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Title: The Adventures of Captain Mago - Or A Phoenician Expedition B.C. 1000
Author: Cahun, Léon
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

    * Obvious printer errors have been silently corrected.
    * Original spelling was kept.
    * Variant spellings were made consistent when a predominant usage
      was found.
    * Italics are represented between underscores as in _italics_.
    * Small caps are represented in upper case as in SMALL CAPS.
    * Illustrations have been slightly moved so that they do not
      break up paragraphs while remaining close to the text they
      illustrate.
    * Illustration captions have been harmonized and made consistent
      so that the same expressions appear both in them and in the
      List of Full Page Illustrations.



  [Illustration: THE QUEEN OF SHEBA.
  _Frontispiece & Page 309._]



    THE ADVENTURES
    OF
    CAPTAIN MAGO

    OR
    _A Phœnician Expedition_
    B.C. 1000

    BY
    LÉON CAHUN

    _ILLUSTRATED BY P. PHILIPPOTEAUX, AND TRANSLATED FROM
    THE FRENCH BY ELLEN E. FREWER_

    NEW YORK
    CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
    1889



    TROW'S
    PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY,
    NEW YORK.



PREFACE.


The following pages pretend to no original or scientific research. It
is their object to present, in a popular form, a picture of the world
as it was a thousand years before the Christian Era, and to exhibit,
mainly for the young, a summary of that varied information which is
contained in books, many of which by their high price and exclusively
technical character are generally unattainable.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would only have encumbered the fictitious narrative, which is the
vehicle for conveying the instruction that is designed, to crowd
every page with references; but it may be alleged, once for all, that
for every statement which relates to the history of the period, and
especially to the history of the Phœnicians, ample authority might
be quoted from some one or other of the valuable books which have
been consulted.

Of the most important of these a list is here appended:--

    1. F. C. MOVERS. Das Phönizische Alterthum.

    2. RENAN. Mission en Phénicie.

    3. DAUX. Recherches sur les Emporia phéniciens dans le Zeugis
    et le Byzacium.

    4. NATHAN DAVIS. Carthage and her Remains.

    5. WILKINSON. Manners and Customs of Ancient Egyptians.

    6. HŒCKH. Kreta.

    7. GROTE. History of Greece.

    8. MOMMSEN. Geschichte der Römischen Republik (Introduction and
    Chap. I.).

    9. BOURGUIGNAT. Monuments mégalithiques du nord de l'Afrique.

    10. FERGUSSON. Rude Stone Monuments.

    11. BROCA and A. BERTRAND. Celtes, Gaulois et Francs.

    12. ABBÉ BARGÈS. Interprétation d'une inscription phénicienne
    trouvée à Marseille.

    13. LAYARD. Nineveh and its Remains.

    14. BOTTA. Fouilles de Babylone.

    15. REUSS. New translation of the Bible, in course of
    publication.

A few foot-notes are subjoined by way of illustration of what might
have been carried on throughout the volume; and an Appendix will be
found at the end, containing some explanation of topics which the
continuity of the fiction necessarily left somewhat obscure.



CONTENTS.


    CHAP.                                                  PAGE

        I.--WHY BODMILCAR, THE TYRIAN SAILOR, HATES HANNO,
             THE SIDONIAN SCRIBE                              1

       II.--THE SACRIFICE TO ASHTORETH                       19

      III.--CHAMAI RECOGNISED BY THE ATTENDANT OF THE
             SLAVE                                           44

       IV.--KING DAVID                                       61

        V.--PHARAOH ARRIVES TOO LATE                         76

       VI.--CRETE AND THE CRETANS                            98

      VII.--CHRYSEIS PREFERS HANNO TO A KING                112

     VIII.--AN AFFAIR WITH THE PHOCIANS                     132

       IX.--THE LAND OF OXEN                                148

        X.--GISGO THE EARLESS RECOVERS HIS EARS             166

       XI.--OUR HEADS ARE IN PERIL                          175

      XII.--I CONSULT THE ORACLE                            196

     XIII.--THE SILVER MINES OF TARSHISH                    207

      XIV.--AN AMBUSCADE                                    219

       XV.--JUDGE GEBAL DISTINGUISHES HIMSELF               234

      XVI.--PERILS OF THE OCEAN                             243

     XVII.--JONO, THE GOD OF THE SUOMI                      260

    XVIII.--JONAH WAXES AMBITIOUS                           277

      XIX.--BODMILCAR AGAIN                                 287

       XX.--THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN                           295

      XXI.--THE QUEEN OF SHEBA                              307

     XXII.--BELESYS FINDS BICHRI SOMEWHAT HEAVY             314

    XXIII.--WE SETTLE OUR ACCOUNTS WITH BODMILCAR           327



LIST OF FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                           PAGE

    THE QUEEN OF SHEBA                       Frontispiece & 309

    HANNO PROCEEDED TO DRAW UP THE ARTICLES                   8

    HANNO CAUGHT UP A LARGE PITCHER                          11

    MY SALUTE                                                45

    THE IONIAN COMMENCED ONE OF THE SONGS OF HER
      NATIVE LAND                                            52

    SHORTLY BEFORE SUNSET WE REACHED JERUSALEM               63

    WAITING FOR THE KING TO SPEAK                            67

    "DOWN, YOU PHŒNICIAN THIEVES!"                           85

    THE SOLDIERS RAPIDLY CROSSED THEIR LANCES                86

    PLEASED WITH HIS MORNING'S WORK                          99

    "THE MELKARTH!"                                         106

    BORNE TO ITS RESTING-PLACE                              121

    HOMER                                                   129

    UNAWARES IN AN AMBUSH                                   132

    HANNO AND CHRYSEIS BESPEAK THEIR ATTENTION              140

    "IF YOU ADVANCE ONE STEP BEYOND THIS LANCE"             152

    CLOSE TO ETNA                                           163

    UTICA                                                   187

    A HUGE ELEPHANT WAS BEING LED PAST                      191

    I PROSTRATED MYSELF THREE TIMES                         202

    AN AVALANCHE OF STONES                                  220

    NO QUARTER                                              222

    ON THE VERY POINT OF SLAYING THE CHILD                  228

    THE DESPICABLE SYRIAN                                   229

    I DID WHAT I COULD TO CONSOLE HASDRUBAL                 247

    JUDGE GEBAL                                             248

    BICHRI AND DIONYSOS BROUGHT THEM BOTH DOWN              258

    HE DASHED IT TO THE GROUND                              262

    SEVERAL OF THE SAVAGES ENTERED THE HUT                  267

    THE GOD JONO                                            275

    BLOWING HIS TRUMPET                                     284

    THE CHILD HAD FOUND THE LEAK                            293

    IT SNAPPED A PIKE-STAFF IN TWO                          301

    IN HONOUR OF THEIR GENERAL                              322

    WE WERE COMMANDED TO HALT                               324

    HIMILCO AND GISGO IN ANIMATED CONVERSATION WITH
      THE CHALDEAN SOLDIERS                                 327

    MY ACCOUNT WAS SETTLED WITH BODMILCAR                   335

    _And Thirty-six smaller Text Illustrations._



THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MAGO



CHAPTER I.

WHY BODMILCAR, THE TYRIAN SAILOR, HATES HANNO, THE SIDONIAN SCRIBE.


I am Captain Mago, and Hiram,[1] King of Tyre, was well aware that
my experience as a sailor was very great. It was in the third year
of his reign that he summoned me to his presence from Sidon,[2] the
city of fishermen, and the metropolis of the Phœnicians. He had
already been told of my long voyages; how I had visited Malta; how I
had traded to Bozrah,[3] the city founded by the Sidonians, but now
called Carthada[4] by the Tyrians; and how I had reached the remote
Gades in the land of Tarshish.[5]

  [1] Hiram I. reigned from 980 to 947 B.C.

  [2] Sidon, or Zidon, in the Phœnician tongue means "fishery."

  [3] Bostra, or Bozrah; hence Byrsa, the citadel.

  [4] Carthage, or Kart-Khadecht, the new city.

  [5] Tarshish, the Tartessus of the Greeks, Spain.

The star of Sidon was now on the wane. The ships of Tyre were fast
occupying the sea, and her caravans were covering the land. A
monarchy had been established by the Tyrians, and their king, with
the _suffects_[6] as his coadjutors, was holding sway over all the
other cities of Phœnicia. The fortunes of Tyre were thus in the
ascendant: sailors and merchants from Sidon, Gebal, Arvad and Byblos
were continually enlisting themselves in the service of her powerful
corporations.

  [6] Suffect, or _choupheth_ (plural _chophettim_), the Hebrew and
  Phœnician magistrates preceding the monarchy.

When I had made my obeisance to King Hiram, he informed me that his
friend and ally, David, King of the Jews, was collecting materials
for the erection of a temple to his god Adonai (or _our Lord_) in the
city of Jerusalem, and that he was desirous of making his own royal
contribution to assist him. Accordingly he submitted to me that at
his expense I should fit out a sufficient fleet, and should undertake
a voyage to Tarshish, in order to procure a supply of silver, and
any other rare or valuable commodity which that land could yield, to
provide embellishment for the sumptuous edifice.

Anxious as I was already to revisit Tarshish and the lands of the
West, I entered most eagerly into the proposal of the King, assuring
him that I should require no longer time for preparation than what
was absolutely necessary to equip the ships and collect the crews.

It was still two months before the Feast of Spring, an annual
festival that marked the re-opening of navigation. This was an
interval sufficient for my purpose, for as the King directed me to
call first at Joppa, and to proceed thence to Jerusalem to receive
King David's instructions, I had no need for the present to concern
myself about anything further than my ships and sailors, knowing that
I could safely trust to the fertile and martial land of Judæa to
provide me with provisions and soldiers.

The King was highly gratified at my ready acquiescence in his
proposition. He instructed his treasurer to hand over to me at once
a thousand silver shekels[7] to meet preliminary expenses, and gave
orders to the authorities at the arsenal to allow me to select
whatever wood, hemp, or copper I might require.

  [7] The silver shekel was the standard money of the
  Phœnicians, and was worth about 2_s._ It was a tenth part of a
  shekel of gold.

I took my leave of the King and rejoined Hanno my scribe and Himilco
my pilot, the latter of whom had been my constant associate on my
previous voyages. They were sitting on the side-bench at the great
gate of the palace, and had been impatiently awaiting my return,
mutually speculating upon the reason that had induced the King to
send for us from Sidon, and naturally conjecturing that it must
relate to some future enterprise and adventure. At the first glimpse
of my excited countenance, revealing my delight, Hanno exclaimed:

"Welcome back, master; surely the King has granted you some eager
longing of your heart!"

"True; and what do you suppose it is?" I asked.

"Perhaps a new ship to replace the one you lost in the Great Syrtes;
and perhaps a good freight into the bargain. No son of Sidon could
covet more than this."

"Yes, Hanno; this, and more beside," I answered. "But our good
fortune at once demands our vows; let us hasten to the temple of
Ashtoreth,[8] and there let us render our thanks to the goddess, and
sue for her protection and her favour to guard our vessels as we sail
to Joppa. To Joppa we go; and onwards thence to Tarshish!"

  [8] Astarte. The Aphrodite of the Greeks; the goddess of
  navigation, and the national deity of the Sidonians.

"Tarshish!" echoed the voice of Himilco, with a cry of ecstasy; and
as he spoke he raised up his sole remaining eye towards the skies;
he had lost the other in a naval fight. "Tarshish," he said again:
"O ye gods, that rule the destinies of ships! ye stars,[9] that so
oft have fixed my gaze in my weary watch on deck! here I offer to
you six shekels on the spot; 'tis all my means allow. But take me
to Tarshish, and vouchsafe that I may come across the villain whose
lance took out my eye, so that I may make him feel the point of my
Chalcidian sword below his ribs, and I vow that I will offer you in
sacrifice an ox, a noble ox, finer than Apis, the god of the idiot
Egyptians."

  [9] The stars in the constellation of Ursa Major were also
  tutelary deities of navigation; the pole-star by the Greeks being
  called "the Phœnician."

Hanno was less demonstrative. "For my part," he said, "I shall be
satisfied if I can barter enough of the vile wine of Judæa, and the
cheap ware of Sidon, to get a good return of pure white silver.
I shall only be too pleased to build myself a mansion upon the
sea-shore where I can enjoy my pleasure-boat as it glides along with
its purple sails, and so to pass my days in ease and luxury."

"Remember, however," I replied, "that before you can get your lordly
mansion, we shall again and again have to sleep under the open sky
of the cheerless West; and before you arrive at all your luxury, you
will have to put up with many a coarse and meagre meal."

"All the more pleasant will be the retrospect," rejoined Hanno; "and
when we come to recline upon our costly couches it will be a double
joy to dwell upon our adventures, and relate them to our listening
guests."

Conversation of this character engaged us till we reached the
cypress-grove, from which the temple of Ashtoreth upreared its
silver-plated roof. The setting sun was all aglow, and cast its
slanting rays upon the fabric, illuminating alike the heavy gilding
and the radiant colours of the supporting pillars. Flocks of
consecrated doves fluttered in the sacred grove, alighting ever and
again upon the gilded rods that connected one pillar with another.
Groups of girls were frequently met, dressed in white, embroidered
with purple and silver, either hastening, pomegranates in their
hands, to make a votive offering at the shrine, or sauntering
leisurely in the sacred gardens. Ever and again, as the temple-doors
were opened, there was caught the distant melody of the sistra,
flutes, and tambourines, upon which the priests and priestesses
were celebrating the honour of their goddess. Such were the sounds,
the modulated measures of the music mingled with the soft cooings
of the doves and the joyous laughter of the heedless maidens, that
combined to make a mysterious murmur that could not fail to impress
the minds of such as us, rough mariners unaccustomed to anything
more harmonious than the groanings of the waves, the creaking of our
ships, and the howling of the wind.

I went with Himilco to consult the tariff of the sacrifices, which
was exhibited, engraven on a tablet and affixed to the feet of a
huge marble dove at the right-hand entrance to the precincts of the
temple. As my own offering, I selected some fruit and cakes, the
value of which did not exceed a shekel, and was just turning back
to call Hanno, when I encountered a man in a dirty and threadbare
sailor's coat, who was hurrying along, muttering bitter curses as he
went.

"Help me, Baal Chamaim, Lord of the heavens!" I involuntarily
exclaimed; "is not this Bodmilcar, the Tyrian?"

The man paused, and recognised me in a moment; and we exchanged the
warmest greetings.

Bodmilcar, whom I had thus unexpectedly met, had been one of my
oldest associates. Many a time, alike in expeditions of war and
commerce, he had commanded a vessel by my side. He was likewise
already acquainted with Himilco, who consequently shared my surprise
and regret at meeting him in so miserable a plight.

"What ill fate has brought you to this?" was my impatient inquiry.
"At Tyre you used to be the owner of a couple of gaouls[10] and four
good galleys; what has happened? What has brought it about that you
should be here in nothing better than a ragged kitonet?"[11]

  [10] Gaoul, a round ship, employed in merchant service.

  [11] Kitonet, a short tunic, worn by Phœnician sailors.

"Moloch's[12] heaviest curses be upon the Chaldeans!" ejaculated
Bodmilcar. "May their cock-head Nergal[13] torture and burn and roast
them all! My story is soon told. I had a cargo of slaves. A finer
cargo was never under weigh. The hold of my Tyrian gaoul carried
Caucasian men as strong as oxen, and Grecian girls as lissome as
reeds; there were Syrians who could cook, or play, or dress the hair;
there were peasants from Judæa who could train the vine or cultivate
the field. Their value was untold."

  [12] Baal Moloch, the sun god.

  [13] Nergal, the Chaldean god of fire and war, always represented
  with a cock's head.

"And tell me, friend Bodmilcar," I inquired, "where are they now? Did
they not yield you the countless shekels on which you reckoned?"

"Now! where are they now?" shrieked out the excited man; "they are
every one upon their way to some cursed city of the Chaldeans, on the
other side of Rehoboth. Instead of shekels I have got plenty of kicks
and plenty of bruises, of which I shall carry the marks on my body
for a long time to come. The naval suffect gave me a few zeraas,[14]
just to relieve my distress, and had it not been for that, I should
not have had a morsel of bread to keep life in me. It is now three
days since I arrived in Tyre, and to get here I have been continually
walking, till my feet are so swollen I can hardly move."

  [14] Zeraas, small copper coin.

"You mean you have walked here?" said Himilco, compassionately. "But
surely you might have found a boat of some sort to bring you?"

"Boat!" growled Bodmilcar, almost angrily; "when did boats begin to
journey overland? Did I not tell you I came from Rehoboth in the land
of those cursed Chaldeans? But hear me out, and you will sympathise
with my misfortune. I started first of all along the coast, buying
slaves from the Philistines, and corn and oil from the Jews. I went
across to Greece, and made some profitable dealings there. I chanced
upon a few wretched little Ionian barques, and secured some plunder
so. Then I conceived the project of going through the straits, and
I succeeded beyond my hopes in getting iron, and, what is more, in
getting slaves from Caucasus. My fortune was made. I was proceeding
home, when just as we neared the Phasis, on the Chalybean coast, some
alien gods--for sure I am that neither Melkarth nor Moloch would
so have dealt with a Tyrian sailor--some alien gods, I say, sent
down a frightful storm. With the utmost peril I contrived to save
my crew and all my human cargo; but the bulk of my goods was gone,
and my poor vessels were shattered hopelessly. There was but one
resource; I had no alternative but to convey my salvage in the best
way I could across Armenia and Chaldea by land, consoling myself with
the expectation of finding a market for the slaves along the road.
But once again the gods were cruelly adverse. We were attacked by a
troop of Chaldeans; fifty armed men could not protect a gang of four
hundred slaves, who, miserable wretches as they were, could not be
induced by blows or prayers to lift up a hand in their own defence.
The result was that we were very soon overpowered, and that, together
with all my party, I was made a prisoner. The Chaldeans proposed to
sell us to the King of Nineveh, and I had the pleasure of finding
myself part and parcel of my own cargo."

"But, anyhow, here you are. How did you contrive to get out of your
dilemma?" I asked my old comrade.

Bodmilcar raised the skirt of his patched and greasy kitonet, and
displayed a long knife with an ivory handle hanging from his belt.

"They forgot to search me," he said, "and omitted to bind me. The
very first night on which there was no moonlight I was entertaining
a couple of rascals who had charge of me, by telling them wonderful
tales about Libyan serpents, and about the men of Tarshish who had
mouths in the middle of their chests, and eyes at the tips of their
fingers; openmouthed, they were lost in amazement at the lies I was
pouring into their ears, and were entirely off their guard. I seized
my opportunity; and having first thrust my knife into the belly of
one of them, I cut the throat of the other and made my escape. I took
to my heels, and, Moloch be praised! the rascals failed to find a
trace of me. But now that I am here, the gods only know what is to
become of me. If I fail to get service as a pilot, I must enter as a
common sailor in some Tyrian ship."

"No need of that, Bodmilcar," I exclaimed; "you have made your
appearance just at a lucky moment. All praise to Ashtoreth! you are
just the man I want. I have a commission from the King to fit out
ships for Tarshish; I am captain of the expedition, and here at once
I can appoint you my second in command. My pilot is Himilco; and here
is Hanno, my scribe; we are on our way to the temple of the goddess,
and are going in her presence to draw up the covenants."

"Joy, joy, dear Mago!" ejaculated Bodmilcar; "may the gods be
gracious to you, and repay your goodness! I shall not regret my
disaster at the hands of the Chaldeans, if it ends in a voyage to
Tarshish with you. Only let Melkarth vouchsafe us a good ship, and
with Himilco to guide our course, we cannot fail to prosper, even
though our voyage be to the remotest confines of the world."

Hanno, who meanwhile had joined us, took out from his girdle some
ink and some reeds, with a little stone to sharpen them, and having
seated himself upon the temple steps, proceeded to draw up the
articles which appointed me admiral of the expedition, Bodmilcar
vice-admiral, and Himilco pilot-in-chief. Himilco and myself both
affixed our seals to the document, and Bodmilcar was proceeding to do
so likewise, feeling mechanically for his seal, which he remembered
afterwards that the Chaldeans had stolen. I gave him twenty shekels
to buy another, and to provide him with a new outfit of clothes.
Then, with Himilco, I proceeded to make my oblation of fruits and
cakes to Ashtoreth; and in the highest spirits we made our way to the
harbour, where our light vessel, the _Gadita_, was awaiting us.

  [Illustration: HANNO PROCEEDED TO DRAW UP THE ARTICLES.
  _To face page 8._]

Early next morning we set vigorously to work. I drew out the plans of
my vessels upon papyrus sheets. My own _Gadita_ was to be kept as a
light vessel; but I resolved to have a large _gaoul_ constructed as a
transport to carry the merchandise, and two barques to act as tenders
to the gaoul, which would draw too much water to approach very near
the shore. As an escorting convoy I chose two large double-decked
galleys,[15] manned by fifty oarsmen, similar to those recently
invented at Sidon. At this period, the Tyrians had three of these
galleys in port; they were very rapid in their course, and drew very
little water; they were armed with strong beaks at the prow; were
worked both by oars and sails, and were adapted either for war or
commerce.

  [15] For details of the construction of these galleys, see notes
  at the end of the Volume.

I determined to use cedar for the keel and sides of my vessel, and
oak from Bashan, in Judæa, for the masts and yards. I discarded the
ancient method of making my sails of Galilean reeds or papyrus-fibre,
preferring to have them woven out of our excellent Phœnician hemp,
which the people of Arvad and Tyre are skilful in twisting into a
very substantial texture. It was of the same material that I resolved
to make my ropes.

As I was going through the arsenal, and wondering at the accumulated
mass of copper, I espied a little store of the beautiful white tin
obtained from the Celts in the distant islands of the far north-west.
Previously to my own voyage those islands had been all but unknown,
and I believe that I may say that my own investigation of them has
conferred as great a benefit upon the Phœnicians as they had
reaped two hundred years before by the discovery of the silver mines
of Tarshish.

The sight of the copper determined me upon carrying out a plan which
I had for some time been contemplating. It occurred to me that if
the keel and flanks under water were protected with copper in the
same way as the prows had hitherto been, the solidity of the vessel
would be greatly increased, and the wood would be far less liable to
decay. Accordingly, I made up my mind to protect the prows of the
galleys with a hard alloy of copper and tin, and to sheathe the keels
and flanks of all the four vessels with plates of wrought copper.
The copper of Cyprus I rejected as being too soft and spongy for my
purpose, and that of Libanus as far too brittle; but the firm yet
ductile Cilician metal suited me admirably, and Khelesh-baal, the
renowned Tyrian founder, set to work at once to forge me some large
sheets, three cubits[16] long by two wide.

  [16] The common cubit is about 16 inches.

The King had placed 200 workmen at my disposal; and, in order that
I might better superintend their operations, I took a lodging with
my three friends in a house at the corner of the Street of Caulkers,
just opposite the arsenal, and there from my window upon the fourth
floor I could well overlook the men working in the docks below. I
directed Hanno to make out a list of the goods we should require for
barter, and he and Himilco chiefly busied themselves in collecting
the things together; whilst Bodmilcar, with two of my sailors, kept
perambulating the neighbourhood of the harbour, succeeding tolerably
well in securing recruits for my crew from amongst the seamen who
were loitering about the quays, with tilted hats, looking out for
employment.

On the first day of the month Nisan,[17] just four weeks after I had
undertaken my commission, I returned home for my evening meal, and
found my companions in hot dispute.

  [17] Nisan; part of March and April.

"How now!" I cried, on entering the room; "what's this? What is the
meaning of this angry contention?"

"I am telling Bodmilcar," said Hanno, "that he has about as much
brains as a bullock, and about as much elegance as a Bactrian camel."

"And am I to endure this insolence from a young stripling?" cried
Bodmilcar, angrily; "am I to put up with it from a fresh-water
lubber, who will cry like a baby at the first gust of wind, and
implore us to put him on shore again? He has lived among women and
scribblers till he has no more pluck in him than a garden-tortoise."

  [Illustration: HANNO CAUGHT UP A LARGE PITCHER.
  _To face page 11._]

"I confess," rejoined Hanno, sarcastically, "that I have not had
your experience; I have not had the advantage of being pounced upon
by the Chaldeans, or of being thrashed by my own slaves. But let me
say, I am twenty, and that I hope the first time you find me funking
the sea, you will pitch me overboard like an old sandal. Anyhow,
I have had a voyage as far as Chittim;[18] I have been amongst the
Ionians, and can speak their language ten times better than any one
among you."

  [18] Chittim, the classical _Citium_, a Phœnician colony in
  Cyprus.

"Talk to me about the Ionians," shouted Bodmilcar in a fury, "and I
will break every bone in your precious skin."

And, as he spoke, he laid his hand upon his knife; but Hanno, without
flinching for a moment, caught up a large pitcher that was standing
on the table.

"Steady, steady!" interposed Himilco, "or you will be spilling all
the nectar;"[19] and whilst I laid a firm grasp upon Bodmilcar's arm,
he rescued the pitcher, and deposited it safely in the corner of the
room.

  [19] Nectar; the sweet and perfumed wine of the Phœnicians,
  said by the Greeks to be the drink of the gods.

Then addressing myself to the two excited combatants, I said: "Now
then, I cannot permit this altercation; you are both under my orders,
and you must both submit; conduct yourselves amicably, or it shall be
the worse for him that disturbs the peace. But what is the meaning of
this chatter about the Ionians?"

Hanno held out his hand to me, in token of submission, expressed his
regret for having given offence to Bodmilcar, and assured me that he
had only spoken in jest.

"You see now," I said to Bodmilcar, "Hanno is not your subordinate,
and you are bound to treat him as your equal. However, what is it
that he has said to offend you so grievously?"

Bodmilcar seemed abashed; he stood twirling his beard, and without
raising his eyes, said:

"Amongst the slaves that the Chaldeans captured, there was one Ionian
girl that I thought to make my wife. I spoke of her to Hanno, but
he only jeered me; he told me that the girl had gone off with the
Chaldeans of her own accord, merely to get out of reach of me; and
his provocation made me angry."

"Nay, nay," said Hanno: "I did not want to make him angry; it was
a thoughtless joke; he was somewhat old, I said, for so young a
bride, and Ionian girls generally like the perfume of flowers and the
fragrance of sweet spices better than the smell of tar."

"It was wrong of you," I said, as sternly as I could, though I really
felt inclined to laugh.

To my suggestion that they should make up their quarrel with mutual
pledges over a cup of wine, Hanno eagerly responded, "With all my
heart, and Ashtoreth give me my deserts if ever wilfully I offend his
grey hairs again;" but Bodmilcar took the proffered hand coldly, and
with evident constraint.

Seeing that all immediate peril of a smash was over, Himilco brought
forward his pitcher again from its place of safety. I heard nothing
more of the disagreement; but I could not help noticing that
Bodmilcar was never again the same in his demeanour towards Hanno,
and that he did not speak to him any more than he could avoid.

About a week later, as I was in the arsenal for the purpose of
selecting the ropes for the rigging, Himilco came running to me to
inform me that one of the King's servants had arrived with a message
that was to be delivered to myself. I went to meet the messenger. He
was a tall Syrian eunuch with frizzled hair and painted face, arrayed
in a long embroidered robe, and wearing large gold earrings after the
fashion of his country. He held a long cane surmounted by a golden
pomegranate, and spoke with a languid lisp.

"Are you Captain Mago, the King's naval officer?" he asked, as he
eyed me from head to foot.

Receiving my reply, he continued: "I am Hazael, of the royal
household; here on my finger you may see the signet which empowers
me to exercise my authority. The purpose of my visit is to inspect
the vessels you are building; but specially my object is to give
instructions that proper accommodation shall be provided for myself,
and for a slave that I have to conduct from my master to Pharaoh,
King of Egypt. Two proper berths must be prepared; and the King's
orders are that you are to remit us to Egypt after you have visited
Jerusalem."

"As to your directions about berths," I replied, utterly astonished
at his cool effrontery, "you must permit me to remind you that on
board ship the captain, with his pilot under him, invariably allots
the place for every passenger."

  [Illustration]

"Be it so," rejoined the eunuch; "yet it is imperative that separate
apartments, tapestried and carpeted suitably, should be provided for
myself and for the royal slave. Impossible for us to live in contact
with the rough and tarry seamen."

I felt a strong inclination to let Hazael experience how he relished
lying full length upon a heap of rubbish that was close at hand; but
I controlled my indignation and said:

"I will contrive something. I will either make a partition in a
corner of the hold, or put up a cabin of planks upon the deck; but
whatever is done must not interfere with the working of the ship.
When I have made the provision in space, I leave you to fit and
furnish as you please; but mark you this, your curtains and carpets
will be ruined in the first tempest that we get. However, that is
your concern, not mine."

"Each of the cabins," complacently continued the eunuch, "must be
twelve cubits by six; there must be six benches of sandal-wood and
ivory; the bedsteads must be inlaid; the windows must be framed and
fitted perfectly."

"Fitted!" I rejoined: "have I not told you already that you may
furnish and adorn the cabins as you will: their size, their position
must rest with me: in such matters my authority is supreme. You may
tell your royal master from me that adequate accommodation shall
be provided, but that with my arrangements no one is at liberty to
interfere."

The eunuch looked aghast at my temerity; but he seemed somehow to
comprehend that I was not to be trifled with. He muttered a few words
to the effect that I had better see that everything was duly done,
and without a word or gesture of leave-taking, turned on his heel and
sauntered leisurely away. I watched him for a moment, and turning to
Himilco, who had been near enough to overhear the conversation, I
said:

"Unless I reckon badly, that fellow will give us some trouble before
we have done with him."

"Ah, no; I'll take care of that," said Himilco. "Sooner than the
painted hound should interfere with us too much, I'd have a rope to
his heels, and he should dangle, head in the water, all the way from
Joppa to Tarshish. 'Tis not for us to permit ourselves to be treated
like dogs."

"No," said I; "but maybe, all will go well; Moloch will be our
guardian; and once at sea we shall not fail to secure the protection
of our Ashtoreth. To tell you the truth, I am really far more
apprehensive about Hanno's pranks with Bodmilcar."

"We must hope for the best," replied Himilco. "Bodmilcar will be on
board the gaoul, and we will contrive for Hanno to come with us in
one of the galleys."

"True," I assented; "it is indispensable that they should be
separated. But with regard to this eunuch's requirements; I hardly
see whether it will be better to provide the cabins in the gaoul,
as being the more roomy, or to have them under my own supervision.
Plague upon the slave and eunuch both!"

At that moment Hanno come up, with his roll of papyrus in his hand,
and caught the tenor of our conversation.

"A slave and an eunuch to go!" he exclaimed. "Surely the charge of
them ought to fall to _my_ lot. Such duties ever belong to a scribe.
Besides, I have made some progress in the studies of a magician;
and better even than a magician I could humour their fancies, and
understand their likes and dislikes."

I expressed my opinion that they would have enough of magicians in
Egypt whither they were going, and resolved that I would keep them
under my own eye.

"There's an end then to all my pretty scheme of teaching them
calligraphy, rhetoric, and what not," said Hanno, smiling. "I must
fall back, I see, upon my own accounts."

He unfolded his roll, and submitted to me his reckoning of the amount
that would be requisite to pay our sailors and our oarsmen, at the
same time handing me his statement of the sums that had already been
expended in the purchase of the goods for barter.

The outlay far exceeded the golden talent, the thousand shekels,
which the King had advanced. He had, however, commissioned me to
spare no expense, and had promised to meet all reasonable demands, so
that I felt no uneasiness, but sent Hanno straight to the palace to
exhibit the accounts and to ask for a further grant. The request was
most generously met.

Meanwhile, Himilco and I continued to employ ourselves in having
planks of fir from Senir[20] fitted to the flanks of our vessels, and
in rigging our heavy masts of oak with yard-arms of cedar.

  [20] Senir, in Libanus, now Djebel Sannin.

Our work progressed to our entire satisfaction. The _Gadita_ was
repaired and entirely refitted; the figure-head, an immense horse,
was illuminated with dazzling enamel eyes; the sides of the vessel
were painted red upon a black ground; and twelve shields of bronze,
each glowing in the centre with a polished copper boss, were hung
outside.

After everything had been completed, I obtained permission for
the _Gadita_ to be conducted with great ceremony, to the music of
trumpets and cymbals, into the basin of the harbour. For the occasion
the naval suffect lent me a large purple sail, reserved expressly for
state festivities; twelve armed sailors, lance in hand, stood behind
the shields of bronze; and twenty-two oarsmen, plying their oars
in regular cadence, made the ship glide swiftly through the water.
Gisgo, the helmsman, from his station in the stern, deftly wielded
the tiller, according to the directions of Himilco, whose place was
at the prow. Bodmilcar, Hanno, and myself were upon the poop. We were
all of us in state attire, and were conscious of a keen enjoyment of
the admiring gaze of the crowds of sailors who thronged, not only the
adjacent quays, but the terraces of the arsenal and of the admiralty
palace, and watched our manœuvres. The naval suffect was himself
one of the spectators; he was seated at the grand entrance of the
palace, just above the flight of steps that led down to his official
wharf. So pleased he was with the appearance of the _Gadita_, that
he invited all the officers to sup with him in the evening, and sent
a sheep, a large jar of wine, two baskets of bread, a supply of figs
and raisins, and twelve cheeses, for the entertainment of our sailors.

Arrived at the palace, we passed up the narrow staircases and dim
corridors of the eastern tower, and found ourselves in a large
round room with a lofty dome, from the centre of which there hung
a polished copper lamp. The suffect paid us many compliments; and,
on learning that we should be ready for our outfit within ten days,
he gave me permission to go next morning and to choose whatever arms
would be requisite for the expedition.

After our entertainment we embarked from the suffect's private wharf,
intending to return, all of us, to our own quarters on shore; but
all at once Bodmilcar declared himself so enamoured of the _Gadita_,
that he resolved to sleep alone on board. As our boat was silently
threading its way along the canal that intersected the mainland,
cutting off an island by its course, Hanno commenced singing in a
foreign language. My attention was arrested, and I asked him what
language it was. He replied that it was Ionian, and expressed his
surprise that I did not understand it.

"No," I answered; "it is strange to me. I have sailed but rarely
along those coasts. But haven't you done with the Ionians yet?"

"Oh, Bodmilcar is not here to get in a rage, and we have not got the
slave amongst us to be affected by any songs of mine."

"The slave!" I exclaimed with wonder. "I did not imagine that the
slave would care for your songs. Is she an Ionian?"

Hanno laughed, and made me no answer; but after a while he yielded to
my persuasion, and made me acquainted with all he knew.

"Hazael the eunuch," he said, "is a chattering fool. When I went
to the palace I saw him, and wormed out of him that the slave in
question had been brought from some Chaldean merchants, and that she
had been originally carried away from her own country by a Tyrian
pirate, so that the whole truth was not hard to guess."

"Not a word of this," I said; "not a word to Bodmilcar. More than
ever it makes me resolve to have both eunuch and slave on board my
own galley; otherwise I foresee there will be no end of mischief.
Neither you nor Himilco must breathe a syllable until we have seen
our unwelcome passengers securely landed at their destination."

Each promised faithfully to preserve the strictest reticence: Hanno,
for his part, vehemently asseverating that if a word upon the matter
should escape him, he would forthwith cut off his tongue, and devote
himself to Horus, the Egyptian god of silence.

As we now reached our lodging, the conversation dropped, and for the
next few days we were far too much engaged in active duties to think
any further of what had transpired.

I gave my own personal superintendence to the weaving of all the
sails, which were made strictly after the directions prescribed by
the goddess Tannat.[21] I saw that my ropes were well twisted and
thoroughly tarred; and I arranged the benches for my oarsmen with
such compactness that there was only an interval of a hand's breadth
between the seat of the rower on the upper tier and the head of the
man in the tier below.

  [21] The Grecian _Tamith_; according to the Phœnician legend,
  she was the inventor of sails.

To give extra strength to the masts and yards, I had them bound at
regular distances with bands of ox-hide, and finally I had the entire
hulls plated with sheets of copper, fastened together with bolts of
bronze.

Never had prouder ships been launched upon the Great Sea.[22]

  [22] The Mediterranean.



CHAPTER II.

THE SACRIFICE TO ASHTORETH.


Two days before the great spring festival which celebrated the
re-opening of navigation, and which was observed as a national
holiday, our ships were ready in the stocks, and in the course of
three hours were launched without difficulty.

The two galleys were each seventy-two ordinary cubits (or sixty-two
sacred cubits) long by seventeen wide. The gaoul, with its keel
of one solid piece of cedar, was sixty-seven cubits in length by
twenty in width; it had three decks and, as I have said, two tiers
of rowers; the decks were four cubits apart, and were raised fore
and aft, so as to make the elevation sixteen cubits above the water,
whilst in the centre it did not exceed twelve cubits. The galleys,
when carrying their full burden, and the double line of oarsmen,
stood each eight cubits above the water-line. Each contained space
enough to take 150 sailors and 50 rowers; but hitherto I had only
engaged 200 seamen, expecting that I should be able to enlist the
services of 100 soldiers and archers who would be willing to take a
share of the working of the vessel. The number of the crew of the
gaoul was complete; the _Gadita_ had likewise her full complement
of thirty-seven men, and the barques their crews of eight. These
two small craft were to be kept constantly in tow, and would
consequently be in no need of a pilot; but each of the larger vessels
was provided with two pilots, one at the prow, one at the stern,
Himilco being pilot-in-chief. At the top of every mast, there was a
look-out place, constructed of fir-wood from Senir, for the purpose
of sheltering the man on watch. The apertures for the oars were
arranged at equal distances along the sides; and all the vessels,
after they had been caulked and tarred, were made to correspond
with the _Gadita_ by being painted black with red lines. Hanno had
drawn up a document for each of the captains, containing the names
of the respective crews, and a complete list of every piece of spare
rigging on board, with a register of the place where every article
was stored. All the arms, the bedding, the cooking-utensils, the
water-barrels, had their positions carefully recorded, and in the
crew's quarters between decks, each seaman and rower had his berth
distinctly marked with his own name. The cabin under the raised deck
at the stern was reserved for the use of the captain and pilots,
whilst that under the prow was set apart for the officers of the
crew, and the captains of the men-at-arms. On all the vessels the
arrangements were identical, with the exception that at the stern
of the galley which I had chosen for myself I had ordered a boarded
cabin to be erected, divided into two compartments by a partition,
and lighted by two small windows, for the especial use of the eunuch
and the King's slave under his charge.

Hanno was extremely interested in the selection of good and
appropriate names for the ships. At his wish, the gaoul, which was
under the command of Bodmilcar, and numbered a large proportion of
Tyrians amongst its crew, was named after Melkarth, the god of Tyre.
One of the galleys was named the _Dagon_, being placed under the
protection of the Philistine god of fish; whilst the one on which
we ourselves were about to embark was dedicated to the Sidonian
goddess Ashtoreth, to whom we were personally bound by an especial
reverence. Associated with these divinities, of course it was out
of all character that the _Gadita_ should retain her previous name;
accordingly, at Himilco's request, and in consideration that she was
to sail at the head of the squadron, we gave her the designation of
the _Cabiros_. Bodachmon, the high priest of Ashtoreth, undertook to
present us with images of the various deities to be kept on board the
ships which were severally dedicated to them.

Bodmilcar was assigned the command of the _Melkarth_, and her
attendant barques; Hasdrubal, a Sidonian, was appointed to the
charge of the _Dagon_; and the _Cabiros_ was confided to the care of
Hamilcar, another Sidonian, a bold and experienced seaman.

On board the _Ashtoreth_, my flag-ship, I took for my personal staff
Hanno as scribe, Himilco as head pilot, and Hannibal of Arvad (whom I
knew to be a strong, brave man) as commander of my men-at-arms.

Fore and aft of each of the ships Hannibal placed two machines of his
own invention for hurling stones and darts, and called "scorpions;"
thus, with the exception of the _Cabiros_, which being small could
only carry two, every vessel was provided with four of these powerful
engines.

We worked hard throughout the greater part of the night and all
the following morning in packing and stowing the freight of our
little fleet as it lay in the inner basin of the trade harbour, and
the _Cabiros_ joined us to receive her portion of the cargo and
provisions. Towards the middle of the day we found time for rest
and refreshment. Anticipating our departure on the morrow, several
of us met for a frugal meal in a tent that had been erected for our
accommodation on one of the quays. The three captains, the commander
of my men-at-arms, the chief pilot, and myself, had just seated
ourselves at the table, when the curtain that covered the entrance
was drawn aside by one of the sailors, and Hazael the eunuch was
announced.

Hazael entered with his usual lazy saunter; behind him was a train
of six slaves carrying baskets, boxes, and bundles, and accompanied
by a workman with a hammer and a variety of tools. Outside, mounted
on white asses, were two women, one of them closely veiled; the face
of the other was uncovered, and by her red skull-cap with its gold
band and dependent white veil, as well as by her frizzled hair and
prominent features, I recognised her at once as a daughter of Israel.

