feast and heard what religion was, but he saw a great
deal of it for all that. His brother never cared to go back and seemed to
take no interest in what he had seen.

Pero, one of the shepherds, while out looking for stray lambs on the
hills, met the youngster and his wolf coming down with two of the woolly
black-faced truants. They had been hunting, the boy said, and had come
across these lambs far up on the heights where lambs had no business to
be, and brought them back. When the shepherd asked the lad his name, he
said the Cub was as good a name as any. The shepherd was an old man and
had seen many queer things in his life and heard of queerer ones. He had
found that most frightful stories, when one came to know the truth of
them, were some quite natural incident made large in the eyes of a
frightened man. This boy might, of course, be a wood demon, and his wolf
might be another, servants of some evil power, but the shepherd had never
seen any such beings and he did not know how they were supposed to look.
When he offered the Cub a piece of his bannock, made with salt and water
and meal and cooked on a hot stone, it was accepted and eaten, and Pincho
the wolf ate some of it also. Pincho would eat almost anything. But that
ought to prove that they were no devils, for if they were they would not
have eaten the salt.

Pero was a little lame from a fall he had had several years ago, although
he got about more nimbly than some younger men. He found the help of this
wild youth and his wilder companion very convenient at times. After awhile
he began to see that the Cub was very curious about the customs of the
Sabine village. He did not ask many questions, but he would listen as long
as Pero would talk. Many a long still hour the two spent, on the grass
while the sheep grazed, or coming slowly down the slope toward the village
at nightfall, but always, when they came near the village gate, Pero would
look around presently and find that he was alone.

The first time that Pero noticed this curiosity was one day when they were
high above the village so that they could look down on a level stretch of
land where the men were marking out a new field. Boundary lines were very
important with any people as soon as they stopped wandering from place to
place and settled down to work the same land, year after year. Of course,
it takes more than one season to make any plot of ground produce all it
can, and no man cares to do a year’s work of which he gets none of the
benefit; there must be a clear understanding on the subject of the
boundary.

In the beginning there were no writings, or deeds, or public records to
mark the line of a farm, and the only way to protect property rights was
by ceremonies which would make people remember the boundary lines, and the
landmarks which it was a horrible crime to move.

Pero began by explaining that every house of the village had to be
separated from every other house by at least two and one half feet. As
each house was a sort of family temple, the home of the spirits of the
ancestors of that family; naturally nobody but these spirits had any right
there. Two families could not occupy the same house any more than two
persons could occupy the same place. On the same plan, each field was
enclosed by a narrow strip of ground never touched by the plow or walked
on or otherwise used. This was the property of the god of boundaries,
Terminus.

The boundary line of each field was marked by a furrow, drawn at the time
the field was marked out for the village or the individual owner. At
certain times, this furrow would be plowed again, the owners chanting
hymns and offering sacrifices. On this line the men were now placing the
landmarks they called the _termini_. The _terminus_ was a wooden pillar,
or the trunk of a small tree, set up firmly in the soil. In its planting
certain ceremonies were observed.

First a hole was dug, and the post was set up close by, wreathed with a
garland of grasses and flowers. Then a sacrifice of some sort was
offered—in this case a lamb—and the blood ran down into the hole. In the
hole were placed also grain, cakes, fruits, a little honeycomb and some
wine, and burned, live coals from the hearth fire of the home or the
sacred fire of the village being ready for this. When it was all consumed
the post was planted on the still warm ashes. If any man in plowing the
field ran his furrow beyond the proper limit, his plowshare would be
likely to strike one of these posts. If he went so far as to overturn it
or move it, the penalty was death. There was really no excuse for him, for
the line was plainly marked for all to see.

The Cub looked down at the solemnly marching group, the white oxen, and
the setting of the posts with bright and interested eyes.

    [Illustration: “I have seen something like this before,” he said]

“I have seen something like this before,” he said. “Everywhere it is death
to move a landmark. In some places not posts but stones are used. The dark
people across the river say that he who moves his neighbor’s landmark is
hated by the gods and his house shall disappear. His land shall not
produce fruits, his sons and grandsons shall die without a roof above
their heads, and in the end there shall be none left of his blood. Hail,
rust and the dog-star shall destroy his harvests, and his limbs shall
become sore and waste away.”

Pero stared in astonishment. “Where did you hear all that?” he asked.

“When I was younger I ran away and crossed the river,” said the Cub
calmly. “They are strange people over there, not like your people. They go
down to the sea in boats. I went in a boat also, but I did not like it.
There was a fat trader on the boat, and when we were outside the long
white waves along the shore, and the wind came up and rocked our boat, his
face turned the color of sick grass. Perhaps my face did also; I do not
know. We were both very sick. After that I came back to tend sheep again,
for I do not like that place.

“They have a god called Turms there who is the god of traders, and of
thieves, and of fortune tellers. They pray to him for good luck, for they
believe very much in luck. He is sometimes seen in the shape of a beggar
man with a dog and a staff that has snakes twisted about it, and a cap
with a feather in it.”

The Cub stood up laughing and slipped away down under the rocks with his
wolf; it almost seemed as if he had flown. As Pero stared after him, he
remembered that the lad had an eagle feather in his pointed cap, and his
staff had a twisted vine around it. But the next time they met the boy was
so clearly only a boy in a sheepskin tunic that Pero called himself an old
fool too ready to take fancies.

The Cub had spent time enough on the other side of the river to know
something about the people, and he had interesting things to tell. They
enjoyed bargaining and spent much time buying and selling. They could make
fine gold work, bright-colored cloth, and brown vases with black pictures
painted on them. Their walls were often painted with pictures. When a
trader from that country, named Toto, came to the village, Pero remembered
some of the things he had been told. The people bought some of his
trinkets, but by what they said of them when the brightness was worn off
and the color faded, he was not a very honest merchant. Pero remembered
then that this people had the same god for trading and for stealing.

The Cub said that he had been to other villages along this mountain slope,
and they seemed to be as separate as if they were islands on a sea of
waste wilderness. They did not have their feasts on the same day, they did
not measure time alike; in some ways they were almost as far apart in
their ideas as if they had been different kinds of animals. And yet they
all spoke nearly the same language and worshiped in much the same way. If
they knew each other better and met oftener they would be all one people,
strong enough to drive away their enemies. If he and Pero could meet in
this friendly way, surely others could. But this was a new idea to the
shepherd, and he was not used to thinking. When the Cub saw that he did
not understand he began talking of something else. The invisible boundary
lines were too strong to be crossed.

Often, late at night, after Pero had gone home, the Cub would lie on a
high rock that overlooked the village, looking down at the twinkling
circle of lights that meant altar fires in homes. Then he would look up at
the twinkling points of light in the sky, and wonder if the gods lived
there, and if the lights were the altar fires of their homes. If he had
known that Pero once half believed him to be a god in disguise, he would
have been very much surprised. He was only a boy, without father, mother
or home, and he wished he knew what lay before him in the life he had to
live.

He could keep sheep, he could hunt, he could fight, he could run and swim
better than most boys of his age, and there was no beast, fowl, bird,
reptile, fruit or tree in the wilderness that he did not know. But there
seemed to be no place for him to live among men unless he was a sort of
servant. This was not to his liking. He had never seen any man whose
orders he would be willing to obey. He had seen some who were wiser, far
wiser than he was, who could tell him a great deal that he wished to know.
But he had never seen any to whom he would be a servant. A servant had to
do what he was told and make himself over into the kind of person some one
else thought he ought to be. The old woman who was a witch had told him
that he was born to rule, but he did not see how he could, unless it was
ruling to command animals. To rule men he must live where they were, and
so far as he could see they had no place for him.

His brother never seemed to have such thoughts. Give him enough to eat and
drink, a fire to warm him in winter and a stream to bathe in when the
summer suns were hot, and his reed pipe to play, and that was enough. He
would spend hours playing some tune over and over with first one change
and variation and then another. Even the wolf, now grown large and
powerful, with his gaunt muzzle and fierce eyes, was more of a companion
than that. He was always ready for a wrestle or a race or a swim with his
master. The two of them were feared wherever they went, and treated with
unqualified respect.

One day the Cub lay on his favorite rock, hidden by a low-sweeping
evergreen bough, when he heard shrieks and outcries. Peering over the
edge, he saw that in the edge of the woods below, where some women and
children were picking up nuts the men had shaken down for them, something
was happening. Half a dozen fierce men had rushed upon them and caught up
one of the children and run away, so quickly that by the time the fathers
and brothers got there no one could say which way they had gone. They
joined some others hidden in the woods, and came straight past the rock
where the Cub was watching. They were going to keep the child until they
got what they wanted. He could hear them talking. The biggest man had the
child on his shoulder. Her little face, as he got a glimpse of it, was
very white, but she did not cry out.

The boy rose and followed them with his wolf at his heels. He knew a
spring some distance above, where he thought they would be likely to stop
for a drink. They did. They were far enough away by this time not to fear
pursuit, and they had passed a rocky place where they could hold the
narrow trail against many times their number. But long before the men
could get up there they would have gone on.

The Cub crept up, inch by inch, until he was within a few feet of the
savage, careless group by the spring, and behind them, on a bank about six
feet high. Only the child was facing him. He showed himself for an
instant, and laid a finger on his lips, and beckoned. She struggled free
from the man who was holding her, striking at him with her little hands,
and he laughed and let her go. Even if she tried to run away, they would
catch her. But she only staggered unsteadily toward the bank, as if to
gather some bright berries there.

The instant she was clear of the group two figures hurled themselves
through the air,—a man and a wolf, or so it seemed in the moment or so
before the thing was over. There was a snarling, growling, breathless
struggle, and then the two strange figures were gone, and so was the
child, and the bandits were nursing half a dozen wolf bites and various
cuts on their shoulders and arms. Some they had given each other in the
confusion, and some were from the long, keen knife the Cub had ready when
he leaped among them.

The lad went straight down the mountainside with his wolf at his heels and
the child on his shoulder, and came out on the path that led upward just
as the men from the village were coming up. He set down the child, and
with a cry of delight she rushed into the arms of her father. A spear
hurtled through the air from the hasty hand of one of the men, who had
caught a glimpse of a brown shoulder and a sheepskin tunic. The Cub
disappeared. He was rather disgusted. If that was the way that the
villagers repaid a kindness—

 [Illustration: The lad went straight down the mountainside with his wolf
                              at his heels]

From his rock he watched them returning with the child, all talking at
once. It seemed to him a great deal of talk about what could not be helped
by talking. He called Pincho, and only silence answered. He slid off the
rock and retraced his steps. When he reached the place where he had set
down little Emilia, he found the body of his pet, quite dead, with a spear
wound straight through the heart. Then he remembered that in the flash of
time when the spear was hurled, Pincho had sprung at the man. He had taken
the death wound meant for his master.

Pero never saw the boy with the wolf again. When he heard Emilia’s story
of her rescue, he was inclined to think that they were gods after
all,—Mars himself, for all any one could say. But the Cub, feeling much
older, was far away, and it was long before he returned to that
countryside.



                                   VII


                              MASTERLESS MEN


The story the robbers had to tell, when they returned to their captain,
was not a very likely one. It was so unlikely that they took time to talk
the matter over thoroughly before attempting to face him. Perhaps it would
be better to tell a lie, if they could concoct one that would do. The
trouble was that they could not think of any explanation for their
failure, that was likely to satisfy him any better than the plain facts.

Of course it seemed impossible that a man and a wolf should be traveling
peaceably in company,—to say nothing of taking a child out of the hands of
several strong and reckless men. But even so, where had they gone? One of
the men had been quick enough to thrust with his spear at the wolf as he
got it against the sky,—and it went through nothing. He forgot that the
motion of an animal is usually quicker than the human eye, on such
occasions. Moreover, though two of them went back down the path until they
could hear the voices of the villagers, there was no sign of man, wolf or
child. The conclusion they felt to be the only one possible was that the
villagers’ gods had come and taken the child away from them, in the form
of the wolf and the man. In that case they must be very powerful, so
powerful that it would not be safe to attempt anything against that
village in the future.

Gubbo, who came from that village, assured them that its gods were
powerful indeed. He had not, when he and the other man were watching it,
seen anything like this man and wolf apparition, and it was certainly
remarkable enough to attract attention. Neither had the country people
ever mentioned such a thing. Privately, Gubbo did not believe much in
gods, but he was afraid of them for all that, because he was not sure.
Gubbo’s father had impressed upon him very hard that if he did wrong, bad
luck would surely overtake him. The patience of the gods was great, but
they knew everything, and in the end no man could escape them. Gubbo,
wincing at the pain where the wolf’s teeth had caught him, was
uncomfortably wondering whether his bad luck had begun. There had never
been any other failure to kidnap somebody, when men were sent to do it.
Perhaps the bad luck in this case came from the fact that one of the party
was attacking his own relatives and friends. There would be more bad luck
when the chief of the bandits heard of this thing. Gubbo decided to dodge
any further trouble if he could, and he lagged behind and quietly slipped
away, to find some other way of making a living. He intended to go on
traveling for a long time, to be out of the way of his former comrades.

It was just as well for him that he did this, for the men who returned to
the den in the rocks and reported to the chief had a very bad time of it.
The leader was executed, and so was the man who had had charge of the
child. Of the other three, one died of the bite of the wolf and the others
were very ill. After that, not a man of them could have been induced to
join in an attack against that village. The chief wisely did not press the
matter. After all, that was the nearest village of all those in their
range, and it might not be altogether prudent to arouse the anger of the
fighting men. It might lead to discovery.

The Cub, as he made his way back to the hut of Faustulus, was doing a
great deal of thinking. When he was younger he had sometimes dreamed of
being captain of a band of outlaws, because that seemed the only chance to
be captain of anything, for a fatherless boy. But he had no taste for
kidnaping children or being a nuisance to peaceable and kindly people.
Merely to think of those scoundrels made him hot all over. He would have
liked to follow their trail up to their very den, for he had an idea that
he knew where it was. One day, when he and Pincho had been hunting
together, he had seen a place where men evidently lived, and lived without
any sort of peaceful farming or other business. If that were the den of
the banditti, they could easily make themselves the pest of the
countryside, and what they had done would be nothing to what they could
do. Although he did not himself know it, this boy was the kind of person
whose mind leaps ahead and sees possibilities for others as well as
himself,—evil as well as good.

One day he asked his brother how he would like to gather the masterless
men of all that neighborhood into a band of soldiery, to live by hunting
and by fighting for any chief who would give them their living. They were
growing too old to live much longer as they had lived. Perhaps if they
could gather followers enough, they could go somewhere after awhile and
make a place for themselves. First they might go to the Long White
Mountain, where there was a rather large town, and see what the prospect
was for such an undertaking. They had already taken part in one campaign,
with some of the boys of the neighborhood, under the names of the Wolf and
the Piper. All of the troop had some nickname or other. There was the Ram,
whose head would crack an ordinary board in two; the Snake, who could
wriggle out of any bonds ever tied—they had tried him time and again; Big
Foot, Flop-Ear, Long Arm, and some others. They found the captain they had
followed before glad to use them again and give them ordinary soldier
rations. On the second night of their life in camp, a broad-shouldered and
slightly bow-legged individual came and asked to see the head of the band.
Gubbo did not recognize the young leader, but the latter knew him the
moment he saw him. Gubbo explained that he had been a member of a company
of banditti, had become disgusted with their ways, and left them. He would
like to make an honest living.

“What can you do?” asked the youth consideringly.

Gubbo said that he could teach tricks in knife work to almost any man;
also he could wrestle.

“Try me,” said the Wolf, slipping out of his heavy tunic. He enjoyed the
rough-and-tumble that followed more than he had anything since he used to
play with his wolf. This man really was a fair match for him. Gubbo was
taken into the band.

“He is a brute,” said the Ram bluntly.

“He is,” said the leader. “But he can teach you fellows something.”

They learned a great deal from the villainous-looking newcomer, though if
he had not been a little afraid of the young head of the troop, they might
have paid a heavy price for their learning. The latter found out by
judicious questioning that the den was where he had supposed it was. After
a time he began to see that Gubbo was doing his men no good. The man was
cruel, treacherous and base. Two or three times he had played tricks which
others were blamed for. One day Gubbo heard that a merchant was coming
along the road to the mountain villages, and at the same time he was sent
on scout duty that way. He watched in the bushes until the man came along
slowly, muffled in a long mantle, with a donkey loaded with panniers. He
seemed to be old; his beard was white. Gubbo sprang on him; the man turned
in that instant and met him with a knife thrust. Then the Wolf
straightened up, dropped his white goat’s-hair beard and wig, and went
back to camp. The bad luck that Gubbo feared had got him at last, and
nobody mourned him at all.

Wolf and the Piper and their troop spent some seasons in fighting and
adventure, and then they disappeared. It was said that they had separated.

This was true, but they had separated for a purpose. If the company went
together to the lair of the banditti they might as well go blowing
trumpets and beating drums; it would be known long before they came near.
Their orders were to go by twos and threes, and when the moon was full to
meet near a certain great rock that overlooked the valley where the river
became a lake and then went on. One by one, as the young leader sat
watching on this rock, dark forms came slipping through the shadows and
joined him. Last of all came his brother, who had guided some of the party
by a very roundabout way.

When all were there, and sentinels posted, he unfolded his plan. Above the
place where they now sat, among the tumbled rocks of a narrow valley, was
the headquarters of a most pestiferous company of robbers. For years they
had terrified and despoiled the people of the villages, and if any
resisted they were tormented almost beyond endurance in many different
ways. The people were expected to turn over to them at certain times and
places practically everything they produced, except just enough for a bare
living. Whatever the banditti did not use themselves, they sold for things
that could not be got in the villages. The villagers never knew what they
were to be allowed to have at the end of the year, and often they suffered
for food and warm clothing; but they stayed there because they knew
nowhere else to go. It was a miserable state of things.

His plan was this. They were to steal upon this den of banditti and take
it by surprise. Gubbo had said that it was not fortified to any extent,
because the chief relied on the locality not being known. They were to
kill the chief and such men as could not be trusted to behave themselves
if they had a chance. Perhaps some would join the troop and abide by its
rules. They would take the stronghold for their own, and keep it as a
place to return to when they were not busy elsewhere. Then, instead of
making enemies of the villagers or keeping them so terrified that they
dared not refuse any request, let them make a friendly agreement. If the
people who lived in these valleys gave them a certain tribute three or
four times a year—a certain part of the crop, whatever it was—they would
take care that there was no more plundering and kidnaping, and the farmers
could attend to their own affairs in safety and comfort. If any enemy came
against the people, too great for the Wolf and his soldiers to encounter
successfully, the fighting men of the villages would be expected to help
them, but they would undertake to keep the region clear of banditti. In
return, if any one asked whether there was a band of outlaws hiding
thereabouts, the villagers were to say that they did not know where there
were any, and that would be the truth.

The plan was approved, as the young chief knew it would be. He had talked
it over beforehand with each man separately. If the people were ungrateful
enough, after the den of thieves was broken up, not to agree to the plan
proposed, they could take their chance with other thieves, but he thought
that after what they had been through in the last few years they would be
willing to agree to almost anything.

As men are apt to do when they are much feared, the banditti in the
rock-walled ravine were growing rather careless. The scouts of the Wolf’s
troop were able to follow their movements closely. On the following night,
when their destruction was to take place, the robbers were all in camp,
having just returned from one of their expeditions to bring up supplies.
The fat calf and the fowls and other provisions were sizzling and stewing
over great fires. There was plenty of new wine. From a trader’s pack some
of the younger men had got little ivory cubes with figures engraved on the
sides, and were playing a game of chance. Their huts were furnished rather
luxuriously, with fur robes, wool garments and gay hangings, but these,
like their clothing, were stained and injured more or less by the fighting
that usually took place over the plunder. The chief did not care what his
men did in camp so long as they obeyed his orders. He did not wish them to
do much thinking; he preferred to do all of that for them. He would have
been surprised indeed if he had known that some of them did think and had
almost made up their minds that they had had enough of him and of his
methods and would go somewhere else.

As he grew older, the robber captain was fonder of eating and drinking,
and now he sat on a handsome ivory stool near the fire—for the night was
chilly—waiting for the meat to be done to a turn. The cook was a stout,
short, bright-eyed man, a slave from across the river, and there was very
little that he did not know about preparing rich dishes.

It was a windy night. The wind howled among the trees and down the ravine
as if it were chasing something. It was like the howling of wolves, though
there had been no wolves on that part of the mountain for a long time. Far
to the right of the camp there was heard a noise like the cry of a child.
Far to the left there was a bleating like a lamb. These were the signals
arranged by the attacking force that was coming silently through the
woods, and the sentinels went out a little way to see what a lamb and a
child could be doing up here. They were knocked down, bound and carried
off to a safe distance. By the time supper was ready in the ravine, the
men in the woods were lying on the bank above, all around, looking down
into the stronghold. The huts were ranged in two rows down the hollow,
with a line of fires between and the fronts open. The entrance below was
blocked by a log gate. But the men now ready to attack the place could
climb like goats; they had all been brought up among the hills.

