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Title: Callias - A Tale of the Fall of Athens
Author: Church, Alfred John, 1829-1912
Language: English
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  CALLIAS



  [Illustration: SOCRATES AND ALCIBIADES.]



  CALLIAS

  A Tale of the Fall of Athens


  "_Athenae Lysandro superfuerunt: occiso Socrate tum demum civitas
  eversa est._"


  BY

  REV. ALFRED J. CHURCH, M. A.

  _Professor of Latin in University College, London_


  [Illustration]


  MEADVILLE PENNA
  FLOOD AND VINCENT
  The Chautauqua-Century Press
  1891



  Copyright, 1891,
  By FLOOD & VINCENT.

  _The Chautauqua-Century Press, Meadville, Pa., U. S. A._
  Electrotyped, Printed and Bound by Flood & Vincent.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                               PAGE
       I. A NEW PLAY                       1
      II. NEWS FROM THE FLEET             14
     III. HIPPOCLES THE ALIEN             21
      IV. A COUNCIL                       30
       V. RUNNING THE BLOCKADE            41
      VI. ARGINUSÆ                        51
     VII. AFTER THE FIGHT                 58
    VIII. THE NEWS AT ATHENS              65
      IX. SOCRATES                        79
       X. THE MURDER OF THE GENERALS      87
      XI. RESCUED                        104
     XII. THE VOYAGE OF THE SKYLARK      113
    XIII. ALCIBIADES                     121
     XIV. BISANTHE                       132
      XV. ÆGOS POTAMI                    141
     XVI. TO PHARNABAZUS                 151
    XVII. ATHENS IN THE DUST             159
   XVIII. "NOBLESSE OBLIGE"              172
     XIX. THE END OF ALCIBIADES          184
      XX. DIONYSIUS                      195
     XXI. CYRUS THE YOUNGER              207
    XXII. THE RETREAT                    212
   XXIII. THE DIARY                      223
    XXIV. A THANKSGIVING                 238
     XXV. BUSINESS AND PLEASURE          252
    XXVI. INVALIDED                      263
   XXVII. BACK TO ATHENS                 274
  XXVIII. THE STORY OF THE TRIAL         287
    XXIX. THE LAST CONVERSATION          304
     XXX. THE CONDITION OF EXILE         321
          AUTHOR'S POSTSCRIPT            328
          INDEX                          331



CALLIAS

A Tale of the Fall of Athens.



CHAPTER I.

A NEW PLAY.


It is the second year of the ninety-third Olympiad[1] and the Theatre at
Athens is full, for the great dramatic season is at its height, and
to-day there is to be performed a new play by Aristophanes, the special
favorite of the Athenian public. It is a brilliant scene, but a keen
observer, who happened to see the same gathering some five and twenty
years ago, must now notice a certain falling off in its splendor. For
these five and twenty years have been years of war, and latterly, years
of disaster. Eleven years ago, the City wild with the pride of power and
wealth, embarked on the mad scheme of conquering Sicily, and lost the
finest fleet and army that it ever possessed. Since then it has been a
struggle for life with it, and year by year it has been growing weaker
and weaker. This has told sadly on the glories of its great festivals.
The furnishing of the stage, indeed, is as perfect as ever, and the
building itself has been pushed on several stages towards completion.[2]
However scarce money may be in the public treasury, the theatre must not
be starved. But elsewhere there are manifest signs of falling off. The
strangers' gallery is almost empty. All the Greek world from Massilia in
Gaul to Cyrene among the sands of Africa used to throng it in happier
days. Now more than half that world is hostile, and the rest has little
to hope or fear from the dispossessed mistress of the seas. Dionysius of
Syracuse, has sent an embassy, and the democracy, which once would have
treated with scant courtesy the representatives of a tyrant, is fain to
flatter so powerful a prince. There are some Persian Envoys too, for the
Persians are still following their old game of playing off one great
state against another. A few Greeks from Sinope and from one of the
Italian cities, persons of no importance, who would hardly have found a
place in the gallery during the palmy times of Athens, make up the
company of visitors. Look at the body of the theatre, where the citizens
sit, and the spectacle is deplorable indeed. The flower of Athens' sons
has perished, and their successors are puny and degenerate. Examine too
the crowd that throngs the benches, and you will see that the slaves,
distinguished by their unsleeved tunics, fill up no small portion of
space. And boys form an unusually large proportion of the audience.
Altogether the theatre is a dispiriting sight to a patriotic Athenian.

To-day, however, all is gaiety, for, as has been said, there is a new
play to be brought out, and an Athenian must be in desperate straits
indeed, if he cannot forget his sorrows at a new play.

When the curtain rises, or rather, is withdrawn, as the Greek
arrangement was, into an opening in the floor of the stage, a murmur of
recognition runs through the audience. The scene is the market place of
Thebes, and a familiar figure occupies the foreground.

The portly figure, the ruddy face, the vine-leaf crown, and the buskins
show him to be Bacchus, the patron-god, it will be remembered, of the
Drama. But why this lion's skin and club? The god gives a lordly kick at
the door of the house which was one of the familiar stage-properties,
and Hercules appears. He roars with laughter to see his own emblems in
such strange company. Bacchus explains. "The tragic poets grow worse and
worse. There is not one who can write a decent line. I am going down to
the regions of the dead to fetch Euripides,[3] and thought that I had
better dress myself up in your fashion, for you, I know, made this same
journey very successfully. Perhaps you will tell me something about the
way, and what inns you can recommend, where they are free from fleas,
you know."

"Are you really going?"

"Yes, yes. Don't try to dissuade me; but tell me the way, which must not
be either too hot or too cold."

"Well there is the Hanging way, by the sign of the Rope and Noose."

"Too stifling."

"There is a very short cut by the Mortar and Pestle."

"The Hemlock road,[4] you mean?"

"Exactly so."

"Too cold and wintry for me."

"Well; I'll tell you of a quick road and all downhill."

"Excellent! for I am not a good walker."

"You know the tower in the Cemetery? Well; climb up to the top when the
Torch race is going to begin; and when the people cry out 'start,' start
yourself."

"How do you mean 'start'? Start from where?"

"Why, start down from the top."

"What, and dash my brains out? No, not for me, thank you."

So it is settled that Bacchus and his slave, for he has a slave with him
to carry his baggage, shall take the usual route by the Styx.

To the Styx, accordingly, they make their way. Charon the ferryman is
plying for hire, "Any one for Rest-from-toil-and-labor Land? For
No-Mansland? For the Isle of Dogs?[5]"

Bacchus steps in, and by Charon's order, takes an oar which he handles
very helplessly. The slave has to go round: Charon does not carry
slaves, he says. As they slowly make their way across, the frogs from
the marsh raise the song of their kind, ending with the burden which is
supposed to represent their note, _Brekekekex, coax, coax_.

It is pitch dark on the further side. When the slave turns up, he
advises his master to go on at once. "'Tis the very spot," he says,
"where Hercules told us those terrible wild beasts were." Bacchus is
very valiant.

  "A curse upon him! 'twas an idle tale,
  He feigned to frighten me, for well he knew,
  How brave I am, the envious braggart soul!
  Grant, fortune, I may meet some perilous chance
  Meet for so bold a journey."

"O Master, I hear a noise."

"Where, where?"

"It is behind us."

"Get behind then."

"No--it is in front."

"Why don't you go in front?"

"O Master, I see such a Monster."

"What is it like?"

"Why! it keeps on changing--now it's a bull, now it's a stag, and now
it's a woman; and its face is all fire. What shall we do? O Hercules,
Hercules help."

"Hold your tongue. Don't call me Hercules."

"Bacchus, then."

"No, no; Bacchus is worse than Hercules."

The travellers pass these dangers, and reach the palace of Pluto.
Bacchus knocks at the door. "Who's there?" cries Æacus the porter. "The
valiant Hercules," says Bacchus. The name calls forth a torrent of
reproaches, and threats. Hercules was only too well remembered there.

  "O villain, villain, doubly, trebly dyed!
  'Twas thou didst take our dog, our guardian dog,
  Sweet Cerberus, my charge. But, villain, now
  We have thee on the hip. For thee the rocks
  Of Styx, and Acheron's dripping well of blood,
  And Hell's swift hounds encompass."

"Did you hear that dreadful voice?" says Bacchus to the slave. "Didn't
it frighten you?"

"Frighten me? No, I didn't give it a thought."

"Well, you are a bold fellow. I say; suppose you become me, and I become
you. Take the club and the lion skin, and I'll carry the baggage."

"As you please."

They change parts accordingly. No sooner is this done, than a waiting
maid of Queen Proserpine appears. "My dear Hercules," she says, "come
with me. As soon as my mistress heard of your being here she had a grand
baking, made four or five gallons of soup, and roasted an ox whole."

"Excellent," cries the false Hercules.

"She won't take a refusal. And, hark you! there's _such_ wine!"

"I shall be delighted. Boy, bring along the baggage with you."

"Hold," cries the "boy." "Don't you see it was a joke of mine, dressing
you up as Hercules? Come, hand over the club and the skin."

"You are not going to take the things away when you gave me them
yourself."

"Yes, but I am: a pretty Hercules you would be. Come, hand them over."

"Well; if I must, I must. But I shouldn't wonder if you were sorry for
it sooner or later."

It turns out to be sooner rather than later. As soon as the exchange is
made, two landladies appear on the scene. Hercules had committed other
misdemeanors besides stealing the dog.

_First Landlady._ "This is the villain. He came to my house, and ate
sixteen loaves."

_The Slave_ (aside). "Some one is getting into trouble."

_First Landlady._ "Yes, and twenty fried cutlets at three-half-pence
apiece."

_The Slave_ (aside). "Some one will suffer for this."

_First Landlady._ "Yes, and any quantity of garlic."

_Bacchus._ "Woman this is all rubbish. I don't know what you are talking
about."

_First Landlady._ "Ah! you villain, because you have buskins on, you
thought I should not know you--and then there was the salt-fish."

_Second Landlady._ "Yes, and the fresh cheeses which he ate, baskets and
all; and when I asked him for the money he drew his sword, and we ran
up, you remember, into the attic."

_The Slave._ "That is just the man. That's how he goes on everywhere."

The angry women run off to fetch their lawyers; and Bacchus begins
again.

"My dear boy, I am very fond of you."

"I know what you are after. Say no more; I'm not going to be Hercules;
'A pretty Hercules I should make,' you say."

"I don't wonder that you're angry. But do take the things again. The
gods destroy me and mine, root and branch, if I rob you of them again."

"Very well; I'll take them, but mind, you have sworn."

So the exchange is made again.

Then Æacus with his infernal policemen appears on the scene.

"That's the fellow who stole the dog," he cries to his men, "seize him,"
while the false slave murmurs aside, "Some one is getting into trouble."

"I steal your dog!" says the false Hercules. "I have never been here,
much less stolen the worth of a cent. But come. I'll make you a fair
offer. Here's my slave. Take him, and put him to the torture, and if you
get anything out of him against me, then cut my head off."

"Very fair," says Æacus; "and of course, if I do him any damage, I shall
pay for it."

"Never mind about the damage; torture away."

"Hold," shouts Bacchus, as the policemen lay hold of him, "I warn you
not to torture me, I'm a god."

_Æacus._ "What do you say?"

_Bacchus._ "I am Bacchus, son of Zeus, and that fellow there is my
slave."

_Æacus_ (to the false Bacchus) "What do you say to that?"

_The false Bacchus._ "Say? Lay on the lash; if he's a god, of course he
can't feel."

_Bacchus._ "And you're a god too, you say. So you won't mind taking blow
for blow with me."

_The false Bacchus._ "Quite right." (To Æacus) "Lay on, and the first
that cries out, you may be sure he's not the real god."

So the trial takes place. Both bear it bravely, till at last Æacus cries
in perplexity. "I can't make it out. I don't know which is which. Well,
you shall both come to my master and Queen Proserpine. They're gods, and
they ought to know their own kind."

_Bacchus._ "An excellent idea; I only wish that you had thought of it
before you gave me that beating."

Things are now supposed to be set right. Bacchus goes to dine with Pluto
and Proserpine; the slave is entertained by Æacus in the servants' hall.
While they are talking a tremendous uproar is heard outside; and Æacus
explains to his guest that it is a rule in their country that the best
poet or writer or artist should have a seat at the King's table and a
place at the King's right hand. This honor Æschylus had held as the
first of the tragic poets, but when Euripides came, all the crowd of
pick-pockets and burglars and murderers, who were pretty numerous in
these parts, had been so delighted with his twists and turns, that they
were for giving him the first place; and on the strength of their
support he had claimed the tragic throne.

"But had not Æschylus any friends?"

"O yes, among the respectable people; but respectable people are scarce
down here, as they are up above."

"What about Sophocles?"

"Oh! as soon as he came, he went up to Æschylus and kissed him on the
cheek, and took him by the hand. He yielded the throne, he said, to
Æschylus; but if Euripides came off best, he should contest it with
him."

"Well, what is going to be done?"

"There will be a trial."

"Who is to be judge?"

"Ah! there's the difficulty. Wise men, you see, are not so plenty. Even
with the Athenians Æschylus didn't get on very well. However they have
made your master judge. He is supposed to know all about it."

I have tried to give some idea of the first, the farcical half of the
play. It is possible to appreciate the fun, though much of its flavor
has evaporated, and there are many strokes of humor which, for one
reason or another, it has not been possible to reproduce. The second
half is a series of subtle literary criticisms on the language, style,
dramatic construction, and ruling sentiment of the two poets. No one can
appreciate it who is not familiar with their works; no version is
possible that would give any that idea of it. One specimen I shall
attempt. Æschylus finds fault with the prosaic matter-of-fact character
of his rival's opening scenes. "I'll spoil them all with a flask," he
says. "Go on and repeat whichever you please." Euripides begins with the
opening lines of the Danaides (a play now lost).

  "Aegyptus--so the common story runs--
  Crossed with his fifty sons the ocean plains,
  And reaching Argos--"

              "Lost a little flask."

puts in Æschylus.

He begins again with the opening lines of another

  "Cadmus, Agenor's offspring, setting sail
  From Sidon's city--"

          "Lost a little flask."

Then he tries with the first lines of a third

  "Great Bacchus, who with wand and fawn-skin decked,
  In pine-groves of Parnassus, plies the dance,
  And leads the revel--"

                    "Lost a little flask."

The reader may have had enough. It will suffice to give the result of
the contest. All the tests have been applied. Euripides, as a last
resource, reminds the judge that he has sworn to take him back with
him.

Bacchus replies:

"My tongue hath sworn; yet Æschylus I choose."

A cruel cut, for it is an adaptation of one of the poet's own lines
(from the Hippolytus) when the hero, taunted with the oath that he had
taken and is about to violate, replies:

"My tongue hath sworn it, but my mind's unsworn."

When the curtain rose from the floor and hid the last scene, it was
manifest that the "Frogs" of Aristophanes, son of Philippus, of the
tribe Pandionis, and the township Cydathenæa, was a success. Of course
there were malcontents among the audience. Euripides had a good many
partisans in young Athens. They admired his ingenuity, his rhetoric, and
the artistic quality of his verse, in which beauty for beauty's sake,
quite apart from any moral purpose, seemed to be aimed at. They were
captivated by the boldness and novelty of his treatment of things moral
and religious. Æschylus they considered to be old-fashioned and bigoted.
Hence among the seats allotted to the young men there had been some
murmurs of dissent while the performance was going on, and now there was
a good deal of adverse criticism. And there were some among the older
men who were scarcely satisfied. The fact was that Comedy was undergoing
a change, the change which before twenty more years had passed was to
turn the Old Comedy into the Middle and the New, or to put the matter
briefly, to change the Comedy of Politics into the Comedy of Manners.

"This is poor stuff," said an old aristocrat of this school, "poor stuff
indeed, after what I remember in my younger days. Why can't the man
leave Euripides alone, especially now he is dead, and won't bother us
with any more of his plays? There are plenty of scoundrel politicians
who might to much more purpose come in for a few strokes of the lash.
But he daren't touch the fellows. Ah! it was not always so. I remember
the play he brought out eighteen years ago. The 'Knights' he called it.
That was something like a Comedy! Cleon was at the very height of his
power, for he had just made that lucky stroke at Pylos[6]. But
Aristophanes did not spare him one bit for that. He could not get any
one to take the part; he could not even get a mask made to imitate the
great man's face. So he took the part himself, and smeared his face with
the lees of wine. Cleon was there in the Magistrates' seats. I think we
all looked at him as much as we looked at the stage. Whenever there was
a hard hit--and, by Bacchus, how hard the hits were!--all the theatre
turned to see how he bore it. He laughed at first. Then we saw him turn
red and pale--I was close by him and I heard him grind his teeth. Good
heavens! what a rage he was in! Well, that is the sort of a play I like
to see, not this splitting words, and picking verses to pieces, just as
some schoolmaster might do."

But, in spite of these criticisms, the greater part of the audience were
highly delighted with what they had seen and heard. The comic business,
with its broad and laughable effects, pleased them, and they were
flattered by being treated as judges of literary questions. And the
curious thing was that they were not unfit to be judges of such matters.
There never was such a well-educated and keen-witted audience in the
world. They knew it, and they dearly liked to be treated accordingly.
The judges only echoed the popular voice when at the end of the festival
they bestowed the first prize upon Aristophanes.

One criticism, strange to say, no one ever thought of making--and yet,
to us, it seems the first, the most obvious of all criticisms, and that
is that the play was horribly profane. This cowardly, drunken, sensual
Bacchus--and he is ten times worse in the original than I have ventured
to make him here--this despicable wretch was one of the gods whom every
one in the audience was supposed to worship. The festival which was the
occasion of the theatrical exhibition was held in his honor, his altar
was the centre round which the whole action of every piece revolved. And
yet he was caricatured in this audacious manner, and it did not occur to
anyone to object! Verily the religion of the Greeks sat very lightly on
their consciences, and we cannot wonder if it had but small effect on
their lives.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] According to our reckoning B. C. 406.

[2] It was not actually finished till twenty-three years later.

[3] Euripides had died a few months before.

[4] The Athenians used to inflict the penalty of death by a draught of
hemlock.

[5] For the "Crows" in the original. "Going to the crows" was the first
equivalent for our "Going to the dogs." The "Isle of Dogs" is a
wellknown spot near London.

[6] When he captured the Spartan garrison of the Island of Sphacteria,
B. C. 425.



CHAPTER II.

NEWS FROM THE FLEET.


I anticipated the course of my story when I spoke of the first prize
being adjudged to the comedy exhibited by Aristophanes. There were
various competing plays--how many we do not know, but the titles and
authors of two that won the second and third prizes have been
preserved--and all those had of course to be performed before a decision
could be made. Two or three days at least must have passed before the
exhibition was at an end.

The next competitor had certainly reason to complain of his ill-luck.
Just before the curtain fell for the opening scene of his comedy an
incident occurred which made the people little disposed to listen to
anything more that day. The spectators had just settled themselves in
their places, when a young officer hastily made his way up to the bench
where the magistrates were seated, and handed a roll to the president.
The occurrence was very unusual. It was reckoned almost an impiety to
disturb the festival of Bacchus with anything of business; only matters
of the very gravest importance could be allowed to do it. The entrance
of the young man, happening as it did, just in the pause of expectation
before the new play began, had been generally observed. Every one could
see from his dress that he was a naval officer, and many knew him as
one of the most promising young men in Athens. "News from the fleet,"
was the whisper that ran through the theatre, and there were few among
the thousands there assembled to whom news from the fleet did not mean
the life or death of father, brother, or son. The president glanced at
the document put into his hands, and whispering a few words to the
messenger, pointed to a seat by his side. All eyes were fastened upon
him. (The magistrates, it may be explained, occupied one of the front or
lowest rows of seats, and were therefore more or less in view of the
whole theater, which was arranged in the form of a semicircle, with tier
upon tier of benches rising upon the slope of the hill on the side of
which the building was constructed.) When a moment afterwards, the
curtain was withdrawn, scarcely a glance was directed to the stage. The
action and the dialogue of the new piece were absolutely lost upon what
should have been an audience, but was a crowd of anxious citizens,
suddenly recalled from the shows of the stage to the realities of life.

The president now carefully read the document and passed it on to his
colleagues. Some whispered consultations passed between them. When at
the end of the first act a change of scenery caused a longer pause than
usual the president quietly left the theatre, taking the bearer of the
despatch with him. Some of the other magistrates followed him, the rest
remaining behind because it would have been unseemly to leave the
official seats wholly untenanted while the festival was still going on.
This proceeding increased the agitation of the people, because it
emphasized the importance of the news that had arrived. Some slipped
away, unable to sit quietly in their places and endure the suspense, and
vaguely hoping to hear something more outside. Among those that remained
the buzz of conversation grew louder and louder. Only a few very
determined play-goers even pretended to listen to what was going on upon
the stage. Meanwhile the unfortunate author, to whom, after all, the
fate of his play was not less urgent a matter than the fate of the city,
sat upon his prompter's stool--the author not uncomonly did the duty of
prompter--and heartily cursed the bad luck which had distracted in so
disastrous a way the attention of his audience.

When at last, to the great relief of everyone concerned, the performance
was brought to a conclusion, the young officer told his story,
supplementing the meagre contents of the despatch which he had brought,
to a full conclave of magistrates, assembled in one of the senate-rooms
of the Prytaneum or Town-hall of Athens. I may introduce him to my
readers as Callias, the hero of my story.

Many of the details that follow had already been given by Callias, but
as he had to repeat them for the benefit of the magistrates who had
stopped behind in the theatre, I may as well put them all together.

"We know," said the president, "that Conon was beaten in a battle in the
harbor of Mitylene. So much we heard from Hippocles, a very patriotic
person by the way, though he is an alien. He has a very swift yacht that
can outstrip any war-ship in Greece, and often gives us very valuable
intelligence. Do you know him?"

"Yes," said Callias, flushing with pleasure, for indeed he knew and
respected Hippocles greatly, "I know him very well."

[Illustration: THE THEATER OF DIONYSUS AT THE PRESENT DAY.]

"Well, to go on," resumed the president. "So much we know, but no more.
Tell us exactly how Conon fared in the battle."

"Sir," answered the young man, "he lost thirty ships."

"And the crews," asked the president.

"They escaped; happily they were able to get to land."

"Thank Athene for that;" and a murmur of relief ran round the meeting.
"And the other forty--he had seventy, I think, in all?" Callias nodded
assent.

"What happened to the forty?"

"They were hauled up under the walls when the day went against us."

"Now tell us exactly what has been going on since."

"The Spartans blockaded the harbor, having some of their ships within,
and some without. Our general saw that it was only a matter of time when
he should have to surrender. The Spartans had four times as many ships,
the ships not, perhaps, quite as good as his, but the crews, I am
afraid, somewhat better."

"Shade of Themistocles," murmured one of the magistrates, "that it
should come to this--the Spartan crews 'somewhat better' than ours. But
I am afraid that it is only too true."

"He could not break through; and could not stand a long siege. Mitylene
was fairly well provisioned for its ordinary garrison, but here were
seventy crews added all of a sudden to the number. He sent some
officers--I had the honor of being one of them--and we found that by
sparing everything to the very utmost, we might hold out for five
weeks. The only chance was to send news to Athens. You might help us, we
thought."

"We might; we _must_, I say. But how it is to be done is another matter.
Tell us how you got here?"

"The general took the two fastest ships in his squadron, manned them
with the very best rowers that he could find, practised the crews for
four days in the inner harbor, and then set about running the blockade
with them. The Spartans, you see, had grown a little careless. We hadn't
made any attempt to get out, and Conon got a Lesbian freedman to desert
to the Spartans with a story that we were meaning to surrender. This put
them off their guard still more. They got into a way of leaving their
ships at noon, to take their meal and their siesta afterwards on shore.
We made a dart at an unguarded place between two of their blockading
ships and we got through. I don't think that we lost a single man. By
the time that the crews of the blockading galleys regained their vessels
we were well out of bow-shot. Our instructions were to separate, when we
got outside the harbor. We did not do this at once because we had
planned a little trick which might, we hoped, help to put the enemy off
the scent. The ship that I was in was really the swifter of the two.
This was, of course, the reason why I was put into it. But as long as we
kept together we made believe that we were the slower. When they came
out after us--they had manned half-a-dozen ships or so as quickly as
they could--we separated. My ship, which you will understand, was really
the faster of the two, was put about the north as if making for
Hellespont; the other kept on its course, straight for Athens. The
Spartans told off their best ships to follow the latter which they
thought that they had the better chance of catching. And of course, as
it was headed this way, it seemed the more important of the two."

"I suppose that they overtook it," said the president, "or it would have
been here before this."

"Well, we soon outstripped the two galleys that were told to look after
us. When we were well out of sight, we headed westward again, took a
circuit round the north side of Lemnos, and got here without seeing
another enemy."

"How long is it since you left Mitylene?"

"About five days."

"But how long did Conon think he could hold out?"

"About forty days; perhaps more, if the men were put on short rations."

"You have done well, my son," said the president kindly, "and Athens
will not forget it. We will consult together, though there is small need
of consulting, I take it. The relief _must_ be sent. Is it not so
gentlemen?"

His colleagues nodded assent.

"But there are things to be talked over. We must decide how much we can
send, and that cannot be done upon the spot. But there is a matter that
can be settled at once. Conon must be told that he is going to be
relieved. Now, who will tell him? Will you?"

"Certainly, if you see fit to give me the order."

"And how?"

"I would consult with Hippocles."

"Excellent!" cried the president. "He is just the man to help us. You
will go and see him, and then report to me. Come to me to-night; it will
not matter how late it is; I shall be waiting for you."

Callias saluted, and withdrew.



CHAPTER III.

HIPPOCLES THE ALIEN.


Hippocles has been described as an alien. An "alien," then at Athens, as
in the other Greek cities, was a resident foreigner. He might be an
enfranchised slave, he might be a barbarian (as all persons not Greek
were described), or he might be a Greek of the purest descent, but if he
had not the rights of Athenian citizenship, he was an "alien." He could
not hold any landed or house property: he was obliged to appear in any
law suit in which he might be concerned in the person of an Athenian
citizen who was described as his "patron," and he was heavily taxed. A
special impost that went under the name of an "alien-tax" was only a
slight matter, some twelve drachmas[7] a year, but all the imposts were
made specially heavy for them. And though they had no share in directing
the policy of the State, they were required to serve in its fleets and
armies. This treatment however, did not keep aliens from settling in
Athens. On the contrary they were to be found there in great numbers,
and as almost all the trade of the place was in their hands, some of
them were among its richest inhabitants.

At the time of which I am writing Hippocles had the reputation, which we
may say was by no means undeserved, of being the richest resident in
Athens. And more than that, he was one of the most patriotic. He loved
the city as if it had been his native place, and did the duty and more
than the duty of a son to her. The special contributions which as a
wealthy man he was called upon to make to the public service[8] were
made with a princely liberality. He even voluntarily undertook services
which were not required of him by law. Every year he had come forward to
furnish the crew and munitions of a ship-of-war, a charge to which
citizens only were properly liable. And of the fleet of which such
gloomy tidings had just reached Athens, he had equipped no less than
three.

Hippocles had a curious history. He was born in the Greek colony of
Poseidonia.[9] He was just entering on manhood when his native city fell
into the hands of its Lucanian neighbors. The barbarians did not abuse
their victory. They did not treat the conquered city, as the Greeks of
Croton some ninety years before had treated Sybaris, reducing it to an
absolute ruin. On the contrary they contented themselves with imposing a
tribute, and leaving a governor, with a garrison to support him, to see
that their new subjects did not forget their duty. But the presence of
the foreigner was a grievous burden to the proud Greeks. For ages
afterwards their descendants were accustomed to assemble once a year and
to bewail their fate, as the Sons of Jacob at the Vale of Weeping, the
Gentile domination over their city. The disaster broke the heart of
Hippocles' father Cimon who was one of Pacidoninus' most distinguished
citizens and had actually held the office of Tagus or chief magistrate
in the year of its fall. He survived the event scarcely a year,
recommending his son with his last breath to leave the place for some
city where he could live in a way more worthy of a Greek. His son spent
the next two years in quietly realizing his property, nor did he meet
with any interference from the Lucanian masters of the place. His house
he had to sacrifice; to sell it might have attracted too much notice;
but everything else that he had was converted into money. When this was
safely invested at Athens--Athens having been for various reasons the
city of his choice--he secretly departed. But he did not depart alone.
He took with him a companion, who, he declared, more than made up to him
for all that as a Poseidonian citizen he had lost. Pontia, the daughter
of the Lucanian governor, was a girl of singular beauty. The Lucanian,
in common with the other Italian tribes, gave to their women a liberty
which was unknown in Greek households. Under the circumstances of life
in which he had been brought up, Hippocles though a frequent visitor at
the governor's house, would never, except by the merest accident, have
seen the governor's daughter. As it was he had many opportunities of
making her acquaintance. Instead of being shut up, after the Greek
fashion in the women's apartments, she shared the common life of the
family. At first the novelty of the situation almost shocked the young
man; before long it pleased him; it ended by conquering his heart. The
young Greek, who was leaving his native land because it did not suit his
pride of race to live under the rule of a barbarian, did not submit
without an effort. Again and again he reproached himself with the
monstrous inconsistency of which he was guilty. "Madman that I am," he
said to himself, "I cannot endure to live with barbarians for neighbors
and yet I think of taking a barbarian to wife." Again and again he
resolved to break free from the influence that was enthralling him. But
love was too strong for him. Nor indeed, were there wanting arguments on
the other side. "Actually," he said to himself, "I am a Greek no more; a
Greek without a city is only not a barbarian in name." This argument, of
little weight, perhaps, in itself, gained force from the loveliness and
mental charms of the young Pontia. She had long felt a distaste for the
rough, uncultured life into which she had been born. The culture and
refinement of her father's young Greek guest charmed her. The sadness of
his mien touched the chord of pity in her heart, and admiration and pity
together soon grew into love.

Hippocles had just completed the settlement of his affairs, and was
ruefully contemplating the curious dilemma in which he found
himself--everything ready for his departure from Poseidonia, but
Poseidonia holding him from such departure by ties which he could break
only by breaking his heart--when circumstances suggested a way of
escape.

The governor was a widower, and had more than the usual incapacity of
busy men in middle life for discerning the symptoms of love. It was
accordingly, with a cheerful unconsciousness of his guest's feelings
that he said to him one morning:--"I have good news about my dear
Pontia. The girl is growing up, and should be settled in life, and I
have had a most eligible proposal for her. I have told you, I think,
that I am getting tired of this life, and want to get back to my farm
among the hills. So I have asked to be relieved, and I hear from the
Senate that they have chosen a successor, Hostius of Vulsi, a cousin, I
should say, of my own, and a most respectable man. Hostius has come to
announce the fact in person, and at the same time to ask for my daughter
in marriage. A most eligible proposal, I say. Perhaps he is a little
old, about five years younger than myself. But that's of no consequence.
I mentioned the matter to her. She did not say much, but, of course, a
girl must seem to hold back. I suggested that the marriage should take
place next week--for I should dearly like to be at home in time for the
barley harvest. That roused her. Of course she said that she had no
clothes. I don't know about that--she always seems to me to look very
nice--but I should not like to annoy her, for she is a dear, good girl,
and I gave her another month. It's an excellent arrangement--don't you
think so?"

Hippocles muttered a few words of assent; but long before the month was
out, he and his Pontia were on their way to Athens.

The marriage and the settlement in Athens had taken place twenty-one
years before the time of which I am writing. Two children had been born,
a son and a daughter. The son had fallen, not many months before, at
the battle of Notium[10] and the death of the mother, who had been in
feeble health, had soon followed. The daughter, to whom her parents had
given the name of Hermione, had just completed her sixteenth year.

Hermione united in herself some of the happiest characteristics of the
two races from which she sprang. Her father was a Greek of the Greeks.
Poseidonia had been founded by Dorian settlers from Sybaris, who could
not contrive to live on good terms with the Achaean Greeks that had
become the predominant element in that city; and Hippocles, who claimed
descent from the Messenian kings, yielded to none in nobility of birth.
A purer type of the genuine Hellenes it would have been impossible to
find. Pontia brought from the Lucanian hills, among which she had been
reared, some of the best qualities, moral and physical, of the Italian
race. The simplicity, frugality, and temperance which then and long
after distinguished rural Italy, were to be seen in her united with a
singular feminine charm not so often found among that somewhat rude
population; until the close air of the Piraeus, ill-suited to a daughter
of the hills, sapped her constitution, she had had a frame magnificently
healthy and strong. To the daughter the climate which had shortened her
mother's days, happily did no harm. It was in fact her native air, and
she throve in it. She was still undeveloped, for she had only just
completed her sixteenth year; but she gave promise of remarkable beauty,
and indeed, the promise was already more than half fulfilled. When she
had performed the duty, sometimes imposed on the daughters of resident
aliens,--it might be called, rather, privilege conceded to them--and
walked in the great procession of the patron-goddess, holding a sunshade
over some high-born Athenian maiden,[11] all the spectators agreed that
the prize of beauty belonged to the stranger. Her stature reached the
very utmost height that the canons of beauty conceded to women; so far
she was more of an Athene than an Aphrodite. But her face and her whole
bearing were exquisitely feminine. The sapphire-colored eyes, shaded by
long drooping lashes, the forehead, broad and low with the clustering
ringlets of light chestnut on either side, perfectly rounded cheeks,
firm, delicate mouth, showing a glimpse, but only a glimpse of pearly
teeth, and a faultlessly clear complexion, just tinted with the brown
caught from Ægæan suns and winds--for she was dearly fond of a cruise in
her father's yacht--made up together a remarkable combination of charms.

Callias had seen her but once before, and that was on a melancholy
occasion. He had been commissioned by the general in command to break to
her father the death of her brother, killed as has been said, in the
unlucky conflict at Notium. He had behaved there with conspicuous
gallantry, having led the boarding party which captured the only
Lacedaemonian galley that the Athenians had to set off against their own
fifteen losses, and had fallen in the moment of victory. It was not the
first time that he had shown distinguished valor, and it was for this
reason, as well as on account of the high reputation of his father,
that Alcibiades had sent Callias with a special message of condolence.
The blow, which could not be softened by any delicacy in the telling,
and for which the praises of the general were but a slight consolation,
broke Hippocles down completely. It was then that Hermione showed the
strength of her character. Tenderly attached herself to her brother she
had come forward to support her broken-hearted father. With a patient
endurance that was beyond all praise, she had battled with her own grief
in the effort to help a sorrow even more agonizing than her own, till
for very shame Hippocles had raised himself to bear his loss with
resignation. The effort saved his life; for even the physicians had at
one time been greatly alarmed. Callias, accustomed to think of women as
encumbrances rather than helps in time of need was profoundly impressed
by the girl's demeanor. If he had been inclined, for a moment, to think
that her singular self-possession indicated a want of womanly feeling,
he would have been soon undeceived. Paying a visit of inquiry to the
house next day, he found that Hermione's endurance had not lasted beyond
the occasion for which it was wanted. Her father received him, and told
him that his daughter had broken down under the strain. "I was cowardly
enough," he said, "yesterday to rest upon her strength when I should
have summoned up my own. The gods grant that I may not have taxed it
overmuch, and that I may not lose both my children. I have learned that
I ought not to have grudged my son to the city which has been a second
mother to me; if only I have not learnt it at too terrible a price."
Callias had to leave Athens on the next day to rejoin the fleet, but he
had the satisfaction of hearing before his departure that Hermione was
on a fair way to recovery. Since then he had not been in Athens.

FOOTNOTES:

[7] This would amount to about $2.25--a drachma being equal to about 20c
or 9-1/2d. in English money.

[8] These "liturgies," as they were called, were charges imposed upon
all residents in Athens whose property was assessed at more than a
certain amount (three talents, which, as a talent contained 6,000
drachmæ, may be roughly estimated at $3,500, equivalent, it is probable,
to much more in actual value). These were originally equivalents for
special privileges and powers which the wealthy enjoyed under the
earlier constitution, but they were continued in force after the
democratic changes which put all citizens on an equality. The Aliens
were not liable to all.

[9] Better known by its Latin name of Paestum.

[10] Fought in 407. Notium was the harbor of Colophon a city of Asia
Minor, about nine miles north of Ephesus, and about fifteen miles from
the sea.

[11] Noble Athenian damsels were the "basket-bearers" (_Canephoroi_),
daughters of aliens "Sunshade-bearers" (_Skiaphoroi_) in the
Paratheraea, or Great Procession of Athens.



CHAPTER IV.

A COUNCIL.


The house of Hippocles was on a smaller scale than might have seemed
suitable to his vast wealth. The fact was that both he and his daughter
had simple tastes. They had a special dislike to the enormous
establishments of slaves which it was the fashion for rich Athenians,
whether of native or of foreign birth, to maintain. In each division of
the house--for, it was divided after the usual Greek fashion, into two
"apartments," to use that word in its proper sense, belonging
respectively to the men and the women[12]--there were but three or four
inmates besides the master and mistress. Hippocles had his house steward
and his personal attendant, both older than himself, long since
emancipated, who had accompanied him from his Italian home, and a lad of
seventeen, who was still a slave, but who, if he conducted himself well,
would certainly earn his freedom by the time that he had reached the age
of thirty. Hermione's establishment, on the other hand, consisted of a
lady who had just exchanged the post of governess, now no longer
necessary, for that of companion or duenna, a housekeeper, and two
domestics who may be described by the modern terms of lady's-maid and
house-maid. Stephanion, the companion, was of pure Athenian descent. She
belonged to one of the many families which had been reduced to poverty
by the war, and she had been glad to take employment in the house of the
wealthy alien. She had more education than was commonly given to
Athenian ladies, but this is not to say much, and Hermione would have
fared but ill for teaching, according at least to our standard if her
father had not always found time even in his busiest days, to supplement
her education. The housekeeper was a Laconian woman. She, too, had found
her way into the family through circumstances connected with the war.
She had been nurse in a wealthy Athenian household. Before the war it
had been the fashion, my readers should know, for the upper classes at
Athens to get their nurses from Sparta. A true Spartan, a daughter that
is, of the military aristocracy that ruled Laconia and its dependencies,
it was, of course, impossible to obtain, but girls from the farmer class
that cultivated the lands of their soldier masters often sought
situations in other countries. This was the case with Milanion, who as
the youngest of the five daughters of a Laconian farmer, had been
delighted to find a place with an Athenian lady, Melissa, wife of
Demochares, at a salary which almost equalled her father's income. This
was just before the commencement of the long war. She had been nurse to
Melissa's five children when the disastrous expedition to Sicily brought
irretrievable ruin upon her employer's family. Demochares was one of the
army that surrendered with Nicias, was thrown with his comrades into
that most dreadful of prisons, the stone-quarries of Syracuse, and died
of a fever before the end of the year. His property had consisted, for
the most part, of farms in the island of Chios, and when Chios revolted
from Athens, the widow and her children were reduced to something very
like poverty. Nothing was left to them but a small farm at Marathon, and
as it so happened, the rent of the house which Hippocles unable, as has
been said, to own real property in Attica, had been accustomed to hire.
The establishment had to be broken up, the slaves being sold and the
free persons looking for employment elsewhere. Milanion was about to
return, much against her will, to Laconia, where her long residence at
Athens would have rendered her an object of suspicion and dislike, when
an opening suddenly presented itself in the family of Hippocles.
Pontia's long illness had come to a fatal end, and the widower was
looking for an experienced woman to take charge of the young Hermione.
Milanion seemed to him exactly the person that he wanted, and she, on
the other hand, was delighted to come to him. As her charge grew older,
her duties as nurse gradually changed into the duties of a housekeeper.
She had come to her new situation accompanied by a middle-aged woman, a
Marian by birth, Manto by name, whom Hippocles had bought, at her
suggestion, at the sale of Demochares' slaves. Manto had steadily
refused the emancipation which her master had several times offered to
her.

"No, sir," she said, "I thank you very much, but I am better as I am. I
desire nothing more than to live in your house, and, when my time comes,
to die in it."

"What if I should die first," suggested the merchant.

"The gods know, my master, the gods know," cried the poor woman in an
agony. "But it is impossible; the gods would not do anything so cruel,
so unjust. But, if you wish, you may put what you please into your will.
As long as you live you are my master, and I am your slave." So matters
stood when my story opens. Perhaps it may be added that Manto's
condition did not prevent her tongue from being truthful; but
affectionate, faithful, and honest, she allowed herself and was
allowed--no unusual circumstance, yet she was under a system of
slavery--a liberty of speech which in one free born would certainly have
been impossible. Finally, to complete my account of the household,
Hermione had for her maid a girl about a year older than herself. She
too had come into the family along with Milanion and Manto. Demochares
had bought her at the sale of the prisoners taken by the Athenians when
a little Sicilian town was captured. She was then a singularly pretty
child about seven years old, and Demochares had meant her to be a
playfellow or plaything, as the case might be, of a daughter of his own
of about the same age. She was of mixed race; her mother was a Sicanian,
that is, one of the so-called aboriginal inhabitants of Sicily, her
father a Carthaginian trader. She was now grown up into a handsome
maiden, who with her raven-black hair, dark piercing eyes, and deep
brunette complexion, made a remarkable contrast to the fair beauty of
her mistress.

When Callias reached the house the hour was late, later than etiquette
allowed for a visit, except from an intimate friend, or on a matter of
urgent business. His business, however, was urgent, and he did not
hesitate to knock, that is to strike the door sharply with a brass ring
which was attached to it by a staple. The day-porter had gone home for
the night, and the door was opened by the young slave mentioned above.
He explained that his master was just about to sit down to his evening
meal. "Take him my name," said Callias, "and say that I come from the
magistrates on an important matter of business." The lad invited him to
enter, and to take a seat in a small chamber which looked upon the
central court of the andronitis, a grass plot, bordered on all sides by
myrtle and orange. In a few minutes he returned, and invited the visitor
to follow him. Callias crossed the court and passed through the door
which led into the women's apartment. Hippocles, it should be said, was
accustomed to see visitors on business in the front or men's portion of
the dwelling, but spent his leisure time in the rooms assigned to his
daughter. The two had just taken their places at the table, Hippocles
reclining on a couch, Hermione sitting on a chair by his right hand, so
that his face was turned towards her.[13] The steward had placed the
first dish on the table, and was standing in front, with Hippocles'
personal attendant behind him. The latter at a sign from his master,
prepared a place for the new-comer.

Hippocles saluted his guest in a most friendly fashion, and Hermione
gave him her hand with a charming smile, though the moment afterwards
tears gathered in her eyes, when she remembered the last occasion on
which they had met.

[Illustration: Plan of a large Grecian House, probably more pretentious
than the House of Hippocles.

  1. Main Door.
  2. Entrance Passage.
  3. Central Court of the Men's part of the house (_Andronitis_).
  4. 4. 4. Various Rooms of the _Andronitis_.
  5. Passage connecting the _Andronitis_ with the _Gynæconitis_
          (Women's Apartments).
  6. Court of the _Gynæconitis_.
  7. 7. 7. Various rooms of the _Gynæconitis_.
  8. The Prostas--a hall opening from 6.
  9. 9. Apartments probably used as a family bedroom and sitting room.
  10. 10. Rooms for looms and woolen manufacture.]

"If the business will wait for half-an-hour," said the host, "postpone
it for so long. I have had a long day's work, and shall be scarcely
myself till I have eaten. And you--doubtless you have dined before this;
but you will take a cup with us."

As a matter of fact Callias had not dined, though in the excitement of
the day's business he had almost forgotten food. A hasty meal snatched
on board the trireme which had brought him to Athens had been his only
refreshment since the morning.

"Nay, sir, but I have not dined; unless you call some five or six dried
anchovies and a hunk of barley bread, washed down with some very sharp
Hymettus, a dinner; and that was rather before noon than after it."

The meal was simple. It consisted of some fresh anchovies, a piece of
roast pork, a hare brought from Euboea, for Attica swept as it had
been again and again by hostile armies, had almost ceased to supply this
favorite food, and a pudding of wheat flour, seasoned with spices. This
last had been made by Hermione herself. The rest of the dinner had been
cooked by a man who came in daily for the purpose. When the viands had
been cleared away, Hippocles proposed the usual toast, "To our Good
Fortune," the toast not being drank, but honored by pouring some drops
from the goblet. A second libation followed, this time to "Athene the
Keeper of the City." The host then pledged his guest in a cup of Chian
wine. His daughter followed the rule of the best Grecian families, and
drank no wine.

"We can dispense, I think, with these," he said, when the steward was
about to put some apples, nuts and olives on the table.

"Just so," replied his guest, "and this excellent cup of Chian will be
all the wine that I shall want."

"Now then for business," said Hippocles. "Let us hope that the city will
pardon us for postponing it so long. But we must eat. Shall my daughter
leave us? For my part, I find her a very Athene for counsel."

"As you will, sir," replied Callias, "I have nothing to say but what all
may know, and indeed will know before a day is past."

The young man then proceeded to tell the story with which my readers are
already acquainted. The question was briefly this: How was Conon to be
told that relief was coming?

"I see," said Hippocles, "that he must be told. He is a brave fellow,
and a good general, too, though perhaps a little rash. But he must make
terms for himself and his men, unless he has a project of relief. He
would not be doing his duty to the state if he did not. But if he
capitulates before the relief comes--how many ships has he?"

"Forty," said Callias.

"And we can have a hundred, or possibly, a hundred and ten here, by
straining every nerve. The Spartans have a hundred and forty, I think."

"A few may have been disabled in the battle; but it would not be safe to
reckon on less, for very likely others have been dropping in since
then."

"Then Conon's party will turn the scale, and they will be better manned,
I take it, than any that we shall be able to send out from here. They
must not be lost to us. If they are, we shall do better not to send out
the fleet at all, but to stand on our defence."

"Is the _Skylark_ in harbor now?" asked Callias.

My readers must know that the _Skylark_ was Hippocles' fast sailing
yacht.

"Yes," was the reply, "she is in harbor and very much at the service of
the state."

"Trust me with her," said Callias, "and I will run the blockade."

"I don't think it is possible," answered Hippocles. "I gathered from
what you said that the Spartans are inside the harbor. Now you may give
the slip to a blockading squadron when it is watching a harbor from the
outside. They always keep close to the mouth you see; and a really good
craft, smartly handled, that can sail in the eye of the wind, and does
not draw much water, has always a good chance. I'll warrant the
_Skylark_ to do it, if it is to be done. But with the blockade _inside_
the harbor, the case is different, and I must own that I don't see my
way."

"May I speak, father?" said Hermione.

"Since when have you begun to ask leave to use your tongue, my darling?"
replied her father with a smile. "You should hear her lecturing me when
we are alone," he went on, turning to his guest. "But our counsellor is
not used to speaking in an assembly."

"Would it be of any use," said the girl, "to disguise the _Skylark_, by
painting her another color and altering the cut of her rigging?"

"A good thought, my darling," replied her father, "and one that I shall
certainly make use of. Now let me think; just for the present, things do
not seem to piece themselves together."

He rose from the couch on which he had been reclining, and paced up and
down the room in profound thought. Fully half an hour had passed when he
suddenly stopped short in his walk, and turned to his daughter.

"My darling," he said, "I see that you are getting sleepy."

"Sleepy, father?" cried the girl, who indeed was as wide awake as
possible, "sleepy? what can you mean? how could I possibly feel sleepy,
when we are talking about such things?"

"Nevertheless your father says it," replied Hippocles, "and fathers are
never mistaken." And he laid his hand upon her shoulder.

Without another word Hermione rose from her chair, kissed her father,
held out her hand again to Callias, and left the room.

Hippocles waited for a few minutes, and then sat down on the couch by
Callias' side.

"You will have guessed," he said, "that I wanted the girl away. I wish
that I had never let her stay; now she will suspect something; but it
cannot be helped. Now, listen. What the girl said about disguising the
_Skylark_ set me thinking. That will be useful another time; indeed I
shall do it now. But it won't do all that we want. Disguised or not
disguised, I don't see how she is to get past the Spartan ships in
Mitylene harbor. Now we must try a bolder play. I shall disguise myself,
and go."

"You, sir," cried Callias in astonishment. "But think of the danger."

"Well," replied Hippocles, "we cannot expect to get anything really
valuable without danger. And I am something of a fatalist. What will be
will be. Now listen: I shall disguise myself as a trader of Cos. I am a
Dorian by birth, you know, and I can use the broad vowels and the lisps
to perfection I flatter myself. I say Cos,[14] because I happen to be
particularly well acquainted with its dialect. I shall go to
Callicratidas[15] and tell him my story--what the story shall be I have
not yet made up my mind, but it is not hard to impose upon a Spartan.
However leave all that to me. Go and tell the magistrates that I
undertake to tell Conon that he will be relieved. And, mind--not a word
to my daughter. I shall tell her that I am called away on important
business. Very likely she will guess something of the truth; but it
would only trouble her to tell her more."

"And the magistrates, sir?" asked Callias, "how much are they to know?"

"Nothing more, I think, than what I said, that Hippocles the Alien
undertakes to communicate with Conon. I don't doubt the good faith and
discretion of our friends; but the fewer there are in the secret of such
a plan, the better. Keep a thing in your own mind, I say. If you whisper
a secret even unto the earth, when the reed grows up it will repeat
it.[16] You will say simply that it is a matter which it is well for
the state to conceal. If I succeed, I justify myself; if not--well, I
take it, no man's anger here will concern me much. And now farewell!
Don't vex yourself about me. All will turn out well; and if not--how can
a man die better than in saving Athens. All my affairs are arranged, if
I should not return. My patron Melesippus will, of course, be my
executor, and I have ventured to join your name with his in the trust?
Have I your permission?"

Callias pressed his hand in silence.

"That is well, and now my mind is easy. And now," he went on in a
cheerful tone, "farewell again; but before you go, we must have a
libation to Hermione who for the next ten days must be my special
patron. If I come back safe, I will regild this temple from roof to
basement."

The libation was duly poured, and the vow repeated as the drops fell
upon the ground.

FOOTNOTES:

[12] The Andronitis and Gynaekonitis, as they were called.

[13] A Greek at table, after it became the fashion to recline instead of
sit (as had been the practice in the heroic ages) lay on his left side,
supporting his head by his left arm, the other arm being left free to
help himself from the dishes when they were placed before him. Women and
children always sat at table.

[14] Cos was one of the cities belonging to the Dorian Pentapolis.

[15] Callicratidas was the admiral In command of the Spartan fleet.

[16] Hippocles is alluding to a well known story. Midas deciding in
favor of Pan as a better musician than Apollo was punished by being
given the long ears of an ass. He hid them under his Thurgian cap from
all men except the barber who cut his hair. This man, oppressed with the
secret, dug a hole in the earth, whispered into it, "King Midas has
asses' ears," and filling it up again, so found relief from his burden.
But a reed grew from the spot, and as it was moved by the wind whispered
the secret to the world.



CHAPTER V.

RUNNING THE BLOCKADE.


Hippocles, who was a ship builder as well as a merchant, put all
available hands to work on the alterations which he proposed to make in
the _Skylark_. To disguise her effectually was a more difficult thing
than Hermione had imagined when she had suggested this idea. To disguise
her beyond all risk of discovery was probably impossible, a landsman
might be deceived by different colored paint, and a nautical observer,
if he did not give more than a casual glance, by an altered rigging. But
the lines of the ship would remain. These Hippocles endeavored to
conceal by a false and much broader bow which was ingeniously fitted on
to the true hull, and which made her look anything but the fast sailer
that she really was. Heavy bulwarks were substituted for the light ones
that had been a familiar feature of the _Skylark_. Altogether she was
metamorphosed in a fairly satisfactory way from a smart yacht into a
clumsy merchantman. As the venturous owner intended to time his arrival
for the night, and to do his errand before day-break, he hoped that the
disguise would save her as long as it should be wanted.