"We have come," said the eunuch, without pretence of courteous
salutation, "to take possession of our berths, and to stow away our
baggage."

Hanno started to his feet. I laid my hand upon his arm, and asked him
what he was about to do.

"To stow away the baggage for them," he replied; adding, "unless,
captain, you forbid me."

  [Illustration]

"Better for you," I continued, "to remain where you are; I have
other business for you to do. This falls best to Himilco's duty. Go,
Himilco," I said, turning to the pilot, "go and assist Hazael to
arrange his property and see to the accommodation of the women."

Himilco emptied his glass, and, not without a longing glance towards
the jar of wine round which we were sitting, left the tent. Hanno,
who had fallen back to his seat with an assumed air of indifference,
now asked:

"And what is the business for which you want me?"

"You must go," I answered, "to the temple of Ashtoreth to prepare
for our sacrifice to-morrow: you must procure us some birds to take
with us on board our ships; in stormy weather they will show us which
way lies the land: you must find the naval suffect, and deliver him
a list of all the crews, and a catalogue of all the cargoes; most of
all, you must wait upon the royal treasurer and furnish him with an
abstract of all accounts. Is not all this enough for you to do?"

"No time, I see, then, for me to lose," said Hanno, with impetuous
eagerness; and snatching up his papyrus roll, he ran hastily away. It
was my impression, as I caught sight of him through the half-opened
curtain of the tent, that he turned, not in the direction of the
temple, but towards the harbour-basin; however, when he came back
in the evening all his commissions had been fully and faithfully
executed, and I thought no more of the matter.

On his return he was accompanied by one of the officials of
the temple, carrying on his head some large bird-cages made of
palm-wicker. Hanno himself held a smaller cage, containing four
pigeons of a rarer sort, a beautiful shot plumage glittering gaily on
their breasts.

"If these birds don't bring us good luck," he said, "I am sure no
others will; they come straight from the temple of Ashtoreth, and
were handed over to me by the priestess herself, who made me promise
that they should be prized according to their worth."

Each of the captains selected his proper share of the birds, with the
exception of Bodmilcar, who contemptuously refused.

"Don't the birds suit you?" said Hanno; "what's the matter with them?"

"I want no pigeons," retorted Bodmilcar; "ravens are the birds for
me, and I have taken enough of them on board already."

Hanno turned his back; but Himilco, who had witnessed what was
passing, remarked:

"Fortunate for the passengers that they will not be on board the
_Melkarth_. Far more congenial, I should think, the cooing of doves
than the croaking of ravens, to the ears of an Ionian!"

"Ionian!" ejaculated Bodmilcar, turning pale, "is the slave an
Ionian?"

In an instant I gave Himilco a sharp dig below the ribs to recall him
to his senses, and as quickly he clapped his finger on his forehead,
pretending to recollect himself: "No, no; not an Ionian; I mean a
Lydian." And turning round to me he asked me whether he was right.

I made a sort of a gesture which I hoped would satisfy Bodmilcar,
but he was manifestly still agitated; he made no further remark,
but shortly afterwards quitted the room, mumbling unintelligibly as
he went. As soon as his back was fairly turned, Hanno, who had been
seated quietly arranging his papyrus leaves, rose from his seat, and
advancing towards the door, made a low and solemn bow, a proceeding
on his part that caused Himilco to burst into a roar of laughter.

"Our friend Bodmilcar," remarked Hannibal, "seems to be rather a
morose sort of gentleman."

"Nothing of the sort, I assure you," said Hanno, satirically; "I
hardly know a man of a brighter and more genial temperament; however,
I confess that we may thank our stars that we have not to sail in the
same ship with him."

Hannibal smiled, in token of assent.

Time to retire for the night had now arrived. We indulged in a
parting glass, in recognition of our mutual hopes for the successful
issue of the enterprise before us, and with no little emotion, parted
to seek the repose which should prepare us for the ceremonial of the
morrow.

Early in the morning I repaired to the arsenal, but not too soon
to find the crews assembled each round its own captain. Hannibal
had been successful in collecting together all the archers and the
men-at-arms. Every captain was attended by his own trumpeter,
in a scarlet tunic, the trumpeter of the military captain being
distinguished by the magnitude of his trumpet, which was double the
size of the others.

With effective precision Hannibal had arranged his soldiers in their
ranks. The first rank was composed of twenty archers in white tunics,
their heads covered with white linen caps, which were encircled by a
band of leather studded with nails, and of which the ends hung down
behind. They all wore scarlet waistbands, in which were inserted
ivory-handled broadswords; their quivers were attached to a belt of
ox-hide, that passed over the shoulder, and was ornamented with a
profusion of copper studs. In his hand every one carried his long
Chaldean bow, the upper extremity of which was carved to represent a
goose's head. Next behind the archers were two ranks of armed men,
twenty in each rank: they wore cuirasses composed of small plates of
polished copper, and had helmets of the same material. Their tunics
were scarlet, and hung below the cuirasses; on the left of their
belts was a strong Chalcidian sword, and on the right an ivory-hilted
dagger; one hand carried a large circular shield, ornamented in the
centre with a deep-red copper figure of the sun; the other hand bore
a lance, furnished with a long sharp point of bronze.

Hannibal stood at the head of his troop. He wore a Lydian helmet,
surmounted with a silver crest, which was further adorned with a
scarlet plume. The image of the sun in the middle of his shield
was likewise silver, and around that was a circle of the eleven
planets. His sword-handle was carved into the figure of a lion, the
lion's head forming the guard. Like all the rest of the company he
commanded, his feet and legs were protected by leather greaves or
gaiters, laced up the front, and turned upwards at the point in the
Jewish fashion. He no sooner saw me approaching than he unsheathed
his sword, and his trumpeter sounded three blasts, an example which
was followed by the other trumpeters, all blowing in unison, after
which the captains and pilots advanced and made me a general salute.

Our seamen were provided with neither belts, shields, nor helmets,
but carried large cutlasses below their kitonets; they wore pointed
caps that covered the nape of the neck, similar to those that are
constantly seen at Sidon. Hannibal proposed that they should be
drawn up and drilled like the soldiers, but I did not acquiesce in
his suggestion; I preferred allowing them to rove about at their
pleasure, knowing that they could be drilled far better on board
ship, after they had been regularly assigned their proper place and
duties.

Hanno and Himilco, who had gone by my directions to see that
everything was in readiness for the sacrificial rites, now joined
us. They were accompanied by two men, each leading a superb bullock
covered with purple housings, and with their horns decorated by
fillets of embroidery, to which were attached little bells, which
tinkled as they moved. Close in their rear followed my slave,
carrying on his head a large basket of pomegranates, covered with a
napkin embroidered with silver.

After he had stationed our four trumpeters in couples behind his
own, Hannibal gave me to understand that he was only waiting for
me to give the signal to march. No sooner had I signified my
permission, than he shouted out the word of command, and the archers
and men-at-arms doubled file and faced about with an alertness that
elicited universal commendation. The trumpeters led the way with a
flourish that was well-nigh deafening; the archers followed two and
two; then came Hannibal at the head of his warriors, all shouldering
their lances. My own place was the next; and I marched on, supported
by Hanno and Himilco, and immediately followed by my slave and the
two men who were in charge of the oxen devoted as victims for the
altar; whilst behind us were the four troops of sailors, not marching
in any special order, but each headed by its own captain and pilots.
This irregular company brought up the rear.

The thoroughfares along which we passed were decorated gaily. In
honour of the great yearly festival of Melkarth, which attracted the
mass of all the surrounding population, they were profusely hung
with coloured canvas of many a hue, and floating streamers of linen,
dyed with the richest shades of purple, orange, green, and vermilion
were interspersed amongst waving branches of palms and massy boughs
of cedar. Each separate window was a separate centre of display. The
people, in holiday attire, were wending their way in crowds in the
direction of the island upon which stands the temple of Melkarth,
but they stood aside in every portico to allow us to proceed; they
were eager in their inquiries as to the meaning and purpose of our
formal progress through the streets; and when they understood that
we were marching to the shrine of the goddess Ashtoreth to make our
sacrifice, and to intreat her favour upon an expedition to Tarshish
which we were about to make, they rent the air with their boisterous
acclamations. Men expressed their wonder at the concourse of our
sailors and the quality of our oxen; women admired our attire and the
carriage of our officers, being especially lavish in their praise
of Hanno; the children ran after the procession, attracted equally
by the glittering crest in Hannibal's helmet, by the glowing red
of the trumpeters' tunics, and the swelling notes of their martial
music. Every one was unanimous in declaring that never before had
so magnificent a retinue left a Phœnician city on a distant
enterprise.

As we passed along beneath the sycamines in front of the King's
palace, the vast concourse that had assembled in readiness for the
royal procession parted asunder to allow us room to pass, and the
King's trumpeter and musicians, who were stationed at the gateway,
broke out into strains of welcome. A messenger was observed hurrying
down from the palace, and it was soon known that he came with orders
for us to halt. Hannibal immediately made his men face about; the
sailors, as it were involuntarily, turned towards the palace, and
I myself, with Hanno and Himilco, advanced in the direction of the
window at which the King is accustomed to show himself to his people,
and which is easily distinguishable from the others by the gilding
and tapestried hangings with which it is decorated. Meanwhile our
trumpeters had taken up the strains of the royal march in concert
with the King's musicians, and the melody was re-echoed by various
bands in other quarters of the palace-yard.

Only a short time elapsed before the King presented himself at the
window. An attendant, gorgeously attired, held over the King's head a
purple canopy embroidered with gold and richly jewelled; behind him
could be seen the glittering helmets and cuirasses of his body-guard.
Without a word of preface, he called me forth by name; and having
prostrated myself to the earth in deep obeisance, in another moment I
was standing with folded arms before him awaiting his commands.

He spoke to this effect:

"Mago! content I am with the preparation you have made. Well pleased
I am with the way in which you have collected your seamen and
equipped your warriors in behalf of my friend, my royal ally, King
David. You quit these realms for the distant shores of Tarshish. May
our guardian gods protect you! Hazael will deliver you the letters
signed by my own hand, which you are to present to the various
sovereigns who are my allies; to him I have further intrusted the
papyrus roll on which my instructions are inscribed. Onwards now,
fulfil your oblations to your goddess Ashtoreth. I go to render my
sacrifice to our great Melkarth; but when I have discharged my vows,
my purpose is to be myself a witness of your departure, and you shall
not fail to have still further tokens of my favour."

Again I prostrated myself before the King, who then retired, leaving
me to proceed upon my way, still heralded by the trumpets and greeted
by the continuous acclamations of the people. We had hardly turned
away, when the great gate of the palace was thrown open, and, headed
by a band composed of trumpets, sistra, tambourines, and flutes,
there issued the grand procession on its way to the island upon which
rose the columns of the temple of Melkarth, the supreme deity of Tyre.

We had hardly reached the limit of the royal court-yard, when
Bodmilcar, who had quickened his pace to overtake me, came to my side
and said mysteriously,

"Melkarth is a great god!"

"Assuredly!" I said, but did not in the least comprehend his meaning.

"A great god is Melkarth of the Tyrians," he repeated. "Melkarth
requires greater sacrifices than Ashtoreth: his sacrifices are large
as Moloch's; and they are going to offer him some children to-day."

I assented, yet still failed to see his purpose; but after a little
hesitation, he said:

"Might it be permitted me to take my Tyrians and to join the worship
of our own Melkarth?"

The discovery of his intention vexed me exceedingly; it was
mortifying to myself to see the number of my own retinue diminished,
or to allow the dignity of our own observances to Ashtoreth
to be curtailed; but I felt that I had no alternative than to
comply with his request to make his sacrifice to the god of his
peculiar veneration. Reluctantly I gave him my assent, and when
we reached the steep street that led up to the elevated groves of
"Baaltis-Ashtoreth,"[23] I saw that, instead of continuing with us,
he dropped out of our line and joined himself with about thirty
of our sailors to a procession that was conducting a chariot,
resplendent with gold, and surmounted by a canopy ornamented with
plumes of ostrich-feathers. This chariot was conveying the children
that were to be offered as the victims of the sacrifice. To welcome
the addition to the throng, the shouts of the populace and the clang
of the cymbals burst forth with redoubled vehemence.

  [23] Baaltis, feminine of Baal, lord.

"How I hate that sacrificing of children!" said Hanno to me.

"Yes;" I concurred, "but if Moloch and Melkarth demand it, what can
be said?"

"With all due reverence for Moloch and Melkarth," he continued, "I
cannot but rejoice that Ashtoreth of Sidon makes no such request."

We had now turned into the pathway through the grove that winds
up to the temple of Baaltis. By far the greater proportion of the
temple-officials were absent, having gone to join the general
celebration of the city in honour of Melkarth; only six priests and
four priestesses remained. Seen through the hazy glow of the rising
sun, the grove and temple looked surprisingly lovely, and one could
hardly help being conscious of some feeling of regret at having to
leave such charming scenes. But amidst all the fascination of the
prospect, I realised how a perpetual residence in such an abode would
make a man effeminate, and unfit him for peril and adventure; and
proudly I recalled the recollection that apart from the enterprise of
her sons, Phœnicia could have known no luxury: it was her commerce
that had brought her wealth; and had it not been for their bold and
undaunted navigation, the people might have seen their shores the
prey of invading kings.

Hanno had manifestly been under a like influence, and had been
following a kindred train of thought.

"Yes," he said, as if uttering aloud the conclusion of his own
reflections; "yes, even if Pharaoh, Melek-David,[24] the Chaldeans
and Assyrians all were to concentrate their hosts and fall on us
Phœnicians, we could betake ourselves to our ships and brave
them on the seas. Aye, though they should drive us out from our
own domain, build ships, and encounter us upon the ocean where the
supremacy has hitherto all of late been ours, yet we have Chittim,
Utica, Carthage, Tarshish to fall back upon; the whole world is ours!"

  [24] Melek was the title of the Kings of Judah, as Pharaoh was
  that of the Kings of Egypt.

"True," I replied; "in a sense, the world is ours: but it is nothing
except our own undaunted perseverance that has made it so. We have
had no kings to lead us on to vanquish neighbouring states; we
have had no generals to gain us victories and acquire us power;
but depending only on our native resources, trusting simply to our
own courage, and relying on the good protection of our gods, we
have traversed regions that were unexplored, and discovered wealth
that was unknown. And now, none dares to assail us; we command the
respect of all. None too proud to ask our aid, none too independent
to own our service. Who procures Melek-David his choicest timber,
his silver and gold? Who provides Pharaoh with balm, his jewels, his
copper and his tin? From whom does the Assyrian seek his purple and
glass, his ivory and embroidery? Who is the great purveyor of every
luxury for every prince and magnate of the world? A Tyrian may well
be proud when he claims all this for the mariners of Sidon and the
merchant-princes of Phœnicia."

Stirred to emotion by my enthusiasm, Himilco took up the strain:
"Yes; great and deservedly great is Tyre's renown. May her spirit of
adventure never flag! For my part, give me but the favour of Cabiros
for my guiding star, and I would not exchange my peaked sea-cap and
ragged kitonet for the tiara sparkling with its fleur-de-lys,[25]
and the mantle gorgeous with embroidered work that grace the King of
Nineveh!"

  [25] See note on Chap. II. at end of Volume.

Whilst we were thus indulging the spirit of our national pride, the
priests within had been lighting the altar-fires and preparing the
sacrificial basins, some of which they filled with water, leaving
the rest empty. Hannibal had drawn up his men in order upon the
temple-steps, making an imposing array: he had just put them in the
form of a crescent, of which the archers in double file at the top
were the extremities, the centre being made by the men-at-arms, four
deep, and below, an avenue was left for the progress of myself and my
companions, the oxen being conducted into the temple by an entrance
at the back.

On our approach, our trumpeters gave a loud flourish, which was
answered by the flutes and instruments within. The high priest
advanced towards us and, in sonorous tones, exclaimed:

"Let Mago, the Sidonian, the son of Maherbaal, now draw near.
Commander of the expedition, he comes to present himself before the
goddess. Let him now approach, and all his followers attend him!"

Obedient to the summons, I ascended the steps, followed immediately
by my slaves; Hanno and Hannibal were on my right hand; Hasdrubal,
Hamilcar and Himilco on my left; behind us was the general throng
of sailors and of oarsmen. At a sign from Hannibal, the soldiers
shouldered their bows and lances, and having faced about, entered the
temple by the two side doors, and completely lined the edifice.

An official proclaimed silence. "Order!" he shouted; "Mago, son of
Maherbaal, makes an offering for his people."

It was the work of but a short time to bring in the oxen, and have
them slain and quartered, and while this was being done my slave
distributed amongst us the pomegranates he had brought. The high
priest with much formality presented me with the shoulder of one of
the victims, upon which, according to rule, I laid a purse containing
six shekels of coined money. The officiating priest accepted the
offering, and while he was proclaiming my liberality aloud, the
sacerdotal scribe was inscribing the names of myself and my captains,
together with the amount of my donation, in the temple register. The
chief priest then took the breasts of the victims and placed them
upon the altar, whence the smoke ascended high towards the round
window in the dome. The black stone at Sidon is the true goddess, but
here at Tyre, Ashtoreth is merely represented by a statue. Standing
with his face towards this, the priest made his invocation and
chanted some prayers to music, which gradually died away into perfect
silence.

During the time that these ceremonies were proceeding, the remaining
portions of the oxen were being steeped in the lavers, after which
they were thrown into great caldrons, part to be boiled over the
chafing-dishes in the temple-kitchen, and part to be cooked in
the open air of the sacred groves. The sailors lent their ready
assistance in kindling the fires and superintending the boilers.

The chief priest next handed me one of the bullock's breasts. I
raised it on high with both hands before the goddess, and delivered
it back to the priest, who turned it round three times, as if
solemnly dedicating it to the deity on my behalf. Hanno went through
a corresponding ceremony with the other breast, which was turned
round seven times in behalf of us all.

I had given the scribe five shekels to provide us with bread for the
entertainment, and in the name of the captains, pilots, and sailors,
Hamilcar gave him eight shekels, a part to provide us with wine, a
part as a free tribute to the goddess. He entered the several sums
upon the registers, and the officiating priest again made a public
announcement of our liberality. One after another we prostrated
ourselves before the image of the goddess, the high priest made a
short final invocation, and full of joy we withdrew from the temple
to the adjacent grove. At a sign from Hannibal, the soldiers, who had
stood mute and motionless throughout the ceremony, fell out of their
ranks, and rushing in wild confusion, mingled with the sailors to
assist them in preparing the banquet.

I took my seat at the foot of a noble cypress, and Hanno, Hannibal,
and Gisgo, placed themselves as my supporters on either hand, Himilco
charging himself with the duty of superintending the filling of a
large earthenware vase with wine. My slave arranged the drinking-cups
by placing mine (which had a lion's head at its mouth) in the centre,
and disposing those of the captains in order round it. Hannibal's
cup was of plated copper, with a stem and two handles, and embossed
with flowers and bunches of grapes. Having done this, the slave went
away, and returned ushering in two soldiers, who carried a huge
caldron; they let the caldron down heavily on the ground, their
cuirasses rattling again with their exertion. The lid of the caldron
was at once removed; a large basket of bread had been handed round
preparatory to the repast, and each man having brought out the wooden
knife and spoon that he carried at his waist, the whole of us set
ourselves to enjoy an abundant meal.

When the wine-cups had been distributed and charged, I rose from my
seat, and raising my cup on high, drank to the health and welfare of
the whole assembly.

"A goodly draught is this!" said Hannibal, when he had drained his
cup to the very dregs; "it is the wine of my own city Arvad; it gives
life and strength to those that drink it; hence Arvad's wide renown
for wits and warriors."

"And Arvad's warriors," I said, turning to the captain, "deserve
their fame. By-the-by, have your wide wanderings by sea and land ever
taken you into Judæa before? Thither it is, you know, that we first
direct our course."

"Truly, yes;" replied Hannibal, with his mouth full; "this very sword
that I am wearing, and this purple shoulder-belt, were presents from
Joab, the general and cousin of the King. I commanded twenty archers
under him at the battle of Gebah, when the Philistines were defeated
at the mulberry groves. Nor was that the only time. I was garrisoned
for a year or more at Hamath, with the troops of Nahari, Joab's
armour-bearer, one of David's thirty-seven mighty men. It was on
returning thence that I had the command of the soldiers on board the
ship of our friend Hasdrubal here, at the time when the galleys of
Sidon were sent to engage the Cilician fleet."

"Aye, I have heard of that expedition," said Himilco; "at that time
we were far away at Gades."

"And we," broke in Hamilcar, "were in the service of Pharaoh, sailing
along the coast of Ethiopia, beyond the Sea of Reeds.[26] What
splendid shells were there, containing precious pearls! and one great
fish there was that could swallow a man entire!"

  [26] Jam Souph, the Red Sea.

At this moment one of the young priestesses approached our party, and
handed Hanno a small packet, carefully wrapped in linen.

"This," she said to him, "is the image of Baaltis. Over it I have
burnt the costliest perfumes; I have anointed it with the rarest
ointments; I have laid it before the goddess, who has graciously
accepted it. To you, Sidonian, I now entrust it, and may it bring
good fortune to yourself and all who share your enterprise."

The high priest came in person to deliver us the other images of the
gods, that of Melkarth alone excepted, which Bodmilcar himself was to
convey from the temple to which he had separately gone.

The priestess offered to accompany us to our ships, that she might
sprinkle the images on board before we took our departure.

Himilco craved permission to carry the image of the Cabiros down to
the quay before resigning it to the keeping of the captain.

"How about your vow of twenty shekels and a bullock that you made to
the Cabiri?" I asked him, as we rose to go.

"That will have to wait," he answered, "till I have come across that
Tarshish rascal who deprived me of my eye. The patient gods, I have
no doubt, will give me credit, and not require me to pay at once, or
in advance."

Meantime Hanno had been uncovering his image of Ashtoreth, and
was standing holding it in both hands and gazing at it with the
profoundest admiration. It was an alabaster figure, with a necklace
of three rows of gold beads and a pointed cap, beneath which flowed
ample masses of wavy hair.

"I, too," said Hanno, "have made a vow to my goddess, but she has
promised to abide my time, and to tarry till my expectations and
my longings are fulfilled;" and as he spoke, he stooped and kissed
the face of the image. I know not whether it was imagination on my
part, but I certainly thought the cypresses around gave a soft yet
perceptible rustle in response to his words. Perhaps the priestess
observed it also, for she smiled on me, and laid her hand on Hanno's
shoulder.

"But now, Captain Mago," she cried, "let us start. The time for
embarkation is at hand, and the goddess pronounces that it is a
favourable hour. Come, let us proceed!"

"To your ships, men; to your ships!" I shouted; and turning for a
moment towards the temple, said, "Farewell, Baaltis, Queen of Heaven:
to-night thou shalt behold us on the waters of the Great Sea!"

Hannibal, who had resumed his helmet, made a signal to the trumpeters
to summon the soldiers and sailors. Hanno and the priestess came on
one side of me; Himilco, carrying the image of his god, took his
place on the other, and in the same order in which it had come, our
_cortége_ wended its way along the decorated streets down towards
the port. The roads adjacent to the harbour and all the quays were
so densely thronged, that it was only with considerable difficulty
that we could force our way along. Every nation seemed to make its
contribution to the crowd: besides the native Phœnicians, there
were Syrians in their fringed and bordered robes; Chaldeans with
their frizzled beards; and Jews in their short tunics and long
gaiters, with panther-skins thrown across their shoulders. Again,
there were Lydians with bands around their foreheads; Egyptians,
some with shorn heads, and some with enormous wigs; Chalybeans,
wild in aspect, and half naked; and men of Caucasus, gigantic in
size and strength. Many a far distant land had sent its sons to our
Phœnician cities as the headquarters and the home of industry and
commerce; Arabs and Midianites were here looking with astonishment
at the height of the houses, and bewildered at the multitude of the
population; whilst the Scythians of Thogarma, their legs strap-bound,
moved with heavy strides, and looked around amazed, perplexed at the
absence alike of horses and of chariots from the narrow streets.

The air was filled with songs and shouts of many a different tongue;
the people jostled one another in their eagerness to catch a sight of
whatever company came last in view. Every band of musicians enlisted
its own admirers; every troop of priests attracted the closest
scrutiny. Every regiment with its painted shield excited a perpetual
interest; and as our own procession, with its trumpeters and soldiers
and promiscuous groups of sailors, could not fail to draw a large and
curious concourse, it was in the midst of a veritable whirl that we
passed the arsenal and made our way to the reserved quay, where our
ships, poops inward to the shore, had been left under the care of a
few sailors.

Bodmilcar and the eunuch had arrived before us, and were standing
in eager conversation on the gangway that led to the poop of the
_Melkarth_. As soon as they observed us, they stopped abruptly, and
Bodmilcar whistled for his sailors, whilst the eunuch advanced to
meet me.

"Is all your baggage duly stowed on board?" I asked Hazael.

"It is," he answered; "but it disappoints me much that our berths
have not been made upon this larger ship; here we might have far more
space and comfort: however, it matters little; at the first point
we touch we can make a change. Bodmilcar thinks it will be best we
should."

"It cannot be," I said; "the King's slave has been entrusted to
myself, and under my supervision she must be. The _Melkarth_ is
a transport, and the captain of a transport has no concern with
passengers. I must hear no more of this. Do I understand aright that
you have letters for me from the King?"

Without one word in reply, the eunuch handed me a box of sandal-wood,
which I opened, and found it to contain several sheets of papyrus, on
which were written various instructions to myself.

I was about to give orders to my trumpeter to proclaim silence, but
before the words were out of my mouth, Bodmilcar rushed forward and
threw himself into my arms.

"I have been sacrificing to Melkarth," he exclaimed; "I have paid
my vows to my god, and I must unburden my conscience. I wish to
ask pardon of any and of all to whom I have shown insolence or
ill-temper."

Without hesitation, Hanno offered him his hand, assuring him that he
fully forgave everything that had happened in the past, and that,
forgetting all previous quarrels, for the future he would show him
all proper deference, and yield to his authority. Pleased with this
open reconciliation, I expressed my satisfaction that we were able
thus to set out with so universal a spirit of harmony and of concord.

In the meanwhile the captains had severally collected their crews,
and Hannibal had told off his men-at-arms, reserving ten archers
and ten soldiers for our own ship. The priestess then, with the
accustomed solemnities, presented each vessel with the image of its
own peculiar divinity.

Before we started, our host, with whom we had been sojourning,
accompanied by his wife and son, forced his way through the guards
that had been keeping the inclosure, and came in haste to me.

"Mago, dear friend," he said, "I could not suffer you to go without
seeing you once more. Here are cakes, and here is a basket of dried
grapes; but, most of all, here are two goat-skins of genuine nectar.
Accept them from me in token of my good-will. Farewell, and the gods
grant you a prosperous voyage!"

"Farewell, honest pilot," said my host's wife to Himilco; "for you
I have brought this goat-skin of Byblos, because I know there is no
wine you like so well."

"Thanks, good hostess, many thanks," replied Himilco; "to me there
is no wine that can compare with the rich and luxurious produce of
Phœnicia. I shall not forget your bounty, and if only our star
shall favour us, and the _Cabiros_ shall safely bring us home again,
I promise to bring you such a gift as shall make the Tyrian women die
with envy."

The son, a youth of about sixteen, was devotedly attached to Hanno,
and only with the greatest difficulty could be dissuaded from
accompanying him upon his voyage. As a farewell gift, he had brought
his friend a large packet of the choicest reeds for writing; and the
two parted with mutual expressions of affection.

Amongst those present there was yet another whom I regarded with the
profoundest reverence, and whose knowledge was accounted as little
short of divine. This was an aged priest, named Sanchoniathon,[27]
the historian and chronicler of past events; although no traveller
himself, he had acquired the fullest information concerning well-nigh
every country of the world.

  [27] I am guilty of an anachronism here for the mere satisfaction
  of introducing the name of the great historian.

Addressing himself to me, he said: "Mago, my son, Hanno your scribe
has undertaken to transmit to me, in writing, an account of whatever
he may see rare or wonderful in the far-off lands to which you go;
his genius seems bright and quick, but his youth renders him wild and
unstable as a kid. Is it too much to ask of you that you will urge
him on to keep his word?"

"To gratify you, my father," said Hanno, "I will do all I can
to control the caprices and irregularities of my youth. My own
indebtedness to you is great. I trust that I may not forget the
lessons you have taught me; and if I can render any aid in enabling
you to keep the Phœnicians informed of the wonders of the world, I
shall be ready to show myself a pupil worthy of my master."

The aged Sanchoniathon then gave us his blessing. He had scarcely
concluded his benediction when the priestess of Ashtoreth came by,
returning from the ships. As she passed Hanno I distinctly heard her
say in an undertone:

"She is as good as she is beautiful!"

"Hush!" he murmured; "I must forget her! Happy Pharaoh!"

Everything being reported ready, I ordered the trumpeters to sound
the signal for departure, and we proceeded to embark. The first man
to step on board was old Gisgo, the pilot of the _Cabiros_, commonly
known as Gisgo the Celt, and perhaps still more frequently spoken
of as Gisgo the Earless. He had been eight times on a voyage to the
Rhone, and the story went that on one of his visits there he had
married a Celtic wife, with yellow hair, who was still awaiting him
in her native forests; on another occasion he had been taken prisoner
by the Siculians, who had cut off both his ears. Having mounted the
poop, the old man waved his cap and shouted cheerily:

"Mariners, mariners all! quick and ready! quick on board! rulers of
the ocean! sons of Ashtoreth! listen to your captain's call. Tyrians
and Sidonians! To sea! to sea! and long live Captain Mago!"

The men all hastened to their several ships, and as soon as I had
taken my station on the raised bench of the poop of the _Ashtoreth_,
my standard was hoisted as the signal of departure, the gangways were
removed, the boathooks were driven vigorously towards the facing of
the quay, and we were on our way.

The _Cabiros_, with its twenty-two oarsmen, took the lead; next came
the _Ashtoreth_; the _Dagon_ towed the _Melkarth_, which was too
large to hoist a sail in port. Our little squadron floated on past
the numerous ships that lined the quays, making its way through
crowds of boats that darted to and fro, conveying the countless
visitors to the island where the feast of Melkarth was still in
course of celebration. Our trumpeters continued to blow, our oars
rose and fell in regular cadence, and the voices of thousands of
spectators kept up a perpetual acclamation.

From my own position I could overlook the decks of all the other
vessels. Hanno was at my side, and Himilco stood at the bow giving
his orders to the helmsman. Hannibal had made his warriors hang their
shields over the ship's sides; every one had betaken himself to his
proper post, Hazael the eunuch being no exception, as he had retired
to the privacy of his own cabin.

  [Illustration]

Passing the mouth of the trade-harbour, with its two watch-towers,
we entered the canal that led to the island; it was covered with
boats decorated with holiday-trappings; above it rose the palace of
the naval suffect, its terraces all decked with coloured hangings,
and thronged with a motley crowd. Beyond again, in the centre of
the island, I could see the dome of the temple of Melkarth, the
blue smoke of the sacrifices rising high above its ochred roof. I
could even hear the uproarious clanging of the cymbals and the other
instruments within.

The royal galley, escorted by the galley of the naval suffect, came
forth to meet us. On the poop of the royal vessel was a raised
platform, which shone as if it were a mass of solid metal, being
covered entirely with cloth of gold and silver. The oars were
faced with ivory; the sails were embroidered with silver thread,
with representations of Melkarth, Moloch, and Ashtoreth, the large
hyacinth-coloured sail in the middle being worked with green to
imitate waves, from which rose the figure of Ashtoreth protecting
the fish from the fury of Dagon. A full band of musicians was
playing at the bows, and, on deck, a number of graceful women,
wearing state tiaras and triple necklaces, performed upon gaily
painted tambourines, and waved light rods adorned with little bells
and tassels of pale green and purple. At the stern sat King Hiram.
He wore a Phœnician cap, his beard was frizzled in the Syrian
fashion, and he had two gold bracelets on each arm. His throne was
of gold and enamel; the back of it was carved into the image of a
ship, and the arms were representations of dolphins. In attendance,
standing with folded arms, were his scribe and the keeper of the
seals; behind him stood two officers, one of them holding the purple
canopy of state, fringed with gold, the other carrying the royal
standard, which bore, worked in silver on a hyacinth-coloured ground,
representations of the sun and the planets, with the crescent moon
above. The suffects were on board the Admiralty galley, surrounded
by guards in Lydian helmets, whose silver shields and cuirasses
glittered brightly in the sun.

At sight of the royal _cortége_ I ordered my men to ship their oars
and to bring our vessels to a standstill. A corresponding order was
given to the royal ships, and it was but the work of a few minutes
for the slaves to throw the ebony gangway across, and to cover it
with a brilliant carpet. King Hiram rose from his seat and stepped
on board, and I had the honour of conducting him all over my vessel,
and of showing him the double deck, the stowage of the cargo, and the
great earthen reservoirs of water. He went, unaccompanied, to visit
the berth that had been provided for the slave, and before leaving,
presented me, through his treasurer, with two talents of silver. When
he had returned to his throne, the temporary passage was withdrawn,
and at a signal from me, our hundred and twenty-two oars cleft the
water without a splash. The trumpets sounded; soldiers, sailors,
rowers, raised a tremendous cheer, and from my place I shouted aloud:

"Farewell, my King! Tyre and Phœnicia, farewell! And now, children
of Ashtoreth, my crew, forwards, forwards!"

Quickly the squadron made its way past the two towers that guarded
the military harbour, and on which perpetual watch was kept. I cast
one look back at the canal with its swarm of gala-boats; at the quays
still thronged with the motley crowd; at the city, rising like a
vast white amphitheatre intersected by the threading of its narrow,
crooked streets; at the mass of the yellow temple of Melkarth; at
the great Admiralty Palace, above which were the glittering walls of
the temple of Baaltis; and, last of all, at the heights of Libanus
beyond, standing out green and black against the background of the
sky. I turned away to give my attention to the ships that were
dashing the snowy foam from their prows. The _Cabiros_ was riding the
waves like a dolphin; the _Melkarth_, now no longer in tow, and the
_Dagon_ were crowded with sail.

A favourable wind bore us onwards to the south-west, so that I gave
orders that the galleys should hoist their sails, and that half the
rowers should ship their oars and take an interval of rest. I sat
down and gazed upon the broad and glittering ocean.

We were now fairly on our way to Tarshish.



CHAPTER III.

CHAMAI RECOGNISED BY THE ATTENDANT OF THE SLAVE.


In order to clear the White Cape in the south-west, I took an oblique
course across the bay, on the north of which stands the city of Tyre.
From White Cape[28] I should sight the distant promontory of Mount
Carmel, and avoiding the deep waters of the bay to the north of this
point, I should double it and coast along direct to Joppa.

  [28] Now Ras-el-Abiad.

The _Cabiros_ was quite capable of making 1300 stadia[29] in
twenty-four hours; but the gaoul, which was always in ordinary
weather worked by sails and was now heavily laden, could not attain
that speed; neither could the galleys. I succeeded in accomplishing a
rate of 1000 stadia in the twenty-four hours, so that in about three
hours after our departure we had rounded White Cape, and holding on
by a south-west course, by nightfall had lost sight of land. Towards
midnight Himilco roused me with the announcement that we were off
Mount Carmel. I could just discern its bluff peak standing out in the
moonlight, and gave instructions that our course should be changed
to the south; at the same time I took the precaution to signal to
the _Melkarth_ to clew up her sail and use her oars, because we were
again approaching the shore. A brisk breeze in the morning brought
us in sight of the low, level coast of Palestine, and before noon we
recognised Joppa by its elevated towers and surrounding groves of
palms and wild fig-trees.

  [29] That is, 32½ geographical miles, the rate given by
  Herodotus.

After passing the mouth of a river which empties itself about forty
stadia north of the port, the _Cabiros_ neared the shore, while the
_Melkarth_ and the two galleys, owing to the shallowness of the
water, were brought to anchor at about a stadium and a half away.

The harbour of Joppa is insignificant, and has neither basins nor
piers; scattered about the beach are a few cabins and dilapidated
hovels, in the midst of which rises the small fortress of rubble
built by King David when he opened traffic with the Phœnicians,
and made Joppa the port whither the firs and cedars hewn down in
Lebanon were brought on floats. A large Phœnician barque, and
a miserable Egyptian craft, with a goose as its figure-head, were
stranded in the mud below the beach, and on the beach itself were a
few wretched boats belonging to the Jewish fishermen.

Taking Hanno and Hannibal with me, I went on shore in one of my
small boats, for the purpose of paying a visit to the governor in
command of the little garrison that occupied the fortress. Before,
however, we had gone far, we saw the governor himself coming to meet
us, followed by about fifteen men armed with swords, lances, and
square shields. They wore linen girdles, fastened at the side by a
strap, which was finished off at the end with a cut and polished
flint. Their heads were bare, but their hair was arranged in a lot
of little tresses; upon their feet and legs were long laced gaiters,
and a panther's skin, according to Jewish habit, was thrown across
their shoulders. The captain alone was distinguished by a cuirass,
which was of copper, and badly made. As soon as I was within a few
paces of him I stopped and made him my salute, a courtesy which he
acknowledged, giving me to understand that he was already aware I
came as an envoy from King Hiram.

  [Illustration: MY SALUTE.
  _To face page 45._]

"Peace be with you!" he said. "Having been informed of your arrival,
I have come to offer you the escort to Jerusalem which you require.
But now, I beg you, come to the fortress and partake of what
hospitality we have it in our power to give."

We were pleased at our reception, and followed our host to the
vaulted gate of the tower that overhung the fortress. He conducted us
to a lofty chamber overlooking the sea, and made his servants spread
a carpet over the floor, that was but roughly paved. The walls of
the room were of the coarsest rubble and perfectly bare, the entire
building being of the most meagre construction. Water, bread, dried
figs, and cheese was the simple fare that was set before us, to
which, however, there was added some very palatable wine, which the
Jews, since their conquest of Syria, had been able to procure from
Helbon.

While the repast was being prepared we interchanged mutual inquiries
about ourselves and our respective kings, but the meal was no sooner
ready than the Jewish commandant set us the example of eating by
cramming his mouth chockfull of cheese.

Presently, as he observed me throwing glances round the room, he said:

"Ah, yes, you are thinking that we have not your Phœnician skill
in building! We lack your taste and finish. But, remember, we have
not your wealth nor your materials. However, you must recollect that
this is only a poor straggling village; patience! and you shall see
our populous cities, as well as our fertile country, before you reach
Jerusalem."

"The land of Judah," said Hannibal, "is not unknown to me. I have
traversed it already, and can bear witness to its richness and
fertility; truly it is a land of olives, dates, and corn and wine.
And not only are you husbandmen, you are proud of being warriors.
Every nation has its own pursuit. We men of Tyre and Sidon for
the most part are sailors full of ardour, and merchants full of
enterprise: but yet I think we may boast of our warriors, too: Arvad,
for instance, need not be ashamed of the generals she can show."

"True enough," rejoined the other, as his eye rested with involuntary
admiration on Hannibal's arms and cuirass, "and no doubt Phœnician
soldiers are well equipped."

"I can tell you," said Hannibal, "something that may perhaps surprise
you. In spite of your keeping no standing army, and of your never
admitting strangers into your service, I have myself served under
your king. It happened in this way: when I was very young I was taken
to the town of Cana, in the heritage of the sons of Asher; I grew up
as a child of the tribe, and eventually, at the regular age, I was
enlisted into your army."

The Jewish captain was delighted; he rose and embraced Hannibal, and
in token of their friendship they partook of a cup of wine, which was
afterwards passed on to Hanno and myself. "I belong," he said, "to
the tribe of Judah, through whose inheritance we shall have to pass
as we go to Jerusalem. The King is maintaining some troops at his own
expense, and I am one of the captains of twenty. My mission here is
to await your arrival; the requisite horses and asses are provided
for your journey, and you may start whenever it suits your wishes;
this very evening, if you choose."

"Impossible to-night," I answered; "I cannot be absent from the ships
until I have returned and made all things ready. To-morrow, however,
I shall be prepared."

As there seemed time at our disposal, he inquired whether he might
not be permitted to visit our ships, suggesting that as we were
Phœnicians, we might probably have commodities to offer that they
might be glad to purchase.

I explained that being in the royal service we were not carrying any
goods for commercial transactions, but had only such articles on
board as we hoped to barter for the provisions that we might require
on our way.

"In that case," he said, "I may perchance further your designs; we
have flocks of goats, and we have balm and olives in abundance. I
will serve you in any way I can. I am Chamai, the son of Rehaiah; my
father is well known throughout the country."

I acquiesced in his wish of visiting our ships, and he followed me
down after a very short interval.