All of a sudden arrows came shooting down on the careless banditti, and
almost every one found its mark. Down to the roofs of the huts and to the
ground came leaping figures, well armed and fighting with the strength and
skill of trained men. Whenever they could they disarmed and bound their
men, but the leader of the banditti was an exception to this rule. He was
killed without a chance to surrender.

When every man in the camp of the banditti had been cut down or
captured—and about half of them surrendered,—the victors sat down and ate
the feast prepared for the robbers.

Next day, when things had been cleared up and put in order, each
prisoner’s case was taken up separately. A few, whose deeds were the
terror of the countryside, were executed. The rest were glad enough to
join the troop under the Wolf, on probation. If they did well, they should
be full members in time.

The people of the villages were thankful to buy protection on the
reasonable terms offered. They did not know exactly who these men were who
had rid them of the banditti; some supposed they were a troop of soldiers
from some chief. They almost never saw any of the band. The tax demanded
was brought to a certain place and left there, and that was all. Emilius
the priest often wondered why these men did not ask anything of his
village, but they never did. Their village was the only one that had
hardly ever suffered from the banditti. It was very odd. He never
connected either of these facts with the long-ago visit of the shepherd
youths and the tame wolf. So matters went on for a year or two. A guard
was always left at the stronghold, but the men were often absent.
Merchants and traders learned that they could get these men to protect
them, at a price, when they were traveling through a strange country. They
had really established a sort of patrol. The scattered hunters and
fishermen had walked in desperate terror of the banditti, but they almost
worshiped the troopers, and they would have died rather than reveal
anything they had been told to keep secret. When Amulius, the hoary and
evil chief of the people of the Long White Mountain, heard of these two
youths who were such excellent fighters and whose men had so good a
reputation, he tried to find out where they were, but he never could. For
all the people of the country seemed to know, they might come out of the
air and vanish into the clouds. It was very mysterious. When the young
leader heard that Amulius had been trying to find him he smiled, and did
not make any comment whatever.



                                   VIII


                            THE BEEHIVE TEMPLE


The preparations at the village on the Mountain of Fire were completed
during the winter, and the little company of men, women and children made
ready to go out into the unknown world as soon as a favorable day arrived.
It was a more serious undertaking than any they had known or even heard of
before. Even when their ancestors came to this place, so long ago that no
one could remember when it was, it was after a lifetime of wandering; they
were not used to anything else. This company was made up of people who had
never in their lives been more than a day’s journey from the place where
they were born, and what was more, hardly any of their forefathers had,
for generations.

It was made still more difficult and doubtful by the fact that they were
taking their women and children with them. There was no other way. There
was not too much to eat in the village, as it was, and there would be
less, if the men went away for a year and left their families to be
supported. Although the men would have preferred to go first and explore
the land, the women were privately better pleased as it was. They felt
that if their husbands were to be killed they wanted to die too. As for
the children who were old enough to understand the situation, their
feelings were mixed. It was exciting and delightful to be going to see new
lands, and made them feel important and responsible, but when the time of
leaving actually approached and they began to think of never seeing their
old home again, they felt very sober indeed.

They left the mountain on the day that was later called the Ides of March,
at the beginning of spring, and slowly they followed the shining river out
into the valley. Two-wheeled carts drawn by the oxen were loaded with the
stores and clothing they were able to take with them. The fighting men had
their weapons all in order. The boys were helping drive the cattle and
sheep, and the married women had the younger children with them. Every one
who was able to walk, walked. The eldest girl in each of the families—none
was over ten years old—had charge of one most important thing—the fire.
The little maidens walked soberly together, feeling a great dignity laid
upon them. Each carried a round, strong basket lined with clay and covered
with a beehive-shaped lid of a peculiar shape. In this were live coals
carefully covered with ashes, for the kindling of the next fire. No matter
what happened, they must not let those coals go out.

        [Illustration: The little maidens walked soberly together]

“What-_ever_ happened?” repeated a little yellow-haired girl, called
Flavia because she was so fair. She was the daughter of Muraena the smith,
and the youngest of the ten.

Ursula, the biggest girl, laughed. “If we were crossing a river and one of
us got drowned, I suppose her fire would be lost,” she said teasingly.
“But they wouldn’t excuse us for anything short of that.”

“But if it did go out—if all of the fires were put out?” persisted Flavia,
walking a little closer to Marcia, whose word she felt that she could
trust. She had visions of a dreadful anger of the gods,—another night of
darkness and terror like the one they all remembered. “Should we never
have a fire again, and have to eat things raw, and freeze to death, and
let the wolves eat us up?”

“Certainly not,” answered Marcia reassuringly. “Father told me all about
that when I was younger than you are. Don’t you remember how they kindled
the fire in the new year?”

Flavia shook her yellow head. “I never noticed.” She had been so taken up
with the chanting and the ceremonies that she had not seen how the fire
actually blazed up on the altar.

“They do it with the _terebra_ and the _tabula_. The _tabula_ is a flat
wooden block with a groove cut in it, and the _terebra_ is a rubbing-stick
that just fits the groove. They have some very fine chaff ready, and they
move the stick very fast in the groove until it is quite hot. Don’t you
know how warm your hands are after you rub them together? When there is a
little spark it catches in the chaff, and then it is sheltered to keep it
from going out, and fed with more chaff and dry splinters until the fire
is kindled. They can _always_ kindle a fire in that way.”

“What if the _terebra_ and the _tabula_ were lost?” asked Flavia.

“They would make others.”

“If I rubbed my hands together long enough, would they be on fire?” asked
the child. She did not yet see how fire could be made just by rubbing bits
of wood together. In fact, it was so much easier to keep the fire when it
was once made that this was hardly ever done. It was only done regularly
once a year, at the beginning of the month sacred to Mars. Then all the
altar fires were put out and the priest kindled the sacred fire in this
way afresh.

The girls all laughed, and Marcia answered,

“No, dear, it is only certain kinds of wood that will do that. I suppose
the gods taught our people long ago which they were. The hearth god lives
in the fire, you know. I always think it is like a living thing that will
die without care. Father says that the fire keeps away the wicked fever
spirits.”

“What’s fever?” asked Yaya, on the other side. “Did you ever have it?”

“No, never; but Father did once, when he was working on the road across
the marsh, before I was born. It makes all your bones ache as if they were
broken, and you cannot keep still because the spirits shake you all over.
You grow hot and grow cold, and have bad dreams, and talk nonsense. Father
woke up one day when he had the fever, and said that there were great rats
coming to carry off my brother Marcs, who was a baby then, and he tried to
get up and kill the rats, when there were none there. And when he was well
he never remembered seeing the rats at all.”

Although the children did not know it, a blazing fire and wool clothing
help to keep away the malarial fever of a wet wilderness. The people
believed that their gods taught them to keep up a fire, to wear clean wool
garments and to drink pure water, and it is certain that they were wise in
doing all these things religiously, as they did. When they found a good
spring on their journey they filled their water bottles and left a little
gift there for the god of the waters. They kept near pure running water
when they could, and away from standing water, even if they had to go a
long way round to do it. In the sudden damps and chills of the lowlands
through which they traveled the tunics and mantles of pure wool kept them
from taking cold, and there was very little sickness on the journey. They
kept to their own habits of eating, and the children were not allowed to
experiment with strange and possibly unripe fruits.

It was a long time, however, before they came in sight of any place that
could be thought of as a home. Most of the country they saw was not
inhabited except by a stray hut dweller here and there, getting a
miserable living as he could,—simply because the land was not fit to live
in. They crossed a rolling plain, where the marshes were full of
unpleasant looking water, and the air at night was full of singing,
stinging insects that drove the cattle frantic. It was not quite so bad
near the fires. The insects seemed to dislike the smoke, or perhaps their
wings could not carry them through the strong currents of air that the
flames made around them. As soon as possible they moved up toward the
higher land, and here at last they came in sight of the river of the
yellow waters, the great river that ran down to the sea. Beyond that they
could not go without meeting strange people and the worship of strange and
cruel gods.

Every night the beehive covers were taken off the baskets, and the fires
were kindled, and in a round hut that was like a big basket lid, a bed of
coals was made ready for the next day’s journey. It was the duty of the
ten little girls, the guardians of the fire, to take care of this, and
they spent a great deal of time around the miniature temple of the fire
god. One or another was always there.

One night when they were carefully covering the coals with fine ashes,
Marcia and Tullia and Flavia looked up and saw two strange men standing
near and looking down at them. They were startled but not at all
frightened. The strangers would not be there if they were not friends; the
men would not allow it. The two youths did not say anything; they watched
for a few minutes, smiling as if they liked what they saw; then they
turned away. They looked very much alike, and walked alike, and their
voices were alike; but one was a little taller and darker than the other
and always seemed to take the lead. They were not like the rude, ignorant,
pagan people who sometimes came to stare and beg and perhaps to pilfer
when they found some one’s back turned. They looked like the people of
Mars. But what could they be doing away out here?

The next day there was great news to tell. In the first place, the fathers
of the colony had decided to stay here a few days, and let the cattle
feed, and the women wash their clothing and rest for a little before going
on. The water was good, and they had learned that it was a safe part of
the country, though it was too rocky and barren to be a good place to
live. But that was the smallest part of the news. The two youths were
their own kinsmen, born of their own people, sons of a son of the old
chief who had died in a far land many years ago.

This was wonder enough, to be sure, but there was more to come. The wicked
uncle of the two brothers had killed their mother and father, and told one
of his servants to take the twin boys down to the river and drown them.
They were babies then. The servant did not like to do this. He may have
been afraid he would get into trouble if he did it and any of their people
found it out later. He may have hated to do the cruel work, for they were
strong and handsome little fellows. At any rate he put them in a basket
and gave the basket to a slave, telling him to throw it into the river.

The river was in flood just then, and its banks were overflowed for miles
on each side. There was water everywhere, and the ground was soft so that
it was hardly possible to get down to the real river, where the water was
deep and the current strong. If the children had been thrown into that,
they would have drowned at once. But the slave did not take time to go all
the way around the plain to the bank itself. He put the basket down in the
first deep pool he found and left it to be carried down to the river, for
the flood was beginning to ebb. Instead of that the basket lodged on a
knoll and stayed there, not very far from the banks.

  [Illustration: The little creatures inside the basket were not cubs or
                                  lambs]

In flood time, as Ursula had often heard her father the hunter say,
animals are sometimes so frightened that the fierce and the timid take
refuge together on some island or rocky ridge, without harming each other
at all. This flood had come up suddenly and drowned some of them in their
dens. A wolf that had lost her cubs in that way was picking her steps
across the drenched plain, when she heard a noise—two noises—from a willow
basket under a wild fig tree. She went quietly over there and looked in.
The little creatures inside the basket were not cubs or lambs, but they
were hungry; any one would know that from the way they squalled. Wolf talk
and man talk are quite different, but baby talk and cub talk are
understood by all mothers. The wolf tipped the basket over with her paw,
and the little things tumbled out in the cold and wet and cried louder
than ever. Perhaps they thought she was a big dog. At any rate they
crawled toward her, and plunged their strong little chubby hands into her
fur, and crowed. When she lay down they snuggled close to her warm furry
side, and she licked them all over.

A shepherd named Faustulus came that way when the flood had gone down,
looking after a lost sheep. He found wolf tracks, and grasping his spear
firmly, traced them to this knoll. He found the gray wolf curled up there
with the two babies, asleep and warm and rosy, in the circle of her big,
strong body.

The shepherd did not know just what to do. He thought that if he tried to
take the children away from her she would fight, and they might be hurt,
and he probably would be hurt himself. He decided to go and get help.
Later in the day he came back with some of his friends, and set a rude
box-trap for the wolf, baited with fresh meat from a drowned calf. When
they had trapped her they took her home and the children also, in their
basket. They kept the wolf for some time, and she seemed quite tame; but
at last she ran away and never came back. They fed the babies on warm
milk, and the shepherd and his wife both fell in love with them from the
very first. They heard a rumor after awhile, whispered about secretly as
such things are, that the chief Amulius had had his two little nephews
drowned. The shepherd guessed then who the foundlings might be, but he
kept quiet about it. The city was not too far away, and some one might be
sent even yet to kill the twins. In the language of the country the word
for river was Rumon, and the word for an oar was Rhem. He named the boys
Romulus and Remus, and those were all the names they had. They grew up to
be fine active fellows, afraid of nothing and good at all manly sports. As
they grew up, they gathered other young men outside the villages into a
sort of clan, to protect the countryside against robbers, and to fight and
hunt and earn a living in one way and another. They had a rocky stronghold
on the mountain, where they lived, and whenever strangers came that way,
some one was sent to see who and what they were. That was how the two
brothers came to the camp of the colonists.

When this remarkable story was told, there was intense interest in the
strange kinsmen. The girls were a little afraid of them. Their eyes were
so bright and keen, their teeth so white, and their faces so bronzed and
stern that they looked rather savage, especially in their wolf-skin
mantles and tunics. But the boys all wished that they could join the
patrol in the mountains.

For two days the colonists remained where they were, talking with the two
brothers about the country. At last it was settled that the very hills
where the two foundlings had grown up would be the best place for the
colony to live!

Near the yellow river, there was a group of seven irregular hills which
had never been inhabited, because the place was far from any town, and the
neighboring chiefs had no especial use for it. There was good water on
these hills and pasture enough for all the herds, if the woods were
cleared off. The hills were so shaped that they could be defended, and
from those heights they could see for miles and miles across the plain.
The wild face of Romulus changed and kindled as he talked, and Marcus
Colonus saw that here in this youth, his kinsman, in spite of his
adventurous and untrained life and his ignorance of the old and
time-honored ways, he had found a true son of the Vitali, who loved his
land and his people.

The colonists crossed the plain to the seven hills, with the brothers
guiding them, and on the largest, which stood perhaps a hundred and fifty
feet above the river, they made their camp and set up the beehive temple
for the last time. Here, they hoped, the sacred fire would burn year after
year, and their people find a home.



                                    IX


                             THE SQUARE HILL


The colony had chosen for their home one of the largest of the seven
hills, squarish in form and more or less covered with woodland. They began
at once to fence it around, to keep their beasts from wandering out and
thieves and wild beasts from getting in, for all this country was very
lonely. They had done this sort of thing so often since they left their
old home that they did it quickly and rather easily. It was the habit of
their people to save time and strength wherever they could, without being
any less thorough. To do a thing right, in the beginning, saved a great
deal of loss and trouble in the end.

While some cut down trees that grew on the land where they intended to
make their permanent settlement, others trimmed off the branches as fast
as the trees were down, and cut the logs to about the same length, and
pointed the ends. The boys gathered up the branches and cut firewood from
them. The brush that was not needed for the fires was made into loose
fagots and piled up on the logs, as they were laid along the line where
the wall was to be. This made a kind of brush fence, not of much use
against a determined enemy but better than none at all. Even this would
keep an animal from bouncing into the camp without being heard, and in
fact most wild beasts are rather suspicious of anything that looks like a
trap.

When they had logs enough to begin fencing, all placed ready for use, they
dug holes along the line they had marked out with a furrow, and planted
the logs side by side as closely as they could, like large stakes. In any
newly settled place, where trees are plenty, this is the most easily built
fortification settlers can have, and the strongest. A stone or earth wall
takes much longer to build. It is still called a palisade, a wall of
stakes,—just as it was by men who built so, thousands of years ago and
called a sharpened stake a “_palum_.” A fence built of boards set up in
this way is called a paling fence, and the boards are called palings. The
word fence itself is only a short word for “defence,”—a defence made of
pointed stakes planted in the ground.

The earth that was dug up was always thrown inside and formed the basis of
a low earthwork that made the palisade firmer. It was made as high as
possible from the outer side by being built on the edge of the hilltop so
that the ground sloped away sharply from it. The pointed tops of the logs
were a foot or two too high for a man to grasp at them and climb up, but
from the inside the defenders could mount the earthwork and look through
high loopholes.

There was a gateway at the top of a slope that was not so deep as the
others, placed there so that if the colonists were outside and had to run
for shelter, they could get in quickly. Almost anywhere else, a person who
tried to get in and was not wanted would have to climb the hill under fire
from the slingers and bowmen above. He must then get over the perfectly
straight log wall, which afforded no foothold, because all the nubs of the
branches had been neatly pared off, and force his way over the sawlike top
in the face of men with long spears. No matter what sort of neighbors the
colonists might have, they would think twice before they tried that.

The gate was made as strong as possible, of smaller tree trunks lashed
together, and strengthened on the inside by crosspieces. When it was
closed, two logs, one at the top and one at the bottom, were laid in place
across it. Some one was always there to guard it, day and night, and could
see through a little window who was coming up the hill.

Although strongholds like this had not been necessary for many years in
their old home, there was one, built of stone in the ancient days, and
never allowed to go to ruin. It seemed very adventurous to the boys to be
erecting defences like that for their own families. But Romulus and Remus
had told them that this would be the only way of being quite safe. They
had a great deal that petty thieves might want to steal; and the chief
Amulius might take it into his head to send a force to attack them, if he
knew that so large a party of strangers had come in. When they had been
there some years, and more people had joined the colony, the seven hills
could be fortified so that nobody could take them. Colonus himself could
see that, and it gave him a feeling of confidence and respect for his
young cousin to know that he had seen it too.

By the time the palisade was finished, not only most of the land within it
was clear, but the material for the huts was ready and some huts had been
built. The timber was piled as it was cut, by the boys of the various
families, on the lots marked out for the houses. The younger children cut
reeds and grass for thatching and for the fodder of the cattle. They did
this work in little companies and had a very pleasant time. Sometimes they
caught fish, or shot waterfowl with their bows and arrows, or set snares
for game.

Later the men would gather stone for a stone wall in place of the
palisade, to run along the same line, and then the seasoned timbers of
their log wall would still be good for building purposes. There was a
steeper and narrower hill near the river which would make an excellent
fortress. But the thoughts of the colony now were given to laying out
farms.

They cleared and laid out wheat fields and orchards and vineyards as soon
as they found land suitable. As any farmer knows, the sooner land is
cultivated the more can be got out of it; it is not work that can all be
done in a year, or two years, or three. This is especially true of land
never used before for anything but pasture, and much of this had never
been used even for that. Sheep do not like wet ground, and both sheep and
cattle, unless they were tended constantly, might stray into the swampy
low grounds. Drainage would help that land; when some of it was drained it
would make rich lush meadows and golden grain fields. The land-loving
Vitali could see visions of richer crops than any they had ever harvested,
growing on that unpromising plain, if only they could have their way with
it.

The children who were here, there and everywhere, watching all that was
done and helping where they could, felt as if they were looking on at the
making of a new world. It was really almost like a miracle—some of the
ignorant marsh folk thought it was one—when that uncultivated hilltop,
overgrown with bushes and wind-stunted trees and with the rocky bones of
it cropping out here and there, became a trim encampment of orderly
thatched huts. The beasts grew sleek and fat on the good fodder and
grazing, and no one had appeared so far who had any evil designs. In fact,
few persons came near them at all. It was as if they had the new world all
to themselves.

In the house-building the children helped considerably after the men got
the timber frames up. Instead of building stone walls, they were going to
do what they had sometimes done before when a wall was run up
temporarily,—use mud. They set stakes in rows along the walls, not close
together like the palisade, but far enough apart for twigs and branches to
be woven in and out between them like a very rough basketry. When this was
done the men built a kind of pen on the ground, for a mixing bowl, and
brought lime and sand and clay and water, and mixed it with tough grass
into a sort of rough plaster. This was daubed all over the walls with
wooden spades until the whole was quite covered, and when it hardened it
would be weather-proof and warm. Small houses built in this “wattle and
daub” fashion have been known to last hundreds of years.

The thatched roof was four-sided, running up to a hole in the middle to
let out the smoke. When it rained, the rain dripped in around the edges of
the hole and ran into a tank under it. The altar with the sacred fire was
at one side of this tank, and when the room was dark the flame was
reflected in the wavering, shining depths of the water. The space opposite
the door, beyond the altar, was where the father and mother slept, and
later it might be walled off into a private room. Other rooms could be
partitioned off along the sides. In later times there was a small entry or
vestibule between the door and the inner rooms. But although the other
rooms might vary in number and size and use, the _atrium_, the middle
space, in which were the altar and the _impluvium_ or water pool, remained
the same. It was the heart of the home. Here the family worship was held,
and this was the common room of the family.

The plan of the encampment itself was like the house on a larger scale.
The huts were built around the inside of the palisade, with a separating
space or belt of land that was never plowed or built on—the _pomerium_,
the space “before the wall.” In the middle was an open square which was to
the town what the _atrium_ was to the house,—the common ground, where
public worship was held, announcements made, and public affairs social or
religious carried on. Here was the beehive hut with the sacred fire, and
all other temples or public buildings there might be would open on this
square. The line of encircling houses made a sort of inner defense line,
and even if any stranger could have climbed the wall for purposes of
robbery or spying, it would have been hard for him to pass the houses
without being found out.