So much energy did the workmen, stimulated by their master's presence
and by his liberal promises of renumeration, throw into their work, that
by the evening of the seventh day the _Skylark_ was ready for sea in
her new dress, disguised beyond recognition, except by very skilful eyes
indeed. The dockyard had been strictly closed against all visitors while
the work was in progress, and the men had been lodged within its walls,
so that no hint of what was going on might leak out. Hippocles had paid
a daily visit to his home, and did not conceal from his daughter that he
was busy in carrying out her suggestions. So frank, indeed, was he, and
so cheerful in manner, that the girl was fairly thrown off her guard.
Not a suspicion crossed her mind, that her father was meditating a
desperate enterprise in which the chances were certainly rather against
his life than otherwise, nor did she realize the extraordinary haste
with which the work was being pressed on, though she was generally aware
that a good deal of expedition was being used. Hence she was taken by
surprise, when on the eighth day instead of her father's usual visit,
timed so that he might share her noon-day meal, a written message was
delivered to her, to the effect that her father was suddenly called away
from Athens on business of importance, and that he could not be certain
of the day of his return. The surprise almost overwhelmed her, chiefly
because she felt that this unusual hurry on the part of her father was
significant of the perilous nature of the enterprise. It was only her
unusual fortitude, backed by the feeling that she herself must not
deviate from doing her duty, that enabled her to bear up at all.

Meanwhile Hippocles was on his way to the scene of action. The _Skylark_
crossed the Ægean without meeting with any misadventure. She was
overhauled, indeed, when about half her journey was accomplished by an
Athenian cruiser, and her owner had the satisfaction of finding that so
far his disguise was successful. The Athenian captain was an
acquaintance of his own (indeed there were few prominent people in the
city to whom he was not known) and had actually been on board the
_Skylark_ more than once; but he did not recognize either Hippocles or
his vessel. In fact he was about to carry her off as a prize when
Hippocles, still without discovering himself, produced the pass with
which he had been provided under the seal of the Athenian authorities.
His arrival at Mitylene was happily timed in more ways than one. By a
stroke of that good fortune which is proverbially said to help the bold
it so happened that there was a violent north-east wind blowing. This
was a wind from which the harbor of Mitylene afforded little or no
shelter. In fact, when it was blowing, most sailors preferred to be out
on the open sea. Hippocles accordingly found everything in commotion.
The blockading ships, which moored as they were across the mouth of the
harbor, felt the full force of the wind, were anxious about their
moorings, and had little attention to give to any strange ship. The
_Skylark_ was in fact hardly noticed in the darkness and confusion, and
actually got beyond the line of the blockading galleys, and as far as
the admiral's ship, without being challenged. For a few moments he
thought of boldly pushing on to the inner part of the harbor, where, as
has been said, the remainder of the Athenian fleet was lying hauled up
under the walls; but when he was hailed by a voice from a Spartan ship,
one of two that lay almost directly in his way, he abandoned the idea.
"Anaxilaus, merchant of Cos, to see the admiral, on business of
importance," was his reply to the challenge. At the last moment he
dropped his anchor. A few minutes afterward, he came on board the
admiral's galley and reported himself to that officer.

It would be unjust to Callicratidas--for this was the admiral's name--to
describe him as a model Spartan. He was rather a model Greek. The
Spartans had great virtues which however, it is curious to observe,
seldom survived transplantation from their native soil.[17] They were
frugal, temperate, and just; but they were narrow in their habits of
thought and their conceptions of duty. A good soldier whose efficiency
was not diminished by any vice was their ideal man. They could not enter
into any large and liberal views of life. And their views of
statesmanship whether as regarded their own city or the whole race in
general were as narrow as were their notions of private virtue. They
sometimes showed a great amount of diplomatic skill, a strange contrast
with the bluntness which was their traditional characteristic, but of
wide and general views they seem to have been incapable. Yet
Callicratidas seems to have been an exception. We know comparatively
little about him. He emerges from absolute obscurity at the beginning of
the year with which my story opens, and it is only for a few months that
he plays a conspicuous part in history, but from now up to the hour
when we see him for the last time, all his words and acts are marked
with a rare nobility.

It was not difficult for Hippocles to invent a story which should
account for his presence at Mitylene. The domestic politics of almost
every Greek state were mixed up with the great struggle that was going
on between Athens and Sparta. Everywhere the democratic party looked to
Athens as its champion, the aristocratic to Sparta. This was especially
true of the states which were called the allies but were really the
subjects or tributaries of Athens. A turn of the political wheels that
brought the aristocrats to the top was commonly followed by a revolt
from the sovereign state; when, as was usually the case, they remained
underneath, they busied themselves in plotting for a change, and their
first step was to open communications with the Spartan general or
admiral in command.

In Cos the popular or pro-Athenian party was in the ascendant, and their
opponents were weak. The fact was that the Spartans were not in good
repute there. Six years before their admiral Astyochus had plundered the
island laying hands impartially on the property of friends and of foes.
Still there was a party which remained faithful to Sparta, and Hippocles
preferred to speak as their representative. His wide-spread connections
as a merchant--and Cos had a large trade with its famous vintages and
equally famous woven stuffs--gave him a knowledge of details and persons
that would have deceived a far more acute and suspicious person than
Callicratidas.

The merchant began the conversation by offering the admiral a present of
wine, and one of those almost transparent robes of silk that were a
specialty of the island.

"I will not be so churlish as to refuse what you have the good will to
offer me," said Callicratidas, "but you must understand that I do not
accept these things for myself. I accept no personal gifts; it is a
dangerous practice, and has given rise to much scandal. I shall send
them to Sparta, and the magistrates will dispose of them as they think
fit. What is this?" he went on, taking up the robe and holding it
between his eyes and the lamp. "What do you use it for? for straining
the wine?"

Hippocles explained that it was a material for garments.

"Garments!" exclaimed the Spartan, "why, we might as well wear a
spider's web. It is not clothing at all. It neither warms nor covers. Is
it possible that there are people so foolish as to spend their money on
it? It is costly, I suppose?"

"As you ask me," replied Hippocles, "I may say that it costs about two
minas a yard."

"Two minas a yard!" cried Callicratidas, whose Spartan frugality was
scandalized at such a price. "Why," he added after a short calculation,
"it is very nearly a seaman's pay for a year,[18] are there many who buy
such costly stuff?"

"A dress of this material is the top of the fashion for ladies in Athens
and Corinth."

"What?" said the Spartan, "do women wear such things? It is incredible.
I have always thought that things had changed for the worse at home, but
we have not got as far as that. And now for your business."

Hippocles explained that there was a dissatisfied party in Cos which was
very anxious to get rid of Athenian rule. "We are not strong enough," he
went on, "to do it of ourselves, but send on a force and we will open
the gates to you. Cos is a strong place now, since the Athenians
fortified it, and, I should think, quite worth having."

"And if we put you in power," said the admiral, "you would begin, I
suppose, by putting all your opponents to death."

Callicratidas was quite a different person from what Hippocles, with his
former experience of Spartans in command, had expected to find. His
disinterestedness, simplicity and directness were embarrassing, and made
him not a little ashamed of the part that he was playing. He would have
dearly liked to speak out of his own heart to a man who was
transparently honest and well-meaning, but in his position it was
impossible.

"We have, as you may suppose, sir," he said in answer to this last
suggestion, "a great many injuries to avenge, but we should not wish to
do anything that does not meet with your approval."

"The whole thing does not meet with my approval," said the Spartan, "I
hate these perpetual plots; I hate to see every city divided against
itself, and see the big persons in Greece hounding them on to bloody
deeds, and making our own gain out of them. I wish to all the gods that
I could do something to bring this wretched war to an end. Why should
not Athens and Sparta be friends as they were in the old days? Surely
that would be better than our going on flying at each others' throats as
we have been doing for now nearly twenty years past, while the Persian
stands by, and laughs to see us play his game. Where should we be--you
seem an honest man, by your face, though I cannot say that I
particularly like the errand on which you have come--where should we be,
I ask, if we had shown this accursed folly twenty-odd years ago, when
Xerxes brought up all Asia against us? As it was we stood shoulder to
shoulder, and Greece was saved. And now we have to go cap in hand, and
beg of the very Persians who are only biding their time to make slaves
of us. I tell you, sir, I feel hot with shame at the thought of what I
have had myself to put up with in this way. When I came here I found the
pay-chest empty; I don't want to complain of anybody, so I won't say how
this came about; but that was the fact, it was empty; the men had had no
wages for some time, and they would very soon have had no food. I asked
my officers for advice. 'You must go to Cyrus,' they said, 'Cyrus is
paymaster.'[19] It was a bitter draught to swallow, but I managed to get
it down. I went to his palace at Sardis. 'Tell your master,' I said to
the slave who came to the door, a gorgeous creature whose dress I am
sure I could not afford to buy, 'tell your master that Callicratidas,
admiral of the Spartan fleet, is here, and wishes to speak with him.'
The fellow left me standing outside, and went to deliver his message.
After I had waited till my patience was almost exhausted, the man came
back, and said 'Cyrus is not at leisure to see you. He is drinking.'
Well, I put up with that. 'Very good,' I said, 'I will wait till he has
done drinking.' I thought that I would go earlier the next day, though
even then it was scarcely an hour after noon. So I went at a time when I
thought that he could not possibly have taken to his cups, and asked
again to see him. This time they had not the grace even to make an
excuse. 'Cyrus is not at leisure to see you,' was the answer, and
nothing more. That was more than I could stand, and I went away. I vowed
that day, and believe me it was not only because I had myself been
insulted, that if I lived to go home, I would do my very best to bring
Sparta and Athens together again. And now, sir, as to your business. I
will send home a report of what you say. If the authorities direct me to
take any action in the matter, I shall do my best to take it with
effect, but I tell you frankly that this idea does not commend itself to
me, and let me give you a bit of advice: do your best to make peace in
your city, as I shall do my best to make peace in Greece. Depend upon
it, that if we don't, we shall have some one coming down upon us from
outside. It may be the Persian, though he does not seem to me to have
improved as a soldier; it may be the Macedonian, who is a sturdy fellow,
and helps us already to fight our battles. Whoever it is he will find us
helpless with an endless quarrel and will make short work with us. And
now good night."

Hippocles left the Spartan admiral full of admiration for his manly and
patriotic temper, and not at all pleased that he had been obliged to
play a false part with a man so transparently honest.

About an hour after midnight the harbor was alarmed by the cry that the
ship from Cos had parted from her moorings. Hippocles had taken
advantage of a temporary increase in the force of the wind to cut his
cables, and to drift toward the Athenian part of the harbor. Nobody was
able to answer the cry for help, even if it had not been purposely
raised too late. The _Skylark_ had run the blockade, and Conon knew that
he was to be relieved.

FOOTNOTES:

[17] The instances in which a Spartan general sent to fill some office
abroad seemed to lose all self-restraint and all sense of shame are
deplorably numerous. Pausanias, the Spartan who commanded at Platæa, and
was afterwards banished for treacherous dealings with the Persians, was
the first conspicuous example of this national failing, as it may be
called; but it was an example often followed. The Spartan governors in
allied or conquered cities were almost proverbial for profligacy,
tyranny and corruption.

[18] A seaman was paid four obols a day, the rate having been increased
by the liberality of Cyrus from three to four. Five obols went to the
drachma, and a hundred drachmas to the mina.

[19] This was the prince commonly called the younger Cyrus, the second
of the two sons of Darius Nothus, King of Persia, by his Queen
Parysatis. He had come down about a year and a half before the time of
which I am writing to take the government of a large portion of Asia
Minor, viz: Lydia, Phrygia, and Cappadocia. He was strongly pro-Spartan
in his views, and as has been explained in a previous note, had
increased the rate furnished by the Persian treasury to the Spartan
fleet. But Lysander, in his anger at being suspended in the command,
had, with the selfishness, characteristic of Spartan officers, paid back
to Cyrus all the money that had been furnished for the pay of the
sailors.



CHAPTER VI.

ARGINUSÆ.


At Athens, meanwhile, the relieving fleet was being fitted out with a
feverish energy such as had never been witnessed within the memory of
man. Nine years before, indeed, preparations on a larger scale, if cost
and magnificence are to be taken into account, had been made for the
disastrous expedition against Syracuse; but there was all the difference
in the world between the temper of the city at the one time and at the
other. Athens was at the height of her strength and her wealth when she
sent out her armament, splendid, so to speak, with silver and gold,
against Syracuse. It was a mighty effort, but she did it, one may almost
say, out of the superfluity of her strength. Now she was sadly reduced
in population and in revenue; she was struggling not for conquest but
for life; she was making her last effort, and spending on it her last
talent, her last man. To find a juster parallel it would have been
necessary to go back a life-time, to the day when the Athenians gave up
their homes and the temples of their gods to the Persian invaders,
falling back on their last defences, the "wooden walls" of their ships.
Many men had heard from father or grandfather, it was just possible that
one or two tottering veterans may have seen with their own eyes, how on
that day a band of youths, the very flower of the Athenian aristocracy,
headed by Cimon, the son of Miltiades, had marched with a gay alacrity
through the weeping multitude, to hang up their bridles in the temple of
Athene. For the time the goddess needed not horsemen but seamen, and
they gave her the service that she asked for. Now the same sight was
seen again. Again the knights, the well-born and wealthy citizens of
Athens, dedicated their bridles to the patron goddess, and went to serve
as mariners on board the fleet. Every ship that could float was hastily
repaired and equipped. Old hulks that had been lying in dock since the
palmy days when the veteran Phormion[20] led the fleet of Athens to
certain victory, were launched again and manned. In this way the almost
unprecedented number[21] of one hundred and ten triremes were got ready.
To man these a general levy of the population was made. Every one within
the age of service not actually disabled by sickness, was taken to form
the crews, and not a few who had passed the limit volunteered. Even then
the quota had to be made up by slaves, who were promised their freedom
in return for their services. It was a stupendous effort, and one which
Athens made with her own strength. These were not mercenaries, but her
own sons whom she was sending out to make their last struggle for life.
Night and day the preparations were carried on, and before a month was
out from the day on which the tidings of the disaster at Mitylene
reached the city, the fleet was ready to sail. Its destination was
Samos, an island that had remained faithful to Athens even after the
disastrous end of the war in Sicily. Here it was joined by a contingent
of forty ships, made up of the same squadron scattered about the Ægean,
the two triremes of Diomedon[22] being among them. Diomedon was related
to Callias, and the young man asked and obtained leave from the captain
with whom he had sailed from Athens to transfer himself to his ship.

A battle was imminent. The Spartan admiral had left fifty ships to
maintain the blockade of Mitylene, and sailed to meet the relieving
force. His numbers were inferior, but pride, and perhaps policy, forbade
him to decline the combat. He had made a haughty boast to Conon, and he
had to make it good. "The sea is Sparta's bride," he had said. "I will
stop your insults to her." His fleet was now off Cape Malta, the
south-eastern promontory of Lesbos. The Athenians had taken up their
position at some little islands between it and the mainland, the
Arginusæ, or White Cliffs, as the name may be translated, a name
destined to become notable as the scene of the great city's last
victory.

Callicratidas had watched the arrival of the Athenians, and had
concluded that, according to the usual custom of Greek sailors, they
would take their evening meal on shore. Before long the fires lighted
over all the group of islets showed that he was right. His own men had
supped, and they were ordered to embark in all haste and make an attack
which would probably be a surprise. What success his bold and energetic
action would have had we can only guess. The stars in their courses
fought against him. A violent thunderstorm with heavy rain came on, and
prevented him from putting to sea.

The next day was fine and calm and the two fleets were early afloat.
Their arrangement and plan of action showed a curious contrast, a
contrast such as was almost enough to make one of the great Athenian
seamen of the past turn in his grave. The Athenian ships were massed
together; the Spartans and their allies were formed in a single line.
Callias, who had never before been present at a great sea-fight, but who
had taken pains to acquire as much professional knowledge as he could,
expressed his surprise to Diomedon. "How is this, sir?" he said, "how
can our ships maneuver when they are packed together in this fashion?"

Diomedon, an old sailor who had been afloat for nearly forty years,
smiled somewhat bitterly as he answered.

"Maneuver, my dear boy! That is exactly what we want to avoid. We can't
do it ourselves, and we don't mean to let our enemies do it, if it can
be helped. The generation that could manoeuver is gone. Five and
twenty years of fighting have used it up. But, happily, we can still
fight, at least such a fleet as we have got to-day, the real Athenian
grit, can fight. If the weather holds fine, and I think it will for the
day, though I don't quite like the looks of the sky, we shall do well,
because we shall be able to keep together."

The arrangement of the Athenian line may be very briefly described. It
had two strong wings, each consisting of sixty ships, formed in four
squadrons of fifteen. These wings consisted wholly of Athenian galleys;
the contingents of the allies were posted in the centre, and were in
single line, either because they were better sailors, or because, as
being directly in front of the group of islets, they were protected by
their position.

The policy of the Athenian commander was successful. Arginusæ was not a
battle of skillful maneuvers, but of hard fighting. Such battles are
often determined by the fate of the general, and so it was that day.
Callicratidas, had that pride of valor which had often done such great
things for Sparta and for Greece, but which some times resulted in
immediate disaster. His sailing master, a man of Megara, had advised him
to decline a battle. A rapid survey of the position, of the numbers of
the enemy and of the tactics which they were evidently intending to
pursue, had convinced this skillful, experienced seaman, that the
chances were against him. Callicratidas would not listen to him. "If I
perish," he said, "Sparta will not be one whit the worse off." It was
the answer of a man who was as modest as he was brave; but it was not to
the point. Sparta would be a great deal worse off if she lost not only
him--and he was worth considering--but, as actually happened, nearly the
half of her fleet.

The signal to advance was passed along the line, and the admiral himself
took up his place in the foremost ship. The whole fleet could see him as
he stood a conspicuous figure in the lead. His stately and chivalrous
presence, the feeling that a man whom it was a privilege to follow
anywhere, gave, for a time, an effective encouragement. But the loss was
proportionately great when that presence was removed. Early in the day
his ship endeavored to ram that which carried the Athenian admiral
Diomedon, itself in the van of the opposing force. Diomedon himself was
at the rudder and managed his galley with remarkable skill. He avoided
or rather half avoided the blow of the enemy's boat, and this in such a
way that the Spartan admiral lost his balance, and fell into the water.
Callias, who was standing on the rear of the Athenian galley, at the
head of a detachment of men ready either to board or to repel boarders,
endeavored to save him; but the weight of his armor was fatal. He sank
almost instantaneously. His death, it is easy to believe, cost Athens
even more than it cost Sparta. It would have been infinitely better for
her to fall into his hands than to have to sue for terms, as she did not
many months afterwards, to the less generous Lysander.

The battle lasted for several hours. About noon the weather became
threatening. The wind changed to the south-west and the sea began to
rise. By general consent the struggle was suspended. Both sides had
fought with conspicuous valor, but there could be no doubt that the
victory remained with the Athenians. Their losses were serious, nearly a
fifth of their force, or to give the numbers exactly, twenty-nine ships
out of one hundred and fifty. But they had inflicted much more damage
than they had suffered. Out of the small squadron of Spartan ships, ten
in number, nine had been destroyed; and more than sixty belonging to the
various allied contingents were either sunk or taken. The fifty that
remained--and there were barely fifty of them--made the best of their
way either to the friendly island of Chios, or to Phocæa on the
mainland. Without doubt the Athenians had won a great victory. Whether
the opportunity could have been used to restore permanently the fortunes
of the city, is doubtful; but it is certain that it was lamentably
wasted.

FOOTNOTES:

[20] Phormion won some brilliant victories in the Corinthian gulf in the
early years of the war. He died prematurely, it would seem about 429 B.
C.

[21] The number of triremes contributed by Athens to the Greek fleet of
Salamis was one hundred and eighty, but this comprised, of course,
literally every ship that they possessed. In the expedition against
Syracuse, the triremes numbered one hundred and thirty-four.

[22] Diomedon was the officer in command of Samos, and had already
attempted with the twelve ships that composed his squadron, to relieve
Conon. His force was so inferior to that of the Spartans that he could
only have hoped to succeed by eluding their observations. Accordingly he
had avoided the harbors and endeavored to make his way up a narrow
channel, known by the common name of "Euripus" (a channel with a swift
current) by which Mitylene could be approached. Callicratidas, however,
had discovered the maneuver and captured ten out of the twelve ships.



CHAPTER VII.

AFTER THE FIGHT.


A council of war was held by the Athenian admirals on one of the
Arginusæ islets as soon as they could meet after the fighting had come
to an end. Callias, by Diomedon's desire, waited outside the tent in
which the deliberations were being held, and could not help hearing, so
high were the voices of the speakers raised, that there was an angry
argument about the course to be pursued. The intolerably clumsy system
of having ten generals of equal authority was on its trial, if indeed
any trial was needed, and was once more found wanting.[23] Even if the
right decision should be reached, time was being wasted, time that, as
we shall see, was of a value absolutely incalculable.

When at last the council broke up--its deliberations had lasted for more
than an hour--and Diomedon rejoined the young officer, he wore a gloomy
and anxious look.

"I am afraid," he said, "that mischief will come of this. I feel it so
strongly that, though I ought not, perhaps, to tell outside the council
what has been going on within, I must call you to witness. I did my
very best to persuade my colleagues. 'Our first business,' I said, 'is
to save our friends. There were twenty-six ships, I said, disabled. A
few were sunk on the spot; others, I am afraid, have gone down since;
but more than half, I hope, are still afloat. Even where the ship is
gone already, there are sure to be some of the crew who have been able
to keep themselves afloat either by swimming or by holding on to
floating stuff. For the sake of the gods, gentlemen,'--I give you my
very words--'don't lose another moment. We have lost too many already.
Send every seaworthy ship that you have got to the rescue of the
shipwrecked. It is better to let ten enemies escape, than lose a single
friend.' They would not listen to me. They were bent, they said, on
following up their victory, an excellent thing, I allow; but only when
the first duty of making all that you have got quite safe has been
performed. One of them--I will mention no names--positively insulted me.
'Diomedon,' he said, 'has doubtless had enough fighting for the day.'
Why, in the name of Athene, do they put such lowbred villains into
office. The fellow has a long tongue, and so the people elect him. I
'tired of fighting' indeed? I might have some excuse if I were, for I
was hard at it, when he was a thievish boy, picking up unconsidered
trifles in the market-place. Well; the end of it was that we came to a
sort of compromise. Forty-odd ships are to go and save what can be saved
from the wrecks--the gods only know how many will be left by this
time--while the rest are to make the best of their way to Mitylene, and
cut off the blockading squadron."

"And you, sir?" asked Callias, "with which squadron are you to be?"

"I am to go to Mitylene, of course, after what that fellow said, I could
not ask to have the other duty; but I feel that it is what I ought to be
doing."

"Who is to have it, sir," said Callias.

"No one, if you will believe it," answered the admiral, with an angry
stamp of the foot. "I mean no one of ourselves, of the Ten. They are all
so anxious to follow up the victory, as they put it, and make a great
show of taking Spartan ships, that they will not take the trouble.
Theramenes and Thrasybulus are to do it. I know that they have been in
command in former years and may be supposed to be competent.
Thrasybulus, too, is trustworthy; but Theramenes--to put it plainly--is
a scoundrel. You know that I don't care about politics; I am a plain
sailor and leave such things to others; but I say this, politics or no
politics, a man who turns against his friends is a scoundrel.[24] I
don't know what trick he is not capable of playing. Anyhow, whether
these two do the business ill or well, one of the Ten ought to go. It
would be better; and I am sure trouble will come of our not going. Mind
this is all in confidence. You are never to breathe a word of it, till I
give you leave."

"And am I to go with you, sir?" said Callias.

"No," was the answer; "I forgot to tell you; the worry of all this put
it out of my mind. You are to take the despatch to Athens."

"But the shipwrecked men"--exclaimed Callias.

"We must obey orders."

An hour afterward Callias was on his way to Athens; the storm had now
increased to something like a gale. As the waves came from the south it
was impossible to take a straight course for the point in view, lying as
it did almost due west. Few ships in those days could keep a straight
line with the wind on the quarter.[25] Indeed it was soon impossible to
keep up any sail at all, nor was it safe, even if the strength of the
rowers already wearied by the labors of the day, had permitted it to
keep the ship broadside to the waves. Nothing remained but to put her
about and drive before the wind, a sail being now hoisted again and the
rowers exerting themselves to the utmost to avoid being "pooped" by the
heavy waves. Toward morning the wind moderated, but by that time the
_Swallow_, for that was the name of the despatch-boat which had been
told off for the service, had been driven as much as fifty miles out of
her course. This would not have been of much consequence, but that the
timber of the _Swallow_ had been so strained by her battle with the sea
that she began to leak inconveniently, if not dangerously. Her crew,
too, were now in urgent need of rest. Under ordinary circumstances,
Chios, which could be seen, as the day broke, about ten miles on the
right bow, would have afforded a convenient shelter; but Chios was in
the hands of the enemy. The little island of Vara, lying some ten miles
to the north-west, was the only alternative. Here Callias, much against
his will, for he feared that his news would be anticipated, was
compelled to stop, the captains of the despatch-boat refusing to
proceed, until vessel and men were better able to face the weather.

As it turned out, the delay did no harm. In fact it was the means of his
reaching Athens with more speed and safety than he might otherwise have
done. A day indeed was lost in doing such repairs as the imperfect
resources of the little island permitted, but on the morrow, Callias set
out again, and was groaning over the day that had been lost, and the
very little good that the clumsy boat-builders had been able to do for
him, when he found himself being rapidly overhauled by a vessel which
had not long before hove in sight. Before noon he recognized the cut of
the disguised _Skylark_, and at once ran up a signal which Hippocles
whom he supposed to be on board would, he knew, recognize. The signal
was immediately answered, and before another half-hour had passed the
_Skylark_ was along-side. After a brief colloquy it was arranged that
the _Swallow_ should make the best of her way to Samos, where there was
an arsenal in which she could be properly repaired and that Callias with
his dispatches should take his passage to Athens in the yacht.

Hippocles was acquainted with the general fact that the Athenian fleet
had won a great victory; but he knew no details, and was eager to hear
from the lips of one who had taken a part in the action. And he had much
that was interesting to say to his young friend. The three weeks which
he had spent in Mitylene with the blockaded squadron had not made him
hopeful about the first issue of the war. He had found that Conon was
not hopeful, and Conon was as able and intelligent an officer as Athens
had in her service.

"This has been a stupendous effort on the part of the city," he said,
"and it has saved us for a time, but it can't be kept, and it can't be
repeated. Athens is like a gambler reduced to his last stake. He wins
it; very good. But then he has to throw again; and as often as he
throws, it is the same--if he loses, he loses all. And, sooner or later,
lose he must. In the long run the chances are against us. We have lost
our _morale_. I saw a good deal of Conon's men when I was shut up, and I
thought very badly of them; and he thinks badly, too, I know. It is only
a question of time. Do you know," he went on, sinking his voice to a
whisper--"and mark you, this is a thing that I should not venture to say
to anyone in the world but you--I am half inclined to wish that we had
been beaten in the last battle--that is, if Callicratidas had lived. A
noble fellow indeed! Do you know that he let the Athenians whom he took
at Methymna go on their _parole_? Any one else would have sold them for
slaves."

"Well," said Callias, who was a little staggered by his friend's view of
affairs, "as your hero is drowned--mind that I quite agree in what you
say of him--perhaps it is better that things have turned out as they
have. And I can't believe that our chances are as bad as you make out.
Anyhow we are better off than when I saw you last."

"I hope so; I hope so;" said Hippocles in a despondent tone, "But they
might have done better. For instance, we have let the blockading
squadron at Mitylene escape."

"How was that?" asked Callias. "Did you see nothing of our fleet. It was
to sail northward at once."

"No--I never saw or heard of it. Now listen to what happened. On the day
after the battle--though of course I knew nothing of what
happened--_two_ despatch-boats came into the harbor--so at least
everyone thought--and the second had wreaths on mast and stern, as if it
had brought good news. And Eteonicus--he was in command of the
blockading squadron--was good enough to send us a herald with the
intelligence that Callicratidas had won a great sea fight, and that the
whole of the Athenian fleet had been destroyed. Of course we did not
quite believe that, but if only a quarter of it was true, it was not
pleasant hearing. My old sailing master, who has as sharp eyes as any
man I know, said to me. 'My belief, sir, is that it is all nonsense
about this great victory, and that the second boat was only the first
_dressed up_. I observed them both particularly, and they were amazingly
alike. In both the bow sides oars were just a little behind the stroke,
and one of the oars, I noticed, was a new one, and not painted like the
rest. And why should the man take the trouble to tell us about the
victory as he calls it. If it is true, he has us safe, and can cut us up
at his leisure. No, sir, I don't believe a word of it.' Well, I was not
certain that the old man was right, but I strongly suspected that he
was. Anyhow I was so convinced of it that I spent the whole night in
getting ready; and, sure enough, the next morning the blockading
squadron had slipped off, with nobody to hinder them."

"That was a very smart trick for a Spartan," said Callias.

FOOTNOTES:

[23] I may refer my readers to a signal instance in earlier Greek
history where the same system almost led to disaster. It was only by the
unusual personal influence of Miltiades, a personal influence almost
unparalleled in Athenian history, that thus the ten generals were
induced to fight at Marathon. There can be little doubt that, if the
conflict had been delayed the pro-Persian party might have seriously
hampered, if it did not altogether defeat, the efforts of the patriots.

[24] Theramenes had taken a prominent part four years before this date
in the establishment of the oligarchy of the Four Hundred; finding that
his own position was not such as he conceived to be suited to his
merits, and having reason also to believe that the oligarchy would soon
be overthrown--the fleet had declared against them--he changed sides and
was the means of bringing up the condemnation of two of his own intimate
friends, Antiphon and Archeptolemus.

[25] Catullus mentions it as a special excellence of his yacht that it
could

  "Carry its load o'er stormy seas
  Whether from right or left the breeze
  Call o'er the main, as safe and fleet
  Over course, as when, on either sheet
  With equal strength blew fair behind,
  With level keel the following wind."



CHAPTER VIII.

THE NEWS AT ATHENS.


The _Skylark_ excelled herself in the display of her sailing qualities.
Thanks to this, Callias, in spite of the untoward delays which had
occurred on his journey, was the first to bring intelligence of the
victory to Athens. The news ran like wild fire through the city,
gathering, as may be supposed, a vast number of imaginary details, as it
passed from mouth to mouth, and the assembly which was called by
proclamation for the next day, to hear the reading of the despatches,
was, considering the empty condition of the city, most unusually
crowded. No one who could crawl to the market-place was absent, and all
the entrances and approaches were thronged by women, children, and
slaves. The first stress of fear had been relieved, for it was known
that a victory had been won; but there was still much room for anxiety.
The victory had not been gained without cost--no victories ever
were--and it was only too probable that in this case the cost had been
heavy. The despatch was brief and formal. It told the numbers engaged,
and the order of formation, with the number of hostile vessels captured
or sunk. It mentioned the fact that there had been losses on the side of
the conquerors, and promised details when there should have been time to
ascertain the facts.

After the assembly had been dismissed, Callias was overwhelmed with
enquiries. To these he thought it well to return very vague answers. The
fact was that there was much that he knew and much that he did not know.
He knew the name of more than one of the ships that had been sunk or
disabled. Two or three had been run down before his eyes. About others
he had information almost equally certain. He could have told some of
his questioners what would have confirmed their worst fears. On the
other hand he could not give anything like a complete list of the
losses. Some enquirers he could reassure. He had seen or even talked to
their friends after the battle. All the admirals, he knew, were safe.
And steps, he was sure, had been taken to rescue the shipwrecked crews.
On the subject of Diomedon's fears he preserved absolute silence. If any
disaster had happened, it was only too sure to be heard of before long.

On the evening of the day of assembly a great banquet was held in the
Prytaneum, or Town-hall of Athens. Such a banquet was always an
interesting sight, and on this occasion Callias, as he witnessed it for
the first time, also saw it to the very greatest advantage. All the
public guests[26] of the city that were not absent on active service or
were not positively hindered from coming by age or infirmity were
present. The ranks of these veterans were indeed sadly thinned. The war
had been curiously deadly to officers high in command. The fatal
expedition to Sicily had swept off many of the most distinguished.
Others had fallen in the "little wars" in which Athens like all states
that have wide dominions had been perpetually involved. One famous
survivor of a generation that had long since passed away was there,
Myronides, the victor of Oenophyta. The old man had been born in the
Marathon year, and was therefore now eighty-four. His life, it will be
seen, embraced with remarkable exactitude the period of the greatness of
Athens. The victory that had made him famous had been won fifty-one
years before, and had been, so to speak, the "high water mark" of
Athenian dominion.[27] He had lived to see almost its lowest ebb, though
happily for himself as he died before the year was out, he was spared
from seeing the absolute ruin of his country. Callias was distantly
related to him and was on terms of as close a friendship as the
difference of age permitted with his son Eteonicus, one of the ablest
and most patriotic statesmen of the time. After the libation which was
the usual signal for the wine drinking, had been poured, the old man
rose from his place, as his habit was, and walked down the hall,
touching our hero on his shoulder as he passed.

"Come," he said, as Callias looked up, "if you can spare half an hour
from the wine cup to bear an old man company."

The young man immediately left his place and accompanied the veteran to
one of the small chambers leading from the hall.

"And now tell me all about it," he said, when they were seated.

Callias gave him as full an account as he could of all that he had seen
during the campaign. Myronides plied him with questions that showed an
intelligence of unabated vigor. The armament and sailing qualities of
the ships, the _morale_ and _physique_ of the crews, every detail, in
fact, that concerned the efficiency of the force that Athens had in the
field, were subjects of liveliest interest to the old man. When he had
heard all that his young kinsman had to say, he heaved a deep sigh. "Ah!
my dear boy," he said, "things have come to a pretty pass with Athens.
As an old soldier I know what some of the things that you tell me mean
better than you do yourself. We are near the beginning of the end, and I
can only hope that I shall be gone when the end itself comes. I don't
mean that this is not a great victory that Diomedon and the rest of them
have won; but it is a victory that will never be won again. In the very
nature of things it can not. Do you think that the old men and boys that
I won the day with at Oenophyta[28] would have sufficed for a regular
force, a force that the city could rely on? Of course not. I could not
even have afforded to risk the chance if they had not had something
strong behind them. But now what is there? Old men and boys, and nothing
behind them. The slaves, you say? Very good; they fought very well, I
hear. And of course they will get their freedom. Do you think that they
will fight as well again after they have got it? Why should they? A man
may as well die as be a slave, and so they might very well risk their
lives to get free. But, once free, why should they risk them again?"

"What!" cried Callias, "not to keep the Spartans out of Athens?"

"You talk as an Athenian," said the old man, "and they are not
Athenians. You and I, I allow, would sooner die than see Spartans within
the walls: but what would it matter to them? They could eat and drink,
buy and sell just as comfortably whoever might be their masters. Yes, my
son; it is all over with a city that has to fall back on its slaves.
There is only one chance, and that is to make peace _now_, before we
lose all that we have gained. But what chance is there of that? Is there
any one who would even dare to propose such a thing?"

"You would, sir," said the young man.

"Yes, I might; but to what profit? I don't suppose they would do me any
harm. 'Poor old man!' they would say, 'he dotes.' But as for listening
to me--I know better than that. Is there one of the responsible
statesmen who would venture to give such advice? Would my son Eteonicus
venture? Not he; and yet he is a sensible and honest young man, and
knows that I am right. But it would be as much as his life, or, what he
values more, his whole career is worth, to hint at such thing. Oh! what
opportunities I have seen lost in this way. Unfortunately a victory
makes the Athenians quite impracticable.[29] They don't seem capable of
realizing that the wheel is certain to take a turn. But you have had
enough of an old man's croakings. The gods grant that these things may
turn out better than my fears! And now give me your arm to the gate,
where my people will be waiting for me."

Callias conducted the old man to the door, and saw him put safely into
the litter which was waiting for him. He then stood meditating how he
should dispose of himself for the rest of the evening. He was unwilling
to return to the banquet. Questions would be put to him, he knew, by
many of the guests to which it would be difficult either to give or to
refuse an answer. He would gladly, indeed, have hidden himself
altogether till the fuller despatches should have arrived, which would
relieve him of the necessity of playing any longer the difficult part
which had been imposed upon him. His thoughts naturally turned to
Hippocles and Hermione, and he had already taken some steps in the
direction of the Peiraeus, when the thought occurred to him that he was
scarcely on terms of such intimacy with the family as would warrant a
visit at so late an hour. As he stood irresolute, the door of a
neighboring house opened, and a party of four young men issued from it
into the street.

"Ah!" cried one of them, "'tis the sober Callias. Seize him, Glaucus and
Eudaemon, and make him come with us."

The two men addressed ran up to our hero, and laid hold each of an arm.

"You are a prisoner of my spear," said the first speaker, whose name, I
may say, was Ctesiphon, "and may as well submit to your fate with as
much grace as possible. You shall not suffer anything unendurable, and
shall be released at the proper time. Meanwhile you must join our
expedition."

"I submit," said Callias, willing, perhaps, to have the question that
had been puzzling him settled for him. "But tell me, if I have to follow
you, whither you are bound."

"We are going to the house of Euctemon, where there will be something, I
know, worth seeing and hearing."

"But I am a stranger," said Callias.

"A stranger!" cried Ctesiphon, "you are no such thing. The man who
brings good news to Athens is the friend of everybody. Besides Euctemon
is my first cousin, and he is always pleased to see my friends. You
should have been at his dinner, but that there was no room on his
couches for more guests. But now when the tables are removed[30] we
shall easily find places. But come along or we shall lose something."

There was no want of heartiness in Euctemon's greeting to his new
guests. To Callias he was especially polite, making room for him on his
own couch. When the new arrivals were settled in their places, the host
clapped his hands. A white-haired freedman, who acted as major-domo,
appeared.

"We are ready for Stephanos," said Euctemon.

A few minutes afterwards a figure appeared, so curiously like the
traditional representations of Homer that every one was startled.
Stephanos was a rhapsodist, or professional writer, and he had made it
one of the aims of his life to imitate as closely as he could the most
distinguished member that his profession could boast. In early life he
had been a school master, and an accident, if we may so describe a blow
from the staff of a haughty young aristocrat, whom he had ventured to
chastise, had deprived him of sight. His professional education had
included the knowledge of the authors whom the Greeks looked upon as
classics, Homer holding the first place among them, and he was glad to
turn this knowledge to account, when he was no longer able to teach. In
this occupation too his blindness could be utilized. It had its usual
effect of strengthening the memory, and it helped him to look the part,
which, as has been said, he aspired to play.

The blind minstrel was guided to the seat which had been reserved for
him in the middle of the company by an attendant, who also carried his
harp.

"What shall we have, gentlemen?" asked the host. "You will hardly find
anything worth learning that Stephanos does not know."

The guests had various tastes, so various that it seemed very difficult
to make a choice. One wanted the story of the Cyclops, another the tale
as told by Demodocus to Alcinous and the Phæacian princes, of the loves
of Ares and Aphrodite. A third, of a more sober turn of mind, called for
one of the didactic poems of Solon, and a fourth would have one of the
martial elegies with which the old Athenian bard Tyrtaeus stirred, as
was said, the spirits of the Spartan warriors.

"Let Callias, the bringer of good news, name it," said Euctemon, after
some dozen suggestions had been made.

The proposal was received with a murmur of approval.

The young man thought for a moment. Then a happy idea struck him. About
a year before there had occurred an incident which had roused the
deepest feeling in Athens. The aged Sophocles, accused by his son
Iophon before a court of his clansmen, of imbecility and incapacity for
managing his affairs, had recited as a sufficient vindication of his
powers, a noble chorus from a play which he was then composing, the last
and ripest fruit of his genius--the "Oedipus in Colonus." The verses
had had a singular success, as indeed they deserved to have, in catching
the popular fancy. They were exquisitely beautiful, and they were full
of patriotic pride. Every one had them on his lips; and before they had
time to grow hackneyed, the interest in them had been revived by the
death of the veteran poet himself.

"Let us have the 'Praises of Athens' by Sophocles the son of Sophilus of
Colonus."

The choice met with a shout of applause. The minstrel played a brief
prelude on his harp in the Dorian or martial mood,[31] and then began:

  "Swell the song of praise again;
  Other boons demand my strain,
  Other blessings we inherit,
  Granted by the mighty spirit;
  On the sea and on the shore,
  Ours the bridle and the oar.
  Son of Chronos old whose sway
  Stormy winds and waves obey,
  Thine be heaven's well-earned meed,
  Tamer of the champing steed;
  First he wore on Attic plain
  Bit of steel and curbing rein.
  Oft too, o'er the water blue,
  Athens strains thy laboring crew;
  Practiced hands the barks are plying,
  Oars are bending, spray is flying,
  Sunny waves beneath them glancing.
  Sportive myriads round them dancing,
  With their hundred feet in motion,
  Twinkling 'mid the foam of ocean."

He concluded amidst thunders of applause, the reference to the fleet
being especially rewarded with a purse from the host and a shower of
gold pieces from the guests.

Other recitations followed, not all, it must be confessed, in so
elevated a strain; each was produced with a few bars of music
appropriate to its character.

The next entertainment was of a less intellectual kind. Now dancers were
introduced into the room by the trainer who had taught them, and whose
slaves in fact they were. The man was a red-faced, bloated looking
creature, who, however, had been very active in his time, and could
still display a wonderful amount of agility when he was engaged in
teaching his pupils. The dancers were brother and sister, twins, and
curiously alike, though the boy was nearly a half-head taller, and
generally on a larger scale than the girl. The performance commenced
with a duet of the harps and the flute. The harp, a small instrument
not larger than a violin was played by the boy, the flute by a female
player, who had come into the room along with the dancers. After a while
the harp became silent, the flute continuing to give out a very marked
measure. To this the girl began to dance, whirling hoops into the air as
she moved, and catching them as they fell. Many were in the air at once,
and the girl neither made a single step out of time nor let a single
hoop fall to the ground.

A more difficult and exciting performance followed. The flute-player
changed the character of her music. The Lydian measure which had been
admirably suited to the graceful steps of the dance gave place to the
swift Phrygian scale, wild and fantastic music such as might move the
devotees of Cybele or Dionysus to the mysterious duties of their
worship. At the same time an attendant of the trainer brought in a large
hoop, studded round its inner circle with pointed blades. The girl
commenced to dance again with steps that grew quicker and quicker with
the music, till, as it reached a climax of sound, she leapt through the
hoop. The flute-player paused for a moment, as the dancer turned to
recover her breath, her bosom rising and falling rapidly, and her eyes
flashing with excitement. Then the music and the dance began again, with
the same _crescendo_ of sound and motion, till the same culminating
point was reached, and the same perilous leap repeated.

The spectators watched the scene with breathless interest; but it was an
exhibition that was scarcely suited to Greek taste. A Greek could be
even horribly cruel on occasions, but a cruel spectacle--and spectacles
that depend for their attraction on the danger to the performer are
critically cruel--offended their artistic taste. The company began to
feel a little uneasy, and Euctemon finally interrupted the festival when
after the second leap had been sucessfully accomplished he signed to the
flute-player to cease her music.

"Child," he said to the dancer, "Aphrodite and the graces would never
forgive me, if you were to come to any harm in my house. It is enough;
you have shown us that no one could be more skilful or more graceful
than you."

The boy and girl now performed together in what was called the Pyrrhic
or war dance. Each carried a light shield and spear, made of silvered
tin. They represented two warriors engaged in single combat. Each took
in turn the part of the assailant and the assailed, the one darting
forward the spear which had been carefully made incapable of doing any
harm, the other either receiving the blow upon his shield or avoiding it
with agile movements of the body.[32] The flute-player accompanied the
dance with a very lovely and spirited tune, while the company looked on
with the greatest admiration, so agile, so dexterous, and so invariably
graceful were the motions of the two dancers.

When the boy and girl had retired, and while the guests were again
devoting themselves to the wine, Callias was accosted by a neighbor with
whose handsome features, characterized as they were by a gravity not
often seen in young Athenians, he was familiar, though he did not happen
ever to have made his acquaintance.

"I am about to retire," said the stranger, "and if I may presume so
far, I would recommend you to do the same. Our host is hospitable and
generous, and has other virtues which I need not enumerate; but his
entertainments are apt to become after a certain hour in the night such
as no modest young man--and such from your face I judge you to be--would
willingly be present at. So far we have had an excellent and blameless
entertainment; but why not depart. What say you?"

"That I am ready to go with you," answered Callias. "My friend Ctesiphon
brought me hither, and I know nothing of our host except the report of
his riches and liberality." "What! are you going?" cried the host, as
the two young men rose from their places. "Nay, but you are losing the
best part of the entertainment. It is but a short time to the first
watch when Lyricles will come with his troop of dancers. He says that
they are quite incomparable."

"Nay, sir," said the young man who had spoken to Callias, "you must
excuse us."

"Ah!" cried one of the guests, a young dandy, whose flushed face and
flower-garland set awry on his forehead seemed to show that he had been
indulging too freely in his host's strong Chian wine, "'Tis old
Silverside. He pretends to be a young man; but I believe that he is
really older than my father. At least I know that the old gentleman is
far more lively. Come, Philip and Hermogenes," he went on addressing two
of his neighbors, "don't let us permit our pleasant party to be broken
up in this way."

The three revellers started up from their places, and were ready to stop
the departing guests by force. But the host, who was still sober, and
was too much of a gentleman to allow annoyances of the kind to be
inflicted upon anyone in his house, interfered.

"Nay, gentlemen," he cried, "I will put force on no man for if our
friends think that they can be better or more pleasantly employed
elsewhere, I can only wish them good night, and thank them for so much
of their company as they have been pleased to bestow upon us."

The two, accordingly, made their escape without any further
interference.

"Will you walk with me as far as my house," said Callias' companion to
him. "It lies in the Agræ.[33] The night is fine and I shall be glad of
your company."

Callias cheerfully consented, and was glad that he had done so, so witty
and varied was his companions conversation.

When they had reached their destination his new friend invited him to
enter. This he declined to do for the hour was late, and he wished to be
at home.

"Well then," said the other, "we can at least meet again. This, you see,
is my house, and my name is Xenophon, the son of Gryllus."

FOOTNOTES:

[26] Persons who had rendered distinguished services to their country in
peace or war received, among other rewards, the privilege, lasting for
life, of dining in the Town hall. The city had no greater honor to
bestow.

[27] It had brought about for a time the subjection of all the
Boeotian towns (Thebes only excepted) and of Phocis to Athens.

[28] Myronides marched out with the citizens above and under the
military age--all the available force that was left at Athens at the
time--and won two victories, the first at Megara, the second and most
famous of the two at Oenophyta in Boeotia.

[29] The old man was thinking of the Spartan offer to make peace after
the capture of the five hundred and ninety-two prisoners at Pylos (B. C.
425). Terms much more favorable might have been secured than were
obtained four years afterwards by the Peace of Nicias. Again, after the
defeat and death of the Spartan admiral Mindarus in B. C. 410 peace
might have been made, and the ruin of Athens probably postponed for many
years; but the people refused to enter into negotiations.

[30] When the meal was ended the tables were not cleared, but removed.

[31] There were three original moods in Greek music, the Dorian,
Phrygian, and Lydian. The last of these was in a major scale, and was
reckoned to be plaintive and effeminate. So Milton writes in
_L'Allegro_.

  "And ever against eating cares
  Lap one in soft Lydian airs
  Married to immortal verse;
  Such as the melting soul may pierce
  In notes with many a winding bout
  Of linked sweetness long drawn out."

The Dorian was in a minor scale, and was considered to be manly and
vigorous. Martial music was of this kind. So, to quote Milton again, we
have:

                        "Anon they move
  In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
  Of flutes and soft melodies; such as raised
  To heights of noblest temper heroes old
  Coming to battle."

The third, or Phrygian, was also minor, and was considered to be
suitable for sacrifices and other religious functions as being of an
ecstatic kind. There were combinations and modifications of these moods.
Readers who may desire to know more of the subject, should consult
Professor Mahaffy's _Rambles and Studies in Greece_, pp. 424-444 (3rd
edition). A more elaborate account may be found in Mr. Chappell's
History of Music.

[32] So Hector in the single combat with Ajax.

[33] A quarter of Athens south of the city on the Ilissus.



CHAPTER IX.

SOCRATES.


Callias lost no time in cultivating the acquaintance of his new friend.
The very next day he called upon him at as early an hour as etiquette
permitted, and was lucky enough to find him at home. He had lately
returned, indeed, from drilling with the troop of Knights to which he
belonged, and was just finishing his breakfast, which had been delayed
till his military duties had been performed.

"Will you drink a cup to our new friendship--if you will allow me to
call it so?" said Xenophon, to the young man as he entered the room.

"Excuse me," replied Callias, "if I decline."

"You are right," said Xenophon, "this is one of the offers which
formality commands us to make--whether rightly or wrongly, I cannot
say--but which I always myself refuse, and am glad to see refused by
others. But what will you? A game of koltabos, or a walk to the springs
of the Ilissus?"

"Either," replied Callias, "would be agreeable, but first now I have set
my heart on something else. You are a disciple of Socrates, I am told.
Can you manage that I may have the privilege of hearing him? I have
never had the chance of doing so before."

Xenophon's face brightened with pleasure when he heard the request.
"Excellent, my dear sir, you could not have suggested anything that
would have pleased me better. We shall certainly be good friends. I
always judge a man by what he thinks of Socrates. You are ready, I know,
to admire and love him, and I offer you my friendship in advance. Now
let us go and find him. It will not be difficult, for I know his ways
pretty well. There is a sacrifice in the Temple of Theseus, and he will
probably be there. There is no more diligent attendant at such
functions, and yet the fools and knaves say that he is an atheist. We
shall catch him just as he is leaving."

The subject of conversation between the two young men as they walked
along was naturally the character of this philosopher whom they were
about to see. Callias had much to ask, and Xenophon had still more to
tell.

"As you are going to see this man for the first time," said the latter,
"you will be interested in hearing how I first came to make his
acquaintance. It was about nine years ago, very soon, I remember, after
the first expedition sailed for Syracuse. I had been hearing a course of
lectures by Prodicus of Ceos, who was then all the fashion in Athens,
and was hurrying home to be in time for the midday meal. Socrates met us
in a narrow alley, and put his staff across it to bar the way. What a
strange figure he was, I thought. I had never seen him before, you must
know; for we had been living for some years on my father's estate in
Euboea. Certainly he looked more like a Silenus than an Apollo.
'Well,' my son, he said, looking at me with a smile that made him look
quite beautiful, 'can you tell me where a good tunic is to be
bought?' I thought it was an odd question, though certainly he might
want a tunic for himself, for his own was exceedingly shabby. However I
answered it to the best of my ability. 'And a good sword--where may that
be purchased?' That I told him also as well as I could. Some half-dozen
more things he asked me about, and I did my best to reply. At last he
said, 'Tell me then, my son, since you know so well where so many good
things are to be procured, tell me where the true gentleman[34] is to be
found?' That puzzled me exceedingly, and I could only lift my eyebrows
and shrug my shoulders. How could I answer such a question? Then he
said, 'follow me my son, and be taught.' I never went near Prodicus
again, you may be sure. My father was somewhat vexed, for he had paid a
quarter of a talent as fee for the course of lectures. However it did
not cost him anything, for Socrates will never take a fee. From that day
to this I have never missed an opportunity when I was not campaigning of
hearing him. But see there he is!"

[Illustration: THE TEMPLE OF THESEUS.]

Socrates was standing in the open space in front of the Temple of
Poseidon, with the customary group of listeners round him. As the two
young men came up the discussion which had been going on came to an end,
and the philosopher turned to greet the new comers. "Hail! Xenophon," he
cried, "and you, too, sir, for the friends of Xenophon are always
welcome." "You, sir," he went on addressing Callias, "are recently back
from the war; now tell me this." And he asked questions which showed
that military details were perfectly well known to him, better known to
him in fact than they were to Callias himself. These questions were
becoming a little perplexing, for Socrates had an inveterate habit of
driving into a corner, it may be said, every one with whom he conversed.
Luckily for Callias, another friend came up at the moment, and the great
examiner's attention was diverted.

"Ho! Aristarchus," he cried to the new comer, "how fare you?"

"But poorly, Socrates," was the reply. "Things are going very ill with
me."

"And indeed," said the philosopher, "I thought that you had a somewhat
gloomy look. But tell me--what is your trouble? Xenophon here is your
kinsman, I know, and you will not mind speaking before him, and he will
answer for the discretion of his friend. Or would you prefer that we
should go apart and talk, for to that too, I doubt not, these two
gentlemen will consent?"