During my absence the sailors had been displaying on the beach the
few articles that they had brought for their own private benefit,
and were driving a briskish trade with the fishermen and shepherds
that had gathered round them. On board the _Melkarth_ some of the
barter-goods were already unpacked, and Hanno was not long in drawing
up a list of such things as I was ready to part with, and such as
I was anxious to procure in exchange. The additions to my store of
which I was in especial need were ten measures of grain, two measures
of oil, a barrel of olives, half a measure of balm, six baskets of
dried figs, six baskets of dates, and fifty cheeses; and I further
instructed Bodmilcar, who superintended the exchanges, to purchase
some sheep and kids, in order that our men should be adequately
supplied with fresh meat until our arrival in Egypt. Other supplies
would be requisite; but for these I reckoned upon the generosity of
King David, and upon what I should be able to buy at Jerusalem.

Chamai expressed his great delight at the order and arrangement of
our ships; and as almost everything presented some feature of novelty
to him, he could hardly find words to describe his admiration. The
discipline of the crews and the completeness of the rigging seemed
equally to fill him with surprise. He accepted my invitation to
remain to supper; and as we were all seated on the poop of the
_Ashtoreth_, he gave a deep sigh, and exclaimed:

"How glorious your long voyages are! How glorious to be able
to obtain the wealth that the Great Sea can give! Here, in our
mountains, we are as ignorant as goats. From time to time we may
plunder a few villages, but our chiefs always get the lion's share of
the prey, which, after all, is meagre enough compared with what you
gain by commerce."

I reminded him how that there was something more to charm an
adventurer on the seas than merely getting wealth; there was the
advantage of seeing the wonders of the world.

"Ah, yes," he assented. "I have heard your Phœnician merchants
tell of enormous serpents, and of fishes fifty cubits long. I have
listened to their tales of valleys full of precious stones, and mines
with inexhaustible stores of silver and of gold. I know, too, that
they relate wonderful stories about giants, and about mountains that
belch forth fire and smoke."

"No doubt," I said, "you must allow a little for exaggeration in
travellers' tales; but beyond a question there are strange sights for
travellers to see."

"And do you not," he asked, "occasionally have to fight? I have had
some experience in fighting; I have slain Moabites and Philistines
with my own hand. I could fight again; and if you are likely to have
any more fighting I should like to go with you. Could you not take
me?"

Hannibal laid his hand upon Chamai's shoulder, and said: "Look here,
captain. If you are in earnest, perhaps that might be done. I want
forty recruits as archers. Would it be in your power to get them for
us?"

"Yes, yes!" he cried eagerly, adding his accustomed oath, "in the
name of El, the Lord of hosts."

"Get them then," I said; "and if they are forty sturdy fellows, fit
for soldiers, you shall have the command of them, under Hannibal." I
further delighted him by promising him a new cuirass, and a Chalybean
dagger with an ivory handle.

"Long live the King!" he cried, in an ecstasy of joy; and Hannibal
rubbed his hands with glee at the prospect of so successfully
recruiting the number of his troops, saying that now they might face
the world and conquer kingdoms.

"Whatever kingdoms I conquer," broke in Hanno, "I shall sell
forthwith, subjects and all; I shall put them up to auction to the
highest bidder, and shall purchase my palace with the proceeds. You,
Himilco, shall be appointed cup-bearer. 'When the goat is gardener,
the goat-skins are taken care of;' you know the proverb."

"But instead of talking about _your_ feast," said Himilco, drily, "we
may as well proceed to enjoy our own;" and he moved towards the table
on which the supper had now been laid.

We had hardly commenced our repast, when a sailor came from Bodmilcar
to announce that he had completed all his purchases. I inquired why
the captain himself did not come to join our party. The man said that
he could give no other reason than that he believed Bodmilcar had
invited the eunuch to supper with him on board the _Melkarth_.

Hanno turned pale.

"That rascally eunuch, I fear, is manœuvring some mischief," I
said, when the sailor had left us; "however, let us hope that the
women are not in the plot."

Hanno was on the point of hurrying off immediately to the cabin, when
the door opened, and the waiting-maid made her appearance, followed
by her mistress, closely veiled.

"Never fear, captain," said the maid, smiling; "the hawk may fly, but
the doves do not follow."

"Did he tell you to follow him?" I asked angrily.

"He did not insist upon it," replied the girl; "and we preferred
remaining here; we had no taste for taking up our quarters on that
big black ship."

I told her that she had only done right, and that I should reprimand
Hazael most severely if he made the slightest attempt at removing
them from my immediate supervision. She then made a request, to which
I willingly acceded, that they might enjoy a stroll in the fresh air
upon the deck; but before she turned away, Chamai, who had hitherto
been engrossed in some military discussion with Hannibal, caught
sight of her face, and suddenly starting to his feet, exclaimed:

"Abigail, you here!"

"Chamai, is it you?" she answered; and in an instant they were
grasping each other's hands; and gazing in each other's eyes, they
wept aloud.

As soon as Chamai had recovered his composure, he asked her by what
strange chance it happened that she was on board a Phœnician
vessel.

"Did you not know," she asked in return, "that the Philistines came
down on Guedor, our native village, and carried me off to Askelon,
and afterwards sold me to the Tyrians?"

"No," he said; "all this is new to me. I was away in the north,
fighting against the King of Zobah, and since that time, have not
been home."

It did not take Abigail long to regain all her wonted cheerfulness
and vivacity; and she went on to tell how she had been purchased
by the King of Tyre, and was now on her way to Egypt in attendance
upon the Ionian lady, whom King Hiram had bought at the same time as
herself, and whom he was now sending as a present to Pharaoh.

Chamai, in his turn, informed her that he was to be allowed to
accompany us in our expedition, but was loud in expressing his
regret that the voyage to Egypt would be so quickly over; he could
have wished, he said, that it would take as long as his forefathers'
wandering in the wilderness.

Touched by the incident of this mutual recognition, I invited the
girl to sit down for a little while amongst us; and requested Hanno,
who was acquainted with the Ionian dialect, to ask the lady to do the
same. With a graceful obeisance, she took her seat on a cushion that
was placed for her.

The evening meal proceeded pleasantly enough. Abigail and Chamai
entertained us with the story of their attachment, relating how in
the days of their early childhood they had tended goats together in
their native pastures. I could not refrain from expressing my sorrow
that they had met to be parted again so soon.

"But perhaps," said Abigail, "Pharaoh will not want to keep me; of
such as I am, King Pharaoh must have thousands. My mistress here is
sent for him; but me, surely, he will send back again."

Chamai clenched his strong fists, and gave an appealing look at me;
but I could give him no further consolation than by remarking that it
was very probable the company of the waiting-woman was only required
for the lady during the voyage.

"Apart from that," said Hannibal, "she would be lonely and desolate
enough. Little is the trouble that the eunuch Hazael puts himself to
for the sake of entertaining her."

Meanwhile, Hanno and the Ionian lady had entered into a conversation
so close, and apparently so confidential, that it gave me a feeling
of uneasiness; and in order to interrupt it, I took the opportunity,
while the wine-cups were being replenished, of asking Hanno whether,
as he had a reputation for playing the psaltery, he could not
persuade the lady to allow him to accompany her while she sung one
of the songs of her country. She had some slight acquaintance with
Phœnician, and answered for herself that she should have much
pleasure in singing as I wished.

Hanno fetched his psaltery, and as soon as it was tuned, the
captive damsel turned back her veil and revealed a countenance of
peculiar beauty. She was dressed as a Phœnician, in a purple robe
embroidered with silver, and wore a necklace composed of three rows
of gold beads and gold ornaments of elaborate design. Her head was
bare, and her hair was arranged in the fashion of her own country,
turned back from the forehead and secured in the middle. We sat in
silence, as though riveted by a spectacle of surpassing beauty.

  [Illustration: THE IONIAN COMMENCED ONE OF THE SONGS OF HER
  NATIVE LAND.
  _To face page 52._]

As soon as my slave had attached the earthenware lamps to the
supports that were ready for them in the ship's side, the Ionian,
in a rich harmonious voice, commenced one of the songs of her
native land. I cannot profess to be familiar with the Ionic tongue,
but in the course of my wanderings I had gained sufficient
acquaintance with it to be aware that the verses which she sung were
in celebration of the wars made long, long ago by her countrymen, the
Achæans, against Priam and the city of Troy. Ever and again, as her
voice rose in thrilling sweetness, Chamai's eyes could be noticed
flashing with emotion, and Hannibal's fingers seemed to be feeling
for the hilt of his sword; and even those who could not comprehend
the meaning of the words were all enraptured by the melody of the
song and the bewitching loveliness of the singer. When she had
finished, she rose and retired with a step stately as that with which
Ashtoreth might move along the floods.

Immediately after she had gone, Hanno moved to the ship's side, where
he stood for a considerable time gazing moodily into the water. I
missed his merry voice from our party, and going up to him asked him
what was the matter.

"Nothing but what will soon pass away," he replied.

"Take my advice," I said, "and let nothing be told Bodmilcar about
what has transpired this evening. I neither trust him nor the eunuch."

"Let Bodmilcar do as he pleases," replied Hanno, quickly. "For my
part, I shall abide by the promise I have made. What I want now is to
get to Tarshish, and to find adventures to divert me. I think I shall
be a good sailor yet, captain;" and his tone brightened as he spoke.
I shook him heartily by the hand. Somehow or other I felt myself
every day to be drawn closer to the youth.

When I rejoined the others I found Chamai on the point of returning
to shore.

"Good-night, Chamai," said I; "we meet again in the morning."

"Good-night, captain; good-night all;" and as soon as he was in the
boat he shouted, "Good-night, Abigail, my charming dove!"

"Good-night, my pretty lamb!" responded Abigail, saucily, as she
looked forth from the interior of her cabin.

At this very moment the eunuch arrived. "The fellow has good lungs,"
he sneered, as he passed; "but I question whether King Pharaoh would
be best pleased to know that his slaves had been displayed to all the
world."

"No, nor if he should learn that they have been entertained by a
ship's captain and his scribe," put in Bodmilcar, contemptuously
kicking aside Hanno's psaltery, which had been accidentally left upon
the cushion that had been occupied by the Ionian.

  [Illustration]

"Your proceedings displease _me_;" I began, in a tone of reproof; but
Bodmilcar interrupted me by saying sharply: "Hazael has the King's
authority for placing the slaves wherever he thinks best."

This was too exasperating. It was intolerable that a Syrian eunuch,
himself a mere slave, should presume to set up his authority over me,
a free man and a captain of a Sidonian fleet, and I stared steadily
at Bodmilcar, as if he could hardly be aware of what he said; but he
only returned my gaze with a look of defiance.

He proceeded in a haughty tone: "This Ionian damsel was once mine,
but she was stolen from me by men who sold her to the King. The King
sends her to King Pharaoh as a present, and I shall do my duty to the
King by preventing his present from falling into the hands of your
scribe."

I answered firmly: "In all these matters I alone am judge. On these
vessels my authority in all things is supreme, and woe to any one who
questions it."

"Well spoken!" cried Hannibal. "Discipline and obedience for ever!"

  [Illustration]

"I shall do _this_, then," he began, with a voice half-choked with
rage; but I took him up coolly and decisively: "You will do what I
order; you will go back to your ship and look after your sailors. I
shall be away five days."

He retreated slowly towards the boat, muttering threats and oaths as
he went, but to these I did not pay the slightest heed.

When he was gone, Hazael said: "And now I shall go and chastise that
girl."

I laid my hand upon his shoulder to deter him; but he shook himself
free, and was about to open the cabin-door, when the powerful grasp
of Hannibal was upon him, so that he was twisted completely round.

"How?--how now?" he stammered out, looking first at me and then at
Hannibal, who still retained a firm hold upon him. I folded my arms
and looked steadily at him.

"Listen!" I said; "listen to me. The rule of a Phœnician ship is
this: whoever defies the captain's orders is tied to a rope from the
yard-arm and dipped three times in the water. Do you understand me?"

Quivering with fear, the eunuch only bowed his head in assent.

"Remember it then," I added; "and remember, too, another rule: when
any one curses another he is fastened tight to that mast and flogged;
five-and-twenty lashes. Do you understand?"

He bent his head again.

"And don't forget," I said, "that Abigail has a busy tongue, and that
I have sharp ears. Now, Hannibal, let him go."

Hazael made his way to his cabin without a word. Hannibal could not
suppress his glee. He exclaimed: "Bravo! captain! all right! no good
doing things by halves; mutiny in a ship is as bad as rebellion in a
camp."

Early next morning I sent for Bodmilcar.

"Bodmilcar," said I, "you are an old Phœnician mariner and ought
to be trusted, but I am afraid the influence of that eunuch has
turned your head. He will not be long with us; and when he takes
his women ashore, I hope you will be yourself again: but meanwhile
you must give me your word that you will not be promoting further
discord."

He attempted to deny that he had in any way fostered discord, but I
was not to be put off; I insisted upon the promise being distinctly
given, and when he had yielded and made me the promise I required, I
said to him:

"Now, attend to my instructions. You will remain here in command
of the vessels, while I am gone to Jerusalem. Hanno and Hannibal
will accompany me, but Hasdrubal, Hamilcar and Himilco will remain
with you, and you will be under the protection of the soldiers. We
will make it our business to get provisions in the interior of the
country, so that you will have nothing to concern yourself about in
the way of purchases."

"And what becomes of the two women?" he inquired.

"That is my affair," I answered; "I shall see that they are provided
for on shore. But we are off at once; so look to your duty. Farewell!"

I directed Hanno and Hannibal to get into the boat, and ordered my
slave, with two sailors carrying the baggage, to accompany them. As
Hanno passed Bodmilcar, I noticed that the latter scowled and spat
upon the ground. Hanno merely shrugged his shoulders.

Before I took my own place in the boat, I saw the women and the
eunuch safely on board the other boat, and told two sailors to go
with them, and take on shore all that they might require. Hazael
tried to invent some pretext for remaining behind; he would look
after the baggage, he said, but on hearing me cry out, "No, no," he
embarked without further remonstrance.

Everything being ready, I gave the word for starting, and the two
boats moved off. Bodmilcar stood upon the poop watching us gloomily,
whilst Himilco, who was by his side, bade us good-bye with a friendly
cheer.

A very few strokes of the oar brought us to land; Chamai had been
impatiently awaiting our arrival, and hastened to assist Abigail
from the boat. We made our way straight to the village, which lies
in a grove of wild fig-trees, about two bowshots from the fortress,
and is provided with a good cistern. In front of the house that
seemed by far the most important in the place, there were tied two
horses and about a dozen asses. The horses were well caparisoned with
embroidered bridles, and had their heads decked out with scarlet
network, trimmed with little bells and parti-coloured rosettes,
their tails being tied up with scarlet bands. The asses' manes and
tails, according to a general custom, were dyed with henna, and these
animals, like the horses, were all well harnessed.

"This," said Chamai, "is the house of Bichri; he is one of the men
that I propose getting to join you on your voyage. He is young and
strong, and skilful in the use alike of his bow, his sword, and his
shield. He has been a vine-dresser on the mountains, and has learnt
the art of making wine."

Bichri himself at this moment came forward to give us his greeting;
he was accompanied by another man with a young woman.

"This is Barzillai, one of my captains of ten," said Chamai,
introducing him to me; "and this is his wife, Milcah; she is the
sister of our friend Bichri here, and is famous for the honey-cakes
she makes."

Hannibal suggested that Barzillai and his wife should join us on our
expedition, but Chamai explained that nothing would induce them to go
to sea.

I next proceeded to make arrangements for lodging the two women
during my absence. I found that they could either be accommodated in
the tower, or that they could be received into Bichri's house, where
they would be near enough to Barzillai to have the companionship of
his wife, and the protection of his men-at-arms. At first Chamai was
disposed to murmur when he learnt that Abigail was not to accompany
us to Jerusalem; but when he understood that it was my wish that
she and her mistress should remain together where they were, he
acquiesced without another word of disapprobation. To Barzillai I
give the strictest injunctions to allow no one, except the eunuch, to
see the Ionian lady on any pretence whatever, and he struck his hand
upon the hilt of his sword as a guarantee that he would be faithful
to his trust.

"And where am I to lodge?" asked the eunuch.

"Wherever you may choose," I answered; "in Bichri's house, if you
like."

"In my house!" cried Bichri; "a Syrian of Zobah in my house! No, no,
captain, by your leave, I'd rather not. It cannot be."

"Why not?" yelped out the eunuch; "are we Syrians not as good as you?"

"No; Syrians are slaves: our King conquered you at Zobah and Damascus
both; you are fleas, dead dogs!"

"True," chimed in Chamai; "the Philistines of Gaza and Askelon are
foes worth conquering, but as to Syrians, I could spit a dozen of
them on my lance and carry them across my shoulder."

"Ha, ha!" laughed Hannibal; "Chamai dearly loves a joke; he will make
good sport for us along our way."

To Barzillai's inquiries whether the women were ever to be allowed to
go out, I replied that Abigail, since she belonged to the country,
might occasionally take a walk in company with Milcah, but that the
Ionian must not be allowed to leave the house until my return. They
engaged to make the lady's time pass agreeably, and Milcah undertook
to initiate her into the art of making cakes and other delicacies.

Having thus satisfactorily made our preliminary arrangements, we
entered the house to partake of some refreshment before our departure.

In order to ensure that the guard should be sufficiently strong,
Barzillai had offered to find quarters in the village for fifteen
of our men in addition to his own. Hannibal accordingly sent to
the ships for fifteen archers to come on shore, and I took the
opportunity of sending by the same messenger to Hamilcar and those
who were with him, to inform them what I had done by way of putting
an effectual check upon any scheme that Bodmilcar and the eunuch
might concert between them.

The eunuch had declined joining our meal, and had returned sulkily to
the ships. Milcah conducted the Ionian to her apartment, but soon
reappeared, bringing a supply of her renowned honey-cakes, three for
every guest. So engrossed, however, were Abigail and Chamai with each
other's society, that they forgot all about taking their own shares,
which Hannibal was nothing loath to eat for them.

Bichri went out first to see that the horses and asses were in
readiness, and we followed him as soon as we had taken our leave of
Barzillai and Milcah. The parting between the young lovers, it need
scarcely be said, was somewhat protracted. Thoroughbred Sidonian as
I was, more accustomed to the rolling of a ship than the curvetings
of a steed, I declined mounting the high-spirited horse which the Jew
offered me, feeling that I should be more at my ease upon a pacific
steady-going ass. By my directions Hanno had made a present to our
host of a piece of scarlet cloth; to his wife I had given a pair of
silver earrings, with which she was extremely delighted; and we had
distributed a number of earthenware dolls and toys to the children
who crawled about or clambered on our knees. Chamai (who had donned
his new cuirass and bestowed his old one upon Barzillai), detained
us by running back a dozen times upon some frivolous pretext,
which ill disguised his real design of saying good-bye once more
to his sweetheart, but at last made up his mind to mount the horse
which Hanno, as well as myself, had refused to ride. Hannibal had
already mounted the other horse, and was exhibiting his skill as an
equestrian, by cantering about us. Of the asses, four were laden with
our baggage; Hanno, the two sailors, and my own slave, got upon the
others; and Bichri, with his strong mountaineer's stride, marched on
ahead of the caravan to pioneer the way.



CHAPTER IV.

KING DAVID.


After crossing the fertile corn-fields of the low-lying plains,
thickly studded with groves of figs and dates, and with clumps of the
stunted trees which abound in Judæa, expanding their parasol-like
foliage, we began to ascend the mountain by narrow pathways, bordered
by forests of terebinths, alternating with vineyards and plantations
of olives. This route, delightful in its shade, brought us to the
little town of Timnah, on the ridge of the hill, where Chamai
introduced us to a man who found us lodging, and provided shelter
for our beasts. Timnah is not only small, but it is most irregularly
built; it is encircled by an embattled wall, with two gateways and
twelve circular towers; the houses are only of one storey, being
detached, and generally surrounded by gardens.

We were tormented by myriads of fleas, which appeared to be
especially remarkable for avidity. There were also countless swarms
of flies; and Hannibal, who had taken off his cuirass in order that
he might more effectually scratch himself, remarked, with some show
of reason, that he thought the inhabitants of Judæa ought to implore
Beelzebub, as the god of flies, to relieve them of this plague of
vermin.

On the following morning, after traversing several ravines, and
crossing several ridges of the hilly but well-cultivated country,
we came in sight of a deep valley, sterile and deserted. The rocks
that formed alike its bottom and its sides were scattered over with
human bones, that were bleaching in the air. Towards the east some
eminences could be discerned, surmounted by a fort, whilst the
valley again sloped upwards towards the ridges that bounded it on the
south.

"This is the Valley of Giants," said Bichri, as he turned over a
skull with the end of a staff he carried.

"Well enough I know it," broke in Chamai. "When I was young I was
Benaiah's armour-bearer. Benaiah was one of King David's mighty men,
a captain of a hundred; one snowy day he killed a lion in a pit; and
once in single fight he slew an Egyptian giant; and here in this
very vale of Rephaim, when I was serving under him, we routed the
Philistines so utterly, that the men of Ashdod have been tributary to
us ever since."

"And I, too, can recall it well," said Hannibal. "The Philistines
were up there to the right, designing to storm the fortress in our
front; half-way down the valley the King encountered them and drove
them to their heights again. The heat of the battle was in the
valley, but the greatest carnage was on the flight up yonder ridge."

As we proceeded, Hannibal pointed out to us on the further side of
the valley the thirty stakes to which the King had had the chiefs of
the Philistines bound after the battle; fragments of the skeletons
were still attached to them.

"Ours is a good King," exclaimed Chamai; "Absalom, his son, rebelled
against him, but I stood fast by David."

"And I, too," said Bichri; "and a battle followed in which I killed
Othniel, the son of Ziba: I sent a javelin clean through his temples;
this girdle of purple linen, which I am wearing now, was his."

All along, as we proceeded, Chamai, Hannibal and Bichri continued
in this way to point out the sites, and to recall the history of
places and events to which any interest attached. Whenever we
passed a village or a town, the inhabitants, recognising us as
Phœnicians, came flocking towards us with offerings of milk,
dried grapes, figs, wine, or other refreshment, but were always
eager in their inquiries whether we had any commodities of our
own to sell. Bichri invariably told them that if they wished to
inspect our merchandise, they must either come to Jerusalem, whither
we were going, or go down to Joppa, where we had left our ships.
Occasionally the goat-herds, who were in charge of fine flocks upon
the hill-sides, accosted us, but we bought nothing of them except a
couple of the excellent cheeses of the country, for which we paid
only a few zeraas. As we were eating the cheeses under the shade of
a terebinth, some girls brought us cool water from a neighbouring
spring, and in acknowledgment of their attention, Hanno gave them a
number of glass beads, with which they seemed highly delighted.

  [Illustration: SHORTLY BEFORE SUNSET WE REACHED JERUSALEM.
  _To face page 63._]

Shortly before sunset, on the evening of the second day we reached
Jerusalem, a city very strongly built upon a steep and elevated
plateau. The distant view of the city is extremely striking; the soil
on which it is built is undulating and irregular, so as to produce
an effect of the whole place being literally studded with domes and
terraces; the whiteness of the walls, and the numerous roofs that
are imbedded in the foliage of the olive-yards that skirt the walls,
all combine to make up a picture that cannot fail most favourably to
impress the traveller with its beauty.

After crossing a road that was bounded on one side by the torrent
of Kedron, and which was lost to view as it deflected towards the
deserts, we had surmounted the last of the olive-covered hills, and
passed the last of the ravines, and soon began ascending a paved
street, wide enough to admit three horsemen abreast, of which the
houses were of brick, their gardens being enclosed by low clay walls.
Night was coming on, and Chamai, who had galloped on ahead (leaving
us to the guidance of Bichri), was now awaiting us at the gate of a
large garden attached to a handsome brick house of two storeys. This
house was the residence of Ira, one of the King's officers, to whom
the duty was specially entrusted of providing for the entertainments
of foreign ambassadors. Immediately on our arrival, some slaves
came to take charge of our beasts, and to carry our baggage into the
dwelling, where we were first conducted into a long low room, and
water was brought us for our feet. It was not long before Ira himself
appeared to bid us welcome, and to offer us refreshment. I informed
him of my name and errand, and showed him the letter I bore from
King Hiram to King David. He raised it to his head in token of his
respect, and promised to give his sovereign an immediate notice of my
arrival.

When we had completed our repast, I began to prepare my presents
for King David. First of all I chose a hyacinth-coloured under
tunic, made of the finest Egyptian linen, and a purple upper tunic
embroidered round the neck and sleeves with flowers, and bordered
with silver fringe; to these I added a girdle wrought in gold and
silver, with a lion's head in gold for a clasp, the eyes being of
bright enamel. This girdle was a most elaborate specimen of Egyptian
workmanship, being one of four that I had purchased of a native
artist, intending them for presents to any monarchs to whose presence
I might be admitted in the course of my progress. Another gift that
I selected was a drinking-cup of silver with two handles; it was
raised upon a stem, and embossed with ornaments, worked in gold,
representing fruit and flowers. The whole of these I deposited in
a box of the sandal-wood of Ophir, curiously inlaid with gold and
mother-of-pearl. Remembering that the King was not only fond of
music, but was himself a skilful performer, I further looked out for
him a three-stringed harp of sandal-wood, ornamented with coloured
tufts, and surmounted by the figure in solid gold of a bird with open
beak and outstretched wings. This instrument could not be matched
out of Phœnicia, and the wood of which it was made, like that of
the box, had been brought from Ophir. I had procured the harp from
Khelesh-baal, a Sidonian, to whom it had been given by the Queen of
Ophir as an acknowledgment of his having designed some ships for her
which could brave the open sea.

Early next morning when Ira came to inform me that he had announced
my arrival to the King, he expressed his astonishment at the presents
which I showed him I was about to make; he told me that they would be
most acceptable to the King, who was very desirous of seeing me.

About two hours afterwards some of the royal slaves arrived, bringing
a calf, some bread, several cheeses, a basket of cakes and figs,
a large jar of olives, and a still larger jar of the good wine of
Helbon; one of them, saluting me as an ambassador from King Hiram,
said:

"I am instructed by King David to conduct you and your companions to
the palace: come at once."

I gave the box containing the presents to my two sailors to carry,
and collected my people together. Hannibal donned his helmet and
cuirass, Hanno put his official inkhorn in his girdle, and we lost
no time in setting off. Chamai and Bichri both accompanied us: they
were in high glee, the latter especially, as, although he was one of
David's subjects, he had never hitherto seen his King. On our way he
remarked:

"David wronged our tribe of Benjamin; but he made amends by his
kindness to Saul's kindred. He is truly the glory of the tribes: I
shall be rejoiced to see him; I have never seen him yet."

"And after all," said Chamai, "he did not want to be hard upon the
tribe of Benjamin; it went against his heart. Think, too, of his love
for Jonathan, and of his marrying Michal; and Jonathan and Michal
were both Saul's children. And how he avenged the death of Saul
himself! He has no ill-will against you children of Benjamin."

"He is a valiant King," said Hannibal; "and valiant, too, is his
general, his sister Zeruiah's son. He and Joab, both are warriors
worthy of their renown."

While this conversation had been going on, we had been making our
way through a succession of steep, narrow streets, with houses, one
or two storeys high, and gardens on either hand. Seeing that we were
ushered along by the royal servants, easily recognised as these were
by the purple borders of their white garments, all the people saluted
us respectfully as we passed, an evidence of the high esteem in which
the King is held by his subjects.

We crossed a quarter of the city known by the name of Millo, and
came to a canal which runs out in the direction of the open country,
and which is overhung by an eminence called Sion, the entire space
between Sion and Millo being occupied by houses recently erected at
the King's own cost. In the surrounding wall there still remained the
breach which had been opened by David, when he took the city from the
Jebusites. On the summit of Sion stands a fortress, in the interior
court of which the royal palace has been built. Designed by Tyrian
architects, this is three storeys high, with a central dome, and is
surrounded by magnificent gardens, the edifice for the most part
being constructed of hewn stone and sandal-wood. On either side of
the gateway are two stately pillars of bronze, and against the wall,
to the right of one of these pillars, is placed the seat where the
King sits to administer justice; the gallows for the execution of
capital sentences being close at hand. In the rear are other gardens,
and the buildings set apart for the women of the household.

Ira was at the palace-gate to meet us, and conducted us by a winding
staircase into a square apartment, well lighted, and hung with
tapestries figured with birds and flowers. At one end was a raised
sandal-wood dais, three steps above the level of the floor; upon this
stood the throne, which was likewise of sandal-wood, but perfectly
plain and unadorned either with carving or gilding, a lion's skin
stretched out at its foot. On the right hand stood Joab, the King's
general, in helmet and cuirass; at a little distance behind was the
royal armour-bearer holding the King's sword, while his lance rested
against the wall; several officers were stationed upon the steps;
and in front four of the King's body-guard of mighty men, with their
swords drawn.

Seated upon the throne was the monarch himself, a man of moderate
stature and slight build, advanced in years, but nevertheless
retaining unimpaired every symptom of agility and vigour. His
straight, uncurled beard was perfectly white, but his hair was
dressed in the ordinary fashion of his countrymen. His costume was
very simple; neither frontlet nor coronet adorned his brow; no
bracelets encircled his wrists; no rings were upon his toes; he
wore a plain white tunic with a purple border, and instead of the
high-heeled shoes usually worn by kings, he had on his feet a pair of
mountaineer's sandals. There was nothing in his attire to distinguish
him from ordinary men; only by the penetrating glance of his clear
blue eye could he be marked out as one that was born to reign.

  [Illustration: WAITING FOR THE KING TO SPEAK.
  _To face page 67._]

My people having ranged themselves in a line behind me, I stepped
forward and prostrated myself at the foot of the dais; then rising, I
stood with folded hands, waiting for the King to speak. He began by
bidding me welcome, and proceeded to ask whether our voyage hither
had been prosperous, and made numerous inquiries after the welfare
of the kings of Tyre and Sidon and their subjects. Expressing his
satisfaction at the tenor of my answers, he called for King Hiram's
letters to himself. I handed the sealed papyrus to one of the
officers, who presented it open to the King. The King perused it
deliberately, and turning to me with a kindly smile, said:

"Mago, son of Maherbaal, I rejoice to see you. Who are these that you
bring with you?"

One by one, I introduced my companions.

The King expressed his approval at seeing Chamai and Bichri amongst
my followers, and said:

"I like my younger people to travel; it gives them courage, as well
as wisdom and experience. I am glad, too, that your soldiers are
under the command of Hannibal; he is an able leader; I remember him
well. And now," he continued, "Jehoshaphat the recorder shall prepare
you a catalogue of the materials which I require you to procure and I
leave it to your own discretion to purchase, in addition, whatever
else you may meet with that is curious or rare. It remains for me to
inquire what are the supplies you need before you start."

I explained that I was anxious that forty experienced men should be
added as recruits to Chamai's force, and that a sufficient store of
corn and wine and oil, and other things that would not be the worse
for keeping, might be provided to maintain us on our voyage.

"Just and fair are your demands," replied the King. "Joab shall
choose you out forty men, whom Chamai and Hannibal may command, and
my treasurer shall hand you over the money needed for their pay. Ira
shall take you to the storehouses, and you shall be at liberty to
select what stores you please; he will provide you also with asses to
convey them to the ships. You have only to say what you require, and
it is yours."

Again I prostrated myself before the King in token of my gratitude,
and requested him graciously to accept the presents that I had been
commissioned to deliver. He seemed highly gratified, and inquired
with the liveliest interest about the history of each gift, as it was
shown him; he then rose, and bade us follow him into an adjoining
room, where wine was prepared for us. He insisted upon drinking
from the cup which I had just given him, and when he had taken his
seat again upon his throne, which had been brought in after him, he
honoured me still further by asking me about the various countries I
had visited. His curiosity seemed wakened by my replies, and amongst
other things, he asked me whether peacocks and asses were not found
in the West. I informed him that they came from Ophir, whither,
subject to his permission, I contemplated making a voyage upon my
return.

"You are a dauntless man," he said, "to talk about a second voyage
before you have accomplished a first. I admire your courage,
and confess that Hiram has done well in choosing you for this
undertaking. I want now to show you the site of the temple that it is
in my heart to rear."

With a tread elastic as a young man's, the King conducted us from the
palace to an adjacent hill upon which was a threshing-floor. The name
of the hill was Moriah.

"I have just bought this threshing-floor and some oxen, for fifty
shekels of silver, of Araunah the Jebusite," he said; adding, "to my
mind, the spot is adapted equally for a temple or for a fortress."

Hanno remarked, "I have heard it said that the King has taken
more fortresses than he has built, and that his sword is the best
stronghold of his people."

"You are a flatterer, scribe," said the King, smiling; "nevertheless,
I believe that bold hearts do more to defend their country than any
masses of piled-up stone."

"Then I am no flatterer," rejoined the scribe; "I do but echo the
King's own sentiments. Happy the people whose pride and confidence
are in their King!"

"If you use such silvery speech to women," replied the King, "you
must ultimately marry a princess."

Hanno coloured: the King laughed, and turning to me said that I had
an excellent scribe.

"Ah, my lord and King," said Hanno, "we are going where eloquence
can avail us nothing. The winds and waves of the Great Sea will not
listen to the smooth speech of Canaan. The barbarians of the West
will demand a language of a rougher, sterner sort. Compliments will
not move the men of Tarshish."

The King was evidently much pleased with Hanno, and told him that he
should be gratified if he would bring him back a written description
of whatever he might see in the course of his voyage; he further
inquired whether he had any of his own compositions with him. Upon
this, Hanno handed him a little scroll inscribed with some verses he
had written in praise of a lady. After the King, himself a poet of
the highest order, had admired the flow of the lines, and commended
the beauty of the handwriting, he presented Hanno with a copy of some
of his own poetry.

"There is another poetry," said Hanno, "of a severer style, which
the King has written in the valley of Rephaim, and on many another
battle-field: I fear he cannot give us that."

In an instant David took the sword from his armour-bearer's hand.
"Here," he said, "is the pen that wrote it. Take it; it may give you
the power to write verses of the character that, in the valley of the
giants, I have made to the honour of my God."

"The King's word is a prophecy," said Hanno, kissing the blade; "be
it my care that it comes to pass!"

We had now to take our leave of the kind and courteous King, and I
went with Ira direct to the storehouses, whilst Hannibal, Chamai, and
Bichri followed Joab.

The chief storehouse is a long brick building approached by a paved
pathway lined with sycamines; it is built in the Phœnician style
over a water-tank, and is flanked by the stables for the royal
chariots and the meadows for the horses and other cattle. Hanno had
prepared a list, of which a duplicate copy was written for the King:
the items were a hundred measures of grain, fifty measures of oil,
fifty measures of wine, equal quantities of cheese, figs, and dried
grapes, and two thousand shekels of dry salt meat: to these were
added salt, beans, lentils, and dates, Ira undertaking that asses,
with drivers, should be ready to convey them all to the ships on the
following morning.

King David is renowned for generosity; and on our return to Ira's
house we found that several of the royal servants had arrived before
us, bringing various presents for us all. For myself there was a
shield, a lance, a dagger, and an Egyptian battle-axe; for Hannibal,
a sword and a mace of Chaldean manufacture; for Bichri, a bow and
quiver and an archer's belt; while for Hanno there was another sword,
in addition to the one he had already received.

Towards evening Hannibal returned, bringing word that he had
completed his number of men; Jehoshaphat also came to bring me the
King's final letters of instruction.

On rising the next morning I found the street outside the house
crowded with asses and their drivers, the beasts being laden with
the heavy packs containing our supplies; we had therefore nothing
further to do than to take leave of our host. I gave him two phials
of royal perfume for his wives, and without further delay we took our
departure for Joppa.

Our return journey was unmarked by any special incident. From time
to time Bichri gave us proof of his dexterity by using his new bow
to shoot partridges and other birds while they were on the wing, and
Hanno (with his sword passed through his girdle in Jewish fashion)
was as gay as ever, beguiling the time with cheerful songs.

"Every one owns King David as a prophet," he repeated more than once;
"and as I have David's sword, I should think I might conquer the
world."

"I hope you do not intend to kill King Pharaoh," said I, rather
startled at his martial enthusiasm.

"Pshaw!" he replied; "my mistress is Ashtoreth, queen of sea and sky!
She can laugh to scorn Pharaoh and Bodmilcar, both alike!"

Bichri interrupted us by bringing a partridge he had just brought
down. "Can you tell me, captain," he asked, "whether there are any
vines in Tarshish?"

"To the great regret of our Phœnician colonists," I answered,
"there are no vines at all."

"It may be a good thing then," he rejoined, "that I have brought some
cuttings with me. The climate is warm, even as our own, and who can
tell whether ere long they shall not be producing wine as good as
ours?"

"An excellent venture of yours, archer," I replied; "I wish your
foresight all success."

The tower of Joppa and the masts of our vessels were hardly visible
in the distance before we espied Abigail advancing towards us. Chamai
alighted from his horse, and received her with a warm embrace.

"What news?" said I, hurrying forward.

Learning that all was well, I left the young people together, and
made my own way down immediately to the beach. The first person that
I saw was Barzillai, who informed me that the eunuch had not been
into the village since my departure, and that no one had attempted to
hold any communication with the Ionian lady. Very shortly afterwards,
Hamilcar and all the rest, including Bodmilcar, came to greet me on
my return, and we proceeded at once to embark the supplies that we
had brought. I put all the fresh recruits on board my own galley,
thus making up my full complement of 210 men; namely, 50 rowers, 70
sailors, 80 soldiers, and 10 officers.

While the drivers were assisting my own people to unlade the asses,
one of them, a man of gigantic size and stature, stalked up to
me, swinging his arms, and stood looking at me with a fixed and
steady gaze. His appearance was remarkable; his short bull-neck was
imbedded, as it were, between his immense broad shoulders, and he had
long shaggy hair that hung close over his brow and was met by a thick
beard that grew almost up to his eyes.

"Do you want me?" I asked.

In a stentorian voice he answered, "I am Jonah, of the village of
Eltekeh, in the tribe of Dan."

"Well, what of that?" I said.

"I want to go with you: I want to go where the wild beasts are."

"But what for; what can you do if you get there?"

"I want to go," again he growled.

"But you can do nothing; what is the use of taking you?"

"I want to go," he still persisted.

Puzzled in my mind, I asked him whether he could in any way make
himself of use on board a ship.

"I am strong," he said; "I am a descendant of Samson; I can carry an
ox upon my shoulders, and I can blow a trumpet;" and as he spoke he
struck himself heavily in the chest.

Hannibal, who all this while had been scanning the man with the eye
of a connoisseur, observed: "I don't think we shall find a cuirass
big enough to fit the fellow; but he looks as if he mightn't be a bad
trumpeter;" and turning towards him, he said: "Now look here, man; I
have a good trumpeter already; but if Captain Mago will allow it, I
should like to have a trumpet-match, and see which of you can blow
the best."

  [Illustration]

Of course I had no objection to allege, and Hannibal's trumpeter was
summoned to the spot. A huge clarion was fetched from the stores and
handed to Jonah, and thus the rivals were brought face to face in the
middle of a circle of curious listeners.

"Blow away, my men," said Hannibal, "as hard as you like!"

Both raised their instruments to their lips, and simultaneously gave
forth a series of strong, clear notes, which waxed louder and louder,
as the performers, with necks outstretched and inflated cheeks,
seemed to grow warm to the work. After a considerable time, during
which neither appeared to have much superior power, the eyes of
Hannibal's trumpeter began to start painfully from their sockets, and
he showed symptoms of evident fatigue; whilst Jonah, although the
veins of his neck were swollen as large as one's finger, continued
to give forth notes that almost split our ears, and which seemed
still louder in contrast to the enfeebled strain of his competitor.
At last, when full fifteen minutes had elapsed, Hannibal's herald
gave one prolonged and plaintive note, and sunk down upon a stone,
breathless and exhausted. Jonah, without exhibiting any sign of
distress, stood with his hand upon his hip, and raising his trumpet
high into the air, gave vent to a loud triumphal flourish.

"Enough, enough!" we shouted one and all.

"Bring out the very largest scarlet tunic that we have on board,"
said Hannibal; "the fellow has gained his day."

"Then may I go?" asked Jonah.

Hannibal made him understand that I had given my consent, and told
him to put on the tunic. While he was endeavouring to fasten the
garment, which seemed ready to burst out at every seam, Himilco
walked round him, and surveyed him with a puzzled air.

"I should like to see inside the rascal," he said; "I have never
heard such lungs."

"I am thirsty," roared the giant.

A great cup of wine was handed to him; he drained it at a gulp.

"Do you call that a draught?" he asked. "I should give as much to my
little children; can't you let me drink from a pitcher or a cask?"

Himilco refilled the cup, and handed it back to Jonah. With an air of
wonder, that almost amounted to terror, he muttered to himself, "An
extraordinary fellow, but it will cost us something to keep him!"

When we had embarked all our goods, we took leave of Barzillai and
his wife. The Ionian bade a most affectionate farewell to Milcah,
who had treated her with the greatest kindness and hospitality.
Abigail was the last to leave the shore, and when she did so, it was
with a look, long and lingering, towards her native mountains.