This was the ancient way in which all the towns of this race were built.
As the towns increased in size, other gates were opened, and streets laid
out, but always after the same general plan. And as a family never stayed
indoors when it was possible to work or play in the open air, so the
colonists did not stay inside their wall when they could go out on the
common land and make it fruitful. Their descendants are seldom contented
to live inside walls and streets, where they can have no land of their
own. They find homes outside, where they can have land to dig up and plant
and tend and watch, season after season,—and in the thousands of years
since they began to plant and to reap, they have gone almost everywhere in
the world.



                                    X


                               THE KINSMEN


While the colonists were clearing the land on the Square Hill, building
huts and laying out farms, they saw nothing of Romulus and Remus. The old
shepherd Faustulus came up now and then to look at the work as it went on,
and plainly thought these newcomers wonderful and superior beings. But the
wolf’s foster children were fighters, not husbandmen, and this work was
not in their line at all.

The fathers of the colony were not altogether sorry that this was so. They
felt that if the hunters, woodsmen, shepherds, soldiers of fortune, and
outlawed men Romulus commanded should happen to quarrel with peaceable
people like the settlers, it might create a very unpleasant state of
things. The brothers themselves were friendly enough, but it was not
certain whether they could keep their men from plunder or fighting if they
tried. Such bands, so far as Colonus and his friends had known of them,
were like a pack of wolves,—the chiefs only held their leadership by being
stronger, fiercer and more determined than the others. Their group of rude
huts in the forest was not at all like a civilized town, from what they
said of it, and they never seemed to give any attention to the gods or to
worship. Perhaps they did not know much about such things. Even those who
came from civilized places had wandered about so much that they seemed to
think one place as good as another. They had no idea of the feeling that
made their home, to the colonists, dearer than any other place ever could
be. It was so not because it was pleasanter, or because they had more
comforts than others, but because it was home, the place where people knew
and trusted one another and trusted in the unseen dwellers by the fire to
protect and guide them, and to make them wise and just in their dealings
with one another.

To the colonists there was a very great difference between the ways of
different people. The words they used showed it. Civil life began when men
lived in a city, but this was not a large settlement of miscellaneous
persons, but a permanent home of men who all worshiped the same gods, and
obeyed the same laws and took responsibility. A man who did his part in
the life of such a place was a “citizen,” and the life itself was
“civilized,” the life of men who served one another and the whole
community—men, women and children—looking out for its future as they would
for the prosperity of their own family. In fact, such a body of people
usually began with a group of relatives, as this one had. Without this
dependence on one another to do the right thing, there could not be
civilization.

A “company” was a group who were so far friends as to eat bread together.
This in itself was a proof of a sort of friendship, for in eating a man
had to lay down his weapons and be more or less off guard; when men ate
together they were all off guard for the time. “Community” meant a group
of families or persons bound together by kindred or friendship or common
interest, and stronger for being bound together, as a bundle of sticks is
stronger than separate sticks can be. “Religion” meant something stronger
still, the binding together of people who felt the same sort of ties to
the unseen world, who worshiped in the same way, and loved the same sweet,
old, familiar prayers and chants, and believed in the same unseen rulers
of life and death.

The various words for strangers outside these ties which bound them to
their own people were just as expressive. Among farmers who lived on
cleared land, within walls, the people who did not were “out of doors,”
the forest people, the “foreigners.” Among a people who all spoke the same
language, the thick-tongued country people, whose ideas were few, like
their needs and their occupations, were the “barbarians,”—the babblers.
And in a place like the settlement they were making now, a little island
of orderly, intelligent life in a waste of almost uninhabited wilderness,
the scattered hut dwellers were the “pagans,” the people of the waste. But
almost every word that meant a civilized family or town had in it the idea
of obligation. People must see that they could not be lawless and have any
civil life at all. Civil life meant living together and living more or
less by rules that were meant for the comfort and welfare of all.

Now the wild followers of Romulus could surely not be united by any such
law as this. They fought as if Mars himself had taught them, the country
folk said; but the worship of this god of manhood meant a great many
things besides fighting. No settlement could be strong where the men were
free to fight one another, knew nothing of self-control, made no homes.
Just how much Romulus understood of this, Colonus was not sure. As it
proved, he understood a great deal more than any one thought he did.

Suddenly, as they always came and went, the twins appeared one day at the
gate of the palisade and were made very welcome. It happened to be a feast
day, the feast of Lupercal, which came in midwinter, and the fact was that
Romulus had found this out and had come that day on purpose. He was always
interested in sacrifices, omens, and old customs. Remus had brought his
pipes, and while he played for the dancers some wild music that none of
them had ever heard, Romulus came over to the older men. He was rather
quiet for a long time, watching all that went on, and his eyes turned
often to the fire on the altar.

“My uncle,” he said at last to Marcus Colonus, when they were seated a
little apart from the others, “I came here to tell you the desire of my
heart, and now that I am here, I feel afraid. There is much in the world
that I have never seen and do not know. With you, I feel like a little boy
who has everything yet to learn.”

This was a surprise to Colonus, and it was a pleasant one. This young man,
who had fought his way to power and leadership at an age when most boys
are still depending on their fathers for advice in everything, had somehow
learned to be gentle and reverent, and not too sure of himself. This was a
thing that Colonus could not have expected. He did not see exactly where
Romulus had learned it, but it gave him a feeling of great kindness toward
his young kinsman.

“There is no need for you to be afraid,” he said cordially. “We are all
your friends here. We owe you much for your aid and counsel. You are of
our blood. This is your home whenever you come among us.”

The young leader stole a quick look from his keen, dark eyes at the older
man. He had opened the conversation with that speech, not because he did
not mean it, for he did; he felt very rude and ignorant among these
kinsfolk of his, with their kindly, pleasant ways, and practical wisdom,
and unconscious dignity. He was perfectly honest in saying that. But he
said it just then because he wished to find out how Colonus felt toward
him, and how far he could count on his approval and support in a plan he
had. It would be better not to ask for help at all than to ask for it and
be refused. The young chief of outlaws was proud. He was also wise, with
the sagacity of a wild thing that has had to fight for life against all
the world from birth. He never had really trusted anybody. The weak who
were afraid to oppose him might do it if they dared. The strong must not
be allowed to see his weakness or they would take the advantage. The old
shepherd was kind, but he did not always see danger. Strength and kindness
did not go together in Romulus’ experience. Even when he and his men were
protecting the mountain villages, doing for them what they could not do
for themselves, the people never let them forget that they were outlawed
men. Because they did not live inside the walls and do just as the farmers
did, they could not be called civilized. But these men here were his
kinsmen, and they seemed different. Some instinct told him that with
Colonus it would be better not to pretend to be wise and strong, but to
ask advice.

“That is very good of you,” he said gratefully. “But I am not, after all,
really one of you. I was not brought up as your sons have been. I cannot
be sure that they would trust me as my own men do. If I were sure—”

And then he stopped.

“Do you mean,” asked Colonus, “that you wish the help of our young men in
some expedition?”

Romulus decided to risk it. “If it is wise in your eyes,” he said.

“We are strangers in this land,” said Colonus deliberately, “and we must
be careful what we do. You had better tell me exactly what the plan is,
for I cannot judge in the dark. If I think it is not good I will say so,
and we will let the matter drop and say no more. If it seems wise I will
speak of it to Tullius the priest and the other men, and do all I can to
help you.”

He suspected that Romulus had some plan for making war against his wicked
uncle and winning back the place that he and his brother had been robbed
of. He wished to know more of the young man’s ways of thinking and acting
before he made any promises. It might be a very good thing if Amulius were
overthrown, for he was feared and hated even by his own people. The
colonists were not strong enough to do it themselves, and it was not their
quarrel, but it was a very grave question whether they would not have to
fight the soldiers of Amulius sooner or later. He had never troubled the
few scattered shepherds and hunters by the riverside, but a settlement
like theirs, if it grew and was prosperous, might attract his attention.

It was natural enough for Romulus to desire to overthrow the man who had
cast him out of his rightful place, but whether he could do it was another
matter. The young men would not make any trouble about joining him in his
war if they were allowed to, for he was already a sort of hero among them.
But if they drifted into the vagabond godless life of the outlaws in the
forest, it would be very unfortunate indeed. The only possible way in
which the settlement by the river could hold its own was by standing
together and keeping the old proved discipline. The lads had never done
any real fighting, and it would be a great experience for them. Everything
would depend on the leader under whom they fought, and Colonus did not
really know much about him.

Very often conversation goes on without the use of words. This is so in
animals, who seem to understand each other without any talk at all. There
is more or less of it even among modern, civilized men. The two kinsmen
were not so far from the wild life of their ancestors that they did not
see through each other to some extent. Romulus knew well enough that the
colonists ruled their lives by ancient customs, and by what they could
learn of the will of the gods. A man like Marcus Colonus would naturally
have some questions to ask of a young fellow who paid no more attention to
old rules and ceremonies than a wild hawk. The youth intended to answer as
many of these questions as he could, before they were asked.

“A long time ago,” Romulus began, his dark eyes fixed thoughtfully on the
leaping flames, “when my brother and I were boys, Faustulus the shepherd
took us farther from our pastures than we had ever been before. We came to
a place after much wandering, where all the people were making holiday.
When we asked, being still youths and curious, what holiday it was, they
said it was the day of the founding of the city.

“They knew the name and the history of the founder of the city, who came
from a far country with his people, and was led by a wolf to the place
where the city was to be. Although he had long been dead, he was
remembered and loved. The priest said that his spirit was often with them
and blessed them when they did right. He was to them a kind father, who
never forgets his children.

“Then, not understanding how one man could found a city, I asked the
priest, and he told me that the city was not a mere crowd of people, but
the home of the gods and of the ancestors of the people, as a house is the
home of a man. The unseen dwellers by the fireside require not great
houses, but when the fire is kept burning they love it as do the living.
Then I watched and saw the processions, and the dancing, and heard the
chanting of songs and the sacred music, and all that was done in honor of
the founder. I saw that the city was the home of a man, living or dead,
forever and ever. Then I said, ‘When I am a man, I will found a city in
the place where the wolf saved our lives when we were children.’ My
brother laughed, and I, being angry, knocked him down. I wanted to kill
him in that moment. But the priest told me that there must never be
quarreling on a feast day, because it brought ill luck. I was afraid that
the founder of the city saw me and was angry. I went away. But from that
time I have always wished to found a city in this place, and for that
reason I was glad when your people came and I could lead them here.”

Colonus found this story a touching one. It showed a reverence and
affection for the things he had not known, which he was glad to see in
this strong young man.

“And that is your secret desire?” he said, smiling.

“That is my dream,” said Romulus. And he looked at the older man with eyes
that had a question in them.

“If you are to found a city here,” said Colonus slowly, “Mars must lead
you as he leads us. If our young men fight in your battles, your men must
come and live with us and worship our gods and obey our laws. That is what
a city means. How will these things be, Romulus, son of the Ramnes, son of
the wolf?”

“My men will go where I go,” said Romulus briefly. “This also is in my
mind, my uncle, and you shall tell me whether it is a wise plan or the
hasty vision of youth. There are many in the army of Amulius, my uncle,
who hate him as much as they fear him. He suspects that we are the
children he tried to murder, and will try to hunt us down and make the
people we have protected betray us. Perhaps they will fight for themselves
if they will not fight for us; I do not know. But there is not one among
my men,” the youth lifted his dark head in high confidence, “who follows
me from any other reason than because he wishes. They do not all love me,”
he added, with a grin that showed his sharp white teeth, “but I am their
leader and they will die fighting before they will yield to Amulius.

“If then I lead my men boldly against Amulius, not waiting for him to be
ready, not staying until he sends his slaves to hunt me down, not letting
him hear of our coming till we are there, I think that we may succeed, and
then will the land be freed. He himself is old and has not led men to war
for many years. I think that many in his army will refuse to fight against
us, and others will yield without much fighting, and when we have come and
taken his city, the people who obey him now will be glad. But my
grandfather is still alive, and he, and not my brother nor myself, has the
right to rule upon the Long White Mountain.

“When my grandfather is again ruler where he has the right, then would I
come here and found my own city in my own place where the she-wolf saved
our lives. Was she not the servant of Mars?”

Colonus nodded thoughtfully. “It would seem so.”

“Then shall my people be your people, and your gods my gods,” said
Romulus, his clear voice cutting the rest like the call of a trumpet. The
young people on the other side of the square looked curiously at the two,
the young man and the older one, so deep in talk, and Remus, laughing,
began to play again. It was a sweet and piercing measure that set all
their feet flying.

Colonus stood up and took his young kinsman by the hand. “You are of our
blood,” he said, “and your fight is our fight. We have talked of this
among us, and have thought that perhaps you would do this. I think that
our council will be of one mind with me in this matter. The gods guide
you, my son.”



                                    XI


                         THE TAKING OF ALBA LONGA


Never in his life had Romulus felt in his own soul the strength of kinship
as he felt it after the colonists agreed to join their forces with his. He
had made his men into a fighting force when courage was almost the only
virtue they had, but there was no natural comradeship between them as a
whole. Here were men of his own people, welded together by all the ties of
a boyhood and manhood spent together in one place, and they were ready to
stand by him to the death. It seemed to give him a strength more than
human. Remus was his brother, but he too was different and did not
understand. He was no dreamer; he would have been content to go on all his
life a shepherd boy or a soldier. But these men understood; they looked
down the road of the years to come and planned for their children and
grandchildren. That was why they were willing to let their sons go to
fight against the tyrant Amulius under a stranger and a captain of
outlaws,—because they saw that in the end the war must be fought, and all
the men who could fight were needed.

There were anxious days in the settlement by the yellow river, after the
young men marched away. Even if Romulus won the victory, perhaps there
would be some who would not come back. And if he failed, the first the
colonists would know of it would be an army coming to kill or enslave them
all.

Not quite a month after the departure of the little fighting force the
watchmen on the wall saw far away on the plain a single running figure. At
first they could not be sure who it was. The word flew about the colony
and soon the people were gathered wherever they could get a view of the
running man. It was toward evening; the long shadows stretched over the
level ground, and the red sunset made the still waters look like pools of
blood. Everything was very quiet. They could hear the croak and pipe of
the frogs, far below at the foot of the hill.

On and on came the racing figure, and now he had caught sight of the
people on the hill, for he lifted his arm and waved to them again and
again. It was good tidings; that was the meaning of his gesture in their
signal language. Many hastened to meet him, but the path down the hill was
a winding one and those who stayed where they were heard the news almost
as soon. The runner was Caius Cossus, who always outstripped every other
lad of his age in the races, and when he came to the foot of the hill he
shouted:

          [Illustration: “Victory! Vic-to-ry! Romulus forever!”]

“Ai-ya! Victory! Vic-to-ry! Romulus forever!”

His mother began to cry for joy and pride. The other women did not dare to
yet. They did not allow themselves to be really glad until the small boys
came scampering in ahead of their elders, to be the first to tell. Amulius
was dead and Numa ruled in his place, and not one of their own men had
been killed. Cossus reached the gate carried on men’s shoulders, for he
was almost worn out. He had had nothing to eat for several hours, and had
been running all the last part of the way, to get home before it was too
dark to see.

Caius Cossus lived to be very old, and his long life brought him much
honor and happiness, but never again, so long as he lived, did he have so
glad a triumph as when he came in at the gate of the little, rude town by
the river, and told the story of the fight at Alba Longa to the fathers
and mothers who had the best right to be proud of it. It was the first
battle the young men of the colony had ever been in, and a great deal
would have depended on it in any case. They were strangers, with their
reputation for courage and coolness all to make.

When the young messenger had had a chance to get his breath and some food
and drink—and the best in the place was none too good for him—he told the
story of the campaign from the beginning.

Romulus had separated his force into three companies and sent them toward
Alba Longa by three roads and in small groups, not to attract attention,
until they were within a few hours’ march of the town of the chief. Here
they halted, and some of the outlaw band came up with them, carrying new
shields and weapons that had been hidden in a cave until the time came to
use them. The place of meeting was a wild rocky place where not even goats
could have found pasture, and here Romulus made a brief speech giving them
their orders. Fortune, he said, always favored those who were loyal to the
gods. Amulius was loyal to nothing; he was a liar, a thief and a coward,
and the invisible powers of heaven were arrayed against him. He was not
afraid that any of his followers would offend the gods. Whatever else they
had done, they had not bullied the weak or robbed the poor, or turned
their backs on the strong, or violated the holy places of any city. They
were to go forward in the faith that the stars of heaven would fight for
them and against the armies of Amulius.

Some of the country people were there to serve as guides. There was a way
around the city to the back, where the wall was not so high, and Remus and
his party would go first and come around that way. The colonists were to
swing to the left, where a road branched off, and come up toward the gate
where the barracks were. Romulus himself with his own men would attack the
main gate just after dawn and push his way in while the troops were partly
distracted to the left and to the rear. When he gave the signal, a triple
drum roll, the colonists were to give back as if they were retreating, and
follow his men in at the main gate and bar it after them. He would send a
part of his men toward the west gate to take the troops in the rear, and
if they could drive the enemy out and hold that gate, the city would be in
Romulus’ hands.

It all went as it was planned. The headlong rush of the young chief and
his men, who were as active and sinewy as cats, took them through the main
gate and over the walls almost at the same moment. They had brought slim
tree trunks with the nubs of the branches left on, for ladders, and
rawhide ropes on which they could swarm up over the walls in half a dozen
places at a time. The soldiers were completely taken by surprise, and many
surrendered at once. The invaders were in the public square and pushing
into the palace of the chief almost before the bewildered and terrified
people found out what had happened. Romulus himself was the first to enter
the private rooms of Amulius, and there he found the old chief dying from
a spear wound in the breast. The captain of his guard had killed him and
then offered his sword to Romulus in the hope of being the first to gain
favor.

“A man who is false to one master will be false to two,” said Romulus,
with a flash like lightning in his dark eyes. He ordered the captain bound
and turned over to his grandfather, when he should arrive, for judgment.
This was not the sort of timber he wanted for an army. If the captain had
surrendered, it would have been very well, but to kill his master in his
room, unarmed, for a reward, was black treachery, and it was not the young
chieftain’s plan to encourage either traitors or cowards.

From the steps of the palace he sent the triple drum roll sounding through
the gray light of a rainy morning, and heard it answered by the battle
shout of the young men of the colony, as they came charging into the gate,
and by the shrill piercing music of the pipes from the company Remus led.
The three companies met in the square, keeping order and rank as if it
were a game, and as they saw their leader standing in the doorway in the
red flame of the torches, they shouted the triple shout of victory.
Standing there in his armor, above the savage confusion, the white faces
of the people uplifted to him from the crowded streets, he looked every
inch a chieftain. He beckoned his brother to his side, and lifted his
sword, and all was still.

“Ye who know what Amulius did in the days of his brother Numa,” he began,
“know now that he is dead.

“Ye who know that he killed his own sons for fear they should grow up and
rebel against him, fear him no more, for he is dead.

“Ye who have been bowed down with the burden of his cruelty and his greed,
rise up and stand straight like men, for he is dead.

“Ye, the gods of his fathers and mine, who know what he was in his
lifetime, I call on ye to judge whether his slayer did well to kill him,
for he is dead.

“Ye, the people of the Long White Mountain, who have heard the name of
Romulus and the name of Remus, know now that we are the children whom he
would have slain after he had killed our father and our mother, and that
we were saved by a wolf of Mars to live and rule our own people now that
Amulius is dead.

“Ye, the people of Alba Longa, of the ancient home of our race, take Numa
for your chief now, and be loyal to him and serve him, for he who took the
right from him is dead!”

There was an instant’s pause, and then shouts of “Numa! Numa!” broke from
the people. If Romulus had claimed the place for himself they would have
shouted his name just as readily, but this was not Romulus’ plan at all.
The headship of this people belonged to his grandfather Numa, and there
was no question about it. Until the old man was dead, he was the rightful
chief, and for his grandsons to push into his place would simply be the
same high-handed robbery Amulius had committed. The brothers were his
heirs, and they could wait and rule over their own city until they had the
right to rule here.

This did away with the last bit of resistance. The remainder of the army
was only too glad to surrender, and messengers were sent off to tell Numa
the good news and bring him home in triumph to his own place. When they
had welcomed him, they would come to the hill beside the river and found
their own city.

It was a day long to be remembered when the Romans returned, the young men
marching lightly with laughter and singing, their young leaders in the
van. The people went out to meet them with music and rejoicing, and there
was a great feast in the colony. But to Colonus the most precious moment
of that day—not even excepting the first sight of his own son Marcus—was
that in which the young and victorious Romulus came to him where he stood
with Tullius the priest, and knelt before them, saying,

“Tell me that I have done well, my fathers, for without your approval the
rest is nothing. Have I proved myself worthy to found our city, O ye who
know the law?”