"Nay," said the man who had been addressed as Aristarchus, "I am not
ashamed or unwilling to speak before Xenophon and his friend Callias, in
whom I have the pleasure of recognizing a kinsman of my own. For that
from which I am suffering, though it troubles me, has nothing shameful
in it."

"Speak on then," said Socrates, "and, perhaps, among us we shall be able
to find some remedy for your trouble. For surely it is of some use to
share a burden if it be too heavy for one."

"Listen then, Socrates," said Aristarchus, "I have been compelled for
kindred's sake to take into my home not a few ladies, sisters, and
nieces, and cousins, whose husbands or fathers, or other lawful
protectors, have either perished in the war, or have been banished.
There are fourteen of them in all. Now, as you know, nothing comes in
from my country estate, for who will farm that which at any time the
enemy may ravage? And from my houses in the city there comes but very
little, for how few are they who are able to pay rent? And no business
is being done in the city, nor can I borrow any money. Verily there is
more chance of finding money in the street, than of borrowing. O,
Socrates, 'tis a grievous thing to see my own flesh and blood perish of
hunger, and yet, when things are as they are, I cannot find food for so
many."

"'Tis grievous indeed," said Socrates. "But tell me--how comes it to
pass that Keramon feeds many persons in his name, and yet can not only
provide what is needful for himself and his inmates, but has so much
over that he grows rich while you are afraid of perishing of hunger?"

"Nay, Socrates, why ask such a question? The many persons whom he so
keeps are slaves, while the inmates of my house are free."

"Which then, think you, are the worthier, your free persons, or
Keramon's slaves?"

"Doubtless my free persons."

"But, surely, it is a shame, that he having the less worthy should
prosper, and you with the more worthy, be in poverty."

"Doubtless 'tis because his folk are artisans while mine have been
liberally educated."

"By artisans you mean such as know how to make useful things."

"Certainly."

"Barley meal is a useful thing, for instance?"

"Very much so."

"And bread?"

"Very much so."

"And men's and women's cloaks, and short frocks, and mantles, and
vests?"

"Very much so."

"But your folk don't know how to make any of these things. Is it so?"

"Nay, but they know how to make them all."

"Do you not know then, how Nausicydes not only supports himself and his
household by making barley meal, and has become so rich that he is often
called upon to make special contributions to the State[35] and how
Coroelus, the baker, lives in fine style on the profits of
bread-making, and Demias on mantle-making, and Menon on cloak-making,
and nearly every one in Megara on the making of vests?"

"That is very true, Socrates. But all these buy barbarians for slaves,
and make them work; but my people are free by birth and kinsfolk of my
own."

"And because they are free and kinsfolk of yours must they do nothing
but eat and sleep? Do you suppose that other free people are happier
when they live in this indolent fashion, or when they employ themselves
in useful occupations? What about your kinsfolk, my friend? At present I
take it, you do not love them, and they do not love you, for you think
them a great trouble and loss to you, and they see that you feel them to
be a burden. It is only too likely that all natural affection will turn
under these circumstances to positive dislike. But if you will put them
in the way of making their own livelihood, every thing will go right;
you will have a kindly feeling for them because they will be helping
you, and they will have as much regard for you, because they will see
that you are pleased with them. They know, you say, how to do the things
that are a woman's becoming work; don't hesitate therefore to set them
in the way of doing it. I am sure that they will be glad enough to
follow."

"By all the gods, Socrates, you are right. I dare say I could borrow a
little money to set the thing going; but to tell you the truth, I did
not like to run into debt, when all the money would simply be eaten. It
is a different thing, now that there will be a chance of paying it back,
and I have no doubt that there will be some way of managing it."

Just at this point a little boy came up with a message for Socrates. "My
mistress bids me say," he cried in a somewhat undertone, "that the
dinner is waiting, and that you must come at once." "There are commands
which all must obey," said the philosopher with a smile, "and this is
one of them. And indeed it would be ungrateful to the excellent
Xanthippe, if after hearing she has taken so much pains to prepare one's
dinner, one was to refuse the very easy return of eating it. Farewell,
my friends."

And the philosopher went his way.

To Callias the conversation which he had just heard was peculiarly
interesting, because the theory in his family was that which was
probably accepted in almost every upper class house in Athens, that it
was a disgrace for a free-born woman to work for her living, and that
all handicrafts, even in those who constantly exercised them, were
degrading and lowering to the character. Xenophon already knew what his
master thought upon these points, but to his younger friend this "gospel
of work," as it may be called, was a positive revelation. He did not
value it even when, a few days later, he heard from Aristarchus that the
experiment had succeeded to admiration. "I only had to buy a few pounds
of wool," he said; "the women are as happy as queens, and I have not got
to think all day and night, but never find out, how to make both ends
meet."

FOOTNOTES:

[34] The "Kalokagathos" (literally handsome and good), combining the two
Greek ideals, beauty of mind and beauty of body.

[35] See note page 22.



CHAPTER X.

THE MURDER OF THE GENERALS.


All this time a gloom had been settling down over the Athenian people.
The official despatch, which, as giving details of the loss in the late
engagement, was so anxiously expected, did not arrive; but quite enough
information to cause a very general anxiety came to hand in various
ways. Private letters from men serving with the fleet began to be
brought by merchantships; and not a few persons were found who had
talked or who professed to have talked with sailors and marines who had
taken part in the action. These written and oral accounts were indeed
far from being consistent with each other. Some were obviously
impossible; more were presumably exaggerated. But they were all agreed
in one point. Not only had there been a serious loss of ships and men
during the battle, but this loss had been grievously aggravated by the
casualties that had taken place after the battle. It was pretty clear,
unless the whole of these stories were fictitious, that the second loss
had been more fatal than the first.

At last the long expected despatch arrived. It ran somewhat in this
fashion:

"The victory which, by the favor of the gods and the good fortune of the
Athenian people, we lately won over the Spartans and their allies at
the Islands of Arginusæ has turned out to be no less important and
beneficial to the state than we had hoped it would be. The squadron of
the enemy that was blockading the harbor of Mitylene has disappeared:
nor indeed are any of his ships anywhere to be seen. Our fleet, on the
contrary, is stronger than it has been for some years past; and we are
daily receiving overtures of friendship from cities that have hitherto
been indifferent or hostile. But this success has not been achieved
without loss. The late battle was long and obstinately contested, and,
as has been mentioned in a former despatch, not a few of our ships were
either disabled or sunk. We did not neglect the duty of succoring the
crews of the vessels that had met with this ill-fortune, committing to
officers whom we knew to be competent, the task of giving such help and
assigning to them a sufficient number of ships. At the same time we did
not omit to make provision for a pursuit of the enemy. But unluckily
when the battle was but just finished, a storm arose so severe that we
could not either rescue our friends or pursue our enemy. These then
escaped, and those, or the greater part of them perished, having behaved
as brave men toward their country. Lists of those that have so died, so
far as their names are at present known, are sent herewith."

In this official communication, it will be seen, no blame was laid on
any person. The weather, and the weather alone, was given as the cause
of the disaster that had occurred. But in their private communications
with friends at home the generals were not so reticent. They had
commissioned, they said, Theramenes and Thrasybulus to save the
shipwrecked men. If all that was possible had not been done to execute
this commission it was they and they only who were to be blamed. Such
words, even if they are intended only for the private reading of the
people to whom they are written, seldom fail sooner or later to get out.
In this case so many people were profoundly and personally interested in
the matter that they got out very soon. And, of course, among the first
persons whom they reached were the two incriminated officers, Theramenes
and Thrasybulus. It was a charge, hinted at if not exactly made, which
no man would allow to be made against him without at least an attempt to
refute it. Theramenes, who had come back on leave not many days after
the battle, at once bestirred himself in his own defense. He was an able
speaker, all the more able because he was utterly unscrupulous; and he
had a large following of personal friends and partisans. On the present
occasion he was reinforced by the many citizens who had lost relatives
or friends in the late engagement. These were furious and not without
some cause. What had been at first represented as a great victory had at
length turned out to be as fatal as a great defeat. They loudly demanded
a victim. Somebody, they said, must be punished for so scandalous, so
deadly a neglect. Theramenes had the advantage of being on the spot, and
of being able to guide these feelings in a way that suited his own
personal interests. "I was commissioned," he said, "to do the work; I do
not deny it. But the charge was given me when it was almost too late to
execute it, and I hadn't the proper means at hand. I could not get hold
of the ships that were told off for this task, or of the crews who
should have manned them. If one of the ten had come himself to help me,
things might have been different. As it was, the men either could not be
found, or refused to come. A subordinate must not be blamed for failing
in what ought to have been undertaken by a chief in command."

These representations, in which, as has been seen, there was a certain
measure of truth, had a great effect. An assembly was held to consider
the contents of the second despatch, and at this it was resolved, with
scarcely an opposing voice, that the generals should be recalled. They
were publicly thanked for the victory which they had won, but they were
suspended, at least for the present, in their command, and successors
were sent out to replace them. Conon, as having been shut up at the time
in Mitylene, and being therefore manifestly clear of all blame in the
matter, was continued in office, and another of the ten had died. Eight,
therefore, were left to be affected by the decree. Of these eight two
determined not to run the risk of returning; the other six sailed at
once for home. Of these six Diomedon, about whom something has been said
already, was one.

As soon as was practicable after their arrival at Athens, an assembly
was held and they were called upon for their defence. The chief speaker
against them was Theramenes. His colleague, Thrasybulus, stood by
apparently approving by his presence the charge that was brought but not
opening his mouth. One man among the accused men might have easily
secured his own safety at the expense of his colleagues. If Diomedon had
stood up and recapitulated the advice which he had given in the council
held after the battle; if he had affirmed what none of his fellows
would have been able to deny, "I urged you to make the rescue of the
imperilled crews your first business, to use for it all the means at
your disposal, and to undertake it yourselves," he must have been
triumphantly acquitted, but he was of too generous a temper thus to save
himself. He chose to stand or fall with his fellows. All, accordingly,
put forward the same defence, and it was in substance this: "We did what
seemed best in our judgment. We detailed for the duty of saving the
crews what we considered to be an adequate force, and put over it men
whom we knew to be competent. If Theramenes accuses us, we do not accuse
him. We believe that he was hindered from doing the duty intrusted to
him by the storm, and that if he had had double the number of ships,
even the whole fleet, at his disposal, he would have been no less
powerless to give the shipwrecked men any effectual help."

There was a sincerity of tone about their defense which was just the
thing to win favor of such an audience as the Athenian assembly. There
were murmurs indeed. The friends and kinsfolk of the drowned men could
not endure to think that no one would be punished for what they believed
to be a shameful neglect. But the general applause drowned the
dissenting voices, and the friends of the accused began to hope that
they were safe. If there had been only a few more minutes of daylight,
such might have been the result. A show of hands was taken by the
presiding magistrate, and it was believed to be in favor of the accused,
but it was too dark to count; no regular decision could be made; and the
matter had to be adjourned to another meeting of the assembly.

But now came another change in the impulsive, passionate temper of the
people. The next day or the next day but one was the first of the great
family festival of Athens, the Apaturia, a celebration something like
the Christmas Day or the New Year's Day of the modern world. It was one
of the most cherished, as it was one of the most ancient of the national
festivals. All the great Ionic race, with scarcely an exception, kept
it, and had kept it from times running back far beyond history. The
family annals were now, so to speak, made up, and consecrated by a
solemn association with the past. If a marriage had been celebrated in
the family during the year it was now formally registered; if a son of
the house had reached his majority his name was now entered upon the
roll. These formalities were duly marked by customary sacrificing and
sacrifices were accompanied, as always in the ancient world, by
festivities. But family festivities are apt, as most of us know only too
well, to be marred by melancholy associations. It is delightful to greet
those that remain, but what of those who are gone? And so it had been
year after year, since the day when Athens embarked on the fatal war
which for nearly thirty years drained her resources. So it was, in a
special way, in the year of which I am writing. The men whom Athens had
lost were not hired servants but sons. Every one, the slaves only
excepted, left an empty place in some family gathering. And now for the
first time the city realized the greatness of her loss. The numbers had
been known before; but numbers, however startling, do not impress the
mind like visible facts, and now the visible facts were before the eyes
of all. The streets were filled with men and women in mourning garb,
for the families which had suffered individually assumed it. It seemed
as if almost every passer by had lost a kinsman. There could scarcely
have been any such proportion of mourners, but any uniform garb renders
the impression of being much more numerously worn than is really the
case.

And there can be but little doubt that the demonstration was purposely
exaggerated. For now came in the sinister influence of political strife,
which since the oligarchical revolution of five years before had grown
more than ever bitter and intense. The accused leaders belonged to the
party of moderate aristocrats; a party loyal to the democratic
constitution of Athens, but disposed to interpret its provisions in a
conservative sense. The oligarchy hated them, and Theramenes had been an
oligarchical conspirator before, and was about to be again. And the
extremists on the other side hated them. Between the two a plot was
concocted. Men who had no kinsfolk among the lost soldiers and sailors
were bribed or otherwise persuaded to behave as if they had,[36] to come
into the streets with black clothes and shaven heads, and to swell the
numbers of the mourners, thus increasing the popular excitement.

Strangely enough it was the senate, the upper chamber of the Athenian
constitution that first gave this excitement an expression. At the first
meeting after the festival, Callixenus, a creature of Theramenes--the
man himself was probably too notorious to take an active part--proposed
a resolution which ran as follows:

"For as much as both the parties in this case, to wit, the prosecutor,
on the one hand, and the accused, on the other were heard in the late
assembly, it seems good to us that the Athenian people now vote on the
matter by their tribes, there being provided for each tribe two urns,
and that the public crier make proclamation as follows in the hearing of
each tribe: 'Let every one who finds the generals guilty of not rescuing
the heroes of the late sea fight deposit his vote in Urn No. 1. Let him
who is of the contrary opinion deposit his vote in Urn No. 2.'
Furthermore it seems good to us, that, if the aforesaid generals be
found guilty, death should be the penalty; that they should be handed
over to the Eleven,[37] and their property confiscated to the state,
excepting a tenth part, which falls to the goddess [Athene]."

The Senate passed this resolution, though there was a strong minority
that protested against it. The assembly was held next day, and
Callixenus came forward again and proposed his resolution as having
received the senate's sanction.

It was received with a roar of approval from the majority. But there
were some honest men who were not inclined to sanction a proceeding so
grossly illegal, for such indeed it was. One of them, Euryptolemus by
name, rose in his place, and spoke:

"There is an enactment which for many years has been observed by the
people of Athens for the due protection of persons accused of crime. By
this enactment it is provided that every person so accused shall be
tried separately, and shall have proper time allowed him for the
preparation of his defence. Seeing then that the resolution just
proposed to the assembly contravenes this enactment by providing that
the accused persons should be tried altogether and without such
allowance of due time, I hereby give notice that I shall indict
Callixenus its proposer for unconstitutional action."

A tremendous uproar followed the utterance of these words. "Who shall
hinder us from avenging the dead?" cried one man. "Shall this pedant
with his indictment stand between the Athenian people and their desire
to do justice?" shouted another. But the excitement rose to its height
when a man clad as a mariner forced his way through the crowded meeting,
and struggled by the help of his companions into the _Bema_, the
platform or hustings of the place of assembly.

It was a strange figure to stand in that place from which some of the
famous orators and statesmen of the world had addressed their
countrymen. He was evidently of the lowest rank. His dress was ragged
and soiled. His voice, when he spoke, was rough and uncultured. Yet not
Pericles himself who so often speaking from that place

  "Had swayed at will that fierce democracy,"

ever spoke with more effect.

"Men of Athens," he cried, "I was on the _Cheiron_. I was run down by a
Corinthian ship just before the battle came to an end. The _Cheiron_
sank immediately; I went down with her, but managed to get free, and
came up again to the surface of the water. I saw a meal-tub floating by
me, and caught hold of it. Some ten or twelve men were near me. They
kept themselves up for a time by swimming, but sank one by one. I spoke
to several of them, and bade them keep up their spirits, because the
admirals would be sure to rescue us. No help came. At last only one was
left. He was my brother-in-law. I made him lay hold of the other side of
the meal-tub; but it was not big enough to keep us both up. He let go of
it again. He said to me 'Agathon'--that is my name--'you have a wife and
children; I am alone. Bid them remember me; and tell the men of Athens
that we have done our best in fighting for our country, and that the
admirals have left us to perish.'"

Was the man telling the truth, or was he one of those historic liars
that have made themselves famous or infamous for all time by the
magnitude of the fictions that they have invented just at the critical
time when men were most ready to accept them.[38]

Whether it was true or false, the story roused the people to absolute
fury. Thousands stood up in their places and shook their fists at the
accused, and at the orators who had spoken in their favor, while they
screamed at the top of their voices, "Death to the generals! death to
the murderers!"

A momentary silence fell upon the excited crowd when a well-known orator
of the intense democratic party threw himself into the hustings.

"I propose that the names of Euryptolemus and of all those who have
given notice of the indicting Callixenus be added to the names of the
accused generals, and be voted upon in the same way for life and death."


The speaker added no arguments; and the roars of approval that went up
from the assembly showed sufficiently that no arguments were needed. The
advocates of constitutional practice were cowed. It was only too plain
that to persist would surely be to meet themselves the fate of the
accused. Euryptolemus was a brave man, and as we shall soon see, did not
intend to desert his friends; but for the present he gave way. "I
withdraw my notice," he cried, reflecting doubtless that he could renew
it when the people should become more ready to listen to reason and
justice. But there was still another constitutional bulwark to be thrown
down. The presiding magistrates refused to put the motion to the
assembly. Their chief (or chairman as we should call him) rose in his
place. He was pale and agitated, and his voice could not be heard beyond
the benches nearest to him when he said, "The motion of Callixenus is
against the laws, and we cannot put it to the assembly."

"They refuse! they refuse!" was the cry that went from mouth to mouth.
Again the rage of the multitude rose to boiling point, and again the
popular orator saw his opportunity.

"I propose," he said, appearing again in the hustings, "that the names
of the presiding magistrates be added to those of the accused in the
voting for life and death."

A shout of approval more vehement than ever greeted this announcement.
Once more the policy of concession, or shall we say of cowardice
prevailed. The magistrates conversed a few moments in hurried whispers,
and then advanced to the railings in front of their seats. It was
immediately seen that they had yielded, and loud applause followed.
"Hail to the popular magistrates! Hail to the friends of the people!"
was the universal cry. But one was still sitting in his place. His
colleagues turned back to bring him. They talked, they gesticulated,
they laid hold of him by the arms; they were trying to force him out of
his seat. He heeded them not; to all persuasion he returned the same
answer: "I am set to administer the laws, and will do nothing that is
contrary to them." The most of the house could, of course, hear nothing
of what was being said; but they could see plainly what had happened.
"Socrates refuses! Socrates refuses!" was now the cry, followed by
shouts of "Death to Socrates!" "Death to the blasphemer! death to the
atheist!"

The philosopher sat unmoved, and his colleagues made no further attempt
to persuade him. They took what was, perhaps, the only possible course
under the circumstances--for they had not all the martyr-like temper of
Socrates--and put the question without him. It was carried by a large
majority.

The presiding magistrate, having announced the result of the vote, went
on: "Seeing that it has seemed good to the Athenian people to try the
generals accused of negligence in saving the lives of citizens, the said
generals are hereby put upon their trial. If they, or any citizen on
their behalf, wish to address the assembly, let them or him speak."

It might have been thought that the furious crowd which had been ready
to overpower with violence the advocates of constitutional practice
would have howled down any who dared to advocate so unpopular a cause.
But it was not so. The majority, having swept away, as they thought,
the trammels of technicality, in their eagerness for justice, had no
wish to disregard justice by refusing a hearing to persons on their
defense. Whatever the faults of the Athenian democracy, it was at least
ready to hear both sides. When therefore Euryptolemus rose to address
the assembly on behalf of the generals, an instantaneous silence
followed; nor was he interrupted during the delivery of his speech
except, it may be, by occasional murmurs of approval. He spoke as
follows:

"Men of Athens, I have three things to do now that I address you. First,
I have to blame in some degree my dear friend and kinsman Pericles, and
my friend Diomedon; second, I have to plead somewhat on their behalf;
third, I have to give you such advice as will in my judgment best
advantage Athens. I blame them because they, through their generous
temper, have taken upon themselves the fault which, if it exists, lies
upon others. For indeed what happened after the battle was this:
Diomedon advised that the whole fleet should proceed to the relief of
the disabled ships and their crews. Herasinides counselled that the
whole fleet should be sent in pursuit of the enemy. Meranylus declared
that both duties might be discharged together, part being sent against
the enemy, and part to help the shipwrecked men. And this last course
was actually taken. Forty-seven ships were told off for this duty.
Three, that is, from each of the eight divisions, ten belong to private
captains, ten that were from Samos, and three that belonged to the
commander-in-chief. And three ships were committed to the charge of
Thrasybulus and Theramenes, the very men who now bring these charges
against the accused. Yet these men I do not even now, on behalf of the
generals, myself accuse. I allow that the violence of the storm
prevented them from executing this order which had been given them.

"So far then, men of Athens, do I blame the accused, and I do plead for
them. And now let me venture to give you some advice. Give these men
time, if it be but one day only, to make their defence. You know that
there is yet a form of law by which it is enacted: 'If any person hath
aggrieved the people of Athens, he shall be imprisoned and brought to a
trial before the people; and in case he be convicted, he shall be put to
death and thrown into the pit, his goods and chattels to be confiscated
to the state, reserving a tenth part for the goddess.' By this law try
the accused. Give to each a separate day and try them in due order. So
will you judge them according to the law, and not seem, as verily you
will seem if you adopt the resolution of Callixenus, to be allies of the
Lacedæmonians, by putting to death the very men who have taken twenty of
their ships.

"Why indeed are you in such vehement haste? Are you afraid to lose your
hold of life and death? That right no one doubts or threatens. Should
you not rather be afraid lest you put an innocent man to death? One man
do I say, nay many innocent men? And lest, afterwards repenting of your
deed, you shall reflect how ill and unjustly you have acted? Forbid it,
ye gods, that the Athenians should do any such thing. Take care,
therefore, I implore you, that you, being successful, do not act as they
often act, who are on the brink of despair and ruin. Only those who are
without hope insult the gods; yet somehow you will insult them, if
instead of submitting to them on points that are subject to their will
alone, you condemn those men who failed because it was the pleasure of
the gods that they should fail. You would do more justly if you honor
these men with crowns of victory rather than visit them with this
punishment of death."

A visible effect was produced by this speech. That the republic should
put to death its successful generals almost in the moment of victory
seemed to many to be the very height of folly, even of impiety. The gods
had favored these men. To lay hands upon them would be an insult to
heaven. But supposing they had erred, would it be well for the state to
deprive itself of the services of its most skillful servants? This
seemed the common sense view. The question was: would it prevail against
the sticklers for law, those who were hardened by the sense of personal
loss, and the unscrupulous partisans who were ready to seize any pretext
for destroying political opponents? The voters filed past the balloting
urns, and dropped their votes as they passed. No one could guess what
the result would be, for no one could watch more than one of the ten
pairs of urns--a pair to each tribe--which were placed to receive the
suffrages. The process took no little time, and then when it was
finished, there was the counting, also a long and tedious process. It
was almost dark when the tables were finished.

In the midst of a profound silence the presiding magistrate stood up. It
was now dark, and his figure was thrown into striking relief by the
lamps with the help of which the votes had been counted. He read the
numbers from a small slip of paper.[39] "There have voted," he said,
"for condemnation 3254, for acquittal 3102."

The sensation produced by the announcement was intense. Not a few who
had voted 'guilty' already half repented of what they had done. Indeed
the reaction which ended in the banishment and ultimately the death by
starvation of the author of the proposal may be said to have begun at
that moment. The general excitement rose to a still higher pitch when
the officers of the Eleven, the magistrates to whose custody condemned
criminals were handed, were seen making their way, lighted by slaves
holding torches, to the place where the accused were sitting. There was
not one of the six whose features were not familiar to many in the
assembly. More than one had tendered distinguished service to Athens;
and one, Pericles, son of the great statesman by Aspasia, bore a name
which no Athenian could pronounce without some emotion of pride and
gratitude. It so happened that it was he on whom the officers laid
hands. Something like a groan went up from the crowd; but it was too
late to undo what they had done, and it was too early for the repentance
that had already begun to work to have any practical effect. The six
were led off to immediate execution.

Callias anxious to say a few words of farewell to his friend and kinsman
Diomedon had hurried round, as soon as he heard the announcement of the
numbers, to the door by which he knew the condemned would be taken from
the place of assembly. The president of the Eleven who was conducting
the matter in person, as became an occasion so important, allowed a
brief interview.

The young man was so overcome with grief that he could only throw
himself into the arms of his friend and cling to him in speechless
agony. Diomedon, on the contrary, was perfectly calm and collected. "My
son," he said, "this has ended as badly as I thought that it would--you
will remember what I said to you after the battle. For myself, this that
I am about to suffer is scarcely a thing to be lamented. It is hard
indeed to have such a return for my services to Athens; and I would
gladly have served her again. It has not so seemed good to the
Athenians. Let it be so. I am delivered from trouble to come. I would
not have fled from them willingly, but if my countrymen compel me, why
should I complain? That at least Socrates has taught me not to do. And
this day has at least brought this good, that no one can doubt hereafter
that he believes what he says. For you, my son, I have but one word. Do
not despair of your country. A grateful child pays his dues of nurture
even to an impassive mother. And now farewell!"

An hour afterwards he and his colleagues were lying mangled corpses at
the bottom of the pit.[40]

FOOTNOTES:

[36] Xenophon, who was probably in Athens at the time, positively
asserts that this was done, and I cannot think that the arguments of Mr.
Grote countervail his authority.

[37] The "Eleven" were commissioners of police who had, besides the
charge of the guardians of public order, the care of the prisoners, and
the custody of criminals.

[38] One of the most notorious instances in modern times was that of the
Tartar who after the battle of the Alma invented the news that
Sebastopol was taken. The report was almost universally believed in
England for some days, and the contradiction of it caused the bitterest
disappointment.

[39] Paper made from the rind of the _papyrus_, a reed which grew in the
Nile and which the Egyptians knew by the name of _Byblos_ (hence our
'bible'). Parchment in its present form did not become common till much
later than this time (even B. C. 150), though skin seems to have been
used for writing. For ordinary purposes paper was used.

[40] Mr. Grote says that the condemned generals drank hemlock but it is
evident from the report of Euryptolemus which is substantially taken
from Xenophon's report that the mode of execution for persons condemned
under such charges as that brought against the generals was by being
thrown into the Pit. This place was called the _Barathron_ and was
within the city walls and was a deep pit with hooks fastened into the
walls. The officer in charge of it was called "The Man of the Pit."



CHAPTER XI.

RESCUED.


The execution of the generals was a blow of such severity that Callias
was absolutely prostrated by it. As a patriotic Athenian he felt
overwhelmed both with shame and with despair. That his country should be
capable of such ingratitude and folly, should allow private revenge or
party spite to deprive her of the generals who could lead her troops to
victory made it impossible to hope. The end must be near, for the gods
must have smitten her with the madness which they send upon those whom
they are determined to destroy. And then he had loved Diomedon almost as
a son loves a father. Left an orphan at an early age he had found in
this kinsman an affectionate and loyal guardian; and he had made his
first acquaintance with war under his auspices. He had in him a friend
whom he felt it would be quite impossible to replace.

For some days Callias remained in strict seclusion at home, refusing all
visitors, and, in fact, seeing no one, except the aged house-steward,
who had been now the faithful servant and friend of three generations of
his family. Even when Hippocles himself, on the fifth day after the
disastrous meeting of the assembly, sent in an urgent request that he
might be allowed to see him, the steward was directed to meet him with
the same refusal. The old man contrary to his custom of prompt and
unhesitating obedience, lingered in the room after he had received this
answer, and was obviously anxious to speak. "Well! Lycides," said the
young man, his attention attracted even in the midst of his
preoccupation by this unusual circumstance, "What is it? What do you
want?"

"It would be well, sir," replied the man, "if you would see the worthy
Hippocles. He declares that the affair of which he is come is one of the
very highest importance."

Callias simply shook his head.

The steward began again, "Oh! sir--"

Callius interrupted him. "You are an old man, and a friend whom my
father and my grandfather trusted, and I would not say a harsh word to
you. But if you will not leave the room, I must."

The old man's eyes filled with tears. He had never heard his young
master speak in such a tone before. Still he would not go, without
making another effort.

He rapidly advanced to where his master was sitting, his face buried in
his hands, and throwing himself on the ground, caught the young man by
the knees.

"Listen, sir," he cried, "I implore you, by the gods, and by the memory
of your father and your grandfather, who both died in my arms."

"Speak on," cried Callias. "It seems I am not my own master any longer."

"Oh! sir," the old man continued, "your liberty, your life is in
danger."

These words, uttered as they were in a tone of conviction that could
not be mistaken, startled the young man out of the indifference which
his profound depression had hardened.

"What do you mean?" he cried.

"I have known it since yesterday at noon," the steward replied, "and
have been anxiously thinking over with myself how I could best make it
known to you. And now Hippocles has come to say the same thing. For the
sake of all the gods, trust and listen to what he has to tell you."

"Bring him in, if you will have it so," said Callias.

Hippocles came into the room with outstretched hands and caught the
young man in a close embrace. The warmth and tenderness of this greeting
had the happiest result. Callias was moved from the stupor of grief
which had overwhelmed him. Bowing his head on his friend's shoulder, he
burst into a passion of tears,--for tears were a relief which the most
heroic souls of the ancient world did not refuse to themselves. His
friend allowed his feelings to express themselves without restraint, and
then as the violence of the young man's emotion began to subside, he put
in a few words, instinct with heartfelt sympathy, about the friend whom
they had lost. Thus, with his usual tact, he waited for Callias himself
to open the subject in which he now felt sure his interest had been
aroused. It was soon after that the young man asked: "What is this that
old Lycides has been saying about my liberty and life being in danger?
He has known it, he says, since yesterday, and you know it too. What can
he mean?"

"He is quite right," replied Hippocles. "He knows something and I know
something. Now listen. Your parting with Diomedon was observed. The men
who murdered him--and by all the gods! there never was a fouler murder
done in Athens--cannot but look for vengeance to come upon them. To
avoid it or to postpone it they will stick at nothing. No near friend or
relative of their victims is safe. I know--for I have friends in places
you would not think--mark you, I _know_ that your name is among those
who will be accused in the next assembly."

"Accused," cried Callias, "accused of what? Of being bound by kindred
and affection to one of the noblest of men. By heavens! let them accuse
me. I should glory to stand and defend myself on such a charge. If I
could only tell that villain Theramenes what I think of him I should be
afraid of nothing."

"That is exactly what I thought you would say," replied Hippocles, "nor
can I blame you. But have patience. Theramenes will get his deserts if
there are gods in heaven and furies in hell. But have patience. Leave
his punishment to them. But meanwhile don't give him the chance of
burdening his soul with another crime."

"What would you have me do then?" asked Callias.

"Fly from Athens," replied his older friend.

"What! fly, and leave these traitors and murderers to enjoy their
triumph! Not so; not if I were to die to-morrow."

"My dear young friend, you will help your country, which, in spite of
all her faults, you wish, I presume, to serve, and avenge your friends
all the more surely if you will yield to the necessities of the time."

"Don't press me any further: it would be a dishonor to me to leave
Athens now."

The argument was continued for some time longer; but Hippocles could not
flatter himself with the idea that he had made any impression. At last
he seemed to abandon the attempt.

"Well," he said, "a willful man must have his way. I can only hope that
you will never live to repent it. But you will not refuse to come and
see us--my daughter adds her invitation to mine--you will not be so
ungallant as to refuse."

"No, I should not think of refusing," said Callias. "You have called me
back to life. I thought that my heart would have burnt with grief and
rage. You can't imagine what your sympathy is to me."

"Well," said Hippocles, "show your gratitude by dining with us
to-night."

Callias promised that he would, and accordingly at the time appointed
presented himself at the merchant's house.

After dinner the discussion was resumed. Hippocles and Hermione urged
all the arguments that they knew to persuade the young man to think of
his own safety, but they urged in vain.

"No!" said the young man, as he rose to take his leave, "no, I thank you
for your care for me, but your advice I may not follow. I refuse to
believe that the Athenian people can keep the the base and ungrateful
temper which they showed the other day. It was the madness of an hour,
and they must have repented of it long ago. If they have not, then an
honest man who happens to be born into this citizenship had best die.
Athens is no place for him. Anyhow, I shall try, at the very next
assembly, unless I can get some other and abler man than I am to do it
for me, to indict Callixenus for unconstitutional practices. Did I pass
by this occasion of vengeance, the blood of Diomedon and his brave
colleagues might well cry out of the ground against me."

Several days passed without any disturbing incident. Callias had
warnings indeed. Mysterious letters were brought to him, bidding him
beware of dangers that were imminent; more than one stranger who found
him in the streets let fall, it seemed by the merest accident, words
that could not but be meant to give a warning; friends spoke openly to
the same effect; but the young man remained unmoved. At the table of
Hippocles, where he was a frequent guest, the subject was dropped. It
seemed to be conceded by common consent that Callias was to have his own
way.

He was returning to his home in the upper city from the Piraeus on a
dark and stormy night, picking his way under the shelter of one of the
Long Walls[41] when he felt himself suddenly seized from behind. So
suddenly and so skilfully made was the attack that in an instant the
young man, though sufficiently active and vigorous, was reduced to
absolute helplessness. His arms were fastened to his side; his legs
pinioned; his eyes blindfolded, and a gag thrust into his mouth. All
this was done without any unnecessary violence, but with a firmness that
made resistance impossible. The young man then felt himself lifted on to
some conveyance which had been waiting, it seemed, in the neighborhood,
and driven rapidly in a northerly direction. So much the prisoner could
guess from feeling the wind which he knew had been coming from the east,
blowing upon his right cheek. After being driven rapidly for a few
minutes the gag was removed with an apology for the necessity that had
compelled its use. The journey was continued with unabated and even
increased rapidity, the lash, as Callias' ear told him, being freely
used to urge the animals to their full speed. Before long the sound of
the waves breaking upon the shore could be distinctly heard above the
clatter of the horses' hoofs and the grinding of the chariot wheels upon
the road. Then came a stoppage. The prisoner was lifted from his seat
and put on board what he guessed to be a small boat. He felt that this
was pushed out from the land, that it began by making fair progress, and
that not long after starting, when it had passed, as he conjectured
beyond the shelter of some bay or promontory, it began to meet bad
weather. The waves were breaking, it was easy to tell, over the boat, in
which the water was rising in spite of the efforts of the men who were
busy bailing to keep it under. It was time for our hero to speak; so
busy were the sailors in struggling with their difficulties, that they
might easily have forgotten their prisoner, and let him go to the bottom
like a stone.

"Friends," he cried, "you had best let me help you and myself."

"By Poseidon! I had forgotten him," he heard one of the men cry. "If he
drowns there will be no profit to us in floating." A consultation
carried on in low, rapid whispers followed. It ended in the prisoner's
bonds being severed, and the bandage being removed from his eyes.

When the situation became visible to the young Athenian it was certainly
far from encouraging. The boat was low in the water, and was getting
lower. It was evident that it could not live more than a few minutes
more. The night was dark, and the sea so high that even the most expert
swimmer could not expect to survive very long. The only hope seemed to
lie in the chance of being blown ashore. But obviously the first thing
to be done was to prepare for a swim. Callias, accordingly, threw off
his upper garment and untied his sandals. This done he waited for the
end.

It was not long in coming. The boat was too low in the water to rise to
the waves, and one of unusual size now broke over and swamped it,
immersing the crew, who numbered nine persons including Callias. Happily
they were good swimmers, and if speedy help were to come, might hope to
escape. And, luckily, help was nearer than any of them had hoped. A
light became visible in the darkness; and the swimmers shouted in
concert to let the new comers know of their whereabouts. An answering
shout came from the galley, for as may be supposed, it was a galley that
carried the light. "Be of good cheer," shouted a voice which Callias
thought that he recognized. The swimmers shouted in answer, and felt new
hope and new life infused into them. But the rescue was no easy task.
Each man in turn had to fasten under his armpits a rope with a noose at
the end which was thrown to him, and was then drawn up the side of the
galley. This took time. Some of the men found it hard to do their part
of the work, and so delayed the rescue of the others. By the time that
Callias was reached, and he was the last of the nine, he was almost
beyond the reach of help. By one supreme effort, however, he managed to
slip the rope about him. As he was dragged on to the deck the last
conscious impression that he had--and so strange was it that he thought
it must be a dream--was the face of Hermione bent over him with an
expression of intense anxiety.

FOOTNOTES:

[41] The "Long Walls" ran from Athens down to its chief harbor the
Piraeus.



CHAPTER XII.

THE VOYAGE OF THE SKYLARK.


It was not long before Callias recovered his consciousness; but he was
so worn out by excitement and fatigue, coming as they did after the
exhausting emotions through which he had passed since the death of the
generals, that he found it impossible to rouse himself to any exertion.
The yacht, which as my readers will have guessed was that excellent
sea-boat the _Skylark_, had never been in any danger, though she had had
to be very skillfully handled while she was engaged in picking up the
swimmers. This task accomplished, her head was put northward, and before
very long she had gained the shelter of Euboea. Callias guessed as
much when he found that she ceased to roll, and gladly resigned himself
to the slumber against which he had hitherto done his best to struggle.
He slept late into the morning; indeed it wanted only an hour of noon
when at last he opened his eyes. The first object that they fell upon
was the figure of Hippocles, who was sitting by the side of his berth.

"Then it was not a dream," said the young man. "I thought I saw your
daughter on board last night, but could not believe my eyes."

"Yes, she is on board," said Hippocles, with a slight smile playing
about the corners of his mouth.

"But tell me what it all means. I was seized in the streets of Athens,
pinioned, blindfolded, and gagged. I was carried off I know not where,
thrown into a boat, as nearly as possible drowned, and now, when I come
to myself, I see you. Surely I have a right to ask what it means."

"My dear Callias," replied Hippocles, "I have always tried to be your
friend, as it was my priviledge to be your father's before you. You will
allow so much?"

"Certainly," said the young man. "I shall never forget how much I owe
you."

"Well, then, trust me for an hour. I will not ask you to do anything
more. If you are not fully satisfied then, I will make you any redress
that you may demand. I know that you have a right to ask for it. I
know," he added with an air of proud humility that sat very well upon
him, "that Hippocles the Alien is asking a great favor when he makes
such a request of Callias the Eupatrid,[42] but believe me I do not ask
it without a reason."

The young Athenian could do nothing else than consent to a request so
reasonable. Some irritation he felt, for there was no doubt in his mind
that Hippocles had had something to do with the violence to which he had
been subjected. The intention, however, had been manifestly friendly,
and there might be something to tell which would change annoyance into
gratitude.

A sailor now brought him some refreshment, and when this had been
disposed of, another furnished him with some clothing. His own, it will
be remembered, he had thrown away, when preparing to swim for his life.
His toilet completed, he came up on deck and found Hippocles and his
daughter seated near the stern. Both rose to greet him. He could not
fail to observe that Hermione was pale and agitated. The frank
friendliness of her old manner, which, blended as it had been with a
perfect maidenly modesty, had been inexpressibly charming, had
disappeared. She was now timid and hesitating. She could not lift her
eyes when she acknowleged his greeting. He could even see that she
trembled.

The young man stood astonished and perplexed. What was this strange
reserve of which he had never before seen a trace? Was there anything in
himself that had caused it? Had he--so he asked himself, being a modest
young fellow and ready to lay the blame on his own shoulders--had he
given any offence?

"Tell him the story, father," she said, after an anxious pause during
which her agitation manifestly increased, "tell him the story. I feel
that I cannot speak."

"My little girl has a confession to make. In a word, it is her doing
that you are here to-day."

"Her doing that I am here to-day," echoed Callias, his astonishment
giving a certain harshness to his voice.

The girl burst into tears. Callias stepped forward, and would have
caught her hand. She drew back.

"Tell him, father, tell him all," she whispered again in an agitated
voice.

"Well then," said her father, "if I must confess your misdeeds, I will
speak. You know," he went on addressing himself to the young Athenian,
"you know how we vainly sought to persuade you to leave Athens. I had a
better and stronger reason for speaking as I did than I could tell you.
From private information, the source of which I could not divulge, if
you had asked it, as you probably would have done, I had found out that
you were in the most serious danger. Not only were you to be
arrested--so much you know--but having been arrested, you were to be put
out of the way. You talked of answering for yourself before the
assembly, even of accusing your enemies and the men who murdered your
friends. You never would have had the chance. There are diseases
strangely sudden and fatal to which prisoners are liable, and there was
only too much reason to fear that you would be attacked by one of them.
There are other poisons, you know, besides the hemlock, which the state
administers to the condemned, and an adverse verdict is not always
wanted before they are given. Well; we were at our wits' end. You were
obstinate--pardon me for using the word--and I would not tell you the
whole truth. Even if I had, it was doubtful, in the temper of mind you
were in, whether you would have believed me. Then Hermione here came to
the rescue. 'We must save him,' she cried, 'against his will.' 'How can
we do that?' I asked; and I assure you that I had not the least idea of
what she meant. 'You must contrive to carry him off to some safe place.'
I was astonished. 'What!' I said, 'a free citizen of Athens.' 'What will
that help him, with the men who are plotting to take his life?' she
answered. Then she told me her plan. I need not describe it to you. It
was carried out exactly. Now can you forgive her?"

"Oh! lady"--the young man began.

"Stop a moment," cried Hippocles. "I have something more to say, before
you pronounce your judgment. You must take into account that if she has
erred, she has already suffered."

"Oh! father," interrupted the girl, "it is enough; say nothing more. I
am ready to bear the blame."

And she sank back into her seat and covered her face with her mantle.

Hippocles went on: "I say she has suffered. We did not reckon on that
unlucky wind. It was bad enough to have carried you off against your
will; but when it seemed that we might drown you as well, that looked
serious. I was not much afraid, myself. I felt pretty sure that we
should be able to pick you up. But still there was a chance of something
going wrong. And she, of course, felt responsible for it all. It was
true that it was the only way of saving you--that, I swear by Zeus and
Athene, and all the gods above and below, is the simple, literal
fact--but still, I must own, it was a trying moment, and if anything
_had_ happened--Then you were the last to be picked up, and just at the
last moment, something went wrong. The clumsy fellow at the helm--I
ought to have been there myself, but I wanted to help in getting you on
board--the clumsy fellow at the helm, I say, gave us a wrong turn. We
should have had a world of trouble in bringing the _Skylark_ about
again. Hermione saw it, sprang to the tiller, and put things right--I
have always taught her how to steer. So you really owe her something for
that. I don't exactly say that she saved your life, but you might have
been in the water a little longer than you liked. Well, it was trying to
the poor girl. I can imagine how she felt; but she bore up till we got
you on board. Then she fainted; for the very first time in her life, I
give you my word, for she is not given to that sort of thing. Now, say,
can you forgive her and us? We really did it for the best, and thanks to
Poseidon, it has ended pretty well, so far, after all."

"This is no case for forgiveness," cried the young Athenian earnestly;
"it is a case of gratitude which I shall never exhaust as long as I
live. I am a headstrong young fool, a silly child, in fact, and you were
quite right in dealing with me as grown people must deal with a child,
help it and do it good against its will. Forgive me, lady," he went on,
and kneeling before her chair, he took one of her hands in his own, and
carried it to his lips.

So far all was well. A bold achievement had ended happily, but the
situation was a little strained, to use a common phrase, and Callias,
like the well bred gentleman that he was, felt that it would be a relief
to the girl if it was brought to an end. Happily, too, at that moment
the ludicrous side of the affair struck him, and it was without any
affectation that he sprang to his feet and burst into a hearty laugh.

"And now that you have captured me," he said, "what is your pleasure?
What are you going to do with me?"

"You shall go where you please," said Hippocles. "Even if you want to
return to Athens I will not hinder you. But my plan is this, subject of
course, to your consent. Come with me as far as Thasus. I have business
there, to look after my vineyard, or rather the vintage. My people, I
find, are sadly apt to blunder about it. This will take me no little
time, and while I am engaged there, the _Skylark_ shall take you on to
Alcibiades' castle in Thrace. I was going to say that I would commend
you to him. But that will not be necessary. He is, you know, a distant
kinsman, and is hospitality itself. In my judgment he has had hard
usage. It would have been better for Athens, if she had trusted him
more. But all that is past. Meanwhile I think that his castle is the
safest place for you just now. You and he are very much in the same
case, I fancy. Athens has not treated either of you fairly and yet you
wish well to her."

"Your plan seems a good one," replied Callias, "let me think it over for
a few hours. Anyhow you shall have my company as far as Thasus, if you
will accept it."

Meanwhile the _Skylark_ was making headway gaily through the
well-sheltered waters that lie between Euboea and the mainland of
Greece. When the shelter ceased the wind had fallen, shifting at the
same time to the south-west. Nearly two hundred miles had yet to be
traversed before Thasus could be sighted, and this was accomplished
without accident or delay. The time of year was later than a Greek
seaman commonly chose for a voyage of any duration, for it was the
latter end of October, and the ninth of November was the extreme limit
of the sailing season.[43] Hippocles, however, was more venturesome in
this way than most of his contemporaries, and his confidence was
rewarded by a most pleasant and prosperous voyage. So blue were the
cloudless skies, so deep the answering color of the seas, that it was
only when the travellers saw the sunset tints on the forest-clad ridge
of Thasus--"the ass's back-bone laden with wood," as it was
called--that they remembered that summer had long since given place to
autumn.

Two days were spent in a visit to the vineyard which Hippocles had come
to inspect, and then Callias, who had soon concluded to follow his
friend's advice, resumed his voyage. The course of the _Skylark_ was now
south-easterly. The voyage had all the interest of novelty for him, for
he had never before visited these waters. When the _Skylark_ started at
early dawn there was a mist which contracted the horizon. As this
cleared away under the increasing power of the sun the striking peak of
Samothrace became visible in the distance. All day its bold outlines
became more and more clearly defined. On the following morning--for the
good ship pursued her course all night--it had been left behind, but
another height, not less striking in appearance, and even more
interesting in its associations, the snow-capped Ida, at whose feet lay
the world-famed Trojan plains, took its place. As evening fell the
_Skylark_ was brought to land at the western end of the Hellespont, the
rapid current of which could be better encountered by the rowers when
they had been refreshed by a night's rest. Progress was now somewhat
slow; and it was on the afternoon of the fourth day after the start from
Thasus that the cliffs of Bisanthe and the northern shore of the
Propontis came in sight. This was our hero's destination, for it was
here that Alcibiades, after quitting Athens in the previous year, had
fixed his abode.

FOOTNOTES:

[42] The Eupatridae were the old aristocracy of Athens. Under the early
constitution they were the ruling castæ, and they always retained the
monopoly of certain religious offices.

[43] "The seas are closed," says Vegetius in his treatise _De Re
Militari_, "from the ninth of November to the tenth of March."



CHAPTER XIII.

ALCIBIADES.


The sun was just setting when the _Skylark_ cast anchor about two
hundred yards from the shore and opposite the castle with which the
loftiest point of the cliffs was crowned. The signal flag which the
captain ran up to his mast-head was answered by another from the castle,
and in a few minutes a boat was seen to start from a little quay which
had been built out into the sea at the foot of the cliff. Callias had
written a letter to Alcibiades in which he briefly described himself and
his errand, and Hippocles, though modestly depreciating the value of any
thing that he could say, had also written, at the young man's request, a
letter of introduction. These documents were handed over to the officer
in charge of the boat, and conveyed by him to the castle. After a very
short delay the boat returned again, this time in the charge of an
officer of obviously higher rank. This higher personage mounted the side
of the _Skylark_, and after giving a courteous greeting to Callias,
delivered to him an invitation from Alcibiades to make his castle his
home for as long a period as he might find it convenient to stay there,
explaining at the same time that his master would have come in person to
welcome his guest, if he had not been detained by business of importance
with a neighboring chief. The young Athenian's baggage--for he had been
liberally fitted out by the thoughtful and generous care of
Hippocles--was transferred to the boat, and in a few minutes more he had
set his foot on the landing-place.

He had been speculating as he neared the shore, about the way in which
the castle was to be approached. An observer looking from the sea might
have thought that there was no way of getting to it except by scaling
the almost perpendicular base of the cliff. Once landed on the quay,
however, the traveller discovered that a passage had been cut through
the cliff. This passage, which could be closed at its lower end by a
massive door, was something like a winding staircase. It was somewhat
stifling and dark, though light and air were occasionally admitted by
holes bored to the outer surface of the rock. Its upper end opened in to
a courtyard round which the castle was built. The approach from the sea
was, it will have been seen, sufficiently secure. On that side indeed
the castle of Bisanthe was absolutely impregnable. From the land, it
was, to say the least, safely defensible. It was approached by one
narrow ridge, so formed that a few resolute men could hold it against a
numerous body of assailants. The walls were lofty and massive, and so
constructed that a galling fire of missiles could be kept up on either
flank of an attacking force.

Callias was escorted to his chamber by a young Thracian slave, who
informed him in broken speech that a bath room in which he would find
hot and cold water was at his service, and further that his master hoped
to have the pleasure of his company at supper in an hour's time. The
chamber, it may be said, was furnished with a clepsydra, or
water-clock, marked with divisions.[44]

Callias awaited his introduction to his host with no little curiosity.
Alcibiades was, as has been said, a kinsman of his own, and he had heard
of him--what Athenian, indeed, had not,--but he had never happened to
see him. Callias' father had been an aristocrat of the old-fashioned
type, and had so strongly disapproved of his cousin's reckless and
extravagant behavior that he had broken off all intercourse with him,
and had been particularly careful that his son should never come in
contact with him. Callias was about fourteen when Alcibiades left Athens
in command (along with two colleagues) of the Sicilian expedition. The
absence thus begun lasted about eight years. For the first half of this
time he was an exile; for the second half in command of the fleets and
armies of Athens, but still postponing his return to his native city.
Then came his brief visit, lasting it would seem, only a few days,[45]
and at that time Callias, as it happened, had been absent in foreign
service. He was now in what was or should have been, the prime of life,
having just completed his forty-fourth year, but the dissipation of his
youth and early manhood and the anxieties of his later years had left
their mark upon him, and he looked older than his age. Yet there were
traces of the brilliant beauty that in earlier days had helped to make
him the spoiled darling of Athens. The wrinkles had begun to gather
about his eyes, but they were still singularly lustrous, and could
either flash with anger, or melt with tenderness. His temples were
hollow and his cheeks had somewhat fallen in; but his complexion was
almost as brilliant as ever, while the abundant auburn curls that fell
clustering about his neck had scarcely a streak of gray in them.

His greeting to his guest was more than courteous. It was affectionate,
exactly such as was fitting from an older to a younger relative. Indeed
then, as ever afterward during their acquaintance, Callias was greatly
struck by the perfection of his manners. It seemed impossible that the
stories told of his haughty insolence by which in former years he had
made himself one of the best-hated men in Athens could possibly be true.

Supper was announced shortly after Callias had been ushered into the
chamber. Alcibiades took his guest by the hand, led him into the
dining-room, and assigned him a place next to himself. Some other guests
were present. Two of these were officers in the military force which
Alcibiades maintained in his stronghold; the third was an aged man, who
had been his tutor many years, and for whom he retained an affection
that was honorable to both master and pupil. The fourth was the Thracian
chief with whom Alcibiades had been engaged when the _Skylark_ arrived.

The meal was simple. The chief feature was one of the huge turbot for
which the Euxine was famous.

"That would have cost a fortune in the fish market at Athens," said the
host pointing to the dish, "even if it could have been procured at all.
Here a fisherman thinks himself well paid for such a monster by three,
or at the most, four _drachmae_."[46]

A piece of venison and a platter of quails were the other dishes. The
second course consisted of a maize pudding and some sweet-meats.