By the following evening we had rounded the point of Pelusium, easily
distinguished from the surrounding lowland by its rising grove
of palms. The sea was rough, and to many on board the consequent
sickness was very trying. Towards noon next day we came in sight of
the troubled waters caused by the outflow of the Nile.



CHAPTER V.

PHARAOH ARRIVES TOO LATE.


We shortly hove in sight of what is known as the Tanitic mouth of
the Nile, beyond which, in the distance, could be discerned the
tall obelisks of the City of Tanis. The deposit brought down by the
river itself, combined with the action of the wind and surf upon the
two headlands of the bay, has a perpetual tendency to block up this
outlet of the Nile; and when the _Cabiros_, which had been sent on
ahead to explore the bar, returned with the intelligence that the
water was too shallow to permit a safe passage to the _Melkarth_, I
determined to push on a little further to the Mendezian mouth, which
is considerably wider, and which leads, moreover, direct to Memphis.
Night was coming on, so that I would not venture to stem the somewhat
rapid current of the river in the dark, but brought my ships to
anchor within a bowshot of the shore.

Hazael came to me and asked permission to pass the night with his
friend Bodmilcar. I was equally surprised at his request, and at the
submissive manner in which he made it; but after ascertaining that
the Ionian was in her cabin, and that Abigail was with Chamai on
deck, I allowed him to go.

Remembering that we had arrived at a land of strangers, with whom
hitherto we had held no communication, I doubled the watch, and gave
Hannibal special directions to keep a sharp look-out. The order in
which our ships were arranged was this: on the right, furthest to the
south, was the _Cabiros_; the _Ashtoreth_ was moored to some piles
about half a bowshot behind; the _Melkarth_ and the _Dagon_ were
stationed on the opposite bank, where the water was deeper. One of
the small barques was with me, the other with the _Melkarth_.

Anchored higher up the river were several Egyptian vessels, and a
considerable number was drawn up upon the shore. I wondered why there
should be so many at a spot where there was no regular anchorage,
but I subsequently learnt that Pharaoh was about to send forth a
squadron for the purpose of putting down a revolt that had broken
out at Pelusium. Two officers, accompanied by a troop of soldiers,
some armed with battle-axes, and some with bows, had already boarded
my ship to inquire who we were and what we wanted, and had retired
satisfied with my explanation. As the shades of night deepened, we
could observe the lights of two galleys cruising about in the open
channel, and shortly afterwards another Egyptian came on board and
ordered my own lights to be extinguished, a direction which was
instantly obeyed.

The night was intensely warm, and the scorching east wind, laden
with the sand of the desert, blew from time to time in dry and
unrefreshing gusts. The sky was overcast, and although the night
was not black it was so dark that little could be distinguished
except the gleam from the fires of a large camp pitched on the right
bank, and the inconstant lights of the distant villages on either
shore. Close in front of us were still burning the torches of the
two galleys I have mentioned; but besides these, there was only the
occasional flicker from some little boat that moved upon the stream.

Towards midnight, five or six hours after our anchoring, I resigned
my watch to Himilco, intending to take some rest. On my way to my
berth I cast my eye towards the right bank, and through the gloom I
could see indistinctly that there was a crowd of vessels there; but
everything was silent, and I went below.

I had not been asleep for more than a half-an-hour when I was roughly
aroused by Himilco.

"We are adrift!" he exclaimed.

In an instant I was upon my feet, and rushed to examine our moorings.
They were cut asunder.

"All hands on deck! lights! light the lamps!" I cried with all my
might; and at the same time I noticed lights appearing on the left,
and heard a distant voice hailing the _Ashtoreth_ with the cry,
"Our moorings have been cut, and we are all adrift." I shouted in
reply that they should come over to us; it was only too evident that
another of our ships was in the same dilemma as ourselves.

Meantime my crew had come on deck, and had lighted several signals. I
ordered the rowers to their benches, and made them backwater gently
so as to keep us steady until the other ship should join us. At the
distance of about four bowshots behind, I made out the _Cabiros_
hoisting her lights, and could hear the voices of the crew in great
excitement. Almost immediately there was a splash of oars, and
the _Dagon_ came alongside of us. I shouted to Hasdrubal, who was
standing on board:

"Where's the _Melkarth_?"

Getting no satisfactory reply, I immediately ordered the three ships
on to the left bank. The _Dagon_ went straight across the river; I
followed, taking an oblique course, and the _Cabiros_, hastening
ahead, went a little way south, and then turned back due north,
keeping as close as possible to the shore.

During the time we were getting across, Hannibal had just put all his
men under arms, as it occasioned us much surprise that while there
was this commotion amongst ourselves the Egyptians had made no sign
nor sound; their lights were out, and their cruisers no longer to
be seen. The _Cabiros_ rejoined us, and reported that she had seen
nothing; nor even after we had descended the river a couple of stadia
was a single Egyptian vessel visible, and it was not until we were
within hearing of the roar of the waves at the river's mouth that we
almost ran against some black mass that loomed through the darkness.

"Back to your moorings, Phœnicians! no leaving the river at
night!" shouted a voice, in Egyptian.

"We don't want, I can tell you," I replied, "to be running away like
a set of thieves. We have been cut adrift, and one of our ships has
disappeared."

"Then get fresh moorings," was the answer: "you must wait till
morning. By Pharaoh's orders, you cannot leave to-night."

There was no help for it but to obey; and sending some men on shore
in the small boat with torches, we succeeded in finding an anchorage.
But scarcely had we settled in our places, when our attention was
arrested by a voice from the middle of the river gasping out in
Phœnician, "Help! help!"

We put off a boat in the direction of the sound; the cry was repeated
still closer to us, and in a few minutes the boat returned alongside,
and one of my sailors, dripping with water, was hoisted on to the
deck of the _Ashtoreth_. He was in a pitiable condition, his face all
bleeding, and his head gashed open in several places.

"Treason, treason! we are betrayed by Bodmilcar!" was all he could
utter, as he staggered and fell senseless on the deck. I ordered
him to be laid upon a piece of carpet, whilst Abigail chafed his
face with ointment, and Himilco put some wine to his lips. I had
ascertained quite enough to put me on my guard, and consequently had
our lights extinguished, permitting only one lamp and one torch to
each ship: and I gave directions to the watch to keep a keen look-out.

Meanwhile the poor fellow had recovered his consciousness, and
Hanno, Hannibal, Himilco, Chamai, and myself, pressed round him to
gather what he had to say. One of our sailors supported his head to
facilitate his power of speech, and Abigail and the Ionian knelt
beside him, with the wine and ointment.

"I went this evening," began the man, "to visit a friend of mine
on board the _Melkarth_. You know the crew are nearly all Tyrians.
Bodmilcar has tampered with them all. He has had an interview with
Pharaoh's general, and told him that you are spies in league with the
insurgents at Pelusium; he said, too, that you had a slave on board
your ship, whom he was bringing to Pharaoh, but who had escaped.
His people urged me to join the conspiracy, and when I refused they
all threatened to kill me. I jumped overboard. An Egyptian boat
pursued me. I was twice struck on the head by an oar. I dived beneath
the water. I suppose they thought I had sunk; as they gave up the
pursuit. Orders have been given to seize us all to-morrow. We are to
be attacked in the morning, and carried off to Pharaoh. I can tell no
more."

  [Illustration]

The exertion of telling all this had been too much for the brave
fellow, and he fainted away again. My first impulse was to rush to
my cabin for the King's letters, but to my amazement they had all
disappeared; they had evidently been stolen during my absence at
Jerusalem We were overwhelmed with consternation. Hanno was the
first to speak:

"All is plain enough," he said; "Bodmilcar is the thief. Hazael, you
know, has the King's signet ring; and the rascals have opened the
papers, altered their purport, and closed them again with the royal
seal. Bodmilcar has carried them and presented them; he represents
himself as leader of the expedition, and denounces you as a traitor.
He gets believed: and what is the result? why, sure as fate, we shall
be made prisoners, and only too likely we shall be put to death.
Abigail, of course, will be sent to Pharaoh."

"Not while I have a sword to defend her," said Chamai, stamping with
rage.

"Yes," continued Hanno, coolly; "no doubt Abigail will be handed over
to Pharaoh, and the fair Chryseis will be awarded to Bodmilcar as a
recompense for his service."

Hanno groaned aloud, and Hannibal furiously twirled his moustache.

"I have no doubt, Hanno," I said, "that all your conjectures are
right. But it's rather soon to despair. Perhaps you haven't been with
us old mariners long enough to learn our seamen's song about the
Egyptians?"

I began to whistle an air, and Himilco, with a merry laugh, broke out
with the gay refrain:

    "The bull-head tribe, with all their skill,
    Must catch the man they fain would kill."

The effect was instantaneous. My whole party almost smothered me
in their delight. Hanno threw himself at my knees and grasped one
of my hands; Abigail seized the other, and covered it with kisses;
Hannibal caught hold of my cuirass on one side; Chamai lugged at me
on the other. Altogether, I was in a fair way of being strangled. The
Ionian, who partially comprehended my meaning, could only express
her gratitude by the bright glance of her soft eyes.

As soon as I had extricated myself from the embraces of the
enthusiastic group, I pointed out to them a confused mass of Egyptian
boats, now just visible in the dawn.

"If there were only half-a-dozen of those fresh-water
tortoise-shells," said I, "our three ships could soon show them the
way to the bottom of the Nile; but there is such a lot of them!
Besides, they have forces on land, and the river isn't wide enough
for us to get out of their reach. Bodmilcar, too, will lend them a
helping hand, and he is an old stager; his ship, it is true, is not
much in fighting trim, but it is manned with Tyrians. However, we
mustn't give up! Patience! Trust yourselves to me!"

"Yours we are to the death!" cried Hanno; while Hannibal, with his
teeth set, growled out, that if any one disobeyed my orders it should
be the worse for him. Chamai, almost beside himself with excitement,
clasped Abigail in his arms, and vowed he would bring her the head
and spoils of the first foe he should meet, even if it were Pharaoh
himself.

Hamilcar and Hasdrubal, with his pilot Gisgo, now came on board for
my orders.

"I never trusted that Tyrian," said Hamilcar; "and I am glad to have
the chance of fighting it out with him; and my men are as delighted
as myself."

"Ha, ha! Himilco," laughed Gisgo the earless, "we shall have some
sport now."

"Yes, old Celt," replied Himilco, "we will teach the rascals to swim."

I shook hands heartily with all three men, and they returned to
their ships. It was now broad daylight, and casting my eye towards
the river, I reconnoitred the enemy's position. Below-stream the
Egyptian galleys were under way; opposite to us, on the left bank,
were about forty small boats, each manned with four rowers and five
soldiers, and a troop of nearly a hundred bowmen were assembling
hastily on the right-hand shore. Looking up-stream, I could count as
many as six galleys about two stadia away; two large heavy ships,
with hanging decks, were sailing down the left bank; and mid-channel
I recognised the towering sides and rounded prow of the _Melkarth_,
her oars shipped, and her sails furled, being towed by a low,
open rowing-boat. The camp, of which we had noticed the fires in
the darkness, was much too far off to be visible by daylight. The
shore on either side was perfectly flat and treeless, but covered
with fields of clover and of corn that was nearly ripe, as the
harvest-time was drawing nigh. On the left bank, about two bowshots
from the water, a steep dyke, surmounted by a causeway, had been
thrown up as a protection during the annual inundation. Far away to
the south, the white buildings of a city could be distinguished; and
in the north could be seen the yellowish-whitey waters of the river
bar, with the broad green surface of the sea beyond.

We were hardly six stadia from the mouth of the river; the strong
east wind and the current were both in our favour, and once out at
sea we should have little to fear. I determined, therefore, to make
an attack upon the Egyptians before the _Melkarth_ could get ahead
of us, for I knew that once in front of us, her very bulk would be a
formidable obstacle to our retreat, and that she could overwhelm us
with a storm of missiles; while the superior height of her deck would
not only prevent our men from boarding her, but, on the contrary,
would give her men every facility for boarding us.

My first manœuvre was to slip my moorings, and to take up my
position in the middle of the channel, so as to be out of reach
of the archers on the shore. The _Dagon_ had shifted her prow to
the north, and lay half a bowshot below me; the _Cabiros_ was to
my left, her prow southward. The sails were all furled, the rowers
were ordered to backwater very gently so as to just keep the vessels
in their places, and each pilot took his stand by the side of the
helmsman. Hannibal posted his archers fore and aft, and grouped
his soldiers round the mast. Hanno and I mounted the prow, and my
trumpeter followed. The gigantic Jonah remained with Hannibal; he
could not be persuaded either to put on a cuirass or to take a lance,
but stood, clarion in hand, watching all our preparations with a
curious eye.

The scorpions had already been supplied with missiles, and each
vessel was provided with a number of earthenware pots filled with
sulphur and pitch. We improvised, also, a quantity of fire-ships,
formed of small planks, into which spikes were driven, to which were
fastened well-greased goat-skins charged with combustibles.

We had not long to wait. Very soon were heard the shrill notes of the
small Egyptian trumpets, and the decks of the ships were seen manned
with troops. I could discern the smooth brown faces of the soldiers,
and make out that they were armed with battle-axes and large
triangular shields; and I could see that the archers, with their legs
bare, and poignards in their girdles, were ranged along the sides
of the ships. The rowers, more than half-naked (clothed merely by a
strip around their loins), plied their paddles, according to their
custom, standing. On board the _Melkarth_, Bodmilcar was easily
distinguished; he was in a state of great excitement and activity,
and apparently giving some explanation to an Egyptian officer, a man
dressed in green and wearing a large wig, with his face and arms
painted with cinnabar, in accordance with the common fashion of their
men of rank.

The soldiers that manned the small boats were nearly as slightly
clad as the rowers; they carried poignards in their girdles, and
were armed with axes and staves pointed at both ends, in the use of
which the Egyptians are notoriously skilful. Although all appeared in
considerable commotion, not one of the vessels made any attempt to
advance, and there seemed a general state of expectation.

The solution of all this was soon apparent. A large boat was seen to
detach itself from the general mass, and make its way down-stream
towards us. Eight rowers stood paddling on the raised bow and stern;
twelve soldiers, with square plates of bronze strapped on their
breasts, and armed with lances, daggers, and short scimitars, were
in the middle; and amongst them was an Egyptian officer of high
rank. He was arrayed in two tunics of striped gauze, crossed one
over the other upon his breast; a girdle ornamented with enamel
plates was round his waist, and a large gold and enamelled bird with
outstretched wings was suspended by a gold chain from his neck. His
head was covered with a tall cap, bearing an enamel plate inscribed
with the name of Pharaoh in hieroglyphics; his beard was enclosed
in a casing of red cloth; and in his hand was a gilt battle-axe,
elaborately inlaid with figures of animals and other symbols. On
one side of this sumptuous personage was a closely-shorn priest or
scribe, habited entirely in white, and holding an inkhorn and some
papyrus in his hand; on the other, in full Syrian armour, was our old
friend Hazael. I could not resist a smile as I caught sight of a pile
of chains and manacles lying in the boat.

On the Egyptian officer shouting that he wanted to come on board and
speak to me, I gave permission for his boat to come alongside the
_Ashtoreth_, and, followed by his scribe and five of the soldiers,
with the greatest arrogance he stepped on deck. Hazael had the
discretion to remain behind, where he was. I received the magnate
with all courtesy, and saluted him after the fashion of his own
country, but instead of acknowledging it in any way, he began with
the most overbearing insolence to exclaim:

  [Illustration: "DOWN, YOU PHŒNICIAN THIEVES!"
  _To face page 85._]

"Down, down, you Phœnician thieves, and sue for Pharaoh's mercy!"

Finding that such was the tone he took, I answered sternly:

"No thieves are we, nor have we injured Pharaoh; so far from
imploring Pharaoh's mercy, we have a right to demand Pharaoh's
protection."

"Out upon your falsehoods!" retorted the enraged Egyptian; "have you
not this very night been attempting your escape?"

"No," I said emphatically; "we were cut adrift. The real thieves are
amongst you. That rascal Bodmilcar and that vile eunuch stole the
royal letters that they brought to you."

"Silence!" shouted the Egyptian in impetuous fury; "too well we
understand your frauds. Out with your hands! the handcuffs are ready
here, and you and the slave that you have stolen must come along to
Pharaoh. Never fear but ample justice shall be done!"

The scribe was opening his inkhorn for the purpose of taking down our
names, when I burst out into a roar of laughter.

"Do you take us for fools?" I said; "why on earth should we leave our
ships to go and hear a slanderous catalogue of lies alleged against
us? No, no, sire, we remain where we are."

The Egyptian literally stamped with rage. "Villains! pirates!
thieves!" he cried; "every one of you shall die a death of torment."

  [Illustration: THE SOLDIERS RAPIDLY CROSSED THEIR LANCES.
  _To face page 86._]

Throughout this interview I had taken care never for a moment to lose
sight of the fleet above-stream; and seeing that the ships were now
in motion, without paying the least regard to the continued ravings
of the grand official, I ordered my trumpeter to sound an alarm. The
Egyptian, followed closely by his scribe, hurried towards his boat;
his soldiers, to cover his retreat, rapidly crossed their lances.
Chamai, Hannibal, and Hanno, mistaking the movement, and supposing
they were making an attack on me, fell upon them with drawn swords;
and the huge Jonah, throwing down his trumpet, rushed into the fray,
and wresting a lance from one of the soldiers' hands, took him by
the shoulders and dashed his head twice or thrice against the
side of the ship. It is a popular belief that the Egyptians are a
hard-headed race, but I avow that this fellow's skull cracked like a
ripe water-melon.

Meanwhile, Hannibal had cut the throat of another of the soldiers,
and Chamai had plunged his sword into the body of a third. I was
struggling to wrench the lance from the grasp of a fourth, when
taking alarm at the number of my men, he turned about, and following
the example of his sole remaining comrade, sprang overboard and swam
like a frog. But they were not to escape so easily; Bichri, who was
standing near the wale of the vessel, hit one of them with an arrow,
and the rowers stunned the other by blows with their oars. Thus the
whole five were entirely disposed of; but the real conflict was yet
to come.

As soon as the Egyptians were aware of the fray, one of their galleys
from the right bank drew rapidly towards us, and the whole bevy of
small boats that had gathered round kept up a continuous flight of
arrows, every one of which, however, either stuck in the ship's side
or went whistling over our heads.

A single glance was sufficient to reveal to me the enemy's tactics.
Just as I had anticipated, the _Melkarth_ was being towed down the
stream towards the right, obviously with the design to pass us and
get below, so as to cut off our retreat. Their immediate design was
to divert our attention from this manœuvre, and for this purpose
two large ships were ordered to bear down upon us, and a flotilla
of small boats was sent to keep up a storm of arrows. Hannibal
immediately, by my directions, set his catapults to work, and a
volley of stones and pots full of pitch and sulphur was discharged,
right over the _Cabiros_, on to the approaching vessels. I then
ordered the _Cabiros_ and the _Dagon_ to move simultaneously, right
and left of me, but in opposite directions: the _Cabiros_ northwards
towards the galleys that were obstructing our way, the _Dagon_
straight down upon the boat that was towing the _Melkarth_. I could
see Bodmilcar upon the prow of the great gaoul, wildly endeavouring
to make the Egyptians understand their danger, and urging the rowers
to get their oars into the water; but he was too late. Our movements
had taken them completely by surprise. The _Dagon_, cutting her way
full speed through the crowd of small boats, crushed or capsized all
that came in her course; the _Ashtoreth_, liberated by the departure
of the _Cabiros_, effectually kept in check the ships that were
trying to pass down the stream; and the _Cabiros_, that had gone
northward, by sending out a number of fire-floats that drifted on in
advance, completely discomfited the two galleys that were guarding
the mouth of the river.

Our tactics were a perfect success. One of the Egyptian ships was
run into by the _Ashtoreth_ with such violence that it was cut
asunder, and sank immediately; and the other, harassed by the pots
of combustibles, and alarmed at the eddy caused by the foundering
of its consort, purposely ran aground. The _Dagon_, after staving
in the towing-boat like a piece of rotten wood, had returned to
me; and as we had the satisfaction of seeing Bodmilcar's crew cut
their tow-rope, we both turned our attention to the galley which
was retiring from the attack and falling back upon the _Melkarth_.
Simultaneously passing it quite close, one on each side, we swept off
both its tiers of oars, and hurling down upon it a final shower of
arrows, we filed off to join the _Cabiros_, which was still engaged
in discharging its missiles and fire-floats at the other two galleys.

The contest had been sharp but short. In less than an hour we had
rendered the _Melkarth_ incapable of action; had sunk two Egyptian
vessels; had sent a third aground; and had crushed or capsized at
least fifteen small boats.

The surface of the water was covered with the _débris_, and not a
few men could be seen drifting along in the current. Thrown into
utter confusion by our unlooked-for attack, the rest of the Egyptian
vessels floundered about in each others' way, and totally prevented
the _Melkarth_ from obtaining another tug-boat. Finding, therefore,
that those need give me no concern, I gave my attention to the
galleys in front, and sent adrift a dozen or more fire-floats, which
the crew of the _Cabiros_ sent down-stream with their boathooks.
The galleys gave way; and, feeling that there was no immediate
impediment, I proceeded towards them calmly to the north, leaving
our assailants confounded by their disaster, and Bodmilcar raving
furiously on the poop of his helpless ship. Bichri lamented that he
could not let fly an arrow at him, but it was utterly useless, as we
were already too far away.

  [Illustration]

"A drawn battle!" said the brave archer, coming forward from the
stern.

"Yes," said I; "the rascal has had bad luck this morning; but he will
watch his opportunity. We haven't done with each other yet."

"I hope not," said Hanno, vindictively.

Presently there was a movement among the Egyptian ships, and three of
them, having extricated themselves from the maze of confusion, had
commenced a pursuit of us, accompanied by a number of little boats.
At the same moment I espied a troop of horsemen galloping along the
shore; and raising my eyes to the causeway on the top of the dyke,
I observed a cloud of dust, from the midst of which broke ever and
again the gleam of a row of bronze and gilded chariots. There was no
room for doubt; evidently the King himself was approaching with the
intention of being a witness of our capture.

But the mighty Pharaoh had come too late!

Out of forty or fifty fire-ships which we had set afloat, two at last
had run foul of one of the galleys, which was now in flames, and the
terrified crew were fain to resort to the usual naval manœuvre
of the Egyptians, and run their ship aground. The vessels that had
started in pursuit of us were still at least two stadia in our rear,
so that we had ample time to tackle with the single galley that
remained ahead to bar our progress.

"Board her! board her! Let us board her!" shouted Hannibal, Hanno,
and Chamai, with unanimous accord.

"We have no time, and she's not worth the trouble," I replied; "we
will sink her."

"Down she goes, then, like a stone," cried Himilco.

The _Cabiros_, without meeting with any resistance beyond a few
chance stones and straggling arrows, now slipped quietly under the
very prow of the galley, and with unfurled sail was making off to
sea. The _Dagon_ was about to follow her, but at a signal from me,
Hasdrubal bore down upon the galley's stern, whilst I simultaneously
drove straight against her flank, and between us we literally cut her
in two. Down sank the galley in a whirlpool of foam; and our last
obstacle being thus removed, we hoisted our sails and rode out to
sea, our trumpets sounding out a flourish of victory.

Behind us rose a discordant howl of maledictions. We were out of
reach. It was utterly impossible for our enemies in their little
nut-shells of vessels to follow where our victorious prows were now
cleaving the foamy billows; and when we were fairly out at sea,
steering due west, I could see, as I looked along the low flat
coast, that the Egyptian masts were quite motionless. It was evident,
therefore, that Bodmilcar had advised them to abandon their pursuit.

Fifteen of our men were wounded, nearly all of them slightly, and two
had been killed; whilst the loss of the enemy, including those slain
by the archers, burnt by the fire-ships, or drowned by the waters of
their own sacred Nile, must have been nearly three hundred.

It did not take long to repair whatever damage we had sustained.
Some broken oars on board the _Ashtoreth_, and a few more on board
the _Dagon_, were replaced from the reserves; the decks were washed
down, the stays strengthened, some broken ropes spliced, and the
arrows that had lodged in the rigging and ship's sides removed. All
our wounded had been carried below; and the bodies of the three
Egyptians, having been stripped of any spoil of value, were thrown
overboard. The bodies of our own two men were also committed to
the waves with an invocation on their behalf to Menath, Hokk, and
Rhadamath, the judges of the infernal regions[30]. In less than three
hours everything was as much in order as though nothing had happened.
Chryseis and Abigail, who had all along rendered what assistance they
could, were rejoicing in their freedom; Hanno, whose nerve had never
failed him, and Chamai fully sharing in their delight.

  [30] The Minos, Eacus, and Rhadamanthus of the Greeks.

I sent for Hasdrubal to come on board, that he might join Himilco and
myself in a council of war. When we were alone together, I said:

"Listen to me. There is no shadow of doubt that we shall be pursued.
Ascending the eastern outlet of the river, the Egyptians will come
down by the western; they may come either by the Canopic or Phanitic
branch; and at both Pharos and Canope there is no question but that
the King has ships in readiness. They can anticipate us there;
couriers by land can arrive by early morning; we, with our utmost
speed, could not arrive till long beyond midday. Somewhere or other
we must of necessity put in to shore again; our supply of water is
all but gone."

To Himilco's suggestion that we had wine enough to meet our need,
I vouchsafed no other reply than a shrug of the shoulders, and
continued:

"My intention was to take in a fresh supply this very evening, but
this skirmish has frustrated everything. Go ashore we must; and this
is the scheme that I propose; we will re-enter the river by the
Sebennitic mouth, which is nearest to us now; they will never suspect
us of venturing on land so soon; probably they will not be there at
all; if they are, we must use main force; but water we must have."

  [Illustration]

My companions approved my plan, but expressed their anxiety as to
what was to happen afterwards.

"I do not think," I said, "that because we have lost the gaoul that
we need at all contemplate abandoning our expedition. Failing to find
us at either Canope or Pharos, the Egyptians will watch for us all
along the coast; and at last Bodmilcar, who knows our destination,
will get reinforcements from Pharaoh and will chase us right on to
Tarshish. Sooner or later we shall be pretty sure of falling in with
him; but for the present, at least, we can elude him thoroughly. Here
is my project. The wind is north-east and favourable; by steering by
the sun in the daytime, and by keeping the Cabiros a little to our
left at night, I do not fear but that in five days at most we might
reach the shores of the great island, Crete."

Himilco and Hasdrubal stared at me in mingled admiration and surprise.

"From Egypt to Crete! Across the open sea! An unheard-of thing! Can
it be possible?"

Such were the exclamations with which they heard my proposition.

"Aye, harder things than that may be done," I continued; "the wind
isn't likely to change till next new moon; but even should it change
and we happen to miss Crete, we shall only run upon the mainland, or
on one of the islands of the Archipelago. Thence we can get round
Cape Malea to Sicily, from Sicily to Carthage, from Carthage direct
to Tarshish. That's our course, now."

"By our goddess Ashtoreth, your scheme is beautiful!" cried Hannibal;
"and meanwhile the Egyptian rascals will be floundering about the
Syrtes."

"And rough enough they'll find them," said Himilco. "I was well-nigh
drowned there two years back; and let us hope that Bodmilcar and his
Tyrian sneaks, bad luck to them! may come to grief. How I should like
to hang them all like a string of fishes, fastened by their gills!"

We were not long in reaching the little town of Sebennys. The
_Cabiros_ was first sent ashore, and returned with the tidings that
all was quiet. I paid the customary dues to the Egyptian governor
of the place, and despatched a number of our sailors to procure the
requisite supply of water; they took the opportunity of purchasing
several baskets of onions and some good fresh meat. Before the end
of the day we had turned our backs upon the land, and were making our
venturous way north-west.

"And now, for our dishes and platters," I cried; "I am frightfully
hungry."

We seated ourselves in the stern, and joined by Chryseis and Abigail,
we formed a large and merry group. The sailors and soldiers all were
served with a ration of wine in honour of the morning's victory.

"I see we have changed our course," said Hanno; "are we making for
Crete?"

"Yes," I replied; and added that I supposed it was a place already
known to the fair Chryseis.

Chamai inquired whether it was not the same as Chittim.

"No, not the same," I answered; "_this_ island is full of mountains,
upon which are goats with spreading horns like those of Arabia; the
people are famous for their skill as archers."

"Bichri, then, may find his match," said Chamai. "But to what nation
do they belong?"

"They are Phrygians and Dorians," I told him; "fair, tall men, with
handsome faces and well-formed limbs; they have built towns in which
some of our Sidonian merchants have recently settled, getting there
by way of Chittim and Rhodes. Chryseis speaks the same language as
the Dorians."

Chamai, ever full of interest in Chryseis, expressed his pleasure at
hearing that she was about to go amongst a people kindred to herself,
and was inquiring whether they were a martial race, when Chryseis
interposed, and with Hanno's assistance explained that the Dorians,
like the Ionians of the Isles, and the Achaians on the mainland, were
renowned warriors, and that the fame of their conquests had spread
far and wide.

"How large, how vast the world must be!" exclaimed Hannibal; "here is
a people, famed in war, whose very name I scarcely know. But is it
not from Crete that we get our Chalcidian swords?"

Smiling at his mistake, I made him understand that Chalcidian
swords were made of copper from the island of Chalcis, and that the
Phœnicians could not elsewhere procure copper that would take so
fine a temper.

Hannibal went on to ask Hanno to inquire of Chryseis what were the
military tactics of the Ionians, and how they paid their soldiers.

"Do you expect us women to know such things as these?" asked Abigail,
with a merry laugh; "a woman knows well enough that her countrymen
can fight, and she knows how to prize the spoils they bring her from
the battle-field; but what can she know of the art of war?"

Chryseis seemed amused at her maid's vivacity, and proceeded to
enumerate the most illustrious military leaders of her land. I heard
her name Achilles, and Ajax, and a certain king called Agamemnon; and
I understood her to relate that two kings in her country, named Jason
and Ulysses, were renowned for the voyages they had made.

"Voyages!" cried Himilco, scornfully; "I can guess what their voyages
were: creeping along and hugging the shore; making perhaps a stadium
a day; never looking at a star. And then, what ships they had! I am
glad I haven't to trust myself in one of them from Sidon to Chittim."

Chryseis owned that, as to ships, she had never seen anything in her
own country that could be compared to the ships of the Phœnicians,
adding that she thought that the mariners of Phœnicia must be true
sea-gods.

"And you must be their goddess," said Hanno, with enthusiasm.

"Ah, young man," yawned out Hannibal, "you should put your fine
speeches in Ionian; the lady does not understand you."

The lady, however, bent her head gracefully, and raised a laugh by
saying in good Phœnician that she perfectly understood what had
passed.

"Trust a woman for understanding a compliment," was Hannibal's remark.

"I should like to see the effect," said Himilco, "of one of Hanno's
pretty speeches upon Gisgo's wife; her Celtic dialect is something
like the croaking of Bodmilcar's ravens."

It was now getting dark, and as he spoke, Himilco moved off to his
post upon the prow, and I took up my watch upon the stern. All
that night, and all the following day, the wind freshened till it
blew a gale; being all in our favour, its violence caused me no
alarm, but well-nigh all on board, conscious of being far away
from land, and beholding nothing but sea and sky, were filled with
terror; and as the ship at one moment was carried high upon the
crests of the enormous waves, and at another was sunk low in what
seemed an unfathomable abyss, they became almost paralysed with
alarm; they lost their appetites entirely, and were incessant in
their invocations to their gods. The gale next night increased to a
hurricane, and on the morning shifted to the south, driving us to the
north at the rate of 1800 stadia in a day.

Happily, although our ships were thus flying over the sea, they kept
well together. Towards evening the wind dropped a little, and on the
morning of the fourth day it was comparatively calm; the sky was very
clear, and, to our vast delight, the man on watch at the top of the
mast announced that land was in sight. I joined Himilco on the prow,
and both of us could plainly distinguish in the sunlight the peaks
of some snow-capped mountains. By the afternoon the view of land was
plain to every one on board, and before the stars had risen, we were
skirting a coast that seemed so rocky as to be inaccessible.

It was long past midnight before we could discover any anchorage at
all; at last we found a small exposed bay where a river coursing
along a bottom of white sand entered the sea. Towards the east,
masses of thick woods could be made out, with snowy peaks of higher
ridges rising up behind them. The _Cabiros_ was hauled up on shore
close to the river's mouth, and, the water in the bay being found
sufficiently deep, the two galleys were moored to some of the great
boulder-stones upon the beach. The coast was quite desolate, and
there was no sign of human habitation.



CHAPTER VI.

CRETE AND THE CRETANS.


No sooner were the ships safely settled in their moorings, than
Himilco and I, who had both been up on watch throughout the last
four nights, retired to take the rest that we so much needed, and,
worn out by fatigue, I did not wake until the sun was high above the
horizon.

The shore was still quite deserted; the steep rocky mountains
appeared for the most part to rise perpendicularly from the sea; and
the little valley of the river soon lost itself in a deep gorge,
densely wooded with myrtles and holm-oaks.

My first care was to send a squad of sailors on shore to fill our
barrels and goat-skins with a supply of fresh water; I next ordered a
guard of soldiers and archers to be landed ready for any emergency;
and then despatched Bichri, accompanied by half a score of bowmen,
up the gorge to explore the mountains. There was abundance of wood
about, and I determined to light some fires and cook our morning
meal upon the strand. I likewise pitched a couple of tents, in which
I laid out some of our merchandise, in case Bichri should fall in
with any of the natives of the island. Jonah made himself especially
prominent by his services on the occasion; he carried wood enough on
his back to load three ordinary men, and lifted a barrel of water
without any assistance, remarking that, if any one would give him
wine in it to drink, he would lift a barrel twice the size.

About midday Bichri returned, tired with his wanderings, but well
pleased with his morning's work. He had come across several of the
natives on the mountains; they fled at his approach, but being an
experienced mountaineer he had followed them from rock to rock, and
had at length succeeded in capturing one of them. The others had
pelted him with stones from a distance, but he had sustained no
injury, and, in accordance with the orders I had given him, he had
acted strictly on the defensive, and had not in any way returned
their violence. The prisoner that he brought with him was a great
strapping fellow, with a quantity of glossy black hair and a skin as
brown as a Midianite's; his eyes were black and obliquely set; his
face wide, with projecting cheek-bones, and a pointed chin. He had
no other covering except the skin of a wild goat, which was thrown
over his shoulders and fastened round his waist by a cord, and on his
bare neck and arms were a necklace and bracelets made of shells. A
hatchet with which he had defended himself had been wrested from him
by Bichri; it was made of a highly polished stone of a greenish hue,
and had a strong wooden handle.

  [Illustration: PLEASED WITH HIS MORNING'S WORK.
  _To face page 99._]

As soon as the barbarian was brought to me he began with many
gesticulations to speak in a language of which I did not understand
a word. I restored him his hatchet, made him a present of a piece of
red cloth, and after showing him the goods in the tent, gave him his
liberty. He bounded off towards the mountains and disappeared among
the trees.

Two hours afterwards he came back with several other men, half-naked
as himself, and armed with lances and rudely-made bows. When within
about a hundred paces of us, they stopped and waved some boughs of
myrtle. I ordered my men to do the same, and then I advanced to
meet them, making Hanno accompany me, and display some pieces of
red cloth and strings of glass beads. Gradually the savages gained
courage and were induced to approach, and at last to enter our tent.
There was one of them who seemed to be a sort of chief, and acted as
spokesman; he first pointed to the sky and ejaculated, "Britomartis;"
and then to the mountains, saying "Phalasarna, Phalasarna." It
was evidently not the first time he had come in contact with
Phœnicians, for as soon as he caught sight of our ships he cried
"Sidon! Sidon!" and touching our tunics, he called them "kitons."

We gave him an old kitonet, and distributed a quantity of glass beads
amongst his followers, who brought us in return a couple of wild
goats, and some partridges, which they called "hamalla."

Towards evening another of their number, an old man, came to us;
he wore a kitonet under his goat's skin and had on an old pair of
sandals. He could speak a little Phœnician, and succeeded in
making us understand that he was of the race of the Cydonians, who
had been the original possessors of the island, until the Phrygians
and the Leleges had made war upon them and forced them to take
refuge, east and west, where the mountains were most inaccessible.
The whole of the coast, and the central highland, as well as the
fertile valleys of the north and south, were now occupied by the
conquerors, who had subsequently been joined by a colony of Dorians,
so that, altogether, the Cydonians were being gradually exterminated.
I now comprehended how it was that I, who had always approached
Crete from the north by way of Caria and Rhodes, had never seen any
inhabitants except Dorians; whilst other Phœnician captains who
had landed on the eastern extremity of the island--where they had
discovered some insignificant mines, and opened a small traffic in
the ore--had always transacted business with the Cydonians.

The old man likewise informed us that his people had a town, up
in the mountains, called Phalasarna; also that their goddess was
Britomartis, which in their language signifies "the gentle virgin."
He was delighted with the wine which I gave him; and on receiving,
as a present, a couple of lance-heads and a necklace of enamelled
earthen beads, he promised to get us next day as much fresh meat as
we wanted.

Upon its growing dark, the barbarians retired to their mountains.
Hannibal took the precaution of doubling the number of his sentinels,
but we were quite undisturbed throughout the night.

In the morning the Cydonians returned and brought some goats. They
are not in any way an agricultural people, and consequently could
not provide us with either corn or vegetables, but they brought us a
quantity both of wild fruit and wild honey. I showed them a picture
of an ox, and tried to make them know that that was the animal I
wanted them to get me, but they explained that they had none of
their own upon the mountains, and that such an animal had been quite
unknown upon the island until it was introduced by the Phrygians.

Pointing in the evening to the crescent moon, the barbarians told me
that it was Britomartis, their goddess of the chase. Chryseis said
she knew this goddess by the name of Artemis, from which I drew the
inference that the Cydonians might have taught her worship to the
Dorians, who would have made her known to the Ionians. The offerings
that are accustomed to be made in her honour are hinds and deer; and
I have heard it said that young men have been sacrificed as victims
on her altar; but this is mere tradition, and I do not pretend to
state it as a fact. I feel quite certain, for my own part, that
although this goddess is the moon, she is not identical with our
goddess Ashtoreth, otherwise she would not have been content only to
encourage them to hunt, but would have taught them the science of
navigation.

The Cydonians are also acquainted with the god of the Phrygian tribes
of the Curetes and the Corybantes, who have a city called Cnossus
in the island, where they have built a temple. This god is a white
bull, although sometimes he is known to take the form of a man. The
Dorians affirm of him that he is the primitive god of the country,
but the Cydonians protest against this statement, and maintain that
he was imported hither by the Curetes. I myself had never heard of
the god. I cannot believe that he is either the Apis of the Egyptians
or our own great Moloch. Chryseis asserts that she knows him by the
name of Zeus, and believes that once upon a time he crossed the
strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Ionia, carrying a fair
maiden on his back. He is said to be a fine and majestic creature,
and the Phrygians of Crete honour him with dances, howlings, and the
music of tambourines: his priests are of the tribe of the Corybantes,
the progeny of Corybis. It was mentioned by Chryseis that a bull
had once married a queen of the island, named Pasiphae, by whom he
had a strange offspring, half-man, half-bull; but the monster was
destroyed, she thought, by some Dorian or Ionian King. I can hardly
persuade myself that this bull was Zeus; and I am rather inclined
to suspect that the whole story is a fable, depicting some victory
gained by the Ionians over the mixed Phrygian tribes that had made
good their settlement upon the island.

I openly avowed my own conviction that this god was not our own god
Moloch. Moloch was far more powerful than any god of the Ionians;
he was much too mighty to permit foreigners to triumph over his own
people. It was quite possible that the Phrygians had not honoured
their bull-god Zeus as they were bound, and he, in anger, had
abandoned them to their conquerors; but this was not like Moloch; no,
he was not Moloch.

"Gods! gods!" cried Chamai, who had overheard the tenor of our
talk; "who are all these gods? There is one only God; and El is His
thrice-holy name. Another name He has, but _that_ we are forbidden
to pronounce. In His sight Moloch, Zeus, Artemis, Melkarth, all
are nothing. Chemosh could not defend the Moabites against our
hosts; Dagon could not protect the Philistines of Gaza and of
Askelon; Nisroch could not lead the Syrians at Zobah on to victory;
Adrammelech was impotent to gain a triumph at Damascus; and Baalim
could not prevail in behalf of the Amalekites. They all are nothing.
It is the Almighty El, the Lord of hosts, the Maker of the heaven and
the earth, that is the only God. He has brought us out of Egypt; He
has established us in our goodly lands. He is the God invisible and
true, the God of vengeance and of power."

"However much I may confess," said Hannibal, interrupting Chamai's
earnest protest, "that your mighty El may be the god of the mountains
and the plains, it cannot be denied that our Ashtoreth is the
goddess of the ocean. See what glorious victories she has gained for
us Sidonians; she has made us monarchs of the sea! For Moloch and
Melkarth I have no reverence whatever; but still I think that Baal
and the gods of Arvad should be honoured in the countries they have
favoured with their care."