  [Illustration: Then they blessed him and crowned him with the victor’s
                             crown of laurel]

Then they blessed him and crowned him with the victor’s crown of laurel.
The outlaw had found his own people.



                                   XII


                              THE RING WALL


In the weeks that followed the slaying of Amulius, Romulus sat many hours
each day with the older men, consulting and planning. He was very quick to
understand all that he heard and saw, and very anxious not to leave out
the least ceremony proper to the founding of the city. Each one of these
ceremonies had a meaning. The founder of the city was to the community
what the father of a family was to his household; he was a sort of high
priest. It was a strange experience for the wild young chief of a band of
men of no family,—outlaws and almost banditti. From a forest lair with no
temple and no altar he had come to a town where the altar was the heart of
everything. From expeditions planned and directed by himself, in which his
will was the only law, he was now to be the head of a life in which
everything was guided, more or less, by customs so old that no one could
say where they came from. He was no man’s servant or subject, but he was
the chosen man of the gods, to do their will in the city.

The fathers of the city saw more and more clearly the difference between
the two brothers. Remus did not, apparently, take any interest in the
traditions and the ceremonies so strange to him and so familiar to the
colonists. Romulus had been leader in all their expeditions, not because
he tried to make himself first and crowd his brother down into second
place, but because his men would follow him anywhere, and they did not
seem to have the same faith in Remus. Moreover, Remus did not seem to care
to be a leader. He never sat, silent, planning and working out a way to do
what seemed impossible, as Romulus did. Romulus was not a great talker
unless at some especial time when he had something it was necessary to
say. He was in the habit of thinking a matter over very thoroughly before
he said anything at all about it. People wondered at his lightning-like
decisions in an emergency, but the men who knew him best knew that he had
often come to them privately beforehand, and talked the whole thing over,
without their knowing what he was after until the time came.

Remus did most of the talking, in fact. He was fond of raising objections
and expressing doubts, and Romulus once said with a smile that this made
him very useful, because if Remus could not pick a hole in his plans no
one could. It was better to know all the weak points beforehand, instead
of finding them out by making a failure. This dream of founding a city, in
any case, was none of Remus’; it was the dream of Romulus, and his doing.

Therefore the Romans were surprised when Remus objected to the choice of
the Square Hill for the sacred city. In his opinion the one next to it,
which had been named the Aventine, the hill of defense, because that was
where the soldiers had encamped, would be the place. There was no sign
that the Square Hill was favored by the gods. If Romulus considered signs
and omens so important, how could he be so sure that he had the right to
choose the place himself?

Romulus’ black brows drew together. He had not thought of it in that way.
He had intended to choose, so far as he could be certain of it, the very
place where he and his brother were found by the shepherd, for the sacred
enclosure which would be the heart of the city. He had talked with
Tullius, who thought this entirely right; the almost miraculous rescue of
the two children was a sign, if any were needed. But Remus recalled the
custom that the priesthood beyond the river had, and that was also found
among the Sabines, of watching the flight of birds for a sign. He
challenged Romulus to make sure in this way. Let each of the brothers take
his position at sunrise on the site selected by himself and remain there
through the day. Whichever saw an omen in the flight of birds should have
the right to choose the place for the city. To this Romulus agreed. It
might have been partly for the sake of peace, for he knew of old that when
Remus became possessed of an idea he could be very eloquent about it. In
addition to this, if the omens did favor the Square Hill, there could be
no question then,—and he believed they would.

It was a still day, late in spring, and most of the birds had already
flown northward on their usual migration. For a long time none appeared.
Then Remus gave a shout. He saw winging their way slowly but steadily a
flock of vultures,—six in all. If that were the only flight observed
during the day, it would seem that the Aventine was the right hill, after
all. The sun began to sink and cloud over. Then from the mountains where
Romulus had gathered his troop, and on which his eyes were resting, arose
a dark moving spot that spread into a cloud of outspread wings,—vultures
again, and many of them. There were twelve altogether. The huge birds came
sailing on wide-stretched, dusky pinions directly over the village of
huts, noiselessly as the clouds. When they had passed, the sun came out
again and shot rays of dazzling splendor across the hill, so that the
people’s eyes, following the strange flock, could not bear the light. The
gods had spoken, and the Square Hill was the chosen place.

[Illustration: A plan of Rome in classical times, showing the seven hills]

On what would now be called the twenty-first of April, the day when the
sun passes from the sign of the Ram into the sign of the Bull, in the
beginning of the month sacred to Dia Maia, the goddess of growth, the city
was founded.

The first rite was one of purification. Fire, which cleanses all things,
was called upon to make pure every one who was to take part in the
ceremonies of the day. The father of the city stood with Romulus near a
long heap of brushwood. With a coal from the altar fire Romulus lighted
the pile and leaped across the flame, followed by the others in turn.

Then around the spot where Faustulus had always said he found the
children, Romulus dug a small circular trench. The space inside this was
called the _mundus_, the home of the spirits. Here the ancestors of all
these people who had left their old homes might find a new home, a place
where they would still be remembered and honored, a sort of sacred guest
chamber in the life of the new city. These invisible dwellers by the altar
would see their children’s children and all their descendants keeping the
good old customs and the ancient wisdom from dying out, just as they
showed their ancestry in their eyes and hair and gait and way of speaking.

The things that were put in this trench, in a hollow called the “outfit
vault,” were all symbols of the life of the people. First Romulus himself
threw into it a little square of sod that he had brought from the
courtyard of the house where he was born, on Alba Longa. Each of the
fathers of the colony in turn threw in a piece of sod they had brought
from their old homes on the Mountain of Fire. This, like so many things in
old ceremonies, was a bit of homely poetry. When a man was obliged to
leave the place where he was born he took with him a little of the sod.
Even to-day we find people taking from their old homes a root of
sweetbriar, or a pot of shamrock or heather, a cutting of southernwood or
of lilac. The look and the smell of it waken in them a love that is older
than they are, that goes back to some unknown forefather who brought it
from a still older place, perhaps, centuries ago. To the people of long
ago this feeling was part of religion.

Together with the earth there were placed in the circle some of the grain,
the fruit, the wine, and all the other things that made a part of the life
of the people. Finally an altar was built in the center of it, and a fire
was lighted there from coals brought by the young girls. This was the
hearth fire of the spirits and was never to be allowed to go out except
once a year. Then it was kindled afresh by the use of the _terebra_ and
_tabula_, and all the other hearth fires would be lighted from it.

[Illustration: The copper plow was drawn by a white bull and a white cow]

Now came the last and most important ceremony, the tracing of the line of
the wall around the city itself,—the _urbs_, the home of the people. This
of course had all been decided upon beforehand, and the places for the
gates had been fixed. Romulus wore the robes of a priest, and his head was
veiled by a kind of mantle, in order that during the ceremony he might not
see anything that would bring bad fortune. The copper plow was drawn by a
white bull and a white cow, the finest of all the herd. As he turned the
furrow he chanted the prayers which he had learned from Tullius, and the
others, following in silence, picked up such clods of earth as dropped
outside the furrow and threw them within, so that these, having been
blessed by this ceremony, should not be trodden by the feet of any
stranger. One of the strictest rules of ancient religions was that
whatever was sacred, or made so by having been blessed, should be treated
with as much reverence as if it were alive. It should never, of course, be
trodden upon or defiled.

When he came to the places where the gates were to be, Romulus lifted the
plow and carried it over. These openings in the furrow were called the
_portae_,—the carrying places. Of course, where there was a gate, the soil
must be trodden by many feet, and there the furrow was interrupted. It is
not known where all of these gates were, but the one called Porta
Mugionis, the Gate of the Cattle, out of which the herds were driven to
pasture, was where the Arch of Titus stands in the Rome of to-day. The
Porta Romana was the river gate and there were others leading to the
common land to the other hills. This first enclosure was afterwards
sometimes called Roma Quadrata,—the square city by the river.

When the wall was built, a little inside this furrow, the wall also would
be sacred. Nobody would be allowed to touch it, even to repair it, without
the leave of the priest in whose charge it was. On both sides of it,
within and without, a space would be left where no plow was used and no
building allowed. There was a good practical reason for these rules about
the wall, though they were so time-honored that no one gave any thought to
that. The danger of a city being taken was considerably lessened, when it
was an unheard-of thing for any one to be near the wall for any reason. No
spy could get over it without attracting attention. The foundations also
would be much less likely to be undermined if the land next them were not
used at all.

No human being among the lookers-on who reverently followed the procession
around this city that was to be, could have told what thoughts and
feelings filled the soul of Romulus. Perhaps he felt the solemnity of it
even more than he would if he had been accustomed to all these beliefs
from childhood. Things that he had dreamed of, things that he had seen
from a distance as an outlaw and a vagabond, were part of the scene in
which he was now the central figure. He had the sensitive understanding of
others’ feelings and thoughts which a man gains when he has had to depend
on his instincts in matters of life and death. The intense reverence and
solemn joy of all these grave fathers of families, these gentle and kindly
women, these children with their wide, wondering eyes, and the youths and
maidens in all their springtime gladness were like wine of the spirit to
him. He felt as they felt, and all the more because it was so new and
strange a thing in his life. The very words of the chant, the smell of the
earth as the plowshare turned it, had a sort of magic for him. It was
exciting enough for those who looked on, but their feeling was gathered in
his, like light in a burning glass.

When the circle was all but completed something happened which no one
could have foreseen. Remus had followed all that was done with a rather
mocking light in his eye. He did not believe in the least what these
people believed. Suddenly he stepped past the others, and with a jeering
laugh leaped across the furrow. If he had stabbed his brother to the
heart, it could not have made more of a sensation. It was a deliberate,
wilful insult to everything that religion meant to these people. All
Romulus’ hot temper and his new reverence for the ways of his forefathers
blazed up in an instant, and he struck his brother to the earth with a
blow. Even one single blow from his hard fist was not an experience to be
coveted, but Remus would not have been more than stunned if his head had
not struck on the copper plowshare. He lay quite still. He was dead.
Whether the gods themselves had willed that he should die, or whether it
was chance, the blow killed him.

There were places where such an act as that of Remus would have been
punished with death, but Romulus did not know that. He had struck out as
instinctively as a man might knock down a ruffian who insulted his wife.
Such an insult might not be a physical injury, but the intention would be
enough to warrant punishment. The older men of the colony were inclined to
think that the gods had done the thing. Romulus himself did not. He never
got over it, though he never spoke of it. That day took the boyish
carelessness out of his eyes and set a hard line about his mouth. It was
the proudest and most sacred day of his life, and now it was the saddest.



                                   XIII


                             THE SOOTHSAYERS


After the founding of the city and the tragic ending of the day, Romulus
went away, no one knew exactly where. He was gone for some time, He told
Marcus Colonus that he was going to Alba Longa, where some of his men
still were as a garrison for Numa. But he did not stay there many days.

Although he was the founder and in one way the ruler of his city, this did
not mean that he was obliged to stay there to settle all its problems.
Most of them were solved by the common law and common sense of the
colonists. Their ruler had no authority over them contrary to custom, and
custom would apply in one way or another to almost everything they did.
Hence the young man was free to go wherever he saw fit.

The fancy took him to cross the river and see the old woman who had told
him when he was a boy that he was to be the ruler of a great people. He
found her still alive, though so old that her brown face looked like an
old withered nutshell. She glanced up at him keenly.

“Welcome, king,” she said.

Just how much she had heard of his life from traveling traders and
vagabonds, no one can say, but she seemed to know a great deal about it.
She told him that when he returned to his own country, if he followed
certain landmarks and dug in the ground at a certain point near the river
bank some distance from Rome, he would find an altar and a shield of gold.
The shield, she said, had fallen from heaven, and was intended for him,
because he was the especial favorite of Mars, the god of war. He did not
take this very seriously, but he found himself much interested in the ways
of this strange people. Their priests knew how to measure distances, and
mark out squares, and consult the stars. Their metal workers, dyers and
potters knew how to make curious and precious things. The fortune tellers
had a great reputation all over the country. Their name, soothsayers,
meant “those who tell the truth.”

The old woman told him that it was a great mistake for those who were born
under a certain star to try to get away from their fate. If a man were
born to be a ruler and a commander of men, it was useless for him to try
to make himself a farmer or a trader. It would be far better for him to
keep to what he could do well, and buy of others what he needed. This
struck Romulus as directly opposed to the ways of the villagers as he had
seen them. They made for themselves everything they possibly could, and
all of them were farmers. He began to wonder where their future would lead
them. A man like Colonus, or Tullius, or Muraena, or Calvo knew enough to
direct other men. There was not one of the ten who came out from the
Mountain of Fire who was not far superior to most of the people in the
country round about. They were quite as fit to be rulers of a tribe as he
was; in fact, they were more so, in many ways. But if they had stayed
where they were born, they would have gone on to the end of their days,
working with their hands, and owning only their share of the common crop
and the flocks and herds of the village. Here in the land beyond the river
it was different. The powerful nobles and the priesthood ruled, and other
men served.

In talking with the soothsayers, he heard a great deal about the influence
of the stars. The priests also put great faith in this. They divided the
sky into twelve parts, or houses, as they called them, and each of these
was ruled by some star named after a god. In the course of the year the
sun passed through each house, or sign, in turn. If a man were born in the
house of the Ram, which was ruled by Mars the red planet, he would be like
Mars,—a warrior, bold and fearless, and not afraid to venture into new
fields and to do things that other men had not done before. If he were
born in that sign when the planet was in it with the sun, he would be more
a son of Mars in every way. If Venus, the planet which ruled love, were
also in the sign, he would be ruled by reason even in his love affairs,
and his marriage and his wars would be more or less connected. All these
things, according to the soothsayers, were true of Romulus.

Romulus was acute enough to see that these people knew him for a chief,
and that some of what they told him was flattery; but he was not sure how
much of it was. He had not wandered about his world for twenty-odd years
without seeing the difference in people. He knew that the great art of
ruling men successfully lies in understanding their different characters
and not expecting of any person what that person cannot do. The rules of
the villages were very well for a small place, where all of the people
were related. But how would they fit such a miscellaneous collection of
people as seemed likely to gather in the town by the river? His mind was
gradually getting at the problem of governing such a town in such a way
that instead of being a little island of civilization in a sea of
wilderness, it would be a center of civilization in a country inhabited by
all sorts of people who would look up to it and be ruled and influenced by
it. Such an idea, to Colonus, to Emilius in the Sabine village, or even to
the old chief Numa on Alba Longa would have seemed wildly impossible. It
seemed to Romulus that if a band of outlaws had been welded into an
effective fighting troop as he had welded them, a country might be made up
of a great many different sorts of persons living peaceably together. He
grinned as he thought of such a man as his old captain, Ruffo, obeying all
the customs of the colony and giving his whole mind to the tilling of the
soil and the raising of cattle. It would be like trying to harness a wolf,
or stocking a poultry yard with eagles. The thing could not be done. And
yet, when it came to keeping order, Ruffo was wise and just and kind.

One thing he could see very clearly, and that was that for a long time yet
the colonists would have to give especial attention to disciplined
warfare. He wished that there were more of them. If they ever had a
quarrel with the dark Etruscans beyond the river, it would be a fight for
life, for the Etruscans outnumbered them ten to one. It would be well to
trade with them so far as they could, but there again the customs of the
colonists were against him. There was not much that they wished to buy.

When he left the land beyond the river, he paid a farewell visit to the
old witch, and she told him again that he was born to rule. He hoped that
he was.

When he came back to the Square Hill, he found the fathers of the colony
confronting a new problem, which they had no tradition to help them
settle. The problem was what to do with the new settlers who were coming
in for protection and in the hope of getting a living, but who were not of
their own people. Often they had not intelligence enough to understand
what the colonists meant by their customs. This was something that Romulus
had expected. He had his answer ready. He said that there was a god of
whom he had heard, called Asylos, who protected homeless persons and serfs
who had escaped from cruel masters, and that they might set apart a space
outside the walls and dedicate it to this god. There his own soldiers
could live, and there would be a place for any one who came who would work
for a living. And this was done. The people who came in from various
places seeking protection, and were useful in various ways even if they
could only hew wood and draw water, were called after awhile the _plebs_,
the men who helped to fill the town. There was so much to do, and so
little time to do it, that every pair of hands was of value. It would not
do to let every one who came become a citizen, an inhabitant of the city,
because that might destroy all comfort and order within the walls. But the
town grew much faster when it became known that any man not a criminal
could get a living there.

Another circumstance that made it grow was that the country people and the
villagers from farther up the river began to bring down what they had to
sell. Sometimes the Etruscans bought of them, and sometimes the Romans
did. It was the last riverside settlement before the boats went down to
the sea, and it began to be a trading as well as a farming place not many
years after the colonists settled there.

Trading was favored because farming did not altogether supply the needs of
the people. Now and then the river rose and flooded their land. The only
part of the country they could absolutely depend on as yet was the group
of seven hills, where they kept their herds and flocks. One year, when
their grain was ruined, they had to send across the river and buy some of
the Etruscans, in exchange for wool and leather and weapons. Within the
first ten years every one of the colonists had discovered that men who
make their home in a new land must change their ways more or less if they
are to live. While they are changing the land, the land changes them. The
children of these people would not be exactly the same when they grew up
as they would have been if they had stayed in their old home. Their
children’s children would be still more different. It is possible that a
ruler who had not grown up as Romulus had, making his own laws and habits
and managing men more or less by instinct, might have been bewildered and
frightened. Whatever came up, he always had some expedient ready, and
whatever strange specimen of human nature cropped out in the soldiers, or
the traders, or the pagans, he had always seen something like it before.

At the end of ten years the town on the Square Hill had spread out into a
collection of villages and huts in which almost every kind of human being
to be found in that region might have been seen, somewhere. On the
Palatine Hill lived the original ten families and some of their kindred
who had joined them. On the Aventine were barracks for the soldiers, and
also on the steep narrow hill near the river. Clusters of huts here and
there on the plain showed where hunters and fishermen lived, who came up
the hill sometimes with what they had to sell, or came to buy weapons of
the smiths. In the hollow called the Asylum lived the runaway serfs from
Alba Longa, fishermen from the river bank, pagans and foresters from a
dozen places. When there was a feast, all of these various kinds of
families learned something of the worship of Mars, or Maia Dia, or Saturn,
or Pales, or Lupercus. They all knew something about the laws of the
colony, because the rulers took care that any offense against public order
was punished. It was not a good place for thieves or brawlers or idlers.
There was the beginning of a common law.



                                   XIV


                              BREAD AND SALT


  [Illustration: They sat together that night and watched the moon sail
                         grandly over the flood]

The children who had come to the Square Hill learned to know one another
very well in those first years of the colony. There were about a dozen of
the older ones who were nearly the same age, and they shared more
responsibility than children do in a more settled community. When the
river rose suddenly, and all the animals had to be hustled at a minute’s
notice to the highest part of the hills out of the way of the waters,
Marcs the son of Colonus, and Mamurius the son of the metal worker Muraena
were old enough to be treated almost as if they were men. They sat
together that night and watched the moon sail grandly over the flood, and
talked of all the things that boys do talk of when they begin to look
forward into the future.

It was a wild and lonely scene. The rising of the flood had covered the
plain for miles, although in many places the waters were not deep. The
seven hills stood up like seven islands in an ocean, and although neither
of the boys had ever seen an ocean, they knew that it must be something
like this. The hill where they had driven their scrambling goats was high
and steep and rocky and had been partly fortified. It was a natural
stronghold, standing up above the group as the head of a crouching animal
rises above the body. All the hills were crowned with circles of twinkling
fires, and on the highest point of each was a beacon fire which was used
for signals. Each had signaled to the others that all was right, and now
there was nothing to do but wait for the morning.

The smaller boys who had helped were very much excited at first, and
danced around the fires gleefully, and ate their supper with a great
appetite; but they went to sleep quite soon afterward. The two older lads
were the only ones awake when the moon rose, and it seemed as if they were
the only people awake in the whole world. In the safe and orderly and
protected life of their childhood they had never seen anything like this,
or been given so much responsibility. For some hours no one had known how
much farther the waters would rise, and all the boats had been kept ready,
and the men had made rafts, to save what they could if the river should
sweep over the last refuge. But evidently it was not going to do anything
like that. It had stopped rising already. Faustulus the old shepherd, who
had lived among these hills ever since he was a boy, said that once in a
few years they had a flood like this, but that it never in all his
recollection had gone more than a few inches higher.

These two boys had always been good friends, for they were just unlike
enough for each to do some things the other admired. Marcs was like his
father, square-set and strong and rather silent. Mamurius was a little
taller and slenderer, and very clever with his hands. He could invent new
ways to do things when it was necessary and when the old ways were
impossible. He had never built a boat before he and Marcs made theirs the
summer before, but he had shaped a steering oar that was better than the
one he copied. On this night they found themselves somehow closer together
than they had ever been before, and they promised each other always to be
friends, to work and fight for each other as for themselves as long as
they lived.