During the repast the conversation turned speedily on local matters, and
was carried on (but not till after a courteous apology had been offered
to the young Athenian) in the bastard Greek largely mixed with Thracian
words, in which the chief was accustomed to express himself. The meal
ended, a handsome silver cup was handed by the major-domo, a venerable
looking man, who made the comfort of his master and his most honored
guests his special care. Alcibiades took it and poured out a few drops
upon the table, uttering as he did so, the words: "To Athene the
Champion." This was equivalent to the loyal toasts of an English
banquet. He then took a very moderate draught, the wine being unmixed,
in obedience to the rule which demanded that all wine used in religious
ceremonies--and this libation was such a ceremony--should be pure.[47]
He then tipped the cup to each guest in turn. All were equally moderate,
for it was not the custom, even for a Greek drunkard, it may be said, to
drink his wine unmixed. But when the cup came to the Thracian chief he
drank a deep draught as if the liquor had been liberally diluted.
Callias who had never been at table with a Thracian before, watched the
man with amazement. He saw that while the other guests were supplied
with the usual mixtures of wine and water the chief remained steadfast
in his devotion to the undiluted liquid, and that he emptied his cup at
a draught, and that the cup itself was of an unusual capacity. Nor did
the drinker seem affected by these extraordinary potations, except that
his voice became louder, and his manner more boastful. At last, however,
and that without a moment's notice, he rolled over senseless on his
back. So sudden was the change that it suggested the idea of a fit.

"Is he ill?" he whispered in some alarm, to his neighbor.

"Ill? not a whit. It is the way in which he always finishes his
evenings. His slaves will carry him to bed, and he will awake to-morrow
morning without the suspicion of a headache. Bacchus, I verily believe,
has a special favor for these fellows, and, truly, they do worship him
with a most admirable earnestness."

The Thracian's collapse was the signal for breaking up the party.
Callias and the old tutor, Timanthes by name, declined to drink any
more, and the two officers, who were on duty for the night, departed to
make their round. Strong as was the place Alcibiades omitted no
precautions for its safe custody. Timanthes, who was old and feeble
retired to rest.

"Come with me to my own room," said Alcibiades to his guest, "we shall
be here alone."

The chamber to which he led the way was little like what one would have
expected to find in free-booter's stronghold, for really the castle of
Bisanthe was more of that than anything else. Art and letters were amply
represented in it. On one wall hung a panel painting[48] by Polygnotus,
a masterly composition, of that serenity, that ethical meaning, as the
great critic Aristotle expresses it, which was characteristic of the
artist. This represented the gods in council at Olympus. It was faced on
the opposite wall by an exceedingly graceful painting from the hand of
Xeuxis, Aphrodite and the Graces, and a spirited picture by the same
artist, of the duel between Ajax and Hector. There were other works by
men of less note. Sculpture was represented by only a single specimen, a
bust of Socrates.

"Paintings are easily carried about," Alcibiades afterwards explained to
his guest, "but sculpture is inconveniently heavy. You will understand
that a man in my situation has always to be ready for a move; and I
always like to have two or three really good things that I can always
take with me. One bust, indeed, I have indulged myself with, that of my
old teacher. Ah! if I had heard him to more purpose, I should not be
here! You know him, of course?"

Callias said that he did.

"An excellent likeness! is it not? Who would think that such features
concealed a soul so divinely beautiful? Did you have any talk with him
when you were in Athens?"

"Yes," replied Callias, "and I admired above all things his practical
wisdom. But what was that to what I afterwards saw of him?"

And he went on to relate how the philosopher stood firm, though in
imminent peril of his life, and had steadfastly refused to put the
unconstitutional proposal of Callixenus to the assembly.

Alcibiades heard the story with uncontrollable delight. He started up
from his seat, and walked up and down the room with flashing eyes. "Tell
me everything about it," he said, and he insisted upon the repetition of
every detail. "That is magnificent," he cried, when his curiosity had
been satisfied. "That is exactly what one would have expected from
Socrates. I suppose that it is the very first time that he ever acted as
presiding magistrate--he had never been so, I know, when I left Athens,
nor have I heard of his having been since--and that first time he did
what nobody else dared to do. You say that the others gave way?"

"Yes," replied Callias, "they stood up against it at first, but gave in
afterwards. Socrates was absolutely alone, and at last they put the
question without him."

"It is just like him," cried Alcibiades with enthusiasm.

"He is simply the bravest and most enduring man alive. I could tell you
stories about him that would astonish you. We served together in the
campaign at Potidæa. Indeed we were in the same mess. When we had short
commons, as we had many a time, there was no one like him in holding
out. He seemed to be able to go without food altogether, but when we had
plenty, he could enjoy it as well as anybody. We had a foolish way, as
young men will, of making people drink whether they wished it or not.
But nothing ever affected Socrates. No one ever saw him one whit the
worse for what he had taken. And as for the way in which he bore cold,
it was absolutely incredible, only that one saw it with one's own eyes.
The winters here are terrible, as you will find out, if, as I hope you
will, you stop with me, but he used to make nothing of them. During the
very hardest frost we had, when every one who could, stayed in doors,
and those who were obliged to go out, wrapped themselves till you would
hardly know them, he wore nothing but his common cloak, and went
absolutely barefoot.

"Once, I remember, something came into his mind. That was in the early
morning. Well, he stood trying to think it out till noon, and from noon
he went on till evening. Some Greeks from Asia wanted to see how long
this would go on; so, after dinner, they brought out their mattresses,
and took up their quarters for the night in the open air--it was
summer-time, you must understand. Some of them slept, and some watched
him, taking it by turns. Their report was that he stood there till
morning, and the sun rose, and that then he made a prayer to the sun,
and so went to his quarters.

"His courage, too, is astonishing. In one of the battles at Potidæa he
saved my life. I had been wounded and must infallibly have been killed,
if it had not been for him. He took me up and carried me off to our
line. The generals gave me the prize for valor, when they ought, by
right, to have given it to him. But they took account of my family and
rank, and curiously enough, he was just as anxious as they were that I
should have it and not he. Then at Delium, again, when the day went
against us, and the army was in full retreat. I was in the cavalry; he
was serving as a foot soldier. Our men would not keep together, and he
and Laches--he was killed, afterward, at Mantinea--were making the best
of their way back. I rode up to them and told them to keep up their
courage and I would not leave them. A cavalry soldier has, you know, a
great advantage in a retreat. There was no need to tell Socrates to keep
up his courage. Laches, I could see, though a brave enough man, was
terribly frightened; but Socrates was as cool as a man could be. He held
up his head finely, and marched steadily on. It was plain enough to see
that anyone who meddled with him would find out his mistake. The end of
it was that he got back safe, and brought Laches back safe also. The
fact is that at such times it is the men who are in a hurry to get away
that are cut down. I do not think that there ever was a braver man than
Socrates. And what you have just been telling me bears it out. A man may
be brave enough in battle and be timidly frightened when the assembly is
howling and raging against him. This has been a dismal business of the
generals and I have never been so near despairing of my country, as I
have since I heard it. How is it possible to help a city that makes
such a requital to those who save her? But still, while there are men
like Socrates in her, all is not lost. But no more now; you must be
weary, and ready to sleep. There will be plenty of time hereafter to
talk. And now farewell."

FOOTNOTES:

[44] It is convenient in a narrative to speak of "hours," and the Greeks
had a division of time that was so named. But it must not be supposed
that these hours were exact periods of time such as we mean by the word.
The day between sunrise and sunset was divided into twelve equal parts,
which varied in length according to the season of the year. The
divisions of the whole period of a day and night into twenty-four equal
unvarying parts was later than the period of which I am writing, being
attributed to Hipparchus, the astronomer, a native of Nicæa in Bithynia
who lived in the second century B. C. The water-clock mentioned in the
text may have been one of those large ones which served for the whole
night (Plato is said to have had one). The slave in announcing to the
guest the time at which the meal would be served would probably indicate
it by pointing to this or that division marked upon it. The water-clock
may be roughly compared to a sand-glass, but the water flowed through
several orifices, which were very minute.

[45] He returned in May, 407, conducted in person the procession to
Eleusis; a ceremony which had been discontinued for some time on account
of the presence of the Spartan garrison at Decelea, and left again to
take command of the fleet a few days afterward. He never saw Athens
again.

[46] Three _drachmae_ would be something more than half-a-dollar,
(2 s. 5 d. in English money). This is taking silver at its present
conventional value. What its purchasing power would be now it would be
difficult to say, but it would certainly be greater than that of the sum
by which it is represented.

[47] So we have in Homer (Iliad 11, 261) "the libations of wine
unmingled" mentioned together with "the hand-holt trusted of yore," a
thing that gave a solemn sanction to treaties. Similar references abound
in the Greek and Latin poets.

[48] The ancients painted on panel, not on canvass. Thus the Latin
equivalent for 'picture' is tabula or tabella, words which may otherwise
be used for a 'plank.'



CHAPTER XIV.

BISANTHE.


Life at Bisanthe would, in any case, have been remarkably attractive to
Callias. The taste for sport was hereditary with him, as it was with
most Athenians of his class. But, ever since his boyhood, circumstances
had been altogether adverse to any indulgence of it. For a quarter of a
century an Athenian's life had been perforce a city life.[49] The
country outside the walls was not available for when it was not actually
in the occupation of a hostile army, it was still in a state of
desolation. Game, it is probable, had almost disappeared from it. It had
long been too thickly populated for the larger animals to exist in it.
These the sportsman had been obliged to seek in the mountain regions of
Phocis, Doris, and Thessaly. Now the smaller such as the hare, always
reckoned a special dainty in Athens, could scarcely be found, even when
it was possible to seek for it. Callias was delighted to find a totally
different condition of things at Bisanthe. Here there were to be found
fierce and powerful animals the pursuit of which gave something of the
delightful excitement of danger, the bear, the wild-boar, and the wolf.
Lion, too, could be sometimes seen, though they were not so common as
they had been some eighty years before when the army of Xerxes, marching
through this very region, had had so many of the camels attacked and
killed by them. Our young Athenian highly appreciated this abundance of
noble game. He had had no experience, indeed, in the huntsman's craft,
but he became fairly expert at it. He was an excellent rider; this
accomplishment was a necessary part of the education of a well-born
Athenian. He was expert in all martial exercises, especially in the use
of the javelin and the spear; and, above all, he had a cool courage
which his warlike experience by land and sea had admirably developed.

But there were more serious matters than sport to occupy him. The
relation of his host to his neighbors, both Greek and barbarian, was of
curious interest to a thoughtful young man. He had heard something of it
at Athens, for Alcibiades was a much talked of personage, all of whose
movements were earnestly, even anxiously, discussed both by friends and
foes. Now he was, so to speak, behind the scenes, and saw and heard much
that the outside world did not know or did not understand. The neighbors
with whom his host came in contact, friendly or unfriendly, were three.
There were the Greek cities along the northern coast of the Propontis;
there was Seuthes, the king of Thrace; a potentate whose kingdom had
many uncertain and varying boundaries, and there were the free or
independent Thracians. Between these last and Alcibiades there was
constant war. Accustomed for centuries to plunder their neighbors, they
now found themselves repaid in their own coin. At the head of a picked
force, highly disciplined and admirably armed, Alcibiades harried their
country with an audacity and a skill which made his name a constant
terror to them. The Greek cities, on the other hand, were uniformly
friendly. Before his coming they had been sadly harrassed and distressed
by their barbarian neighbors. They had not been able to call anything
beyond their walls exactly their own, and even their walls had sometimes
scarcely sufficed to protect them. All this was altered by the military
genius of this remarkable man. The robber bands which had been
accustomed to ride unchecked up to their fortifications were now
compelled to keep at a respectful distance from them, and not only the
cities themselves but their territories were practically safe. Land
which it had been impossible to cultivate at all, or from which only a
precarious crop could be snatched with imminent danger to the
cultivator, was now covered with prosperous farms and pleasant
homesteads. For this protection, enabling them as it did to save the
exhausting expense of imported food, the cities were willing to pay, and
considerable sums which were practically a tribute, only much more
cheerfully paid, came regularly into the treasury at Bisanthe, and
enabled its master to keep up a numerous and efficient force.

As for King Seuthes, his relations with the powerful stranger who had
settled on these his territories were more doubtful. He was not an
enemy, but he certainly was not a friend. All that Alcibiades could do
in weakening the independent Thracians was altogether to his mind. Let
them be weakened enough, and they would gladly seek protection by
becoming his subjects. On the other hand he did not approve the idea of
any one but himself becoming the patron of the Greek cities on his
coast. What they were willing to pay for protection ought to come, he
felt, into his coffers, not into those of an interloping adventurer.
Meanwhile he was content to remain on outwardly good terms with the
master of Bisanthe, and to await the development of events.

In the little town of the same name that was dominated by the castle of
Bisanthe, the young Athenian found some pleasant society. He was the
more at home in it because it was an Ionian colony, and the inhabitants
were akin to him in race and sympathies. They had the same culture, a
quality that always flourished more kindly in the Ionic branch of the
Hellenic race. Plays of the great dramatists of his own country were
performed in a small but well appointed theatre, and there was at least
one circle in the town in which literary topics were discussed with
interest and intelligence.

The resources available in the way of native society were not great.
Thracian habits in general were not unfairly represented by the behavior
of the chief to whom my readers were introduced in the last chapter.
Their hard drinking habits had already made them notorious throughout
Greece. Our hero accordingly kept away from the entertainments which his
host felt it a matter of policy to attend. The one great social function
at which he assisted was the marriage of a prince who was nearly related
to King Seuthes. Athenian habits were commonly frugal. Their public
buildings, whether for political or religious purposes, were splendid in
the extreme. On these, and on the ceremonies of worship, they were
accustomed to spare no expense. But their private expenditure was, as a
rule, not large. Our hero was proportionately astonished at the
profusion which prevailed at the wedding festivities of the Thracian
Caranus. There were twenty guests. Each as he entered the banqueting
chamber had a circle of gold put upon his head, and in taking his place
was presented with a silver cup. These and indeed all the dishes,
plates, and cups with which the guests were furnished during the
entertainment, were supposed to become their actual property. A brass
platter, covered with pastry, on which were birds of various kinds, was
put before each, and after this another of silver, furnished with a
variety of fresh meats. These disposed of--they were just tasted and
handed to the slaves who stood behind the guests--two flasks of perfume,
one of silver, the other of gold, fastened together with a link of gold,
were distributed. Each flask held about half a pint. Then came a piece
of quite barbarous extravagance--a silver gilt charger, large enough to
hold a porker of considerable size. The creature lay on its back with
its belly stuffed with thrushes, the yolks of eggs, oysters, scollops,
and other dainties. The carrying capacity of the slaves was nearly
exhausted, and the bridegroom received a hearty round of applause when
he ordered his guests to be supplied with baskets, themselves richly
ornamented with silver in which they might carry away his bounty.

At this point Alcibiades and his friend made an excuse to depart.
"Caranus," said the former, as they returned to Bisanthe, "must have
embarassed himself for life by this silly extravagance. He must have
borrowed money largely before he could indulge in all this silver-ware,
for though his estates are large, he is far from being wealthy. But it
is a point of honor with these people to go as near to ruining
themselves as the money-lender will permit them, when they celebrate a
birth, a wedding, or a funeral."

But Callias found the chief interest of the months which he spent at
Bisanthe in the frequent conversations which he held with his host. In
these Alcibiades expressed himself with the utmost freedom and
frankness. What he said was in fact at once a confession and an apology,
the substance of them may be given as follows:

"You have heard I dare say very much evil of me, and I cannot deny that
much of it is perfectly true. It ill becomes a man to complain of
circumstances, for everyone, I take it, can make his own life and if he
goes to ruin has only himself to blame for it. Yet the gods, or fate, or
whatever it is that rules the world, were certainly adverse to me from
the beginning. My father fell at Coronea when I was but a mere child,
and the loss of a father is especially damaging when his son is rich and
noble. Every one seems to agree in spoiling the boy, the lad, the young
man, who is the master of his own fortune. I know that I was fooled to
the top of my bent. However, that is all past, and the free man who lets
others turn him about to their own purposes has nothing to say in his
own defence; and I had at least one good thing on my side of which if I
had been so minded I might have made good use. Socrates never wearied of
convicting me out of my own mouth of folly and ignorance, and he knew my
great weakness and told me of it in the most unsparing fashion. I
remember once how he convicted me of what I know has been the great
fault of my life. 'If,' he said, 'you can convince the Athenians that
you deserve to be honored as no man, not even Pericles himself deserved,
if you gain an equal name among the other Greeks and barbarians, if you
cross over from Europe and meddle with matters in Asia, all these things
will not satisfy you. You desire to be nothing less than master of the
whole human race.' That perhaps was somewhat exaggerated, but I
certainly have had big schemes in my head, bigger than I ever had, or
could hope to have, the means of carrying out. My hopes took in all
Greece, Persia, Carthage, the Western barbarians who inhabit the shores
of the ocean, and I know not what else. It was too great a structure to
build on the slight foundation of an Athenian dock-yard; it was piling
Olympus and Ossa and Pelion on the hill of Hymettus, and such structures
are sure to fall even without the thunder-bolt of Zeus. Yet it is only
fair to myself to say that in my ambitions I did think of my country as
well as of myself; and I think that I have not always had fair play in
carrying them out. There was the expedition to Sicily, for instance. I
suppose that no one will ever speak of it but as a piece of hair-brained
folly into which I was the means of leading Athens. Looked at by the
event, it seems so, I allow, and yet it might have succeeded. Indeed it
was within an iota of succeeding, and this though the people showed the
incredible folly of putting as senior in command, a man who hated the
whole business. Even Nicias almost took Syracuse. If they had only left
me without a colleague or with colleagues who would have yielded to my
counsels! But what did they do? Just at the critical time they recalled
the man whom everyone in the expedition, from the first to the last,
identified with its success; and why did they recall me? On that
trumpery charge of having broken the Hermæ.[50] You would like to ask
me, I know, whether I had anything to do with the matter. No; I had not,
but I could have told them all about it if I had had the chance. As it
was, they were ready to listen to any one but me. Why, there was an
outrageous liar came forward, and declared he had seen the whole thing
done by the light of the moon; and on the night it was done there was no
moon at all. But I had enemies, personal enemies who would stick at
nothing as long as they could injure me. And here I must confess a
fault, a fault that has been fatal to me. I deserved to have enemies. I
made them by my annoyance and insolence; and if they ruined me, and, as
I think, my country with me, I have only myself to blame. You would like
to know how I justify myself for what I did after my banishment, for
getting Sparta to help Syracuse against my own country? I do not justify
myself at all. It was madness, tho' it was only too successful. But it
made me frantic to think what a chance, what a splendid opportunity for
myself and for Athens, the fools who were in power at home were throwing
away. No; on that point I have nothing to say for myself. But since then
I have honestly tried to do the best that I could for the city. And if
the Athenians could only have trusted me and had had a little more
patience, I believe that I could have saved them. But it is always the
same story with them; they must have what they want at once, and if they
don't get it, some one has to suffer. How could they expect that I could
put right at once all that had been going wrong for years?"

Such was the substance of what Alcibiades said to his guest on the many
occasions on which they discussed these matters, said of course, with a
variety of details and a wealth of illustration, which it is impossible
to reproduce. More than once Callias asked his host what were his views
and expectations of the future of the war. He found that Alcibiades did
not take a cheerful view of the prospects of the campaign that would be
soon beginning.

"I was always afraid," he said, "that the victory at Arginusæ would be
only a reprieve, a postponing of the evil day. The effort which Athens
then made was too exhausting to be repeated--her next fleet will be
nothing like as good as the last, and the last had hard enough work to
win the day. And then there was the disastrous folly and crime of
putting the generals to death. Mind, I don't say that they were not to
blame; but I do say that to kill the only good officers the city had,
even if they had deserved death ten times more than they did, was mere
madness. Whom have they got to put in their place? Conon is a man who
knows his business and would do his duty, but as for the rest," he went
on, anticipating a witticism which was made many hundred years
afterwards by an English statesman, "I can only say that I hope they
will inspire the enemy with half the terror with which they inspire
me."

FOOTNOTES:

[49] From 431 to 406 (the year of which I am now writing). The eight
years from 424-416, during which the peace of Nicias and the truce that
followed it were in force, must be excepted.

[50] A day or two before the expedition started the pedestal statues of
Hermes which stood at the street corners were broken down. Alcibiades
was charged with being an accomplice in this outrage, refused an
opportunity of defending himself, sent out in joint command, and
recalled when the campaign was in progress.



CHAPTER XV.

ÆGOS POTAMI.


Alcibiades had established a system of communication with all the
principal stations in the Ægean which gave him early information of what
was going on.

Early in the new year (405) intelligence reached him at his castle, that
Lysander was coming out from Sparta to assume the command of the allied
fleet. This news affected Alcibiades very considerably.

"I anticipated this," he said to his guest after the evening meal on the
day when the news had reached him, "and it is the worst thing that could
have happened for Athens. There was just a chance that the Spartans,
who, happily for us, are very stupid and obstinate, would stick to their
rule that no man should be appointed naval commander-in-chief thrice.
But they had, as I heard from a friend in Chios, a very strong
requisition from the allies to appoint Lysander, and so they have sent
him out again, saving their rule by appointing a nominal chief, a man
called Arrachus, who, of course, is a mere figure head. Now Lysander is
by far the ablest man that the Spartans have got; he is quite
unscrupulous; he is a bitter enemy of ours; and what is worst of all, he
can do anything that he pleases with Cyrus. You have not been
campaigning for two or three years without finding out that the Persian
money bags are the real weights that make the scales of fate go up and
down. Last year Callicratidas was crippled because Cyrus, at this very
Lysander's request, kept his purse strings tight. Now everything will be
straight and easy, and before two months are over the Spartans will have
as good a fleet as money can make." The year wore slowly on. The long
Thracian winter, which Callias, though not unused to cold weather in
Athens found exceedingly severe, yielded at last to spring, and spring
in its turn to summer. All the while the news which reached Bisanthe
continued to have a gloomy complexion. At Miletus, as well as in other
of the mainland towns, thorough-going partisans of Lysander were
installed in power. Cyrus had been called away to Upper Asia, where the
old king, his father, was lying sick to death, and had left all his
treasuries at the disposal of the Spartan admiral. With this supply of
money the pay of the sailors had been increased, and new ships had been
laid down on the stocks. In March the Athenian fleet sailed for the seat
of war. It was larger than any that had been sent forth by the city in
recent years, for it numbered no less than one hundred and eighty ships;
but private letters gave an unfavorable account of the way in which it
was equipped, and officered. This adverse opinion continued to be borne
out by the news that arrived from time to time of its doings. It seemed
to be moving about aimlessly and fruitlesly, always behind, always in
the wrong place. It offered battle to Lysander, who lay in harbor near
Ephesus, but in vain. The wary Spartan had no mind to fight but at his
own time, and the Athenian admirals had no way of compelling him. Then
the ships were scattered in plundering expeditions along the mainland
coasts and among the islands which had accepted the Spartan alliance.
The gain was small, for the booty was insignificant, but the
demoralization and relaxation of discipline were great. About midsummer
followed a bold maneuver on the part of Lysander. He sailed across the
Ægean to the coast of Attica, where his sudden appearance caused no
little consternation. The Athenian commanders were as usual behind hand.
If they had heard of this movement as soon as they ought, and had been
ready to follow immediately, it is quite possible that they might have
inflicted a damaging blow on their adversaries. As it was, the news was
long in reaching them, and when it came, found them with their fleet
scattered and unprepared. Accordingly they missed their chance of
forcing Lysander to an engagement off an hostile shore, an engagement,
too, which he would hardly have been able to decline. Lysander crossed
and recrossed the Ægean without molestation, and shortly afterward
sailed northward.

Alcibiades, whose intelligence department was, as has been said,
admirably organized, received information that this movement was
intended, and in consequence took up his quarters at a little fort which
he possessed at the extremity of the Chersonesus. He and his guest had
not been there more than a day when the Spartan fleet came in sight. He
watched it pass at a distance of two or three miles, with eager
interest.

"They have a very formidable appearance," he said to Callias when he had
scanned with his practical eye every detail of their equipment. "I
shall be agreeably surprised if our ships have anything as good to
show." On the following day the Athenian fleet appeared, showing only
too plainly how just had been Alcibiades' forebodings. The effects of
wind and weather--the ships had now been nearly six months at sea--were
plainly visible; the sails, which, as there was a slight breeze from the
west, they used to assist their progress, were dirty and ragged; the
rowers were deplorably out of time.

"Things," he said to his companion, "are even worse than I expected;
that fleet will be no match for its enemy, except under far more
skillful management than it is likely to have. Still let us hope for the
best; and it may be possible to give our friends some good advice, if
they will take it." This, unfortunately, was the last thing that the
Athenian admirals, certainly incompetent, and probably traitorous, were
willing to do. The progress of events, briefly described, was this:

Lysander possessed himself, by a sudden attack, of the town of
Lampsacus, which was in alliance with Athens. This conquest put him in
possession of abundant supplies, and of what was more valuable, a safe
and convenient base of operations. While securing these material
advantages, he also, with a generosity which he could always assume on
occasion, allowed the Lampsacenes to go unharmed. He gained thus not
only a strong position but a friendly population. On the other hand the
position occupied by the Athenians was by no means so favorable. They
moved their fleet to the mouth of a little stream known by the name of
Ægos Potami, or the Goat's River. This spot was directly opposite
Lampsacus--the Hellespont here is somewhat less than two miles
broad--but it had no conveniences for the purpose for which it was
chosen. There was no harbor, the anchorage was indifferent, there were
no houses in the neighborhood, and the nearest point from which supplies
could be obtained was the town of Sestos, nearly two miles distant.

The opportunity for offering advice which Alcibiades had foreseen had
now occurred, and he promptly took advantage of it. The morning after
the arrival of the fleet, he rode, with Callias in his company, to the
spot where the Athenian generals had pitched their headquarters, and
requested an interview. He was introduced into the tent which they used
for purposes of consultation, and saw the two officers, Menander and
Tydeus by name, who happened to be detailed that day for duty on shore.

They received him with a coldness and hauteur which augured ill for the
success of his mission.

"Allow me, gentlemen," he said, "to offer you a piece of advice which,
from my knowledge of the country, I feel sure will be useful. Transfer
your fleet from this position, which, you must allow me to say, has
nothing to recommend it, to Sestos. You must go to Sestos for your
supplies; why not stay there altogether. The harbor is good and you will
be able to do what you please, fight, or not fight, as it may seem best.
Here, if it comes on a blow from the south and--you will remember that
the equinox is near--you will be in a very awkward predicament; and,
anyhow, I do not see how you are to keep your men together when they
have to forage in this manner for supplies."

"We are obliged to you for the trouble you have taken in coming," said
Menander, "but you must allow us to remind you that it is we, and not
you whom the Athenian people have appointed to the command of this
fleet."

"The gods prosper you in it," replied Alcibiades with unruffled
coolness. "And now, farewell."

"I have done all that I could," observed Alcibiades to his companion,
who had been expecting his return outside the tent. "Now we can only
await the event. As for these men, I would say of them that the gods
strike with madness those whom they are determined to destroy, but for
one thing. There may be a method in their madness. They may _mean_ to
bring about a disaster. In a word they may have sold their country. It
is a hard thing to say of any man, but could any admiral, not being a
madman or a traitor, keep his fleet in such a place as this? And yet I
do not know. I have seen honest men act with a folly so outrageous that
one could not help suspecting something more. Let us go home, and
prepare for the worst. But stay--there is yet a chance. There is Conon.
He must know better than this. Will you see him? I cannot, for there is
too deadly a feud between us. Do you know him?"

"Yes," said Callias, "I was with him last year when he was shut up in
Mitylene, and he sent me with despatches to Athens."

"And will you go to him?"

"Certainly, if it would not seem too presumptuous."

"You can give your authority; he will understand why I did not come
myself; and he is too sensible not to listen to good advice from
whomsoever it may come."

Conon was on board his ship in which he was practicing some maneuvers
about half a mile from the shore. The young Athenian was rowed out to
see him, and returned in about an hour. The report which he brought back
was this:

"Conon was very reserved, but courteous. He wished me to thank you for
your message, and to say he was sure you wished well to Athens. He would
do what he could, but he was only one out of many, and he might be
out-voted. Anyhow, he would keep his own men from straggling."

"Then," said Alcibiades, "we have shot our last bolt, let us go back."

For some days the two companions waited for news in a suspense that they
often felt to be almost beyond bearing. One night--it was the night of
the fifteenth of September--they had watched through the hours of
darkness till the day began to show itself in the eastern sky. Both had
felt the presentiment that their waiting was about to end, though
neither had acknowledged it to the other.

"Is it never coming?" said the elder man, as he rose from his seat, and
looked from the window across the sea, just beginning to glitter with
the morning light. In a moment his attitude of weariness changed to one
of eager attention.

"Look!" he cried to Callias. "What is that?" and he pointed to a boat
that had just rounded the nearest point to the westward. It was a
fishing boat, manned, apparently, by seven or eight men, and making all
the speed it could with both oars and sails. The two men hurried down to
the castle pier, and awaited the arrival of what they were sure was the
long expected message.

The boat was still about two hundred yards away when Alcibiades
recognized the steersman.

"Ah!" he cried, "it is old Hipparchus." And he waved his hand with a
friendly gesture.

"It is a bad news he brings," he said again after a quiet pause, "he
makes no reply."

A few more strokes brought the boat alongside of the pier. Alcibiades
reached his hand to the steersman, and helped him to disembark. That his
errand was bad was only too evident from his look. He was deadly pale,
and in his eyes was the expression of one who had lately seen some
terrible sight.

"It is all over," he said, "Athens is lost."

For a few minutes the three men stood silent. Perhaps it was then that
Alcibiades felt the keenest remorse of his life. After all, it was he
who, more than any living man, had brought this ruin to his country. He
had led her into an enterprise which overmatched her strength; and he
had suggested to her enemies, the too successful policy that had ended
in her overthrow. If Athens was indeed lost it was his doing--and yet he
loved her. Much of this the younger man could guess at, for he had not
been at Bisanthe for now nearly a year without learning something of his
host's inner thoughts. He turned away his face unwilling to witness the
emotion which he felt could be seen in the other's countenance. The
messenger from the scene of the disaster stood with downcast eyes,
absorbed in the dismal recollections of what he had lately witnessed.

"Tell us how it happened," said Alcibiades.

"For five days," so he began, "we manned our ships every morning about
the third hour, formed them in line of battle, and moved across the
strait to the harbor of Lampsacus. The Spartan fleet was ranged in line
outside the harbor with their army drawn up upon the shore on either
side. Our admirals did not venture to attack; and so we sailed back. I
noticed that a few quick-sailing galleys followed us at about half a
mile distance. When we got back to our station, our men used to scatter
in search of provisions for their noonday meal--our commissariat, you
must know, was very ill-supplied. Some went up the country, but most
made their way to Sestos. None of our admirals, except Conon, seemed to
have a notion that this was dangerous, though some of us old sailors
could have warned them if we had dared. Conon always kept his men
together. Well, on the fifth day--our men, you must understand, had been
growing more and more careless--about an hour after we got back, a
shield was run up to the masthead of one of the Spartan swift-sailing
galleys. I saw it flash in the sunshine; and a few moments afterwards
the whole Spartan fleet rowed from their anchorage and made their way
across the strait. They caught us entirely unprepared. There was no
battle; scarcely a blow was struck. I can easily believe that they did
not lose a single man. Some of our ships they found absolutely deserted.
None of them had more than two-thirds of their complement. No, I should
not say none; twelve were ready, Conon's eight and four others, one of
which was the Parelus.[51] I was on board Menander's own ship, of which
I was steersman. There were eight others with me. We hurried as fast as
we could to Sestos. There, the next day, I was able to hire this boat,
and thought the best thing that I could do was to come here."

"You say that twelve ships escaped," said Alcibiades, "how many then
were taken?"

"About a hundred and seventy," answered the man.

"And how many prisoners?"

"I cannot say, but certainly several thousand. Before we came away, a
boat from Lampsacus brought an awful story of what had been done there.
All the Athenian prisoners were put to death, between three and four
thousand. Only the admiral Adeimantus was spared."

"Ah! I see," cried Alcibiades, "he was the traitor."

FOOTNOTES:

[51] The Parelus was one of the two consecrated ships, (the other being
the Salanimia) which were used for such purposes as the conveyance of
ambassadors, the carrying of offerings to shrines, and, in case of need,
the conveyance of important tidings. They were always manned with picked
crews.



CHAPTER XVI.

TO PHARNABAZUS.


There was little sleep that night for the inhabitants of the castle of
Bisanthe. Every one felt that the situation was full of peril. If it had
not been for the confidence which every one brought into contact with
Alcibiades felt in his capacities of leadership there would have been
something like a panic. As it was, the garrison awaited with calmness,
though not without intense anxiety, the course of action which their
commander would take for himself, and recommend to them. They were not
kept long in suspense.

Shortly after dawn the notes of a trumpet were heard through the castle
giving the well known signal by which a general assembly of the garrison
was called. A few minutes sufficed to collect the men. The meeting was
held in the central court of the castle, and Alcibiades, taking his
stand on the topmost step of an outside staircase which led up to one of
the chambers, addressed them.

"Comrades," he said, "you have heard of the disaster by which Athens has
lost its last fleet. I will blame no man for what happened or inquire
whether it might not have been averted--"

The speaker was interrupted by loud cries of "Long live Alcibiades, the
invincible!"

A flush of pleasure passed over the speaker's face, but he made a
gesture imperative of silence, and continued.

"The only thing that remains for us is to consider what it is most
expedient to do. Here, my friends, we cannot stay. Bisanthe indeed,
protected by its situation, its walls, and stout hands and tried valor,
it would not be easy to take. But, with both sea and land hostile, with
all the country and cities from which we have drawn our supplies in the
hands of the Spartans, we cannot long continue to hold it. What then
shall we do? You, my friends, I can only advise, for from this day I of
necessity cease to command. Go, then, I would say, to King Seuthes, and
offer yourselves to him. He will receive you kindly. Brave men--and your
valor has been shown times without number--are always valued and honored
by him, and now that, for a time at least, the Spartans and their allies
have became supreme in these parts, he will want men more than ever. If
you require it, you shall have my good word; but your reputation will
speak for you more effectually than I can. My gratitude to you, who have
served me so well, I can never express. Yet such return as I can make
shall not be left undone. The paymaster will pay you all arrears of pay,
with a donation of thrice as much again."

A loud burst of applause followed this announcement.

The speaker continued: "This gift would be many times greater, if my
means were equal to my sense of your courage and your services. From
some of you I have a favor to ask. It is not expedient publicly to
declare my plans; but I may say that I shall need a few associates in
them. For these I shall not ask you, not because I am doubtful of
raising them, but because I know that you would all offer yourselves--"

A roar of assent went up from the whole assembly.

"I have already exercised the choice which in any case I should have
been compelled afterwards to make. Twelve companions--more I am
forbidden by circumstances to take--will go with me. To the rest I say,
'Farewell.' The gods grant that at some happier time we may again render
our service to Athens and to Greece. Till then, Farewell!"

A loud answering cry of farewell went up from the men, which was renewed
again and again as the speaker entered the room at the head of the
staircase. Here the twelve chosen associates were assembled, Callias and
Hipparchus, the messenger from the scene of the late conflict, making up
the number to fourteen. Alcibiades addressed them:

"I have long since anticipated and prepared myself for this misfortune
which has now overtaken us, though the blow has fallen more suddenly and
more heavily than I had feared. To you, my chosen friends, I reveal the
counsels which it would not have been expedient to publish to a
multitude. Briefly they are these: Lysander has conquered by the help of
the Persians, for had it not been for the gold of Cyrus, his fleet could
never have been kept together. We also must go to the Persians for help.
It is an evil necessity, I confess, that makes free-born Greeks court
the favor of their slaves; but a necessity it is. And the time favors us
for using it. Cyrus covets the throne of Persia which he claims against
his elder brother Artaxerxes as having been born after his father's
accession whereas Artaxerxes was born before it. As Lysander, then, has
used Cyrus against us, so we must use Artaxerxes against Cyrus. 'How,'
you will ask, 'is Artaxerxes to be approached?' Through Pharnabazus, the
Satrap, with whom I have a warm friendship of now some years' standing.
To Pharnabazus, therefore, I now purpose to go. I shall demand of him
that which he will himself be most willing to grant--for he is no friend
to Cyrus--that he send me up to Susa. This Themistocles did before me;
but he, at least in word, went as the enemy of his country, though
indeed he was unwilling to harm it. I shall go, both in word and in
deed, as its friend. And now for other things. For my most valuable
possessions I have prepared hiding-places. Much I shall leave to King
Seuthes, to whom I sent a message concerning my immediate departure.
This morning, my friends, I would ask you to receive at my hands a
year's pay. Do not hesitate to receive it; I can give it now, I may not
be able so to do a year hence. We will start this day at sunset. There
is no time to be lost. To-morrow, I doubt not, or the next day at the
latest, Lysander will be here."

With Callias, after the rest had departed to make preparations for their
departure, Alcibiades had some private conversation as to the subject of
ways and means.

"You must let me be your banker," he began by saying.

Callias thanked him heartily, but declined to receive anything more than
would suffice for immediate needs.

"You may as well take it," returned his host, "there is a good deal more
here than I can take with me; and why should you not? For myself, I
carry most of my possessions about with me in this fashion,"--and he
showed a leather purse filled with pearls and precious stones. "Gold is
too cumbrous to carry in any quantity. This no man will take as long as
I am alive. Besides this, my worthy friend Hippocles, who, as you know,
is as trustworthy as the treasury of Delphi, has most of my property in
his hands. And, if we once get safely to Pharnabazus, we need not
trouble any more about this matter. I must do the Persians the justice
to say that they are always open-handed. And they can afford to be. It
is not too much to say that for one talent of gold that we have in
Greece they have at least a hundred. Any one who should have the
ransacking of one of their great treasure cities--and they have others
besides Susa; Babylon, for instance, and Persepolis and Pasargadæ--would
see something that would astonish them. And"--he added, with a profound
sigh--"if only things had gone straight, I might have been the man."

The journey along the northern shore of the Propontis was accomplished
in safety. No Spartan ship had as yet made its way so far eastward. At a
little town on the Asiatic shore Alcibiades provided his party with
horses for riding and serviceable mules for the conveyance of their
baggage and of such a selection of his own possessions as he had thought
it well to take with him. The old sailor Hipparchus here wanted to leave
them, and to make his way to Byzantium, where he had relatives. The
remainder Alcibiades addressed before setting out, to the following
effect:

"We have to make our way to Gordium in Phrygia, for it is there that, if
he keeps to his usual habits, we shall find the Satrap Pharnabazus. He
is accustomed to winter there. But we shall not find it easy to get
there. These Bithynians are not effeminate Asiatics, a hundred of whom
will fly before five stout Greeks. They are Thracians from the other
side of the sea, and we all know how hard are their heads, and how
strong their arms. We cannot force our way through them; we must elude
them if we can."

The route which the party followed lay for some time within sight of the
sea. This was commonly followed by travellers, as the mountaineers
seldom ventured within the border of the maritime plain. When they had
reached the head of the Gulf of Olbia they struck inland. The road
usually followed would have taken them by the valley of Sangarius, a
river which divides the great chain of the Mysian Olympus. Their guide
strongly dissuaded them from taking it. It was constantly watched, he
said, by the mountaineers. No one could hope to escape them, and only a
very strong party could force its way through. The safest plan would be
by certain paths which he knew, and by which they might hope to cross
Olympus unmolested. Only hunters and shepherds know them, or a chance
traveller on foot for whom it would not be worth the robbers' while to
wait. It was a toilsome and even dangerous journey. The first snows of
Autumn had began to fall, and even the practical eye of the guide found
it difficult to discover the path, while the sufferings of the
travellers, who had to bivouac for several nights in the open air, with
but scanty fire to warm them, were exceedingly severe. Still, but for
one unlucky incident, it would have been accomplished in safety. The
party was now half-way down the southern slopes of Olympus when they
halted for the night at a roadside inn, or rather caravansary. They
found the large reception chamber--it contained two only--already
occupied by a party of the vagrant priests of Cybele. While Alcibiades
and Callias found accommodation, such as it was, in the smaller room,
the rest of the party were thrown upon the hospitality of the priests,
unless indeed, they chose to bivouac outside. Unluckily, the priests
were only too hospitable. They invited the new comers to an
entertainment which was prolonged into a revel. During the passage of
the mountains the allowances of food had been small, and for drink the
party had had perforce to be satisfied with the wayside springs or even
with melted snow. When they found themselves under shelter, in a room
which was at least weather-tight, and warmed with a blazing fire, the
sense of contrast tended to relax their powers of self-restraint. The
priests had roasted a couple of sheep, and broached a cask of the heady
wine of Mount Tmolus, with which a wealthy devotee had presented them.
This they drank, and insisted on their guests drinking, unmixed. By the
time the mutton bones had been picked bare, and the cask drained to its
dregs, not a man out of the twelve was sober. A heavy slumber, lasting
late into the morning, was the natural consequence of this debauch, and
when the sleepers were at last aroused, they set about the preparation
for a start in a very languid fashion. It was nearly noon before the
party was fairly on its way. Darkness came on before the next stage
could be reached. It was while the travellers were bivouacking in a
wholly unprotected situation that a company of marauders, who had indeed
been watching their movements for some days in the hopes of finding such
an opportunity, fell upon them. The result was disastrous. Alcibiades
and Callias, who had been sleeping with their horses picketed close to
their camp fire, were roused by the noise, and springing to their
saddles made their escape. Not one of their followers was equally
fortunate. Some were cut down in their sleep, others as they were
endeavoring to collect their senses. The sumpter-horses and their
burdens of course fell into the hands of the assailants. It was only
with what they carried on their own persons that the two survivors of
the party made their way about six days afterward to the Satrap's winter
palace at Gordium.



CHAPTER XVII.

ATHENS IN THE DUST.


"I feel that my place is at Athens," said Callias to his host a few days
after their arrival.

"In spite of the past?"

"Yes. At such a time no one thinks of the past, but only of the future."

"Well; I cannot say that you are wrong. If you think fit to go, I shall
not seek to hold you back. I must frankly say that I see little hope."

"And you?" Callias went on after a pause. "What shall you do, if I may
make so bold as to ask?"

"If I can save my country at all, it will be here. The only hope now is
to detach Persia from Sparta. Perhaps now that Athens has fallen so low,
the Persians will see what their true interests are. The worst of it is
that there is no real ruler, no one to carry out a consistent policy.
The great king is absolute at the capital, but in the provinces he is
little more than a name. The satraps do almost as they please; they
actually make war on each other if it suits their purpose. So, it is not
what is best for Persia, but what Tissaphernes or Pharnabazus may think
best for himself that will be done. Still there is a chance left; only I
must be on the spot to seize it if it comes. Were I to go to Athens, I
should be only one man among a useless crowd, and you, my young friend,
will, I very much fear, be little more."

"Anyhow I shall go," replied the young man, "at all events there will be
one sword more to be drawn for Athens."

"Yes," muttered Alcibiades to himself, as his companion left the room,
"if you get the chance of drawing it. I rather think that with that fox
Lysander in command, you will do nothing more for Athens than bring one
more mouth to be fed."

Callias made his way to the coast with no difficulty. Assuming, at the
suggestion of Alcibiades, a citizen's dress, he joined a caravan of
traders which was on its way westward, and in their company travelled
pleasantly and safely. Arrived at Miletus he took passage in a merchant
ship that was bound for Ægina, hoping if he could only get so far, to be
able to make his way somehow into the city. At one time, indeed, he was
terribly afraid that this hope would be disappointed. The
_Swallow_--this was the name of the vessel of Ægina--was challenged and
overhauled by a Corinthian ship of war. Callias made no attempt to
conceal his nationality. Indeed it would have been useless, for an
Athenian in those days was about as easily recognized over the whole of
the Greek world as an Englishman is recognized in these, anywhere in
Europe. To his great surprise the Corinthian captain simply said: "You
can go; I have no order to detain you." That there was no kindness in
his permission Callias was perfectly well aware, for the hatred of
Corinth for Athens was tenfold more bitter than that of Sparta.

It was a quarrel between Athens and Corinth, on the tender point of a
rebellious Corinthian colony, that had been the immediate cause of the
Peloponnesian War; and even before this there had always been the potent
influence of commercial rivalry to set the two states against each
other. The young Athenian noticed also a sinister smile on the captain's
face; but what it meant he was at a loss to determine.

Landed at Ægina he lost no time in enquiring how he might best reach his
destination.

"Oh! you will get in easily enough," said the Æginetan merchant, the
owner of the _Swallow_, to whom he stated his case.

"Is not the city blockaded then?"

"Yes, in a way," replied the man.

"Please to explain what you mean," said Callias, who was getting a
little heated by these mysterious remarks.

"Well," said the merchant, "King Pausanias is encamped outside the city
in some place that they call the Grove of Academus, I think. Do you know
it?"

Callias assented with a nod.

"And Lysander has a hundred and fifty ships off the Piraeus. Still I
think that you will be able to get in. The blockade is not kept very
strictly."

"Had I best go by night?"

"Perhaps it would be better."

"Can you help me to a boat?"

"Certainly; but you will have to pay the boatman pretty highly, for, of
course, it is a risk, though it can be done."

"Will you make the arrangements if I pay you the money in advance?"

"Certainly, if you do not mind going so far as a _mina_. It is really
worth the money."

Callias paid the money, and was told to be in readiness to embark at
midnight.

It would have enlightened him considerably if he could have seen the
merchant's behavior as soon as he was safely out of the room.

"Ah, you young serpent," the man cried, "you will be allowed to creep
into your hole easily enough; but if we don't suffocate you and your
whole brood when we have got you there, my name is not Timagenes."

The fact was that a revolution of which Callias knew nothing had taken
place at Ægina. An old rival and enemy of Athens, the city had been
conquered many years before, and the anti-Athenian party expelled. And
now everything was changed. Lysander had brought back the exiles, and
though Athens had still friends, it was the hostile party that was in
power. Callias had observed a certain change in the demeanor of the
people, but was too much engrossed in his own affairs to think much
about it.

The blockade was run as easily as the Æginetan had foretold. The boat
passed within fifty yards of one of the squadron, and Callias could have
sworn that he saw a sentinel on the watch pacing the vessel's deck. But
the man did not challenge, and the Piraeus was reached without any
difficulty.

It was not long before all the mystery was explained.

"This is just what I feared," said Hippocles, to whose house the young
Athenian hastened. "I knew that you would come back, and I could not
warn you."

"What do you mean," cried the young man in astonishment. "Was it not my
duty to return?"

"Yes, in one way it was. But tell me how you got here?"

Callias related the incidents of his journey, and expressed some
surprise that the Corinthian captain had not taken him prisoner, and
that the blockade was so negligently kept.

"And you did not understand what all this meant?"

"No; I understood nothing."

"My dear friend," said the merchant, "it simply means that Lysander is
going to starve us out, and that the more there are of us the easier and
the speedier his work will be. This has been his policy all along. He
has taken no prisoners. Whenever he has taken a city, and there is
hardly one that has not either been taken or given itself up, he has
sent every Athenian citizen home. They are simply put on their parole to
come here. The consequence is that the city is fairly swarming with
people, and that there is next to no food. I have a good store--for some
time past I have kept myself well provisioned, not knowing what might
happen--and I am able to do something for my poor neighbors. But the
state of things in the city is simply awful. People, and people too whom
I know as really well-to-do citizens, are dying of sheer starvation. As
for the poor women and children it is truly heart breaking. Oh, my dear
friend, if you had only stopped away; for here you can do nothing. But I
knew you would come back, and I honor you for it."

"But can nothing be done?" cried the young man. "It is better to die
than be starved like a wolf in his den."

"The people have lost all heart. And indeed, if they were all brave as
lions, we are hopelessly outnumbered. Pausanias must have as many as
forty thousand men outside the city, for every city in the Island[52]
except Argos, has sent its contingent; and we could not muster a fourth
part of the number, and such troops too! And where is our fleet? At the
bottom of the Ægean, or in the arsenals of the enemy. I do not suppose
that there are fifty ships, all told, in our docks. And of these a third
are not sea-worthy. No, we must submit; and yet it is almost as much as
a man's life is worth to mention the word."

"But could we not make terms of some kind, not good terms I fear, but
still such as would be endurable? Has anything been done?"

"The Senate sent to Agis, who was at Deccleia,[53] and proposed peace on
these terms: Athens was to become the ally of Sparta on the condition of
having the same friends and the same enemies, but was to be allowed to
keep the Long Walls[54] and the Piraeus. Agis said that he had no
authority to treat, and bade the envoys go to Sparta. So they came back
here, and were directed to go. They reached a place on the borders of
Laconia and sent on their message to the ephors at Sparta, not being
allowed to proceed any further themselves. The ephors sent back this
answer: 'Begone instantly; if the Athenians really desire peace, let
them send you again with other proposals, such as having reflected more
wisely they may be disposed to make.' So the envoys returned. Some had
hoped that they would do some good. I must confess that I had not. There
was terrible dismay. At last one Archistratus plucked up courage to
speak. 'The Lacedaemonians can force us to accept what conditions they
please. Let us acknowledge what we cannot deny, and make peace with them
on their own terms.' There was a howl of rage at this, for in truth the
Lacedaemonian terms were nothing less than this: 'Pull down a mile of
the Long Walls, and give up your fleet.' The unlucky Archistratus was
thrown into prison where he lies still. Well, one said one thing, one
another. At last Theramenes got up and said: 'The real manager of
affairs is neither Agis nor Pausanias, nor even the Ephors, but
Lysander. Send me to him--he is a personal friend of mine own--and I
will make the best terms I can with him.' To this the assembly agreed,
having indeed nothing better to do. That was three or four days ago.
Theramenes started the same night. I very much doubt whether he will be
able to do any good. I am not even sure that he means to. But we shall
see."

A miserable period of waiting followed. Day after day passed, and the
envoy neither returned nor sent any communication to his fellow
countrymen. No one knew where he was. Whether he was still with Lysander
or had gone on to Sparta--all was a mystery. Meanwhile the distress in
the city grew more and more acute. Callias had taken up his abode with
Hippocles, and was so out of absolute want. He was perfectly ready to
acquiesce in the extreme frugality which was the rule of the house. Free
and bond all fared alike, and none had anything beyond the most
absolute necessaries of life. Whatever could be spared was devoted to
the relief of the needy.

Not the least trying part of the situation was the forced inaction. Not
even a sally was made. Indeed, it would have been a useless waste of
life. Not only were the forces of the enemy vastly superior, but the
besieged soldiers were almost unable to support the weight of their
arms, so scanty was the fare to which they were reduced. There were
times when Callias was disposed to rush sword in hand on some outpost of
the enemy, sell his life as dearly as he could, and perish.

Two things held him back from carrying this idea into execution, things
curiously unlike, yet working together for the same result. One was his
love for Hermione. Life had not lost all its charm, his horizon was not
wholly dark, while there remained the light of this hope. Indeed it was
the one consolation of his life that he was permitted to help her in her
daily ministration among her needy neighbors. A string of pensioners
presented themselves at the merchant's gates, and received such relief
as he could give. But Hermione was not content with this. There were
some, she knew, whose pride would not permit them to mingle in the train
of mendicants; there were others whose strength did not permit them to
come abroad. These she sought out in their own homes. Callias found a
melancholy pleasure in accompanying and helping her. Not a word of love
passed his lips. He would have scorned himself if he had added the
smallest grain to the burden of care that she bore. But he never failed
in his attendance, and he was hailed by many a poor sufferer with a
pleasure only second to that which greeted the gracious presence of the
girl. When, as happened before long, fever the unfailing follower of
famine, began to spread its ravages over the Piraeus, his labors and
hers grew more arduous. Battling with these two fearful enemies within
the walls, Callias almost forgot the foes that were without.

The other restraining and strengthening influence was that which
Socrates exercised on the young man's mind. All the time that Callias
could spare from the labors that he shared with Hermione was given to
the society of the philosopher. The sage's indomitable courage and
endurance were in themselves an encouragement of the highest order.
Doubtless his physical strength, which made him capable of bearing an
almost incredible degree of cold and hunger, helped him to show a
dauntless heart to the troubles which were breaking down so many. Indeed
he seemed scarcely to want food or drink. But the steadfastness with
which he pursued his usual course of life, still keeping up his untiring
search for wisdom was a spectacle nothing less than splendid, while
nothing could exceed his practical sagacity. Anyone who wanted shrewd
advice in the actual circumstances of life, anyone who desired to be
lifted out of the sordid present, with its miserable hopes and cares, on
to a higher plane of life, came to Socrates and did not come in vain.