"And don't forget our great Cabiri," put in Himilco; "what would all
our Tyrian pilots do without their guidance and protection?"

"I know nothing about pilots," Chamai said; adding, "for my part I
shall be content to worship El, our Lord Almighty, by land, by sea,
and everywhere."

So ended the discussion; and every one having made his invocation to
his own special divinity, all retired to rest.

There was little more to be gained from the Cydonians; accordingly,
on the following morning, having made a few trifling purchases, I
prepared to start. My own intention was first to round the western
limit of the island and to steer full north; next, having sighted the
two Cytheras, to coast along the mainland till we reached the mouth
of the Achelous, where I hoped to replenish our supply of water,
and to transact some profitable business with the natives; thence,
passing between Zacynthus and Cephallenia, I reckoned I could take
our course between the mainland and the island of the Siculi; once
there, I would coast along the north of it to Lilybœum, from
which headland the distance was only 380 stadia across to Carthage.
Such was my project; but whether any of the gods had been incensed at
our discussion the preceding night, or whether they were disposed to
put the capabilities of our vessels to the test, certain it is that
they had decreed that our course should be very different.

The sky was dull and lowering, and Himilco drew my attention to some
lurid clouds that were gathering in the south-west.

"No time to lose," I said; "unless we can get ahead of the hurricane
that is brewing down there, we shall run the risk of being dashed on
this rugged and unsheltered coast. There is safe anchorage on the
northern shore, and thither with all speed we must betake ourselves
before the storm shall break."

The weather was unnaturally calm; but I knew the necessity of urging
the rowers to full speed, and the ships made rapid progress to the
west. In the course of twelve hours I calculated we had made about
450 stadia, and had got quite clear of the island; but by this time
the sky had become obscured with low heavy clouds, and there was no
room to doubt that the tempest was approaching. I continued to keep
well out to sea, and fortunate for us I did so; for at nightfall,
when we were, as I conjectured, about 150 stadia from the land, the
storm overtook us in its fullest fury. The hurricane blew from the
south-west and feeling satisfied that by abandoning ourselves to its
violence we should be carried nearly north between Crete and the
lesser Cythera, I ordered a sail to be hoisted, and permitted the
wind to drive us on before it.

Throughout that night we knew not where we were. The rain poured down
in torrents; wave followed wave in quick succession, dashing masses
of water on to our decks, and our helmsmen had the utmost difficulty
in controlling the vessels so that they should not present their
broadsides to the squalls. The crash of the thunder was incessant,
and by the vivid glare of the lightning we could see where the
seething foam was rent asunder into black and yawning chasms.

In spite of the heavy seas that they continually shipped, our
vessels, all three, bore up admirably. I made the rowers and the
soldiers set to work with scoops to bale out the water, and under
the supervision of Hannibal and the oarsman in command, who spared
neither fair words nor hard blows to keep them to their task, they
worked away with a will.

In a voice loud enough to be heard above the roar of the tempest,
I shouted to Chamai that now was the time to invoke his God. To
Bichri's inquiries whether the danger was really great, I answered
that I had experienced worse weather in the Syrtes, and had known
worse peril on the sea beyond the Straits of Gades, the swell out
there being very long; but here, though rough and strong, the sea was
short, and the ships seemed as though they might hold their own.

Chryseis and Abigail were in their cabin locked in each other's
arms. Chamai and Bichri, although quite unaccustomed to the sea,
and scarcely able to maintain their footing, kept up their spirits
bravely, and to their very utmost assisted the sailors in securing
the rigging and making fast the stowage; but nothing could exceed the
terror of the great hulking Jonah, who, in the most abject state of
alarm, threw himself down upon the floor of the hold, where, like a
big bundle, he was rolled about at every pitch and lurching of the
vessel.

"Oh, oh! why did I come?" he groaned, in the agonies of despair; "why
did I come? why did I leave the village where I had plenty, and more
than plenty? I shall be drowned, drowned in the sea, and the fishes
will eat me! Oh, oh!"

"Out of the way, you great camel!" said Hannibal, giving the poor
wretch a tremendous kick in the ribs; "you will be smashing something
if you keep floundering about in this way; you all but threw me down
just now. Here, some of you," he called to the sailors, "come and
lash this fool to the foot of the mast."

The unwieldy giant was rolled helplessly along, and bound securely as
Hannibal directed.

Going to the stern, I found Himilco doing his best to instruct the
helmsman. He informed me that he had quite lost sight of the _Dagon_.
Just as he spoke, an enormous wave almost dashed the _Cabiros_
against our side, and a vivid flash of lightning revealed Hamilcar
and Gisgo gesticulating vehemently to their men.

"A fine beginning to our voyage!" shouted Gisgo, as he passed us.

"Hold on, man; face it out! and we shall conquer in the end," I
screamed in reply.

To Hanno, who stood clinging to a rope, gazing out upon the sea, I
said:

"Keep up your courage, Hanno."

"I have courage enough for Chryseis and for myself as well," he
answered, cheerily; "but I confess," he added, "I have never seen
weather so bad as this."

At this moment we were startled by the voice of Himilco, shouting
vehemently:

"The sail! the sail! look to the sail!"

The sailors flew to the yard. We were all but capsized; an immense
wave had turned the ship's side to the wind, and the sail was driven
tight to the mast. A flash of lightning, more dazzling than any that
had gone before, threw its vivid glare upon a great round vessel
right in front of us.

"The _Melkarth_! Bodmilcar!" cried Himilco and Hanno the same instant.

  [Illustration: "THE MELKARTH!"
  _To face page 106._]

A second flash. There was no mistake; beyond all doubt there was the
_Melkarth_, and Bodmilcar, standing erect upon the poop, seemed to be
controlling the very winds and waves.

A third flash gleamed out amidst the continuous crashing of the
thunder, but it revealed nothing except the raging waste of waters;
the _Melkarth_ had vanished in the darkness.

"Khousor Phtah[31] is working away up there with his hammer," said
Himilco; "but let him hammer; he will not harm us; we have the Cabiri
on our side."

  [31] The god of subterranean fire and of the hammer. Compare
  Phtah with the Hephaistos of the Greeks.

The next hour was a period of intense anxiety. As far as I could
judge the tempest was bearing us northwards, but I had no means of
knowing for certain whether it was so. Every wave threatened to
break upon the ship's side, and the _Cabiros_, which was quite close
to us, appeared sometimes towering high above our heads, and at
others gulfed down far below our feet. I was standing with Himilco
and the two helmsmen over the stern cabin, when a sea, heavier than
any we had yet encountered, swept clean across the deck. I clung to
the ship's side, and when I raised myself, half stunned and half
blinded by the shock, I found that Himilco and one of the helmsmen
had disappeared. Fortunately the helm had not been carried away,
and by exerting all my strength, I succeeded in pushing the tiller
round, and bringing the ship back into the current of the waves; then
confiding the helm to a seaman who had just come up, I leaned over
the side, and kept shouting "Himilco! Himilco!"

Day was beginning to dawn, and in the glimmering light I could just
distinguish Chamai; he had cast himself down before the cabin-door,
and was imploring the God of Israel to spare the lives of the two
women, even though it should please Him to destroy the lives of all
beside.

Noticing the agitation of my voice, Hanno rushed towards me,
expressing his alarm that something must have happened to our good
pilot. I was telling him how much I feared that he had been washed
overboard, when a voice reached me from behind:

"All right; I came down on my head;" and Himilco emerged from the
hold with a goat-skin in his hands.

His appearance was a great relief, the more so when he explained that
he was quite unhurt.

"The water carried me clean over the hatchway," he said; "and by good
luck my head struck against this goat-skin in the hold. Strange to
say the goat-skin hasn't burst. Praise to the good Cabiri! they have
been good guardians. But what has become of Cadmus, who was at the
helm?"

I could only point mournfully to the sea. Himilco seemed to
comprehend, but he made no reply, and having seated himself upon the
poop, began to refresh himself with the contents of the goat-skin he
had found.

All of a sudden Bichri came towards me, and said he should like to
speak to me. He began:

"As I am no sailor, perhaps I ought to apologise for giving an
opinion, but my eyesight is very keen; and I am certain that I can
see mountains over there to the right of the poop."

Himilco started to his feet; without relinquishing his hold upon the
skin of wine, with his single eye he steadily scanned the horizon in
the direction in which Bichri was pointing. After a few moments, he
said:

"The archer is right; my eye seldom deceives me; we are to leeward of
land."

Notwithstanding the incessant downpour of rain, I could just see
enough through the mist to discern that there were mountains behind
us to the right. Feeling sure that we had been driving to the
north, I had no doubt in my own mind that the land we saw was some
promontory on the north coast of Crete; and so ultimately it proved.

Our first business now was to get clear of the whirlwind, and to
make for the shore. I signalled to this effect to the _Cabiros_, and
doubled the number of the rowers by making a soldier as well as a
sailor work at every oar. In the next place I inspected the stowage,
and was rejoiced to find how little it had been displaced.

In a few hours the wind had almost dropped, and shortly afterwards a
ray of sunlight darting through the clouds, cast an enlivening gleam
upon our course.

"The Lord has saved us," said Chamai; "but I confess I was horribly
alarmed."

Himilco wrung out his drenched kitonet, and proposed that, with my
permission, he should give Bichri, who had been the first to spy out
the land, a draught of wine from the skin which he still retained. I
acknowledged that he well deserved it.

The two women were now induced to come from their cabin; although
they were still somewhat tremulous with their recent fright, they had
a bright smile upon their faces.

"Here they are," said Hanno, as he escorted them on to the deck;
"they are like the weather, half smiles, half tears."

Chamai declared that he would rather contend with ten armed men
than with one angry sea; I told him, however, that he had behaved
admirably, considering it was his first squall, but recommended him
to be cautious for the future how he spoke irreverently of the gods.

Emerging from the hold, helmet in one hand, cuirass in the other,
Hannibal came up to us, saying:

"I have had such sharp work all night in keeping those beggarly
rowers up to the mark, that I had no time to look to my armour;
I expected to find it battered to bits; but thanks to your gods,
Ashtoreth or any one you like, it is all safe and sound. Happy to see
you, ladies; I hope you have recovered your fright, and regained your
appetites. I am hungry enough."

And as he caught sight of Himilco and Bichri, enjoying themselves
over the goat-skin, he hurried off to join them.

  [Illustration]

By the afternoon the sun had dispersed the clouds entirely, and the
deep blue waters shone brightly in contrast with the verdant land
from which we were distant not more than thirty stadia. I sent the
_Cabiros_ on ahead to find a suitable place for anchorage, where
we might rest and repair our damages. Whilst we were sitting on
the deck of the _Ashtoreth_, basking in the sunshine, and taking a
simple repast of dried figs, unleavened bread, and raw onions, to
our great delight we saw the _Dagon_ coming on behind us. She had
lost her yard-arm with its sail attached, but drifted along by the
tempest, she had surmounted all further perils. Happily we had a
good store of spare sails to replace what were lost. We came up with
the _Cabiros_ as she was lying off the head of a high promontory,
waiting to announce that on the southern slope of the headland there
was a fine bay, into which a river debouched from an open and fertile
valley. All three vessels accordingly rounded the point, and steering
to the south, along the coast, by nightfall had reached the middle
of the bay, whence the shore recedes considerably to the east. Here
the _Dagon_ and the _Ashtoreth_ were brought to anchor, and the
_Cabiros_ was drawn up on shore. The anchorage was very good, and the
weather continued beautiful; inland we could see lights gleaming from
several villages, and thus feeling secure, with light hearts, though
with weary bodies, we laid ourselves down to rest, and slept soundly
throughout the night.



CHAPTER VII.

CHRYSEIS PREFERS HANNO TO A KING.


I lost no time in setting our men to work to restore all damages. The
cargo had been too well packed to sustain any material injury, and I
had a selection from various bales of merchandise carried out into a
field and displayed under the shade of a clump of trees. I took Jonah
likewise on shore, bidding him bring his trumpet. No sooner did he
feel the dry ground beneath his feet, than he began to yell and to
jump for joy.

"Out of reach here, of the jaws of Leviathan!" he roared
triumphantly. "Now I am safe. Here on dry land I care not what monster
I face; and the sooner the better!"

I put a check, in some degree, upon his excitement, by ordering him
to take his trumpet and to sound it as loud as he could; and the
noise he made had the effect not only of summoning the residents of
the neighbouring village, but of collecting a considerable number
of the shepherds who were pasturing their flocks upon the adjacent
hills. Assured of our peaceful intentions, they all flocked to us
with perfect confidence, raising as they came the cry of "Pheaces!
Pheaces!" as an intimation to their companions that some Phœnician
merchants had arrived.

The people were all Dorians; tall, well-built men, with fair
complexions, straight noses, and dark curly hair clustering over
lofty foreheads. Nearly all of them came quite unarmed. Some of them
were attired in old kitonets, evidently of Phœnician production;
others wore a tasteless imitation of the same, made of coarse cloth
of their own manufacture. For the most part they were bare-headed,
the exceptions being the few who wore a kind of flat hat of plaited
straw. There were some women of the party, and these well-nigh all
were much to be admired in face and form; they were attired in long
plain dresses, almost as simple as sacks, with openings at the seams
to allow the head and arms to pass through; but these were covered
by short open bodices, coming just below the waist, and becomingly
slashed on either side. No jewellery nor any ornament whatever was to
be seen about their persons.

  [Illustration]

Before my visitors arrived, I took the precaution of making an
enclosure for my merchandise by driving some strong upright stakes
into the ground and running a rope along from one to another, and
told Hanno to make the natives understand that they could not be
allowed to pass the rope. They readily understood him, and appeared
to be altogether very intelligent, although somewhat reserved in
their manner.

One of their number, who carried a long copper-headed staff and wore
a cloth band round his head, acted as spokesman. He was evidently a
sort of chief, and his companions waited in silence while we listened
to what he said. The Dorians appear to be addicted to long speeches,
and the chief stepped forward, and scarcely raising his eyes, made
us a formal harangue. Hanno interpreted sufficiently well to enable
me thoroughly to comprehend the purport of his speech. He began by
bidding us welcome, and proceeded to pay us a variety of compliments,
addressing us as demi-gods, calling us kinsmen of the tutelary
deities of our ships, and concluded by asking that he and his people
might be allowed to inspect the wonderful commodities that we had
brought from the divine city of Sidon.

I was already aware that all the tribes that bear in common the name
of Hellenes are accustomed to regard the Phœnicians as being of
divine origin. The magnitude of our ships, the length of our voyages,
the mysterious remoteness of our cities, all combine to confirm them
in their belief, and it was not for our advantage at present to
undeceive them; the time would come when they would be brought into
closer relationship with our colonies, and they would find out by
experience that we were ordinary mortals like themselves. Meanwhile
they regarded us as superior beings, and listened with eager
attention to whatever tales we pleased to pour into their ears.

By my instructions, Hanno informed the chief that we had brought
with us many strange things from Caucasus, the land of giants; from
Cilicia, where the mountains are the open mouths of the infernal
world and spit out flames of fire; from Sidon, the metropolis of
the gods; from Arabia, the land of the devout, where men live for
three centuries and more; and from Egypt, where there are bull-gods,
crocodiles, and serpents two stadia long. I made him understand that
if his people could bring us ox-hides, Chalcidian copper, woven wool,
or goats' horns, we, in exchange, could give them coats, glass
beads, perfumes, nectar, or nearly anything they liked to ask for;
and without delay, he despatched a number of the men back to the
village, to procure such goods as we required.

"What awful lies!" said Chamai to me, aside, "didn't you tell them
that the Midianites are a devout race? And didn't you say that the
children of Ishmael live three hundred years? And did I hear aright
that you should say there are gods in Egypt?"

I only smiled at this outburst of indignation; but Himilco laughed
aloud and said:

"Never mind, Chamai; there may be worse lies than these; they will
answer their purpose if they make these folks good buyers."

The chief had offered to sell me some _pilegech_, or young female
slaves that he had captured in a recent raid upon the mainland; but I
declined to make any purchase of the kind, knowing that there was no
market for women-slaves either in our Libyan colonies or in Tarshish.
Our word "pilegech" he pronounced _pellex_. The Dorians manifestly
have considerable difficulty in articulating our language; for
example, they say "kiton," for _kitonet_; "kephos," for _koph_, and
"kassiteros," for _kastira_. Sometimes, like other savage nations,
they fail to understand the true meaning of a word, and pervert it
altogether; for instance, when speaking of the great sea beyond
Gades, instead of calling it the Sea of Og, they describe it as a
river named "Oceanos," and believe it to be a god.

The men that had been sent back by the chief soon returned with a
very fair supply of good copper, ox-hides, and goats' horns, some
of which were large enough to make good bows. They likewise brought
some very excellent woollen cloth which they had themselves imported
from the mainland. For all their goods the prices they demanded were
singularly moderate.

It was now necessary, in order to find space and leisure for
repairing our ships, that the throng of buyers, which seemed
continually increasing, should be drawn away from the neighbourhood
of the beach. To effect this, I placed a quantity of the merchandise
under the charge of Hadlai, one of the most trustworthy of the
sailors, and sent him into the interior of the island to dispose
of what he could, instructing him to be sure and return to us in
eight-and-forty hours, by which time I expected to complete the
repairs. Bichri volunteered to act as an escort; and Jonah, with
whose trumpet the Dorians seemed immensely amused, was sent to summon
the natives to the sale.

In the course of the day I sent eight of my men to cut down an
oak from the forest on the valley side, to make a new yard for
the _Dagon_. The Dorians permitted us to take whatever wood we
wanted without any charge, deeming it a sufficient compensation to
themselves to watch our carpentering, and to listen to the wonderful
tales of such of our sailors as could speak anything of their
language. They were most attentive in bringing us firewood, water,
and what else we wanted; and whatever they may be in their bearing to
other nations, I can testify that to us Phœnicians they were most
courteous and considerate.

The Dorians plied Chryseis with countless questions about the
_Pheakes_, and made all kinds of inquiries about their country, their
cities and their king; and she, pleased with the sound of a dialect
kindred to her own, conversed with them willingly, and made them
stare with surprise, as she recounted the glories of our temples,
and the magnificence of our palaces. They had no clear idea of what
Phœnicia really was, but imagined it to be an island, evidently
confounding it with our colony of Chittim, or with our settlement at
Chalcis, which was considerably nearer to them. They almost seem to
think Phœnicians ubiquitous, for they give the name of Phœnicia
to the coast of Caria, where our merchants have established some
marts. This is really the country of the Carian Leleges, who,
together with the Phrygians, were the Dorians' predecessors in
the isle of Crete, and the first to drive the Cydonians to the
highlands. The Dorians assert that the Leleges and Pelasgians
preceded them on the mainland, and that many of them still remain.
I can readily understand that the Carians, Æolians, and others,
whom we drove from their own coasts, succeeded in reaching Crete;
for the Carians were not ignorant of navigation, and at that part
of the Archipelago, where the sea is thickly studded with islands,
the voyage from the coast of Asia hither, even in small boats, would
be by no means difficult. It is a fact, too, that the principal
mountain in Crete is known by the Pelasgo-Ionian name of Ida, the
same as that borne by the mountain in Æolia, opposite the island of
Mitylene; the evidence, therefore, is very strong that the Pelasgians
and Leleges, who were of the same race as the Carians, Æolians,
Lycians, and Dardanians, must have occupied not only the entire coast
from the Straits of Thrace down to the regions opposite Rhodes, but
likewise all the mainland and islands between Thrace and Cape Malea.
The Cydonians must be a remnant of some still earlier inhabitants of
quite another race, driven back, first by the Pelasgians and Leleges,
and afterwards by the Dorians, Ionians, and those others who are now
advancing to establish themselves alike upon the coast and in the
islands. The accuracy of this conclusion is borne out by the fact
that our ancestors were acquainted with the Pelasgians long before
they knew anything of Dorians and Ionians, and it is well known
that there are still in existence cities large and populous, though
badly built and weakly fortified, such as Plakir and Sculake in the
Propontis, some distance north of Dardania and the isle of Tenedos.

I enter into all these details because I consider it part of the duty
of a Phœnician mariner to make himself acquainted not only with
the configuration of both land and sea, the movements of the heavenly
bodies, and the laws of navigation and of commerce, but also with the
origin, language, religion, and habits of every nation with whom he
may be brought in contact; and my experience in my naval life has
taught me that although the knowledge thus acquired is to be very
cautiously revealed to strangers and foreigners, yet it cannot be too
freely disseminated amongst one's own countrymen.

The Dorians acknowledge themselves to be a people akin to the
Ionians, and are, like them, a branch of the great family known
by the name of Hellenes, Ræci, or Græci. These Hellenes, like the
children of Israel, are comprised of twelve peoples or tribes;
the Thessalians, the Bœotians, the Dorians, the Ionians, the
Perrhebians, the Magnetes, the Locrians, the Eteans, the Achæans,
the Phocians, the Dolopes, and the Malians. Their own account of
themselves is, that on reaching the south of Thracia they settled
in the district known as Hellopia, of which they were still in
possession, and whence they spread themselves over the peninsula and
the islands. Hellopia is the country traversed by the River Achelous,
which empties itself into the channel that divides the island of
Cephallenia from the mainland. The two oldest cities in Hellopia are
Dodona and Delphi, which are both the abodes of the chief gods. It is
from the name of their city that the Hellenes are sometimes called
Dodonians, although they are far more frequently referred to by us as
the Ionians, or sons of Ion or Javan. Amongst themselves, however,
they are invariably designated Hellenes, Graii, or Græci.

All the Hellenic tribes recognise four special bonds of fraternity:
first, they are of one common origin; secondly, they speak a common
tongue; thirdly, they worship the same gods, and in the same modes
and places; and fourthly, they cultivate a general uniformity in
manners and disposition. They all send representative chiefs or
elders to Dodona, and I presume to Delphi also, for the purpose of
settling any common difference; and there they take a threefold oath,
never to destroy any city that has ever been admitted into covenant
with them; never to intercept the supply of water to any city of
their fraternity, and always to unite to punish those who should
violate their pledge.

Their principal god dwells at Dodona, and is named Zeus. They believe
him to be the same as the Zeus of the Leleges and Pelasgians,
whom the Curetes of Crete honour with songs and dances. Like Baal
Chamaim, he is the god of the air and sky, and son of the heaven and
the earth. He it was who, in the form of a bull, carried off the
Phrygian goddess Europa to Crete; and on the south of the island, in
the valley of a little river, Lethe, the Dorians have a city which
I have never seen, but which they call Hellotis, where there is a
plane-tree, under which Zeus and Europa are said to have reposed.
Another town there is in the island, named Cnossus, founded, I
believe, by the Phrygians, where Zeus has one of his places of abode.

Another deity, almost equally powerful, is Apollo, the archer and
soothsayer. He is known as the Pythian prophet, and dwells at Delphi,
where he is consulted about future events. He is held in especial
veneration by the Dorians, whom he is said, under the form of a
dolphin, to have conducted across the seas. Probably he may be the
same as our Phœnician archer-god, Baal Chillekh, whom we have
ourselves taught the Hellenes to worship, and it may be that because
he taught them navigation, they represent him as a dolphin.

The mysterious Hermes, the god of the hidden forces of nature, is
likewise an object of their high regard. It is not unlikely that they
learnt his worship from the Egyptians; but whether it be so or not,
it is quite certain that he has been known amongst them from a very
remote antiquity.

The Cydonians have made them acquainted with Artemis, and we are
ourselves leading them to the knowledge of Ashtoreth or Astarte,
whom they are gradually learning to venerate above all their other
divinities.

Of Beelzebub, Baal-Peor, El Adonai, Chemosh, or the Cabiri, the
Hellenes know nothing. They are absolutely ignorant of the position
of the Cabiri, and have no conception of guiding their course in
sailing by the seventh Cabiros or Pole-star: to say the truth, they
are very cowardly sailors, rarely venturing to lose sight of the
shore. Their boats are large but very badly built, having no decks,
ill-contrived rigging, and very defective arrangements for ballast;
consequently they are equally unsteady whether they are impelled by
oars or worked by sails. The people have little idea of distance;
they are profoundly ignorant of the shape of the country, and are at
once deterred from a voyage by the least stress of weather, or by the
most insignificant current.

The towns are built in places that are difficult of access, and are
rudely fortified with piles of uncemented stones. The houses are
made either of rough stone, or of bricks that have been baked in the
sun, and are very little better than cabins. The people are not at
all skilful in any handicraft; and they can scarcely do more than
manufacture their copper lance-heads, hatchets, breast-plates, and
helmets, which, although very ill-formed, are covered with ornaments.
They have no cavalry and very few archers, and rarely use swords in
fighting; lances are their favourite weapons, and these are used by
their chiefs either on foot or from the top of their chariots. In
close combat they employ a kind of poignard, which very frequently
is seen curved at the point into a kind of hook. By way of pastime,
Hannibal and Chamai occasionally made Hanno practise with the sword,
and on these occasions they would be surrounded by a group of
Dorians, who were struck with wonder and admiration at the variety
of the thrusts, passes, and parries of the fencing, as exhibited in
the different practices of the Chaldeans, the Philistines, and the
Israelites, and the dexterity they all alike required.

The shields which they use are round, and made of ox-hide, those of
the chiefs being faced with copper and ornamented with paintings.
Before we left the island, the Dorian king of Hellotis came to
visit us, and for one of our bucklers of wrought bronze offered
me five-and-twenty oxen; but I allowed him to have it for some
agates, to be used in making jewellery, and for an enormous pair of
boar's tusks which he had brought from the mainland, and which now
adorn the temple of Ashtoreth at Sidon.

On the third day after our arrival in the island, one of the sailors,
who had been struck by an arrow in the Egyptian engagement, died,
the wound having gangrened. According to our national custom, I had
all the ships hung with black, and made inquiry of the natives for
some cavern in the neighbourhood where we could inter the body. They
showed me a cave in the mountain side about thirty stadia distant,
and were quite ready in any way to assist me, as they are themselves
very careful about the burial of their dead; in fact, there is
nothing of which they entertain a greater dread than of being
deprived of funeral rites, and this is one great reason that deters
them from venturing out far to sea.

  [Illustration: BORNE TO ITS RESTING-PLACE.
  _To face page 121._]

After the corpse had been washed, it was borne to its resting-place,
a considerable crowd of Dorians following in the rear, amongst them a
large proportion of women, who kept up loud cries of lamentation. The
cave in which we laid the body was very deep, but by no means lofty;
in it we left not only the body, but the planks and the two oars
which had formed the bier. When the opening had been closed by piling
up a heap of large and heavy stones, Hanno, in a solemn voice, made
an invocation to Menath, Hokh, and Rhadamath, the judges of the souls
in Cheol.

All these three gods of our nation are known to the Dorians, who
call them by the names of Minos, Eacus, and Rhadamanthus. They
believe that Minos, previous to his appointment as a judge in the
infernal regions, was a king of Crete, and that, being a skilful
navigator, he had sailed as far as the mainland to the Ionians, who,
by way of tribute, gave him a number of boys and girls. With regard
to Rhadamanthus, they suppose that he was brought to the island of
Chalcis by the Phœnician demi-gods; but the truth is, that they
have made some strange confusion between the god himself and the
Sidonian sailors through whom they had become acquainted with his
existence. In the same way, I believe, that Europa (the goddess who
was carried off by Zeus) and Ariadne (known first to one of the
demi-gods, and then to Dionysus, the god of rivers) are nothing more
than other names for Ashtoreth, surviving from the period when the
Phœnicians first imported wine to their shores. From us, too, they
have derived their knowledge of Khousor Phtah, the god of the forge,
whom they call Phtos or Phaistos; and in short, whatever familiarity
they have either with literature, wine, or with the use of metals,
all seems to have been derived from the Sidonians. As for our own
knowledge, that (according to our ancestors long, long ago) was
obtained from the Egyptians, and the Egyptians derived theirs from
the still more ancient Atlantes, who, when the Great Sea was still
to the south of Libya, came from lands in the West that have since
passed away, traversing Ethiopia in their course. How true it is,
that though nation may follow upon nation, the gods are immortal!

The Dorian people gave us their word of honour that the cavern in
which we had buried our companion should never be desecrated, and
we returned to our ships, which remained hung with black for the
remainder of the day.

Towards evening Hadlai and his party made their appearance,
bringing a goodly supply of purchases. Jonah, marching along with a
consequential air, and encircled by a crowd who had followed him down
from the mountains was carrying a calf upon his back.

"What are you going to do with that calf?" I asked.

"Eat it," he said; "I have earned it."

"How? by blowing your trumpet?"

"No; not by blowing my trumpet, but by wrestling: they matched their
strongest against me, and I levelled them all; and so I won my calf.
A capital country is this! I will knock them over, every one, if only
they will give me a calf every time."

And, catching sight of the King of the Dorians, who had come with a
herd of oxen, he shouted to him:

"Yes, you too; give me a bullock, and I will knock you down. Give me
two, and I will break every bone in your skin."

"Silence, fool!" I cried, hoping to bring him to his senses. The King
did not understand Phœnician, and asked what the man was saying;
but I did not think it necessary to enlighten him.

Jonah continued muttering and grumbling to himself: "Why should I
not fight them, if they like it? If I were to challenge a man of the
tribe of Dan or Judah, I should soon find a knife in my ribs! But
here they like it, and give me a calf. Fine country this!"

That evening the wind blew briskly from the north-north-west, but not
with violence enough to make us hesitate about taking our departure
next morning. The Dorians were full of surprise at our determination
to put to sea, and owned that nothing would induce them to face the
peril of such a wind.

"Can it really be," asked one of the chiefs, "that you intend to
start upon your voyage with this gale in your very teeth?"

Upon my assuring him that I had fully made up my mind, he continued:

"And that, too, with the recollection so fresh of the terrific storm
in which you came? Truly, you are demi-gods indeed!"

"Aye, yes," I said; "children of Ashtoreth we are; and we rode the
seas that night in a way that was worthy of our fame!"

"And were not the Cabiri considerate for me?" interposed Himilco;
"the salt sea made me thirsty, and they sent me a goat-skin full of
luscious wine."

Without noticing him, the chief continued:

"Assuredly the Phœnician deities maintain a careful watch to guard
their children. I shall not soon forget how I saw their mighty
chariot roll above the waves to your assistance."

It was now Himilco's turn to look astonished.

"Chariot upon the waters!" he exclaimed; "what was it like?"

"It was high, and round, and parti-coloured, and had great
sea-monsters drawing it over the raging sea."

He spoke with a kind of awe; but it struck me that he might perchance
have seen Bodmilcar's gaoul, and that the lightning's glare had given
it the variegated effect which he had noticed. I suggested this, in
an undertone, to Himilco, who only said:

"If Bodmilcar were the sea-god, I should like to have the chance of
getting into the sea-god's chariot and ringing the sea-god's neck."

While we had been talking, I had observed Hamilcar and several others
closely scrutinising something that the waves had cast upon the
beach. Curious to see what was interesting them, I joined them, and
found some fragments of a ship.

"This is no Phœnician work," said Hamilcar, pointing to a bolt
still hanging to one of the planks.

"No," I agreed; "and from the thickness of the wood, and from the
bolts being driven in without wedges, I have no doubt that it is an
Egyptian craft that has been wrecked."

"Look here!" cried Himilco; "here is proof positive; the goose's neck
from the prow!"

"It may be," I said, "that some Egyptians accompanied Bodmilcar, and
have come to grief in the tempest."

"I hope Bodmilcar has not shared their fate," said Gisgo; "drowning
is too good for him; I want him to have a stout rope round his neck.
And besides, the rascal has three-quarters of our merchandise that I
should like to get back."

"Rather too much to expect, I am afraid," I said; "however, we must
now embark. We are bound for Sicily where perhaps you may recover
your lost ears."

A grim smile passed over the old pilot's face.

"Until the wind changes," I observed, "we shall have to keep on
tacking;" and I moved towards the ships.

At this moment the Dorian King approached me with the air of having
something important to communicate; he broke out abruptly:

"You are a Phœnician, a ruler of the sea: I am a Dorian prince, a
ruler of my people: so far we are equal. These oxen, these horses,
these chariots are all mine; from my thirty villages I can summon
twelve thousand men. I am favoured of the gods. I am mighty."

I thought he surely was about to make some demand, but a single
glance satisfied me that he was not in a position to exact anything
by force; not only were Hanno, Chamai, Bichri and Jonah still on
shore, but Hannibal, too, was close at hand, supported by forty of
his men, while the King was attended only by about a score and a half
of lancers. I made no reply, but waited for him to proceed.

"Ruler of the Phœnicians," he said, "I want you to sell me your
pilegech Chryseis: you have only to name your own price for the
Ionian, and that price is yours."

Hanno made a start forward, but I held him back.

"King of the Dorians!" I said, "Chryseis is not designed for sale.
However, she is free to answer for herself. To us your kindness and
courtesy have been great; and I am ready to consent, in return, to
give the maiden up to you. But this one condition must be fixed; she
must become yours by her own free choice."

Hanno glanced eagerly at Chryseis, and imploringly at me.

The King advanced to where the girl was standing, and proffering his
hand, said:

"Daughter of the Helli! kinswoman of our tribe! come and be the Queen
of the Dorians of Hellotis!"

She stood with her eyes fastened on the ground, but made no reply.

"Zeus and Apollo guide your choice!" continued the King, "and inspire
your answer! Listen and consent. No Dorian maid has ever yet made
good her hold upon my heart, although there is not one who would not
be proud to be the object of my choice. Honours and luxury await my
bride. She shall have slaves to surround her, and do her weaving, and
obey her slightest wish; her table shall be spread with the choicest
diet, the produce of three hundred goats and fifty cows; and her home
shall be full of all the comforts that wealth can buy."

He waited for her to speak, but still she made no sign.

"My house," he went on to plead, "is a house of stone, like the
Egyptians', and stored up within it, Chryseis, there are chests, in
which are necklaces, and pearls, and golden bodkins for your hair.
All shall be yours, and you shall be first and noblest of all the
women in Crete."

Chryseis slowly raised her eyes from the ground, and laying her hand
upon Hanno's shoulder, in a firm, deliberate, and yet gentle voice,
said:

"Our holy Zeus has given me to Hanno, and with Hanno I shall remain."

The Dorian, mortified and excited, literally stamped with rage.

"What!" he cried, "prefer a Phœnician subject to a king of the
Hellenes?"

"A Sidonian scribe," said Hanno, "is the equal of any king on earth.
I own no superior except my captain and the gods above."

"Though he were the lowliest sailor in the service," declared
Chryseis, "my heart is his. His goddess Ashtoreth has delivered me in
the hour of peril, and Zeus, my god, pronounces that I am his."

The Dorian could do no more: in vain he pointed to the smiling
meadows and the shady forests of the island, and contrasted them with
the abode upon the raging water of an angry sea; Chryseis maintained
that the water had charms as many as the land. Unable to prevail with
her, he made a final appeal to me; but finding me firm in my resolve
to leave the girl unfettered in her choice, he gave a growl of
anger, and without turning his head, remounted his chariot and drove
rapidly away.

"Mine, henceforth," said Hanno to Chryseis, as he led her to the
ship. "You are as a priestess of Ashtoreth, the guardian of us all!"
and he drew her closer to his side.

The sail was soon hoisted, and the rowers settled to their seats.
Leaving the shore, we made long tacks to get to windward, and in five
hours had passed the northernmost extremity of Crete. In the course
of the night we were coasting the rocky land upon the north of the
lesser Cythera.

Two days' safe, though tedious, navigation brought us to the mouth of
the Achelous, a stream which from the colour of its water is known
to our sailors as the White River. We passed between the fertile
and indented shore of the mainland, and the islands of Cythera,
Zacynthus, and Cephallenia. In these navigable waters, where land is
never out of sight, we perpetually came across Hellenic vessels of
every size, engaged in a brisk trade not only in their own native
productions, but also in the manufactures of the Phœnicians.

The sea was calm when we reached the mouth of the Achelous, but a
fresh breeze sprung up from the north-east, which was just what we
wanted to carry us to the Sicilian straits. It is usual, in order to
break the length of the sea-passage, to follow the Hellenic coast
as far as the island of Corcyra, but under the present favourable
circumstances this would have been merely to waste time. We had an
ample supply both of provisions and of fresh water; I therefore quite
abandoned all thought of visiting the metropolis of the Hellenes, and
determined to make with the wind across the open sea direct for the
southern point of Italy. As we were passing along the channel that
divides Cephallenia from the little island of Ithaca we fell in with
a Sidonian galley and a couple of gaouls, and hailing them, we found
that they were on their way home from the mouth of the Eridanus on
the Iapygian Sea. Bodachmon, the captain of the galley, proposed that
we should lay-to off Ithaca, so that we might send any commissions
by him to Sidon. I availed myself of his offer, and went at once on
board one of his gaouls. His cargo consisted of a small supply of
gold, both in dust and nuggets, but principally of rock-crystal,
which the people on the banks of the Eridanus obtain from those who
reside on the mountains near its source. Bodachmon agreed to take
some of my heavier merchandise for a part of his light freight, and
to do anything he could to assist me after the loss we had sustained
of our own gaoul through Bodmilcar's treachery. His indignation at
Bodmilcar's conduct knew no bounds. Such an act of faithlessness, he
said, had never happened within his experience; and he would take
good care that not only should it come to King Hiram's ears, but that
Bodmilcar should be denounced throughout Phœnicia, so that if the
traitor should attempt to land anywhere either in Phœnicia, or in
Chittim, or any other of her colonies, he should be visited with the
punishment he so justly merited.

"But now," said Bodachmon, "let us proceed to business. What
commodities have you to offer?"

I answered that I had just obtained goods in Crete, for which
he would be sure to find a ready market either in Egypt or at
home--copper, ox-hides, woollen cloth, and enormous goats' horns;
I told him, moreover, that if he would visit Crete for himself, he
would be able to purchase any number of young female slaves at the
most reasonable rate.

He said that he thought he should act upon my advice, and that he
was sure we should be able to make exchanges between ourselves which
would satisfy us both. He proceeded to inquire whether I could let
him have any wine, as his own supply had been exhausted six months
ago, and that in his intercourse with the Iapyges and Umbrians he had
had no opportunity of replenishing it.

Our own ships were well provisioned, and I was pleased to have the
opportunity of inviting him with his two mates and pilots to come on
board the _Ashtoreth_, and to partake of our fresh meat, onions,
dried figs, cheese and wine. They all admired the completeness of our
arrangements; and Bodachmon made an inspection of the goods that I
proposed to barter, telling me that he should be able to pay a good
price, if I would accept his rock-crystal.

All of a sudden Bodachmon exclaimed: "By Ashtoreth! I think I can
give you a treat in return for your hospitality. In Corcyra I took
up one of the Hellenes, whom I promised if I could that I would land
in Crete. He is an old man and nearly blind, but he seems to know
the history of all the world; neither Sanchoniathon, nor Elhanan
the Israelite, could know it better. He sings the exploits of his
country's gods and heroes, accompanying his singing on his lute; he
has no other means of paying his passage. You shall hear him."

  [Illustration: HOMER.
  _To face page 129._]

The venerable bard was sent for, and was soon conducted on board. He
had a dignified bearing, and commanded an involuntary reverence. His
long beard was very white, and he carried in his hand a lute made of
tortoise-shell. His name was Homer.

Addressing us, he said:

"O Pheacians! ye sea-kings, who explore the marvels of the earth! may
the divine gods protect your ships! My eyes are dim; no longer do I
discern the meadows with their pasturing herds, nor the warriors with
their dazzling armour; nay, scarce can I perceive the glorious beams
of day. But the Muses from their blest abode, beside the Peneus, have
endowed me with the gift of harmony and song, so that wherever I may
go, I celebrate the achievements both of gods and men."

I handed the old man a cup of the choicest nectar, and, with
invigorated spirit, he began to sing his songs. To me their meaning
was barely intelligible; but Hanno, familiar with the Hellenic
tongue, was perfectly enraptured, and made the venerable minstrel a
present of his mantle, which was woven of the finest wool of Helbon,
and exquisitely embroidered with flowers.

"Never have I heard anything to be compared with this," exclaimed the
scribe; "in spite of their ignorance of trade and navigation, these
people cannot be quite the barbarians we supposed."

Hannibal, who had hitherto looked on in silence, now observed:

"Once, when I was in the city of Our in Naharan, I came across an
extraordinary man, of whom this wandering poet reminds me. He was an
Egyptian, travelling about, and singing songs to his own lute, just
like Homer here, but he was not so old, and the remarkable thing was
that he had an ape with him that used to mimic all the events about
which he sung. Now when Chryseis sings her war-songs, it is pleasant
to listen, although one does not understand a word; her voice is
itself a charm. But this old minstrel's songs are dull; he ought, I
think, to have an ape with him, to act as an interpreter of what he
sings."