The girls also had their responsibilities, which made them rather more
capable and sure of themselves than they might have been if they were not
the children of colonists. After the flood went down it left things wet
and unwholesome for some weeks, and a fever broke out, of which some of
the people died. Mamurius’ mother, and Marcia’s two little brothers, and
two girls in the family of Cossus died of it, and at one time hardly a
family had more than one or two well persons. Marcia was watching over her
mother, who was very ill, when Mamurius came to the door with a basket of
herbs and gave her a handful. He said that he had asked Faustulus whether
he did not know of some medicine for the fever. Faustulus told him that
there were certain herbs in his hut which his wife used to prepare in a
drink, and this drink helped the fever. Mamurius had brewed the drink and
given it to his father, and taken some himself, and it had done them both
good. The old shepherd stood in considerable awe of the colonists, who
knew so many things that he did not, and he would never have thought of
suggesting anything to them himself.

One night Muraena the metal worker came to the house of Colonus, and sat
down with the head of the house under a fig tree by the door and talked
with him. The two had been friends for many years, and now, he said, the
time had come to make the friendship even closer by an alliance between
the two houses. He had long observed the goodness and dutiful kindness of
Colonus’s daughter Marcia, and it was his wish that now she was come to an
age to be married, she might be his own daughter. He had reason to believe
that his son would be glad to marry her. What did Colonus think about it?

Colonus had no objection whatever. That night he went in and called Marcia
to him, and told her kindly that Mamurius the metal worker’s son had been
proposed for her husband, and that it would be most pleasing to both
families if the marriage could be arranged. It was a surprise to Marcia,
but not at all an unpleasant one, and she went to sleep that night a very
happy girl.

This was the first wedding in the colony, and as the preparations went
forward, everybody, old and young, took a great deal of interest in it.
Marcia never knew she had so many friends. Everybody seemed to wish her
well and approve of the marriage. The wooden chest Marcs had made for her,
and Bruno had carved and painted, began to fill with webs of linen and
wool, the gifts of her mother and the other matrons, and some that had
been spun and woven by Marcia herself. She could see from the door the
house that was to be her home, as its fresh, new walls arose day by day.
And at last the day arrived for the _confarreatio_; as it was called, the
wedding ceremony, the eating of bread. Like the other ceremonies in the
religion of the people, this was very old, so old that the beginning of it
was not known. The reason of some of the things that were done had been
forgotten. Marcia could just remember going to one wedding when she was a
little girl before they left the Mountain of Fire. All the colonists who
went out were already married and had children, and until now none of the
children were old enough to begin a new home.

There was always a certain meaning in the eating of salt together; it is
so in all the ancient races. Salt was not like food that any two men might
eat together, like animals, where they found it. It was part of the
household stores; it was eaten by families living in houses. In some
places it was not easy to come by, and it was the one thing necessary to a
really good meal, whatever else there was to eat. When a man was invited
to share a meal with salt in it, it meant that he was invited to the table
and was more or less an equal. People who were simply fed from the stores
of the farmer prepared their own food in their own way, often without
salt. It was said that the wood spirits, the gods of the wilderness, of
whom nobody knew much except that they were mischievous and tricky, could
always be known by the fact that salt to them was like poison; they could
not eat it at all.

When a bride left her own home to go to that of her husband, it was a very
solemn proceeding, because she said farewell to her own family, the
spirits of her ancestors, and the gods of her father’s hearth, and became
one of her husband’s family, a daughter of his father. All that was done
was based more or less on this idea. A girl who ran away from home without
her father’s knowledge could not expect to be blessed by her ancestors,
the unseen dwellers by the fireside. A woman who came into another home
without the permission of the spirits who dwelt there could not hope to be
happy; bad luck would certainly follow. The wedding ceremonies were meant
to make it perfectly clear that all was done in the right and proper and
fortunate way.

The day was chosen by Tullius the priest, and was a bright and beautiful
day, not long after the feast of Maia. The ceremonies began at dawn.
Before sunrise Tullius was scanning the sky to make sure that the day
would be fair and that no evil omen was in sight. Felic’la, who hovered
around her sister with adoring eyes, thought she had never seen Marcia
look so beautiful. She was in white, with a flame-colored veil over her
head, and her hair had been, according to the old custom, parted with a
spear point into six locks, arranged with ribbons tied in a certain way to
keep it in place. Her tall and graceful figure was even more stately than
usual in the white robe she wore, and her great dark eyes were like stars.

When the guests were all at the house, Marcus Colonus offered a sacrifice
at the family altar and pronounced certain ancient words, explaining that
he now gave his daughter to the young Mamurius and set her free from every
obligation that kept her at home. When the sacrifice was over, the guests
wished the young couple happiness, and the marriage feast began. There was
no one in the whole village who did not have reason to remember the
rejoicings on the day when the daughter of Colonus was married, for it was
the richest feast that had ever been given in the colony. The house was
decorated with wreaths and the best of the wine was served, and all the
dainties the Roman women knew how to make were to be found upon the table.
Marcia sat among her maidens like a young goddess among priestesses; they
were all eager to show her how dear she was to them and how glad they were
that she was happy. There was not a child in the village who did not think
of her as a kind elder sister. Now she herself was to be served and made
happy, and for that day she was the most important person in the eyes of
all those who had been her playmates.

At last the rejoicings at the home of Colonus were over, and it was time
for the wedding procession. Attended by the young girls near her own age,
the bride was taken from her mother’s arms by the bridegroom, and the
whole party moved in procession toward the new home. In advance went torch
bearers, and the children scattered flowers for her feet to tread upon as
she passed. Every one was singing or shouting “Talassio! Talassio!” The
flute players were making music, and the bridegroom scattered handfuls of
nuts for which the boys scrambled. When they reached the door of the new
house Marcia poured a little oil upon the doorposts, and wound them with
wool which her own hands had spun. Then Mamurius lifted her in his strong
arms and carried her through the door.

  [Illustration: Mamurius lifted her in his strong arms and carried her
                            through the door]

Exactly why this was part of the marriage ceremony is not known. Some
think it was because a bride must not be allowed to stumble on the
threshold, for that would be unlucky. But it was more likely to mean that
she was brought by her husband into the house to join in the worship of
the spirits of the home, and so did not come in without an invitation. As
she stood in the _atrium_, the middle room where the altar and the family
table were, she received the fire and water of the family worship and
reverently lighted the first fire ever kindled on that hearth. She and
Mamurius repeated together the prayers that thousands of young couples had
repeated since first their people had homes. Then they ate together a flat
cake made with the corn blessed by the priest, and Marcia poured a little
of the marriage wine upon the fire as a sacrifice of “libation” to the
gods of her new home. This was the _confarreatio_. They felt as if the
silent, burning fire that lighted the dusky little room were trying to
tell them that their simple meal was shared by the gods themselves, and
that the blessing of all Mamurius’ forefathers was on the bride that he
had brought home to be the joy of his house.

On the next day there was another feast, to celebrate the beginning of the
new home, and the wedding was over.

“I am glad,” said Marcia’s mother to her husband when they went home that
night, leaving their daughter and young Mamurius standing together at
their own door, “that everything went so well, without a single unlucky or
unhappy thing to spoil the good fortune. Marcia well deserves to be
happy,—but I shall miss her every day I live.”

She sighed, and Felic’la looked rather sober. She knew very well that they
would all miss Marcia, but she determined in her careless little heart to
be a better girl and do so much for her mother and brothers that when her
turn came, they would all be sorry to see her go.

“I am glad,” said Colonus, “for more than one reason. I have been rather
anxious for fear that in this new place our young people would not
remember the old ways as they might if they had grown up in our old home.
It was important to have the first wedding one that they would all
remember with pleasure, and wish to follow as an example. I am very glad
Marcia has so good a husband. Mamurius is a youth who will go far and be a
leader among the young men. I suppose that now they will all be thinking
of marriage.”

There were, in fact, several other marriages in the colony within a year
or two, but nobody who was at that first wedding ever forgot it. Marcia
was often called upon to tell how the garlands were made, and just how
much honey they put in the cakes for the feast, and how the other little
matters were arranged that all seemed to be managed exactly right. In
fact, that wedding set a fashion and a standard, and as Marcia’s father
was shrewd enough to see, it is a good thing in a new community to have
the standards rather high. There was nothing in what Marcia and Mamurius
did that other people could not follow if they chose, but the simple
comfort and grace of their way of living did mean that they cared enough
for their home to take it seriously. Girls who might not have thought much
about cleanliness, thrift, cheerfulness and beauty began to see, when they
visited Marcia, how pleasant it was to have a home like hers. She did not
tell them so; she was herself, and that was enough.



                                    XV


                             THE TRUMPERY MAN


One autumn day a little while after the harvest, a squat, brown man with
large black eyes under great arched eyebrows set in a large head, and with
unusually muscular shoulders and arms, was paddling slowly in a small boat
across the yellow river. As he crossed he looked up attentively at the
range of hills near the riverside, now partly covered with wooden huts. It
was his experience that villages were good places to trade. They were
especially so when, as now, pipes were sounding and the people were
keeping holiday in honor of some god. He had gone to many places with his
wares, but he had not as yet visited the town by the river. He was not
even quite sure of its name. Some called it Rumon and some Roma. The
people of his race were not very quick of ear, and often pronounced
letters alike or confused them when they sounded alike,—as o and u, or b
and p, or t and d. He himself was called Utuze, Otuz, or Odisuze, or Toto,
according to the place where he happened to be. He came from Caere, the
Etruscan seaport near the mouth of the river.

He had landed on this bank when he went up the river and approached the
men from the settlement when they were working on their lands outside the
walls, but they did not pay much attention to him. He could not tell
whether they did not want his wares, or were suspicious, or simply did not
understand what he was talking about. Now he was going to find out,—for he
was of a persistent nature. Perhaps there would be some one at the
festival who could speak both his language and theirs and tell them what
he wanted to say. Then it would be easy.

On a glittering chain around his neck he carried a metal whistle, or
trumpet, that could be heard a long distance and would pierce through most
other noises as a needle pierces wool. On his back he carried in a sack a
great variety of small things likely to please women and girls and
children. He had learned a very long time ago that however shrewd a man
may be, he will buy very silly things and pay any price you like for them
when he is persuaded that they will please a girl. He also knew that men
will buy things for their wives that no sensible woman ever buys for
herself, and that if children cry for a toy long enough, they often get
it. But the most important thing was, he knew, that a man who can attract
attention to himself, no matter how he does it, generally sells more goods
than one who depends only on the usefulness of what he has to sell.
Therefore, when he set out on these trading journeys, he put on the most
gorgeous and gay-colored clothes he could find, decorated with
bright-colored figures, embroidered, and fringed or fastened with little
glittering beads and ornaments such as he carried in his pack. Shining
things were easier to sell than other things, as they were easier to look
at. The peddler had given careful attention to selecting his stores, and
Mastarna, the fat merchant from whom he got them, helped him. He wished to
know more of these people in the town by the river.

The squealing of the peddler’s trumpet reached the ears of the soldiers,
who were having a good time in their own way. They had their own games and
frolics and feats of strength, and some of the young men from the town
were there to look on and perhaps to join. Urso the hunter’s son, and
Marcus and Bruno the sons of Colonus, and little Pollio the son of the
sandal maker, were all there, and when they heard the trumpet they sprang
to their feet. But Ruffo the captain of the guard laughed, and the others
shouted, and Ruffo said, “By Jove, there’s Toto!”

“_Diovi_” was the general name for “the gods,” and when it is pronounced
quickly it sounds like “Jove.” The father of the gods was
“Diovis-Pater”—which in course of time became “Jupiter.”

The peddler had been in their camp in the days before the town by the
river was thought of, and when he saw them, he came up the path grinning
broadly, and they grinned back. They explained to the boys of the colony
that he came from across the river and dealt in all sorts of things that
were not made at all on this side, and some that were brought from the
seashore. Toto spread out his gay cloth on the ground and began to lay out
his wares.

Through long practice he knew just how to place them so that they would
show most effectively, and many a customer wondered why the trinket did
not look as well when he got it home as it had before he bought it. The
colors in the painted cloth were combined in old, old patterns worked out
according to laws as certain as the laws of music, and everywhere was the
gilding that set off the colors and seemed to make them brighter and
richer.

      [Illustration: Toto spread out his gay cloth upon the ground]

There were scarfs such as women wore on their heads, and fillets for the
hair, and girdles and veils. There were necklaces and bracelets and rings
and brooches and pins. There were boxes of sweetmeats, and metal cups and
spoons, and curious little images of men and animals, and strings of
beads, and charm strings, and hollow metal cases for charms, that could be
hung around the neck, and pottery toys, and trinkets of all kinds. It
seemed impossible that so much merchandise of so many different kinds
could have been packed in that bag, or that a man could have carried it,
after it was packed. If the things had been as heavy as they looked, it
would have been too great a load even for Toto’s broad shoulders.

The Roman boys had never seen anything like this before, but they did not
show any great curiosity. One of the things that the people of Mars taught
their children, without ever saying it in so many words, was not to be in
a hurry to talk too much in strange company. They were brought up to feel
that they were the equals of any one they were likely to meet and need not
be in haste to make new friends. This feeling gave them a certain dignity
not easily upset. In fact, dignity is merely the result of respecting
yourself as a person quite worthy of respect, and not feeling obliged to
insist on it from other people. The colonists had it.

Pollio picked up one of the sandals and smiled.

“My father would not think this leather fit to use,” he said in a low tone
to Bruno.

Marcus was looking at a pin of a rather pretty design and wondering how
Flavia, his betrothed, would like it, when it bent in his fingers. That
pin had not been made for the handling of young men with hands so muscular
as his. Marcus paid for the pin and tossed it into the river. He had no
intention of making a gift like that to any one.

When they handled the charm necklaces they saw from the lightness that
what looked like gold was not gold. It was so with all the peddler’s
stock. The soldiers, seeing that the boys from the colony did not think
the stuff worth buying, did not buy much themselves, nor did they drink
much of his wine.

Ruffo said after Toto had gone that he did not always carry such a
collection of trash as he had to-day. Sometimes he sold excellent
fish-hooks and small tools. Marcus said that if he bought anything, he
wanted a thing that was worth buying, and they began to throw quoits at a
mark.

Marcus had seen traders before and dealt with them, but for some reason
this peddler’s pack set him thinking. In their way of living a farmer made
most of his own tools, and wishing them to last as long as possible, he
made them well. It was the same with the baskets, the linen, the wool and
the leather work, and the other things made at home. It was the same with
the work done in the smithy of Muraena. He wished to have a reputation
among his neighbors for making fine weapons. The men always put the
greater part of their time on their farms, and since they had been in this
new country, their planning and contriving how to make the soil produce
more and more had been far more exciting than ever before. Each year a
little more of the marsh or the waste land would be drained and cleared;
each year the flocks and herds would be larger and more huts would be
built. They were founding a new people.

In view of these great thoughts of the future, the glittering trinkets of
the man with the trumpet looked small and worthless. Marcus began to see
what was meant by the elders when they spoke of “gravity” as a virtue and
“levity” as a rather foolish vice. Life depended very much on the way one
took things; to take important things lightly, or give valuable time and
thought to worthless objects left a man with the chaff on his hands
instead of the good grain.

Something his father had told him a long time ago, when he was a little
boy, came into Marcus’s mind. It was when he wanted something very much,
and being little, cried because he could not have it and made himself
quite miserable. His father came in just then and watched him for a minute
or two. Then he said,

“My son, do you wish to be a strong man, when you grow big?”

“Y-yes,” sniffed the little fellow dolefully.

“You wish to be strong of soul and heart as you are in your body, so that
no one can make you do anything you are not willing to do?”

“Yes, Father,” said the boy, with his puzzled dark eyes searching his
father’s face.

“Then, my son, remember this: the strong man is the man who can go without
what he wants. If you cannot do without a thing you want, without being
unhappy, you are like a boy who cannot walk without a crutch. If you can
give up, without making a ridiculous ado about it, whatever it is not wise
for you to have—if you can be happy in yourself and by yourself and stand
on your own feet—then you are strong. In the end you will be strong enough
to get what you really want. The gods hate a coward.”

Now in the long shadows of the fading day, as he heard the far sound of
the peddler’s trumpet down the river, Marcus found a new meaning in his
father’s words. He saw that those who wasted what they had earned by hard
work on that rubbish would end by having nothing at all, because they were
caught by the color and the shine of things made to tempt them. What was
there in all that collection that was half as beautiful as a golden wheat
field? What ornament that could be worn out or broken was equal to the
land itself, with its treasure of fleecy flocks and sleek cattle, and roof
trees under which happy children slept? The treasure of the world was
theirs already, in this plain that was theirs to make fruitful and
beautiful, and people with prosperous villages. That was the real estate;
the other was a shadow and a sham.



                                   XVI


                              THE GREAT DYKE


Although Toto did not find his first visit to the Seven Hills very
profitable, he had much that was interesting to tell Mastarna when he
returned. The two had a long talk in their strange rugged language with
its few vowel sounds. Mastarna was most interested in the gods of these
strangers. If he could find out what they did to bring good luck and ward
off misfortune, he could have charms and lucky stones made to sell to
them. If he knew what their gods were like, he could have images of these
carved in wood or molded in clay or cast in metal. But Toto could tell him
very little about these questions. The soldiers at the camp had no altars
and no regular worship at all, and they moved from place to place and did
not keep any place sacred. But these people on the Square Hill seemed very
religious. They behaved as if they had settled down there to stay forever.

“What are they like?” asked the old man.

“They are like no other townspeople in this valley,” said Toto decidedly.
“They are not like the herdsmen who wander from place to place and sleep
in tents, or the hunters who live alone in huts, or the fishermen by the
river or the sailors by the seashore. They are tall and straight and
strong and very active, because they work all the time. They work mostly
on their land. When they are not plowing, or digging, or cutting grain, or
cutting wood, or making things, they are working to make themselves
stronger. They run and leap and throw heavy weights; they hurl the spear
and shoot arrows at a mark. They stand in rows and go through motions all
together, and march to and fro, and play at ball. They do everything that
is possible to make themselves good soldiers; even the boys begin when
they are small to play at these games.

“And that is not all. The women work also, but not as slaves. The matrons
go here and there as they choose, and see eye to eye with their husbands,
and manage the household as the men manage the farm. The men sit in
council, but each man speaks of his work in private to his wife, and she
advises with him. They do not have slaves to wait on them; even their
great men work with the others in the field. No one is ashamed to work
with his hands. They build their own houses and their own walls; they
breed their own cattle. If there should be a sheep gone from the flock, or
a heifer strayed from the herd, they would know it and search until the
thief was found.”

“Hum,” said the old man thoughtfully. He was thinking that this must be a
strong and valiant people, and that if they increased in the valley of the
yellow river they might become very powerful. “And what are their
priests?”

“They have no priesthood dwelling in the temples,” said Toto. “Their
elders are their priests and pretend to no magical powers. They are chosen
for their wisdom. Their gods are invisible.”

“Hum,” said Mastarna again.

The people to whom he and Toto belonged were called at one time and
another Tuscans or Etruscans by others, but they called themselves the
Ras, or Rasennae. They had some towns in the mountains beyond the plain
where these strangers were. They held most of the country on their side of
the rivers, as far north as the river Arno, and they had always lived
there, so far as they knew themselves or any one else could say. They were
different in almost every way from these strangers of the hills. He
wondered if his people had anything whatever that the strangers wanted.

“You say that they build walls,” he said to Toto. “Do they build good
ones?”

Toto grinned. He was nothing of a builder himself, but even he could see
the difference between the rude stone laying and fencing of the strangers,
and the scientific, massive masonry and arched drains of his own country.
“They will find out how good they are,” he said, “after twenty years of
flood and drought.”

In fact, the worst enemy the colonists had met thus far was water. They
were used to mountain slopes with good drainage. They knew how to keep a
field from being gutted by mountain freshets, and how to repair roadways
and build drains that would carry off the water. They were strong and
clever at fitting stones into the right place for walls, and they could
dam up a stream for a fishpool or a bathing place. But this sort of
country was all new to them. It was not exactly a marsh and not so swampy
as it became in later centuries, but at any time it might become a marsh
full of ponds and stagnant streams, and remain so for weeks at a time.
This was bad for the grain and worse for sheep, and unhealthy for human
beings. During the next rainy season after Toto’s visit, the farmers had a
very unhappy time. They discovered that too much water is almost if not
quite as much a nuisance as too little. In a dry time it is sometimes
possible to carry water from a distance, but in a wet time there is
nowhere to put the water that is not wanted, and many of their ditches
were choked up with débris, and their grain was washed away.

Mastarna was full of patience. He let them toil and soak and chill and
sweat until he thought they would welcome a suggestion from almost any
quarter. Then he and a man he knew, a stone worker called Canial, took a
boat and went across the river to a point where three or four of the
colonists were prying an unhappy ox out of the mire. The strength,
determination and skill with which they conducted the work were worthy of
all admiration. But it would have been far better if the land could have
been drained and protected by a solid dyke.