At length, when nearly three months had passed, the long period of
suspense seemed about to come to an end. The report ran through the city
that Theramenes had returned. What were the terms he had brought back,
no one knew. On that point he remained obstinately silent. In fact he
had nothing to say, nothing further, that is, than the fact that
Lysander professed himself unable to treat; the Ephors must be
approached, if anything was to be done.

Had Lysander amused him with hopes that instructions and power to treat
would soon be sent down to him from Sparta, or had he deliberately
waited till the city should be reduced to such a pitch of starvation
that it would be ready to consent to any terms? There was a brutal,
cold-blooded cruelty in such conduct that makes it difficult to credit;
yet many believed it to be the true explanation of the delay.[55] To
picture the dismay that prevailed through the assembly when Theramenes
had given his report of the negotiations which he had _not_ concluded
would be impossible. There was nothing to be done but accept the bitter
necessity. Theramenes, with nine others, was sent to Sparta with full
power to treat. They were to accept any terms that might be offered. The
proud city had fallen as low as that.

Then came another time of waiting. Happily it was not long. Theramenes
felt that the endurance of his countrymen had been tried to the
uttermost, and that nothing more was to be gained. Athens was on her
knees. It did not suit him and his purposes--for he had purposes of his
own, possibly a tyranny, certainly power--that she should be actually
prostrate. He and his colleagues made all the haste that they could; and
as their instructions were simple--to accept anything that might be
offered--there was little to delay them.

[Illustration: THE PARTHENON AT THE PRESENT DAY.]

At the end of about twelve days they returned. It was in the midst of a
breathless suspense that Theramenes stood up to make his report. What he
said may be thus given in outline.

"We went with all speed to Sellasia[56] and there waited, having sent on
a message to the Ephors that we had come with full power to treat. On
the second day we were summoned to Sparta. There we found envoys
assembled from the allies of the Lacedaemonians. Aristides also was
there.

"At the mention of the name of Aristides a murmur of fear and rage ran
through the assembly. The man was one of the most notorious of the
anti-patriotic party. He had been in exile for many years, and was
believed to have done more harm than any one else to his native city.

"The senior of the Ephors stood up, and said: 'Friends and allies, the
Athenians seek for peace. What say you? Shall we grant it to them?' One
after another the envoys rose in their places. They did not use many
words. It was not the custom of the place to be long in speech as they
knew. All said the same thing. 'We give our vote against peace. Let
Athens be destroyed. There will be no true peace so long as she is
permitted to exist.' When all had spoken we were called on to speak.
'You hear what these say,' said the Ephor who had not spoken before.
'What have you to reply?' I answered that the Athenians were ready to
give all pledges that might be asked from them that they would not harm
either Sparta or her allies or any city of the Greeks. After this we
were all commanded to withdraw. In about the space of an hour we were
summoned again into the chamber. The Ephor rose in his place and spoke.
'The Corinthians and the other allies demand that Athens should be
destroyed. Nor do they this without reason. The Athenians have destroyed
many cities of the Greeks. Yet can we not forget that they have also in
time past done good service to Greece. But of these things which you all
know it is needless to speak. Our sentence is this: Let the Athenians
pull down their Long Walls for the space of a mile. Let them also
surrender their fleet, keeping only twelve ships. On these terms they
shall have peace. These then, O men of Athens,' the speaker continued,
'are the conditions which the Spartans demand. I confess that they are
hard. Yet they are better than those which the rest of Greece would
impose upon you. Truly the Lacedaemonians stand between us and utter
destruction. And there is nothing beyond remedy in what they would lay
upon us. Walls that are broken down may be repaired, and for ships that
have been given up many others may be built; but of a city against which
the decree of destruction has gone forth, there is an end. Therefore I
propose that peace be made with the Lacedaemonians on these terms.'

"One or two speakers ventured to rise in opposition. But they could
scarcely get a hearing. Probably they only went through the form of
opposing in order that they might be able at some future time to say
that they had done so. With but short delay the proposition was put to
the vote and carried by an overwhelming majority. The same evening
envoys were sent to Lysander announcing that the Spartan conditions had
been accepted.

"The next day the gates of the city were thrown open, and the fleet of
Lysander sailed into the Piraeus. The ships of war were handed over to
him. Many were destroyed, and indeed the once famous and powerful fleet
of Atticus had been reduced to a state of most deplorable weakness. The
sacrifice of the fleet, such as it was, was not so very costly after
all. The few sea-worthy ships that remained, besides the twelve that the
city was permitted to retain, were sent off to the Lacedaemonian arsenal
of Gytheum. This done, the next thing was to beat down the Long Walls.
'This is the first day of the freedom of Greece,' said Lysander, 'we
must keep it as a festival. Send for the flute players.' Accordingly the
services of every flute player in Attica were requisitioned; and to the
sound of the gayest tunes which they could find in their _repertoire_
the work of demolition went on. Every decent Athenian whatever his
policy, kept, of course, close within doors; but there was nevertheless
a vast concourse of spectators, the rabble who will crowd to any sight,
however brutal and humiliating, the army of Pausanias and the crews of
Lysander's fleet, with a miscellaneous crowd of foreigners who had come
to gloat over the downfall of the haughty city. Loud was the shout that
went up when a clean breach was made through the walls. The general
feeling was that Athens had suffered a blow from which she could never
recover. But there were some who doubted. 'You have scratched the snake,
not killed it,' said a Corinthian, as he turned away."

FOOTNOTES:

[52] The Peloponnesus or Island of Pelops.

[53] Deccleia was the fort established in Athenian territory by the
Peloponnesians early in the war and used as their headquarters during
their annual invasion of the country.

[54] The Long Walls were the great strength of Athens. They joined the
harbor of the Piraeus to the city.

[55] Xenophon distinctly says that he lingered with Lysander, waiting
for the time when the Athenians, at the last pinch of starvation, should
be ready to accept any terms that might be offered.

[56] Sellasia was a town on the border where the previous embassy had
been bidden to wait till the Ephors could be communicated with.



CHAPTER XVIII.

"NOBLESSE OBLIGE."


Some fourteen or fifteen days have passed since the humiliation of
Athens was completed. To have come to the end, bitter as it was, was in
one way a relief. To know the worst always brings a certain comfort, and
that worst might have been, was, in fact, very near being far more
terrible than what actually happened. Then there was a great material
relief. The pressure of famine was removed. Supplies poured plentifully
into Athens, for the city, in spite of all its sacrifices and losses,
was still rich. If fever still remained--it always lingers a while after
its precursor, hunger, has departed--it was now possible to cope with it
effectually. And then, last not least, it was the delightful season of
spring. The Athenians could once more enjoy the delights of that country
life from which they had been shut out so long, but which they had never
ceased to love. Attica, indeed, had suffered sadly from the presence,
repeated year after year, of the invading host; but it had suffered less
than might have been expected. The olive yards in particular, had not
been touched. A religious feeling had forbidden any injury to a tree
which was supposed to be under the special protection of the patron
goddess of the land. The sacred groves also of the heroes, that were
scattered about the country, had not been harmed. Not a few houses with
their gardens had been saved by having served as residences for officers
high in command in the Peloponnesian army. And now Nature, the restorer,
was busy in the genial season of growth in healing or at least hiding
the wounds that had been made by the ravages of war.

"What do you say to a trip to Marathon?" said Hippocles one day, to his
daughter and Callias. "You both of you look as if a little fresh air
would do you good."

"An excellent idea," cried Hermione, clapping her hands, "it is years
since I have seen the place."

"What say you, Callias?" said Hippocles, turning to the young man.

Callias was only too glad to join any expedition when he was to have the
company of Hermione. He did not give this reason, but he assented to the
proposal very heartily.

"But, father, how shall we go?" said Hermione. "There is scarcely a
horse to be found, I suppose."

"Why not go by sea?" was her father's reply. "I have a pinnace which
would just suit us. We will go to-morrow if the weather holds fine, stop
the first night at Sunium, and the second at Marathon. At Sunium there
is my villa, and at Marathon there is a little house of which I can get
the use, and which will serve us if we do not mind roughing it a little.
We can return the next day. Only we must take provisions, for except
such fish as we may catch in the Marathon stream, and possibly, some
goats' milk, if all the goats have not been eaten up, we shall have
nothing but what we bring. That must be your care, Hermione."

"Trust me, father," cried the girl joyously. "If you have gone through
four months' famine, depend upon it you shall not be starved now."

The weather on the following day was all that could be desired. A warm
and gentle west wind was blowing. This served them very well as they
sailed southward to Sunium. In such good time did they reach the
promontory, that by unanimous vote they agreed to finish their journey
that same day. Sailing northward was as easy as sailing southward, and
the sun was still an hour from setting when they reached the northern
end of the plain, having travelled a distance of upwards of sixty miles.
This was about four times as far as they would have had to go, had they
made the journey by land. No one, however, regretted having followed
Hippocles' suggestion. The voyage was indeed as delightful an excursion
as could have been devised. The deep blue sky overhead, the sea,
borrowing from the heavens a color as intense, and only touched here and
there with a speck of white where a little wave swelled and broke, sea
birds now flying high in the air, now darting for their prey into the
waters, the white cliffs tipped with the fresh green of spring that
framed the coast line, made a picture that the party intensely enjoyed,
although they did not put their enjoyment into words with the fluency
and ease which would have come readily to a modern. The ancients loved
nature, but, as a rule, they felt this love much more than they
expressed it.

The little house at Marathon was one that had escaped destruction by
having been occupied by a Spartan officer. It was bare indeed of
furniture, but it was habitable; and the party had brought with them
the few things that were absolutely necessary, far fewer, we must
remember, than what we now consider to be indispensable. Supper was felt
by all to be a most enjoyable meal. The room in which they sat was bare,
for, of course, the luxurious couches on which it was the fashion to
recline were absent. There was not even a table, and there was but one
broken chair, which was naturally resigned to Hermione. But it was
lightened with a cheerful fire, which was not unwelcome after seven or
eight hours' exposure to a high wind. Happily the late occupant had left
a store of logs, which had been cut on the slopes of Pentelicus in the
previous autumn, and which now blazed up most cheerfully. The meal was
declared by both Hippocles and Callias to be good enough for a
State-banquet in the Prytaneum. One of the sailors had caught a
basketful of fish in the stream, and these Hermione had cooked with her
own hands. An Athenian who had plenty of fish, seldom wanted anything in
the way of flesh, and the provisions which Hermione, not liking to trust
to the skill or the luck of the anglers had brought with her, were not
touched. A cold maize pudding, some of the famous Attic figs, which had
been preserved through the winter, bread with honey from Hymettus, and
dried grapes completed the repast. Some of the goats, it turned out, had
survived, and a jug of their milk was forthcoming for Hermione. The two
men had a flask of wine which they largely diluted with water. When,
after the libation, Hippocles proposed the toast of the evening, as, in
consideration of the locality it might fairly be called, "To the memory
of the Heroes of Marathon," Hermione honored it by putting her lips to
the cup. It was the first time that wine had ever passed them, but she
could not refuse this tribute to the chief glory of the city of her
adoption.

Hermione, fatigued, it may be said, with all the delights of the day,
retired early to rest. Soon after she had gone Callias took the
opportunity of opening his heart to his companion on a subject which had
long occupied his thoughts.

"We have peace at last," he said, "not such a peace as I had ever hoped
for, but still better than the utter ruin which lately I had begun to
fear. A good citizen may now begin to think of himself and of his own
happiness. You, sir, can hardly have failed to observe why I have begun
to look for that happiness. If your daughter will only consent to share
my life, I feel that I shall have to ask the gods for nothing more. She
is free as far as I know. And me you have known from my childhood. You
were my father's friend and since he died you have stood in his place.
Can you give her to me?"

Hippocles caught his young companion's hand, and gave it a hearty grasp.

"I will not pretend," he said, "not to have observed something of what
you say; nor will I deny that I have observed it with pleasure. What
father would not be glad if Callias, the son of Hipponicus, loved his
daughter? Of Hermione's feelings I say nothing, indeed I know nothing,
save that she has regarded you since childhood with a strong affection,
and that as you say she is free. But there are facts which neither you
nor I can forget; and the chief of them is this, that while you are
Callias, son of Hipponicus, an Eupatrid of the Eupatrids,[57] I am
Hippocles, the Alien. I am well-born in my own country, but that is
nothing here. I am wealthy--so wealthy that I care not a single drachma
whether my future son-in-law has a thousand talents for his patrimony or
one. I am, I hope and believe, not without honor in the city of my
adoption. But I am an alien, my child is an alien. Whether you have
thought of all that this means I know not--love is apt to hide these
difficulties from a man's eyes--but the fact must be faced; you and my
daughter must face it. You speak of my giving her to you. But, if
Hermione is a Greek, she is also an Italian. The Italian women choose
for themselves. I could not if I would constrain her will. She must
decide, and she must answer."

"There is nothing that I should desire better. But you do not tell me,
sir, what you yourself wish. Have I your consent and your good wishes?"

"Yes," said Hippocles, "you have. I have thought over the difficulties,
for I foresaw that you would some day speak to me on this subject. As
far as I am concerned I am ready to waive them. But then, they do not
concern me in the first place."

The two men sat in silence for some time after this conversation had
passed between them, buried each of them in his own thoughts. At last
Hippocles rose from his seat.

"It is time to sleep," he said; "I will speak to my daughter to-morrow;
you shall not want my good word, but I can do nothing more. You must
speak to her yourself. That is, I think, what few fathers in Greece
would tell a suitor to do. But then Hermione is not as other maidens."

Callias passed a restless night, and was glad, to make his way into the
open air when the first streaks of dawn appeared on the Euboean hills,
which were in full view from the house. He shrank from meeting Hermione
till he could meet her alone, and ask the momentous question which was
occupying his whole mind. Partly to employ the time, partly to banish
thought, if it might be done by severe bodily exercise, he started to
climb the height of Pentelicus, which rose on the southern side of the
Marathonian plain. The excursion occupied him the whole morning. On his
way back he traversed the hills which skirted the western side of the
plain, and, following what was evidently a well-beaten track, came at
last in view of the mound under which reposed the Athenian dead who had
fallen in that great battle. His quick eye soon perceived a familiar
figure, conspicuous in its white garments among the monuments which
stood on the top of the mound. Hippocles had fulfilled his promise, and
had said all that he could to Hermione in favor of her suitor. He had
dwelt upon his noble birth, the reputation as a soldier which he had
already won, his culture and taste for philosophy, and his blameless
life. "As for wealth," he ended by saying, "that is of little account
where my daughter is concerned. Yet a man should be independent of his
wife, and I may tell you as one who knows--and I have had charge of his
property for some years past--that Callias is one of the richest men in
Athens. That will not weigh with you I know, but I would have you know
all the circumstances."

Hermione said nothing; she took her father's hand and kissed it. A tear
dropped on it as she raised it to her lips. As she turned away,
Hippocles noticed that she was shaken by a sob.

An instinct in the girl's heart told her that it was on the mound that
her lover would speak to her, and it was here that she wished to give
her answer to him. It was not the first time that she had visited it.
Indeed there was not a woman, and not many men in Athens who knew so
much about its records.

On the top of this tumulus, which still rises thirty feet above the
surrounding plain, and which was then, it is probable, considerably
higher, there stood in those days eleven stone columns inscribed with
the names of those who had fallen in the great battle. Each of the ten
Athenian tribes had its own peculiar column, while the eleventh
commemorated the gallant men of Plataea, Plataea, which alone among the
cities of Greece, had sent her sons on that day to stand shoulder to
shoulder with the soldiers of Athens.

Hermione was apparently engrossed in the task of deciphering the names,
now grown somewhat obliterated by time, which were engraved on one of
the columns. So intent was she on this occupation that she did not
notice the young man's approach. Turning suddenly round, she faced him.
At that moment, though she had expected him to come, his actual coming
was a surprise, and the hot blood crimsoned her face and neck.

"Hermione," he said, "I have spoken to your father, and he bids me speak
to you. You can hardly have failed to read my heart, and if I have not
spoken to you before, it has been because I have not presumed. You know
all that needs be known about me, and though I do not think myself
worthy of you, I need not be ashamed of my fathers or of myself."

The brilliant color had faded from the girl's cheek, her hand trembled,
her bosom heaved. Twice she opened her lips; twice the voice seemed to
fail her. At last she spoke.

"You speak of your fathers. You are, I think, of the tribe of Pandion?"

"I am," said Callias.

"And this is the column of their tribe, and this"--she pointed as she
spoke--"the name of an ancestor of yours?"

"Yes," replied the young man, "this Hipponicus whose name you see
engraved here was my great grandfather."

"He had been Archon at Athens the year before the great battle. You
see," she added with a faint smile, "I know something of your family
history."

"It was so."

"And his son, a Callias like yourself, was Archon general many
times--held, in fact, every honor that Athens could bestow?"

"Yes, there was no more distinguished man in the city than he."

"And your father; he died, I think I have heard, in early manhood; but
he was already far advanced in the career of honor?"

"Doubtless had he lived he would not have been inferior in distinction
to my grandfather."

"And you have started well in the same course? I need not ask you that.
We all know it better, perhaps, than you know it yourself, and we are
proud of it. My dear brother," the girl's voice which hitherto had been
clear and even commanding in its tones, faltered at the mention of the
dead, "my dear brother used to say that there was nothing that you might
not hope for, nothing to which you might not rise."

"You speak too well of me; but I hope that I am not altogether unworthy
of my ancestors."

The girl paused for a while. She seemed unable to utter what she had
next to say. The flush mounted again to her cheek, and she stood silent
and with downcast eyes.

Meanwhile the young man stood in utter perplexity. He had heard nothing
from the girl's lips but what might have made any man proud to hear. She
knew, as she had said, the history of his race, and she believed him to
be not unworthy of it. Yet this was not the way in which he had hoped to
hear her speak. He was conscious that there was something behind that
did not promise well for his hopes.

At last she went on. Her voice was low but distinct, her eyes were still
bent on the ground.

"And what your fathers have been in Athens, what you hope to be
yourself, you would have your son to be after you?"

"Surely," he answered without thinking of what he was admitting.

"Could it be so if I--" she altered the phrase--"if a woman not of
Athenian blood were his mother?"

He was struck dumb. So this was the end she had before her when she
enumerated the honors and distinctions of his race.

"Mind," she said, "I do not say that my race is unworthy of yours. I am
not ashamed of my ancestors. They were chiefs; they were good men. I am
proud to be their daughter. But here in Athens their goodness and their
nobility goes for nothing. I am Hermione, the daughter of Hippocles, the
Alien. Marrying me you shut out, not perhaps yourself, but your children
from the career which is their inheritance. I am too proud,"--and here
the girl dropped her voice to a whisper,--"and I love you too well for
that."

"What is my career to your love?" cried the young man passionately; "I
am ready to give up country and all for that."

"That," said Hermione, "is the only unworthy thing that I ever heard you
say. Your better thoughts will make you withdraw it. Athens has fallen;
the gods know that it has wrung my heart to see it. But she needs all
the more such sons as you are. She has little now to offer. It is a
thankless office, perhaps, to command her fleets and armies. All the
more honor to those who cling to her still and cherish her still. You
must not leave her or betray her. I should think foul shame of myself if
I tempted you for a moment to waver in your loyalty to her. I may not
love you--that the gods have forbidden me--but you will let me be proud
of you."

The young man turned away. The final word, he knew, had been spoken.
This resolution was not to be shaken by indignant reproaches or by
tender pleadings. All that remained was to forget, if that was possible.
He would not see Hippocles or his daughter again till the wound of this
bitter disappointment had had time to heal. Returning to the house,
which he found empty but for a single attendant, he snatched a hasty
meal, and then set out to return over-land to Athens.

FOOTNOTES:

[57] The class name of the Athenian nobility.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE END OF ALCIBIADES.


Three days after the events recorded in the last chapter--it took so
much time for the young man to screw up his courage to the
point--Callias made his way to the ship-yard of Hippocles at an hour
when he knew that he would be pretty certain to find the master there.
He was not disappointed, nor could he help being touched by the warm
sympathy with which he was received.

"Ah! my dear friend," cried the merchant, "this has been a great
disappointment to me. I must own that I had my fears. I know something,
you see, of my daughter's temper. I knew that she had always chafed
under our disabilities. Things that have ceased to trouble me--and I
must own that they never troubled me much--are grievous to her. You see
that I have a power of my own which is quite enough to satisfy any
reasonable man. I can't speak or vote in your assembly, but I have a
voice, if I choose to use it, in your policy. She knows very little
about this, and would not appreciate it if she did. Besides it would not
avail her. No; she feels herself an inferior here, and it galls her; yet
that is scarcely the way to put it, for she was thinking much more of
you than of herself. I believe that she loves you--she has not confided
in me, you must understand, but I guess as much--and she would sooner
cut off her right hand than injure you or yours. And then her pride
comes in also. 'Am I, daughter of kings as I am,' she says to herself,
'am I to be one to bring humiliation into an ancient house?' Her
mother's forefathers would be called barbarians here, but they were
kings and heroes for all that. And that is the bitterness of it to her:
to feel herself your equal in birth, and yet to know that to marry you
would be to drag you down."

"I understand," said Callias, "it is noble; but just now my heart rebels
very loudly against it. Let us say no more. I have come to ask you what
you would advise. For the present I cannot stay at Athens."

"That," said Hippocles, "is exactly what I wanted to talk to you about;
if you had not come to-day I should have sought for you. You wish to
leave Athens, you say. It is well, for it would not be safe for you to
stay. We shall have a bad time in Athens for the next few months,
perhaps for longer. The exiles have come back full of rage and thirsting
for revenge. And then there is Theramenes; he is the man you have to
fear. He has the murder of the generals on his soul. That, perhaps,
would not trouble him much but he fears all who might be disposed to
call him to account for it. He knows that you were the kinsman and dear
friend of Diomedon, and he will take the first opportunity that may
occur of doing you a mischief. And opportunities will not be wanting. I
suspect that for some time to come, with the Oligarchs in power and the
Lacedaemonians to back them up, laws and constitutional forms will not
go for much in Athens."

"And you advise me to go?" said Callias.

"Certainly there is nothing to keep you. For the present there is no
career for you here. I don't despair of Athens; but for some time to
come she will have a very humble part to play."

"Have you anything to suggest?"

"I have been thinking over it for two or three days. Many things have
occurred to me, but nothing so good as was suggested by a letter which I
received this morning. It came from a merchant in Rhodes with whom I
have had dealings for some years past. My correspondent asks for a large
advance in money for a commercial speculation which he says promises
large profits. I have always found the man honest; in fact the outcomes
of my dealings with him in the past have been quite satisfactory. But
this new venture that he proposes is a very large one indeed. I like
what he tells me of it. It opens up quite a new field of enterprise; and
new fields, I need hardly tell you, have a great charm for a man in my
position. The ordinary routine of commerce does not interest me very
much; but something new is very attractive. Now I want you to go to
Rhodes for me. Make all the enquiries you can about the character and
standing of my correspondent, whom, curiously enough, I have never seen.
I will give you introductions to those who will put you in the way of
hearing all that is to be heard. If the man's credit is shaky at all,
then I shall know that this proposition of his is a desperate venture.
If all is sound, I shall feel pretty sure that he has got hold of a
really good thing."

"I know very little of such matters," said the young Callias after a
pause.

"I do not ask you to go that you may judge of this particular
enterprise; I simply want you to find out what people are saying about
Diagoras--that is my correspondent's name; you will be simply an
Athenian gentleman on his travels. Keep your ears open and you will be
sure to hear something."

"Well," said Callias, "I will do my best; but don't expect too much."

"Can you start to-morrow?"

"Yes, if you think it necessary."

"Well, my affair is not urgent for some days, at least. But for
yourself, I fancy you cannot get out of the way too soon. I don't think
that Theramenes and his friends will stick much at forms and ceremonies.
I own that I shall feel much happier when there are two or three hundred
miles of sea between you and them. Be here an hour after sunset
to-morrow. By that time I shall have arranged for your passage and got
ready your letters of introduction and the rest of it."

"Well," said the young man to himself as he went to make his
preparations for departure, "this, it must be confessed, is a little
hard on me. Hermione says, 'Stop in Athens and stick to your career';
her father says, 'If you stop in Athens you are as good as a dead man,
and your career will be cut short by the hemlock cup.' I have to give up
my love for my career and then give up my career for my life."

It is needless to relate the incidents of my hero's voyage to Rhodes or
of his stay on that island. His special mission he was able to
accomplish easily enough. Diagoras' speculation was, as he soon found
out, the last resource of an embarrassed man; and the loan for which he
asked would be a risk too great for any prudent person to undertake. The
letter in which he communicated what he had heard to Hippocles was
crossed by one from Athens. From this he learned that the political
anticipations of the merchant had been more than fulfilled. The
oligarchical revolution had been carried on with the most outrageous
violence. On the very day on which he had left Athens, an officer of the
government had come with an order for his arrest.

All this was interesting; still more so was a brief communication from
Alcibiades which the merchant enclosed. It ran thus:

"Alcibiades to Callias son of Hipponicus, greeting. Great things are
possible now to the bold of whom I know you to be one. More I do not
say, but come to me as soon as you can. Farewell."

The merchant had added a postscript. "I leave this for your
consideration. Alcibiades has a certain knack of success. But the risk
will be great."

"What is risk to me?" said Callias, "I can't spend my life idling here."

The next day he left the island, taking his passage in a merchant ship
which, by great good luck was just starting for Smyrna. Smyrna was
reached without any mishap. Four days afterwards, he started with a
guide for the little village in Phrygia from which Alcibiades had dated
his note. Halting at noon on the first day's journey to rest their
horses, they were accosted by a miserable looking wayfarer, who begged
for some scraps of food, declaring that he had not broken his fast for
four and twenty hours. Something in the man's voice and face struck
Callias as familiar, and he puzzled in vain for a solution of the
mystery, while the stranger sat eagerly devouring the meal with which he
had been furnished.

"Here," said Callias, when the man had finished his repast and was
thanking him, "here is something to help you along till you can find
friends or employment." And he gave him four or five silver pieces.

It was the first time he had spoken in the fugitive's hearing, and the
man, who, now that his ravenous hunger was appeased, had leisure to
notice other things, started at the sound of his voice. He, on his part,
seemed to recognize something.

"Many thanks, sir," he said; "the gods pay you back ten-fold. But
surely," he went on, "I have seen you before. Ah! now I remember. You
are Callias the son of Hipponicus, and you were my master's guest in
Thrace."

A light flashed on the young Athenian's mind. The man had been one of
Alcibiades' attendants in his Thracian castle.

"Ah! I remember," he cried, "and your master was Alcibiades. But what do
you here? How does he fare?"

The man burst into tears. "Ah, sir, he is dead, cruelly killed by those
villains of Spartans. He was the very best of masters. I never had a
rough word from him. We all loved him."

"Tell me," said Callias, "how it happened. I was on my way to him," and
he read to the man the brief note that had been forwarded to him at
Rhodes.

"Yes, I understand. I know when that was written. He had great hopes of
being able to do something. I did not rightly understand what it was,
but the common talk among us who were of his household was that he was
going to the Great King to persuade him that the best thing that he
could do would be to set Athens on her feet again to help him against
Sparta. Oh! he was a wonderful man to persuade, was my master. Nobody
could help being taken by him."

"But tell me the story," said the young man.

"Well, it happened in this way. My master had gone up to see
Pharnabazus, the Satrap, who had promised to aid him on his way up to
Susa to see the Great King. There were six of us with him; his
secretary, myself and four slaves. There was Timandra, also, whom he
used to call his wife; but his real wife was an Athenian lady,
Hipparete, I have heard say."

"Yes," interrupted Callias, "I knew her; a cousin of my own; a most
unhappy marriage. But go on."

"Well, Pharnabazus received him most hospitably. There was no good house
in the village, so we had three cottages. Alcibiades had one; the
secretary and I another, and the slaves, a third. Every day the satrap
sent a handsome supply of provisions for us; dishes and wine from his
own table for my master, and for us all that we could want for
ourselves. I never fared better in my life. And my master had long talks
with him and seemed in excellent spirits. Everything was going on as
well as possible. Then there came a change. I never could find out
whether my master had heard anything to make him suspicious. If he had,
he certainly told the secretary nothing about it. But he was very much
depressed. First he sent Timandra away. She was very unwilling to go,
poor lady, for she did love my master very much, though, as I say, she
was not really his wife. But my master insisted on it, so she went away
to stay with some friends. After that his spirits grew worse and worse.
He used to tell his secretary the dreams he had. Once he dreamt he was
dressed in Timandra's clothes, and that she was putting rouge and powder
on his face. At another time he seemed to see himself laid on a funeral
pyre and the people standing round ready to set it on fire. The very
night after he had that dream we were awakened by a tremendous uproar;
the secretary and I got up and looked out. The master's cottage, which
was about a stadium[58] away from ours was on fire, and there were a
number of Persians, about fifty or sixty, standing round it, shouting
out and cursing him. The next moment we saw the door of the cottage
open, and the master ran out with a cloak round his head, to keep
himself from being choked by the smoke, and with a sword in his hand. As
soon as he was clear of the burning cottage he threw down the cloak and
rushed straight at the nearest Persian. The man turned and ran. There
was not one of them that dared stand for a moment. But they shot at him
with arrows. They had fastened the gates of the enclosure in which the
cottages stood, you must understand, so that he could not escape. In
fact he was climbing over one of them when he was killed."

"And you; what did you do?"

"Ah! sir," cried the man, "we were helpless, we had not a sword between
us. We hid ourselves, and the next morning took our master's body and
carried it to Timandra. She made a great funeral, spending upon it, poor
thing, nearly every drachma she had. When we had seen the last of my
dear master, the secretary said that he had friends at Tarsus, and set
out to go there. I thought that I had best make my way to Smyrna. Thanks
to your goodness, I shall now be able to get there, but I was very
nearly dying of starvation. But what, if I may ask, are you thinking of
doing?"

"That I can't tell," replied the Athenian; "as I told you, I was on my
way to Alcibiades."

"Well, sir, I can tell you this," rejoined the stranger, "no friends of
my master's will be safe here. Pharnabazus, I feel sure, had no great
love for him, notwithstanding all his politeness; as for the Spartans,
they hated him; and I did hear that the people who are now in power at
Athens had sent to say that peace could not last unless he were put out
of the way. Yes, sir, if anyone recognizes that you are my master's
friend, you are a dead man."

"Why," said Callias, "I have made no secret of it. In Smyrna I spoke
about him to the people with whom I was staying. No one said a word
against him."

"Very likely not," replied the man, "for they thought that he was alive,
and no one liked to have my master for an enemy. He had a wonderful way
of making friends to have the upper hand and contriving that his
adversaries should have the worst of it. But now that he is dead you
will find things very different."

"What is to be done?" asked the young Athenian.

"Can you trust your guide?"

"I know nothing of the man. I simply hired him because I was told that
he was a fairly honest fellow, knew the country very well, and would not
run away if a robber made his appearance."

"Well, then get rid of him."

"But how?"

"Tell him that you have a headache, and that you will come on after him
when you have rested a little and the sun is not so hot, and that he had
better go on, get quarters at the next stage and have everything ready
for you when you shall arrive. As soon as he is gone, get back as fast
as you can to Smyrna. The news will hardly have reached that place yet,
indeed we may be sure that it has not, or you would have heard of it
before you started. Go down to the docks, and take your passage in any
ship that you can find ready to start. Even if it is going to Athens
never mind; you will be able to leave it on the way. Anyhow, get out of
Asia at any risk."

"And you?"

"Oh, no one will care about me. I am a very insignificant person. But,
as a matter of fact, I shall try to get to Syracuse. I was born there."

"Syracuse will do as well for me as any other place. Why not come with
me if it can be managed? I was able to do you a little service, and you
have done me a great one. Let us go together."

The plan was carried out with the greatest success. Callias made the
best of his way to Smyrna, and left his horse at an inn, not, of
course, the one from which he had started. As he had plenty of money for
immediate wants, besides letters of credit from Hippocles, he thought it
safer not to attempt to sell the animal. He then provided himself with
different clothes, purchasing at the same time a suit for his new
acquaintance. These he ordered to be sent to a small house of
entertainment near the docks which they had arranged should be the place
of meeting. Shortly before sunset the man appeared. Meanwhile Callias
had arranged for a passage for himself and his servant in a ship bound
for Corinth. They would not venture into Corinth itself, but would
transfer themselves at the port of Cenchreae into some ship bound for
Sicily.

Before the morning of the next day the two were on their way westward.
Everything went well. At Cenchreae they found a Syracusan merchantman
just about to start, shipped on board her and after a prosperous voyage
found themselves in the chief city of Sicily.

FOOTNOTES:

[58] A stadium was nearly a furlong; to be exact, 202 yards.



CHAPTER XX.

DIONYSIUS.


It was with no common emotion that the young Athenian entered the great
harbor of Syracuse. It was here that the really fatal blow had been
struck from which his country had never recovered. She had struggled
gallantly on for nearly ten years after she had lost the most
magnificent armament that she had ever sent forth, but the wound had
been mortal. Thenceforward she had been as a man of whose life-blood a
half had been drained away. Callias had read, shortly before leaving
Athens for the last time, the magnificent passage, then recently
published, in which the great historian of Athens had described the
decisive battle in the harbor.[59] The sight of the place now enabled
him to realize it to himself in the most vivid way. He seemed to see the
hostile fleets crowded together in a way for which there was no
precedent, two hundred war galleys in a space so narrow that manoeuvre
was impossible, and nothing availed but sheer fighting and hard blows;
while the shores seemed alive again as they had been on that eventful
day with a crowd of eager spectators, the armies of the two contending
powers, who looked on with passionate cries and gestures at such a
spectacle as human eyes had scarcely witnessed before, a mighty
war-game in which their own liberties and lives were the stake. The
heights that ran above the harbor were scarcely less significant. There,
its remains still visible, had been the Athenian line of investment. If
only a few yards more had been completed, the young man thought to
himself, the whole course of history might have been changed.[60] Not
far away was the spot where the sturdy infantry of Thebes had withstood
the fiery shock of his own countrymen, and so, not for the first time,
wrested from them the empire that seemed almost within their grasp.[61]
And somewhere--no one knew where--his own father had fallen, one of the
thousands of noble victims who had been sacrificed to the greed and
ambition of a restless democracy.

The noble house of which Callias was the representative had, of course,
its hereditary guest-friend at Syracuse. Naturally there had been very
little intercourse between citizens of the two states in late years; but
the old tie remained unbroken, and Medon, for that was the Syracusan's
name, was as ready to give a hospitable welcome to the young Athenian,
as if he had been a citizen of one of his country's allies, a merchant
prince of Corinth, or a scion of one of the two royal houses of Sparta.
He insisted upon his guest taking up his quarters in his house, and
exerted himself to the utmost to supply and even anticipate every want.

"Now you have seen something of the outside of our city," said Medon to
his friend as they sat together after the evening meal on the third day
after his arrival, "you should know something of its politics. But first
let me make sure that we are alone."

The dining chamber in which the two were sitting had an ante-room. The
door of this the Syracusan proceeded to bolt.

"Now," he said, "we shall have no eavesdroppers. Any inquisitive friend
may listen at that other door, with all this space between us and him,
without getting much idea of what we are talking about. All the other
walls are outer walls, as you know, and unless a certain great personage
has the birds of the air in his pay, we may talk without reserve. You
look surprised. Well, you will understand things a little better when
you have heard what I have to tell you. You know something, I suppose,
of what has been happening here of late years. The fact is we have been
going through an awful time. No sooner were we free of the danger that
you put us in--you must pardon me for alluding to it--than we were
confronted with another which was every whit as formidable. Another
wretched quarrel between two towns in the island--curiously enough the
very same two that were concerned in your expedition against
us[62]--brought in a foreign invader. This time it was the
Carthaginians. They had had settlements in the island for many years,
had always coveted the dominion of the whole, and more than once had
been very near getting it. They were not far from success this time.
First they took Selinus and massacred every creature in it; then they
took Acragas;[63] then they utterly destroyed Himera. Something made
them hold their hands, and we had a short breathing space. Four years
afterwards they came back in greater force than ever. Acragas was
besieged; it held out bravely, but at last the population had to leave
it; only Syracuse was left. Again when in the full tide of victory, the
Carthaginians held their hand. Do you ask me why? I cannot tell you. But
listen to the fourth article of the treaty of peace." In spite of the
precautions that he had taken against being overheard, Medon, at this
point lowered his voice. "Syracuse is to be under the rule of Dionysius.
Yes; the secret is there; it was he that made it worth their while to
go; and you may be sure that it was worth his while to buy them off. I
must allow that he was the only man who showed a grain of sense or
courage in the whole matter; the other generals as they were called were
hopelessly imbecile. Well, they went, and Dionysius became, shall we
call it, 'commander-in-chief,' or perhaps as we are quite alone,
'tyrant?' He had not an easy time of it at first; I don't suppose that
he will ever have an easy time, tyrants seldom do. The nobles and the
heads of the democratic party leagued together against him, and drove
him out. That did not last long. Of course the conquerors used their
victory most brutally. They were furious that Dionysius had slipped out
of their hands, and wreaked their vengeance on his poor wife. I can't
tell you the horrible way in which they killed her. She was the
daughter, too, of Hermocrates, one of the very best and noblest men
that Syracuse ever had. Equally of course they quarrelled over the
spoils. Naturally, before long they had nothing left to quarrel over.
Dionysius hired a force of Campanian mercenaries, the hardest hitters,
by the way, that I ever saw, and drove them out of the city. Now, I
fancy, he is pretty firmly seated. The people like him; they were never
as fit, you must know, for popular government as yours are. He gives
them plenty of employment and amusements, wrings the money out of us
with a tight hand, and scatters it among them with an open one. Of
course a dagger may reach him, and there are not a few that are kept
ready sharpened for the chance. Barring that, he is likely to be master
here as long as he lives. And to tell you the truth, though personally I
hate the idea, as any noble must--it is the nobles that always hate a
tyrant most--yet I do not see that anything could be better for
Syracuse. The Carthaginian danger is not over yet, and Dionysius is the
very ablest soldier and administrator that we have. Of course the pinch
will come later. A ruler of this sort always becomes harder, more cruel,
more suspicious as he grows older. And if he has a son, brought up in
the bad atmosphere of tyranny, the country has a terrible time of it.
Happily the son is generally a fool, and brings the whole thing down
with a crash. But all this is far off. Dionysius is still a young man,
not more than twenty-six years old, I fancy. However, you shall see
him--we are very good friends in public--and judge for yourself."

Callias, who had the hereditary abhorrence of his race for anything
like tyranny,[64] demurred at the proposed introduction to the despot.
Medon was very urgent in overruling his objection. "Don't mistake Sicily
for Greece," he said; "we are half barbarous, and what would be
monstrous with you is quite in its right place here. I grant you that an
honest man should have no dealings with a tyrant who should set himself
up at Thebes, or Corinth, or Argos. But it is different here. I am sure
that the man governs us better than we should be governed by the people,
or, for the matter of that, by the nobles either."

At last the Athenian consented. "Very good," cried Medon, "you will go.
Then we will lose no time about it. Depend upon it, Dionysius knows all
about you; and if you do not pay your respects to him without loss of
time he will be suspicious. Suspicion is the bane of his situation.
Servant, friend, wife; he trusts nobody."

The next day Medon and his guest presented themselves at the palace. The
Athenian had half turned back when he found that he must be searched. No
one was admitted into the presence until that precaution had been taken,
and his freeman's pride revolted. Medon simply shrugged his shoulders.
"He is quite right," he whispered to his indignant friend, "he would not
live a month if he did not do it."

Dionysius was, or pretended to be, busy with his studies, when the two
visitors were announced. A slave was reading to him from a roll, and he
was taking notes on a wax tablet. He welcomed the newcomers with much
cordiality.

"So, Medon, you have brought your Athenian friend at last. I hope that
you have not been slandering me to him."

"My lord," answered Medon with a courtly bow, "I have told him the
history of the last five years, and have taken him to see Syracuse. That
is not the way to slander you."

"Good," said Dionysius, "I shall have you a courtier yet."

He then turned to the Athenian, asked him a few questions, all with the
nicest tact, about his movements, and finally named a time when he
should be at leisure to have some real conversation with him.

"Believe me," he said, "I honor the Athenians more than any other people
in Greece; a strange thing you may think for a Syracusan to say, but it
is true."

Certainly when Callias presented himself at the appointed time,
everything that his royal host had said seemed to bear out this
assurance. "After to-day," he said, "politics shall be banished from our
talk. Don't suppose for a moment that if I had been a citizen of Athens,
I should have attempted, that I should even have wished, to be what I am
here. But Syracuse is not capable of being what Athens is. Even you find
liberty a little hard to manage sometimes. Here it is a farce, only a
very bloody farce. Listen to what happened to my father-in-law,
Hermocrates. There never was an abler man in the country. If it had not
been for him, I verily believe that you would have conquered us. He
saved the city; and then, a little time afterwards, because he did not
do what ten years before no one would have dreamt of doing, that is,
conquer you Athenians in a sea-fight, they banished him. Can you imagine
such ingratitude, such folly? Well; he was not disposed to put up with
it; he saw what I see, that the Syracusans are not fit to govern
themselves, and if it had not been for an accident, perhaps I ought
rather to say his own reckless courage, he would have been in my place
now.[65] What he intended to do I have done. I saved Syracuse as he
saved her from Athens; and I dare say that in a year or two my grateful
countrymen would have banished me as they banished him. Only I have been
beforehand with them. So much for politics; now let us talk of something
more pleasant and more profitable."

"Tell me now, do you know one Socrates in your city, a very wise man
they tell me?"

"Yes, I know him well."

"And he is wise?"

"Yes, indeed; there is no one like him; and so the god thought, for the
Pythia declared him to be the wisest of men."

"I should dearly like to see him. Do you think it likely that he would
come here, if I were to invite him? I would make it worth his while."

"I fear there is no chance of it. He never leaves Athens; never has left
it except when he served abroad with the army, and as for money, he is
quite careless about it."

"But he takes a fee for his teaching, I suppose."

"Not a drachma."

"Well, that astonishes me. Why, Georgias would not teach anyone for less
than half a talent, and has got together, I suppose, a pretty heap of
money by this time. But, perhaps, if I could not get the great man
himself, I might get one of his disciples. Whom do men reckon to be the
first among them?"

"I think that one Plato is the most famous. He was a poet when he was
quite young, indeed he is young now, and had a great reputation; but he
has given up poetry for philosophy."

"That seems a pity. I don't see why a man should not be both poet and
philosopher. I am a little of both myself. Can you remember anything
that he has written?"

"Yes; there was an epigram which everyone was repeating when I left
Athens. It was written for the tomb of one of his fellow disciples."

"Let me hear it."

Callias repeated,

  "In life like Morning star thy shining head;
  And now the star of Evening 'mid the dead."

"Very pretty indeed. I have something very like it of my own. Would you
like to hear it?"

Callias of course politely assented and expressed as much admiration as
his conscience permitted, possibly a little more, for the composition
was vapid and clumsy.

But though Dionysius was an indifferent composer, he had really a very
strong interest in literary matters. Personal vanity had something to do
with it, for he was fully convinced of his own abilities in this way;
but he had a genuine pleasure in talking on the subject. This was
indeed the first of many conversations which the young Athenian had
with him. Politics were never mentioned again, but poetry, the drama,
indeed every kind of literary work, supplied topics of unfailing
interest. The drama was, perhaps, the despot's favorite topic. He had
received not long before Callias' arrival, a copy of the play which was
described in my first chapter, and was never tired of asking questions
about various points of interest in it. It soon became evident that his
special ambition lay in this direction.

"So, now that your two great men are gone," he said to the young
Athenian, "you have no man of really the first rank among your
dramatists?"

"I should say not," replied Callias. "Some think well of Iophon, who is
the son of Sophocles. Others say that he would be nothing without his
father. They declare that the old man helped him when he was alive, and
that what he has brought out since his father's death is really not his
own."

"Well," said Dionysius, "the stock will be exhausted before long. And
there is no one, you say, besides him?"

"No one, certainly of any reputation."

"Then there would be a chance for an outsider? But would a dramatist
that was not an Athenian be allowed to exhibit?"

"I know nothing to the contrary. But I do not know that there has ever
been a case. Anyhow it would be easy to exhibit in the name of a
citizen."

"An excellent idea! I shall certainly manage it somehow. The first
prize at your festival would be almost as well worth having as the
tyranny itself."[66]

It is not surprising that a ruler who cherished such tastes should have
reckoned a library among the ornaments which were to make Syracuse the
most splendid among Greek cities. In his Athenian guest he believed
himself to have found a competent agent for carrying this purpose into
effect; and Callias was in truth a well educated person who knew what
books were worth buying. He was well acquainted with the literature of
his own country and had a fairly competent knowledge of what had been
produced elsewhere in Greece. For the next three years it was his
employment, and one, on the whole not uncongenial to his tastes, to
collect volumes for Dionysius. In Sicily there was little culture, but
the Greek cities of Italy furnished a more fertile field. There was not
indeed much in the way of _belles-lettres_. Works of this kind had to be
imported for the most part, either from Athens, or from Lesbos, where
the traditions of the school of Sappho and Alcæus were not extinct, but
books on philosophy and science, could be secured in considerable
numbers. At Crotona, for instance, Callias was fortunate enough to
secure a valuable scientific library which had been for some years in
the family of Democedes, while at Tarentum he purchased a handsome
collection of treatises by teachers of the school of Pythagoras.

This occupation was varied in the second year of his residence by an
interesting mission to Rome. That city, the rising greatness of which so
keen an observer as Dionysius was able to discern, was at this time
sorely distressed by a visitation of famine, and had applied far and
wide for help. The harvests of Sicily had been remarkably abundant, and
Dionysius sent a magnificent present of a hundred thousand bushels of
wheat, putting Callias in charge of the mission.

In spite of these honorable and not distasteful employments the young
Athenian did not greatly like his position. It would indeed have been
scarcely endurable to a soul that had been reared in an atmosphere of
liberty, but for the fact that his work took him much away from
Syracuse. Dionysius was all courtesy and generosity in his dealings with
him; but he was a tyrant; there was iron under his velvet glove. It was
therefore with a considerable feeling of relief that in the early spring
of the third (or according to classical reckoning) the fourth year after
the fall of Athens, he received a missive from Xenophon couched in the
following terms.[67]

"Meet me at Tarsus with all the speed you can. Great things lie before
us, of which you will hear more at the proper time. Farewell."

Leave of absence was obtained with some difficulty, and towards the end
of June, Callias found himself at the appointed place.

FOOTNOTES:

[59] See Thucydides, VII. 71.

[60] A very small space yet remained to be erected when Gylippus and his
Lacedaemonians broke through, relieved Syracuse, and practically decided
the issue of the campaign.

[61] Coronea (447) and Delium (424) had been defeats inflicted by the
Boeotians on the Athenian army at very critical periods when the
victory of the latter must have had very far reaching results.

[62] The two were Selinus and Egesta.

[63] Commonly known by its Latinized name of Agrigentum.

[64] Tyranny, in its Greek sense, it may be explained, is the
unconstitutional rule of a single person. It does not necessarily
connote, as in English, cruelty or oppression. Except in Sparta, where
the kings, indeed, were only hereditary commanders-in-chief, there was
no king in any Greek state. Wherever an individual ruled, he was, of
necessity, a tyrant.

[65] Hermocrates, resenting the decree of banishment that had been
passed against him, attempted to make himself master of the city. He
marched with the force that he had raised from Selinus, where he was
encamped, and made such haste that he found himself with only a few
companions far in advance, and close to the gates of Syracuse. While he
halted to allow the army to come up, the leaders within the walls
sallied out, overpowered the little party, and killed their leader.
There is very little doubt but that he had resolved to seize absolute
power.

[66] Dionysius did actually compete many times. He is said to have
gained the second and third prizes more than once; and finally in the
last year of his life won the first honors for a play entitled "The
Ransoming of Hector." One of the various accounts of his death
attributes it to the excessive feasting in which he indulged on hearing
of his victory.

[67] Athens capitulated in March, 404; Callias is supposed to have
received the letter about August, 401.



CHAPTER XXI.

CYRUS THE YOUNGER.


Almost the first person that the Athenian saw when he disembarked at
Tarsus was Xenophon. The latter was evidently in the highest spirits.

"You are come at exactly the right moment," he cried. "All is going
well; but, three days ago, I should have said that all would end badly.
Cyrus and Clearchus have thrown for great stakes, and they have won; but
at first the dice were against them. But I forget; you know nothing of
what happened. I will explain. You know something about Cyrus, the Great
King's brother?"

Callias assented.

"You know that he was scarcely contented to be what he was, in fact that
he was disposed to claim the throne."

"I heard some talk of the kind when I was with Alcibiades."

"Listen then to what happened. Cyrus, to put a long story in a few
words, collected by one means or another about thirteen thousand Greek
soldiers. He gave out that he was going to lead them against the
mountain tribes of Cilicia. But his real object has all along been to
march up to Susa, and drive the King from his throne. Clearchus knew
this; I fancy some others guessed it; I know I did for one. But the
army knew nothing about it. Of course it had to come out at last. When
we came to Tarsus, the men had to be told. If we were going to act
against the Cicilian mountaineers, now was the time. If not, why had we
been brought so far? When the truth was known there was a frightful
uproar. The men declared that they would go back. It was madness, they
said, for a few thousand men to march against the Great King. For four
days I thought all was lost. Clearchus and Cyrus managed admirably. I
will tell you all about it some day. Meanwhile it is enough to say that
all is settled. The men have changed their tone completely. They talk of
nothing but ransacking the treasuries of the King, and Cyrus is quite
magnificent in his promises. He gives a great banquet to the officers
to-night. I am going with Proxenus, who is my special friend among the
generals, and I have no doubt that I can take you. Cyrus, I assure you,
is a man worth knowing, and, though we should call him a barbarian,
worth serving."

The Persian prince, when Callias came to make his acquaintance, bore
out, and more than bore out, the high character which Xenophon had given
of him. A more princely man in look and bearing never lived. That he was
a stern ruler was well known, but his subjects needed stern methods; but
for courtesy and generosity he could not be matched, and he had that
genial manner which makes these qualities current coin in the market of
the world. He was of unusual stature, his frame well knit and well
proportioned, and his face, though slightly disfigured by scars which he
had received in early life in a fierce death struggle with a bear,
singularly handsome. Proxenus introduced his friend's friend as a young
Athenian who had come to put his sword at his disposal, and Cyrus at
once greeted him with that manner of friendliness and even comradeship
which made him so popular. At the same time he made some complimentary
remark about Athens, saying that the Athenians had been formidable
enemies, and would hereafter, he hoped, be valuable friends.

The banquet could not fail, under such circumstances, of being a great
success. Everyone was in the highest spirits, and when Cyrus, in
thanking his guests for their company, said that though Greece and
Persia had been enemies in the past they would be firm friends in the
future, he was greeted with a burst of tumultuous applause.

The next day the army set out, their last remaining scruples dispelled
by an increase of pay.[68] There was still a certain reserve in speaking
about the object of the campaign but every one knew that it was directed
against the Great King. Two days' march took them to Issi, a town
destined to become famous in later days.[69] The difficult pass of the
Cicilian Gate was found unguarded. About a month later the ford of the
Euphrates at Thapsacus[70] was reached. Then all disguise was thrown
off. Cyrus was marching against his brother, and he would give each man
a bonus of a year's pay when he had reached Babylon.

So the long and tedious march went on. The King made no signs of
resistance. Line after line of defense was found unguarded. At last,
just ten weeks after the army had marched out of Tarsus, a Persian
horseman attached to Cyrus' person, came galloping up with the news,
which he shouted out in Greek and Persian, "The King is coming with a
great army ready for battle."

Something like a panic followed, for the invaders had almost begun to
think that they would not have to fight. Cyrus sprang from the carriage
in which he had been riding, donned his corslet, and mounted his
charger; the Greeks rushed to the wagons in which they had deposited
their armor and weapons, and prepared themselves hastily for battle.