  [Illustration]

Hanno sneered contemptuously, and said:

"Hannibal is wonderfully clever. I should fancy he could play the
ape's part to perfection."

Not discerning the satire, Hannibal replied with the greatest gravity:

"I don't know about my being more clever than any of my people from
Arvad; but I think that if I could understand the old man's tongue, I
could perform for him better than an ape."



CHAPTER VIII.

AN AFFAIR WITH THE PHOCIANS.


Having entrusted Bodachmon with various commissions, and especially
with the duty of delivering a letter from myself to King Hiram, I
took my leave of him and his companions. In the afternoon, the breeze
being favourable, we resumed our voyage to Italy. In order to pass
between the islands of Cephallenia and Leucas, it was necessary to
deviate somewhat to the north, after which we should have to steer
nearly due east for the south of the great Iapygian gulf.

The _Cabiros_ was about ten stadia ahead, and consequently so far in
advance that she was lost to sight as she rounded the southern cape
of Cephallenia; but she had hardly disappeared beyond the headland,
when it struck me that I could hear her trumpet sounding signals of
distress. Having sounded an alarm, I put my men in readiness for any
emergency, and it was well I did so; for when we had rounded the
promontory far enough to get her within view, we saw her not only
surrounded by nearly twenty large boats of the Hellenes, but the
object towards which some fifty other boats were making their way
with the greatest speed.

  [Illustration: UNAWARES IN AN AMBUSH.
  _To face page 132._]

The fact was, that while we had been coasting along the east of
the island the enemy had made their way by the west, and thus the
_Cabiros_, rounding the headland, had found herself unawares in an
ambush, which, with her superior sailing power, it would have been
quite easy to escape if there had been any previous warning. As it
was, she was completely taken by surprise; and her tonnage being too
light to allow her to carry a copper beak for attack, she could only
avoid being boarded by the expedient of rapidly making her way round
and round in a circle.

There was not a moment to be lost. The _Dagon_ put on all speed and
made her way direct towards the promiscuous cluster of boats that
was coming up beyond, whilst I hastened to secure the rescue of the
imperilled _Cabiros_.

  [Illustration]

The antagonists with which the _Dagon_ had to contend did not appear
to be of a very formidable character. A very cursory glance at the
unmartial appearance of most of the crews, and at the cargoes,
which consisted mainly of agricultural produce and implements, made
it evident that we had come into collision with some convoy of
emigrants. Hannibal had manifestly come to the same conclusion that
there was nothing to cause him any alarm for I noticed that after
having given his men a sign that there was no occasion to draw their
bows, he made a considerable sweep to leeward, and then dashed
furiously in upon the crowded craft.

But my more serious attention was demanded in another quarter. The
adversaries that I had to face were less numerous, but far more
formidable, being all armed men. It was in vain that I hurried
forward with all the speed at my command; before I could get within
two stadia of the _Cabiros_ she was already boarded, and the deck
of the gallant little ship was becoming the scene of a desperate
struggle. From the midst of a whirl of lances I could distinguish
Hamilcar, protecting himself with his shield in one hand, and dealing
tremendous blows with his sword in the other; whilst Gisgo stood
with his back supported by the top of the poop, and had just raised
the battle-axe with which he had cloven the skull of one of his
assailants. To prevent us from rendering any assistance, five or
six large boats advanced towards us to obstruct our progress, and
I could hear the shrill voices of the warriors on board chanting
their exciting war-cry, "Io Pœan! Io Pœan!" A fine-built man,
who seemed to be chief in command, was standing at the prow of the
highest boat; he had a crested helmet; his shield and greaves were
faced with copper, and he was brandishing his long lance like a
maniac. I was about to point him out to Bichri, but he, ever on
the alert, was already upon one knee with his arrow to his bow,
watching his opportunity, and no sooner were we within range than the
bowstring was up to his ear, the arrow whizzed through the air, and
the chief, throwing both hands aloft, fell head foremost into the
water.

"Now, men, now's your time!" I shouted; "down upon the savages! Down
upon them! Quick!"

With a tremendous spurt, the _Ashtoreth_ dashed violently into the
boat, which sank instantly in an eddy of foam, our magnificent
success setting us at liberty to concentrate our attention upon
another boat which was harassing us on the right.

In their eagerness to be ready to climb up into our ship the crew
of this boat had inconsiderately crowded altogether to one side.
Knowing the unscientific build of the Hellenic boats, and how easily
they are overturned when heavily laden, I tacked round suddenly to
the opposite side, and putting on full speed, capsized it without the
slightest difficulty.

But the need, meanwhile, was becoming more and more urgent that we
should reach the _Cabiros_, although she was holding out with a
vigorous defence. I had to manœuvre by taking a long semicircular
sweep to get beyond the reach of the boats around me, but the delay
had its advantage in giving Hannibal opportunity to arrange his men.
He very judiciously placed the archers in the stern, and divided
his remaining force into two companies; one of them under his own
leadership to be prepared to follow him on to the deck of the
_Cabiros_, the other to remain and protect their own ship from being
boarded.

About the _Dagon_ I had little or no anxiety. I could see that she
was not only holding her own, but that by dashing backwards and
forwards amongst the medley of boats around her, she was crushing
or sinking all that she came athwart, and by discharging volleys of
arrows and pots of combustibles, she succeeded in distressing the
men on board to such a degree that we could hear their howlings of
mingled rage and dismay.

Hannibal's instructions to his soldiers were very brief; telling
those whom he left behind that they were to obey Chamai's orders, and
that he trusted them to do their duty, he turned to those under his
own command, and said:

"Soldiers! the fight before you is a fight hand-to-hand; no room for
lances! Draw your swords, stand ready at the prow!"

I gave orders to the rowers to pull steadily ahead; but they had
scarcely laid themselves out to their work, when we fouled two of
the boats which had detached themselves from the others, and were
endeavouring to get alongside of us.

"Quick! to the engines!" I cried; "and, archers, draw your bows!"

In an instant Bichri's men were at the scorpions, and a perfect
torrent of stones, arrows, and combustibles, fell on either hand.
Hannibal's men did not stir from their attitude of readiness, and
Chamai kept his detachment grouped close around the mast, abiding
the time for a charge to be ordered. Bichri's party laid aside their
bows, and drew their knives and swords; and Jonah, laying his trumpet
on the deck, armed himself with the ponderous handspike usually
employed for heaving the anchor, and which two ordinary men could
scarcely carry.

"Come on, Dodanim!" he shouted; "if you can afford a calf for a
little shaking, perhaps you will pay better still if I lay this rod
across your shoulders. I should like a few bullocks and a good skin
of wine. I am quite ready to begin pounding away, like Samson at the
mill."

The time for action had come, and I gave the word of command to push
ahead, straight at the foe. A dash and a crash! and cries of mingled
wrath and consternation rose from beneath our prow as it made its
way in a vortex of foam. We rushed past the first boat, leaving it
hopelessly far astern; we disabled a second that was designing an
attack upon our starboard, and we capsized a third that was coming
on our left; and when our men drew breath after their paroxysm of
exertion we were within half a bowshot of the _Cabiros_. So close
we were, that I could see Hamilcar with his head all bleeding, and
Gisgo, with dishevelled hair, laying about him desperately with his
hatchet, whilst a dozen sailors who had retreated to the stern, were
making a vain effort to repel the invaders, who continued to make
their way on board.

"Help! Mago, help!" shouted Hamilcar, imploringly, as he saw us
drawing near.

"Cheer up, mate!" I replied; "we shall soon be with you."

I made a rapid survey of our position, and having instructed the
helmsman to bear up hard to starboard, I called to the oarsmen:

"Now, men, once again, a good strong pull with might and main; then
ship your oars, and we shall be right alongside!"

So vehemently did they put forth their strength that our prow was
lifted high above the flood, and the impetus given to our speed was
so great that another of the opposing boats was cut clean in two.
In another minute we had gained the side of the _Cabiros_. Hannibal
seized a rope and sprang upon the deck; and followed by his men was
quickly in the midst of the mortal struggle.

I had no time to watch the issue of their intrepid venture. They had
hardly left our deck when I was startled by the urgent voice of Hanno:

"Look, captain! they have us now!"

And turning round I was face to face with a throng of the Hellenes,
who had not only brought their boats into close quarters with the
_Ashtoreth_, but had forced their way on to her stern. Into the
breast of the foremost man, who was rushing towards me with uplifted
lance, I thrust my sword well-nigh to its hilt; and Hanno showed how
well he had profited by the fencing lessons he had had on board; he
parried a blow with his left hand, and almost in the same instant
felled an opponent by driving his weapon into his shoulder with his
right. Sometimes bending himself down, sometimes rearing himself
to his fullest height, Chamai wielded his sword with the most
extraordinary dexterity: three men set upon him at once; one of them
soon reeled and fell heavily at his feet; a second, grasping his
sides in agony, was seen to stagger back amongst his comrades; whilst
the other, putting his head between his hands, cowered down to the
ground, the blood trickling through his fingers.

Bichri also, single-handed, had to engage quite a little group of
antagonists. It seemed a desperate fray; but, strange to tell, he got
the better of them all, and retired triumphant, his blood-stained
sword in one hand, his dagger in the other. Nor did good fortune fail
Himilco; closely pressed as he was by his adversary, he succeeded in
catching him by the throat, and, holding him back firmly against the
mast, he thrust his sword into his heart.

But for rendering effective service no one surpassed the redoubtable
Jonah. Such wholesale slaughter was never seen. Skulls were
fractured; limbs smashed; ribs broken in; back-bones, breast-bones,
collar-bones, shoulder-blades contused, crushed, splintered, as
the ponderous handspike, swinging backwards, forwards, upwards,
downwards, made the very air reverberate.

"Room, I want! give me room!" roared the giant, as he brandished his
enormous weapon; "bring me bullocks, sheep, calves, cakes, wine,
anything, and I'll earn my dinner honestly." And striking out more
furiously than ever he roared again, "Room, room! elbow-room, I say!"

Three or four of the Hellenes now made a simultaneous attack upon
myself. I succeeded in slashing the face of one of them who had
knocked my shield out of my hand with his lance, but in a moment
I felt myself grasped round the throat by another, who forced me
backward, and was about to cut off my head with his scimitar, when
Hanno caught him by the wrist and plunged his sword beneath his
armpit. The two of them came down heavily upon me, and we were all
three rolling on the deck together; a third man darted forward, and
I could see the gleam of a lance as it pointed to Hanno's breast,
when Chamai rushed to the rescue, and dealing a powerful blow, sent
the fellow staggering back. Hanno rose, and placing his foot upon
the dead man's neck found it taxed all his strength to withdraw
the sword with which he had slain him. As I regained my footing, I
caught sight of Chryseis standing near her cabin-door; her hands were
tightly clasped, and her face was deadly pale, but she had not lost
her self-command. Abigail was close beside her; like a true daughter
of Judah, she had seized a sword which she was pointing defiantly
against a soldier who had lost his lance, and who, as though scared
at being challenged by a woman, was cowering behind his shield.

Chamai's keen eye soon discerned what was passing, and followed by
Hanno, he rushed like a wild bull through the crush, knocking down
friends and foes alike, as he made his way to the protection of the
women.

Meanwhile Himilco and fifteen of the sailors, cutlass and hatchet
in hand, forced their way along and grouped themselves close to me.
Telling them that now was their chance, I led them forwards and
succeeded in effectually clearing the whole fore-ship, the Hellenes
stumbling over ropes and rigging in their precipitous retreat. On
reaching the prow I turned, to make the reassuring discovery that
Hanno and Chamai had been equally successful in clearing the stern,
and that they were closing in towards Bichri and his men at the mast,
where they were engaged in repelling a fresh contingent of the enemy.
Above the mass of heads and shields I could see Jonah's handspike
swinging to and fro, and above the confusion of cries and yells I
could hear his sonorous shout of defiance:

"Come on, Dodanim! I am your man. Let me earn my dinner. Come on!
Come on!"

With such determination did Bichri and his supporters beat back the
assailants, that ere long the middle deck was as clear as prow and
stern, and there rose a frantic cheer of triumph. The _Ashtoreth_ was
free from her enemies.

The cry of success was followed by a shout of welcome to the _Dagon_,
which at that moment came dashing up at a prodigious speed, sinking a
boat as it approached, and discharging a volley of arrows amongst the
boats that still persevered in hanging around us.

I now signalled to my helmsman to hold himself ready, and sent my
rowers down the hatchways to their oars; they found some Hellenes
skulking in the hold, but they soon despatched them; and it was
the work of only a few minutes to get clear of the remnant of the
attacking boats, and to bring the _Ashtoreth_ sharply round until
she was in a position on one side of the _Cabiros_ corresponding
with that of the _Dagon_ on the other. Hannibal had returned to us,
and gave us whatever assistance was in his power. Yet another boat
was sunk; and the crews of two more, overwhelmed in terror, leaped
overboard and swam after the fugitives, who, under a shower of
arrows, were making their way off.

No longer called upon to act upon the defensive, we next turned our
attention to the main company of the convoys, of which three already
had been abandoned by their crews and were drifting helplessly on
the waves. As we were steering towards them, I chanced to look
astern, and to my surprise I found that the boat we had in tow was
crowded with armed men, who had evidently got into it with the design
of boarding us, and had not been able to make their escape with
their comrades. I made Bichri come on to the poop with a party of
his bowmen, and he succeeded in hitting one of the Hellenes in the
shoulder just as he was about to sever the tow-rope with his scimitar.

"Lay down your arms!" I shouted in Ionian.

But the man was not daunted. He renewed his effort to cut the rope
asunder, an attempt in which he was foiled by receiving a second
arrow in his throat.

"Shall we shoot them all?" asked Bichri.

"No; wait a bit!" I said; "they look sturdy fellows, and ought to
fetch a good price at Carthage; we may as well do an extra stroke of
business."

Again I called to them to lay down their arms and to surrender, but
they made no sign of submission. One of them hurled his lance at me,
just grazing my shoulder; but another, apparently convinced that the
case was desperate, jumped overboard, and as we were a long distance
out at sea, was probably drowned.

  [Illustration: HANNO AND CHRYSEIS BESPEAK THEIR ATTENTION.
  _To face page 140._]

Fifteen men still remained, and I made Hanno and Chryseis bespeak
their attention in their own language, and thus succeeded in
bringing them to terms. Hanno, by my instruction, promised them that
their lives should be spared, and that they should be conveyed to a
land where they might earn good pay as soldiers of a king, and have
good treatment besides. After a while they yielded, and laid down
their arms, which were immediately hauled up on deck; and then a rope
was thrown down, and one by one the men, crestfallen and agitated,
climbed on board.

The remainder of our assailants were now flying in complete disorder.
Night was coming on, and to them a voyage in the darkness was
scarcely less terrible than a second battle. Although some of the
boats were quite uninjured, we could see that several of them had
sustained so much damage that they could hardly make any progress,
and that more than one had been set on fire by the combustibles
discharged by the _Dagon_. From the distant shore we could hear the
lamentations of the women bewailing the fate of the drowned and slain.

Hamilcar and Hasdrubal obtained my leave to go in pursuit of the
fugitives, and I told off thirty men under Bichri and Chamai to go
with them. While they were absent I sent some men to take in tow the
two boats that had been abandoned by their crews, and found that they
contained a number of dead bodies, the whole of which I had stripped
and thrown into the sea. The two ships returned very shortly,
bringing three prizes and twenty-two prisoners.

I deferred making any detailed examination of the spoils until the
morrow, and tired as we were, I should have been glad of repose for
myself and my men; but it was absolutely necessary that we should at
once wash the decks, collect the scattered armour, and do something
to repair the disorder inevitable after so hard a conflict. The
corpses of the Hellenes who had been killed and about twelve of the
wounded were thrown overboard. Of our own men, twenty-three had been
wounded and eleven killed; the bodies of these were wrapped in cloth
and laid side by side on the fore-deck, that they might be committed
to the sea in the morning, with the rites and invocations of their
religion.

As the _Dagon_ had sustained less injury than any of our ships, I had
all the captives, including my own fifteen, sent on board her and
fastened securely in the hold.

Our losses were very serious. The _Cabiros_ had eight killed and ten
wounded; the _Dagon_, three killed and seven wounded; making, with
the casualties on my own ship, a total of twenty-three dead, and
forty wounded. Here was a melancholy proof that we had been matched
with no mean opponents; and to confess the truth, their courage and
energy were such, that if they had had any practical notion of naval
tactics, and if their boats had been more manageable, and their
weapons not so ill-adapted for this character of warfare, our chances
of success would have been very small.

Both Hamilcar and Gisgo had sustained serious though by no means
dangerous wounds. Hanno had a gash across his shoulder, Chamai
a lance-cut in the arm, and Himilco a large bruise on the head,
but neither of the three was incapacitated from going on with his
accustomed duty. Our senior seaman, Hadlai, was among the killed.
Jonah had five lance-wounds, which he regarded as mere scratches; and
after he had smeared himself all over with ointment, he declared that
the day's proceedings had not only given him a tremendous appetite,
but had made him desperately thirsty.

It was impossible accurately to estimate the losses of the Hellenes;
but they must have amounted to several hundred; thirty-six dead
bodies had been found lying on the deck of the _Ashtoreth_ alone, and
the _Cabiros_ had thrown overboard thirty-eight more.

We contrived to get some brief repose before morning, but it was
still quite early when under a fair east wind we started again on our
way to Italy. The eight prizes were all taken in tow, and in order
to make our progress more easy I sent a few men into each of them,
either to put up a sail or to work them with oars.

Our ships were hung with black in honour of the dead, and the usual
invocations were made to the gods of the departed. There were several
bullocks amongst the booty we had captured, and I ordered one of
them to be hoisted upon each vessel and slain for a sacrifice. On
board the _Ashtoreth_, Hanno recited the prescribed petitions to
the goddess, and after the slaughter of our beast, the fat and a
portion of the flesh were set apart to be smoked and dried, the
rest being allotted to the funeral feast. The children of Israel,
meanwhile, after their own fashion, were sacrificing a sheep to their
God, El-Adonai. As soon as the sacrifices were finished, I made a
distribution of wine; but before this was allowed to be tasted, the
trumpets were sounded, and the bodies of the dead solemnly committed
to the deep. The black hangings were then removed; and we gathered
together for the general repast. Every one's spirits revived under
the influence of food and drink. Weariness and wounds were soon
forgotten, and the men, one to the other, were cheerfully recounting
their own experiences of the fight.

"Hannibal," I said, "you, as captain of the guard, and your men
under you, have acquitted yourselves admirably and, according to the
covenants of the charter-party, you are entitled to a share of the
spoil."

"For my part," said Hannibal, "I am quite ready to give up all
further claim if I can only have a new set of armour; my cuirass is
terribly battered about, and my helmet has lost both crest and plume.
I have no doubt there is a good suit of Lydian armour on board; let
me have that and I shall ask no more."

"With all my heart!" I answered: "and in addition I shall give you a
flask of fine Sareptan wine."

"Aye, a good thought!" said Himilco; "I, also, shall be only too
happy to dispose of my claim for three skins of Berytos."

Chamai maintained that he must be entitled at least to a bracelet and
a pair of Syrian earrings. "Give them to Abigail," he said, "and I
will cry quits for my share."

"And now, sir scribe," I asked, turning to Hanno, "what shall I do
for you? There are sheep, oxen, armour, wines at your command."

"By Ashtoreth!" he answered; "there is nothing I want. Take my
portion and distribute it amongst the wounded; they need it more than
I."

Struck by this generosity, Hannibal and Chamai shook him heartily by
the hand, and Chryseis showed her approval by the most beaming of
smiles.

One of the pilots came to me, as a deputation from the crew, and
requested that I would sell the whole booty in a lump at the first
opportunity, and let them have their shares in money: meanwhile they
hoped that I should not object to make them an advance of what they
might expect. The fact was that the men knew that Phœnician coin
was current at Utica, Carthage and Gades, and reckoned upon going
ashore and enjoying themselves at all these ports. I saw no reason
for refusing the men what they wanted, and accordingly instructed
Hanno to draw up a list of all the plunder, to every article of which
I appended the price in shekels which I was willing to pay for it.
The priced catalogue was affixed to the mast of each ship for the
sailors' inspection, and as it gave universal satisfaction, I paid
them the amount to which they were severally entitled that very
evening.

Chryseis and Abigail spent the night in administering to the wants of
the wounded.

Next morning, I sent for the prisoners. They had some rations
served out to them, and were brought from the _Dagon_ to the
_Ashtoreth_, looking downhearted and full of mistrust. I enlisted
the services of Hanno as interpreter, and having selected the most
intelligent-looking of the group, had him questioned as to his
nationality and his home.

"We are Hellenes," he said, "of the tribe of the Phocians. We have no
regular home, but we have been in the country round Mount Parnassus.
We left our haunts there at the bidding of Apollo, who told us
to depart, and to seek for other settlements. With our wives and
children we were on our way to join our kinsmen, the Ionians, either
in Epirus or in Corcyra. We were hoping there to find a happy and a
settled residence."

  [Illustration]

Great tears stood in his eyes, and his companions in adversity could
not suppress their sobs. I assured him that it was far from my wish
to aggravate their misery, and that I really pitied them in their
misfortune, so that they need not fear any harsh treatment at my
hands.

"If we had been meeting you in regular warfare," he continued,
"we should have fought on to the very death, and would have borne
disaster and defeat without a murmur; but now who shall blame us, if
we weep for our wives and dear ones perished in the waves?"

"But why, then, did you attack us?" I inquired.

"Listen, and you shall hear," he answered: "three days ago, we
fell in with a great Phœnician ship; it was not alone, but was
accompanied by several others. The captain hailed us and asked us to
sell him some provisions: regarding the Phœnicians as all divine,
we were all most ready to oblige them; we sent them oxen, fruit and
corn; my own poor son and many others went besides; but no sooner
had they got the supplies on board, than the pirates hoisted sail
and made away. We had no remedy; there was no hope of recovering our
people or our property; our boats cannot compete with yours in speed.
In our fury we swore that we would be avenged, and vowed we would
attack the first Phœnicians we should see. You were the first. Now
you know all."

"Bodmilcar! by all the gods!" ejaculated Himilco. "It is Bodmilcar
that has involved us in this trouble. To him we owe the death of our
brave Hadlai, and the loss of all our men! Ten thousand curses on
him! Moloch's bitterest curse be on his head!"

Anxious to learn whether this suspicion was well founded, I made
inquiry as to what the Phœnician ship was like, and not only
ascertained that it was large and round and high, but that the men
on board were quite different to the men upon the smaller boats, who
had brown faces, and wore dresses of another shape. These boats, too,
carried the figure of a goose's head at every prow.

"The _Melkarth_ and the Egyptians beyond a doubt!" I cried.

The Phocian looked astonished at my agitation.

I soon recovered my composure, and asked whether there were any men
amongst the captives upon whose courage and discretion he could rely.
He informed me that his own brother was one, and that five of the
others were his cousins; he added, moreover, that the wife of one of
the cousins had been carried off on board the Phœnician ship.

"Call them forward!" I said; and in a few minutes six young men, all
apparently strong and active, stood before me.

"You would like to see your son again?"

"My son!" echoed the man. "Restore my son, and you shall be counted
divine indeed."

I informed him that the Phœnician who had borne him off was my
avowed and mortal enemy. "But serve me with fidelity," I added, "and
you may recover your son even yet."

Turning to Hannibal, I ordered him to provide the seven men with
kitonets and arms, and to take them into his own force; the remainder
I sent to assist the rowers. It would be easy, I knew, to dispose of
them all at Utica or Carthage, where there is a constant demand both
for oarsmen and for mercenaries.

The seven Phocians kissed my hands, and wept for joy; the remainder
went below with lighter hearts than they had brought on board.



CHAPTER IX.

THE LAND OF OXEN.


On the third morning after the battle we sighted the mountains of
Italy,[32] and having entered the gulf,[33] along the north of which
extends the Iapygian Peninsula, we soon came to the mouth of a river
that meandered along a fine plain, in which the broad pastures were
diversified by groves of pines and oleanders. Inland, about a hundred
stadia from the shore, rose a range of grey mountains, partially
wooded, and crowned by a ridge of ragged peaks. The anchorage was
tolerably good, and as we required fresh water and provender for the
cattle, I determined to lay to at once. I had all the animals sent on
shore. This was a work of some difficulty; Bichri with a few armed
men was put in charge of them, and he was to employ the prisoners
to drive them where they could find proper pasturage; my intention
in doing this was that the animals should follow the ships along
the coast as far as the Sicilian Straits, where, unless I succeeded
meanwhile in disposing of them, they should be re-embarked.

  [32] Italia, from ἰταλός, _vitulus_.

  [33] South of the Adriatic.

"Not much chance of selling them here," said Himilco; "we are in
Vitalia, the land of oxen. If we could have brought them some goats
now, like those we let the Ionians have, we might have found a
market. Of cattle such as these they have more than enough already."

"Probably so," I answered; "but first of all we must find some
inhabited spot amidst all this desolation; we must try and meet
with some of these Italians or Vitalians, whichever they are called.
There must be some Iapygians here too in the south, as well as in the
north. Do you know the Iapygian dialect?"

  [Illustration]

Himilco said that, although he was not acquainted with that dialect,
he had some knowledge of the language of the Vitalians, as well as
of that which was spoken by the Opsci, the Marsians, the Volscians,
the Samnites, the Umbrians, the Sabellians of the eastern coast, and
the Latins of the western. He mentioned also that Gisgo was tolerably
familiar with the tongue of the Rasennæ, away to the north-west.

The spokesman of my seven Phocian prisoners now approached me
somewhat timidly, as if he had something to ask. His name was
Aminocles. He began by addressing me:

"King of the Phœnicians!"

I stopped him and told him that my proper appellation was not king
but captain.

"Captain of the Phœnicians," he said; "will you please to tell me
what country we are in?"

"Italy," I answered; "Italy, the land of herds."

"But in what part of it?" he asked.

"In that part," I replied, "which is inhabited by various tribes of
Vitalians; south and north-east dwell the Iapygians; far away to the
north are the Rasennæ, who build great cities, and have a king in the
fertile vales beyond the mountains."

"We know nothing of them," said Aminocles.

"Patience!" interposed Himilco; "perhaps we can refresh his memory.
Phocian, listen to me. Have you ever heard of Opsci?"

"Of Opici? yes," he answered; "our ancestors have left it upon record
that long ages back, before we built Dodona, nay, before we settled
by the Achelous, while we still were dwelling in the cold regions
beyond Thrace, we were in association with a people called the Opici.
At that time mainland and islands both were inhabited by Leleges,
Pelasgians, giants, dwarfs, and monsters; but the gods slew them all
and made way for us. If your Opsci are the same as those Opici, I
suppose I ought to have heard of them before."

"It is of no use perplexing the man," I said; "you see he does not
understand you."

"Wait a bit," Himilco remonstrated; "perhaps I shall succeed even
yet. Tell me, Aminocles, did you ever hear of Tyrsenians?"

"No," said the Phocian.

"Strange!" muttered Himilco to himself. "Again and again I have
heard the Hellenes speak of Vitalia, and call the natives Tyrsenians
or Tyrrhenians; I must try again. Do you know the Siculians, the
Cyclopes, the Lœstrigonians?" he asked aloud.

The man's countenance changed in an instant.

"What! do you mean"--he exclaimed, in a voice agitated with
alarm--"that we have come to the land of such people as those?"

"Aye, that we have," said Himilco, with a chuckle of satisfaction;
"this is the country of the Lœstrigonians; and down there is the
island of the Cyclopes, the Siculians, and all the rest of them. We
are going to pay them a visit, when we have steered safely between
Scylla and Charybdis."

And he laughed outright when he heard Aminocles, wringing his hands,
groan out:

"Oh! better, better far to have perished in the fight than to have
come to this land of monsters. Oh!"

We all laughed. The ridiculousness of the fellow's terror was
irresistible.

"Silence, simpleton!" I said; "the Lœstrigonians will not hurt
you; we shall see plenty of them, but they will not eat you up."

While I was speaking, my attention was directed by the man on watch
to a party of about fifty men, who were advancing across the plain.
Their attitude was far from confident, and they halted on the edge
of a wood, apparently in indecision whether they would come on or
retreat. At length I took upon myself to encourage them to come
forward, and, according to my custom, went alone towards them, making
them every sign of good-will. Presently two of them advanced to meet
me. They were stout, thick-set men, square-shouldered, and of middle
height; they had light complexions, thick beards, and frizzly hair,
that overhung low brows and wide faces. Their legs and arms were
quite bare, and their heads uncovered, but they wore a kind of coarse
woollen kitonet, with another loose garment thrown crosswise over one
shoulder. They were all well armed, having two short copper-headed
lances and a poignard; most of them carried knives or swords in their
girdles, and about a dozen had slings or bows.

One of the two who had come on in advance shouted in Italian:

"Who are you? and what have you come for?"

Himilco, who had followed me, shouted back in the same language that
we were merchants who had come from distant lands, and that we wanted
to open a trade with them.

"But are you not Rasennæ? and is it not your design to rob us our
cattle?"

"Nothing of the sort," we answered; "we are Phœnicians from the
east. Come down to the shore, and you shall see our merchandise."

Both the men retired to their comrades, and appeared to deliberate;
but very shortly they returned, and one of them called out:

"You see these two trees on each side of me; these must be our
boundary."

And, driving his lance firmly into the ground midway between them, he
continued:

"If you advance one step beyond this lance, I take it up, and we
declare ourselves your foes."

  [Illustration: "IF YOU ADVANCE ONE STEP BEYOND THIS LANCE."
  _To face page 152._]

Himilco repeated his assurance that we had no wish to do them the
slightest injury, and they came up close to where we were. The leader
told us that they were Sabelline Samnites, and that they wanted to
know what payment we were going to make them for the pasturage of our
cattle. I made Himilco satisfy them that they should have a proper
remuneration.

It was now my turn to erect a barrier. This I did by driving stakes
into the earth, and stretching a cord across, beyond which I made
the Samnites understand that I should not permit them to pass. They
raised no objection to my measure of precaution, but crowded up to
inspect our goods, their curiosity meanwhile extending to our ships,
ourselves, and our costume. They were rougher in manners than the
Hellenes, and more suspicious, and I had some trouble in inducing
them to negotiate with us at all; but after a time I succeeded in
securing their confidence to a certain degree, and they informed me
that they were not an agricultural people, and had no cereals nor
vegetables to bring us, but could supply us with any number of sheep
and oxen. They subsequently brought several half-wild pigs, which
particularly attracted the attention of Chamai and Bichri, neither of
whom had seen animals of the kind before. Not understanding the art
of making bread, the Samnites ordinarily eat a kind of pulp called
"masa;" but, as they had on previous visits of other Phœnicians
tasted some loaves, they were now very anxious to be shown how to
make them; they made a number of inquiries likewise about our wine,
but for this they did not seem to care to the same extent as the
Hellenes.

Next morning they came to us again in considerable numbers. I
had observed that during the night they had lighted a good many
beacon-fires over the land, and naturally conjectured that they were
signalling for a gathering of their countrymen, and I accordingly
doubled my ordinary guard. I soon found, however, that there was no
cause for alarm, and that they had no hostile intentions; on the
contrary, they were quite content to follow my injunctions that they
should not approach our boundary line in groups of more than fifty;
they awaited their turn with the utmost patience, and altogether were
far less noisy and demonstrative than we had found the Dorians.

Amongst other things they brought a great quantity of coral, which
after rough weather is washed up on their coasts, but which they
also procure by diving from frail rafts of their own construction;
for although they are very indifferent navigators, they are for the
most part excellent swimmers. The most expert coral-divers are the
Iapygians, those who dwell amongst the Samnites and the Bretians,
as well as the natives of Iapygia proper. Some few of them were to
be noticed amongst our Samnite visitors; they were generally tall
and wore no beards; they had round heads and brown skins, being in
many respects very like the Cydonians: in their manners they were
more polished and in their conversation more communicative than
the other Italians. They seemed to me to bear a marked resemblance
to the Siculians; and I cannot help thinking that the Iapygians,
the Siculians, the Cydonians, and the natives discovered by our
forefathers in Malta, are the aborigines of their respective
countries. Afterwards, from the coast of Asia came the Leleges and
the Pelasgians (tribes that bear a strong likeness to the Lydians,
Lycians, and Carians), and these settled in Dodanim and the isles,
being succeeded by the Hellenes and Italians, who came southward from
the confines of Thrace. Of the origin of the Rasennæ I am perfectly
ignorant: all I know is that Phœnicians who have visited the
mountains whence the rock-crystal is obtained, and which lie north of
the Eridanus, at the head of the Iapygian Gulf, have reported that
they have fallen in with a people who call themselves Rhœtians,
and who speak a language in many respects identical with that spoken
by the Rasennæ.

Two days were spent in bartering my cumbersome booty for coral,
which could be compactly stored away. As the captured boats were
emptied, I had all but two of them broken up. I reserved only the
planking, which was sure to be useful, and the masts, which might
be of service if we should require extra spars. After the spoil had
been all exchanged away, I commenced paying for what I purchased
with glass-beads, lance-heads, and sword-blades; the last of these
articles were so eagerly coveted, that for four blades, worth about a
shekel apiece, I obtained at least four hundred shekels' worth of the
finest coral. When I expressed my surprise at the quantity of coral
in their possession, they explained that it was the accumulation of
a very long time, adding that they had intended disposing of it at
one of the emporiums which the Phœnicians had established on the
western coast, but that our arrival had saved them the trouble of the
journey. They told me that they should have been glad if I could
supply them with goats, and stated that those which had been brought
over by our countrymen, and purchased by the Marsians and Volscians,
were rapidly spreading in the mountains of the north.

The Samnites have no regular towns, but live in small scattered
hamlets, consisting generally of a few thatched huts built of
boughs of trees cemented with mud. They have very little notion of
agriculture, and the Latins of the west coast (especially those of
the valley of the Tiber) are far superior husbandmen; the Latins,
however, have a city named Alba, occupying a secure position between
a mountain and a lake. Along the coast I know only of a single
sea-port, and that belongs to the Rasennæ, and is named Populonia.
These Rasennæ are no contemptible sailors; that they were bold and
unscrupulous pirates, I had long known by hearsay, but here on the
Samnite coast I was destined to have a confirmation of the fact from
my own experience.

Having completed all the business that was practicable, I was
preparing to renew our voyage, when one of the Samnites came running
up to his associates, and shouted something which appeared to throw
them into a state of great excitement.

"What ails the fellows?" said Himilco; "they seem going mad. Is the
cock-head Nergal at their heels?"

The commotion was soon explained.

"Pirates! Pirates!" shouted a number of the Samnites in a breath.
"Quick, Phœnicians, on your guard! The Tyrrhenians are coming!
They are rounding the point! they will be on us directly! Away! Away
to the mountains!"

Without losing a minute, I made Jonah sound an alarm and summon our
men to their ships. Hannibal donned his helmet and marshalled his
men, including the seven Phocians; the overlooker of the rowers,
scourge in hand, hurried the oarsmen to their benches, and in a short
time we were three stadia from the shore and ready for action.
Chamai congratulated himself that although his right arm was disabled
he was still capable of doing good execution with his left.

"What new friends are we to have the pleasure of seeing to-day?"
asked Bichri, with a smile, as he fastened on his quiver and strung
his bow.

I told him that they were Tyrrhenians, or Rasennæ, from the
north-west of Italy, who traded a little, but did a good deal more
in the way of privateering along the coast; and that, although I was
not aware of their having ever hitherto come into collision with
Phœnicians, I had very little doubt they carried freight enough to
make it worth our while to risk an engagement with them.

"Yes, they are new to me," said Hannibal; "and perhaps we can give
them some new lessons in the art of fighting; they may like a taste
of the Chaldean mace that King David gave me."

Anxious to understand the true position of things, I sent the
_Cabiros_ ahead to reconnoitre, ordering her to keep as close
as possible to the shore until she reached the extremity of the
headland, whence she could command a view of the whole line of coast;
she returned with the intelligence that there were five ships, which
seemed of a long build, advancing leisurely towards us by making
short tacks to catch the wind, and that in about half an hour they
would be in sight.

Whilst I was pondering in my mind what line of action I should
follow, my eye fell upon the two boats of the Hellenes which had been
spared in the general demolition, and it occurred to me that I could
make them of service.

"How about our soundings, Himilco?" I said.

"Ten cubits, and a rocky bottom," was the pilot's prompt reply.

Gisgo was on board the _Ashtoreth_. He had come to bring the report
of the _Cabiros_.

"Tell me, Gisgo," I said, "how much water do those Tyrrhenian
privateers draw? Is it six cubits?"

"Aye, six at the very least; they look low upon the water, but they
sink very deep; it is their excessive weight that keeps them from
lurching."

"Very well; now go to those two boats, scuttle them, and sink them
there, right in front of my ship. _There!_" I said, pointing with my
hand.

Himilco and Gisgo chuckled again with delight as they went to do as
they were ordered, and in the course of twenty minutes the boats were
both sunk, and formed a regular stockade about three cubits below the
surface of the water.

My next proceeding was to direct the _Cabiros_ to lower her sail,
and to pretend to be dragging herself with difficulty towards the
headland, as though she had sustained some serious injury. I then
made the _Dagon_ sheer off about two stadia out to sea, ordering
her to make her way back to the _Ashtoreth_ by short tacks, as if
she were coming to her assistance. Meanwhile I gave my ship the
appearance of being a disabled merchantman; I lowered my sail, made
my rowers struggle with their oars without propelling the vessel, and
told all my soldiers to slip their shields, and to lie down flat upon
the deck so as not to be seen.

"What's up now, Captain?" said Chamai raising his head, with a merry
grin.

I told him that I was giving a sprat to catch a mackerel; and that if
he would have patience I hoped he would be satisfied with the haul.

It was a very short time now before the Rasennæ caught sight of
us. Immediately one of the five ships bore down directly upon the
_Cabiros_; two of them started off in pursuit of the _Dagon_,
which was still out to sea, and the remaining two steered for the
_Ashtoreth_, which, as though perfectly helpless, exhibited no sign
of resistance.

When they had come within a stadium of me I had ample opportunity
of examining the details of their boats and equipments. Although
the boats were long, they were very ill-constructed; they had only
a single deck, and were each manned by thirty rowers; the stern was
somewhat raised, but the deck was almost level with the sea; on the
prow was painted a pair of huge red and white eyes which seemed to
stare fixedly at the waves. The men on board were very tall; they had
large heads, wide flat faces, reddish complexions and thin beards;
although their limbs were muscular and well-developed, their gait
was very awkward. They were armed with ponderous lances, hatchets,
bucklers, and round helmets which had no crests; whilst their legs
were protected either by sandals or by pointed gaiters. Most of
them wore tunics of some dark colour, which, though longer than our
kitonets, were shorter than those worn by the Syrians. On their
arms and throats was a profusion of bracelets and necklaces, and
their girdles, which were very wide, were ornamented with plates of
polished bronze. After looking at them steadily for a time, Abigail
declared that she would rather die than fall into the hands of such
revolting creatures.

Coming within hail, the Rasennæ began shouting furiously at us, but
we took no heed. Finding that their challenge was unanswered, they
sent one of their boats in front of me, whilst the other passed round
the stern intending to cut me off from the shore; but they reckoned
without their host. The former boat dashed itself violently against
the stockade of concealed boats, and after two or three ineffectual
efforts to disengage herself, heeled over on her side, and remained
with her stern considerably sunk below the sea.

My trumpet sounded, my oars dipped, my warriors started to their
feet, and a shout of triumph rang through the air.

Thoroughly taken aback by our sudden revival, the other boat
endeavoured to tack about to get out of our way; but so clumsily did
she set about the manœuvre, that she only succeeded in running her
stern aground, and being thus entirely at my mercy, I poured into
her such a shower of missiles as probably her commander and crew had
never before conceived possible.

"Here, Tyrrhenians, Rasennæ, or whatever you call yourselves,"
shouted Hannibal, as he worked away at his scorpions; "here is a
heavenly shower of manna for you! If these arrows and Cretan pebbles
are not to your taste, we can find you a nice little lot of spiked
stakes."

Bichri, too, was quite in his element. With such an immovable mark
within bowshot, he selected his victims just as he pleased, and
was careful to choose those who wore any article of apparel or any
ornament that particularly struck his fancy.

"Look at that fellow," I heard him say, "with the necklace of gold
beads inlaid with blue and enamelled with white: I must have him; but
I must hit him on the head, or I shall be spoiling that charming bit
of embroidery he is wearing."

As our deck was several cubits higher than that of our antagonists,
their archers were comparatively powerless; and in order to protect
themselves under the incessant discharge of our missiles, they took
refuge in their hold. Observing their retreat, Hannibal, Chamai and
Bichri, with a few followers, leaped down upon their deck; Jonah, in
his impetuous haste to go after them, came sprawling down headlong
with a tremendous thud, but rising rapidly to his feet, caught hold
of the heels of an unhappy Tyrrhenian who had not had time to make
his escape, twirled him round and round in the air like a sling, and
dashed out his brains against the side of the vessel. Short work
was made with the few who still remained above board, and in a few
minutes more, our people, who had forced their way down the hatchway,
reappeared, bringing with them twenty men, of whom, to my surprise I
found that no less than eleven were Phœnicians. Their costume and
physiognomy revealed this at a glance.