Canial looked the bank over with a shrewd, experienced eye, and said that
if he had the work to do, he would dig a ditch there, and there, and
there; here he would build a covered drain lined with tilework; and in a
certain hollow under the hill he would have an arched waterway, so that
flood water would run through instead of tearing at the foundation of the
terrace below the vineyards. But he saw no signs that these men in their
building made any use of arches. He jumped ashore and splashed through the
pools, which were almost waist-deep in some places, up to where the ox was
standing panting, wild-eyed and nearly exhausted with fright and struggle.
Canial squatted down by a rivulet. He did not know the language of the
colonists and they did not know his, but no words were needed for what he
wanted to explain. He made a miniature drain rudely arched over with
mud-plastered stones while they stood there watching. That could be done,
as well with, a six-inch brook as with a river. It did not take the Romans
ten minutes to see that he knew more about such matters than they did.

“Caius,” said Colonus to young Cossus, “go over to the camp and find
Ruffo, and ask him to come and talk to this fellow.”

He knew that Ruffo understood several languages and dialects, and whatever
it was that this man had come for, he wished to know it.

Ruffo knew enough of the language Canial spoke to be able to make out his
meaning, and he told Colonus that the stone worker wished to come and live
in Rome. He would show them how to drain their land and bridge their
streams. Mastarna would tell them that he was a man of honesty and
ability. His reason for leaving his own country was a personal one; he had
had a quarrel with the head priest of his village because the priest
wished to interfere in his family affairs and make Canial’s daughter the
wife of his nephew, against her will. There was no safety or comfort in
his part of the country when the priesthood had a grudge against a man.

There were others in the Roman settlement who had fled there for reasons
of much the same kind as Canial’s—men who had been robbed of their
inheritance, slaves escaped from cruel masters, homeless men, and men who
for one reason or another had found themselves unsafe where they lived
before. But this was the first family which had wished to come from beyond
the river. The others all came from places where the public worship was
not entirely unlike that of the Romans themselves and the people were of
the same race in the beginning. This was a departure from that rule.

If it had not been for the dyke-building problem, Colonus would probably
have said no at once. But that would have to be settled before the town
grew much larger than it was, or they would have to change their way of
life altogether. They were a people who hated to be crowded. They would
need land, and land, and more land, if they continued to live on the Seven
Hills. They must have grain for the cattle and themselves, and pasturage
for the beasts, room for orchards and gardens, room for the villages of
those who tilled their fields. Canial seemed to think that it would be
quite possible to prevent the plain from being flooded, with proper
stonework and drains, but it would need a man thoroughly used to the work
to direct it. Colonus could see that Canial was probably that man. Every
suggestion he made was practical and good, and he knew things about
masonry that it had taken his ancestors generations to learn. Colonus
finally said that he would talk it over with the other men of the city and
give him an answer on a certain day.

Ruffo did not know anything of the gods the people of Canial worshiped,
except that they were unlike the Roman gods and seemed to be very much
feared. They had a god Turms, who was rather like the Roman Terminus, who
protected traders and kept boundaries. They had a smith of the gods,
called Sethlans, and a god of wine and drunkenness called Fuffluns.

No person, of course, could be allowed to bring the worship of strange
gods into the sacred city. The very reason of the founding of the city was
to make a home for their own gods, and to let in strange ceremonies would
be to defile that home.

It was finally decided that Canial and some of his countrymen who wished
to come with him should have a place of their own, which was afterward
known as the Street of the Tuscans. It was a place which no one had wished
to occupy before, because it was so wet, but Canial and his friends had no
difficulty in draining it. The only condition he made was that traders
should be allowed to come and go and supply his family and friends with
whatever they needed. Women, he said, did not like a strange place much as
it was, and he should have no peace at home if his wife were obliged to
learn new methods of housekeeping.

The only condition that Marcus Colonus and his friends made was that the
strangers should do nothing against the law of the settlement, or against
the Roman gods, and this they readily agreed to. Canial said that the
priests in his country demanded so much in offerings that a man was no
better than a slave, working for them.

All this happened while Romulus was away, but when he returned he said
that the decision was a wise one. It privately rather amused him to see
how in this new country the colonists were led to allow the beginning of
new customs which they regarded with great horror when they first came.

Before another rainy season, the Etruscans and the Romans, working
together, had made a very fair beginning on the dyking and draining of the
worst of the marshes and the bridging of bad places. Canial understood how
to mix burned lumps of clay containing lime and iron, and lime and sand,
and water, in such a way that when the muddy paste hardened it was like
stone itself. Tertius Calvo, who happened to be there when this was done,
tried it by himself. Although what he made was not entirely a failure, it
did not behave as it did under the hands of Canial. Without saying
anything—indeed, he could say nothing, for he knew not a word of the
strangers’ language—Tertius watched and measured and experimented with
small quantities until he found out the exact proportions and methods
Canial used. The bit of wall he built finally was very nearly as good as
Canial’s own work. Calvo was good at laying stones, and had very little to
learn in that line from any stranger. This mortar, as they found in course
of time, would stand heat and cold and water and seemed to become harder
with exposure. By using the best quality of material the work was
improved. There was no secret about it; indeed, Canial did not object to
teaching any man who wished to learn all he could.

The greatest debt they owed to their new settlers was the low round arch,
built with stones set in mortar in such a way that the greater the weight,
the firmer the arch would be. Another Etruscan trick was plastering over
the side of a drain or a bank with a mixture of small stones stirred
thickly into mortar like plums in a pudding. The best of this new way of
working was that it could be done so quickly. A great deal of the work
could be done by stupid and ignorant laborers under the direction of those
who knew how to direct. Men whom they could not employ in any sort of
skilled labor could help here. Such men were glad enough to come for an
allowance of food and drink. A certain task was set them, and they had
their living for that; if they did more, they had an extra allowance. The
task was called _moenia_, and since it was the lowest and least skilled
labor, work of that kind later came to be known as _menial_, the work of
slaves and servants.

The change in the face of the plain in the following years was almost like
magic. The colonists built dykes to keep the river from overflowing; they
built drains to carry off the heavy rains; they built culverts; they built
bridges resting on solid arches; and they made one great drain which
carried off so much of the overflow water that it made the Square Hill and
most of the land around it safe. In fact, a part of every year thereafter
was given to the improvement and protection of newly cleared farmlands by
stonework. People came from a great distance to see the dyke they built,
for nothing like it had been done on that side of the river. The people in
the lowlands villages, relieved from the fear of floods, were proud to
call themselves the servants of the Romans. In those early years a
beginning was made of the great engineering work that was to endure for
centuries. The people of the Square Hill were doing on a very small scale
what nobody had done before them in that part of the world. In their
masonry and their farming they gave all their poorer neighbors reason to
be glad they were located where they were. It was a peaceful conquering of
village after village.



                                   XVII


                              THE WAR DANCE


When the country had grown peaceful, and there was no more need, for the
time, of sending out warlike expeditions, it began to be seen that the
soldiers who had come in with Romulus or had joined the troops later must
have something to do. Romulus talked the matter over seriously with the
fathers of the colony. If these men were to settle down as citizens,
taking part in the life of the city—and some of them wished to do so—they
ought to have homes; they needed wives. The family life of this people was
the very heart of their religion and their society. The father was high
priest in his family. The public worship was only a greater family
worship, in which all had a part, old and young, living and dead. The gods
themselves were often present unseen to receive prayers and offerings,—so
the people believed.

The question of wives for these men was a serious one. Girls were growing
up within the palisade on the Square Hill, but so were young men. There
would be hardly enough brides for all the youths of their own generation,
even if every girl found a husband. Aside from the fact that the parents
would not like to see their daughters married to strangers of whom they
knew nothing, the young folk themselves would be likely to object.
Although theoretically, marriages were made by the elders without the
girls having anything to say about it, human nature was much the same
there as anywhere. In practice, the bride had some choice and the groom
some independence. Any woman married against her will can make life so
unpleasant for her husband and her husband’s relatives that common sense
would lead a parent to avoid such a result. Care was taken to keep a young
girl from knowing any men who would be unsuitable. A man did not ask any
youth into his house to meet his daughters, on the spur of the moment. He
met a great many men at the midday meal which the men ate together, whom
he would not think of asking to a family supper. He knew a great many with
whom he would not eat at all.

Here and there a soldier found a wife among the country people, but this
did not usually turn out very well. The daughters of herdsmen and hut
dwellers were not trained in the arts which made a woman dear to a
civilized husband. Colonus and his friends wished the wives of the growing
settlement to be women who would add to the wealth of their homes and not
spoil it,—who would love their homes and their husbands, and bring up
their children wisely, and live in peace and friendliness with the other
women. The question which had come up was more important now than it might
be later. A great deal depended on beginning with the right families. The
men now coming in would be the fathers of the future Rome, and on the way
in which their sons were brought up the prosperity and godliness of the
people might rest.

Another possibility was in sight, and it was too nearly a probability to
look very pleasant. The soldiers could get wives across the river among
the Rasennae. But that would be a dangerous plan—dangerous perhaps to the
men themselves and certainly to the colony. Women of a strange land, of a
race so old and strong as the dark people seemed to be—a country where
there was a secret council of priests who knew all sorts of things that
the people did not—such women, married to settlers in the colony, would be
a constant danger. They would learn from their husbands all that went on;
they might persuade them to worship the strange gods; they might help to
break down defences against the unknown power of the foreign priesthood.
That was a plan not to be thought of for a minute.

Romulus sat listening and thinking, with his chin on his strong, brown
hand, and his bright dark eyes gazing straight at the altar fire. When the
others had said what they thought, he spoke. That was his way. He had
perhaps begun in that way because he was not sure he knew all the proper
forms of speech or all the matters that ought to be considered in ruling
the affairs of this people. Now that he was well acquainted with all
these, he still wanted to hear what every one else had to say, before
speaking himself. This was becoming in a man still so young, and it was
also wise.

“There is a plan, my fathers,” he said, “but I do not know whether you
will think that it is the right one. Very long ago, I have heard, our
people used to take their wives by capture. In those days a man never went
openly to ask for his bride. He stole into the village by night with an
armed guard, choosing his closest friends to go with him. Then suddenly
seizing upon the maid he carried her off, and she became dead to her own
family, and one of his people.

“Now this I do not commend, since it is not our wish to war with the
people around us. To raid their towns as did the men of old time, and
steal their maidens, would lead to never-ending war. The custom is an old
one and long given up, and I do not like to return upon a road that I have
traveled, or dig up old bones.

“In the villages on the heights—in the lower valleys of the mountain range
that lies _there_—” he waved a brown arm toward the far blue hills, “the
people who dwell there are worshippers of our gods, and their ways are as
the ways of this colony, O my fathers. Their women spin, they weave, they
grind grain, they tend bees, they keep the household fire alive and
bright, they are fair and pure. These are fit wives for our soldiers—or
for any man.

“In some of these villages were we known, for we were there in the old
days. They are not walled villages, they are scattered among the valleys,
and they have little to do with one another or with strangers. It is in my
mind that if their women were married here, we and they might be one
people. Then all the Seven Hills would be ours, and we and they together
would be a strong nation. But well I know that they would never consent to
give their daughters to strangers.

“This therefore is my thought. I have seen,” the young chief’s dark face
was lighted by a fleeting smile, “that sometimes the will of a young maid
is not wholly that of the old men and women of her people. Forgive me, O
ye elders, if I speak foolishly, but I think that some of these Sabine
girls might not themselves be unwilling to mate with my men. Would it be
so great a crime to take wives from those villages despite the will of the
priests and elders, if the maidens themselves became in time content?
Suppose now that I send my men as messengers, to invite these people to a
festival on the day when the Salii, the Leapers, have their games and
their feast. They also have fraternities like ours; there is a fraternity
of the Luperci, and the Salii, and others, among the Sabines. Let their
young men contend with ours in the games, and their people join with ours
for the day. They are not compelled to come. If they dislike and distrust
us, they will stay in their villages. But if it is as I think, many will
come.

“Then when all are gathered together, and weapons are laid for the games,
let our young men, at a given signal, seize each his chosen maiden and
bring her back within our walls to be his wife. In token that they are not
to be slaves but honorable wives, whose work is to spin, let our young men
shout as they go, ‘Talassa! Talassa!’

“Have I spoken well, my father?” He looked straight at Colonus. “If ye
have a better plan, let no more be said of this.”

But there was no better plan; in fact, there seemed to be no other plan at
all. Romulus knew this very well. There was nothing in this idea that was
offensive to the general opinion in those days. It was not so very long
since marriage by capture was the usual way of getting wives. If the
Sabine girls were brought into the colony the soldiers would be sure of
having wives with the customs and the same gods of the other matrons. If
they were brought in a company and lived in the same quarter of the town,
they would form a little society of their own. It would not be a life
entirely new and strange.

It was decided that the plan should be tried. If any of the messengers did
a little courting in the villages, nothing was said of it.

The place chosen for the festival was a plain where there would be room
for all the games and the feasting and the ceremonies. Romulus and some of
the young men went out there a few days before the appointed date to level
off the ground, arrange seats for the public men, and make ready. In
removing a bowlder which would be in the way of racers, and smoothing the
ground, Tertius Calvo found his pick striking on something strange. He dug
down a little way and unearthed a flat stone which seemed to be the top of
an altar. He called the others to look, and Romulus caught his breath with
a queer gasp. He remembered something.

  [Illustration: There was a gleam of bright metal in the hole they were
                                 digging]

“Jove!” said Mamurius, a few minutes later, “Here’s something else!” There
was a gleam of bright metal in the hole they were digging. The altar, a
small square one of a whitish stone, was lifted out, and then something
struck with a muffled clang against Mamurius’ spade. They were all
excitedly gazing by that time, and when the round metal thing was lifted
out, and the earth cleaned off it with grass, and it was rubbed with a
piece of leather, it almost blinded them. It was a golden shield.

Where it had come from, no human creature knew. Nothing else like it was
ever found in that neighborhood. It may have belonged to some Etruscan
nobleman in far-off days, when a battle was fought on that plain; it may
have been part of the plunder of some city; but there it was, and the
decoration showed that it was made by a smith who worshiped Mars.
Reverently the young men carried it back to Rome, after they had set up
the altar on the field where they found it. It seemed like a sign that the
gods approved what they were doing. It was hung up in the temple, and was
considered the especial property of the Salii, or Leapers, the young men
who danced the war dance, for it was they who had found it. But Romulus
told none of them of the witch’s prophecy that he would find an altar and
a shield in just this place.

The day appointed for the feast was fair, and early in the morning the
mountain people could be seen coming across the plain or camped near the
field.

The soldiers who were to take part in the festival in this unexpected and
startling way were very far from being the same rude outlaws who had
followed their young leader to the Long White Mountain. They had been
living within the bounds of a civilized settlement, and the life had had
its effect on them. They had seen men handle the spade and the plough as
if they were weapons, and treat the earth as if it were the most
interesting thing in the world to study. They had seen how interesting it
was to change the face of the land, to make a wild and dreary waste into a
rich farming country, to fight flood and fire and other mighty natural
enemies,—and win. They had seen, though at a distance, the gracious
manners and gentle ways of the matrons, the sweetness and dignity of the
young girls. They had fought and worked side by side with the young men
who were proud to be the sons of such fathers. Many of the outlaws had had
ancestors who were strong and brave and intelligent. They had the sense to
see that if they joined this new settlement they would have a place and a
power. And last but not least there was a great deal of wholesome comfort
in the life of this place. To men who had slept unsheltered in cold and
rain, who had worn sheepskins and wolfskins, who had gone without food,
often for days, and never had a really good meal unless they had unusual
luck, the life of the colonists was a revelation. Good beds, fresh
vegetables, well-cooked meats, cakes made with honey, were luxuries they
appreciated. The dress of the people was simple enough; a tunic for
working, and over that for warmth or holiday dignity the large square of
undyed wool called a toga; a pair of sandals for the feet, a cap or helmet
for the head, a leather girdle and pouch. But it was a long way better
than rawhide. In short, these young fellows had discovered that they liked
a civilized life. They were a very fine looking company as they marched
down the hill from their barracks and went with their long, swinging
stride over the plain to the place where the strange, little old altar
stood.

The games went on, and at the height of the gayety and excitement there
was a sudden trumpet call, and all was in confusion. Each soldier seized a
Sabine maiden and carried her off as if she were a child. The men who were
not so burdened formed a rear guard. The older people were already on
their way home. Some of them did not know what had happened. Before
anything could be done by the startled and angry Sabine men, the soldiers
were inside the walls of the city and the shout of “Talassa! Talassa!”
revealed that this was a revival of the ancient custom of marriage by
capture.

The Sabines were angry enough to go to war, But they could do nothing that
night, for a successful war would need preparations. There was a parley,
and Romulus himself informed the commissioners that the weddings would
take place with all due ceremony, and that in the meantime the girls were
in the city, under the care of matrons of the best families, and would be
given the best of care and provided with all things necessary for a bride.
Let there be no mistake about this: if any attempt were made to recapture
the Sabine girls the soldiers would fight. They had got their brides, and
they meant to keep them. It was a sleepless night in the town by the
riverside, but in the morning the Sabines were seen returning to their
mountains.



                                  XVIII


                          THE PEACE OF THE WOMEN


It is not to be understood that all the people on the Square Hill approved
of the capture of the Sabine girls. It did not seem to them, of course, as
it would to the society of to-day, because they considered that a girl
ought to marry, in any case, as her elders thought best that she should.
But Tullius the priest, and three or four of the other older men, were
very doubtful about the wisdom of angering the Sabine men by such a
proceeding. Naso and his brother objected to the capture because they had
never heard of such a thing. They were men whose minds never took kindly
to any sort of new idea. When they made their great move and left their
old home, they seemed to have exhausted all the ability to change that
they had. They held to every old custom they had ever heard of, as a
limpet holds to a rock. But the thing was done, and there was nothing they
could do now except to prophesy that it could not possibly turn out well.

The women of the colony were curious to know how far the Sabine marriage
customs were like their own, and whether the wedding would mean to these
girls what it would to a Roman wife. Marcia asked her husband about it on
the night of the festival, when the confusion had quieted somewhat. The
watch-fires of the Sabines could be seen far away on the plain, and in the
stronghold on the Capitoline Hill the sentinels were keeping watch against
any sudden attack.

“Ruffo says,” answered Mamurius, “that they have the same customs as ours,
in the main. The girls are taking it very quietly. I think they stopped
being frightened when they found they were to be in the care of your
mother and the other matrons in the guest house. You know Romulus has
ordered that no maiden shall be married against her will. If she remains
here until after the Saturnalia without making any choice, she shall be
sent back in all honor to her own people. There are none among the girls
who are betrothed to men of their villages.”

Marcia was glad to hear that. During the following days she and the other
young matrons of the colony visited the captive girls and took care that
they lacked nothing in clothing and little comforts. The matrons and the
older men had stood firm in insisting that all possible respect should be
shown these maidens, just as if they were daughters of the colony. If they
were to defend the soldiers’ action as a necessary and wise measure and
not a mere savage raid, this was necessary. Otherwise the Sabine men would
have a right to feel that they could revenge themselves by carrying off
Roman women as slaves, and nobody would be safe. It was much better to
delay the weddings for a few days, see what the mountain people were going
to do, and give the girls a chance to become a little accustomed to their
new surroundings. Naso and some of the other men thought Romulus had gone
rather far in promising that the girls should be sent home if they wished
to go after a certain time, but he would not move an inch from that
position. He had his reasons.

After two or three days the scouts came in to report that the Sabines had
gone back to their villages to gather their forces. It would take time to
do this, and meanwhile the wedding preparations went forward.

The town on the Square Hill was larger and finer than any of the mountain
villages, and after the first shock and fright of their capture passed,
many of the girls began to think that what had happened was not so bad,
after all. They all knew something about Romulus and his mountain troop,
and many of his soldiers had been in the villages at one time and another
on some errand. Apparently these half-outlawed fighters had become great
men in the new settlement. They had a quarter of their own, in which they
had built houses for their brides, shaded by some of the forest trees that
were left when the land was cleared, and furnished with many things not
known in the mountain villages. It was also true, and Romulus had known
all along that it was, that many of his men had known something of the
Sabine maidens, and would have married in the villages before, if they
could. Considering that the elders of the villages would never have
consented to such a thing, this was the only way it could possibly be
brought about. It had seemed to him better to make it a sort of state
affair than to encourage among the soldiers the idea that they could
individually raid the villages and carry off the wives they chose without
any religious authority at all. Romulus heard a great many confidential
secrets from his men, one by one, that would have surprised those who did
not know them. He believed that if it could be managed so that they could
settle down in the quarter which was their own, and have homes of their
own, they would be as good citizens as any in Rome. But he did not waste
time in trying, by argument, to make Tullius and Naso and the other
colonists believe this.