By mid-day all was ready. Clearchus was in command of the right wing,
which consisted of the heavy-armed Greeks, and rested on the Euphrates
the light-armed Greeks, with some Paphlagonian cavalry, stood in the
center; on the left were the Persians under Ariæus, Cyrus' second in
command. The extreme left of all was occupied by Cyrus himself with his
body guard of six hundred horsemen. All wore cuirasses, cuisses and
helmets; but Cyrus, wishing to be easily recognized, rode bareheaded.

It was afternoon before the enemy came in sight. First, a white cloud of
dust became visible; then something like a black pall spread far and
wide over the plain, with now and then a spear point or bronze helmet
gleaming through the darkness. Silently the huge host advanced, its left
on the river, its right far overlapping Cyrus' left, so great was its
superiority in numbers. "Strike at the center," said the Prince to
Clearchus, as he rode along the line, "then our work will be done."

He knew his countrymen; the King himself was in the center. If he should
be killed or driven from the field, victory was assured.

The hostile lines were only two furlongs apart, when the Greeks raised
the battle shout, and charged at a quick pace, which soon became a run.
A few minutes afterwards the Persians broke. Their front line,
consisting of scythe-armed chariots, for the most part, turned and drove
helter skelter through the ranks of their countrymen; the few that
charged the advancing foe did, perhaps attempted to do, no harm. The
ranks were opened to let them through, and they took no further part in
the battle. Anyhow the Greeks won the victory without losing a single
man.

Meanwhile the King, posted, as has been said, in the center, seeing no
one to oppose him, advanced as if he would take the Greeks on their
flank. Cyrus, seeing this, charged with his six hundred, and broke the
line in front of the King. The troopers were scattered in the ardor of
pursuit, and the Prince was left alone with a handful of men. Even then
all might have been well but for the fit of ungovernable rage which
seized him. He spied his brother the King in the throng, and, crying
out, "There is the man," pressed furiously towards him. One blow he
dealt him, piercing his corslet, and making a slight wound. Then one of
the King's attendants struck Cyrus with a javelin under the eye. The two
brothers closed for a moment in a hand-to-hand struggle. But Cyrus and
his followers were hopelessly overmatched. In a few minutes the Prince
and eight of his companions were stretched on the ground. One desperate
effort was made to save him. Artapates, the closest of his friends,
leaped from his horse, and threw his arms around his body. It did but
delay the fatal blow for the briefest space. The next moment Cyrus was
dead.

FOOTNOTES:

[68] From one daric to one daric and a half per month, $5 to $7.50.

[69] For the second of the great victories of Alexander.

[70] Thipsach or "The Passage."



CHAPTER XXII.

THE RETREAT.


Seven weeks have passed since the catastrophe recorded in my last
chapter.[71] Curiously enough the Greeks had returned to their camp
after their easily won victory without any suspicion of what had
happened on the other side of the battle field. They wondered, indeed,
that Cyrus neither came nor sent to congratulate them on their success,
but the news of his death which was brought to them next morning by an
Ionian Greek, who had been in the service of Cyrus, came upon them like
a thunderclap. Then had followed a period of indecision and perplexity.
So long as they had to answer insolent messages from the King or
Tissaphernes, bidding them give up their arms and be content with such
chance of pardon as they might have, their course was plain. To such
demands only one answer was possible. "We will die sooner than give them
up," had been the reply which Cleanor the Arcadian, the senior officer,
had made. But when the Persians began to treat, when they agreed upon a
truce, and even allowed the Greeks to provision themselves, the course
to be followed became less plain. Tissaphernes made indeed the most
liberal offers. "We will lead you back to Greece," he said, "and find
you provisions at a fair price. If we do not furnish them, you are at
liberty to take them for yourselves, only you must swear that you will
behave as if you were marching through the country of friends." There
were some who roundly said that the Greeks had best have no dealings
with the man; he was known to be treacherous and false; this was only
his way of luring them on to their death. On the other hand it was
difficult to refuse terms so advantageous. It was possible that the
satrap, though not in the least friendly, was genuinely afraid, and
would be glad to get rid at any price of visitants so unwelcome. This
was the common opinion. If the army could find its way home without
fighting, it would be madness to reject the chance. For many days past,
every thing had gone smoothly; relations between the Greeks and
Tissaphernes seemed to become more and more friendly. Clearchus, the
general, commanding in chief, had even dined with the satrap, had been
treated in the most friendly fashion, and was now come back to the camp
with a proposition from him for a formal conference at which the Greeks
were to be represented by their principal generals. Some voices were
raised against this proposal. "No one ever trusted Tissaphernes without
repenting it," was the sentiment of not a few, Xenophon amongst the
number. But the opposition was overruled. Five generals and twenty
inferior officers proceeded to the tent of Tissaphernes, followed by a
troop of stragglers, who availed themselves of the favorable
opportunity, as they thought it, of marketing within the enemy's lines.


"Callias," said Xenophon to his friend on the morning of this eventful
day, "my mind misgives me. The soothsayer tells me that, though the
sacrifices have been generally favorable, there have always been some
sinister indications. And certain it is that we have never put ourselves
so completely in the enemy's power as we have this day. Tissaphernes has
only to say the word and our most skillful leaders are dead men. But,
hark, what is that?"

A cry of surprise and wrath went up from the camp, and the two Athenians
rushed out of the tent in which they had been sitting, to ascertain the
cause. One glance was enough. The stragglers were hurrying back at the
top of their speed with the Persians in hot pursuit. Among the foremost
of the fugitives was an Arcadian officer, who, fearfully wounded as he
was, managed to make his way to the camp. "To arms!" he cried,
"Clearchus and the rest are either dead or prisoners." Instantly there
was a wild rush for arms. Everyone expected that the next moment would
bring the whole Persian army in sight. But the King and his satraps knew
how formidable the Greeks really were. As long as they had a chance of
succeeding by fraud, they would not use force.

Fraud was immediately attempted. Ariæus, who by this time had made his
peace with the King, rode up to within a short distance of the camp, and
said, "Let the Greeks send some one that is in authority to bear a
message from the King." The veteran Cleanor accordingly went forward.

"Let me go with you," cried Xenophon, "I am eager to hear what has
become of my friend Proxenus. Come you, too," he whispered to Callias.

Ariæus addressed them: "Thus saith the King; Clearchus, having forsworn
himself and broken the truth, has been put to death. Proxenus and Medon
are honorably treated. As for you, the King demands your arms, seeing
that they belonged to Cyrus, who was his slave."

Cleanor's answer was brief and emphatic, "Thou villain, Ariæus, and the
rest of you, have you no shame before gods or men, that you betray us in
this fashion, and make friends with that perjurer Tissaphernes?"

Ariæus could only repeat that Clearchus was a traitor. "Then," cried
Xenophon, "why send us not back Proxenus and Medon, good men you say,
who would advise both you and us for the best?"

To this no answer was made; and the party slowly made their way back to
the camp. The worst had happened. They were in the midst of their
enemies, more than a thousand miles from the sea, and they had lost
their leaders.

The two Athenians, who shared the same tent, lay down to rest at an
early hour. It still wanted some time to midnight, when Xenophon
surprised his companion by suddenly starting up.

"I believe," he cried, "all will be well after all. I have had a most
encouraging dream."

"What was it?" asked Callias.

"I dreamed," returned the other, "that I was at home and that there was
a great storm of thunder and lightning and that the lightning struck the
house and that it blazed up all over."

Callias stared. "But that does not sound very encouraging."

"Ah! but listen to what I have to tell you. When Proxenus asked me to
come with him on this expedition, I applied to Socrates for his advice.
'Ask the god at Delphi,' he said. So I asked the god but not, as he
meant me to do, whether I should go or not, but to what gods, if
I went, I should sacrifice. Well, this has been a great trouble to
me, and I look upon this dream as an answer. First--this is the
encouragement--Zeus shows me a light in darkness. The house all on a
blaze, I take it, means that we are surrounded with dangers."

"May it turn out well," was all that Callias could find it in his heart
to say. But if he was tempted to think meanly of his companion, he had
soon reason to alter his opinion.

"Whether my dream means what I think or any thing else," Xenophon went
on, "we must act. To fall into the hands of the King means death, and
death in the most shameful form. And yet no one stirs hand or foot to
avoid it; we lie quiet, as though it were time to take our rest. I shall
go and talk to my comrades about it."

The first thing was to call together his own particular friends, the
officers of Proxenus' division. He found them as wakeful as himself.

"Friends," he said, "we must get out of the King's clutches. You know
what he did to his own brother. The man was dead; but he must nail his
body to a cross. What will he do, think you, to us? No; we must get out
of his reach. But how? Not by making terms with him. That only gives him
time to hem us in more and more completely. No; we must fight him; and
we, who are more enduring and brave than our enemies, have a right to
hope that we shall fight to good purpose. And surely the gods will help
us rather than them. For are they not faithless and forsworn?

"But, if we are to fight, we must have leaders. Let us choose them then.
As for me, I will follow another, or, if you will have it so, I will
lead myself. Young I am, but I am at least of an age to take care of
myself."

Then there was a loud cry--"Xenophon for general!" Only one voice was
raised in protest, that of a captain, who spoke in very broad
Boeotian. "Escape is impossible; we should better try persuasion."
Such was the burden of his speech.

Xenophon turned on him fiercely. "Escape impossible! And yet you know
what the King did. First came a haughty command that we should give up
our arms. When we refused, he took to soft words and cajolery. He is
afraid of us; but if we trust to persuasion we are lost." Then turning
to the others, he cried, "Is this man fit to be a captain? Make him a
bearer of burdens. He is a disgrace to the name of Greek."

"Greek," cried an Arcadian captain, "he is no Boeotian, nor Greek at
all. He is a Mysian slave. I see his ears are bored." And the man was
promptly turned out of camp.

Not a moment was now lost. A representative body of officers from the
whole army was promptly collected, and Xenophon was asked to repeat what
he had said to the smaller gathering. The meeting ended in the election
of five generals to replace those who had been murdered. Chirisophus, a
Spartan, made the sixth, having held the office before.

The day was now beginning to dawn. It was scarcely light when the whole
army assembled in obedience to a hasty summons which had been sent
through the camp.

Chirisophus opened the proceedings. "We have fared ill, fellow
soldiers," he said, "in that we have been robbed of so many officers and
have been deserted by our allies. Still we must not give in. If we
cannot conquer, at least we can die gloriously. Anyhow we must not fall
alive into the hands of the King."

After an address by another general, Xenophon stood up. He had dressed
himself in his best apparel. "Fine clothes will suit victory best," he
said to himself, "and if I die, let me at least die like a gentleman."

"Gentlemen," he said, "if we were going to treat with the barbarians,
then, knowing how faithless they are, we might well despair; but if we
mean, taking our good swords in our hands, to punish them for what they
have done, and to secure our own safety, then we may hope for the best."

At this point, a soldier sneezed. A sneeze was a lucky omen, and by a
common impulse all the soldiers bowed their heads. Xenophon seized the
opportunity.

"I spoke of safety, gentlemen, and as I was speaking, Zeus the Savior,
sent us an omen of good fortune. Let us therefore vow to him a
thank-offering for deliverance, if we ever reach our native country.
This let us do as an army; and besides, let everyone vow to offer
according to his ability in return for his own safe arrival."

These propositions were unanimously accepted, and the hymn of battle was
solemnly sung by the whole army.

"Now," said the speaker, "we have set ourselves right with the gods, who
will doubtless reward our piety, while they will punish these perjurers
and traitors who seek to destroy us."

Then, after appealing to the glorious memories of the past, when the
Greeks, fighting against overwhelming odds, had once and again turned
back the tide of Persian invasion, he addressed himself to deal with the
circumstances of the situation. "Our allies have deserted us; but we
shall fight better without such cowards. We have no cavalry; but battles
are won by the sword; our foes will have the better only in being able
to run away more quickly. No market will be given us; but it is better
to take our food than to buy it. If rivers bar our way, we have only to
cross them higher up. Verily, I believe that not only can we get away,
but that if the King saw us preparing to settle here, he would be glad
to send us away in coaches and four, so terribly afraid is he of us.

"But how shall we go? Let us burn our tents and all superfluous baggage.
The baggage too often commands the army. That is the first thing to do.
Our arms are our chief possession. If we use them aright, everything in
the country is ours. Let us march in a hollow square, with the baggage
animals and the camp followers in the middle. And let us settle at once
who is to command each section of the army."

All this was accepted without demur. Chirisophus was appointed to
command the van, Xenophon, with a colleague, as the youngest of the
generals, the rear. Practically these two divided the command between
them.

The first experience of an encounter with the enemy was not reassuring;
in fact it was almost disastrous. Early in the first day's march, one
Mithridates, a personage well known to the Greeks, for he had been high
in Cyrus' confidence, rode up with a couple of hundred horsemen and
twice as many slingers and bowmen. He had a look of coming as a friend;
indeed, earlier in that day he had come with what purported to be a
conciliatory message from Tissaphernes. But on arriving within a
moderate distance of the Greeks he halted, and the next moment there was
a shower of bullets and arrows from the slings and bows. The Greeks were
helpless. They suffered severely, but could do nothing to the enemy in
return. The Cretan archers had a shorter range than that of the Persian
bows, and the javelin could not, of course, come anywhere near the
slingers. At last Xenophon gave the order to charge. Charge the men did,
heavy-armed and light-armed alike. Possibly it was better than standing
still to be shot at. But they did not contrive to catch a single man. As
foot soldiers they were fairly outpaced; and they had no cavalry. Only
three miles were accomplished that day, and the army reached the
villages in which they were to bivouac, in a state of great despondency.
Unless such attacks could be resisted with better success, the fate of
the army was sealed.

Xenophon was severely blamed by his colleagues for his action in
charging. He frankly acknowledged his fault. "I could not stand still,"
he said, "and see the men falling round me without striking a blow, but
the charge was no good. We caught none of them, and we did not find it
easy to get back. Thanks to the gods, there were not very many of them;
if they had come on in force, we must have been cut to pieces."

After a short silence, he addressed his colleagues again. "We are at a
great disadvantage. Our Cretans cannot shoot as far as their Persian
archers; and our hand throwers are useless against the slingers. As for
the foot soldiers, no man, however fleet of foot, can overtake another
who has a bowshot's start of him, especially as we cannot push the
pursuit far from the main body. The simple truth is that we must have
slingers and horsemen of our own. I know that there are Rhodians in the
army who can sling leaden bullets to a much greater distance than these
Persian slings can reach. I propose, first, that we find out who among
them have slings of their own; these we will buy at the proper value; if
any know how to plait some more, we will pay them the proper price for
doing it; the slings thus obtained, we shall soon get a corps of
slingers to use them. Give them some advantage and they will enroll
themselves fast enough. Now for the cavalry. We have some horses I know.
There are some in the rear-guard with me; there are others that belonged
to Clearchus; a good many have been taken from the enemy, and are being
used as baggage animals. Let us take the pick of these and equip them
for the use of cavalry; we shall soon have some very capable horsemen at
our service."

The idea was promptly carried out. That very night a couple of hundred
slingers were enrolled, and the next day, which was spent without any
attempt to advance, fifty horsemen passed muster, fairly well-mounted
and duly furnished with buff jackets and cuirasses. This was only the
first of many instances in which Xenophon showed the fertility and
readiness of device which did so much to save the army.

The very next day the new forces were brought into action with the
happiest results. Mithridates came up again with his archers and
slingers, but encountered a reception on which he had not calculated.
The cavalry made a brilliant charge, cutting down a number of the
infantry and taking prisoners some seventeen horsemen. At the end of the
day's march, the army reached the Tigris. Fourteen weeks of hard and
perilous marching lay before them; but they were fairly well-equipped
for the work. I shall take an account of some of the principal incidents
of the journey from a diary kept by Callias, who acted throughout as
aid-de-camp to Xenophon.

FOOTNOTES:

[71] The battle of Cunaxa, in which Cyrus fell, was fought on Sept. 3d.
The day at which we have now arrived is Oct. 31st.



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE DIARY.


OCTOBER 27.[72]--Our new corps have covered themselves with glory
to-day. About noon Tissaphernes himself appeared with a large force of
cavalry. He had his own regiments with him; among the others we
recognized some of Cyrus' Persian troops. They want, I suppose, to make
the King forget their rebellion. The satrap did not wish to come to
close quarters; but he found after all that the quarters were closer
than he liked. He was well within range; and as his men were posted in
great masses every arrow and every bullet told. It would, in fact, have
been impossible to miss, with such a mark to aim at. As for the Persian
archers they did no damage at all. But we found their arrows very
useful. Our men are now well-equipped, for we discovered an abundant
store of bow-strings and lead for the sling bullets in the villages.

NOVEMBER 3.--Things have not been going so well to-day. The barbarians
occupied a post of vantage on our route and showered down darts, stones,
and arrows upon us as we passed. Our light-armed were easily driven in.
When the heavy-armed tried to scale the height, they found the climbing
very hard work, and of course the enemy were gone by the time that they
reached the top. Three times this was done, and I was never more pleased
in my life than when at last we got to the end of our day's march. Eight
surgeons are busy attending to the wounded, of whom there is a terrible
number. We are going to stop here three days, Xenophon tells me.
Meanwhile we are in a land of plenty. There are granaries full of wheat,
and cellars of wine, and barley enough to supply our horses if we had
fifty times as many. Hereafter we are to follow a new plan. As soon as
we are attacked, we halt. To march and fight at the same time puts us at
a disadvantage. And we are to try to get as far in advance as possible.

NOVEMBER 9.--We had our three days' rest, and then three days' quick
marching. To-day, however, there has been a smart brush with the enemy.
They had occupied a ridge commanding our route, which just then
descended from the hills into the plain. Chirisophus sent for Xenophon
to bring his light-armed to the front. This, of course, was a serious
thing to do, as Tissaphernes was not far from our rear. Xenophon
accordingly galloped to the front to confer with his colleague.
"Certainly," he said, when he saw how the enemy was posted, "these
fellows must be dislodged, but we can't uncover our rear. You must give
me some troops, and I will do my best." Just at that moment he caught
sight of a height rising above us just on our right--he has a true
general's eye--and saw that it gave an approach to the enemy's position.
"That is the place for us to take," he cried. "If we get that, the
barbarians can't stay where they are." As soon as the troops were told
off for service, we started; and lo! as soon as we were off, the
barbarians seeing what we were after started too. It was a race who
should get there first. Xenophon rode beside the men, and urged them on.
"Now for it, brave sirs!" he cried. "'Tis for Hellas! 'Tis for wives and
children! Win the race, and you will march on in peace! Now for it!" The
men did their best, but of course it was hard work. I never had harder
in my life. At last a grumbling fellow in the ranks growled out, "We are
not on equal terms, Xenophon. You are on horseback, and I have got to
carry my shield." In a moment Xenophon was off his horse. He snatched
the fellow's shield from him, and marched on with the rest. That was
hard work indeed, for he had his horseman's cuirass on; still he kept
up. Then the men fell on the grumbler. They abused him, pelted him, and
cuffed him, till he was glad enough to take his shield again. Then
Xenophon re-mounted, and rode on as before as far as the horse could go.
Then he left him tethered to a tree, and went on foot. In the end we won
the race; and the barbarians left the way clear.

NOVEMBER 10.--We had a great disappointment to-day. The route lay either
across a river which was too deep to ford--we tried it with our spears,
and could find no bottom--or through a mountainous region inhabited by a
set of fierce savages whom the King has never been able to subdue. He
once sent an army of a hundred thousand men among them, they say, and
not a single soldier ever came back! First we considered about crossing
the river. A Rhodian had a grand plan, he said, for taking the army
across. He would sell it for a talent. I must confess, by the way, that
I am more and more disgusted by the manner in which everything is for
sale. Citizen soldiers think of the common good, though, it must be
confessed, they are not so sturdy in action as these fellows;
mercenaries think only of the private purse. However, the Rhodian never
got his talent. His plan was clever enough, making floats of skins, but
impracticable, seeing that the enemy occupied the other shore in force.
Nothing, then, remained for it but to take to the mountains. We must do
our best to fight our way through them, if the mountaineers won't be
friends. This done, we shall find ourselves in Armenia; once there, we
shall be able to go anywhere we please.

NOVEMBER 14.--We have had three awful days. The Carduchians--so they
call the barbarians--are as hostile and as fierce as they can be. It
seems unreasonable, for they must hate the Great King as much as we do.
Still they will not listen to our overtures for friendly intercourse,
but keep up an incessant attack. To-day there was very near being a
positive disaster. We in the rear-guard had, of course, the worst of it.
Generally when we find our work particularly hard we pass on the word to
the van, and they slacken their pace; otherwise we should get divided
from the main army. To-day no attention was paid to our messages;
Chirisophus did nothing but send back word that we must hurry on.
Consequently our march became something very like a rout, and we lost
two of our best men. At the first halt Xenophon rode to the front.

"Why this hurry?" he asked. "It has cost us two men, and we had to
leave their bodies behind." "See you that?" said Chirisophus, and he
pointed to a height straight before us, which was strongly held by the
enemy. "I wanted to get there first, for the guide says that there is no
other way." "Says he so?" said Xenophon. "Let us hear what my fellows
have to say. I laid an ambush, you must know, and caught two barbarians.
They would be useful, I thought, as guides!" The two were brought up and
questioned. "Is there any other way than what we see?" "No," said the
first. Try all we could, he would make no other answer. At last
Chirisophus had him killed. "Now," he said, turning to the other, "can
you tell us anything more?" "O yes," said the man, "there is another
way, and one that horses can pass over. But the other would not say
anything about it, because he had kinsfolk living near it, and was
afraid that you would do them an injury." Poor fellow! I was sorry for
him, when I knew how loyal he had been. But I don't know what else could
have been done. The second man told us that there was a height which we
must occupy if we would make the new route practicable. Two thousand men
have set off to get hold of it. If they fail, we shall be in terrible
straits.

NOVEMBER 16.--The army is safe for the present, but some--I among the
number--have had a very narrow escape. The two thousand found their work
very much harder than at first they thought it was going to be. They
took the first height without any difficulty, and fancied they had done
all that was wanted. But there were no less than three heights beyond,
and each of these had to be stormed. My part in the business was this.
Xenophon thought that the second of the four heights--there were four
in all--ought to be held permanently till our army had passed. Some two
hundred men were told off for this duty, and I volunteered to be one of
them. All of a sudden we found ourselves attacked by a whole swarm of
mountaineers. They outnumbered us by at least ten to one. It was a case
for running, for there was really no position that we could hold. But
running was no easy matter. Our only chance was to climb down a very
steep mountain side to the pass below, where the last columns of the
van-guard were just making their way. Some of the men did not like to
try it; and, indeed, it did look desperately dangerous. While they were
hesitating, the barbarians were upon them. As for myself, I felt that I
would sooner break my neck than fall into the enemy's hands, so I
started off at full pace, and was safe. Nor do I think that any who
followed my example were seriously hurt, though some got very nasty
falls. Those who stayed behind were killed to a man. Just now we are in
comfortable quarters. Wine is in such plenty hereabouts that positively
the people keep it in great cisterns.

NOVEMBER 19.--We have crossed the Centrites, which is the Eastern branch
of the Tigris.

NOVEMBER 30.--The march through Armenia has been on the whole as
pleasant as we had hoped. The Lieutenant Governor, one Tiribazus, made
an agreement with our generals that he would do us no harm, if we would
not burn the houses, but content ourselves with taking such provisions
as we wanted. Four days ago, we had a heavy fall of snow, and the
general thought it as well to billet out the army in the villages, which
are very thick in these parts. There was no enemy in sight, and, as we
had no tents, bivouacking in the open would be neither pleasant nor
safe. We all enjoyed it vastly, particularly as the villages were full
of good things, oxen, and sheep, and wine, some of the very best I ever
tasted, and raisins, and vegetables of all kinds. But after the first
night we had an alarm. A great army was reported in sight; and certainly
there were watchfires in every direction. The generals thereupon
determined to bring the army together again, and to bivouac on the
plain. The weather too, promised to be fine. But in the night there was
another heavy snow fall, so heavy that it covered us all up. It was not
uncomfortable lying there under the snow; in fact, it felt quite warm;
but of course it was not safe. I have heard of people going to sleep
under such circumstances and not waking up again. Anyhow Xenophon set
the example of getting up, and setting to work splitting wood. Before
long we were all busy. But there was no more bivouacking in the open. We
went to the villages again; and some foolish fellows who had wantonly
set their houses on fire were now punished for their folly.

DECEMBER 8.--The weather becomes colder and colder, and is our worst
enemy now. The other day there was a cutting north wind, which drifted
the snow till it was more than six feet deep in places. Xenophon, whose
faith and piety are admirable, suggested a sacrifice to the north wind.
This was made; and certainly the weather did begin to abate shortly
afterwards. The doubters say that the wind always does go down after a
time. These are matters on which I do not pretend to judge; but I do see
that Xenophon's pious belief makes him very cheerful and courageous.
The day before yesterday many of our men were afflicted, what with the
long march and what with the cold, with a sort of ravenous hunger. They
fell down, and either would not, or could not, move a step forward. At
first we did not know what was the matter with them; but then some one
who had campaigned before in cold countries suggested the real cause.
When we gave them a little food we found that they recovered. Yesterday
we nearly lost a number of men who were simply overpowered with the
cold. The enemy was close behind, and we tried to raise the poor fellows
up; but they would not stir. "Kill us," they said, "but leave us alone."
They were simply stupid with cold. All that could be done was to
frighten the enemy away. On the barbarians came, till the rear guard,
who were lying in ambush, dashed out upon them, and at the same time the
sick men shouted as loud as they could, and rattled their spears against
their shields. The enemy fled in a hurry, and we saw and heard no more
of them. But what would have happened if they had persisted, is more
than I can say. The whole army was demoralized with the cold. The men
lay down as they could with their cloaks round them. There was not a
single guard placed anywhere. As it was, no harm was done; and in the
afternoon to-day the sick men were brought safe into good quarters. We
are now in excellent quarters, with all that we could wish to eat and
drink.

DECEMBER 9.--Just as I had finished my entries yesterday an Athenian
with whom I have struck up a great friendship asked me to come with him
on an expedition. His name is Polycrates, and he is the captain of a
company. "Let us raid that village," he said, "before the people have
time to get away." So we did, and we had a fine catch. We laid hands on
the villagers and their head man. With the head man was his daughter who
had been married only eight days before. Her husband was out
hare-hunting, and so escaped. The village was a curious place. All the
houses were underground; beasts and men lived there together, the beasts
entering by a sloping way, the men by a ladder. There were great stores
of barley, and wheat, and green stuff of all kinds. The drink was barley
wine, which they keep in great bowls. You have to suck it up by a reed.
It is very strong. As to the flavor I feel a little doubtful. To-day
Xenophon has been taking the head man, whom he had to sup with him last
night, all round the camp, by which I mean the villages, for the men are
encamped in them. At Chirisophus' quarters there was a strange sight.
The men were feasting with wisps of hay round their heads, for lack of
flowers; and Armenian boys, in the costume of their country, were
waiting on them. Everything of course had to be explained by signs, for
neither soldiers nor waiters knew a word of each other's language.
Xenophon gave the head man his old charger, which indeed was pretty well
worn out with marching, and took for himself and his officers a number
of young horses which were going to be sent, we were told, as part of
the King's tribute.

DECEMBER 27.--Nothing of much moment has happened, except it be a
quarrel, the first that has taken place--and I devoutly hope the
last--between our generals. After resting in the villages for a week, we
started again, taking the head man with us as a guide. If he did this
duty properly, he was to be allowed to depart and to take his son with
him, for he had a young son in his company. All the rest of his family
were safe in his own village with a very handsome lot of presents. At
the end of the third day Chirisophus got into a great rage because the
head man had not taken them to any village. The man declared that there
was no village near. But Chirisophus would not listen, and struck the
man. The next night he ran away. Xenophon was very angry. "You ought not
to have struck him," he said; "but having struck him, you certainly
ought to have kept a doubly strict guard on him."

DECEMBER 30.--We have crossed the river Phasis, and got through what is,
I hope, our last difficult pass. I have not time to write about it; but
I must record an amusing little controversy that took place between our
two generals. It shows anyhow that they have made up their quarrel.
Xenophon had been insisting that they must do as much as they could by
craft, and had been speaking of _stealing_ somewhere at night,
_stealing_ a march, and so forth. Then he went on, "But why do I talk
about stealing in your presence Chirisophus, for you Spartans are
experts in the art. You practice it, I am told, from your youth up. It
is honorable among you to take anything except what the law forbids. But
to encourage you and to make you master thieves you get a whipping if
you are found out. I must not therefore presume to instruct you about
_stealing_." "Nay," replied the other, "you have the best possible right
to do it. You Athenians, I am told, are wonderfully clever hands at
stealing the public money and the best men among you do it the most. No;
we Spartans must yield to you." In the end the pass was carried without
much loss.

JANUARY 3.--For several days we have been on very short commons. The
Taochi, through whose country we are passing, have collected all their
possessions, alive and dead, into strong places. At last we felt that
something had to be done, for we were simply starving. Accordingly, when
we came about noon to-day to one of these strongholds which happened to
lie directly on our route, Chirisophus made up his mind to take it. It
could be seen to be full of flocks and herds besides a mixed crowd of
men, women and children. First one regiment went up against it; then a
second; then a third. They could do nothing with it; the slingers and
archers, which were the only troops we could use, made no impression at
all. Just then Xenophon came up with the rear-guard, I being close
behind him. "You have come just in the nick of time my friend," said
Chirisophus, "we must take this place or starve." "But what," Xenophon
asked, "is to hinder our simply walking in?" Chirisophus answered, "You
see that one narrow path, that is the only way of approaching the place.
Whenever anyone attempts to go by it, these fellows roll down huge
masses of rock from the crag up there," and he pointed to a cliff that
overhung the plain. "See what has happened to some of my poor fellows
who were unlucky enough to get in the way!" And sure enough there was
one man with one leg broken and another with both, and a third with his
ribs crushed in. "But," said my own general, "when these fellows have
expended their ammunition--and they can't have a perpetual supply of
it--there will be nothing else to hinder our going in. I can only see a
very few men, and of these not more than two or three are armed. As for
the distance that we have to get across, it cannot be more than one
hundred and fifty yards; and two-thirds of this are covered at intervals
by great pine trees. As long as we are among these, stones cannot hurt
us. These past, there are only fifty yards more to be crossed." "Very
good," said Chirisophus, "but the moment we get near, the fire of stones
begins again." "All the better," said Xenophon, "the hotter their fire,
the quicker the enemy will use up their ammunition. However, let us
begin by picking out the place where the run across the open space will
be shortest."

First we occupied the trees. I had the luck, by special favor of
Xenophon, to be among them. We were only seventy, for no more could find
proper shelter behind the pines. Then one of us came forward a yard or
two from under cover of the pines. No sooner did the Taochi see him than
they sent down a vast quantity of stones. Before they reached him he was
under cover again. This he did several times; and every time a
wagon-load of rocks, at the very least, must have been whizzing and
whistling down the slope. Before long, however, the ammunition gave
signs of not holding out. As soon as Agasias, an Arcadian from Lake
Stymphalus, perceived this, he ran forward at full speed. The man who
had been amusing himself with the rocks, caught hold of his shield as he
ran by. Then two other men started. Altogether it was a splendid race,
and curiously enough not another stone was thrown. Then the rest of us
followed. But when I saw the horrible thing that ensued, I was inclined
to be sorry that I had anything to do with it. The women threw their
children over the cliff, and then threw themselves after them, and the
men did the same. I caught hold of one man to stop him, but he wriggled
out of my grasp, and threw himself over the top. It was well for me that
he did so or else I might have fared as Æneas of Stymphalus did. He saw
a man very finely dressed just about to throw himself over, and tried to
hold him. The man did not try to get away, but clasped Æneas tightly in
his arms. The next moment both had fallen headlong over the edge. Of
course they were both killed. We took very few prisoners, but flocks and
herds as many as we wanted and more.

JANUARY 26.--The marching has been easy enough on the whole, though we
have met with the bravest enemies that we have yet come across, the
Chalybes, they are called. They did not hang on our rear, taking care
never to fight unless they had some vantage ground, but met us fairly
face to face. They were not as well armed as we. Indeed, they had no
armor on the body except cuirasses of linen. Their chief weapon was a
very long and clumsy spear. Nevertheless they made a good fight of it;
and if they did kill a man they cut his head off directly with a short
sabre that they carried at their waists. We got nothing but hard knocks
here. All the property of the country was stored away in strongholds;
still what we got from the Taochi has lasted us up to this time, and
will supply us for some days to come. The country of the Chalybes past,
we came to the city, the first, by the way, that we have seen. It seemed
very populous and rich, and its governor was extremely civil. He gave us
a guide who told us the best news that we had heard for a long time.
"Within five days you shall see the sea," he said. "If I fail, my life
shall be the forfeit." According to this we ought to see it to-morrow.

JANUARY 27.--We have seen it! I was in the van-guard as usual. We had
our hands full, for the people of the country were up in arms against
us. Our friend, the guide, had been very urgent with us to ravage and
burn the country; and the men had not been backward in following his
advice. So now there was a whole swarm of enemies hanging on our heels,
and we of the rear guard had to keep them in check. All of a sudden we
heard a tremendous uproar. "There is another attack on the van," cried
Xenophon, "this looks serious." But the shouting grew louder and nearer.
As soon as a company came up, it began racing towards the shouters, and
then took to shouting itself. Xenophon mounted his horse to see for
himself what had happened. He took the cavalry with him in case anything
should have happened, and I made the best of my way after them.
Presently we could distinguish the words. The men were shouting, _The
sea! The sea!_ Then everybody started running, rear guard and all; even
the very baggage horses were taken with it and came galloping up. And,
sure enough, there it was, right before our eyes, a glimpse of blue in
the distance with the sunshine upon it. What a scene it was! We all fell
to embracing one another; rank was forgotten; generals, officers, and
common men were friends. Indeed the gods could not have given to our
eyes a more delightful sight. Presently the soldiers fell to erecting a
great cairn of stones. On this they put skins and staves and wicker
shields that we had taken from the enemy. Of course the guide had a
very handsome present from the common store, a purse, a silver bowl, a
Persian dress, and ten gold pieces. Then he begged some rings, and got
not a few. The soldiers were ready to give him anything.

FEBRUARY 2.--We have passed safely through another country. The people
were drawn out in order of battle when the luckiest thing happened,
saving, I doubt not, many lives. One of the men came up to Xenophon and
said: "I think I know the language these people talk. I verily believe
that it is my own." And so it turned out to be. The man had been a slave
in Athens. He explained to them that we did not wish to do them any
harm, but simply wanted to get back to our own country. Since then it
has been peaceful. The people--Macrones they call themselves--have been
as helpful as possible, making roads for us, and supplying us with as
good food as they possessed.

FEBRUARY 7.--Yesterday I really thought that after all that I had gone
through, I was going to die of eating a mouthful of honey. We found a
great store of this in one of the Colchian villages that we came to, and
of course ate it freely. It was poisonous, at least to persons not used
to it. I know that I was desperately ill and so were many of my
comrades. Happily no one died. We reach Trapezus to-morrow. We are in
Greece again. Thanks be to Zeus and all the gods!

FOOTNOTES:

[72] For convenience' sake I have translated the dates of the Attic year
which Callias, of course, used with the corresponding days in our
reckoning. October 27 would be the "fifth day of the middle of
Boedromia." Each month was divided into three portions, often days each,
respectively called beginning, middle, and ending. The days of the last
were reckoned backwards. If this month had twenty-nine days only, the
third division had nine.



CHAPTER XXIV.

A THANKSGIVING.


The worst severity of the winter was over when the army reached
Trapezus. The days were longer, for it was already half way between the
winter solstice and the spring equinox, and though the nights were still
bitterly cold, the sun was daily gaining power. Sometimes a breeze from
the west gave to the air quite a feeling of spring. Still Callias was
very thankful to find quarters in the city. He discovered but scarcely
with surprise, that as soon as he returned within the circle of Greek
influence, the credentials furnished him by Hippocles made life much
smoother for him. Trapezus was the very farthest outpost of
civilization; it was at least nine hundred miles from Athens, yet the
name of Hippocles seemed as well known and his credit as good as if it
had been the Piraeus itself. As soon as permission could be obtained to
enter the town--for the people of Trapezus, though kind and even
generous to the new arrivals, kept their gates jealously shut--Callias
made his way to the house of a citizen who was, he was told, the
principal merchant in the place. Nothing could have been warmer than the
welcome which he received, when he produced the slip of parchment to
which Hippocles had affixed his seal and signature.

"All I have is at your disposal," cried Demochares; this was the name of
the Trapezuntine merchant. "I cannot do too much for any friend of
Hippocles. You will, of course, take up your quarters with me; and any
advance that you may want,--unless," he added with a smile, "you have
learnt extravagance among the Persians, for we are not very rich here in
Trapezus--any advance within reason you have only to ask for."

The young Athenian ventured to borrow fifty gold pieces, astonishing his
new friend by the moderation of his demand. He knew that some of his
comrades, mercenaries who had not received an _obolus_ of pay for
several months, must be very badly off, and he was glad to make a slight
return for many little services that he had received, and acts of
kindness and good fellowship that had been done for him on the march. As
for hospitality, he begged to be allowed to postpone his answer till he
could consult his general.

"I don't like to leave you, sir," he said when he broached the subject
to Xenophon after their evening meal. "Why should I have the comforts of
a house, lie soft, and feed well, while you are sleeping on the ground,
and getting or not getting a meal, as good luck or bad luck will have
it?"

"My dear fellow," replied Xenophon, "there is no reason why you should
not take the good the gods provide you. You are not one of us; you never
have been. You came as a volunteer, and a volunteer you have remained.
You are perfectly free to do as you please. Besides, if you want
anything more to satisfy you, you are attached to my command, and I
formally give you leave."

Callias, accordingly, took up his quarters in the merchant's house.
Never was guest more handsomely treated. Demochares and his family were
never wearied of his adventures, a story which has indeed interested the
world ever since, and which to these Greeks of Trapezus had a meaning
which it had lost for us. Living as they did on the farthest boundaries
of the Greater Greece, the Greece of the colonies, they were keenly
alive to all that could be known about the barbarian world with which
they were brought in constant contact. The young Athenian, indeed, held
a sort of levee which was thronged day after day with visitors young and
old. All that he had to tell them about the Great King, on whose
dominions they were in some sort trespassers, and about the unknown
tribes who dwelt between the sea and the Persian capital, was eagerly
listened to. Pleasant as his sojourn was to himself, it was not without
some advantage to his old comrades. His host was an important person in
Trapezus, holding indeed the chief magistracy for the year, and he had
much to do with the liberal present of oxen, corn, and wine which the
town voted to the army.

A month passed in a sufficiently pleasant way. Meanwhile the army was
preparing to offer a solemn thanksgiving for the safe completion of the
most perilous part of its journey. The vows made at the moment of its
greatest danger were now to be paid, and paid, after the usual Greek
fashion, in a way that would combine religion and festivity. There was
to be a sacrifice; the sacrifice was to be followed by a feast, and the
feast again by a celebration which was, of course, in a great measure an
entertainment, but was also, in a way, a function of worship. Wrestlers,
boxers, and runners not only amused the spectators and contended for
glory and prizes, but were also supposed in some way to be doing honor
to the gods.

The sacrifice and the feast it is not necessary to describe. Necessarily
there was nothing very splendid or costly about them. The purses of the
soldiers were empty, though they had a good deal of property, chiefly in
the way of prisoners whom they had captured on the way, and whom they
would sell in the slave markets as the opportunity might come. Trapezus,
however, and the friendly Colchian tribes in the neighborhood furnished
a fair supply of sheep and oxen to serve as victims, and a sufficient
quantity of bread, wine, dried fruit and olive oil, this last being a
luxury which the Greeks had greatly missed during their march, and which
they highly appreciated. A few of the officers, the pious Xenophon among
them, went to the expense of gilding the horns of the beasts which were
their special offerings; but for the most part the arrangements were of
a plain and frugal kind.

The games had at least the merit of affording a vast amount of
entertainment to a huge multitude of spectators. They were celebrated,
it may be easily understood, under considerable difficulties, for
Trapezus did not possess any regular race course, and the only rings for
wrestling and boxing were within the walls, and therefore not available
on this occasion. By common consent the management of the affair was
handed over to a certain Dracontius. He was a Spartan, and to the
Spartans, who had been undisputed lords of Greece since the fall of
Athens, had been conceded a certain right of precedence on all such
occasions as these. Dracontius, too, was a man of superior rank to his
comrades. He belonged to one of the two royal houses of Sparta, but had
been banished from his country in consequence of an unlucky accident. In
one of the rough sports which the Spartan lads were accustomed to
practice, sports which were commonly a more or less close mimicry of
war, a blow of his dagger, dealt without evil intention but with a
criminal carelessness, had been fatal to a companion. Hence, from
boyhood, he had been an exile; cut off from the more honorable career to
which he might have looked forward in the service of his country, he had
been content to enlist as a mercenary.

Dracontius, accordingly, was made president of the games. The skins of
the sacrificed animals were presented to him, as his fee, and he was
asked to lead the way to the racecourse where the contests were to be
held.

"Race course!" cried the Spartan, with the _brusquerie_ which it was the
fashion of his country to use, "Race course! What more do you want than
what we have here?"

A murmur of astonishment ran through the army. Indeed there could have
been nothing less like a race course than the ground on which they were
standing. It was the slope of a hill, a slope that sometimes became
almost precipitous. Most of it was covered with brushwood and heather.
Grass there was none, except here and there where it covered with a
treacherously smooth surface some dangerous quagmire. Here and there,
the limestone rock cropped up with jagged points.

"But where shall we wrestle?" asked Timagenes, an Arcadian athlete, who
had won the prize for wrestling two or three years before at the
Lithurian games, and who naturally considered himself as an authority
on the subject.

"Here of course," was the president's reply.

"But how can a man wrestle on ground so hard and so rough?" asked the
Arcadian, who had no idea of practising his art except in a regular
ring.

"Well enough," said Dracontius, "but those who are thrown will get worse
knocks."

The wrestler's face fell and he walked off amid a general laugh. His
comrades fancied, not without reason, that he was a great deal too
careful of his person.

But if the ground, broken with rocks and overgrown with wood was not
suited to scientific wrestling, it certainly helped to make some of the
other sports more than usually amusing. The first contest was a mile
race for boys. Most of the competitors were lads who had been taken
prisoners on the march, but a few Colchians entered for the prize, as
did also two or three boys of Trapezus, who had the reputation of being
particularly fleet of foot. But the natives of the plain, still more the
inhabitants of the town, found themselves entirely outpaced on this
novel race course by the young mountaineers. A Carduchian came in first,
and was presented with his liberty, his master being compensated out of
the prize fund which had been subscribed by the army. As soon as he
understood that he was free, he set out at full speed in the direction
of his home. A true mountaineer, he sickened for his native hills, and
in the hope of seeing them again was ready to brave alone the perils
which an army had scarcely survived.

A foot race for men followed, but the distance to be traversed was,
according to the common custom of the great games, only two hundred
yards. There were as many as sixty competitors; but curiously enough,
they were to a man Cretans. Another foot race, this time for men in
heavy armor, was next run. The president had a Spartan's admiration for
all exercises that had a real bearing on military training, and the race
of the heavy armed was unquestionably one of these. It was won by a
gigantic Arcadian, an Ætolian whose diminutive stature made a curious
contrast to his competitor, coming in close behind him.

Next came the great event of the day, the "Contest of the Five
Exercises," or "Pentathlon." The five were leaping, wrestling, running,
quoit-throwing, and javelin-throwing. The competitor who won most
successes had the prize adjudged to him.[73] Callias had been trained
for some time at home with the intention of becoming a competitor at
Olympia; but various causes had hindered him from carrying out his
purpose, and, of course, he was now wholly out of practice. He was
sitting quietly among the spectators when he felt a hand upon his
shoulder and looking up, saw his general standing by.

"Stand up for the honor of Athens," said Xenophon, "don't let the men of
the Island[74] carry everything before them."

"But I am not in training," said Callias.

"You are in as good training, I fancy," replied the general, "as are any
of these; better I should say, to judge from the way in which they have
been eating and drinking since the retreat was ended. Besides, it is
only the boxers who absolutely require anything very severe in that way.
And you have youth."

Callias still made objections, but yielded when his general made the
matter a personal favor.

The competitors were five in number, the winner of the foot-race, the
tall Arcadian and his diminutive rival from Ætolia, two Achaeans, and
Callias.

The first contest was leaping at the bar. Here the Arcadian's long legs
served him well. He was a singularly ungainly fellow, and threw himself
over the bar, if I may be allowed the expression, in a lump. Every time
the bar was raised, he managed just to clear it, though the spectators
could not understand how his clumsy legs, which seemed sprawling
everywhere, managed to avoid touching it. Still they did manage it, and
when he had cleared four cubits short of a palm, which may be translated
into the English measure of five feet nine inches, his rivals had to own
themselves beaten. Callias, who came second, declared that he had been
balked by the infamous playing of the flute player, whose music
according to the custom followed at Olympia, accompanied the jumping.
"The wretch," he declared to the friends who condoled with him on the
loss of what they had put down to him for a certainty, "the wretch
played a false note just as I was at my last trial. If I had not heard
him do the same at least half-a-dozen times before, I should have said
that he did it on purpose."

If chance or fraud had been against him in this trial, in the next he
was decidedly favored by fortune. This was the foot race. The course
was, as usual, round a post fixed about a hundred yards from the
starting point, and home again. Whenever a turn has to be made, a
certain advantage falls to the competitor who has the inner place, and
when, as in this case, the distance is short, the advantage is
considerable. The places were determined by lot. The innermost fell to
the Arcadian; Callias came next to him; fortunately for him, his most
dangerous competitor, the Cretan who had won the foot race, had the
outermost, _i. e._, the worst station. The Arcadian jumped away with a
lead, and for fifty yards managed, thanks to the long strides which his
long legs enabled him to take, to keep in front; but the effort was soon
spent; by the time that the turning point was reached, Callias had
gained enough upon him to attempt the dangerous manoeuvre of taking
his ground. If it had not been for this, he must have been beaten, for
the fleet-footed Cretan, weighted though he was by his disadvantageous
place, ran a dead heat with him.

In the quoit-throwing, the Arcadian's strength and stature brought him
to the front again. With us quoit-playing is a trial of skill as well as
of strength. The quoit is thrown at a mark, and the player who contrives
to go nearest to this mark, without touching it (for to touch it
commonly ends in disaster) wins. At the same time the throw does not
count unless the quoit either sticks into the ground or lies flat upon
it with the right side uppermost. In the Greek game there were no
requirements of this kind. The quoit was a huge mass of metal with
notches by which it could be conveniently grasped, or, sometimes, a hole
in the middle through which a leather strap or wooden handle could be
put. He who threw it farthest was the winner. Some little knack was
required, as is indeed the case in every feat of strength, and, as has
been said before, stature was the chief qualification. The Arcadian
hurled the quoit, a mass of iron weighing ten pounds, to the vast
distance of forty-two feet. None of his rivals came near him. As he had
now won two events out of three, and his gigantic height and weight
would make him, to say the least, a formidable opponent in the
wrestling, he was a favorite for the prize. His Arcadian countrymen, who
formed, as has been said, a large proportion of the army, were in high
hope, and staked sums that were far beyond their means on his success.

The quoit-throwing was followed by hurling the javelin at a mark. Here
the Arcadian was hopelessly distanced, for here skill was as much wanted
as strength had been in the preceding trial. He threw the javelin indeed
with prodigious force, but threw it wholly wide of the mark. Indeed,
when he was performing, the near neighborhood of the mark would have
been the safest place to stand. The spectators were more than once in
danger of their lives, so at random and at the same time so vigorous
were his strokes. The first mark was a post rudely fashioned into the
figure of a man. To hit the head was the best aim that could be made; to
hit a space marked out upon the body and roughly representing the heart
was the next; the third in merit was a blow that fell on some other part
of the body. The legs counted for nothing. Callias and the Cretan scored
precisely the same. The Athenian hit the head twice, scoring six for the
two blows. The third time his javelin missed altogether. The Cretan, on
the other hand, in his three strokes hit the third, second, and the
first places successively, scoring for them one, two, and three
respectively. Further trials of skill were now given. A wand about three
fingers wide was set up at a distance of twelve yards. The Cretan's
javelin pierced it, making it, as may be supposed, an exceedingly
difficult thing for a rival to equal, much more to surpass the
performance. But Callias was equal to the occasion. Amid tumultuous
applause from the spectators, for his courtesy and carriage had made him
a great favorite, he hurled his javelin with such accuracy that he split
that which was already sticking in the mark. Again the Cretan and he
were pronounced to have made a tie.

The two Achaeans and the Ætolian did creditably, scoring five each. As
they had failed in four out of the five contests, the prize was clearly
out of their reach, and they stood out of the last competition, the
wrestling.

And now came the last and deciding struggle. Here again fortune
decidedly favored the Athenian. The president, following the rule always
observed at Olympia, ordered three lots marked A, B, and C, and
representing respectively Callias, the Arcadian, and the Cretan, to be
put into an urn. The two first drawn were to contend in the first heat,
the third was to have what is technically called a "bye." The "bye" fell
to the lot of Callias, and with it, it need hardly be said, the not
inconsiderable advantage of coming fresh to contend with a rival who had
undergone the fatigue of a previous struggle.

The issue of the contest between the Arcadian and the Cretan was not
long in doubt. The latter was an agile fellow, who would have had a
very good chance with "light-weights," to use again a technical term, if
the competitors had been so classed, as indeed they are by the customs
of the modern wrestling ring. But against his gigantic opponent he had
scarcely a chance. In the first bout the Arcadian lifted his antagonist
clean from the ground, and threw him down at full length without more
ado. The second was more equal. The Cretan struck his antagonist's left
ankle so sharply with his foot that the giant fell, but he could not
loose the other's hold, and fell also, scoring only the advantage of
being the uppermost. If there had been a tie in the other two bouts this
might have sufficed to give him the victory, or the president might have
ordered a fresh trial. But the third bout was decisive. It was in fact a
repetition of the first, only, if possible, still more decisive. The
Cretan was again lifted from the ground, before he had the chance of
practising any of his devices, and again hurled at full length upon the
ground. This time he was stunned, and carried insensible from the ground
by his companions.

A brief interval was now allowed. It was thought unfair that the
Arcadian should be called upon to engage a fresh antagonist without some
chance of resting himself. But what was meant for an advantage turned
out to be exactly the contrary. The man was not particularly tired, but
he was exceedingly thirsty, and he had not learnt the habit of
self-control. Regardless of the remonstrance of his companions, he
indulged himself with a huge goblet of wine and water. So imprudent was
he indeed that he put less water than was usual in the mixture, and
slightly confused his brain by the potency of the draught. When he came
forth to meet his antagonist, he had not only damaged his wind but had
made his footing somewhat unsteady. Three bouts, as before, were fought.
The Arcadian first tried the simple tactics which had been successful
with the Cretan. He did his best to lift the Athenian from the ground,
and Callias had all he could do to prevent it. But his weight and his
strength, which he made the most of by his coolness, stood him in good
stead. After a fierce struggle both fell together, and fell in such a
way that the president declared that neither had gained any advantage.
Practically, however, the victory was decided in favor of Callias. The
Arcadian's strength was impaired, and he was so scant of breath that he
could not use what was left to him. And he had little skill to fall back
upon, whereas his antagonist had been the favorite pupil of one of the
best trainers in Athens. In the second bout Callias struck the Arcadian
on the right foot with his own left; in the third he simply reversed the
device, striking the left with his right. In both he contrived to free
himself when his opponent fell. Thus the fifth contest ended for him in
an unquestioned victory.

The prize of victory was an ox and a purse of twenty-five gold pieces,
for soldiers who fought for pay would not have relished the barren honor
of a wreath of wild olive with which the Olympian judges were accustomed
to reward the victors. Callias won golden opinions from his comrades by
the liberality with which he disposed of his gains. The ox he presented
to the company to which he had been attached; the money he divided, in
such proportion as seemed right, among the unsuccessful competitors.