Free now to turn my attention from the shore to the sea, I found
that the _Dagon_ had already sunk one of the privateers, and in
concert with the _Cabiros_ was driving the remaining two fast inland.
I joined in the pursuit, and after a short chase, one of the boats,
overwhelmed by the volleys of stones which we threw from our engines,
found all further resistance useless, and made signs of surrender.
The capture of this vessel cost us the lives of two of our men, and
while we were engaged in securing our prize, the remaining boat took
advantage of our occupation to effect an escape.

We lost as little time as possible in making our way back to the
coast towards the prizes we had left there. We were only just in
time. The Samnites had been watching the issue of the contest,
and were hastening down from the heights to pillage the abandoned
vessels; but as I sent some detachments of men to keep guard, they
had for the present to keep their distance, and to be content to bide
their time before they could enjoy the crumbs of the expected feast.

Our first business now was to empty the boat that had struck upon the
sunken stockade; it had already nearly two cubits of water in its
hold, and was consequently liable to sink at any moment. There were
no prisoners to be made here; during our engagement with the other
vessels some of the men had escaped in a small boat, and the rest had
swum to shore, but only to be captured by the Samnites. The _Cabiros_
and _Dagon_, however, had thirty-three prisoners, making, with
the nine I had myself taken, a total of forty-two, who were first
stripped of everything of any value that was found belonging to them,
and then distributed amongst our three crews, who would be entitled
to dispose of them to our colonists on the coast of Libya, where no
doubt they would be in demand either for soldiers or artisans.

The eleven Phœnicians were highly delighted at what had befallen
them; their capture was really a deliverance. They told me that
they had formed part of the crew of a Sidonian gaoul which had
been wrecked off the coast of Sardinia, and that they had escaped
in one of the small boats. They had attempted to reach one of our
settlements in the island, but tempestuous weather had frustrated
their plan, and they had been carried out to sea, and finally drifted
to the mainland. They had next tried to make their way northward to
one of the Phœnician marts, established on the coast; and it was
more than a week ago since they had fallen into the hands of the
Rasennæ, who had sent them to serve on board their privateers. All
of them were ragged, and more than half-starved; and their rejoicing
seemed unbounded, when I not only provided them with clothes and
food, but allowed them to enter my service on an equal footing with
the rest of my crews. Amongst them was an experienced helmsman and
a master mariner; so that all our losses were to a great extent
replaced, especially as the whole of the wounded were in a fair way
of recovery.

Stripping the dead, collecting the booty, conveying it on board, and
making lists of it all, occupied us till the close of the day, and it
was past sunset before we were at liberty to avail ourselves of the
wind, which was quite favourable for our coasting along towards the
Straits of Sicily. We left the captured boats, and whatever plunder
was too heavy or too valueless to be worth carrying away, to the
Samnites, who, with shouts of joy, rushed forward to take possession
of their unexpected prize.

The evening meal was merry. Our successful negotiations, our
victorious skirmish, our release of our countrymen, our valuable
booty, were all topics of mutual congratulation. Hannibal was loud in
his praises of my stratagem of the stockade.

"Ah! that's an old trick," said Himilco; "we once played it off upon
the Carians of Rhodes, and took eleven of their ships and no end of
plunder. Old Tarshish mariners are adepts at schemes of that sort."

Chamai held up a pair of twisted bracelets, and a necklace of a
similar pattern, ornamented with a large flat crescent.

"Are these solid gold, captain?" he asked me.

"Aye, and of the finest sort," I answered; "it is the gold they get
from the Eridanus and the Rhone; you are to be congratulated on your
lucky prize."

"Not one man did I either kill or catch," said Hanno; "and I suppose
I shall have to be content with my share-and-share-alike portion of
the plunder; but I confess I should be very pleased if I might have a
vase which I discovered amongst the captured goods; it is exquisitely
painted, and I have no doubt that these Rasennæ, ugly as they are
themselves, are highly-skilled as artists."

I told him that I saw no difficulty in yielding to his wish, and
requested him to submit to me his inventory of the spoil. Casting my
eye at it, I was not surprised to find that the articles made of gold
were considerably larger in number than those made of silver. I knew
that the Tyrrhenians had little or no communication with Tarshish and
the other silver-producing countries, whilst they have free access to
the sands of the Eridanus, and that by the road made by the Ligurian
convicts they could cross the mountains to the Rhone. There were
a good many articles of copper which came from Lower Vitalia, and
amongst them some figures, which were evidently images of gods.

I sent for Gisgo to come on board and interrogate the prisoners in
their own language. In their peculiar muffled accent they informed
us that they had come from Populonia, and were subjects of King
Tarchnas, who ruled over twenty Tyrrhenian cities. Populonia, they
said, was their only sea-port, and thence they always set sail upon
their cruises, their ships being manned with Ligurians as oarsmen and
sailors, whilst their fighting men were nearly all Rasennæ. Two of
their chiefs they mentioned as having been killed in the fight, whose
names were Vivenna and Spurinna; Himilco gave it as his opinion that
these names were identical with the Vitalian Vibius and Spurius.

Upon being shown the copper images of the gods which had been
found amongst the plunder, the prisoners recognised them at once,
and told us the names. There were Turms, the Hermes of the Hellenes;
Turan, whom I believed to be our Ashtoreth; Sethlans, the same as our
Khousor Phtah; Fouflouns the Dionysus of the Hellenes; and another
called Menvra, of whom I had never heard, but whom Himilco declared
to the Vitalian goddess Minerva.

The Tyrrhenians went on to say that they were allies of the Latins
and of the Opsci, or Occi, a name which in our language signifies
"workmen;" and that the semi-barbarous Samnites, although of the
same race and speaking the same tongue as the Opsci, had committed
depredations against them on the river Volturnus, or "the rolling
stream;" and had likewise attacked the Latin settlement of Novla, or
"the new city." In defence of their allies, the Rasennæ had declared
war against the Samnites, and were on their way to attack them when
they encountered us, and fell into our power. This was all the
information they had to give me, and I sent the men back to the care
of the crew, and we all retired to rest.

  [Illustration: CLOSE TO ETNA.
  _To face page 163._]

The day had hardly dawned when I rose, and looking a little to the
left, I could see behind us the light, the flames, and the lurid
smoke that issued from the crater of Mount Etna. The two women and
all the men, who had never before seen such a spectacle, looked
on, some in astonishment, some in downright terror. Hannibal was
as surprised as anyone, and declared that except he knew to the
contrary, he should have taken it for the mouth of hell; adding, that
he thought it a great pity that all that mighty force of fire could
not be utilised; it would make a splendid apparatus for reducing an
obstinate city in a siege. To my inquiry whether he had never seen
the burning mountain in Cilicia, he replied that, although he had
passed several times, it had never been his good fortune to be there
at the time of an eruption.

We passed sufficiently close to Etna to be able most distinctly to
hear its roar. The women, really alarmed, betook themselves to their
cabin. Hanno asked what was the distance of the volcano from us.

"Sixty stadia at least," I answered; "you seem surprised at our
seeing it so plainly, but in the broad daylight it will not be nearly
so conspicuous, although it is very lofty. My own reason for coming
so close to it now is that we may the more directly steer into the
Straits of Sicily."

Jonah, who at first had been terribly alarmed, did not disguise his
satisfaction that we were not going any closer to the mountain. "All
very well in the distance," he said; "it is the kitchen of Nergal,
the old cock, whose head is up in the sky and his feet here on earth.
Yes, it is his kitchen; where he roasts his behemoths and leviathans;
his smallest platter is a good deal bigger than this deck. But the
time is coming when El-Adonai shall demolish him, and the children of
Israel shall feast upon him and his dainties!"

"Hold your tongue, you fool!" said Chamai. "None of your idiot
stories of Dan, and your fables of the drunken Ephraimites!"

"Neither stories nor fables!" retorted Jonah; "have you not a proof
before your eyes that it is all true? What will the people of Eltekeh
say when I tell them I have seen Nergal's kitchen?"

"Hush! I say! Shut up!" And as Chamai spoke, he gave the giant a
violent blow across his mouth with his open hand.

"Humph!" he growled; "I must hold my tongue, must I?"

We now made rapid headway towards the north, and as we approached
the strait, Himilco and his sailors amused themselves by working up
Aminocles and the other Phocians to the highest pitch of terror.

"That is the mountain of the Cyclopes that you have been looking at,"
he said to them; "now's your time to look out sharp to the right
and left, and you shall see Scylla and Charybdis. You know who they
are. They are the ravenous monsters that swallow up whole ships and
all their crews. Listen! you can hear them roaring now; they seem
desperately hungry."

"I remember," said one of the sailors, "seeing Charybdis suck in
three gaouls and two galleys at one draught, just as easily as I
could drain a cup of wine."

"And would you believe," interposed the man who was at the helm,
"that I have seen the heads of Scylla shatter a whole fleet with such
violence that the admiral was pitched clean over there into the jaws
of the volcano?"

Himilco, of course, could not allow himself to be outdone by the men,
and proceeded to say:

"I have been nearer to Scylla than any of you. One cloudy night I
was at the prow, vainly endeavouring to make out the Cabiri, when
all at once I felt her foamy mouth open gently, close behind me, and
snap off my cap--lucky it wasn't my head too--and before I could turn
round, Charybdis had swallowed a whole bottle of my best Berytos and
three whole cheeses!"

Jonah, who was looking on intensely interested, said:

"And what did you do, pilot? I know what I should have done. I should
have given her a good crack across her muzzle."

"O, it was no good my saying anything to her; she wouldn't have
understood me; the only language she can comprehend is that of the
Lœstrigonians."

He could hardly speak for laughing; but Aminocles cowered down upon
the deck, and covered his head with his loose tunic, the other six
Phocians scampering off in dismay to secrete themselves in the hold.



CHAPTER X.

GISGO THE EARLESS RECOVERS HIS EARS.


Notwithstanding the strong and rapid current which bears down
upon the promontory to the right, and which has given rise to the
marvellous stories with which sailors delight to awaken the fears
of the inexperienced, we passed through the strait without the
slightest difficulty; and so well did I know the channel, and so
manageable were our ships, that we had no necessity to diminish
our ordinary speed. The coast on either hand was covered with fine
wooded hills, surmounted by jagged grey rocks, rising up almost
perpendicularly, like the battlements of a fortress; there was good
anchorage everywhere, and more especially in the bay on the side of
the island in the strait itself. I did not, however, lay to, but
hastened on with as much speed as possible, in order that before
nightfall I might reach the roadstead in front of the promontory of
Lilybœum, to which our countrymen are accustomed to pay periodical
visits for the purpose of purchasing sulphur and lava-stones. The
Siculians have a few cabins on the margin of the roadstead, and are
on the whole less savage than their countrymen in the south and west
of the island, more frequent intercourse with strangers having tended
to soften their manners; but the ever-increasing immigration of the
Latins is so continuously overwhelming their numbers, that in my
opinion they will before long have entirely disappeared.

Rounding the cape, I steered due west along the shore of the island,
leaving the Æolian peaks to our right, and by evening had reached the
anchorage upon which I had settled, and where I found good moorings
about two bowshots from the beach. I did not feel altogether sure
of my quarters, so that I would not land any of my merchandise that
night, and I resolved, moreover, to hold no communication of any kind
with the natives till the morning. Some men came with torches to the
water's edge and made signs of friendly intentions, but I merely told
them that they might bring what sulphur, coral, or mother-of-pearl
they could on the next day; and finding that I was resolute in my
refusal to negotiate with them then, they went away.

They had not been gone very long, when Himilco pointed out to me
some shoals of tunny-fish within reach, and asked permission to try
and catch some. As it was some time since our men had tasted fresh
fish, I could not refuse, but allowed him to make up a party of the
most experienced fishermen he could select. A lot of harpoons and
tridents were lowered into a boat, into which got Bichri and two
archers, carrying some lines to be attached to the harpoons to haul
up the fish that were hit. Jonah, ever on the alert when food was
in question, asked permission to join the party, and was allowed
to go under condition that he brought his trumpet and some torches
to attract the fish. It had been ascertained that Aminocles was a
skilful hand at this pursuit; and as soon as he was satisfied that
there was no fear of his encountering any of the monsters of which he
had heard so much, he was induced to accompany them.

"How was it," he said to Himilco, "that we escaped Scylla and
Charybdis so completely? I looked out once or twice, but I saw
nothing alarming."

"Neither did I," said Himilco, gravely. "The truth is, the old
monster does not show herself every day, or, maybe, something scared
her; perhaps Hannibal's red crest, or perhaps Jonah's big trumpet.
Anyhow, there's no accounting for the freaks of these monsters."

"She was quite right in keeping out of my way," said Jonah; "now I
have seen Nergal's kitchen, I have courage enough for anything."

Aminocles was still not quite easy in his mind, and with reference to
the volcanoes, asked whether we were quite out of the reach of the
flames.

"Out of reach!" repeated Himilco; "why, the flames are six hundred
stadia away from where you saw them; you only saw the reflection in
the clouds."

  [Illustration]

"Nergal's kitchens, all of them!" said Jonah; "plenty of them! nice
and hot! He can fry and he can bake! He's a capital cook!"

The sailors were immensely amused at all this talk; and when Himilco,
with imperturbable seriousness, proceeded to interpret Jonah's
remarks to the credulous and timid Aminocles, their laughter became
perfectly uproarious.

The fishing was a great success. Several good hauls were made; and
before daylight the boat returned, and the men retired to their
well-earned rest.

In good time next morning the natives whom we had seen the previous
evening, came with a considerable increase in their number, and one
of them swam boldly out from the shore, and was received on board
the _Ashtoreth_. He was a man that might be regarded as a fair type
of the Siculians; tall, with a low forehead, thin nose and lips,
beardless chin, and copper-coloured complexion. He addressed us in
the Latin tongue, and was eager to tell us that the Latins were
now in possession of the eastern portion of the island, and were
the bitterest enemies of the Siculians. I replied that I was a
Phœnician, and that Italian Latins, or Italian Samnites, Umbrians,
or Sabellians were all the same to me; what I wanted was coral,
sulphur, and lava; and if the Siculians could bring me these, they
should have a liberal price in return. He replied:

"We are subjects of King Morgesh, who will only permit us to transact
business inland. Come with us to yonder mountains; we have plenty of
the commodities you want. There we may make our exchanges."

The persistency with which he urged our going on shore with our goods
aroused my suspicions; but without exhibiting any sign of mistrust I
pretended to acquiesce in his proposal, and at once proceeded to land
my bales of merchandise and sixty armed men, taking the precaution,
moreover, of placing all my archers on board the _Cabiros_, which,
with her machines ready for action, was moored within a few cubits of
the shore.

"What need to bring so many men?" asked the Siculian, when we had
landed; "we can carry your packages to the mountains."

When I replied that I did not intend to go inland at all, and that
if they wanted to effect any bartering with us they must bring their
own merchandise down to the beach, the man was evidently very much
disconcerted, and went away to consult his companions. While he was
absent, I availed myself of the opportunity of replenishing all our
water-casks from the copious brook that flowed into the bay.

On the man's return, he was accompanied by two of his colleagues.

"Do not be afraid of the fatigue of ascending the mountain," they
urged; "we will not only convey your property, but we will carry all
of you too, if you like. Only come."

And with repeated solicitations, they assured me I should be pleased
with the bargains I should be able to make.

I represented the impossibility of my yielding to their wishes.
It was my determination to set sail again that very evening;
consequently there was no leisure for us to quit the shore. While I
was talking, I made my people unfold to the view of the savages some
specimens of my wares--glass beads and trinkets, bottles and bright
caldrons, and some parti-coloured stuffs. These proved too much for
their cupidity, and unable to stand out any longer, and convinced of
my inflexible purpose of remaining where I was, they hurried off to
fetch their own commodities.

Rough and brutal in their manners, they haggled over every item; and
whenever they saw anything that especially attracted their fancy,
they tried to snatch it from our hands; or, if small enough, they
would endeavour slyly to pilfer it; but we kept a sharp look-out,
and as fast as I completed my purchases, I despatched them either to
the _Dagon_ or to my own ship. The throng of the Siculians gradually
grew larger and larger, and in proportion as their numbers increased,
their demands became more and more encroaching; so much so, that
fearing some outbreak of violence, I thought it prudent to send
for Chamai, Bichri, Himilco, and a score of men to supplement my
body-guard.

All at once, Gisgo, who had been sitting quietly on the beach
watching the proceedings, started to his feet, and touching Himilco's
shoulder, drew his attention to a sudden stir that had begun amongst
the Siculians in the rear. Following with my eye the direction of
his finger, I perceived in a moment that some king or chief was
passing through the throng, which was falling back to allow him a
passage. Before him was carried a number of rods, all painted red,
and ornamented with coral, mother-of-pearl, and other glittering
substances. From the end of the longest of these rods dangled some
ill-defined objects, which to my unpractised eye looked like nothing
so much as strings of faded leaves. But Gisgo was better informed.

Pointing to the rods, and with a voice almost choked with excitement,
he said:

"Captain, there are my ears!"

"Your ears! What do you mean?"

"There, there! on that stick! strung together! I know what they are
well enough."

And he muttered to himself: "A man knows his own ears."

It was all in vain that I strained my eyes to see which of the
shapeless and withered cartilages Gisgo maintained were his: I could
make out nothing to distinguish one pair of ears from another.

"Never mind," said Gisgo; "I recognise them; and I recognise
something else; that chief is the blackguard who cut them off."

The impropriator of my pilot's ears had now advanced to me, and
commenced negotiating in person. He sold me a quantity of sulphur,
and appeared to be conducting his transaction in a friendly and
equitable manner; but just as I was about, as usual, to embark my
purchase, he declared that in addition to the stipulated price, he
must have a cuirass like Hannibal's. I told him peremptorily that
he could not have anything beyond the contract, whereupon he caught
hold of the cuirass that Hannibal was wearing, and tried to drag it
from him by main force. Hannibal, however, was too strong for him,
and repelled him with a blow so violent that he stumbled and fell to
the ground. In a moment, doubtless at a preconcerted signal, we were
assailed by a shower of stones and lances. I was quite prepared; my
measures of defence had all been arranged, and at a sign from me,
the _Cabiros_ set her catapults at work, and discharged a volley of
missiles over our head into the throng of the enemy, whilst Hannibal
and Chamai, each with his own troop, charged right and left.

But Gisgo was beforehand with any of us. Before the chief could
regain his feet, the pilot rushed at him, and with the help of
Himilco (who drew his sword, and hurried to his assistance) he had
split open the chief's skull, and laid two of his staff-bearers dead,
or as good as dead, by his side.

My fighting-men meanwhile succeeded in driving back the foremost
Siculians half a stadium from the water's edge, and as soon as our
boats were loaded and ready to start, I sounded the signal for
retreat. Finding themselves no longer pursued, the Siculians faced
about and followed us back at a safe distance, trying to harass us
by stones and javelins; but I made my people embark a few at a time,
and when there were only about fifteen of us remaining, just enough
for one boat's load, I was congratulating myself that we had been
so little molested; but at that very instant a large party of the
Siculians made a dash towards us, and if it had not been that the
_Cabiros_ skilfully protected us by her engines, we must inevitably
have fallen into their hands. As it was, we all managed to embark;
and although they pursued us with hideous yells as far as they
could into the water, we got right away, the _Cabiros_ slipping her
moorings and following us without sustaining any injury.

One of our Phocians had been killed, and another seriously
wounded, and eight of our own people had received slight cuts and
contusions; but we had obtained fifteen hundred shekels of coral,
mother-of-pearl, and sulphur, so that on the whole I considered we
had come out of the affair without much to regret. I rejoiced that my
prudence and resolution had spared us from falling into any ambush of
the treacherous foe.

Gisgo was in high spirits; he considered himself amply avenged, and
came on board the _Ashtoreth_ to show me his trophies; he brought two
rods that he had captured, to each of which he had affixed a pair of
bleeding ears, freshly cut from the skulls of his fallen adversaries.
With regard to his own ears, nothing could convince him but that he
had found them amongst the string of others, and the pair he selected
was ever afterwards preserved most carefully in his leather purse.

During the night we passed through the group of the Ægades, which lie
off Lilybœum, and where the Phœnicians have established a naval
station. After hailing one of the guard-ships, we directed our course
south-west, hoping that we might, with a calm sea and a light wind
from the east, succeed by the following afternoon in reaching the
fine bay which encloses, on the one hand, the roadstead of Utica, the
metropolis and arsenal of our Libyan settlements, and on the other
the harbour of Bozrah, its newly-built rival.

Eager to catch sight of the first important place at which they were
to rest awhile, my people next morning were up betimes. Hannibal was
especially interested; he had long wished to visit both Utica and
Carthage, and asked me if it were true that Carthage had formerly
been called Bozrah, and had not been known as Carthage for more than
twenty years.

I replied that his impression about Carthage was quite correct; it
had originally been Bozrah, which means "the citadel;" but Utica had
been in existence for more than a century. He would find it a noble
city; its Cothôn, or war-port, contained sixty dry-docks, above each
of which was erected a magazine, and the whole place landwards was
rendered impregnable by a triple wall.

Before disembarking, I satisfied myself that my prisoners were all in
good condition, and after they had been well washed I ordered them
to be supplied with double rations. The Rasennæ generally are very
superstitious, and my captives were no exceptions. My proceedings
with regard to them caused them much misgiving; they imagined that
the extra food and cleansing implied that their last hour was come,
and that they were about to be offered in sacrifice to the gods.
Every moment in the dim light of the hold they fancied they could
hear the winged Turms coming to conduct their souls to the shades,
and they even went so far as to persuade themselves and each other
that they could make out the shrieks of the tortured who were being
scourged below. I was glad to relieve them of their fears. When
I made them aware that the object of my preparations was to make
them ready for sale in a fine city, where they would be employed
according to their abilities; would be well fed and well clothed; and
where, if they conducted themselves meritoriously, they would have
a claim to the spoils of war, they were full of glee, and fell to
their double portions of meat with a double relish. One only regret
they acknowledged; they mourned their removal from their Hestia, or
hearth-goddess, but they soon consoled themselves with the reflection
that as the gods are everywhere, they might fairly hope to find a
Hestia in their new country.

The Phocians had carried off the body of their comrade who had been
killed by the Siculians and had conveyed it on board. I promised
to try and procure them a piece of ground where they might bury
him according to their own rites; and so gratified were they by my
endeavour to meet their wishes in this respect, that they declared
they would encounter any perils by sea now that they found it did not
deprive them of their rites of sepulture. Another circumstance which
had some little effect of reconciling them to their position was that
Himilco, although he had great difficulty in bringing them to believe
what he said, explained to them that the Siculians, with whom they
had just had an engagement, were really the Lœstrigonians that
they had so much dreaded.



CHAPTER XI.

OUR HEADS ARE IN PERIL.


When I returned to the deck, the promontory of Utica (or, as the
point on the Libyan coast facing Sicily is sometimes called, the Cape
of Hermes) was clearly visible.

In honour of our arrival at so important a city we all took extra
pains in dressing ourselves. I put on my best kitonet and my
embroidered cap; and Hannibal donned his plumed helmet, and wore a
handsome tunic under his cuirass.

We could ere long see not only the cape but the city of Utica itself;
and further south, at the other extremity of the bay, a confused
white mass, which unquestionably was Carthage. Leaving this on our
left, we steered due west right into the bay, and having rounded
the headland, coasted for some miles along the low-lying shore that
continued all the way to the city, which seemed to rise in gentle
gradations from the deep blue waters to where the "bozrah" formed
its lofty crown. The red and brown domes of the buildings and the
battlements of the citadel stood out in sharp relief against the
azure sky; and the masses of verdure all around the city formed a
fitting background for the dazzling whiteness of its lime-washed
walls.

Having passed a number of imposing edifices on the island, which is
separated from the mainland by a canal that forms the trade-harbour,
we entered the war-port, in the centre of which, high above the
crowds of shipping, rose the massive walls and towers of the
Admiralty palace. I found that there was room for my ships on the
left-hand quay, where I had them laid to, and then in company with
Hanno I got into a small boat and rowed across the harbour to a
jetty, wide and paved, that led from the Admiralty to the mainland,
and which, being in connection with all the surrounding quays, is
always thronged with passengers going to and fro upon business at the
Admiralty offices.

From the jetty we passed through a high vaulted gateway, flanked on
either side by a tower, into an outer court-yard. Here the sentinels
asked our names, and sent us on through another lofty gateway, across
a hall hung with red and yellow tapestry into a long dark lobby, at
the end of which was a half-open gate leading into the large inner
court. We crossed this court, and entered another lobby exactly like
the one we had just quitted; and leaving this, we found ourselves in
a low square room with a vaulted roof, whence we passed, by a side
door, into a gloomy room with a circular dome. We had, however, still
farther to go: after ascending three long and very narrow staircases
we entered an apartment with a lofty dome on the second floor of
one of the towers; but even yet we had not reached our destination.
We had now to descend a few steps and pass along a corridor, from
which we ascended another staircase, and finally reached a spacious
apartment, circular in shape, well lighted by loop-holes in the wall,
and having a handsome vaulted ceiling.

I could observe that we had thus made our way to the left-hand tower
of the four which are ranged along the north front of the palace, one
at each end of the building, and one at each side of the gateway,
this one commanding a view of the Admiral's private basin, beyond
which I could see my own vessels lying in the Cothôn.

The apartment was hung with strips of tapestry alternately red and
yellow, and the paved floor was covered with mats. The guards who had
ushered us all the way from the outer court-yard remained standing
at the door, and having given us permission to enter, Hanno and I
advanced alone towards a window, where, seated in a chair of painted
wood, I recognised old Adonibal, the naval _suffes_, or suffect.

Nearly every one is aware that our Libyan cities are subject to a
government in many respects similar to that which existed among the
children of Israel before the time of King Saul; that is, they are
ruled by suffects, whose office corresponds very nearly to that of
the "judges." A council, all eligible as suffects, are nominated
by the people, and these from their own number elect two (whom,
however, the people reserve to themselves the power of displacing),
one to be "naval suffect," entrusted with the control of all maritime
matters; the other, popularly called the "sacred suffect," to have
the superintendence of all inland affairs. But it is not so generally
known that for the last ten years the Libyan suffects have been
appointed without any sanction either of the Kings of Tyre or Sidon.
The representatives are chosen independently, subject only to the
condition that no Tyrians are admitted to the office at Utica, which
is essentially a Sidonian colony, and no Sidonian can be elected for
Carthage, where it is the Tyrians who have been rearing the new city
around the ancient Bozrah.

At the time of our visit, Adonibal, the son of Adoniram, had been for
eight years the naval suffect, and it was universally acknowledged
that he wielded his magistracy with a resolute and steady hand.
After many years of adventure both by sea and land, he had settled
at Utica, where he had carried on his affairs, both in trade and
warfare, with great success. He had led the forces of the city
against the Libyans, had made incursions upon the coast of Tarshish,
and in a great measure had contributed to the establishment of
Massalia, the city of the Salians, at the mouth of the Rhone, in the
land of the Celts. In return for his services, and as a proof of the
confidence they had in his judgment and experience, the people of
Utica elected him their naval suffect, and the way in which the city
and its dependencies prospered under his rule convinced them that
their choice could not have fallen on a better man.

In the course of my many voyages I had at various times been brought
into contact with Adonibal, and although I was quite aware that he
had been a daring freebooter, I knew him to be a brave sailor and a
clever merchant. It was therefore with much pleasure that I advanced
towards the chair in which the hale old man was seated. Although he
had a flowing white beard, his upper lip was shorn perfectly smooth
in the old Chittim fashion; he wore his mariner's cap pressed closely
over his ears; and his nose, slightly redder than of yore, betokened
that he had more than a slight acquaintance with the luscious produce
of Helbon and Berytos.

I bowed, and congratulated him that I found him looking so well.

"Ah!" he said, speaking in a sort of facetious way that had become
habitual to him, "here's Mago, the Sidonian, the cutest captain that
ever took cedar ship to Tarshish! And who is this young man with you?"

I introduced Hanno as my scribe and fellow-townsman.

"And the brave fellows that were with you when you came here before;
how are they all?" continued Adonibal, stroking his beard; "Himilco
with his one eye, and Gisgo who had lost his ears, how are they? And
what has become of the notable _Gadita_?"

Flattered by the accuracy with which he retained me and my people in
his memory, I replied that they were all well and with me, and that
he had only to turn his head to the window and he would see all my
ships in the harbour, amongst them the _Gadita_, whose name had been
altered to the _Cabiros_.

The old man laughed significantly.

"I shall see your ships quite soon enough for your liking," he said;
"I shall not lose much time in making my official inspection of them.
The _Melkarth_ left here only three days since."

"The _Melkarth_!" I exclaimed in astonishment.

Seeing my amazement he began to jeer me. "An old stager like you!
you surprise me very much by trusting yourself here so soon after
Bodmilcar."

"Bodmilcar!" I repeated; "surely you must be unaware of how Bodmilcar
has acted!"

"I am only aware of this," he said, his eye twinkling as he spoke;
"you and your scribe must lay down your swords and be trotted off to
the dungeons, and the rest of your people will very soon be trotted
after you."

  [Illustration]

I stood dumb with bewilderment; but Hanno, with whom neither patience
nor reticence were prevailing virtues, laid his hand upon the hilt of
his sword, and said:--

"This sword was given me by Melek David, and whoever demands its
surrender shall first know the feel of its point in his bosom."

White with passion, the old man started to his feet. In an instant
a couple of guards had laid their hands upon the shoulders of my
impetuous scribe.

"Let him alone!" he bawled; "I can defend myself."

Then suddenly controlling his fury, he said very slowly, addressing
us both:

"Lay down your swords at once, or by Baal-Peor! within a quarter of
an hour your heads shall be swinging from the highest battlement of
this very tower!"

I knew that Adonibal was not a man to swear lightly by his god, and
I knew, moreover, that a few heads more or less were a matter of no
moment to him. Seeing, therefore, that he was somewhat calmer, I
summoned all my courage, and said as firmly as I could:

"My lord suffect, you are bound to show justice to all mariners
alike; you would not, I am sure, commit a Sidonian captain to the
dungeons without giving him a fair hearing."

He had recovered his equanimity sufficiently to resume his bantering
tone:

"They have gone for the handcuffs: they will soon be back; but
perhaps you will have time to tell me what you want, while they are
fetching them. And, really, I am curious to know what defence you can
possibly make for your treachery to Bodmilcar, under whose command,
as I see by his letters, you were placed by King Hiram."

"I have but one question to ask," I said; "and if the answer convicts
me, why then you may behead me, hang me, or crucify me, as you like.
Have you any documents bearing Bodmilcar's seal and signature?"

From a bag that was hanging beside him he drew out a papyrus-roll,
which he opened and laid before me.

"There," he said, "is Bodmilcar's deposition, written, signed, and
sealed by himself. That convicts you plainly enough, I should think."

"Just the contrary," I replied calmly; "Bodmilcar is caught in his
own trap. Here is our charter-party." And taking the deed from the
hands of Hanno, I showed it to the suffect.

"Yes," I continued, "that is the indenture which sets forth the
contract, and you need only glance at it to see that Bodmilcar
covenanted to sail under my command. Why, the very seal with which he
ratified his deposition was bought with the few coins I gave him to
rescue him from starvation at Tyre! Let me ask you now, who is the
traitor?"

Adonibal perused the document carefully, and seemed much distressed.
In a few moments he rose and said:

"Mago, my friend, I have manifestly misjudged you. Nothing could be
more completely demonstrated than Bodmilcar's faithlessness. Forgive
me my too hasty conclusion. I ought to have known that neither
you nor your brave companions could ever have been guilty of such
treachery."

He went on to say that he should be interested in hearing our whole
story, and that he should be only too ready to do us justice. As I
detailed the particulars of Bodmilcar's conduct, he could hardly
restrain his indignation.

"By Baal-Peor of Berytos!" he said, "if ever Bodmilcar and his crew
come within reach of my clutches, they shall all be crucified within
an hour."

He then addressed himself to Hanno:

"You, sir scribe, seem to have a spirit of your own, notwithstanding
your tender years."

"My lord," replied Hanno, "I should not have been so presumptuous if
Mago had not already told me how renowned you were for discrimination
and for justice. I felt that there could be nothing to fear from one
who knows so well how to unmask the truth."

"You have a sharp fellow here, Mago," said Adonibal to me, smiling
as he spoke; "but, come now, we must all drink wine together. I have
much to tell about Bodmilcar, and presently I shall hope to see as
many of your people as you please, seated at my own table."

Thanking him for his hospitable offer, I made Hanno write down a
list of my officers, which was delivered to one of the guards. Wine,
meanwhile, had been brought in, and Adonibal himself handed us
each an ivory goblet with a rim of Tarshish silver. While we were
drinking, he observed that he took it for granted we had not come to
Utica empty-handed.

"I am quite aware," he said, "that the bulk of your cargo is for King
David; but I reckon that you are rather too old a sailor not to be
doing a little business on your own account. What have you got to
dispose of?"

I told him that I had brought some sulphur and lava-stones, articles
which always used to command a ready sale in Libya.

"And so they do now," he said; "you will be sure to get a good price
for them. But what else have you?"

"Well, my lord suffect, you know I have been in three little
skirmishes off Ionia and Sicily. You must naturally suppose I have
managed to pick up a trifle or two."

"Ha! ha!" he laughed; "you are a genuine Sidonian. Out with it,
man!--how many have you got?"

"Sixty-one," I answered; "and fine sturdy fellows they are--as fine
a lot as one could wish to see. Perhaps the council might like to
purchase them. I would take any reasonable sum, and should prefer
selling them in bulk rather than in separate parcels. I hope the
republic may be induced to take them off my hands."

"Good--good, my friend," said Adonibal; "it is worth consideration.
We have had some rough encounters lately with the Libyans, and must
replace our soldiers. Your Hellenes may be a good investment. Under
Phœnician generals they often do very well in the forts, and if
they get killed, the loss is not very serious. I think I can arrange
to take the lot. I can put them with a batch of Egyptians that I
bought of Bodmilcar, and send them off in divisions; some into
garrison, some to the works, and some to fell trees. The Egyptians
are good hands at building."

"Do I understand you aright?" I asked, "have you purchased Egyptians
from Bodmilcar? There seems no limit to the scoundrel's treachery.
Those Egyptians were lent him by Pharaoh to go in pursuit of us.
Some of their ships were wrecked off Crete."

"He sold them to me, ships and all," said the Admiralty-lord.
"They made a pretty good howling at first; but a day or two in the
dungeons, and a little low diet, corrected all that, and to-day they
are as quiet as lambs."

I could not help smiling as I realised the adroitness with which
Bodmilcar had taken advantage of his allies.

"You may laugh;" said Adonibal, half-amused and half-vexed; "the
rascal has bamboozled the Egyptians, and outwitted you, crafty old
salt as you are. Perhaps it may entertain you to learn that he has
gone off with two of my galleys and three hundred Phœnicians."

"Good Ashtoreth!" I exclaimed; "how has he managed that?"

He emptied his wine-cup and went on:

"Three hundred criminals sentenced to transportation in the
mother-country had been landed here. My prisons were already full,
and I resolved at the first opportunity to forward them to the mines
at Tarshish. Bodmilcar arrived; I gave him the commission. I lent him
two galleys, and furnished him with written credentials from myself.
But what did the knave do? the curse of Khousor Phtah be on him! he
saw that they were a sturdy set, gave them their freedom, put arms
in their hands, and enlisted them into his service. And now they are
ready to attack you with my galleys as soon as you will give them a
chance."

"No doubt," I said; "but never mind; I daresay we shall be a match
for them."

We were interrupted by the arrival of Hannibal and the rest of my
officers, who had received the suffect's invitation.

"Welcome, friends! welcome to you all!" he said; "I ought to
recognise some old faces. Aye, there's Hamilcar! I remember him when
he was a cabin-boy on board my ship. And here, too, here's Himilco,
learned in the stars! and if my memory fails me not, no bad judge of
a good cup of Helbon. It is so still, Himilco?"

My pilot professed that he retained his taste both for the astronomy
and the wine.

"And you, Gisgo, did you ever find your ears again?"

"Aye, that I did," was the prompt reply; "and here they are, safe
in my purse. And not only my own, but those of the brute who cut
them off!" And to the amusement of the suffect, Gisgo gave a graphic
description of his splitting the skull of the Siculian chief.

Adonibal had a kind word for all my men, and promised that he would
visit them on board their ships, at which he said that he had been
looking from his window, and had already formed a favourable opinion
of them.

Bread and meat were now laid before us; and while we were sitting at
table I asked Adonibal whether amongst the Egyptians that Bodmilcar
had sold him there were not some Hellenes.

"Certainly," he said; "a dozen Phocians."

"A woman and a boy?"

"Yes; both a woman and a boy; but as I had no use for them, Bodmilcar
kept them; he had an eunuch to take care of them."

"You saw the eunuch, then?"

"Yes; and a great lubberly Syrian he was."

"What did he talk about?"

"Why, he seemed to say nothing except to ask how he could get from
here to Tyre."

"Is he going back?"

"No; Bodmilcar has him, and I do not think he will let him go in a
hurry."

When we had finished our repast, some slaves appeared with torches to
attend us to our ships. We did not quit the palace the same way as
we had entered, but after descending the staircase to the next lower
floor of the tower, we passed through a door into the sloping gallery
of what is called a "curtain;" into this the quarters of the soldiers
opened, the chambers themselves being built in the thickness of the
outer wall; we then passed into a vaulted hall, whence a corridor
brought us to the gate of the palace adjacent to the Admiralty-basin.
A private barque was waiting to convey us to our ships, where we
found the sailors, who by my orders had not been allowed to leave
their posts, making all manner of plans for the next day.

The trumpets on the various vessels were soon heard summoning the
crews for the night, and the countless lights in every direction
testified to the crowded condition of the harbour; over these, high
and bright, were the lights in the city, while in the east the
flickerings from the loop-holes of the Admiralty made the building
look more sombre and massive than ever.

In the morning I had everything put in readiness for the admiral's
promised visit, and before noon I saw his twelve-oar issuing from his
private quay. As soon as he had mounted the deck of the _Ashtoreth_,
he turned and glanced impatiently towards the top of the palace.

"Idiots!" he muttered; "how long they are! when I was young an order
was executed in half the time."

He had not finished speaking before several men appeared at the
summit of one of the towers and fastened a score of heads along the
battlemented parapet.

"Right at last!" he said; "it ought to have been done a quarter of an
hour ago!"

Finding his equanimity restored, I proceeded to show him my cargo,
and had the captives brought forward for him to see. Without any
haggling (for Adonibal was really a generous and large-hearted man)
he agreed to pay a liberal price, alike for the sulphur, the lava,
and the slaves.

He next made a complete inspection of my ships, and expressed himself
much pleased with their construction and arrangements. Eager to make
amends for his rough reception of us on our arrival, he promised me
that I should be allowed to put my ships into a dry dock, free of
dues, saying that this would give me an opportunity of examining
the copper sheathing. He then gave orders for his purchases to be
embarked, and for the slaves to be properly guarded, adding that he
himself was going across the bay to settle some disputes that had
arisen amongst the Tyrians. He summoned his officers to accompany him
with their ropes and scourges, and said to me:

"Farewell, for the present, Mago; I see that your men are all longing
to get ashore. I was young myself once, and I have not forgotten what
it is to have some shekels burning holes in your pocket."

He made a sign to his attendants, and preceded by his scribe and
officers, re-entered his boat and departed.

Having thus disposed so satisfactorily of my property, I no longer
delayed giving the men the permission that they were anticipating, to
go on shore; and with the exception of the few who were of necessity
told off to take charge of the ships, they lost no time in availing
themselves of their liberty.

The Phocians had wrapped their dead comrade in a winding-sheet, and
proposed to carry him to a cemetery of which one of my sailors had
told them. Before they started, I presented Aminocles, as a token of
my appreciation of his services, with a couple of silver shekels. He
stared at them, quite bewildered.

"Ah!" said I, "I forgot that you barbarians do not know anything
about coined money; but never mind--the sailors who are going with
you will show you what to do with them. Trust them for that."

Accompanied by Hanno, Hannibal, Chamai, and Bichri, and taking the
two women. I landed on the principal quay, Himilco and his friend
Gisgo, with Hasdrubal and Hamilcar, preferring to go in another
direction. We all had well-filled purses, and those who had never
before seen the famous city, were impatient to inspect its wonders.

Our first resort was to the temple of Ashtoreth. This was at the
basement of one of the forts that protect the entrance to the
harbour, and was at a very little distance from the place where our
ships were lying; and as neither Bichri, Chamai, nor Abigail wished
to make any offering to the goddess, they waited for us upon the
quay, entertained, they said, in watching the numerous vessels going
in and out both of the Cothôn and of the trade-harbour, of which the
outer basin was visible from this point.