The public square was swept and made clean, and the walls of all the
houses hung with garlands. The Roman matrons, old and young, had taken
from their thrifty stores of home-woven linen and wool, robes and veils
and mantles for the strangers, and provided the wedding feast with as much
care as if each one of them had a daughter who was going to be married. In
fact, according to Roman faith and law, these girls were daughters of Rome
as soon as they became wives of Roman men, and had as much right in all
public worship and festivals as if they had been born on the Palatine
Hill. Since they could not be given away by their own fathers, it had been
decided that they should be treated as daughters of the city, and the ten
original fathers of the colony should be as their fathers.

The procession came out into the square a little after daybreak, and here
the wedding feast was set forth. The maidens were veiled and dressed in
white, and attended by the young Roman girls as bridesmaids, and the
soldiers were drawn up in military order. The feasting and singing and
dancing went on in the usual way, and toward the end of the day the
procession formed again and went down the slope toward the huts of the
soldiers. At the door of each hut the man to whom it belonged claimed his
bride; she lighted the hearth fire, and poured out the libation, and ate
of the bride cake with her husband. It was a strange wedding day, but it
seemed to have ended happily, after all.

There was only one girl who refused to have any part in the ceremonies.
When the rest of the Sabine maidens left the guest house, she remained.
She was still there when a little before sunset Romulus came back to the
square and entered the room where she sat.

She was a tall and lovely creature, the daughter of the priest Emilius,
and Ruffo the captain had carried her off, but she would have nothing to
say to him. He had consoled himself with the daughter of one of his old
comrades. Her great eyes blazed as she met the look of the young chief,
and she held her head high, but she did not speak.

“You are the daughter of a great man,” said Romulus. “You are Emilia.”

It was surprising that he should know her name, but his knowing who she
was made it all the greater insult that she should have been carried off
by force.

“Long ago,” he went on, “I saw you, a little maid, when I was a poor
shepherd boy. Your mother was kind to me and gave me meat and wine. Your
father reproved me when I in my ignorance would have offended the gods. As
you were then, so you are now,—beautiful as a flower, fierce as a wolf,
Herpilia, the wolf-maiden. You are the mate for me, and when I saw you at
the festival, I knew it.”

“You! An outcast!” the girl cried, her eyes flashing in scorn.

“I am of good blood, and now I rule this city. You shall rule it with me
when you will,” said the chief coolly.

“I would rather be a slave and grind at the mill!”

Romulus smiled. What did this girl know of a slave’s life?

“You had better not,” he said. “But you need not do either. If after the
Saturnalia you wish to go back to your father’s house, you shall go. But
you cannot know much about us until you have seen how we live.” And he
turned and went out.

Emilia did not know exactly what to make of this behavior. She had made up
her mind that if they tried to make her the wife of one of these
strangers, she would stab herself with the knife she carried in her bosom,
or throw herself into the river. But as the days went on and she saw no
more of Romulus, or any other youth, she was still more puzzled. She never
connected him with the lad in the wolfskin tunic who had rescued her from
the banditti many years before. Many stray shepherd boys had been fed in
their village at one time or another. The Sabines themselves had never
known that the strange rescuer of the child and the leader of the mountain
patrol were one and the same. In fact, they had come to believe that the
little Emilia had been saved by Mars himself, in human guise. Romulus had
never told of the matter, even to his own men or to his brother.

The young girls who tended the sacred fire now formed a kind of society by
themselves, like the fraternities of the men. Emilia was allowed to sit
with them and spin and sew, and she lived in the house of Marcus Colonus,
all of whose children were now married. She heard a great deal about
Romulus from time to time, but he never came near her. Sometimes she saw
him marching at the head of his men, or sitting with the elders of the
people on some public occasion. But he never looked her way, or sent her
any word beyond what he had already said.

At first she hoped fiercely that her people would gather an army and come
against the insolent invaders and destroy them, but as time went on, she
began to hope that they would not. A war with this race would be long and
bitter, for they were not the kind to yield. This town would never be
taken but by killing all the men who could fight, and burning the houses,
and enslaving the women and children,—and the women were kind to her.

   [Illustration: Emilia was allowed to sit with them and spin and sew]

The settlement was now so large that it covered several of the hills, and
the high steep hill that stood up like the head of a crouching animal, the
Capitoline, had been strongly fortified. On one side it descended almost
straight like a precipice, and from the brink one could see for miles
across the plain.

The captain of the guard there was one of Romulus’s old comrades, Tarpeius
by name. He had a daughter who often spent some hours with the other
maidens, on the Palatine, spinning and gossiping, and singing old songs.
She was very curious about Emilia’s people and said that her mother had
been a Sabine girl. She expressed great admiration for everything about
Emilia—her bright abundant hair, her beautiful eyes, her clear white skin,
her graceful hands and feet, and her clothes. Especially she admired the
band of gold Emilia wore on her left wrist. She was like an inquisitive
and rather impertinent child.

The bracelet was a gift from Emilia’s father; he had ordered it from an
Etruscan trader; it had been made especially for her. Whenever she looked
at it, she felt as if it were a pledge that some day she should see him
again and visit her old home.

One day late in the autumn there was a commotion in the town, and the
sound of many marching feet. From the plain below came shouting, and the
far-off sound of drums and pipes. Emilia’s heart jumped. The Sabine army
was on the way!

Villagers came flying from a distance, wild with fright, and begging to be
protected within the walls. Some had taken time, scared as they were, to
drive in their beasts and bring the grain they had just finished
threshing. Their men joined the defenders, and the women and children were
sheltered among the townspeople, many of whom were relatives.

The Sabines spread their army all around the Roman settlement. They took
possession of a hill near by, almost as great as the Palatine.

It began to seem after a time as if the siege might last indefinitely. The
Roman fortifications were strong and well manned, and they had plenty of
provision. Now that the marsh was drained, only a most unusual flood would
drive away the enemy, and they did not seem inclined to storm the hills,
even if they could. Matters might have gone on so much longer but for the
thoughts in the head of a girl.

Tarpeia, the daughter of the captain of the guard, watched eagerly the
Sabine captains, and saw the gleam of the ornaments they wore. One night
she slipped out by a way she knew and crept past the Roman guards into the
Sabine camp. She had learned something of their talk from Emilia and
easily made herself understood. She told Tatius the Sabine general, when
they brought her to him, that she would open the gates of the stronghold
to his men for a reward. She would do it if they would give her _what they
wore on their left arms_.

Tatius looked at the willowy figure and the common, rather pretty face
with its greedy eyes and eager smile, and agreed, with a laugh. Tarpeia
returned to the stronghold, and that night, when the darkness was
thickest, she slid past the sleepy guard and unbarred the gates, and
waited.

Tatius had no respect for traitors, though he was willing to make use of
them when they came and offered him the chance. He reasoned that a girl
clever and wicked enough for this would betray him and his own men just as
quickly as she betrayed her father and his people. He told his men to give
her exactly what he had promised her—what they wore on their left arms,
and _all of it_! As they rushed past her and she drew back a little toward
a hollow in the hill, Tatius first and the others after him flung at her
not only their bracelets, but the heavy oval shields they carried on their
left arms, beating her down as if she had been struck by a shower of
stones. The garrison, taken by surprise, had no chance. Brave old Tarpeius
died fighting, without knowing what had become of his treacherous
daughter. At dawn the stronghold was in Sabine hands. They had won the
first move.

Now indeed the two armies must join battle, with the odds against the
Romans. They met in a level place between the two hills but not so low as
the plain, and the fighting was fierce enough. The Sabine and Roman women
watched from the walls of the Palatine, and the Sabine girls, some of them
with babies in their arms, were crying as if their hearts would break.
Whichever army won, they would mourn men who loved them, for their fathers
and brothers were fighting against their husbands.

The line of fighting surged to and fro. A stone from a sling struck
Romulus on the head, and stunned him. The Romans gave back, fighting every
inch of the way. Romulus came to himself and tried to rally them, but in
vain. He flung up his arms to heaven and uttered a desperate prayer to
Jupiter, Father of the Gods, to save Rome.

Emilia could not bear it any longer. She stood up among the other Sabine
women, her eyes bright and her face as white as a lily, and spoke to them
quickly.

“Come with me!” she called, moving swiftly toward the door of the temple
of Vesta where they were gathered. “We will end this war—or die with our
men! Come to the battle field!”

The women guessed what she meant to do, and with a soft rush like a flock
of birds, they went past the guards and out of the gates, down over the
hillside, between the armies, which had halted an instant for breath. With
tears and soft little outcries they flung themselves into the arms of
their fathers and brothers in the Sabine army, and some sought out their
husbands begging them to stop the fighting, and not to make them twice
captives by taking them away from their homes. A more astonished battle
line was probably never seen than the Sabine front. The Romans on the
other side of the field were nearly as much taken aback.

There is no denying that most of the men felt rather silly. There could be
no more fighting without leading the women and babies back to the town,
and they probably would not stay there. It dawned on the Sabines all at
once that if the women who were now wives of the Romans were contented
where they were, and loved their husbands, it would be cruel as well as
senseless to force them back to their mountain villages. The war stopped
as soon as the generals on both sides could frame words of some dignity to
express their feelings. Emilia’s father, when he found that his daughter
was unharmed, and had been treated during the past year like an honored
guest, declared that there should be peace without delay. The conclusion
of the whole matter was an agreement to form an alliance. The Sabines and
the Romans were to share the Seven Hills and rule together. All the
customs common to both should be continued, and each settlement should
have freedom to govern itself in the customs peculiar to itself.

Romulus came toward Emilia and her father about sunset, after the wounded
had been made comfortable and the treaty agreed upon. They were in the
doorway of the priest’s tent. The Roman general looked very tall and
handsome and full of authority. His shining helmet and shield, short
sword, and light body armor of metal plates overlapping like plumage were
as full of proud and warlike strength as the wings of an eagle. He bowed
before the two; then he looked at the maiden.

“It is nearly a year. The time has not gone quickly.”

“He told me,” explained Emilia, “that if after the Saturnalia I wished to
return, he would send me home.”

“And do you wish to go home, my daughter?” asked the priest.

Emilia looked up at Romulus.

“I will go home,” she said, “with my husband.”

And the news ran through the camps that Romulus had taken a Sabine bride.



                                   XIX


                         THE PRIEST OF THE BRIDGE


In the customs of the people who founded the town by the river, there was
no act of life which did not have some ancient rule or tradition connected
with it. There was a right way and a wrong way to do everything. In all
the important work of life, such as the care of the sheep and cattle, the
sowing of the fields and the making of wine, certain elders among the men
were chosen to take charge of the management, decide on what day the work
was to commence and take care that all was done as it ought to be. In this
new life in a strange place the colonists found that some kinds of work
that used not to be very important became so because things were changed.
This was the case with the priest who had charge of the public ways,—the
gates, the roads and the walls. In their old home this was not a very
important office, because the walls almost never needed anything done to
them, and the roads were all made long ago. Tertius Calvo, who was the
pontifex or roadmaker, was a quiet man and never had much to say, but in
this place he had more to do than almost any other public officer in the
city.

Calvo was a good mason and understood something of what we should call now
civil engineering. He had judgment about the best place to lay out a road
and the proper stone to choose for masonry. As the town grew, and the
farming lands about it were cleared, and more and more persons became
interested in the town by the river, Calvo, in his quiet way, was one of
the busiest of men.

He got on very well with the miscellaneous laboring force that he could
command, and partly by signs, partly in a mixture of the two languages, he
learned to talk with the stonemason Canial quite comfortably. Gradually,
as they were needed, roads were made in different directions over the
plain, and always in much the same way. They were as straight as they
could be without taking altogether more time and labor than could be
given, and they were usually carried across streams and bogs instead of
going around. Calvo enjoyed working out ways to do this. If the plain had
been really boggy he might not have been able to do as much as he did, but
it was not really a marsh. It was a more or less level area lying so
little above the bed of the river that the rise of a foot or two in the
waters changed its aspect until the Romans began draining it. The people
were astonished to see how much more quickly they could reach the river
over one of Calvo’s roads than they could over the old, winding,
up-and-down paths. The road was built with a track in the middle higher
than the edges, to let the water drain off, and this track was more solid
than the edges and far more solid usually than the land on each side the
road. There was no need for the highway to be very wide, for most of the
travel was on foot. After a time people began to call the new roads the
“laid” roads, because they were made by laying, or spreading, new material
on the line of travel.

The new road was a “street” built up of _strata_.

There was never much trouble in getting men to work on these highways
after they saw the convenience of them. They could not have built them for
themselves, because they had not Calvo’s eye for the right place or his
knowledge of every kind of stone and other road material. The roads led
out from Rome like the spokes of a wheel, but Calvo did not build any
roads from town to town. He said it was better not to.

There came to be a proverb that all roads lead to Rome. Calvo’s object in
roadmaking was to make it easy for outsiders to reach the city and return.
He was not concerned about their visiting one another. The natural result
was that Rome got all the trade of a growing country.

Another consequence of Calvo’s road-making system was that it would have
been very difficult for the outlying settlements to join in any attack
against Rome itself, because they could not reach their neighbors half as
easily as they could reach Rome. Calvo saw—what most generals have to see
if they are to have any success in fighting—that wars are won by the feet
as well as the weapons of an army. The quicker they march and the less
strength they have to expend on getting from one place to another, the
better the soldiers will fight. It came to be almost second nature for any
Roman to look out that the roads were in good condition, and a general on
the march took care that he did not go too far into an unknown country
without leaving a good road over which to come back.

In the course of their wandering about, before they found a place for
their home, the colonists had not only learned the importance of good
water but had found out where some of the springs and wells were. Here and
there, as he discovered a good place for a camp, Calvo caused a rude
shelter to be built, where any Roman could find a place to sleep and make
a fire. On some of the roads he and Romulus took counsel together and
planned the erection of a kind of barrack, so that if they sent a company
of troops out that way there would be a place which they could occupy as a
shelter, and if necessary hold against an enemy. They were not exactly
houses, or forts; they were known as _mansiones_,—places where one might
remain for a night or two. The practical use of these places proved so
great that the plan was never given up, and _mansiones_ were built at the
end of each day’s march, in later ages, wherever the Roman army went. But
in the beginning there was only a rough shelter like the khans of Eastern
countries,—walls and roofs, to which men brought their own provisions and
bedding, if they had any. People had these places of refuge long before
there was any such thing as a tavern or hotel known in the world.

It began to be seen in course of time that the Priesthood of the Highways,
or the bridges—for about half Calvo’s work here was bridge building—was
one of the most necessary of all. Before he died he had four others to
assist him, and was called the Pontifex Maximus, the high pontiff, and
greatly revered for his wisdom. He had met and talked with and commanded
so many different sorts of people, both intelligent and ignorant, and had
solved so many different problems, for no two places where a highway is
built are alike, that there were very few questions on which he did not
have something worth saying. The standard he set was kept up. A road, when
built, was built to last, and so was a bridge.

But the greatest work of Tertius Calvo, and the one which perhaps made
more difference in the history of his people than any other, was an
undertaking which he put through when he and most of the other fathers of
the colony were quite old men. It was the bridge across the river.

At the point where the Seven Hills are situated, the river is about three
hundred feet wide, but there is an island in it which makes a natural
pier. Here Calvo suggested a bridge, to take the traffic from the other
side of the river and bring it directly to Rome instead of letting it come
across anywhere in boats. Such a bridge, moreover, would make it easier to
hold the river, in case of war, against an enemy coming either up stream
or down.

It seemed like a stupendous enterprise, and even those who had seen most
of Calvo’s work did not see how he was going to do it. The river was
twenty feet deep, and that was too deep for any pier building in those
days. It would be a timber bridge.

More or less all the city took part in building that bridge. There were
large trees to be cut down and their logs hauled from distant places, and
shaped to fit into one another. There was stonework to be done at each end
of the span, and on each side of the island. By the time this work was
planned, the people were using iron more or less, and found it very
convenient for many things; but Calvo set his foot down; not a bit of iron
was to be used in his bridge. It was to be all wood, resting on stone
foundations. Some of those who had worked with him remembered then that he
never did use iron in such work. The younger men thought he must have
reason to suppose that the gods were not pleased with iron.

Romulus had known Calvo for a great many years, although they had never
been exactly intimate. As they stood together, watching the work go on,
Romulus said in a tone that no one but Calvo could hear.

“There is no iron in this work?”

“None,” said Calvo.

“The gods do not approve it?”

“Apparently not,” said Calvo. “The fires of Jove burned two bridges for me
before I found it out.

“Also I have found that iron and water are bad friends, and in a bridge,
which hangs above water, the bolts would rust. Finally, a thing which is
all timber, put together without the use of anything else, does not grow
shaky with time, but settles together and is firmer. There are some things
a man does not learn until he has watched the ways of building for fifty
years, and I have done that.”

If Calvo had been like some men of his day, he would have thought, when
his bridges were burned, that the gods were angry with him for omitting
some ceremony. But he was a man who noticed all that he saw and put two
and two together; and he noticed in the course of time that lightning was
much more likely to strike where iron was. He observed the path of it once
when it did strike, and saw that it ripped the wood all to splinters and
set it on fire trying to get at the iron, which it melted.

It is of course true that iron expands and shrinks with heat and cold, and
when iron bolts are used in wood, the iron and the wood do not fit as well
together after a few seasons, on this account. So Calvo planned his
bridges without iron, and they were all made of dovetailed wooden timbers,
as many old wooden bridges were which remain to this day. Calvo’s
observations about his bridges tended to make others think as he did. No
iron was ever used in any of the temples or sacred buildings of Rome, even
long after it was in common use for weapons, tools and other things.

The way in which the bridge over the Tiber was built was much like the way
in which Cæsar built bridges, hundreds of years later. It was so
constructed that if necessary it could be removed at short notice. It was
never struck by lightning or burned, and it remained until—long after
Calvo was dead—another pontiff built a new and greater bridge, using all
his knowledge and all else that had been learned in five generations.



                                    XX


                             THE THREE TRIBES


The hill on which the Sabines settled took its name from their word for
themselves, Quirites, the People with the Spears. It came to be known as
the Quirinal. The level place between this hill and the Palatine, where
the treaty was made, was called the Comitium,—the place where they came
together. Here in after years was the Forum, the place for public debate
on all questions concerning the government of Rome. Any open place for
public discussion was called a forum—there were nineteen in different
parts of Rome at one time—but this one was the great Forum Romanum, where
the finest temples and the most famous statues were. Assemblies of the
people, or of the fraternities, to vote on public questions were also
called by the name of Comitium.

Between these two great hills and a big bend in the river was a great
level space that was used for a sort of parade ground, and this was called
the Campus Martius, the field of Mars.

Romulus himself lived with his wife Emilia in a house which he built on
the slope of the Palatine near the river and not far from the bridge, at a
point sometimes called the Fair Shore. Here he had a garden, fig trees and
vines, and beehives; and here he used to sit at evening and watch the
flight of the birds across the river. His little son, whom he called
Aquila as a pet name, because an eagle perched upon the house on the night
the boy was born, used to watch with wondering eyes his father’s ways with
live creatures of all kinds. A countryman who tended the garden, who had
been a boy on the Square Hill when Romulus was a tall young man, said that
they used to get Romulus to find honeycombs and take them out, because
bees never stung him.

Aquila had a little plot of his own, where he planted blue flowers, which
bees like, and raised snails of the big, fat kind found in vineyards. He
was like his mother’s people, a born gardener. The countryman, Peppo, made
little wooden toys for him, and among them was a little two-wheeled cart
with a string harness, which Aquila attached to a team of mice, but he had
to play with that out of doors, because his mother would not have the mice
in the house. He had also a set of knuckle-bones which the children played
with as children now play with jackstones. His mother molded for him men
and animals and even whole armies of clay, so that he could play at war
with spears of reeds, and demolish mud forts with stones from his little
sling.

        [Illustration: His mother molded for him men and animals]

He heard many stories,—some from his father, some from his mother and some
from Peppo. He liked best the story of his father’s pet wolf, and always
on the feast of Lupercal and the other feast days of Mars he and his
mother went to put garlands on the little stone that was raised to the
memory of Pincho, in one corner of the garden.

The city was now ruled by three different groups of elders, from the three
different races of settlers. They were generally known as the three
tribes, and the public seat of the three rulers was called the tribunal.
The oldest tribe, of course, was the Ramnian, the people who had come from
the Mountain of Fire to Rome. The Tities were the Hill Romans or the
Sabines, and the Luceres, the People of the Grove, were the tribe that had
collected where the soldiers settled and the outsiders who were neither
Ramnians nor Sabines lived. There were three great fraternities—the Salii
or men of Mars on the Palatine, the Salii on the Quirinal, a Sabine branch
of the same worship, and the new priesthood of the whole people, whose
priest was called the Flamen Dialis, the Lighter of the Fire of Jove.

Besides these fraternities there were two important groups of men who were
not exactly rulers, but were chosen because of their especial knowledge.
These were the six Augurs, who were skilled in watching and explaining
omens, and the Bridge Builders, the Priesthood of the Bridge, who were
skillful in measuring and constructing and building. There were five of
these, the head priest being called the Pontifex Maximus or High Pontiff.