One more contest remained, and it turned out to be the most
entertaining of them all. This was a horse race. The competitors were to
make their way from the hill-top to the shore and back again. The
headlong, break-neck speed at which they galloped down, and the slow and
painful effort by which they crawled back again, were witnessed with
inextinguishable laughter by the assembled crowds. Xenophon himself took
a part in this sport, and gained great favor not only by his
condescension but by his skillful riding. He did not win indeed, for the
animal which he rode was hopelessly inferior, but his performance did
not discredit the land which claimed by the bounty of the god of the sea
to have been the birthplace of the horse.[75] The piety of Xenophon
always ready to show itself, did not fail to improve the occasion of his
young friend's success.

"You have gained the prize," he said in a tone of the deepest
earnestness, "nor did you fail to deserve it. Prize it the more because
it is manifest that the gods favor you. Youth and strength pass away,
but piety you can cherish always, and cherishing piety, you have also
the favor of the gods."

FOOTNOTES:

[73] According to some accounts no competitor was crowned unless he was
successful in all. But victory in five exercises so dissimilar could
seldom, if ever, have been gained. Quoit-throwing, for instance,
corresponding to our "putting the stone," required lofty stature and
great muscular strength, and would very seldom be the specialty of a
very fleet runner.

[74] The Island of Pelops or Peloponnesus.

[75] The legend was that Poseidon and Athene contended together for the
honor of being the patron Deity of Attica. This was to be adjudged to
the Power which should present it with the most useful gift. Poseidon
struck the ground with his trident, and produced the horse; Athene bade
the olive spring forth, and was judged to have surpassed her rival.
Reference is made to this legend in the most beautiful of the choral
odes of Sophocles, the "Praise of Colonas" in the second of the two
plays in the Story of Oedipus.



CHAPTER XXV.

BUSINESS AND PLEASURE.


Its religious obligations discharged, for the games, as has been already
said, were regarded as a service of thanksgiving for deliverance, the
army turned its attention to secular affairs. One indispensable duty,
one curiously characteristic, by the way, of the Greek soldier's temper
of mind, was to call the generals to account. For a Greek soldier, even
when he was selling his sword to the highest bidder, never forgot that
he was a citizen, and that as a citizen he had the right of satisfying
himself that his superiors had done their duty with due care and with
integrity. The Ten Thousand accordingly put aside for the time their
military character, and resolved themselves into a civil assembly. Their
generals were no longer the commanding officers to whom they owed an
unhesitating obedience, but the magistrates who had just completed their
term of office, and had now to render their accounts[76] to those who
had elected them.

The meeting of the army, perhaps I should rather say the assembly, was
held on the same ground which had served for a race course. One by one
the officers were called to answer for themselves. With many, indeed,
the proceeding was purely formal. The name was called, and the man
stepped forward on a platform which had been erected where it could be
best seen by the whole meeting. If no one appeared to make a complaint
or to ask a question, the soldiers gave him a round of applause, if I
may use the word of the noise made by clashing their spears against
their shields; this was a verdict of acquittal and the officer retired
with a bow. And this was what commonly happened. After all, the leaders
had, on the whole, done their duty sufficiently well; there was proof of
that in the simple fact that such a meeting was being held. But all did
not escape so easily. If, indeed, only a few voices of dissatisfaction
were heard, the matter was not pushed any further. When the second
appeal was made by the malcontents, they, seeing that they were not
supported by their comrades, preferred to keep silence. The man would,
in all probability, be their officer again and he would not be likely to
think pleasantly of any one who had accused him. But where, on the other
hand, there was anything like an agreement of dissatisfied voices, the
complainants took courage to come forward, and the examination was
proceeded with in earnest. One officer had had charge of some of the
property of the army; there was a deficiency in his accounts and he was
fined twenty himal[77] to make it good. Another was accused of
carelessness in his duties as leader, and had to pay half this sum. Then
came the _cause celebre_, as it may be called, of the day, the trial of
Xenophon himself. Xenophon was generally popular with the army, as,
indeed, he could scarcely fail to be, considering all that he had done
for it; but he had enemies. The mere fact of his being an Athenian made
him an object of dislike to some; others, as will be seen, he had been
compelled to offend in the discharge of his duty.

"Xenophon, the son of Gryllus," shouted the herald at the top of his
voice.

The Athenian stepped on to the platform.

An Arcadian soldier, Nicharchus by name, came forward and said, "I
accuse Xenophon the Athenian of violence and outrage."

A few voices of assent were heard throughout the meeting; and some half
dozen men came forward to support the the prosecutor. Accuser and
accused were now confronted.

"Of what do you accuse me?" asked Xenophon.

"Of wantonly striking me," replied the man.

"When and where did you suffer these blows?"

"After we had crossed the Euphrates, when there was a heavy fall of
snow."

"I remember. You are right. The weather was terrible; our provisions had
run out; the wine could not so much as be smelt; many men were dropping
down, half dead with fatigue; the enemy were close upon our heels. Were
not these things so?"

"It is true. Things were as bad as you say, or even worse."

"You hear," said Xenophon, turning to the assembly, "how we were
situated, and indeed, seeing that you suffered these things yourself,
you are not likely to forget them. Verily; if in such a condition of
things, I struck this man wantonly and without cause, you might fairly
count me more brutal than an ass. But say--" he went on, addressing
himself again to his accuser, "was there not a cause for my beating
you?"

"Yes, there was a cause," the fellow sullenly admitted.

"Did I ask you for something, and strike you because you refused to give
it?"

"No."

"Did I demand payment for a debt, and lose my temper because the money
was not forthcoming?"

"No."

"Was I drunken?"

"No."

"Tell me now; are you a heavy-armed soldier?"

"No; I am not."

"Are you a light-armed then?"

"No; nor yet a light-armed."

"What were you doing then?"

"I was driving a mule."

"Being a slave?"

"Not so; I am free; but my commander compelled me to drive it."

A light broke in upon Xenophon. He had had a general recollection of the
occasion, but could not remember the particular incident. Now it all
came back to him.

"Ah," he cried, "I remember; it was you who were carrying the sick man?"

"Yes," the man confessed, "I did so, by your compulsion; and a pretty
mess was made of the kit that I had upon the mule's back."

"Nay, not so; the men carried the things themselves, and nothing was
lost. But hear the rest of the story," he went on, turning to the
assembly, "and, indeed it is worth hearing. I found a poor fellow lying
upon the ground, who could not move a step further. I knew the man, and
knew him as one who had done good service. And I compelled you, sir,"
addressing Nicharchus, "to carry him. For if I mistake not, the enemy
were close behind us."

The Arcadian nodded assent.

"Well then; I sent you forward with your burden, and after a while,
overtook you again, when I came up with the rear-guard. You were digging
a trench in which to bury the man. I thought it a pious act, and praised
you for it. But, lo! while I was speaking, the dead man, as I thought he
was, twitched his leg. 'Why he's alive,' the bystanders cried out.
'Alive or dead, as he pleases,' you said, 'but I am not going to carry
him any further.' Then I struck you. I acknowledge it. It seemed to me
that you were going to bury the poor fellow alive."

"Well," said the Arcadian, "you won't deny, I suppose, that the man died
after all."

"Yes," replied Xenophon, "he died, I acknowledge. We must all die some
day; but, meanwhile, there is no reason why we should be buried alive."

The man hung his head and said nothing.

"What say you, comrades?" cried Xenophon.

One of the oldest men in the ranks got up and said, "If Xenophon had
given the scoundrel a few more blows he had done well."

A deafening clash of swords and spears followed, and the verdict was
accepted.

The other complainants were now called to state the particulars of their
grievances. Dismayed by the reception which their spokesman had met
with, they remained silent, one and all. Xenophon then entered upon a
general defence of his conduct.

"Comrades," he said, "I confess that I have many times struck men for
want of discipline. These were men who, leaving others to provide for
their safety, thought only of their own gain. While we were fighting
they would leave their place in the ranks to plunder, and so enriched
themselves at our expense. Some also I have struck, when I found them
playing the coward and ready to give themselves helplessly up to the
enemy. Then I forced them to march on, and so saved their lives. For I
know, having once myself sat down in a sharp frost, while I was waiting
for my comrades, how loath one is to rise again. Therefore, for their
sake, I raised them even with blows, as I should myself wish, were I so
found, to be raised. Others also have I struck whom I found straggling
behind that they might rest. I struck them for your sake, for they were
hindering both you that were in front, and us that were behind, and I
struck them for their own sake. For verily it was a lighter thing to
have a blow with the fist from me than a spear's thrust from the enemy.
Of a truth, if they are able to stand up now to accuse me, it is because
I saved them thus. Had they fallen into the enemy's hand, what
satisfaction would they be able to get, even if their wrongs were ten
times worse than that Nicharchus complains of? No," he went on, "my
friends, I have done nothing more to any one than what a wise father
does to his child, or a good physician does to his patient. You see how
I behave myself now. I am in better case; I fare better; I have food and
wine in plenty. Yet I strike no one. Why? Because there is no need;
because we have weathered the storm, and are in smooth water. I need no
more defence; you have, I see, acquitted me. Yet I cannot forbear to say
that I take it ill that this accusation has been made. You remember the
times when I had for your good to incur your dislike; but the times when
I eased the burden of storm or winter for any of you, when I beat off an
enemy, when I ministered to you in sickness or in want, these no one
remembers--" and here the speaker's voice half broke, partly with real
emotion, partly at the suggestion of the orator's art. A thrill of
sympathy ran through the audience. "And you forget," he went on, "that I
never failed to praise the doer of any noble deed, or to do such honor
as I could, to the brave, living or dead. Yet, surely it were more
noble, more just, more after the mind of the gods, a sweeter and
kindlier act, to treasure the memory of the good than to cherish these
hateful thoughts."

When the speaker sat down, there was nothing that he might not have
obtained from his comrades.

That night there was a great banquet. This served a double purpose.
Quarrels were made up, and some other difficult relations of the army to
its neighbors were satisfactorily adjusted. The fact was, that the
Greeks, partly from their want, and partly in the hope of filling their
pockets after a long and profitless campaign, had been plundering right
and left. The natives, on the other hand, had not been slow to
retaliate. Plundering cannot be done satisfactorily in company; but any
who ventured to do a little business on his own account ran a great
chance of being cut off. Under these circumstances both parties thought
it might be possible to come to an agreement. If the Greeks would not
plunder, the natives would leave them unmolested and even furnish them
with supplies. The chief of the country, accordingly, sent an embassy,
with a handsome present of horses and robes of native manufacture. The
generals entertained them at a banquet, to which, at the same time, they
invited the most influential men of the army. The chief's proposals
would be informally discussed, and proposed in regular form at a general
meeting the next day.

The generals did their best to impress their guests. Meat, bread and
wine were in plenty; and the eparch of Trapezus sent one of the
magnificent turbots for which the waters of the Black Sea were famous.
All the plate that was in the camp was put into requisition to make as
brave a show as possible; and, at the instance of Callias, some handsome
vessels of gold and silver were lent by the town authorities.

But, in the eyes of the guests, the most impressive part of the
entertainment was in the performances which followed it. The libation
having been made and the hymn, which supplied the part of grace after
meat, having been sung, some of the Thracian soldiers came upon the
platform which had been prepared for the performers. They wore the usual
armor of their country, a helmet, greaves, light cuirass, and sword, and
danced a national dance to the sound of a flute, leaping into the air
with extraordinary nimbleness, and brandishing their swords. One pair of
dancers were conspicuous for their agility. Faster and faster grew
their movements, and with gestures of defiance they alternately
retreated and advanced. At last, one of them, carried, it seemed, out of
himself by his rage, thrust at his fellow with his sword. The man fell.

"He is killed!" screamed out the guests, and rose from their seats.

Indeed, the man had fallen so artistically and lay so still that any one
would have thought that he had received a fatal blow. The Greeks,
however, looked on unmoved, and the strangers, not knowing whether this
wonderful people might not be wont to kill each other for the
entertainment of their guests, resumed their seats. The dancer who had
dealt the blow stripped the other of his arms, and hurried off, singing
the Thracian national song:

  "All praise to Sitalces,
      Invisible Lord,
  The spear point that errs not,
      The death-dealing sword,
  The chariot that scatters
      The close ranks of war,
  Red Ruin behind it,
      Blind Panic before!"

When he had left the stage a party of Thracians appeared and carried off
the fallen man, who had remained without giving the slightest sign of
life.

Another dance in armor succeeded, performed this time by Æolian
tribesmen from the Menalian coast. A man came on the stage, and, laying
aside his arms, made believe to drive a yoke of oxen, and to sow as he
drove. Every now and then he looked round, with an admirable imitation
of expecting some unpleasant interruption. This came in the shape of
another armed man, who was supposed to represent a cattle-lifter. The
ploughman caught up his arms, and ran to encounter him. The two fought
in front of the team, keeping time as they struck and parried to the
sound of the flute. At last the robber appeared to vanquish his
adversary, to bind him, strip him of his arms, and drive off the team.

The next performer was a Mysian, who danced, again in armor, what we
should call a _pas seul_. He had a light shield in each hand, and seemed
to be fighting with two adversaries at once; his action was
extraordinarily life-like and his agility almost more than human. In
curious contrast with his performance was the stately movement of some
Arcadians heavy-armed, who, with all the weight of their armor and
accoutrements upon them, moved to the tune of the warriors' march with
as much ease as if they had been perfectly unencumbered.

"Good Heavens!" cried one of the envoys to his next neighbor, "what men
these are! Their armor seems not one whit heavier to them than a shirt,
and they carry their swords and their spears as if they were twigs of
osier."

One of the Mysians, whose dialect was not very different from that of
the speaker, overheard the remark. "Ah!" he said to himself, "we will
astonish these gentlemen still more."

He drew one of the Arcadians who had just performed, aside. "Send Cleone
on the stage," he said.

Cleone was a dancing-girl, famous for her agility.

By good luck she was at hand, having indeed expected to perform for the
amusement of the company. The Arcadian made her put on a light cuirass
of silvered steel, which she wore over a scarlet tunic. She had a short
gilded helmet, buskins of purple, and sandals tied with crimson strings.
In her left hand she carried a small shield, and in her right, a light
spear. Thus accoutred, she came on the stage and danced the Pyrrhic
dance with tremendous applause from all the spectators.

The astonishment of the native guests was beyond all expression.

"What!" cried their chief, "do your women fight?"

"Of course," said the General whom he addressed, "of course they fight,
and very pretty soldiers they make."

"Women soldiers!" gasped the man.

"Why," said his host, "did you not know that it was the women who routed
the Great King, and drove him out of our camp?"

FOOTNOTES:

[76] The examination of accounts (euthuna) was one of the most important
constitutional usages in the Athenian commonwealth. All magistrates on
coming out of office, and ambassadors returning from a mission had to
undergo it. The existence of this usage would make the difference in the
eyes of an Athenian between a constitutional and a despotic government.
The other Greek States, though we know but little of their internal
arrangements, probably had some similar institution.

[77] Rather more than £400.



CHAPTER XXVI.

INVALIDED.


Callias found it very hard to sit out the banquet and the entertainment
that followed it. He had felt a headache before sitting, or to speak
more correctly, lying down, and this grew so bad during the evening that
he gladly took the earliest opportunity of leaving. The fact was that he
had been ailing for some days; the excitement of the games had carried
him through the labors of the day, but he suffered doubly from the
reaction, and before nightfall he was seriously ill.

And now he found the advantage of having followed Xenophon's advice and
taken up his quarters in the town. Had he been reduced to such nursing
and attendance as the camp could have supplied, his chances of moving
would have been small indeed. At the house of Demochares, on the
contrary, he had everything in his favor, an exceptionally good nurse,
and an exceptionally skillful physician. In those days neither branch of
the healing art, for nursing has certainly as much to do with healing as
physicking, was very successfully cultivated. Women nursed the sick,
indeed, often with kindness and devotion, for woman's nature was
substantially the same then as it is now, but they did it in a blind and
ignorant fashion. As for the practice of medicine it was a mass of
curious superstitions and prejudices, leavened here and there with a few
grains of experience, and, if the practitioner happened to have that
inestimable quality, of good sense. Of systems there was only the
beginning. The great physician Hippocrates had indeed acquired a vast
reputation, and was beginning to influence the opinion of the faculty
throughout Greece; but the medical profession has always been slow to
adopt new ideas--what profession, indeed, has not?--the means of
communication, too, were very limited, and as yet his teaching had had
but little effect.

But Callias happened to be exceedingly fortunate both in his nurse and
in his doctor. The house of Demochares was kept by his sister, a widow,
who after her husband's death had returned to her old home, and had
devoted herself to a life of kindness and charity. The young Athenian
had won her heart, not only by his sunny temper and gracious manners,
but by his resemblance to a son of her own whose early death--he had
been slain in a skirmish with the barbarian neighbors of Trapezus--had
been the second great sorrow of her life. His illness called forth her
tenderest sympathies, and nothing could have exceeded the devotion with
which she ministered to her patient.

The physician, Demoleon by name, was a very remarkable man. He was a
native of the island of Cos, and was at this time between fifty and
sixty years of age. He had been one of the first pupils of the famous
Hippocrates, who was a native of the same island, and had lived on terms
of great intimacy with his teacher whom he assisted in his private
practice. When Hippocrates was summoned to the plague-stricken city of
Athens, Demoleon accompanied him, and, by a curious coincidence, in the
course of his residence there had treated the father of Callias.
Whatever the benefit that followed the prescriptions of Hippocrates, it
is certain that the fact of his being called in to administer them by
the most famous citizen of Greece, largely increased his reputation, and
that even beyond the border of Greece. The great physician's return from
Athens was speedily followed by an invitation from Artaxerxes, King of
Persia.[78] The plague that had devastated Greece had passed eastward,
and was committing destructive ravages throughout the Persian Empire.
Artaxerxes implored Hippocrates to give him and his subjects the benefit
of his advice. He offered at the same time the magnificent _honorarium_
of two talents of gold yearly.[79] The patriotism or the prudence of
Hippocrates led him to refuse this offer, tempting as it was. He would
not, he said, and doubtless with sincerity, give the benefit of his
advice to the hereditary enemy of his country. At the same time, we may
suppose, he reflected to himself that he would be putting himself,
without any possibility of appeal, at the mercy of a tyrannical and
unscrupulous master. But one of the Persian envoys succeeded in doing a
little business of the same kind on his own account. He found the pupil
less resolute against the temptations of a great bribe than the master
had been. Accordingly he engaged Demoleon to come in the capacity of
physician to himself and his household. The King would have the
opportunity of availing himself of his advice if he pleased. Artaxerxes
was disappointed at the refusal of Hippocrates, but he did not disdain
the help of a man who had shared his practice, and was probably
acquainted with his system. Demoleon prescribed at Susa and Persepolis
the remedies which his master had employed at Athens, the burning of
huge fires in the street and squares, and the use of an antidote. The
pestilence either yielded to these influences, or, as is more probable,
had exhausted its force. At any rate Demoleon got the credit of having
vanquished the enemy, and was rewarded by a munificent present from the
King and by an enormous practice.

He might have accumulated great wealth but for an unlucky complication
for which he can scarcely be considered to have been to blame. Necessity
sometimes compelled a departure, in the case of the physician, from the
strict rules of seclusion with which the Persian women were surrounded.
Demoleon was called in to visit the daughter of a Persian noble. She was
a beautiful girl, or rather would have been beautiful but for the fact
that she was blind. It was a case of cataract, and the Greek physician,
who was as bold as he was skillful, ventured on an operation which at
that time had scarcely been attempted, or even thought of. It proved
entirely successful. The gratitude of the father was shown by a
munificent present of gold and jewels; that of the daughter by the gift
of her heart. One of the very first objects on which her eyes rested
when the bandage was permitted to be removed was the form of the young
physician who had restored to her one of the greatest joys of life.
Under any circumstances it was likely to please her; and Demoleon was in
the bloom of early manhood, and his fair complexion and golden hair
showed in attractive contrast to the swarthy hues of her countrymen. The
result was that she fell deeply in love. Demoleon was not without
prudence, and would have hesitated to listen to any promptings of his
own heart, for he too had been greatly impressed by the beauty and grace
as well as by the pathetic patience of the sufferer. Amestris--that was
the young lady's name--guessed readily enough that the physician would
not venture to speak, and she took the matter into her own hands. She
did not speak herself; for that, passionate as was her affection, would
have been impossible; but she got some one to speak for her. Her
nurse--the nurse was generally the _confidante_ of antiquity--undertook
the task of communicating with the young man. One day she gave him a
pomegranate, saying at the same time that he would find the fruit
especially sweet. Her words would have seemed ordinary enough to any one
that might have happened to hear them; but the young physician, whose
feelings made him susceptible, suspected, he could not say why, a
particular meaning. Opening the fruit he found a ring engraved with a
single Greek word--_Be Bold_. The next day he thanked the giver of the
fruit with emphasis. "It was sweet to the core," he said.

After that the affair proceeded rapidly. The young man, who, as may be
guessed, did not hurry the case of his patient, found an opportunity of
declaring his love, and in the following summer the two lovers fled
together. All the arrangements had been carefully made. The girl
feigned sickness, and the physician prescribed a residence among the
hills and a simpler life and plainer diet than the patient was likely to
get in her father's house. Her foster-mother was the wife of a sheep
master who rented some extensive pasture on the hills of Southern
Armenia, and it was settled that Amestris should pay her a visit. The
lady was sent off under a small escort, no one dreaming that the family
of an influential noble would be molested on its journey. Yet, curiously
enough, a band of brigands was bold enough to enter the caravanserai
where the party was lodging on the fourth night after their departure
from Susa. Certainly the keeper of the inn, and, possibly, the commander
of the escort, had been bribed--Demoleon's successful practice had put
him in the command of as much money as he wanted. For a long time
Amestris absolutely disappeared. Her father searched everywhere and
offered munificent rewards for information, but he could find and hear
nothing. No one knew that a couple of travellers, who might have been
two brothers journeying in company and followed by three well armed
servants, were in fact Demoleon, Amestris, and the pretended robbers.
The party followed much the same route as was afterwards taken by the
Ten Thousand, and, after not a few hair-breadth escapes, arrived in
safety at the same destination,--the city of Trapezus.

Three years of happiness followed. Then the beautiful Persian died. She
never repented of having given her heart to the young physician, who was
the best and most affectionate of husbands. But she missed her family
and all the associations of her early life, and pined away under the
loss. Return was impossible; she could not go back without her husband,
and to return with him would have been to expose him, if not herself, to
the certainty of death. The hopelessness of the situation broke her
heart; and all her husband's skill, even the more potent influence of
her husband's love, failed to work a cure.

The widower could not prevail upon himself to leave the place where he
had enjoyed his short-lived happiness. He might have gained wealth and
fame in larger cities, but he preferred to spend the rest of his days at
Trapezus. There, indeed, he was almost worshipped. He had a singularly
light and skillful hand; his experience, though, of course, not so large
as he might have collected elsewhere, was always ready for use; and he
had the rare, the incommunicable gift of felicitous guessing--guessing
we call it, but it is really the power of forming rapid conclusions from
a number of trifling, often half discerned indications. Anyhow he
achieved some very marvellous cures; performed with success operations
which others did not venture to attempt; diagnosed diseases with
remarkable skill, and was extraordinarily fertile in his expedients. It
was specially characteristic of him that while he was never satisfied
till he had thoroughly enquired into the causes of disease, he was
unwearied in his efforts to relieve the inconvenience and painfulness of
a patient's symptoms.

So alarming did the condition of Callias become after his return from
the banquet, that Demoleon was called in without loss of time. All that
he could do at the moment was to give a sleeping draught, intending to
make a thorough examination of the case next morning.

Shortly after sunrise he was by the bedside. Callias was conscious
enough to be able to describe his feelings; what he said indicated
plainly enough that his illness had been developing for some days past,
and had been postponed by sheer courage and determination. It was in
fact something like what we call gastric fever; and the experienced
physician saw enough to convince him that he should have a hard battle
to fight. The patient was young, vigorous, apparently sound of
constitution, and, as far as he could learn, of temperate habits. All
this was in favor of recovery; but it was not more than was needed to
give a glimpse of hope.

Demochares, who had a strong regard for the young man, as indeed every
one had that had been brought into contact with him, intercepted the
physician as he was leaving the house after a prolonged examination of
the patient.

"How do you find him?" he asked.

Demoleon shook his head. The gesture was not exactly despairing, but it
indicated plainly enough that the situation was serious.

"You will put him all right before long?" returned the merchant, alarmed
at the gravity of the physician's manner.

"All these things lie on the knees of the gods," said Demoleon, quoting
from his favorite Homer. (It was a maxim of his that a man who did not
know his Homer was little better than a fool.) It may be said that the
physician was more than a little brusque in manner and speech. Twenty
years of solitary life had made him so, for since his wife's death he
had held aloof from all the social life of the place.

"What ails him?" enquired the merchant.

"A fever," was the brief reply.

"Does it run high?"

"Very high indeed."

"You have bled him, of course."

The physician's answers to enquiries were generally as short as the
rules of politeness permitted; occasionally, some of his questioners
were disposed to think, even shorter; but there were remarks that always
made him fluent of speech, though the fluency was not always agreeable
to his audience.

"Bleed him, sir," he cried, "why don't you say at once stab him, poison
him? No, sir, I have not bled him, and do not intend to."

"I thought that it was usual in such cases," said the merchant timidly.

"Very likely you did," answered Demoleon, "and there are persons, I do
not doubt, who would have done it, persons, too, who ought to know
better." This was levelled at a rival practitioner in the town for whom
he entertained a most thorough contempt. "Do you know, sir," he went on,
"where men learnt the practice of bleeding?"

"No, I do not," said Demochares.

"It was from the hippopotamus. That animal has been observed to bleed
himself. Doubtless the operation does him good. But it does not follow
that what is good for an animal as big as a cottage is good also for a
man. Doubtless there _are_ men for whom it is good. When I have to deal
with a mountain of a man, one of your city dignitaries bloated by rich
feeding, by chines of beef and pork and flagons of rich wine, I don't
hesitate to bleed him. His thick skin, his rolls of fat flesh, seem to
require it. In fact he is a human hippopotamus. But to bleed a spare
young fellow, who has been going through months of labor and hard living
would be to kill him. I wonder that you can suggest such a thing."

"I am sure I am very sorry," said the merchant humbly.

"Happily no harm is done," replied the physician, cooling down a little.
"And, after all, this is not your business, and you may be excused for
your ignorance, but there are others," he went off muttering in a low
voice, "who ought to know better, and ought to be punished for such
folly. It is sheer murder."

I do not intend to describe the course of the long illness of which this
was the beginning. There were times when even the hopefulness of the
physician--and his hopefulness was one of his strongest and most helpful
qualities--failed him. Relapse after relapse, coming with disheartening
frequency, just when he had seemed to have gathered a little strength,
brought him close to the gates of death.

"I have done all that I can," said Demoleon one evening to Epicharis the
nurse. "If any one is to save him, it must be you. If you want me, send
for me, of course. Otherwise I shall not come. It breaks my heart to see
this fine young fellow dying, when there are hundreds of worthless
brutes whom the earth would be better without."

Epicharis never lost heart; for a nurse to lose heart is more fatal than
the physician's despair. For nearly a week she scarcely slept. Not a
single opportunity of administering some strengthening food did she
lose--for now the fever had passed, and the danger lay in the excessive
exhaustion. At last her patience was rewarded. The sick man turned the
corner, and Demoleon, summoned at last, to alleviate, he feared, the
last agony, found, to his inexpressible delight, that the cure was
really begun.

"You are the physician," he cried, as he seized the nurse's hand and
kissed it; "I am only a fool."

Winter had passed into spring, and spring into summer, before Callias
could be pronounced out of danger. Even then his recovery was slow. Some
months were spent in a mountain village where the bracing air worked
wonders in giving him back his strength. As the cold weather came on he
returned to his comfortable home in Trapezus. Though scarcely an
invalid, he was still a little short of perfect recovery. Besides it was
not the time for travelling. Anyhow it was the spring of the following
year, and now more than twelve months from the time of his first
illness, when he was pronounced fit to travel. Even then it was only
something like flat rebellion on the part of his patient that induced
Demoleon to give way. The young man was wearying for home and friends.
He had heard nothing of them for several months, for communication was
always stopped during the winter between Athens and the ports of the
Euxine, while the eastward bound ships that always started after the
dangerous season of the equinox had passed, had not yet arrived.

FOOTNOTES:

[78] Artaxerxes Longimanus, so called from the circumstance of his right
hand being longer than his left. He reigned from 465 to 425.

[79] About £5,200, ($25,000), if gold is to be reckoned at thirteen
times the value of silver. This is Herodotus' calculation, and it
probably held good in Greece for a century or more from his time, until,
in fact, the enormous influx of gold from the Asiatic conquests of
Alexander altered the proportion.



CHAPTER XXVII.

BACK TO ATHENS.


Callias started about the middle of April, according to our reckoning.
His journey to the Bosphorus was much retarded by contrary winds. For
some days no progress could be made, and it was well into May before he
reached Byzantium. There he was fortunate enough to get a passage in a
Spartan despatch boat, which took him as far as the port of Corinth,
thus carrying him, of course, beyond his destination, but to a point
from which it was easy for him to find his way to Athens. It was about
the beginning of June when he landed at the Piraeus. He did not doubt
for a moment about the place where his first visit was due. The fact was
that he had no near relations. The kinsman who was his legal guardian
had always given up the business of looking after his ward's property to
Hippocles; and now that Callias was his own master, there was little
more than a friendly acquaintance between the two cousins. The alien's
house was, he felt, his real home, nor had he given up the hope that in
spite of Hermione's strongly expressed determination, he might some day
become a member of his family.

Hippocles happened to have just returned from his business at the
shipyard, when the young Athenian presented himself at the gate. Nothing
could be warmer than the welcome he gave his visitor.

[Illustration: THE ACROPOLIS AT THE PRESENT DAY.]

"Now Zeus and Athene be thanked for this," he cried as he wrung the
young man's hand. "That you had come back safely from the country of the
Great King I heard. Your friend Xenophon told me so much in a letter
that I had from him about a year ago. Then I heard from him that you
were dangerously ill. After that all was a blank, and I feared the
worst. But why not a word all this time?"

"Pardon me, my dear friend, I think I may say that it was not my fault.
For months I was simply too ill to write. When I came back to Trapezus,
the winter had begun, and there were no more ships sailing westward. I
should have written when communications were opened again, but I was
always in hopes of being allowed by the physician to start, and I had a
fancy for bringing my own news. And how are you?"

"I am well enough," replied Hippocles, "but we have been passing through
times bad enough to shorten any man's life. I don't speak of trade.
There have been troubles there, but when one has ventures all over the
world, it does not matter very much as far as profits are concerned, if
things do not go right at one place or another. It has been the state of
home affairs that has been the heaviest burden to bear. I thought we had
touched the bottom when the city had to surrender to Lysander. But it
was not so, and I might have known better. The Spartans, of course,
upset the democracy."

"Well," interrupted Callias, "I should have thought that that would not
have been by any means an altogether unmixed evil."

"Yes," said Hippocles, "and there have been times when I have been ready
to think the same. But wait till you see an oligarchy in power, really
in power, I mean, not with a possible appeal to the people, and so a
chance of having to answer for themselves before them, but with a strong
foreign garrison behind them. We had that state of things in Athens for
more than half a year. One might almost say that it was like a city
taken by storm. No man's life was safe unless he was willing to do the
bidding of the Tyrants--the "Thirty Tyrants" was the nickname of the men
that were in power in those days. Who would have thought that Theramenes
would ever have been regretted by honest men? Yet it was so. He thought
his colleagues were going too far, and opposed them. He was carrying the
Senate with him, for many besides him were beginning to feel
uncomfortable; so they murdered him. The Thirty had, you must know, a
sort of sham general assembly--three thousand citizens picked out of the
whole number as holding strong oligarchical opinions. Amongst the laws
that they had made one was that none of these Three Thousand were to be
condemned without a vote of the Senate. The name of Theramenes was, of
course, on the list, and, as he had a majority of the Senate with him,
he seemed safe. Well what did Critias, who was the leader of the violent
party, do? He filled the outer circle of the Senate house with armed
men, the Senate, you must understand, sitting in the middle surrounded
by them. Then he got up and said, 'A good president, when he sees the
body over which he presides about to be duped, does not suffer them to
follow their own counsel. Theramenes has duped you, and I and these men
here will not suffer one who is the enemy of his country to do so any
longer. I have therefore struck his name off the list of the Three
Thousand. This leaves me and my colleagues free to deal with him without
your assent.' The Senate murmured, but dared do nothing more. The
officers came and dragged the man from the altar to which he was
clinging. An hour afterwards he had drunk the hemlock. The gods below be
propitious to him, for great as were his misdeeds he died in a good
cause and as a brave man should die.[80] Things have not been so bad
since the 'Thirty' were upset, but there is a sad story to tell you."

Callias paused awhile. At last he screwed up his courage to put a
question which he had both longed and feared to put ever since he had
set foot in the house.

"And your daughter, is she well?"

"Yes, she is well."

"And still with you?"

"Yes, she is at home," briefly answered the father.

Hermione had in fact, refused several offers which every one else had
thought highly eligible. Hippocles, though by no means anxious to lose a
daughter who was not only a companion but a counsellor, was growing
anxious at what appeared her manifest determination to remain single. He
would have dearly liked to have a son-in-law who would be able to take
up in time the burden of his huge business, a burden which he began to
feel already somewhat heavy for his strength. Callias would have been
entirely to his heart, but he had accepted, though not without great
reluctance, his daughter's views on this subject. That she should deny
the young Athenian's suit, and yet for his sake dismiss all other
suitors--and this he began to suspect to be the fact--seemed to his
practical mind a quite unreasonable course of action. When a distant
kinsman from Italy, a handsome youth of gracious manners and of
unexceptionable character, with even a tincture of culture, was
emphatically refused, Hippocles ventured a remonstrance. Its reception
was such that he resolved never under any circumstances to repeat it.
Hermione had been always the most obedient of daughters, but this roused
her to open rebellion. "Father," she said, "in this matter I am and must
be a freeborn Italian. A Greek father can arrange a marriage for his
daughter, but you must not think of it. I shall give myself as my mother
gave herself before me--if I could find one as worthy as she did," and
she caught her father's hand and kissed it, breaking at the same time
into a passion of tears. "Forgive me," she went on in a broken voice,
"for setting up myself against you; but if you love me, never speak on
this subject again." And her father resolved that he never would.

The young Athenian felt a glow of renewed hope pass through him at the
father's reply, studiously brief and cold as it was. Anyhow Hermione was
not married. What could ever occur to change her purpose he did not
care to speculate. Nevertheless, as long as she did not belong to
another, he need not despair.

"You will dine with me of course," said Hippocles to his visitor, "by
good luck I have invited Xenophon. Doubtless that is he," he went on, as
a kick was heard at the door.[81]

A few moments afterwards a slave introduced Xenophon; and before the two
friends had finished their greetings it was announced that dinner had
been served.

Hermione was not present at the meal, nor did her father make any excuse
for her absence. The presence of any guest not belonging to the regular
family circle, was sufficient to account for it; and Callias, though he
hoped against hope to see her, could not but acknowledge to himself that
a meeting would have been highly embarrassing.

Conversation did not flag during the meal. When it was finished, the
host excused himself on the score of having some business matters on
hand which did not brook delay; and Xenophon and Callias were left to
talk over each other's adventures.

When Callias had told the story with which my readers are already
acquainted, Xenophon proceeded to give him a brief outline of his
fortunes since they had parted.

"Well, my dear Callias," he said, "you did not lose much by not being
with us. While we were in danger, we stuck fairly together, though there
were always cowardly and selfish fellows who thought, not of the general
welfare, but only of their own skins or their own pockets. But when we
were safe at the coast and among friends, then there arose endless
division. And, indeed, I must allow that the situation of the army was
very trying. Here were thousands of men who lived by their pay, and
there was no paymaster. I had a scheme of my own which would really have
kept us together. If it could have been carried out, the gathering of
the Ten Thousand, even though it had failed of its first object, would
not have been altogether in vain. I wanted to found a new Greek colony.
We might have taken Pharis or some other city of the barbarians; and if
only half of my comrades had been willing to stay, we might have made a
rich and powerful place of it before long. But it was not to be. Perhaps
I was not worthy of being the founder of such a colony; anyhow the
scheme came to nothing. I will tell you how it was. You remember
Silanus, the soothsayer. I never trusted the man. He was quite capable
of garbling signs to suit his own advantage. However I could not help
going to him on this occasion, as he was the chief of his craft. So I
said, 'Offer sacrifices and determine the omens concerning this scheme
of a new colony.' Now Silanus was about the only man who had any money
in his pocket. Cyrus had given him three thousand darics[82] for a
prophecy that had come true, and he wanted to get home with the spoil.
So he was altogether against the idea of a colony. When he had
sacrificed he could not say that the omens were altogether against the
scheme; for I knew nearly as much about the matter as he did. What he
did say was that there were indications of a conspiracy against me. And
he took good care to make them true, for he spread about reports of what
I was going to do that turned the army against me. So the scheme came
to nothing.

"This did one good thing, however, for it helped us on our way home.
Trapezus and the other colonies in the east of the Euxine did not relish
the idea of a new Greek city which might turn out to be a formidable
rival. So they offered to transport the army to the Hellespont and to
furnish pay from the first new moon after the departure. This seemed a
good offer, and I recommended the soldiers to close with it, and said
that I gave up my scheme. 'Only,' I said, 'let us all keep together and
let any one who leaves us be counted a malefactor.' For I did not choose
that my friend the soothsayer should get the better of it.

"Well, we set sail; our first halt was at Sinope, which is roughly
speaking, about halfway between Trapezus and Byzantium. Then the army
wanted to make me commander-in-chief. Happily the omen was against it,
and I was able to decline. We started again, and got to Heraclea. The
people were very hospitable; but some scoundrels in the army wanted to
lay a contribution upon the city. Chirisophus, the Spartan--I should
have told you that on my refusal the army gave him the chief
command--refused to have anything to do with such an abominable
business, and I backed him up. Of course the city shut its gates against
us, and we got nothing at all. After this the army broke up into three.
One of the divisions, made up of Arcadians and Achaeans, the most
unscrupulous and greedy of the whole number, got into serious trouble
when they were trying to plunder the country, and I had to rescue them,
for two thousand men had stuck to me when the army was thus broken up.
Then the other division under Chirisophus were nearly as badly off, and
I had to get them out of a scrape. After this they came together again,
and it was made a matter of death for anyone to propose a separation.

"It was well we did, for everyone seemed bent on treating us as
villanously as possible. Would you believe that the Spartan governor of
Byzantium actually sold as slaves four hundred soldiers who had found
their way into the city? It is true that they were stragglers and had no
business there; but it was an abominable act. At last, one Seuthes, who
had been chief of the Odrysians, and deposed by a usurper, offered to
take the whole army into his pay, if we would help him to recover his
dominions. Every man was to receive a stater[83] per month, the captains
twice, and the generals four times as much. Also he offered lands, oxen
to plough it with, and a city with walls. In fact the colony scheme
seemed likely to be carried out after all. To me he was very munificent
in his promises. I was to have one of his daughters to wife and a city
of my own."

"What did you say to that?" said Callias.

"Well, the only one of these things that Seuthes really had in his
possession was the daughter. I saw the young lady, handsome I will
allow, and tall; but, oh, such a savage! As for the money, and the land,
and the oxen, and the towns, walled and unwalled, we had to get them for
him and then have our portion back. However, it seemed to me the best
thing for the army to do, and I advised the men to that effect, and they
agreed, only it was provided that we were never to march more than seven
days' journey from the seacoast. We had all had enough of marches up
the country. Then Seuthes gave us a feast by way of striking the
bargain.

"It was a wonderful scene, and some day I must tell you all about it.
But I must own that for a time I felt as uncomfortable as ever I did in
my life. After dinner when the bowl had passed round two or three times,
in came a Thracian leading a white horse. He took the bowl from the
cup-bearer, and said, 'Here is a health to thee, King Seuthes. Let me
give you this horse. Mounted on him thou shalt take whom thou wilt, and
when thou retirest from the battle thou shalt dread no pursuer.' Then
another gave a slave, and another some robes for the Queen, and a fourth
a silver saucer and a finely embroidered carpet. All the while I was
sitting in an agony, for I was in the place of honor, and had nothing to
offer. However 'our lady of Athens,' who is the inspirer of clever
devices, and, it may be Father Bacchus also, for I had drained two or
three cups, helped me out of my difficulty. When the cup-bearer handed
me the goblet, I rose and said, 'King Seuthes, I present you with myself
and these my trusty comrades. With their help you will recover the lands
that were your forefathers' and gain many new lands with them. Nor shall
you win lands only, but horses many, and men many, and fair women also.'
Up got the King, at this, and we drained the cup together.

"Seuthes was not going to let the grass grow under his feet. When we
left the banqueting tent--this was at sunset because we wanted to set
the guards about our camp--the King, who, for all his potations, was as
sober as a water-drinker, sent for the generals and said, 'My neighbors
have not yet heard of this alliance of ours. Let us go and take them by
surprise.' And so we did. We went that night and brought back booty
enough to pay for our day's pay, I warrant you.

"Well, we went on fighting for Seuthes for two months till we had
conquered the whole countryside for him. Then the conquered tribes
flocked to him--give a Thracian plenty to eat and drink and good pay and
he will fight in any quarrel--till he did not want any more. That
perhaps was not to be wondered at, but, like the mean hound that he was,
he tried to get out of paying us.

"Just at this moment when I thought that we should have to settle with
the sword for judge, Sparta declared war against the Persians and wanted
all the men she could get. So Thuisbron, their commander-in-chief, came
over and engaged the men at the same rate of pay that Seuthes was giving
or rather promising. We never got anything but a wretched fragment from
the King.

"By this time I had had about enough of campaigning of this fashion. Not
a drachma had I made. In fact I was poorer than when I set out. I had
even to sell my favorite horse, but Thuisbron bought it back for me.

"Just at the last I had a stroke of luck. That is another story I must
tell you some day. But fortunately we took prisoners a Persian noble
with his wife and children, his horses and cattle and all that he had.
The next day I left the army, but before I went they gave me the pick of
the beasts of all kinds. It was a handsome present, I can tell you."

"So, on the whole," said Callias, "you came pretty well out of the
business. You returned at least not poorer than you went, you have won
for yourself a name which those who come after us will not, I take it,
forget, and you helped, at least, to save the lives of many Greeks from
perishing shamefully by the hands of the barbarians. Are you not
content?"

"Yes," replied Xenophon, "all the more content on account of one thing
you have not mentioned. For this indeed pleases me in the matter that we
Greeks have now found a way by which we may both go to the capital of
the Persians and return therefrom. Verily, I sometimes wish we had not
been so eager to retreat, but had stopped and made ourselves masters of
the country of our enemies. Perhaps we were not strong enough; but, if I
can see so far into the future, some one will do this hereafter, and
Greece will be avenged of all that she has suffered at the hands of the
barbarians."

"The Master will be glad," Callias went on after a pause.

The "Master" of course was Socrates. Xenophon looked at the young man
with some surprise.

"You seem very confident on this point. He indeed was always somewhat
doubtful, and certainly there are great difficulties when you come to
look into it a little more closely."

"I really do not know what you mean," answered Callias; "you have seen
him I suppose, for you have been in Athens several days and know what he
thinks."

For a few moments Xenophon stared at the speaker in utter perplexity.
Then a light broke in upon him. "What," he cried, "you do not know? You
have not heard?"

"Know what? Have heard what? You speak in riddles."

"That he is dead."

The young man covered his face with his hands. After a few minutes he
recovered calmness enough to speak. "No, indeed, I did not know it. I
never thought of such a thing. He seemed so full of life and vigor. Yet
he must have been an old man, not far from seventy I suppose, for he was
more than forty at Delium.[84] Tell me of what did he die?"

"They killed him."

"Killed him! Who killed him?"

"The people of Athens."

FOOTNOTES:

[80] The last scene of his life is described by Xenophon. I give the
passage with some explanation. When he drank the fatal cup he threw the
dregs on the floor with the peculiar jerk given in playing the game of
Cottabos. This game had several forms; but the feature common to them
all was the heaving of wine out of a cup. Sometimes the object seems to
have been a kind of fortune telling. A guest when he had finished his
cup would jerk out any dregs that might be left. At the same time he
named the guest who was to drink next, and the sound made by the drops
falling was supposed to give some omen good or bad. "To the gracious
Critias," said Theramenes. It was to be a prophecy of his fate. As a
matter of fact Critias fell a few weeks afterward in a battle with
Thrasybulus and the exiles of the democratic party.

[81] It was usual to kick not to knock with the hand.

[82] About $18,000.

[83] Something less than $6.

[84] The battle of Delium (between the Boeotians and the Athenians)
was fought in 424. The precise age of Socrates at the time of his death
was seventy.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

THE STORY OF THE TRIAL.


It is not too much to say that the young man was prostrated by the news
which he had just heard, for the blow fell upon him with a suddenness
that seemed to increase the pain tenfold. He had not been indeed on the
same intimate terms of friendship with the great philosopher as the
older disciples, Crito, Simmias, Cebes, Phaedo and others had been. But
he had regarded him with an affection and admiration that was nothing
less than enthusiastic; and he had looked forward to getting his advice
about the future conduct of his life with a hopeful eagerness that made
disappointment very bitter. To find himself in Athens after all the
vicissitudes of fortune through which he had passed, and to learn that
the man without whom Athens scarcely seemed itself, was lost to him
forever, was a terrible shock. Xenophon's sorrow had not been less keen,
but he had been prepared for his loss by at least a few days' previous
knowledge. The news had reached him while he was on his way, and the
first shock was over when he landed. But there had been nothing to break
the news to Callias. He felt as a son might feel who returns home after
a long absence in full expectation of a father's greeting, and finds
himself an orphan.

So overpowered was the young man that he felt solitude to be absolutely
necessary for a time.

"Let me talk to you about it another day," he said to Xenophon, "at
present I am not master of myself."

Xenophon clasped his friend's hand with a warm and sympathetic pressure.
"I understand," he said. "Yet, I think it will comfort you when you hear
how he bore himself at the last and what he said. Come to me to-morrow;
Hippocles will tell you where I live."

Early the next morning, Callias presented himself at Xenophon's house, a
modest little dwelling, not far from the garden of Academus. He found
him in the company of some friends, most of whom were more or less known
to the young man as having been members of the circle which had been
accustomed to listen to the teaching of the great master. Crito,
Menexenus and Æschines, and the two Thebans, Cebes and Simmias, were
among the number; and there were others whom he did not recognize. He
was greeted with kindness and even distinction. His host had evidently
been giving a favorable account of him to the company.

"I thought it best," Xenophon went on to explain, "to ask some of those
who were actually present when these things happened, to meet you. I
myself, as you know, was not here; and it is well that you should hear a
story so important from eye-witnesses, men who saw his demeanor with
their own eyes, and heard his words with their own ears."

"I thank you," said Callias. "But tell me first how it was that such
things came to pass. It seems incredible to me. I have heard that here
and there a man has been found so monstrously wicked that he could kill
his own father, though Solon thought it so impossible a crime that he
would impose no penalty on it. But that a whole people should be
stricken with such madness of wickedness seems to pass all imagination
or belief."

"Ah! you do not understand," said Simmias; "I am a foreigner you know;
and those who look at things from outside often see more of them than
they who are within. I had long thought that Socrates was making many
enemies in Athens. And verily if he had said such things in my own city,
as he said here, I doubt whether he had been suffered to live so long."

"But he always spoke true things," said the young man, "and things that
were to the real profit of his hearers."

"Just so," replied Simmias, "but that they were true and profitable did
not make them pleasant, or the speaker of them welcome. What think you
would happen to a school-master if his pupils whom he daily corrects and
disciplines, sometimes with hard tasks and sometimes with blows, were
permitted to judge him, or to a physician if the children whom he seeks
to cure of their ailments with nauseous drugs, or, it may be, with the
knife or cautery, had him in their power?"

"Truly, it might fare ill with him," Callias confessed, thinking to
himself of certain angry thoughts that in his own boyhood he had
cherished against his own teacher and doctor.

"Yes," said Crito, "Simmias is right, nor did this matter escape the
notice of us Athenians, though we did not perceive it so plainly. You,
I know, have been much absent from Athens since you grew to manhood, yet
you must have seen something of this. You were here, for example, when
the admirals were condemned after the battle at Arginusæ. Is it not so?"

"I was here," said Callias.

"And you know how Socrates set himself against the will of the people,
refusing to put to the vote a proposal which he believed to be
unconstitutional. Well, he suffered nothing at that time, because their
will prevailed in spite of him. Yet we saw that there were many who
remembered this against him, and only waited for the opportunity of
avenging themselves upon him. Nor was he less constant in opposing the
few, when he believed them to be acting wrongfully, than in opposing the
many. Listen now, to what he did and said in the days of the Thirty.
Were you in Athens at that time?"

"No," replied Callias, "I left the city, or rather was carried away from
it--" at this there was a general laugh, most of the company having
heard of the curious story of his abduction--"after the murder of the
Generals, and did not set foot in it till the other day."

"But you know what manner of men these Thirty were."

"Yes, I know."

"Well, among other vile things that they did was this, that they put to
death many excellent men whom they conceived to be enemies to
themselves. Then Socrates, in that free way of his, said, 'If a herdsman
were so to manage his herd that the cattle became fewer and not more,
men would consider him a bad herdsman. Still more would they consider
him to be a bad ruler of a city who should so manage it that the
citizens became not more but less numerous.' This being reported to
Critias, who was a chief among the Thirty, he sent for Socrates, and
said to him, 'There is a law that no man shall teach or use the art of
words.' Socrates said, 'Mean you by this, the art of words rightly
spoken or the art of words wrongly spoken?' On this, one Charicles, who
was a colleague of Critias, and was standing by him, broke in violently:
'Since, Socrates, you find it so hard to understand an altogether easy
thing, take this as a plain rule, that you are not to talk with young
men at all.' 'Truly I desire to obey the law,' said Socrates; 'tell me
then what you mean by young men. How young? Up to what age?' Charicles
said, 'Up to thirty, at which age men are able to take part in affairs
of the State.' 'But,' said Socrates, 'if I desire to buy a thing of a
man who is under thirty, is it permitted me to ask what it costs?'
'Yes,' said Charicles, 'you may say so much.' 'And if a man under thirty
asks me where Critias lives or Charicles lives, may I answer him?' 'Yes,
you may answer such questions,' said Charicles. Then Critias broke in,
'But you must not talk about blacksmiths and coppersmiths and tanners;
and indeed you have worn these themes pretty well threadbare by this
time.' 'Nor about righteousness and wickedness and such things, I
suppose,' said Socrates. 'No, indeed, nor about herdsmen. If you speak
of herdsmen and of the herd being diminished, take care that it be not
diminished by one more, even by you.'"

Callias listened with delight. "Oh, how like him!" he cried.

"Yes," replied Crito, "like him indeed, and truly admirable. But such
things do not please those to whom they are spoken, especially do not
please men in power. Then consider the number of empty-headed, ignorant
fellows whose vanity and conceit he exposed every day by his pitiless
questioning. There was not a pretentious fool in Athens whom he had not
at some time or other held up to ridicule."

"And they deserved it richly," said Callias.

"Yes," replied the other, "but I have never found that a man liked
punishment more because he knew that he deserved it. So you see that the
city was full of his enemies. And there were some honest men who really
believed that he did harm by his teaching. What with knaves whom he
opposed with all his might, and fools whom he exposed, and right-minded,
wrong-headed men whom he could not help offending, there was a very
formidable host arrayed against him."

"I see," said Callias. "But they must have had some pretext, they could
not put any of the things you have been speaking about into a formal
charge. Tell me, what did they accuse him of?"

"Oh, it was the old story, treason and blasphemy. Men who would have
sold their country for a quarter of a talent, men who believe in no
other gods than their own lusts, were loud in proclaiming that Socrates
had ruined the State, and was teaching the young not to worship the
gods."

"Good heavens!" cried Callias, "how dared they utter such lies? A better
patriot, a truer worshipper of the gods never lived."

"You are right; yet, these were the charges against him, these and
other things equally absurd, as that he taught the young to despise
their fathers and to think meanly of all their relatives and friends, as
if he himself were the only friend that was worth having; that he
perverted words from Homer and the old poets to a bad sense, making them
mean that no work was disgraceful so that it brought in gain, and that
it was lawful for kings and nobles to beat the common people[85]--these
were the charges that they brought against him. And then they added the
accusation that Critias and Alcibiades who had done great harm to Athens
had both been disciples of his."

"But tell me," said Callias, "how did these liars and villains proceed?
And first, who were they? Who took the lead?"

"One Meletus was the chief."

"What! The foolish poet whom every one laughs at?"

"Yes, the very same. He represented the poets. There was one Lycon, of
whom, I suppose, you never heard, who represented the public speakers,
and Anytus, one of those who came back with Thrasybulus. He had been
badly treated, it is true, banished without any good reason, but only a
madman could have supposed that Socrates had had anything to do with it.
These three brought the indictment. It was in these words:--

"'Socrates is guilty of a crime. He does not acknowledge the gods whom
the State acknowledges, and he introduces other and new gods. He is also
guilty of corrupting the youth. The penalty--death.'"

"But such charges hardly needed a defence. Is it possible that a number
of Athenian judges found a verdict of guilty?"

"It was so indeed," said Crito, "and I am not sure that you will be
altogether surprised when you hear what the accused said in his own
defence. I am an old man now, and have watched the courts now for many
years; and I have seen not a few men who might have escaped but for what
they said in their own behalf. Now I can't tell you all that Socrates
said, or even the greater part of it. Our friend Plato is going to set
it forth regularly in a book that he is writing. But I can tell you
enough to make you see what I mean.

"After he had dealt with various other matters--those calumnies for
instance, that Aristophanes set afloat about him now more than thirty
years ago--he went on: 'Some years ago, men of Athens, a certain
Chaerephon--you know him; some of you went into exile along with
him--having been my companion from my youth up, ventured to go to
Delphi, and to propose this question to the god: "Is there any man wiser
than Socrates?" The Pythia[86] made reply, "There is none wiser than
he." When I heard this I said to myself, what can the god mean? He
cannot tell a lie, yet I am not conscious to myself of possessing any
kind of wisdom. So at last I devised this plan. I went to one of the men
who are reckoned wise, thinking thus to test the oracle, so that I
might say, here at least is one that is wiser than I. Now when I came to
examine this man--he was one of our statesmen, men of Athens,--I found
that though he was accounted wise by many and especially by himself, he
was not wise in reality. But in vain I tried to convince him, and I even
became odious to him and to many others who were present and admired
him. Then I thought to myself, I am at least wiser than this man, for he
not knowing, thinks that he knows, while I at least know that I do not
know. After this, I went to the poets, tragic, lyrical, and others, and
taking to them poems which they had written, asked of them what they
meant thereby. And I found that almost always those that had not written
these things knew better what they meant than the authors. So I
concluded that these also were not wise. And at last I went to the
artisans, knowing that they were acquainted with many things of which I
knew nothing. And this, indeed, I found to be the case. But I also found
that, because they had mastered their own art, each thought himself very
wise in other things, things, too, of the greatest importance, and that
this self-conceit spoilt their wisdom. These also seemed to be less wise
than myself. But all the time that I was doing this I knew that I was
making myself hateful to many, yet, because I was bound to obey the god
as best I could, I did not desist.

"'It is true also that many young men hearing me thus questioning others
have found delight in this employment and have learnt to imitate me. And
they have obtained this result: they have found many persons who think
that they know much but in reality know nothing. But they who are thus
discovered are irritated, not so much against their questioners, but
against me whom they suppose to have taught them this habit. Hence comes
this fable of a certain wicked Socrates who is said to corrupt the young
men.

"'Nevertheless, O men of Athens, if you this day release me, I shall not
therefore cease to do that which, as I conceive, the god commands. I
shall go about the city seeking wisdom; nor shall I cease to say to such
as come in my way, My friend, can you, being a citizen of Athens, the
most famous city of Greece, help being ashamed if you make riches or
rank your highest aim, and care not for that which is indeed the
greatest good? This shall I still do to young or old, for it is this
that the god orders me to do!'"

Crito paused in his story.

"Magnificent!" cried Callias, "but how did the judges take it? It was a
downright defiance of them."

"Certainly it was, and so they thought it. There was a tremendous
uproar. When the noise had ceased, he began again:--'Do not clamor
against me, men of Athens, but hear me patiently; 'tis indeed for your
own good that you should. For be assured that putting me to death, you
will harm yourselves rather than me. For, having rid yourselves of me,
you will not easily find any one who will do for you the office that I
have done, which has been, I take it, that of a rider upon a horse of
good breed, indeed, and strong, but needing the spur. Such a rider have
I been to the city, sitting close and exciting you continually by
persuasion and reproach. You will not easily find another like me; and
if you are angry with me, yet remember that persons awakened out of
sleep are angry with the man who rouses them, though it may be to the
saving of their lives. And remember this too: what I have done, I have
done without pay; no one can bring up this against me that I have done
anything for gain. If you ask a proof, look at my poverty--that is proof
enough.

"'And if any one ask me why I go about meddling with every body and
giving them advice, and yet never come forward and give any advice about
matters of state, I make him this answer: There is a voice within me, of
which Meletus idly speaks as if it were another god, which never indeed
urges me to do anything, but often warns me against doing this or that.
This same voice has often warned me against taking part in public
affairs, and rightly so indeed, for be assured that if I had so taken
part, I should long ago have perished. And do not be offended if I tell
you the truth. No man can be safe who opposes things wrong and illegal
that are done by the people. If he would live, even but for a short
time, he must keep to a private station.

"'Do you not remember, men of Athens, how when you had to judge the
admirals that did not save the shipwrecked men at Arginusæ, I would not
put the motion to the vote? For though I had never held any public
office I was in the Senate, and it so chanced that my tribe that day had
the presidency. You chose to judge all the men together, acting
wrongfully, as you afterward acknowledged. And I alone of all the
presidents opposed this thing, and would not yield, no not when the
orators denounced me, and would have joined me with the accused. This
was in the time of the democracy.

"'And afterwards when the democracy was overthrown, and the oligarchy
was in power, what happened? Did not the Thirty send for me along with
four others to their council-chamber, and bid us fetch Leon of Salamis,
that he might be put to death. This they did, after their habit, seeking
to involve as many as possible in their wicked deeds. Then also I showed
not in words only, but in deeds that I cared not one jot for death. For
in the chamber I declared that I would not do this thing, and when we
had gone out, the other four indeed went to Salamis, and fetched Leon,
but I went to my own home. Doubtless I should have died for this act,
but that the Thirty were overthrown soon afterward.

"'And what I have done publicly that I have privately also. Never have I
conceded anything that was wrong to any man. But if any man would hear
what I said I never grudged him the opportunity. I have offered myself
to rich and poor, whether they would question me themselves or answer my
questions, nor have I spoken for pay, nor been silent because I was not
paid, nor have I ever said aught to any man that I have not said to all.

"'So much, men of Athens, might suffice for my defence, but if any of
you, remembering that other men when accused have brought their children
before you seeking to rouse compassion, are angry with me because I have
not so done, let him listen to me. I, too, have family ties.

"'From no gnarled oak I sprang, or flinty rock, as Homer has it, but am
born of man. Three sons I have; two of them are children, one an infant.
Should I then bring them before you, and seek to move your pity by the
sight of them? Not so. I have seen many thus demeaning themselves, as
if, forsooth, you acquitting them, they would escape death altogether;
but such behavior would ill befit those who seek to follow after virtue
and honor. Nor is such behavior only unseemly; it is wrong. For we are
bound to convince a judge, not to persuade him, and he is set in his
place not to give justice as a favor, but because it is justice. Verily,
if I should have to persuade you to act against your oaths I should be
condemning myself of the very charge that Meletus has brought against
me, for I should act as if I did not believe that the gods by whom ye
have sworn to do right are gods at all. Far be it from me so to act. I
believe in the gods more than my accusers believe; and I leave it to
these gods and to you to judge concerning me as it may be best for you
and for me.'"

"No man," said Cebes, "could have spoken better; but it was not the
speech that would please or conciliate."

"And what was the result?" asked Callias.

"After all there was only a majority of _six_ against him; two hundred
and eighty-one against two hundred and seventy-five were the numbers.
Then came the question of the sentence. The prosecutor had demanded the
penalty of death. 'Socrates,' said the president of the court, 'what
penalty do you yourself propose?'[87] 'You ask me,' said Socrates, 'what
penalty I myself propose. What then do I deserve, I who have not sought
to make money, or to hold office in the state, or to command soldiers
and ships, who have not even attended to my own affairs, but have sought
to do to others what I thought to be their highest good? What should be
done to me for being such a man? Surely something good, something
suitable to one who is your benefactor, and who requires leisure that he
may spend it in giving you good advice. There is nothing, I conceive,
more suitable than that I should be maintained at the public expense in
the Town Hall, with those who have done great services to the State.
Surely I deserve such a reward far more than he who has won a chariot
race at the Olympic games; for he only makes you think yourselves
fortunate, whereas I teach you to be happy.'

"Of course there was a loud murmur of disapprobation at this. Even some
of those who had voted for acquittal were vexed at language so bold.

"Socrates began again: 'You think that I show too much pride when I talk
in this fashion. But it is not so. Let me show you what I mean. As to
the penalty which the accuser demands, I cannot say whether it be good
or evil; but the other things which I might propose in its stead I know
to be evils--imprisonment, or a fine with imprisonment till it be paid,
or exile, which last, indeed, you might accept. But if you cannot endure
my ways, O men of Athens, think you that others would endure them? And
what a life for a man of my age to lead, this wandering from city to
city! But if anyone should say, Why, O Socrates, will you not depart to
some other city, and there live quietly, and hold your tongue? I answer,
To do this would be to disobey the god, and I cannot do it. And indeed
to live without talking and questioning about such matters is not to
live at all. But I have not yet named the penalty. If I had money I
should propose some fine which I could pay; but I have none, except
indeed you are willing to impose upon me some small fine, for I think
that I could raise a pound of silver.' At this there was another growl
from the judges; and some of us who were standing by Socrates caught him
by the robe, and whispered to him. After a pause, he said, 'Some of my
friends, Crito and Plato and Apollodorus, advise me to propose a fine of
thirty minas[88] and offer to be security. So I propose that sum.'

"Of course the result was certain. A majority much larger than before
voted for the death penalty. Then the condemned man spoke for the last
time. You will be able to read for yourself the very words that he said.
I can now give you only an idea of the end of his speech. He had told
the judges, speaking especially to those who had voted for his
acquittal, that the voice that was wont to warn him had never hindered
him in the course of his speech, though it was not the speech that he
should have made if he had wanted to save his life. From this he argued
that he and they had reason to believe that death was a good thing.
'Either,' he said, 'the dead are nothing and feel nothing, or they
remove hence to some other place. What can be better than to feel
nothing? What days or nights in all our lives are better than those
nights in which we sleep soundly without even a dream? But if the common
belief is true, and we pass in death to that place wherein are all who
have ever died, what greater good can there be than this? If one passes
from those who are called judges here to those who really judge and
administer true justice, to Æacus and Minos and Rhadamanthus, is this a
change to be lamented? What would not any one of you give to join the
company of Homer and Orpheus and Hesiod? or talk with those who led that
great army of Greeks to Troy, or with any of the many thousands of good
men and women that have lived upon the earth? Verily, I would die many
times if I could only hope to do this. And now it is time'--for these
were his very last words of all--'that we should separate. I go to die,
you remain to live; but which of us is going the better way, only the
gods know.'"

There was a deep silence in the room after Crito had finished speaking.
It was broken at last by Callias, who asked, "How long since was that?"

"Nearly two months," said Simmias, "but by a strange chance Socrates was
not put to death for nearly a month after his condemnation. It so
happened that the Sacred Ship started for Delos just at the time, and
during its voyage--in fact from the moment that the priest fastens the
chaplet on the stern--no man can be put to death. For thirty days then
he was kept in prison. There we were permitted to visit him, and there
we heard many things that are well worth being remembered."

"I want to hear everything," cried Callias.

"You shall in good time," said Crito. "Come to my house to-morrow and I
will put you in the way of your getting what you want."

"But you ought to hear," cried Apollodorus, who had hitherto taken no
part in the conversation, "what the teacher said to me, though, indeed,
it shows no great wisdom in me that he had occasion to say it. 'O
Socrates,' I said, when I saw him turning away from the place where he
had stood before his judges--and nothing could be more cheerful than his
look--'O Socrates, this indeed is the hardest thing to bear that you
should have been condemned unjustly.' 'Nay, not so, my friend,' he
answered, 'would the matter have been more tolerable if I had been
condemned justly?'"

There was a general laugh. "That is true," said Crito, "but certainly as
far as Athens is concerned, it was a more shameful thing."

FOOTNOTES:

[85] The lines from Hesiod:

  "No labor mars an honest name;
  'Tis only Idleness is shame,"

was one instance (quoted by Xenophon in the Recollections of Socrates).
Another (from the same source) is the story of how Ulysses stayed the
Greeks from hurrying to their ships and leaving the siege of Troy. The
common men he struck, but if he found a chief in the crowd he only
remonstrated with him,

  "But if he saw perchance, some common man
  Blinded with panic, clamorous of tongue,
  With staff he smote him, adding blow to blame."

[86] The priestess of Apollo at Delphi.

[87] It was the curious custom in the Athenian courts of criminal
justice that the accused, if found guilty, was required to name a
counter penalty to that proposed by the prosecutor. The prosecutor, as
has been seen, had proposed death. Socrates, under the circumstances,
could hardly have proposed anything less than banishment, if he had any
wish that it should be accepted by the court.

[88] Rather more than $600.



CHAPTER XXIX.

THE LAST CONVERSATION.


Callias, as may be supposed, did not fail to keep his appointment with
the utmost punctuality. He found at Crito's house very nearly the same
company that had been assembled the day before at Xenophon's. After the
usual greetings had been interchanged, the host said, "I propose, if it
is agreeable to you all, to hold the conversation which we are to have
to-day at the house of our friend Plato. He has written to invite us,
not because he can himself see us, for he is not sufficiently recovered
from his late illness, but because we shall thus be able to talk with
his friend Phaedo; for as all know there is no more fitting person than
Phaedo to tell our young friend Callias the things that he desires to
hear. For though we were all present, Xenophon only excepted, on that
day when the Master left us, having given us his last instructions, yet
there is no one who so well remembers and is so well able to describe
all that was then said or done. I propose, therefore, that we transfer
ourselves to his house."

The proposition met with general assent and the party set out.

Crito naturally took charge of Callias as being his special guest. As
the two were walking, the young man said, "Tell me, Crito, if it is not
unpleasing to you, whether in the thirty days during which the Master
was held in prison, any efforts were made to save his life?"

"I am glad," said Crito, "that you have asked me that question privately
and not before others, for, indeed, this is a matter which has caused me
no little amount of trouble and shame. Some people blame me because,
they say, though a rich man I did not bribe the jailer of the prison in
which Socrates was confined, and thus enable him to escape. I am
blameable, indeed, but for an exactly opposite reason. I did bribe the
man--this of course is in absolute confidence between you and me--and in
this, as the Master showed me, I was wrong. Indeed I never received from
him so severe a rebuke as I did concerning this matter. But let me tell
you what happened. I had arranged everything. The jailer was to let him
escape. There were people ready to carry him out of the country. I went
to him early in the morning of the day when the ship was expected to
return. I told him what I had done. I made light of the money that the
affair was to cost. I could well afford it, I said, and if I could not
there were others ready to contribute. And then I attacked him, it was
an impudent thing to do, but I felt as if I could do anything that we
should not lose him. I told him that it was wrong of him to do his best
to let his enemies get their way. I said to him, 'Thus acting you desert
your children, whom you might bring up and educate. But if you die you
will leave them orphans and friendless. Either you ought not to have
children or you ought to take some trouble about them. Surely this does
not become one who has made virtue his study throughout his life. And
remember what a disgrace will fall upon us, for it will certainly be
said that we did not do our best to save your life.'

"Well, I cannot tell you now a tenth part of what he said. I have it all
written down at home, but I may say what you will easily believe that I
was as helpless in his hands as the veriest pretender whom he has ever
cross-examined. I know that he ended by making me thoroughly ashamed of
myself. One of his chief arguments was this:

"'Suppose, Crito, that as I was in the act of escaping, the State itself
were to say to me: Are you not seeking to destroy by so acting the laws
of the State itself? Is not that State already dissolved wherein public
sentences are set aside by private persons? What should I answer to such
questions? And if the laws were to say, What complaint have you got to
make against us that you seek to destroy us? Do you not owe your being
to us, seeing that your father and mother married according to our
ordering? Have we not given you nurture, education, all the good things
that you possess as being an Athenian? Have you not acknowledged us by
living in the city, by having children in it? And if they were further
to say, Verily, he who acts in this way in which you are about to act is
a corrupter of youth--what could I answer?

"'And tell me, Crito,' he went on, 'whither would you have me betake
myself? Not surely to any well-ordered city seeing that I had shown
myself the enemy of such order, but rather to some abode of riot, which
would indeed ill become one who had professed to be a lover of virtue
and righteousness. And as for my children, how shall I benefit them? By
taking them elsewhere and bringing them up not as citizens of Athens,
but as citizens of some other State which I myself here have judged
inferior, seeing that all my life long I have deliberately preferred
Athens to it?' Verily, Callias, when he said this, I had no answer. But
here we are at Phaedo's house."

Callias was not a little surprised when he was introduced to the man
whom he had been brought to see. Phaedo was a man much younger than
himself; indeed he had scarcely completed his eighteenth year. His
appearance was singularly attractive, and his manners had all the grace
and ease of a well-born and well-bred man. That he was not an Athenian
was evident from his speech, which was somewhat tinged with a Doric
accent. Altogether Callias was at a loss to think who or what he could
be, and how he came to be regarded as the best interpreter of the
Master's last words. An opportunity, however, arrived for enlightening
him. After a few minutes' conversation, a slave appeared with a message
for the master of the house. Plato who had been compelled to absent
himself from the last interview with Socrates, as has been said, was
still so unwell that his physician forbade the excitement of seeing
visitors. He now sent for Phaedo to entrust him with a message of
apology for his fellow disciples whom he was unable to entertain, and
partly to set him free to act the part of host in his stead.

Crito seized the opportunity of his temporary absence from the room to
give some particulars about him. "He comes of a very good family in
Elis, and was taken prisoner about this time last year when Athens and
Sparta were allies and acting against that country. He was sold in the
slave market here, and I cannot tell the cruelties that he endured from
the wretch who bought him. Somehow he heard of Socrates, ran away from
his owner and begged for the Master's protection. Of course, the only
thing was to buy him, and equally of course, Socrates was wholly unable
to do this. But the Master, if he had no wealth of his own, happily had
wealthy friends. He went to Plato and, by great good luck, Plato had a
very powerful hold over the poor fellow's owner; the man owed him a
large sum of money, the interest of which was overdue. He was purchased,
and at once set free. Plato found that he had been remarkably well
educated and that he showed an extraordinary aptitude for philosophy.
The lad's devotion to Socrates was unbounded. He never lost a chance of
being near him; he was present of course at the last day, and he watched
and listened with an intense earnestness that seemed to engrave
everything on his mind as one engraves letters upon marble or bronze.
But, see, he is coming back. Now you will understand why I have brought
you to see him."

The young man, at this moment, returned to the room.

"Tell me, Phaedo," said Crito, "what you saw and heard on the last day
of the Master's life. My friend Callias here, who has just come back
from campaigning against the Great King, desires to hear it from you,
and, indeed, though we all were present on that day, you seem to
remember it more accurately than any."

"I will do my best," said the youth modestly. "I do not know," he went
on, addressing himself especially to Callias, "whether you will wholly
understand me when I say that I did not feel compassion as one might
feel for one who was dying--he was so calm and so happy. Neither, on the
other hand, did I feel the pleasure that commonly followed from his
discourses, for I knew that he would soon cease to be."

"It was just so with all of us," said Crito, "but go on."

"We had been to visit Socrates daily through the time of his
imprisonment, assembling very early in the morning, and waiting till the
doors of the prison were opened, and so we did on this day, only earlier
than usual, because we knew that the Sacred Ship had arrived the evening
before. The jailer came out. 'You must wait, gentlemen,' he said, 'the
Eleven[89] are with him. They are taking off his chains, and are telling
him that he must die to-day.' After a little while the man came out
again, and said that we might go in. When we went in, we found Socrates
sitting on the side of his bed, and his wife, Xanthippe, near him,
holding one of his children in her arms. As soon as she saw us, she
began to lament and say, 'O Socrates, here are your friends come to see
you for the last time.' Then Socrates, looking at her, said to Crito,
'Let some one take her home.' So one of Crito's servants led her away.
After a while, for of course I must leave out many things, the Master
said, 'I have a message for Evenus, who seeks to know, I am told, why I
have taken to writing verses in prison. Tell him that a god appeared to
me in a dream and told me to cultivate the muses. Tell him also that if
he is wise he will follow me as speedily as possible, for it seems that
the Athenians command that I depart to-day.'

"'But, Socrates,' said Simmias, 'this is a strange piece of advice, and
one which Evenus is not likely to take.'

"'Why so,' said Socrates, 'is he not a philosopher? Surely he should be
ready to go the road which I am going. Only he must not kill himself.'
'Why do you say this?' said Cebes.

"You will correct me," said Phaedo, turning to the company, "if I
misrepresent anything that you said."

"Speak on without fear," said Simmias, "you seem to have the memory of
all the muses."

Phaedo resumed, "Socrates said, 'You ask me why a man may not kill
himself? Well, there is first this reason that we are as sentinels set
at a post, which we must not leave until we are bidden; then again if
men be servants of the gods, as seems likely, how can they withdraw from
this service without leave? Would you not be angry if one of your
servants were to do it?'

"'True,' said Cebes, "'but if we are the servants of the gods, and
therefore in the best guardianship, should we not be sorry to quit it?
If so, is it not for the foolish to desire death and for the wise to
regret it?' 'You are right,' replied the Master, 'and if I did not
expect when I depart hence to go to the realms of the wise and good gods
and to the company of righteous men, I should indeed grieve at death.
And that I am right in so expecting let me now seek to prove to you, for
what better could I do on this the last day of my life? But stay; Crito
wishes to say something. What is it?' Crito said, 'He who has to give
the poison says that you must talk as little as possible, for that if a
man so excites himself he has to drink sometimes two potions or even
three.' 'Let him take his course,' said the master, 'and prepare what he
thinks needful. And now to the matter in hand. Death, then, is nothing
but a separation of the soul from the body. That you concede. And you
concede further that a philosopher should care little for the things of
the body, and that when he is most free from the body, then he sees most
clearly the highest and best things, perceiving, for instance, right and
justice and honor and goodness, veritable things all of them, but such
as cannot be discerned with the eyes or handled with the hands. For the
body with its desires and wants hinders us, and makes us waste our time
on the things that it covets, so that we have neither time nor temper
for wisdom. If then we are ever to reach absolute Truth we must get rid
of the hindrance. While we live we do this to the best of our ability,
and he is the wisest man and best philosopher who does it most
completely; but wholly we cannot do it, till the god shall liberate us
from the control of this companion--And this is done by Death, which is
the complete separation of soul and body. Shall then the philosopher,
who has all his life been striving for such partial separation as may be
possible, complain when the gods send him this separation that is
complete? And this is my defence, my friends, for holding it to be a
good thing to die.' 'Yes,' replied Cebes, 'but many fear that when the
soul is thus parted from the body, it may be nowhere, being dissipated
like a breath or a puff of smoke when the body with which it has been
united dies.' 'You desire, then,' said Socrates, 'that I should prove to
you that the soul does not perish when it is thus separated from the
body?' 'Yes,' we all said, 'that is what we all wish.' 'First then,' he
went on, 'is it not true that every thing implies that which is opposite
to it, as Right implies Wrong, and Fair implies Foul, and _to sleep_ is
the opposite of _to wake_? If so does not _to die_ imply its opposite
_to live again_?

"'Secondly, is it not true that the highest part of our knowledge is a
remembering again? For there are things which we know not through our
senses. How then do we know them? Surely because we had this knowledge
of them at some previous time.'

"'But,' said Cebes, 'may it not be true that the soul has been made
beforehand to enter the body; and having entered it lives therein, and
yet perishes when its dwelling is dissolved?'

"'Being of a frail nature, I suppose,' said the Master, 'it's all to be
blown away by the wind, so that a man should be especially afraid to die
on a stormy day.'

"At this we all laughed, for we did laugh many times and heartily that
day, though now this may seem to others and indeed to ourselves almost
incredible, seeing what we were about to lose.

"'Well,' the Master went on, 'I will seek to relieve you of this fear.
Is it not true that things that are made up of parts are liable to be
separated? And is it not also true that the soul is not made up of
parts, but is simple and not compounded? Also it is visible things that
perish; but the soul is not visible. Again the soul is the ruler, and
the body the servant. Is it not true that the divine and immortal rule
the human and mortal senses?'

"To this we all agreed.

"The Master began again, for he now, as I may say, had to put before us
the conclusion of the whole matter. 'We may think thus, then, may we
not? If the soul depart from the body in a state of purity, not taking
with it any of the uncleannesses of the body, from which indeed it has
kept itself free during life as far as was possible--for this is true
philosophy--then it departs into that invisible region which is of its
own nature, and being freed from all fears and desires and other evils
of mortality, spends the rest of its existence with the gods and the
spirits of the good that are like unto itself. But if it depart,
polluted and impure, having served the body, and suffered itself to be
bewitched by its pleasures and desires, then it cannot attain to this
pure and heavenly region, but must abide in some place that is more
fitted for it.'

"Much else he said on this point to which we listened as though it were
another Orpheus that was singing to us. And when he had ended and sat
wrapt in thought, we were silent, fearing to disturb him. And so we
remained for no little space of time in silence, he sitting on the bed,
as if he neither saw nor heeded any of the things that were about him,
and we regarded him most earnestly.

"After a while he woke up, as it were, from his reverie and said, 'You
have agreed with me so far; yet it may be that you have yet fears and
doubts in your minds which I have not yet dispersed. If so let me hear
them, that I may, if it be possible, rid you of them, for indeed I
cannot, as I conceive, leave behind me a greater gift for you than such
a riddance. Speak then, if there is anything that you would say.'

"Simmias said--I put, you will perceive, his argument in a few words:
'May it not be that the soul is in the body as a harmony is in a harp?
For the harmony is invisible and beautiful and divine, and the harp is
visible and material and mortal. Yet when the harp perishes, then the
harmony also, of necessity, ceases to be.'

"When Simmias had ended, Cebes began: 'I do indeed believe that the soul
is more durable than the body. Just so; the wearer is more durable than
the thing which he wears. Yet at the last, one thing that he weaves
proves to be more durable than he. So may the soul outlast many bodies,
and yet perish finally, worn out, so to speak, by having gone through so
many births.'

"Have I put these things rightly, O Simmias and Cebes?" said the young
philosopher, addressing them, "though indeed I have made them very
brief."

"You have put them rightly," the two agreed.

"When we heard these things," Phaedo went on, "we were also greatly
disturbed; for we desired to believe that which the Master was seeking
to prove, and seemed to have attained certainly, and now we were thrown
back again into confusion and doubt."

"And how did the Master take it, O Phaedo?" said Callias; "for indeed I
feel much as you describe yourselves as having felt. Having reached a
certain hope, not to say conviction, I am now disturbed by fears."

"Nothing could be more admirable than his behavior. That he should be
able to answer, was to be expected; but that he should receive these
objections so sweetly, so gently, and perceiving our dismay, quickly
encourage us, and, so to speak, reform our broken ranks--this indeed was
beyond all praise.

"I myself was sitting on a low seat by the side of his bed. He dropped
his hand, and stroked my head and the hair which lay upon my neck, I
wore it long in those days,[90] for he was often wont to play with my
hair. Then he said, 'I suppose, Phaedo, that you intend to cut off these
beautiful locks to-morrow, as mourners are wont to do.'

"'I suppose so,' I said.

"'But you must cut them off to-day and not to-morrow if our doctrine be
stricken to death, and we cannot bring it to life again.' Then he turned
to Simmias and Cebes, and said, 'Hear now what I have to say, but while
you hear, think much of the truth but little of Socrates; and be on your
guard lest in my eagerness I deceive not myself only but you also, and
leave my sting behind me when I die even as does a bee. You, Simmias,
think that the soul may be but as a harmony in the body. But do you not
remember what we said about all knowledge being a remembering, and that
what the soul knows it has before learnt? It existed then before the
body; but a harmony cannot exist before the things are put together of
which it proceeds. Then again harmony may be more or less; but one soul
cannot be more a soul than another. And if, as the wise men say, virtue
is harmony and vice discord, we have a harmony of a discord, which
cannot be; finally one part of the soul often opposes another, as
reason opposes appetite; how then is the soul a harmony? You, Cebes,
hold, indeed, that the soul is durable, but may not be immortal. Hear
then my answer. You believe that there are ideas or principles of
things, and that these ideas, being invisible, are the real causes of
things that are visible.' Cebes acknowledged that he did so believe. 'Is
not now the soul the principle of life, and is not this principle the
opposite of death? In its essence, therefore, it is immortal; but that
which is immortal cannot be destroyed, no, even though there are things
which seem to threaten its existence.'

"In this we all agreed. After this Socrates discoursed in many words
about the abodes and dwelling-places of the dead both good and bad, and
of the manner in which they are dealt with by the powers thereunto
appointed. But of this I will speak on some other occasion, if you will.
At present time is short, for I must not leave the sick man any longer,
only I will relate the very end of the Master's discourse and the things
that happened after.

"'To affirm positively about such matters,' he said, 'is not the part of
a wise man. Yet what I have said seems reasonable. And anyhow he who has
scorned the body and its pleasures during life, and has adorned the soul
with her proper virtues, justice and courage and truth, may surely await
his passage to the other world with a good hope. But now destiny calls
me, and I must obey. But I will bathe before I take the poison, that the
women may not have the trouble of washing my body.'

"Then Crito asked: 'Have you any directions to give us?'

"'Nothing now; if you rightly order your own lives, you will do the
best for me and my children; but if you do not, then whatever you may
promise, you will fail.'

"'But,' Crito asked, 'how shall we bury you?'

"'As you will,' said he, 'provided only you can catch me and that I do
not slip out of your hands.' Then he smiled, and said, 'Crito here will
not be persuaded that I am saying the truth. He thinks that _I_ am the
dead body that he will soon see here, and asks how he shall bury me.
Assure him then that when this dead body is laid in the grave or put
upon the pyre to be burnt it is not Socrates that he sees. For to speak
in this way, O Crito, is not only absurd but harmful.'

"After this he bathed, remaining in the bath-chamber for some time. This
being ended, his children were brought to him, and the women of his
family also. With these he talked awhile in the presence of Crito, and
afterward commanded that some one should take the women and children
away. And it was now near sunset. Hereupon the servant of the Eleven
came in, and said, 'O Socrates, you will not be angry with me and curse
me when I tell you, as the magistrates constrained me to do, that you
must drink the poison. I have always found you most gentle and generous,
the best by far of all that have come into this place. You will be
angry, not with me, for you know that I am blameless, but with those
whom you know to be in fault. And now, for you know what I am come to
tell you, bear what must be borne as cheerfully as may be.' And saying
this the man turned away his face and wept.

"'Farewell!' said Socrates, 'I will do as you bid,' and looking to us he
said, 'How courteous he is! All the time he has been so, sometimes
talking to me, and showing himself the best of fellows. And now see how
generously he weeps for me! But we must do what he says. Let some one
bring the poison, if it has been pounded; if not, let the man pound it.'

"'But,' said Crito, 'the sun is still upon the mountains. I have known
some who would prolong the day eating and drinking till it was quite
late before they drank. Anyhow do not be in a hurry. There is still
plenty of time.'

"'Ah!' said Socrates, 'these men were quite consistent. They thought
that they were gaining so much time. But I too must be consistent. I
believe that I shall gain nothing by dying an hour or two later, except
indeed the making of myself a laughing stock by clinging to life when
there is really nothing left of it to cling to.'

"Then Crito made a sign to the slave that was standing by; he went out,
and after some time had passed brought in the man whose duty it was to
give the poison, and who brought it in ready mixed in a cup. When
Socrates caught sight of him, he said:

"'Well, my friend, you know all about these matters. What must I do?'

"'You will only have to walkabout after you have drunk the poison, till
you feel a sort of weight in your legs. Then you should lie down, and
the poison will do the rest.'

"So saying, he reached the cup to the Master, who took it. His hand did
not shake; there was not the least change in his color or his look. Only
he put his head forward in the way he had, and said to the man:

"'How about making a libation from the cup? May we do it?'

"'Socrates,' said the man, 'we pound just so much as we think
sufficient.'

"'I understand,' said the Master. 'Still we may, nay we must, pray to
the gods that my removal hence to that place may be fortunate. The gods
grant this! Amen!' And as he said this he put the cup to his lips and
drank it off in the easiest, quietest way possible.

"Up to that time we had all been fairly well able to keep from tears.
But when we saw him drinking the poison, when we knew that he had
finished it, we could restrain them no longer. As for myself I covered
my face with my mantle, and wept to myself. Not for him did I weep, but
for myself, thinking what a friend I had lost. And others were still
more overcome than I was. Only Socrates was quite unmoved.

"'Why all this,' he said, 'my dear friends? I sent the women away for
this very reason, that they might not vex us in this fashion. I have
heard it said that a man ought to die with good words in his ears. Be
quiet, I beseech, and bear yourselves like men.'

"When we heard this we were not a little ashamed of ourselves, and kept
back our tears. He walked about till he felt the weight in his legs, and
then lay down on his back--this was what the man bade him do. Then the
man who administered the poison squeezed his foot pretty strongly, and
asked him whether he felt anything. He said no. Then the man showed us
how the numbness was going higher and higher.

"'When it reaches his heart,' he said, 'he will die.'

"When the groin was cold the Master uncovered his face--for he had
covered it before--and said, 'Crito, we owe a cock to Æsculapius; pay
it, do not forget.'

"These were the last words he said.

"'I will,' said Crito, 'is there anything more?'

"But he made no answer. A little time after, we saw him move. Then the
man uncovered the face, and we saw that his eyes were set. Then Crito
closed his mouth and his eyes."

Phaedo left the room hastily when he had finished his narrative. For
some time there was silence. Then Apollodorus spoke.

"You know, my friends," he said, "that I am not very wise nor at all
learned; but he bore with me and my foolishness, and you will also
because you know I loved him. Let me say then one thing. Much that
Socrates said that day I did not understand, nor do I understand it now
when I hear it again. Yet no one could be more fully persuaded than I
was that he spoke the truth. And what persuaded me was the sight of the
man. So brave was he, so cheerful, so wholly convinced in his own mind,
that no one could doubt that he was indeed about to depart to a better
place."

FOOTNOTES:

[89] The Eleven were the executioners of the law rather taking the place
of the sheriff and the under-sheriff than that of the hangman. The
vagueness of its name is an interesting example of the Greek distaste
for naming anything terrible.

[90] A young Greek wore his hair long till he reached the age of
eighteen. This little detail is a proof of Phaedo's extreme youth at
this time.



CHAPTER XXX.

THE CONDITION OF EXILE.


The story that Callias had heard of the last days of his Master, and
heard, of course, with many details which it is now impossible to
reproduce, made, it need hardly be said, a profound impression on him.
First and foremost--and this was what the dead man himself would have
been most rejoiced to see--was the profound conviction that this
teaching, inspired, as it was, with a faith which the immediate prospect
of death had not been able to shake, was absolutely true. The young man
can hardly be said to have had any feeling of religion in the sense in
which we understand that word. To believe in the fables, grotesque or
even immoral, which made up the popular theology, in gods who were only
exaggerated men, stronger, indeed, but more cruel, treacherous, and
lustful, was an impossibility. The poets' tales of the Elysian plain and
of the abyss of Tartarus had in no wise helped towards producing any
emotions of the spiritual kind, any wish to dwell in an invisible world.
The most sacred of these poets in his description of that world as
another earth in which everything was feebler, paler, less satisfying
than it is here, had certainly repelled rather than attracted him. Now
this want had been supplied; the lofty teaching of duty, duty owed to
country, kinsfolk, friends, fellow-citizens, fellow-men, that he had
heard from the Master was now supplemented and sanctioned by this clear
enunciation of a doctrine of immortality. The young man felt that he
could face the world, whether it brought him prosperity or adversity,
joy or sorrow, life or death, with a more equable soul or more assured
spirit than he had ever dreamed could be possible.

His immediate duty, however, was less clear. When his country lay under
the heel of the Spartan conqueror, Hermione had pointed out to him--not
without sacrifice of herself, as he sometimes could not help feeling,
what he owed to the city that had given him birth. But now, how did the
case stand? Athens had suffered a second, a more fatal fall. She might
repair her losses; she might retrieve defeat. But when she had
definitely broken with right and truth, had deliberately chosen the
worse rather than the better, what hope, what remedy was there? And what
was the obligation on himself? Could he aspire to a career in a State
which was so false to all the principles of life and government?

The two or three days that followed the conversation related in my last
chapter were spent by the young Athenian in debating with himself the
question: What am I to do? But the more he thought over the problem, the
more complex and intricate did it seem to become. Just when he was
beginning to despair, a solution, rude and peremptory, but satisfactory
in so far as it admitted of no questioning, was forced upon him.

He had just risen on the morning of the fourth day, when a visitor was
announced. It was Xenophon, looking, as Callias thought, serious, but
not depressed.

"And what have you been doing these three days?" cried the newcomer.

"Thinking," replied Callias.

"That is exactly what I have been doing myself, and I would wager my
chance of being Archon next year, a very serious stake indeed, that we
have had the same subject for our thoughts. You have been debating with
yourself what you are to do?"

"Exactly so; and I am no nearer a conclusion than I was when I began."

"Well, some one else has been good enough to save us the trouble of
deciding. Listen to this. I have a friend in office, I should tell you,
and he has given me an early copy of what will be soon known all over
Athens. 'It is proposed by Erasinides, son of Lysias, of the township of
Colonus, that Xenophon, son of Grythus, of the township of Orchia, and
Callias, son of Hipponicus, of the township of Eleusis,' and some twenty
others, whose names I need not trouble you with, 'be banished from
Athens for unpatriotic conduct, especially in aiding and abetting the
designs of Cyrus, who was a notorious enemy of the Athenian people.'
Well; that is going to be proposed to the Senate to-day. My friend, who
knows all about the strings, and how they are pulled, tells me that it
is certain to be carried. In the course of a few days it will be brought
before the Assembly, and I have no doubt whatever that it will be
accepted."

"But what have the Athenian people got to do with Cyrus, who is dead and
gone, and can neither help nor hurt?"

"Ah! you don't understand. The Lacedaemonians, you know, have declared
war against the Persian King. Of course that gives the Athenians a
chance of becoming his friends. It is true that things are not ripe just
yet for anything decisive or public. We are allies with the
Lacedaemonians, and can't venture to quarrel with them. But this is a
matter at which they cannot take offence, but which will most certainly
please the Great King. He has not forgotten the Cyrus business, you may
depend upon it, and it will delight him to hear of any, who had a part
in it suffering for their act. That is why we are to be banished. It is
disgraceful, I allow, to find a great city banishing its citizens in
order to curry favor with the barbarians; but it is a fact, and we must
take it into account."

"And what shall you do?"

"I shall go to Asia. I had intended to go in any case, for I have
private affairs there, nothing less important, I may tell you in
confidence, than marrying a wife. Then I shall find something to do with
the Spartans, among whom I have some very good friends. Come with me.
You too, might find a wife; that will be as you please; but anyhow I can
guarantee you employment."

"I confess," said Callias, after meditating awhile, "that I do not feel
greatly drawn by what you suggest. As for the wife, that prospect does
not please me at all; and, as you know, I am not so much of a
Spartan-lover[91] as you. You must let me think about it; you shall
have a final answer to-morrow."

When Xenophon had taken leave, Callias went straight to Hippocles, and
happened to arrive just as a messenger was leaving the house with a note
addressed to himself, and asking for an early visit. Callias related
what he had just heard from Xenophon.

"You do not surprise me. In fact I also have had a private intimation
from a member of the Senate that this is going to be done, and it is
exactly the matter about which I wished to see you. But tell me, what
does Xenophon advise?"

Callias told him.

"And you hesitate about accepting his offer?"

"Yes; I do more than hesitate; I feel more and more averse to it the
more I think of it."

"You are right; to take service with the Spartans must, almost of
necessity, mean, sooner or later, some collision with your own country.
It was this that ruined Alcibiades. If he could only have had patience,
he could have saved himself and the Athenians too, but that visit to
Sparta ruined both. No; I should advise you against Xenophon's
suggestion."

"But where am I to go? I have thought of Syracuse. But I do not care to
go back to Dionysius. He was all courtesy and kindness; but I felt
suffocated in the air of his court. And we never feel quite safe with a
tyrant."

"I have thought of something else that might suit you. I am going to
start in a few days' time on a visit to my own native country, not to
Poseidonia--I could not bear to see the barbarians masters there--but
to Italy. There are other Greek cities which still hold their own, and
they are well worth seeing. You might, too, if you choose, pay another
visit to Rome. You will at least have the advantage of being out of this
dismal round of strife to which Greece itself seems doomed. Our
countrymen there have, I know, faults of their own; but they do contrive
to live on tolerably good terms with each other."

The plan proposed seemed to Callias to promise better than any that he
could think of and he accepted the offer with thankfulness. A few days
afterwards he was gazing for what he felt might well be the last time at
the city of his birth. Bathed in the sunshine of a summer morning stood
the Acropolis, crowned with its marble temples, and, towering above all,
the gigantic statue of Athene the Champion, her outstretched spear-point
flashing in the light. What glories he was leaving behind him! What lost
hopes, what unfulfilled aspirations of his own! The tears of no unmanly
emotion were in his eyes as he turned away, but not before he had caught
sight of a well-known house by the harbor of Piraeus. This seemed to be
the last drop of bitterness in his cup. She had lost him for his
country's sake, and now he had lost her, too. He turned and found
himself face to face with Hermione! There was something in her look
which made his heart thrill; but she did not give him time to speak.

"Callias," she said, "you gave up what you said was dear to me," and her
blush deepened as she spoke, "for Athens' sake. But now--if you have not
forgotten--"

He needed to hear no more. The next moment, careless of the eyes of the
old helmsman, he had clasped her in his arms.

"I can allow myself to love the exile," she whispered in his ear.

FOOTNOTES:

[91] The Greek _philo-lacon_. The word had been applied to Cimon, son of
Miltiades, who had always been a popular statesman and so might be used
in a friendly way. If Callias had spoken of Xenophon as disposed to
_laconismus_ it would have been almost an affront, this word meaning not
so much admiration of Spartan ways of life as devotion to Spartan
interests.



Author's Postscript.


It is impossible for the writer of historical fiction, especially if he
wishes to suggest to his readers as many subjects of interest as
possible, to adapt the literary necessities of his work to fit in with
the actual course of events. But he is bound to point out such
departures from historical accuracy as he feels constrained to make. It
is quite possible that a correction may serve to impress the real facts
upon his readers more deeply than an originally accurate statement would
have done. I therefore append to my tale a list of


_CORRIGENDA._

1. I was anxious to include the Battle of Arginusæ in my story. It was
the first scene in the last act of the great drama of the Peloponnesian
war. At the same time I felt bound, having made up my mind to give a
description of a Greek comedy, to choose the _Frogs_. It has a literary
interest such as no other Aristophanic play possesses, and it is at once
more important and more intelligible to a modern reader. But to bring
the two things together it was necessary to ante-date the representation
of the play. I have put it in the year 406 B. C. It really took place in
405. I have also made the battle happen somewhat earlier than in all
probability, it really did. The festival of the Great Dionysia, at which
new plays were produced, was celebrated in March. We do not know
precisely the date of Arginusæ, but it is likely that it was later in
the year. A similar correction must be made about the embassy of
Dionysius. It may have taken place when the play was really produced,
but in 406 Dionysius was too busy with his war with Carthage to think of
such things.

2. I have ante-dated, this time by several years, the capture of
Poseidonia by the native Italians. Here again we have no record of the
precise time; but it probably happened somewhat later in the century.

3. I do not know whether I am wrong in making Alcibiades escape from his
castle in Thrace immediately after the battle Ægos Potami. Plutarch
would give one rather to understand that he fled after the capture of
Athens. It is quite possible, however, that he recognized the defeat as
fatal to Athenian influence of the Thracian coast, and that feeling his
own position to be no longer tenable, he retired from it at once.

4. I have taken some liberties with the text of Xenophon's narrative.
The trial of the generals by their own soldiers, the athletic sports,
and the entertainment described in my story are all taken from the
_Anabasis_, but they do not come so close together as I have found it
convenient to put them.

5. It is a moot point among historians whether Xenophon returned to
Athens after he had quitted the Ten Thousand. Mr. Grote thinks that he
did; and his authority is perhaps sufficient to shelter such a humble
person as myself. It has also been debated whether he was banished in
399 or some years later. I am inclined to think that here I am accurate.

6. I need hardly say that the Thracian national song is of my own
invention. Xenophon simply says that the Thracian performers went off
the stage singing the "Sitalces." That this was a song celebrating the
achievement of the king of that name (for which see a classical
dictionary) cannot be doubted. But we know nothing more about it, and I
have supplied the words.

7. It is not necessary to say that the "diary" of Callias is an
invention. To be quite candid I do not think it was at all likely that a
young soldier would have kept one, or even been able to write it up
daily. But I wanted to give some prominent incidents from Xenophon's
story, and had not space for the whole, while a mere epitome would have
been tedious.

8. I must caution my readers against supposing my hero to be historical.
There was a Callias, son of Hipponicus, at this time, a very different
man.

9. I have taken the defence of Socrates from Plato's _Apology_, not from
Xenophon. The former is immeasurably superior.



INDEX.


  ÆGOS POTAMI, BATTLE OF, 148-150.

  AGIS, 164.

  ALCIBIADES.
    Home, 120
    Appearance, 124
    Career in Thrace, 134
    Defense, 137-140
    Farewell to his men, 151-154
    Assassination, 190-194.

  ALIEN, 21-22.

  ANABASIS, THE, 209-211.

  APATURIA, THE, 92.

  APOLLODORUS, 301.

  ARGOS, 164.

  ARGINUSÆ, BATTLE OF, 51-57.

  ARIÆUS, 210, 214, 215.

  ARISTIDES, 169.


  BISANTHE, 120.


  CALENDAR, 223.

  CALLICRATIDAS, 39, 44-50, 53, 55, 63.

  CALLIXENUS, 93.

  CHERSONESUS, 143.

  CHIOS, 32, 62.

  CHIRISOPHUS, 219.

  CIMON, 52.

  CLEARCHUS, 210, 213.

  CLEON, 12.

  CONON, 16, 17, 36.

  COS, 89.

  CRITIAS, 276, 277.

  CRITO, 301, 304-320.

  CUNAXA, BATTLE OF, 209-211.

  CYBELE, 157.

  CYRUS, 48, 49, 142, 153, 211.

  CYRUS, THE YOUNGER, 207, 208, 211.


  DELIUM, 130.

  DIOMEDON, 54-57, 58.

  DIONYSIUS, 2, 197, 199-206.

  DRESS, 46.


  EPHORS, 164.

  EUPATRID, 114.

  EURYPTOLEMUS, 94, 96, 99-101.

  EXILE, 324.


  GAMES.
    President, 242
    Foot-races, 243, 244
    The Pentathlon, 244
    Leaping the Bar, 245
    Running, 246
    Quoit Throwing, 246-247
    Hurling the Javelin, 247
    Wrestling, 248, 249
    Horse-race, 251.

  GORDIUM, 155, 158.

  GOVERNMENT.
    Public Guests, 66
    Popular Trials, 90-102, 287-302
    The Bema, 95
    Balloting, 101-102
    The Eleven, 102
    Capital Punishment, 103.


  HELLESPONT, 18, 120.

  HERMÆ, 139.

  HIPPOCRATES, 264.

  HOUSES.
    Arrangement, 30, 34
    Servants, 30
    Clocks, 123.

  HUNTING, 132, 133.


  LYSANDER, 141, 142, 144, 160.


  MARATHON, 32, 173, 179.

  MEDICAL SCIENCE, 265, 266, 269, 271.

  MONEY, 46.

  MYRONIDES, 67.

  MITYLENE, 16, 38, 43.


  NAVY, 51, 52, 54.

  NICIAS, 138.

  NOTIUM, BATTLE OF, 26, 28.


  OENOPHYTA, 67, 68.

  OLIGARCHY, 276.

  OMENS, 216, 218.


  PAINTING, 127.

  PARATHERÆA, THE, 27.

  PAUSANIAS, 165.

  PERSIANS, 48, 324.

  PHARNABAZUS, 154.

  PHASIS, RIVER, 232.

  PHAEDO, 307, 308.

  PHORMION, 52.

  PLATO, 301.

  POSEIDONIA, 22.

  POTIDÆA, 130.

  PROPONTIS, 120.

  PROXENUS, 208, 215.


  RHODES, 186.

  RETREAT OF TEN THOUSAND, 212-237
    Murder of the Generals, 214
    Xenophon in Command, 216, 217
    Plan of March, 219
    First Skirmish, 220
    Cavalry Organized, 221
    Armenia, 228
    Snowfall, 229
    Banqueting In Villages, 231
    Taking a Pass, 233
    The Sea Reached, 236
    At Trapezus, 237
    Return to Greece, 280-285.


  SACRIFICES, 241.

  SAILING SEASON, 119.

  SAMOS, 53.

  SAMOTHRACE, 120.

  SEUTHES, 133, 282-284.

  SIEGE OF ATHENS, 162-171.

  SMYRNA, 188.

  SOCIAL LIFE.
    Calls, 33, 34
    Knocking, 34, 279
    At Table, 84, 125
    Food, 35
    Libations, 35, 40, 125
    Banquets, 70-78, 258-262
    Rhapsodist, 71
    Dancers, 74, 261, 262
    Colonial Society, 135
    Hospitality, 239.

  SOCRATES.
    Conversations, 82-86
    Refusal to Sanction Illegal Motion, 98
    Alcibiades' Tribute, 129-131
    Conduct during the Siege, 167
    Dionysius Inquires About Him, 202
    His Trial, 287-302
    His Defense, 294-302
    Conversation in Prison, 308-309
    Last Day of Life, 310-318
    Argument for Immortality, 312
    Death, 318-320.

  SPARTANS, 44.

  SYBARIS, 22, 26.

  SYRACUSE, 31, 193, 198.


  TARSUS, 207.

  TEN GENERALS, THE
    The System, 60
    Report of Victory, 87, 88
    The Trial Commenced, 90, 91
    Plots, 92-94
    Trial Continued, 95-101
    The Verdict, 102
    Punishment, 103.

  THASUS, 119.

  THEATER, THE
    The Curtain, 3
    "The Frogs," 3-11
    Aristophanes, 11
    Old Comedy and New, 11
    The Audience, 12, 13
    Arrangement, 15
    Author as Prompter, 16.

  THEMISTOCLES, 17.

  THERAMENES, 60, 89, 168, 276.

  THIRTY TYRANTS, 276.

  THRACIANS.
    Intemperance, 126
    Extravagance, 136.

  THRASYBULUS, 60, 89.

  TIGRIS, RIVER, 222.

  TISSAPHERNES, 159, 212, 223.

  TOWN HALL, 16, 66.

  TRAPEZUS, 237.


  WALLS, THE LONG, 109, 165.

  WARFARE.
    Armor, 210, 221
    Archers, 221
    Cavalry, 221
    Character of Mercenaries, 226.

  WOMEN.
    In Lucania, 23-25
    At Table, 34
    Wine Drinking, 35
    Marriage, 180-183
    Dependence, 82-85.


  XENOPHON.
    At the Banquet, 78
    Describes Socrates, 79-81
    Explains the Expedition against the Great King, 207
    Elected a General, 217
    Reproof of a Soldier, 225
    Energy in the Cold Weather, 229, 230
    Repartee with Chirisophus, 232
    Answers Charges, 254-258.





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