Instead of being a large and rather straggling town growing so fast that
it was hard to know how to govern it, Rome was really taking on the look
of an orderly and prosperous city.

Sometimes, when the children of the first colonists looked back at the
simple village life they could just remember, and then looked about them
at the many-colored life that had gathered on the Seven Hills, it seemed
to them almost like another world. Yet in their homes they still kept the
old customs and the old worship, and the servants they had gathered about
them were very proud of being part of a Roman household.

There was one danger, however, which nobody realized in the least. In the
great change from farm life to city life, the mere crowding together of
people is a danger. The fever which had broken out in the early days of
the settlement broke out again. This time it swept away lives by the
hundred. The poor people were frightened almost out of their wits, and ran
out of their houses and spread the disease before any one understood that
it could be caught. Emilia had a maid who came back from a visit to her
brother on the Quirinal and died before morning. In less than a week
Emilia herself and her little son were dead also, and Romulus was left
alone.

Nothing seemed able to harm him. He went among the poorest, and by his
fearless courage kept them from going mad with fear. When the fever passed
his hair had begun to turn from black to gray.

He heard somewhere of the drink that Faustulus the shepherd had taught
Mamurius how to make when the sickness came before, and he remembered
other things Faustulus had said of the fever. When the pestilence was
gone, he called the fathers of the city together, and they took counsel
how to keep it from coming back.

Tullius, who was now an old man, said that in his opinion bad water was
the cause of much sickness. The fever began in a part of the city where
there was no drainage.

Naso said that it was all because the people had allowed strangers to come
in, and the gods were angry.

Romulus made no comment on that. He did not know, himself, whether the
gods were displeased and had sent the sickness, but he was sure of one
thing. It could do no harm to take all possible means of preventing it.

Mamurius said, and Marcus Colonus upheld him, that in the old days on the
Mountain of Fire, where the people had plenty of good water and bathed
often, they seldom had any sickness. Calvo observed quietly that baths
were not impossible even here; it was only a question of building them and
conducting the water they had into fountains. An Etruscan he had once
known said that he had seen it done in a city larger than this.

After the death of his wife and child Romulus seemed to feel that he was
in a way the father of all his people, more especially of the people who
were outside the ordinary fraternities and families of the old stock. He
set his own servants and followers at work, under the direction of Calvo,
and with the help of some of the other citizens who thought as he did, a
beginning was made on a proper water-supply and a system of public baths.
He set the young men to exercising and racing, keeping themselves in
condition; he urged all who could to go out into the country, form
colonies, or at least have country houses. It was the nature of Romulus to
look at things, not as they affected himself alone, but as they would
affect all the people. If Emilia could die of fever, if his son could die,
in spite of all his care, any man’s wife and child could. There was no
safety for one but in the safety of all. He thought that out in the same
instinctive way that he had reasoned about the robbers. It was not enough
to clear out a robbers’ den, or to escape illness once. What he set
himself to do was to stop the evil. When Naso objected that the gods alone
could do that, Romulus did not argue the matter. His own opinion was that
if men depended upon the gods to do anything for them that they could do
for themselves, the gods would have a good right to be angry. A man might
as well sit down under a tree and expect grain to spring up for him of
itself, and the sheep to come up to him and take off their fleeces, and
the grapes to turn into wine and fill the vats without hands, as to expect
the gods to take care of him if he used no judgment.

None of the Romans, in fact, were really great believers in miracles. They
did all they could in the way of ceremony and worship, but they took good
care to do also everything that they had found by experience produced
results. Romulus had the practical nature of his people. He had heard a
great deal of miracles at one time and another, but he had ceased to
expect them to happen. It would be quite as great a miracle as could be
expected if three different tribes of people succeeded in building up a
city without civil war.



                                   XXI


                              UNDER THE YOKE


Many years had passed since the colonists first came to the Seven Hills,
and Rome was now the city from which a large extent of country on both
sides of the river was ruled. Romulus had inherited the land of his
ancestors on the Long White Mountain, and village after village, town
after town, had found it wise to come under his rule. The way in which he
managed these new possessions was rather curious and very like himself. He
let them rule themselves and settle their own affairs so far as their own
local customs and people were concerned, and so far as these did not
contradict the common law of Rome.

When the children of Mars first came to this part of the world, people
called them very often the “cattle-men,” because cattle were not at all
common there. Many of the customs both of the Romans and the Sabines came
about because they kept cattle and used them. This made it possible for
them to cultivate much more land than they could have farmed without the
oxen, and it also rather tied them down to one place, for after
cultivating land to the point where it would grow a good crop of grain,
nobody of course would wish to abandon it. They had a god called Pales who
protected the herds and was said to have taught the people in the
beginning how to yoke and use cattle, and the long-horned skulls were hung
up around the walls of the early temples and served to hang garlands from
on a feast day. When the “outfit vault” was filled at the founding of the
city, a yoke was one of the things put in.

In a certain way, all the scattered villages and peoples which gradually
joined the new colony, although keeping their own land and homes, were
rather like oxen. They were not equal to the colonists in wisdom or skill
or ability to direct affairs. They could work, and they could fight for
their wives and children;—but cattle can work and fight. Without some one
to govern and teach them, they would belong to any one who happened to be
strong enough to make himself their master.

The use of the yoke was the one great thing in which the Roman farmer
differed from these pagans and peasants, and he could teach them that. It
was the thing which would make the most difference in their lives, in
comfort and plenty and skill. A man must be more intelligent to work with
animals and control them than to dig up a plot of ground with his own
hands. It struck Romulus, therefore, that the yoke would be a good symbol
to use when Rome took possession of such a village. A great deal of the
ceremony used in the daily life of the ancient people was a sort of sign
language. When something important changed hands, the buyer and the seller
shook hands on it in public. When a man was not a slave nor exactly a
servant, but a member of the household who did something for which he was
paid, he was paid in salt, because he could be invited to eat salt with
his master, and this pay was called _salarium_,—salary. When Rome took
formal possession of a place, the men passed under a yoke, as a sign that
now they belonged to the men who used oxen, and worked as they did and for
them.

Whenever it was possible, some Roman families were sent to such places to
live among the people and show them Roman ways. There were always some who
were willing to do this, because they could have more land and better
houses in that way than in the older town, which was getting rather
crowded. In this way, the widely scattered towns and villages and farms
ruled by Rome became more or less Roman in a much shorter time than they
would if they had been left to themselves.

Life in such a growing country, made up of a great many different sorts
and conditions of people, is not by any means simple. The Romans
themselves were aware of this before the first settlers were old men. As
the sons of these colonists became men, they were proud to call themselves
“the sons of the fathers.” The word “father” was used in the old way,
which meant that every father of a family in a village was the head of
that family. The head of the house was a ruler simply because he was the
oldest representative of his race. In the same way the houses built by the
first families within the palisade, on the Square Hill, were called
palaces, and the hill itself the hill of the palaces, the Palatine. The
families of those first colonists were known, after a while, as the
“patricians.” After the Sabines came, there were two groups of settlers of
the same race, one on the Square Hill and the other on the hill called the
Quirinal, the Hill of the Spears. The Palatine settlers sometimes called
themselves the Mountain Romans, and the others the Hill Romans. The people
who had settled in the place Romulus called the Asylum lived among groves
of trees, and they were called the People of the Grove, the Luceres. But
all these citizens of Rome itself considered themselves superior to the
outsiders, who had sometimes been conquered and sometimes been glad to
join Rome for protection. The Romans were beginning to be very proud of
the town they had made.

The Tuscans beyond the river, however, did not all feel this pride in
belonging to Rome. The town of the Veientines, especially, objected to the
idea of Tuscans being “under the yoke” of these strangers. When the Romans
took the town of Fidenæ, the Veientines were very indignant, though they
did not come to the help of their neighbors, and presently they claimed
that Fidenæ was a town of their own and set out to make war against the
Romans. Romulus promptly took the field and won the war. Although he was
now growing old, and his hair was white as silver, he fought with all his
old fire and sagacity, and the Tuscans were glad to make terms. They
offered to make peace for a hundred years, but that was not quite enough
for Romulus. They had begun the war, and he meant to make them pay for it.
When the matter was finally settled, they agreed to give to Rome their
salt works on the river and a large tract of land. While the talk was
going on, fifty of their chief men were kept prisoners in the camp of
Romulus.

There was a great sensation in Rome when the news of the peace was made
known. The army paraded through the streets, with the prisoners and the
spoils of various kinds, and there was great rejoicing. It was the first
celebration of a victory by a “triumph”—called by that name because many
of those who took part in the parade were leaping and dancing to the sound
of music. Then Romulus proceeded to divide the land he had taken from the
Tuscans among the soldiers who had taken part in the war. He sent the
Tuscan hostages home to their people.

Without intending to do it, Romulus aroused a great deal of ill feeling by
these two things that he did. The patricians formed a sort of senate—a
body of elders—for the government of Rome, and it seemed to them that they
should have been consulted about the hostages and the division of land. No
one knew but the Tuscans might rise up again against Rome, and in that
case these men ought to be here to serve as a pledge. Moreover, the land
belonged not to Romulus personally but to the city, and the senate ought
to have had the dividing of it. It was time to settle whether Rome was to
be governed by one man, or by the elders of the people, as in the days of
old. It was not fit that men should hold land who were not descended from
land-holders.

Not all the elders, or senators, took this view. It really never had been
decided how far a general who took command in a war had a right to dictate
in the outcome of it. Generally speaking, in a war, the men who fought
took whatever they could lay their hands on. They plundered a city when
they took it, and each man had what he could carry away. In this case the
city of the Veientines had not been plundered, because the rulers
surrendered and asked for peace before Romulus had a chance to take it.
The land which had been given up was a kind of plunder, and the general
had a right to divide it. This was the view of Caius Cossus and Marcus
Colonus and his brother, and some of the others in the senate. But
Naso—who never had enough land—and some of his friends, who never were
satisfied unless they had their own way, had a great deal to say about the
high-handed methods of the veteran general, the founder of the city. They
said that he treated them all as if they were under the yoke, and that
this was insulting to free-born Romans. In short, the time had come when
all of the men who wished for more power than they had were ready to
declare that Romulus was a tyrant. It was quite true that he was the only
man strong enough to stand in their way if he chose. It was also true that
he was the only man who was disposed to consider the rights of the _plebs_
and the outsiders who were not citizens, and had according to ancient
custom no right to share in the governing of the city at all.



                                   XXII


                             THE GOAT’S MARSH


Public opinion in Rome was like a whirlpool. The currents that battled in
it circled round and round, but got nowhere. Calvo, the last of the older
men who had been fathers of the people when Romulus founded the city,
began to wonder if at last the downfall of the chief was near. He could
not see how one man could make peace between the factions, or how he could
dominate them by his single will. But it was never the way of the veteran
pontiff to talk, when talk would do no good, and he waited to learn what
Romulus would do.

What Romulus did was to visit him one night at his villa, alone and in
secret. He had sent his servant beforehand to ask that Calvo would arrange
this, and when some hours later a tall man in the dress of a shepherd
appeared at the gate, the old porter admitted him without question, and
there was no one in the way. The two sat and talked in the solar chamber,
with no witnesses but the stars.

“They do not understand,” Romulus said thoughtfully, when they had been
all over the struggle between the two parties, from beginning to end.
“They do not see that the thing which must be done is the thing which is
right, whether it be by my will or another’s.”

“They are ready, some of them, to declare that a thing is wrong because
you saw it before they did,” said Calvo dryly.

“The people are with me—I believe,” said Romulus, “the soldiers, and the
common folk—but they have no voice in the government. Yet are they men,
Tertius Calvo,—many of them children of Mars as we are. Am I not bound to
do what is right for them, as well as for the dwellers within the
palaces?”

“I have always believed so,” nodded Calvo. “When a man makes a road or a
bridge, he does not make it for the strong and powerful alone; it is even
more for the weak, the ignorant and those who cannot work for themselves.
If the gods meant not this to be so, they would arrange it so that the sun
should shine only on a few, and the rest should dwell in twilight; they
would give rain only to those whom they favor, and good water only to the
chosen of the gods. But the world is not made in that way. Therefore we
who are the chosen of the gods to do their will on earth should be of
equal mind toward all—men, women and children.”

Calvo paused, as if he were thinking how he should say what he thought,
and then went on.

“Whether men are high or low, Romulus, founder of the city, they have
minds and they think, and the gods, who know all men’s souls, hear their
unspoken thoughts as well as ours. Therefore it is not a small thing when
many believe in a man, for their belief, like a river, will grow and grow
until it makes itself felt by those who hold themselves as greater. I have
seen this happen when a good man whom all men loved came to die. He was
greater after his death than when he was alive, for the grief and the love
of the poor encompassed his spirit and made it strong.”

Romulus smiled in the way he did when he was thinking more than he meant
to say. “I shall be very strong when I am dead,” was his only comment. And
Calvo knew that it was the truth.

Romulus was now fifty-eight years old, and Calvo was seventy-two. Both of
them were thinking that it would not be many years when they would both,
perhaps, be talking together in the world of shadows as they were talking
now. Then Romulus told Calvo what he was going to do.

This talk took place a little after the beginning of the fifth month,
which the Romans called Quintilis, but which we call July. In this month
the sun is hot and the air is sluggish and damp, and in the year when
these things happened it was more so than usual. The heralds announced in
the market place, one sultry morning, that there would be a meeting of all
the people at a place called the Goat’s Marsh some miles outside the city.
Romulus would there tell publicly why he sent back their hostages to the
Tuscans and how the lands were to be divided among the soldiers. No longer
would the people have to depend on what was said by one and another, he
would tell them himself. Partly out of curiosity, partly with the
determination that they too would speak, the greater part of the
patricians also went to hear.

The Goat’s Marsh was no longer a marsh, but it had kept its name partly
because of the fig orchards, which bore the little fruits called the goat
figs. There was a plain at the foot of a little hill, which made it a good
place for any public meeting, and the country people for miles around
crowded in to see Romulus and to hear him speak.

They raised a shout as his tall figure appeared but he waved them to
silence.

“I have not much to say,” he began, and in the still air the intense
interest of his listeners seemed to tingle like lightning before a storm,
“but much has been said which was not true. I will not waste time in
repeating lies.

“Ye know that the Tuscan cities were here before we came, and that their
people are many. We cannot kill them or drive them away, if we would. They
are our neighbors.

“We made war against them and we beat them, and took their city Fidenæ and
their city Veii. Before we made peace they had to pay us certain lands.
Before peace was made and the price paid, there were sons of their blood
in our power, whom we kept as a pledge that they were willing to pay the
price. That was all. They were not guilty of any crime against us. They
were here to show that their people meant to keep faith. When peace was
made I sent them back.

“If we had kept them, if we had slain them, if harm had come to them, then
the wrong would have been on our side, and we should have had another war.
Why should there be war between neighbors? Is not friendship better than
hatred?

“Some are angry because I divided the lands, which they gave us as a
price, among the soldiers. Yet who has better right than the men who fight
the battles? This is all of my story. Ye believe?” Then a shout arose to
the very skies,—“Romulus! Romulus! Romulus!”

Suddenly the clouds grew black, and lightnings flashed through them. Just
as Naso was rising to speak, a tremendous clap of thunder shook the earth,
or so it seemed. Winds swept suddenly down from the mountains and howled
across the plains, carrying away mantles and curtains and boughs of trees
in their flight. The crowd broke up in confusion, and the patricians were
heard calling in distress, “Marcus!” “Caius!” “Aulus!” for in the darkness
they could not see their friends a rod away. They hastened to whatever
shelter they could find, and sheets of rain poured from the clouds. It was
one of the most terrific tempests any one there present had ever known. It
did not last long—perhaps an hour—but when it was over Romulus was nowhere
to be seen.

The people had scattered in all directions, but the patricians had managed
to keep together. When the storm was over, they did not know at first that
Romulus had disappeared, but presently one after another of the common
people was heard asking where he was, and no one could be found who knew.
The people searched everywhere without finding so much as the hem of his
mantle. It began to be whispered that he had been killed and his body
hidden away, and black looks were cast upon the public men in their white
robes.

They themselves were perhaps more perplexed and worried than any one else,
for they saw what the people thought. It began to dawn upon them that the
united opinion of hundreds of men, even though of the despised _plebs_, or
peasants, was not exactly a thing to be overlooked. That night was a black
and anxious one.

On the following morning, Naso, Caius Cossus, and some other leaders came
to see Calvo and ask his opinion of the mystery. He had not been at the
Goat’s Marsh the day before, nor had Cossus and others of the friends of
the vanished chief. All the men who had been there, of the upper class,
were enemies of Romulus. It was a most unpleasant position for them.

Calvo heard the story gravely, without making any comment.

The storm had not been nearly so severe in Rome; in fact it was not much
more than an ordinary summer storm. But when Naso told of it he described
it as something beyond anything that could be natural.

“Do you think,” asked Calvo coolly at last, “that the gods had anything to
do with these strange appearances?” Naso could not say.

“There have always been strange happenings about this man,” said Calvo
thoughtfully. “His very birth was strange; his appearance among us was
sudden and unexpected. What the gods send they can also take away.”

“Do you think then,” asked Cossus, “that he was taken by the gods to
heaven?”

“I do not know,” said Calvo. “You say you found no trace of him? But even
a man struck by lightning is not destroyed.”

The frightened men looked at each other.

Fabius the priest was the first to speak.

“It is at any rate not true that we have murdered him,” he said boldly,
“and that is what men are saying in the streets.”

“And it may be true that he has been taken by the gods,” said Naso
eagerly. They went out, still talking, and Calvo smiled to himself. He did
not know just what had happened, but Romulus had told him that after this
last appearance to the people he was going away, never to come back.
Apparently that was what he had done. It did not surprise the old pontiff
at all when he heard, an hour or two after, that Fabius had made a speech
and told the people that Romulus had been taken bodily to the skies, in
the midst of the crashing and flaring of the thunder and lightning, and
that he would no more be seen on earth. There were some unbelievers, but
after a time this was quite generally thought to be true.

[Illustration: Far away, in a cavern on a mountain height, there lived for
                       many years an old shepherd]

It had the effect of settling all quarrels at once. When they had time to
think it over, both factions agreed that Romulus was right. They could see
it themselves. Within a few years his memory was better loved, more
powerful, and more closely followed in all his ways and sayings than ever
he had been in life.

He never returned to Rome, but far away, in a cavern on a mountain height,
there lived for many years an old shepherd who became very dear to the
simple people around him. He had a servant named Peppo who loved him well
and whom he treated more as a son than as a slave. He had a little plot of
ground which he cultivated, with nine bean-rows and various kinds of
herbs, and a row of beehives stood near the entrance to his cave. There
was nothing he could not do with animals, and the birds used to come and
perch on his fingers and his shoulders and head, and sing. Even the wolves
would not harm him, and one year a mother fox brought up a litter of four
cubs within a few yards of his door. The young people used to come to him
to get him to tell their fortunes, and if he advised against a thing they
never went contrary to what he said. When he died and was buried, his
servant returned to the place from which he came, and then Tertius Calvo,
who was by that time a very old man, learned certainly where Romulus the
founder of Rome had gone. But he kept the story to himself.



                               A ROMAN ROAD


  Once along the Roman road with measured, rhythmic stride
  Marched the Roman legionaries in their valiant pride.
  Men of petty towns and tribes, under Caesar’s hand,
  Welded into Empire then their people and their land.
  Now along that ancient road the silent motors run,
  Driven by every ancient race that lives beneath the sun.

  Swarming from their barren plains, wild barbarian hordes
  Wasted all the fruitful soil—then the Roman swords
  Leagued with Gallic pike and sling, held the red frontier,
  Saved the cradle of our folk, all that we hold dear.
  Now above the towers that rise where Rome’s great eagles flew,
  Circle dauntless aeroplanes to guard their folk anew.

  Gods who loved the sons of Mars found in field and wood
  Altars built with reverent care—saw the work was good.
  Simple, brave and generous, quick to speech and mirth;
  Loving all the pleasant ways of the kindly earth;
  Thus they built the stately walls that still unfallen stand.
  Guarding for their ancient faith the dear, unchanging land!

  Winds and waves and leaping flames all have served our race.
  Flint and bronze and steel had each their little day of grace.
  But the lightning fleets to-day along our singing wires,
  And the harnessed floods to-day are fuel for our fires.
  Armored through the clouds we glide on swift electric wings.
  Through the trenches of the hills a joyous giant sings.
  Light and Flame and Power and Steel are welded into one
  To serve the task set long ago,—when roads were first begun!



                                 THE END



                            TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE


The following changes have been made to the text:

      page 118, “some” changed to “same”
      page 233, period added after “Rome”

Variations in hyphenation (e.g. “cattlemen”, “cattle-men”; “roadmaking”,
“road-making”) and spelling (e.g. “Caesar”, “Cæsar”) have not been
changed.





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