  [Illustration: UTICA.
  _To face page 187._]

Being built in a fort, the construction of the temple is necessarily
very simple. Eight unornamented pillars support the roof, and, like
the walls, are stuccoed with yellow ochre; at the further end was a
recumbent figure of the goddess, with a golden crescent on her head.
From the tariff of sacrifices which was posted up at the entrance I
made my own selection, paying the sum of five shekels; and having
made my offering, I obtained permission from the governor of the
fort, who was an old acquaintance, to take my party on to the terrace
upon the roof, whence there was a fine view of the city. Chamai,
Bichri, and Abigail joined us there. Looking towards the sea, we had
on our left the Cothôn and the Admiralty palace, and on our right
the island which had been the original nucleus of the colony, and
the trade-harbour which separated it from the mainland. Landwards
rose the white buildings and terraces of the city, threaded by dark
winding streets, and studded with domes painted red and brown, and
culminating towards the south in the massive citadel, the residence
of the sacred suffect. A double line of fortifications encircled
the whole city both by land and sea, and outside this a moat and
palisade, that followed the undulations of the soil, formed a third
advanced line of defence; beyond this again stretched the country
with its rich foliage and yellow crops, amongst which lay imbedded
the snow-white terraces and brown domes of the country-houses, farms,
and cisterns.[34]

  [34] The description of Utica is from M. Daux's admirable book,
  'Fouilles executées dans le Zeugis et Byzacium.'

The Cothôn at Utica, although not to be compared with the harbours
at Tyre and Sidon, is still the finest of any that have yet been
constructed in our western settlements, and is well adapted to the
climate. It is 480 cubits, or nearly three-quarters of a stadium
square, and is capable of holding as many as four hundred ships of
war; a small dry basin is annexed to it, having a passage flanked
by two lofty columns, and leading into the great harbour of the
arsenal. On three sides it is bounded by paved quays, twelve cubits
wide, which are very little above the level of the water; the fourth
side being formed by a strong mole. Behind the quays rises a wall of
rubble-work faced with Maltese stone, in which at regular intervals
are pierced the arched openings that form the entrances to the dry
docks. The dry docks, as I had told Hannibal, are sixty in number;
they are sixteen cubits high, but as they are only forty cubits
long by twelve broad, they will only hold small vessels like the
_Cabiros_, larger ships being sent for repairs into the basin in
front of the arsenal. The docks are covered in by a flat pavement
which forms a second quay as wide as the lower one; upon this, over
the docks, and partitioned symmetrically with them, stands the range
of magazines and storehouses, fourteen cubits high, of which the flat
roofs form a third terrace, which is on a level with the city. The
whole of these fine edifices are built upon cisterns.

On the innermost side of the harbour the lowest quay is broken in the
middle by the jetty which maintains the same level, and connects the
quay with that of the Admiralty; the shore end of it breaks the line
of magazines, and is a wide open space, generally thronged with busy
crowds; it terminates in a flight of paved steps that leads up to
the second and third terraces, from the uppermost of which, through
openings in the embattled wall that encloses the whole, there is
direct access into the city.

The entrance to the Cothôn is defended on one side by the fortress
containing the temple, and on the other by two more forts connected
by a curtain, and these form the boundary of the mole. The channel,
at the mouth, is considerably encroached upon by the towing-quays,
which are so broad as only to allow a passage thirty cubits in
width. The outer basin of the arsenal is defended in a similar
manner by two forts, one of them being at the other extremity of
the mole; and other forts have been erected, one at each end of the
interior side of the Cothôn, the lower storey of one of them being
appropriated as another temple. A solid embattled wall starts from
the mole, and after running round the arsenal and its outer basin,
joins the city wall at the left-hand fort, while a corresponding
wall, pierced by a lofty square opening, flanked by loop-holes,
separates the basin from the arsenal. As a connoisseur in such
matters, Hannibal pronounced the whole to be wonderfully well
devised, and expressed his conviction that, protected as they were by
their forts and by the wall that was connected with the city wall,
the Cothôn and arsenal were capable of resisting the most determined
assault.

The mole itself is a remarkably fine structure. It is built upon
piles, and extends the whole length from the arsenal-basin to
the entrance; it is no less than twenty-four cubits thick, and
its massive substance of rubble is pierced by slanting apertures
or air-holes, the effect of which is to rebut the waves and very
materially to diminish their shock. The noble work does great credit
to Adonibal, under whose supervision it was constructed.

The Admiralty palace in the centre is a handsome edifice, consisting
of a main building flanked by six circular towers and four bastions.
It is a large irregular parallelogram, with one of the round towers
at each exterior angle, and having an open court in the middle, upon
which open all the apartments of the palace, and around which runs
a gallery on pillars, supporting two tiers of arches. The two other
round towers are on the sides of the gateway on the north front of
the palace, which opens on the naval suffect's private landing-place;
there is likewise a gateway on the south front, which is protected by
walls pierced with loop-holes and built into the sides of the palace.
It was through this gateway that I had myself passed into the outer
court-yard, and from which I had been conducted up one of the two
interior towers, of which only the tops were visible from the spot
where we were now standing.

After leaving the temple, I conducted my party along the quay to the
open space at the end of the jetty, and then mounting the steps, we
passed through the arches in the enceinte of the Cothôn, thus making
our way towards the city. We passed the baths, and taking a turning
to the left, wound our path upwards in the direction of the Bozrah;
there, at the base of the plateau on which the citadel is built, is
a large square, the common resort of the sailors; under the shadow
of the trees was a number of stalls for the sale of food and drink;
there was likewise music as well as amusements of various kinds; and
at the farther end was a market for the disposal of wild animals,
ivory, slaves, and whatever else was the produce of the interior of
Libya. For many hours of the day the place is thronged by people of
every rank; and musicians, acrobats, men with monkeys, dancers of
both sexes, hawkers of caps and sandals, singers, vendors of cakes,
fruit, and cooling drinks, all press upon the sailor fresh from
his voyage, and endeavour to attract for themselves a share of the
shekels which he is sure to have brought on shore. It had not been my
intention to come to this spot, but early association made me almost
involuntarily turn my steps in this direction.

Everybody seemed bent on pleasure, and it was not long before I saw
several groups of my own men laughing, shouting, singing and pushing
along in true sailor fashion, jostling their neighbours, and buying
wine and other drinks from every hawker that they met.

Hannibal was breaking out into loud admiration of the life and gaiety
of the place, when Hanno drew his attention to a row of heads that,
by order of the sacred suffect, had been ranged along the battlements
above the gate of the Bozrah. Hannibal paid but little heed to the
ghastly sight, scarcely turning his eyes to look, but proceeded to
rhapsodise over the difficulty of scaling such fortifications, and
to expatiate upon the impregnability of the position, until he was
recalled by an exclamation of surprise made simultaneously by Bichri,
Chamai, and the two women. A huge elephant was being led past by some
Libyans.

  [Illustration: A HUGE ELEPHANT WAS BEING LED PAST.
  _To face page 191_]

"What monster have we here?" cried Hannibal, equally astonished.

"Heavens!" exclaimed Bichri; "how many arrows would it take to slay
such a brute as that?"

"It must be the Behemoth, of which we have heard so much," said
Chamai, gazing in amazement.

I explained to them that the animal which had so much excited their
wonder was an elephant; that the great teeth projecting from its jaws
were ivory; and that the rope-like appendage to its head, which it
wielded so adroitly, was its trunk.

"What a line a herd of those creatures would make on a field of
battle!" said Hannibal, his thoughts turning as usual to military
tactics; "I cannot imagine how any infantry could hold their ground
against them; the only thing would be to open their ranks, let the
brutes pass through, and then attack them from behind."

"You are not the first soldier, Hannibal," I answered, "who has had
the same idea. Some of these animals have already been tamed, and
trained to carry on their backs a tower full of archers. They are
brought from the banks of the Upper Bagradas, and from the forests in
the borders of Tritonis, a lake in the interior of Libya."

Besides the elephant, we saw a hippopotamus, or river horse, and a
couple of rhinoceroses, with their big horns. The whole of these were
a portion of the tribute (consisting of ivory, tame elephants, and
other animals), which had been imposed by the sacred suffect upon the
subjugated Libyans on the Bagradas, and which happened now to be on
its transit to the Bozrah.

A well-known voice, harsh and sonorous, at this instant caught my
ear, and turning round, I saw Jonah towering head and shoulders
above the crowd, and encircled by a group of my sailors, all in roars
of laughter.

"Now, at last," the trumpeter was saying, "I am where I wanted to
be! Now I am in the land of strange beasts! This is the first animal
I ever saw in my life with two tails, one behind and one at the end
of his nose! I wonder how many onions it would take to season the
carcase of such a brute as that! I wonder, too, how long it would
take a fellow to eat it!"

Leaving the sailors to their diversions, we bent our steps towards
the market, where red-skinned Libyans, with aquiline noses and long
plaited hair, were being offered for sale. Entering a tent where
provisions of all kinds were sold, I ordered some refreshments for
myself and my party, and a Syrian slave, who was serving instead of
the owner, brought us two guinea-fowls, some stewed beans and onions,
some olives, bread, and very fair Helbon wine. Hannibal seated
himself near the stove to feast his eyes upon the wheat-and-honey
cakes that were being fried upon the top.

We had not long been in the refreshment-booth before Himilco and
Gisgo made their appearance; they were followed by a dancing-girl and
three other girls, one playing the flute, and two the tambourine. The
dancing-girl was one of the western Moors; she had a copper-coloured
complexion, and her hair twisted in coils like so many serpents; her
nails and eyebrows were dyed red; her face was tattooed with three
parallel stripes in regular Mahouârin fashion; and on her wrists
and ankles she wore rattles that clanked again as she moved. The
flute-player was a native of Barbary, with a fair skin and light
hair, parted over a high, narrow forehead. Both girls were dressed
alike in gay skirts, open as high as the knees; in their hair they
had bodkins, of which the heads were grotesque figures; their
necklaces and girdles were of glass and enamel; and their earrings
were great crosses. The tambourine-players were inconceivably ugly;
one of them appeared to belong to the Rasennæ, and the other had
her face so daubed with red and blue paint, and made such hideous
grimaces, that it was idle to speculate upon her nationality.

Himilco was in high spirits; he came up to me and said that he and
Gisgo had been spending the morning in going from tavern to tavern,
and that they had engaged the orchestra, which we now saw, to
accompany them for the day wherever they went, and to entertain them
while they regaled themselves.

"Poor girls!" said Abigail; "are they obliged to perform for all the
sailors alike?"

"No, indeed," I replied; "they take good care never to perform unless
they are well paid, and I suppose there is not much hardship in that."

The Libyan had now commenced her performance. We stayed for a few
minutes watching her contortions, and then left the tent.

The first person we met in the square was Hamilcar, carrying a monkey.

"Hamilcar with a monkey!" cried Hannibal. "Where did you get it? The
very thing I want myself. I want to teach it to fight."

"I should like to have a monkey," said Hanno; "I would teach it to
dance."

Bichri said he was sure he could make it learn the use of the bow;
and Chamai declared it would be capital fun to teach it to make
grimaces, and to mimic the mighty Jonah.

On all hands it was agreed that we must have a monkey on board the
_Ashtoreth_.

Hamilcar told them that they would have to go down towards the
trade-harbour, through the square where the rich merchant Hamoun
resides; and at the corner of the street which leads to the temple of
Moloch they would find a dealer who had a whole cargo to dispose of.

"You will have a choice there," he said; "there are apes of all
sorts, all sizes, and all colours. You may have them brown, or red,
or grey, or black, or green; with tails or without tails; with long
hair, short hair, or no hair; wild or tame; only ask for what you
want, and you will be sure to get it."

On our way down towards the trade-harbour we met Aminocles, quite
drunk. He was being dragged along by a couple of sailors, singing at
the top of their voices. He had learnt only too soon what was the
use, or abuse, of the silver shekels.

We had no trouble in finding the monkey-dealer's, and Hanno, who had
taken it upon himself to select the most intelligent monkey he could
see, chose one which appeared to meet with general approval.

"And now what are we to call it?" said Hannibal, who liked everything
to have a name.

"Don't you think," said Hanno, "that it has a very striking
resemblance to old Gebal, the judge at Sidon? Look at it now. Isn't
it like him when he rolls his eyes and scratches his poll, just
before giving sentence?"

"Exactly!" said Hannibal, "the very facsimile! and Judge Gebal he
shall be called!"

We now made our way with our new purchase down to the quay, whence
a small boat carried us across the trade-harbour to the opposite
island, on which are built the handsome residences of the more
wealthy inhabitants of the city; for during the last ten years many
of the merchants have amassed considerable fortunes, and abandoning
sea-life, have settled down in homes replete with luxury. We walked
to the extremity of the island, and after leaving the two women at
the noble bath-room at the top of the wall above the small basin in
which the pleasure-boats of the rich inhabitants are kept, we betook
ourselves to the men's baths, and enjoyed the refreshment of a wash
and a shave. Rejoined by the women, we rowed across to the nearest
point of the Cothôn, and paid a visit to the signal-tower; thence we
went on foot to the magnificent gardens that lie between the citadel
and the lower town. Here I showed my party the temple of Achmon, and
took them to see the public fountains, the constant resort of both
sexes for lounging and gossip.

Night coming on, we returned to the _Ashtoreth_, on which the lamps
were already lighted. Going on board, I found the slave of the man
who had entertained me during my former visit to Utica waiting for
me with an invitation from his master to dine with him next day,
and I sent a message that we should be pleased to avail ourselves
of his hospitality. During our day's absence my cook had prepared a
sumptuous repast, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

The trumpets now sounded the signal for calling in the sailors. They
came dropping in two or three at a time, all more or less tipsy, and
some of them inclined to be noisy; but so strong was their habit of
submission to discipline, that no sooner had they stepped on board
than they relapsed into their wonted silence, and retired quietly to
their berths. Himilco was among the last to return, and to his credit
I feel bound to record that he was quite able to walk across the deck
without any assistance from his friend Gisgo.



CHAPTER XII.

I CONSULT THE ORACLE.


I made it my first business on the following morning to go to the
great market-place, near the trade-harbour and the temple of Achmon.
It is surrounded by lofty houses upon an arcade, under which are the
retail shops of the tradespeople, their warehouses being in courts
at the back. In these shops every variety of Libyan merchandise was
exhibited for sale. There were hides, dressed and undressed; stones
prepared for engraving; Numidian copper; lion-skins from Mount Atlas;
thongs of hippopotamus-hide from Lake Tritonis; elephants' tusks from
the Macar; corn from Zeugis and Byzatium, and wool from the land of
the Garamantines. I spent a considerable time in making purchases of
ivory, and procured a good supply at a very fair price; and later in
the day went with Hannibal and Hamilcar to fulfil the engagement I
had made on the previous night. Hanno and Chamai preferred escorting
Chryseis and Abigail about the city; and Bichri went for an evening's
diversion with Gisgo, Hasdrubal, and Himilco.

Barca, our host, one of the richest shipowners in the colony, had
prepared us an elegant entertainment in a handsome tent pitched
upon the terrace of his house. As soon as the meal was ended, wine
was brought in, and musicians and dancing-girls performed for our
amusement; and one of Barca's slaves, an old Libyan, who was well
versed in the songs and traditions of his people, repeated his tales
about the mystery and wonders of their origin.

According to his account, there had formerly, south of Libya, been
an extensive sea, which received the water of several rivers, and to
the south of which again lay the land of the negroes, who had faces
like monkeys. This sea was the original Lake Tritonis, or Pallas, and
the chain of lakes, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, extending
from the vicinity of Gades to Karth,[35] in Byzatium (now known to
us as the Tritons), are either marshes formed by the overflow of two
great rivers from the south, whose waters have been diverted by Mount
Atlas, or, when salt, are probably the remains of the same great
sea. There are then, he represented, two mountainous ridges, the
more southernly of which outpours its streams as far as the Tritonis
and Mount Atlas, and the other sends its rivers, the Macar and the
Bagradas, into our own Great Sea. Further west, issuing also from
Mount Atlas, are other important rivers, which lose themselves in
the sands. These, however, long centuries back, had an outlet into
the inland branch of the great Atlantic Ocean, which, at that remote
period, was the southern boundary of Libya, and extending eastwards
towards the confines of Egypt, ultimately joined the Syrtes. Libya
was thus a great peninsula, connected with the mainland only by a
narrow isthmus, now the Straits of Gades, and enclosed on every other
coast by water; on the north and east by the Syrtes, by which it was
separated from Egypt; on the south by the inland sea that covered the
present sandy desert; and on the west by the ocean itself.

  [35] Karth, the town; later Cirtha, the actual Constantine.

But as time went on great changes were evolved. His face beaming with
intelligence as he spoke, the old man told of mighty convulsions of
the earth, and how they changed the isthmus of Gades into a strait,
and how the waters were swept back by the shock, so that the whole
flood of the ocean rushed through to the Great Sea, and the Great Sea
receded and yielded to the upheaving of the land.

I listened with increasing interest. I knew already how the sea could
overwhelm the land. I was also aware how the Siculians maintain that
long ages back a neck of solid land had joined their country to the
continent of the Vitalians. Many times, too, I had heard amongst
Phœnicians how a deluge had detached the isle of Chittim from the
mainland. And now I was hearing the wondrous tale of how the sea had
retreated from the south of Libya.

He went on to say that when the waters rolled away they submerged
an immense number of islands, leaving the Fortunate Islands[36] (of
which I shall have to speak hereafter) as the sole representatives
of what had previously been a vast archipelago, that had made
communication easy, even in small boats, not only with the land of
the Atlantides, but with that other great country that lies still
further to the west. Now, however, that Atlantis has disappeared,
all intercourse has been dropped with that remote land, from which
both the red and white Libyans assert that they originally came, and
whence migrating eastwards they founded cities as they advanced,
became the first settlers in Egypt, and spread far and wide the
knowledge of their gods, which were really the Dionysus and Minerva
of the Hellenes and Vitalians, and Zeus, known among us Phœnicians
as Baal-Hamon. According to their own account (which is confirmed by
the Hellenes), the Pelasgians, under the leadership of Melkarth-Ouso,
came into Libya, but afterwards retreated to the east. Then came the
great convulsion when the land was upheaved and the waters receded,
and the earth subsided into its present configuration; then, too, the
Sidonians, protected by their gods, began to assert their sovereignty
on the sea, and sending forth ships to every region of the world,
opened emporiums of commerce, discovered mines, founded cities,
taught the art of writing, and disseminated knowledge of every kind.

  [36] The Canaries.

More and more as the aged Libyan recited his ancient legends had we
become rapt in attention. Hannibal sat with his eyes wide open, and
from time to time gave vent to ejaculations of astonishment; and I,
though less surprised, for I had already speculated very much on
these matters, was nevertheless deeply impressed with the clearness
with which they had been laid before us. I retired that night with
my brain agitated by excitement, and dreamed that I was commanding a
magnificent fleet, and that we discovered the land beyond Atlantis;
and when I woke in the morning, I made a vow in my mind that no
sooner should my present expedition to Tarshish be completed, than I
would set out on a voyage of discovery to the west.

We had been in Utica three days when Adonibal sent me a message that
he wished to speak to me. Without loss of time I presented myself at
the palace, and was conducted to the apartment from which the admiral
can at once overlook the city, the harbour, and the sea. To his
enquiry how long it would be before I took my departure, I replied
that having taken in my cargo I hoped to sail in two days.

"Here, then," he said, "are letters for the suffects of Rusadir and
Gades; and I intend to give you ten seamen to supply the places of
those you have lost. I am sure there ought not to be any deficiency
in your numbers in the event of your coming into collision with
Bodmilcar."

I was proceeding to thank him for his liberality, but he stopped me,
and said that he should have to trouble me for fifty shekels that I
owed him.

I professed myself quite ready to pay anything that was due, but said
that I was very much amazed to learn that I was in his debt.

"It is a mere trifle," said Adonibal, in his usual facetious way;
"it will not ruin you. I should not mention it at all, only you know
it is a matter of principle with a true Phœnician to keep his
accounts straight. The truth is, it is a little fine. Some of your
men have been half-killing a couple of my Ligurians. The knaves are
down in the dungeon sleeping off the effects of their drinking-bout;
but just pay their fines, and I will give you an order for their
release, and, if you like, you may go yourself and fetch them out."

"Ah," said I, laughing, "you wanted to show off the efficiency of
your police."

I could not help asking him whether the circumstance did not remind
him of the time when I was his helmsman, and he had himself come to
liberate me from the prison in Chittim, where I had been locked up
for smashing the skull of the grand merchant from Seir.

"You mean when I was captain of the _Achmon_--and a noble ship she
was," said Adonibal. "Yes, to be sure--I remember it perfectly: we
were both of us younger then than we are now. When I was a youngster
I was always getting into scrapes as often as I went on shore with
a purse-full of money; now I am only a poor hulk, dismasted and
stranded here on the shore. Such is life! while we are young we
entertain ourselves with breaking each other's heads, and when we are
old we busy ourselves with cutting them off."

"But, seriously, how have my men been committing themselves?" I asked.

"As far as I understand the matter," replied the suffect, "they
took it into their heads to play pranks with one of the priests of
Dionysos; they treated him to some wine, made him perfectly tipsy,
smeared his face all over with red and blue paint, and then insisted
upon making him dance. Some of my Ligurian soldiers, seeing what
was going on, tried to protect the priest--an interference that
your men were not in the mood to allow. They had tripped up two
of the soldiers, when the Admiralty-guard came to the rescue, and
quietly walked off four of your drunken fellows to me. I sent them
to the dungeon, but I have not had them flogged; I am generally
as indulgent as possible in the case of a sailor's spree. I am an
admiral now, and old in the service, but I do not forget that I was
once a young pilot."

The subterranean vaults to which I now descended were very dark: most
of them were used as armouries or storehouses, but a few were set
apart for prisons. The turnkey opened the door of one of these, and
by the light of his torch I could distinguish Bichri and three of
my sailors, all looking very sheepish, and I had some difficulty in
repressing my inclination to laugh. However, I assumed a serious air,
gave them a severe reprimand, and sent them out with a notice that
they were not to quit their ships. They did not wait for any second
bidding to be off; the Admiralty dungeons are no enviable quarters,
and those who find their way into them rarely leave except for the
cross or the gallows.

Returning to the quay, I passed along the subterranean passage to the
arsenal, and spent the remainder of the day in directing the repairs
of my ships. By the evening everything was finished; and I was so
gratified by the rapidity with which the work had been done, that in
my good humour I not only forgave my four men who were in disgrace,
but allowed them, on promise of good behaviour, to have another
holiday on the following day.

For myself, I resolved to spend that day in an expedition to a small
temple of Baal-Hamon, a short distance from the city, and to take
with me no companion whatever except my friend Barca's old Libyan
slave.

This temple is situated in the gloomy recesses of a forest; it is
oblong in shape, and has neither door nor window; its only external
aperture is a hole in the roof to allow an escape for the smoke of
the sacrifices; and it is entered by an underground passage, the
mouth of which is closed by a large stone concealed by the brushwood.
Three old and half-naked Libyans were waiting outside, and after a
brief consultation, in whispers, with the slave I had brought with
me, quietly raised the stone and pointed to the orifice. I entered
the passage, followed by the men, and in a short time found myself in
a small dim chamber, in the further wall of which was a flat stone,
which turned on a hinge and formed a door, just affording room to
pass, and opening into a second chamber, that was at once misty and
red with the glare of two smoking lamps. Let into the wall of this
compartment was another flat stone with a hole in its centre, which
one of the men turned slightly round upon its pivot, allowing me
to peep into a third chamber, which was a mere cell, containing a
niche, where a shapeless notched stone was deposited, which my guide
informed me was the god himself. In obedience to the directions that
were given me, I prostrated myself three times before the deity, and
remained waiting where I was. After a time, a black sheep that I had
brought with me was conducted into the cell, and slaughtered before
the niche in such a way that its blood flowed into a hollowed stone
let into the ground to receive it. When the sacrifice was finished,
the stone was turned back, shutting the god with his newly-slain
victim into the inner cell. I was told to apply my ear to the hole in
the stone, and to listen for the voice of the deity. The lamps were
then extinguished, and I was left in silence and in total darkness.

  [Illustration: I PROSTRATED MYSELF THREE TIMES.
  _To face page 202._]

Presently a deep muffled voice, that seemed to issue from the abysses
of the earth, came to my ear:

"Phœnician mariner, what wouldst thou ask of me?"

Awestruck, I could scarcely speak, but making an effort to reply, I
said:

"Oracle of Hamon! I would know whether it be possible to sail
westward beyond the Straits of Gades, and whether there is land."

"There is land," the voice repeated.

"Is it to be found north, west, or south?" I inquired.

"There is land to the north, there is land to the west, there is land
to the south," the oracle replied.

Emboldened by the answers I obtained, I asked again:

"And the proper route--is it by the sacred promontory, or must I
sight the head of Gades?"

"Mortal!" the voice declared, "you ask more than it is permitted
mortal to know. Go; I tell no more."

The stone doorway turned on its hinge, and we groped our way back
through the gloom out into the open air. I recompensed the attendants
liberally, and returned to the city--perplexed, it is true, but
confirmed in my resolution to explore the ocean and seek for land,
far or near, beyond the Straits of Gades.

In the course of our walk back, I inquired of my companion whether
there were many of these subterranean temples in Zeugis and Byzatium.
He told me that in the interior there were several very much more
elaborate, with arches and domes, but they were not nearly so
ancient; the true temples of the Atlantides were all like the one
which we had just left. Some there were, indeed, that were still
more simple, consisting only of three stones, flat and unhewn, of
which two were placed upright on their ends, and the third laid
horizontally across them; others were formed of stones arranged in
a long covered avenue. Of these, some were in the open air and some
concealed under mounds of earth, at the top of which several stones
were reared, while round the base circles of still larger stones were
grouped symmetrically. No doubt some of these erections were not
temples, but tombs, and were occasionally found in such numbers as
to cover a large extent of ground, and were laid out in set figures,
representing men, serpents, eggs, and scorpions.

Such was the Libyan's account of his religious edifices. When,
however, I began to question him about their signification, and why
some were underground and some above, and what was the design of
their peculiar construction, I could elicit nothing from him but that
it was the result of magic, of which his people had inherited the
great secret from their forefathers.

Early the following morning, with the suffect's permission, I set to
work to take in a supply of fresh water from the fine cisterns on the
quays. Each cistern is divided into two compartments; one to collect
the rain-water in its turbid condition from the paved streets, the
other to receive the same water when it has undergone the process
of filtration; the two tanks being connected by square-headed cocks
turned by a wooden key. All the private houses, as well as the public
buildings, in the towns, are provided with cisterns of a similar
construction, the country villages being supplied with water from
open tanks formed by two circular compartments, of which one acts as
a receptacle and the other as a reservoir.

Hannibal, who had been paying a visit to the ramparts, returned
highly gratified with what he had seen. He informed me that all the
forts were built upon cisterns, and that the rubble-work of the
walls was twenty-four cubits thick at their base, and eighteen at
their top; that the soldiers' quarters were on the second and third
storeys, out of the reach of the battering rams, and built in the
thickness of the walls; also that about three-quarters of a bowshot
in advance of the inner line there was a wall half the height, and
outside this again a strong palisade, with a moat and intrenchment.
He thought, however, that his eye had been keen enough to discover
one weak point to the right of the city, where the arsenal was
overlooked by an adjacent hill, and I concurred in his opinion that
another fort ought to be built upon the wall to cover any attack from
the eminence.

The sundial on the Admiralty palace marked the hour of noon when,
having made my roll-call, and satisfied myself that my men were all
on board, I went to take leave of Adonibal. The aged suffect bade me
a kind farewell, and wished me a prosperous voyage. I lost no time in
giving the signal for departure, and as we left the harbour we raised
a hearty cheer for the admiral, who was watching us from his balcony.
Four other vessels, heavily freighted and bound for Massalia, at the
mouth of the Rhone, left Utica immediately after us.

The distance from Utica to the Straits of Gades is 8800 stadia, and
by fast vessels can be accomplished in about a week. A strong west
wind, however, had made the sea so turbulent that all navigation was
very difficult, and it was not until after four days that we sighted
the Cabiri (or the Seven Capes), a point which is usually reached in
two; and even then, in order to clear the promontory, we were obliged
to make such long tacks that we quite lost sight of land, and were
carried far towards the north. But at length, on the seventh day, I
recognised the first great cape[37] on the mainland, south of the
Pityusai Islands.

  [37] Now Cape Palos.

  [Illustration]

"Tarshish!" shouted Himilco, who had been so fully occupied that he
had scarcely spoken before. "Tarshish at last!"

There was a rush to the deck; but so blinding were the rain and the
spray, that it was impossible to distinguish anything on shore.

I had taken in enough water to last us for a fortnight, and it was
well that I had done so, for we found ourselves experiencing the
difficulty, not at all infrequent, of approaching this dangerous
coast, and had to continue to make very long tacks.

After three days' perpetual struggle with the elements we were still
off the Libyan coast, but the wind then moderated, and the rain
gave place to sunshine. In the course of the next night Himilco
and I, whilst well-nigh every one was asleep, recognised the tall
perpendicular peaks of Calpe and Abyla, and soon afterwards we passed
under the wall of rock that forms the southern limit of Tarshish; by
the morning we were within sight of the level tongue of land south
of the magnificent bay of Gades. All along the headland rose the
white domes and terraces of the town, imbedded in luxuriant foliage;
high above all was the semaphore beside the temple of Ashtoreth. As
we entered the basin of what serves equally for trade-harbour and
war-port, our trumpets were sounded, and we saluted the town with
three ringing cheers.

We had reached our goal, and were in Tarshish at last.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE SILVER MINES OF TARSHISH.


The town of Gades, though not large, is neat and trimly built, and
in the well-kept gardens in the environs, pomegranates, oranges, and
lemons, which have all been introduced by the Phœnicians, flourish
in great abundance. About the centre of the town, and in direct
communication with the harbour, is the market, the emporium not only
for the wedges of silver brought from the mines in the interior, but
for barrels of the salted murenæ that are caught on the neighbouring
shore; for Tarshish cats,[38] to be used in rabbit-hunting; for
iron, which is obtained in small quantities from the north; and for
the promiscuous curiosities in which the strange and remote region
abounds. The market-place is surrounded by the offices of the rich
merchants and money-changers, who, as proprietors of the mines, were
ready to exchange their silver for copper, manufactured articles, and
fancy goods. I was not long in making my way thither.

  [38] The ancient name of ferrets.

Having seen my ships properly moored in the places assigned them at
the quay, handed their pay to my seamen and soldiers, and notified
my arrival to the naval suffect, I turned into the thoroughfare
that leads to the town, and had no difficulty in finding the office
of Balshazzar, the rich merchant with whom I had had many business
transactions during my previous visit. Balshazzar was dead, but Ziba,
his widow, was carrying on the business in partnership with several
other merchants. She received me very cordially, and insisted that I
should send for the two women, and for my sub-captains and pilots,
to come and take refreshment at her house. She provided a handsome
entertainment, during which I had the opportunity of explaining to
her the object of my voyage, and of asking her advice as to the
best means of obtaining silver, either in lumps or ingots. I found
that, according to her statement, the current price of silver was
just then very low, so that I might hope to purchase on favourable
terms, either in the town, or by going inland and bartering with the
savages. Some large mines, she informed me, had quite recently been
discovered on the River Bœtis,[39] about four days' march up the
country, and the only reason why they had not been opened and worked
was the scarcity of labour; the great bulk of the population of the
town being either merchants or mariners.

  [39] The Guadalquivir.

"We ought," she concluded, "to have plenty of soldiers stationed
here."

"Beyond a question," exclaimed Hannibal, warmly, "the prosperity of a
country is to be measured by the number of soldiers it maintains."

Ziba's long residence in the colonies had rendered her quite
unaccustomed to the ideas and manners of military men, and she looked
at him in some amazement.

"Yes," she said, "we do require a large number of slaves, soldiers,
and transported felons here."

It was now Hannibal's turn to look amazed.

"Soldiers and felons! What do you mean? Do you suppose that soldiers
are to be associated with slaves and malefactors?"

In explanation of her remark, she said that in order to establish a
firm footing in the silver-producing districts, she thought that the
merchants ought to club together, and either buy or hire soldiers to
drive back the native barbarians. The prisoners they took ought to be
sent to the mines, and to these there should be added as many slaves
as could be bought, and any number of transported criminals who
would cost nothing but their keep.

Seeing that Hannibal was about to make some indignant rejoinder, I
interposed by asking her whether it was possible to obtain slaves
here, and whether the natives were hostile or well-disposed.

"Not a slave will you find in the market," she said; "they have been
purchased as fast as they have been brought to us. As to the savages,
they have hitherto been tolerably peaceable; but, aware of the value
we set upon their silver, they demand most exorbitant wages for their
labour."

"Peaceable you call them, do you?" broke in Himilco; and pointing
to the empty socket of his eye, said, "Yes; perhaps if using their
lances to scoop out people's eyes is a proof of peaceableness, the
Iberians of Tarshish are supremely peaceable; but I confess I don't
quite see it."

Ziba smiled. Although she was a thorough woman of business, she had a
keen appreciation of a joke.

"Yes, pilot," she replied; "I very well recollect your misfortune
when you were here before; indeed, it was I myself who dressed your
wounds with oil and rosemary. But you may take my word for it that
the tribes on the Bœtis are far more anxious to take your goods
than to do you any bodily injury. In time, I have no doubt, they will
become perfectly submissive to our rule."

"And then," I exclaimed, "Tarshish, like Zeugis, will be one of the
brightest jewels in the crown of our glorious Sidon."

And every one, as I spoke, filled and drained his wine-cup to the
honour of our noble city.

"But to return to business," said Ziba; "I think that the best
plan for you will be to come with me to the naval suffect, who may
probably suggest some plan by which you can get labour to open some
fresh mines. The Bœtis is quite wide enough to allow your ships to
ascend within a day's march of the best districts, and your soldiers
and sailors ought to be quite enough to protect you from any
hostilities on the part of the Iberians."

  [Illustration]

I readily acquiesced in her proposal; and the widow, having put on
a veil, mounted a richly-caparisoned mule led by two well-dressed
slaves, and preceded by a running footman carrying a long staff. She
went in front, and we all sallied forth after her to the Admiralty
palace. The suffect received us in the large hall, where he was
seated in his painted chair; and when I had explained the object of
my visit, he said:

"Had you come four days sooner, you might have arranged to accompany
a Tyrian merchant who passed through this port on his way to the
mines."

The suspicion flashed instantly on my mind, and I said:

"You mean Bodmilcar?"

"Yes," replied the suffect, "Bodmilcar; and a rare rough-looking set
he had with him. We are not generally very particular in looking
into the character of men who go to the diggings, but I confess I
never set eyes upon a worse-looking lot. They looked like thieves and
assassins."

"Just what they were," I said; "and their leader is no better than
themselves. You have only to read this, and you will learn what he
really is;" and I handed him Adonibal's letter.

"By Ashtoreth!" he swore, "what a scoundrel the fellow is!"

After pondering a few minutes, he continued:

"I will tell you what I can do. I will lend you fifty armed men
to help you to improve the villain off the face of the earth. I
would, if I could, lend you more, as I know how advisable it is
for expeditions into the interior to be well guarded; all kinds of
people are at work in the mines, and nothing is easier for them than
to conspire to overpower a new comer. But I really cannot spare any
more. The time will come, I hope, when we shall have reinforcements
enough here to make our authority properly felt in the mining
districts."

Ziba now mentioned that she had made a contract with one of the
Iberian chiefs, named Aitz, by which he had engaged to find porters
and labourers to assist the twelve hundred slaves which she had
provided to excavate the soil of a new mine; and having explained
that she had erected a fortress in which were stationed a hundred
soldiers, and put up a residence for an overseer of the works, she
said that she was perfectly willing to hand over the contract to
me under certain conditions. She was ready to surrender her sole
interest, to give me an introduction to her overseer, and to allow me
the protection of her little garrison, if I would stipulate to pay
her a fifth part of the gross profits.

The suffect seemed to think that the proposal was reasonable; but I
demurred to the proportion of the profits which she demanded, and
insisted upon her accepting a sixth instead of a fifth.

After a short debate, which ended in Ziba's yielding to my terms, I
made Hanno draw out two copies of the agreement which we mutually
signed, and then all adjourned to the temple of Ashtoreth, where we
offered a sacrifice to the goddess, and made a vow to remain faithful
to the various covenants of the contract.

The time of the year was very favourable, and I was anxious to lose
no time in starting. Accordingly, four days did not elapse after our
arrival at Gades before our ships were again on the sea, making way
towards the mouth of the Bœtis, which we reached after two days'
easy sailing.

Beyond the Straits of Gades the sea is subject to tides which are
even more considerable than those in the Jam Souph, and it was
necessary to wait until high-water before we could pass the bar of
the river. As soon, however, as the bar was passable, the river
presented a very animated scene, and vessels of every description got
into motion, both ascending and descending the stream; Phœnician
craft, from the ponderous gaoul to the slim fishing-smack; Iberian
piroques, carrying their great brown or black sails of woven bark;
and the long Celtic coracles, composed of hide. Of all these, none
were empty; whatever provisions are consumed in the mining regions
have all to be brought from Gades, and the same ships that convey the
supplies into the interior always return laden with the ore.

Having crossed the bar, as there was no wind and the current was
strong, I lowered my sails and rowed up the river. The yellow waters
of the river flow rapidly between banks that are sometimes wooded and
sometimes barren flats. The country on both sides is mountainous and
wild, and only at long intervals are to be seen any of the Iberian
villages, which, consisting of hovels made of mud and branches of
trees, are most frequently nothing more than roofs to holes which
have been dug in the ground. The miners' villages are very similar,
the chief difference being that the huts are higher and more
commodious, and in the centre of each community there is a palisade
enclosing a redoubt, or embattled fortress built of brick.

"Not particularly lively here," said Hanno; "the getting of silver
seems rather a more dreary business than the spending of it."

Hannibal remarked that all the villages seemed to occupy positions
that were naturally very strong, observing that the Bœtis itself
formed a good line of defence, and that there might be a great deal
of hard fighting in such a country.

"I can answer for that," said Himilco; "I know that these Tarshish
barbarians would sooner pluck out a man's eye than give him a cup of
wine. Here come some of the rascals. Look at them."

Every one looked where Himilco was pointing, and there, walking,
or rather shambling, along the bank were rather more than a score
of savage-looking creatures evidently watching our ships. They
were almost naked, their only covering being a strip of woven bark
around their loins, and a sort of turban of the same material on
their heads; they had sunburnt skins, black hair, and small black
eyes, obliquely set; they were of moderate height, and appeared to
be extremely agile. But we observed that some of them seemed to
be quite of a distinct race, being very tall and thin, with thick
shaggy beards and very revolting countenances. All were armed with
long shields, and carried either bludgeons, slings, or strong lances
pointed with flint or bone.

I shouted to them, but they made no sign, and continued skulking
along the bank.

"Bichri!" cried Himilco, to the archer, who was sitting on the poop
with Jonah, both of them playing with the monkey, "Bichri, just put
an arrow into one of those scaramouches, will you? they pretend they
cannot hear the captain."

He started to his feet, and was in the act of raising his bow, when I
interposed:

"Leave them alone; time enough to attack them when they attack us."

Bichri lowered his hand at once.

"Well then," he said, "I may as well go on amusing myself with the
monkey; what an entertaining brute it is! he pulls my hair and
scratches my face a bit; but I bear it all because he's so clever."

"Aye, aye, go back to your plaything; he's about as good-looking as
the Iberians," said Hanno, laughing.

My brave young archer was not much more than eighteen years of
age, and in light-heartedness and love of frolic was like a boy of
twelve. The monkey, the only creature on board more restless than
himself, had taken his fancy immensely, and they were continually
vying with one another in feats of agility, trying which could climb
the mast the faster, or which could swing the higher at the end of
a rope. Another of Judge Gebal's warm admirers was Jonah. The giant
seemed to have lost his concern about the land of strange beasts,
and to be engrossed with the monkey, which he had admitted into his
close friendship, and whose antics he was always rewarding with the
choicest tit-bits on which he could lay hands. One of the creature's
great delights was to mount the trumpeter's shoulder and clamber
by his shaggy hair to the top of his head, where from its elevated
perch it would make grimaces, scratch its pate, and grin and gnash
its teeth at every one. Bichri, Jonah, and the monkey, thus formed an
amicable trio, of which a little rough treatment all round, and a few
cuffs and scratches, did not mar the general concord.

Towards evening by my orders we came to a standstill, opposite a
miners' village. The overseer came out from his hut to speak to us.
He was a coarse, ill-spoken man, rarely opening his mouth without an
oath. He was a native of Arvad, and consequently an old acquaintance
of Hannibal's.

"By all the infernal gods!" he began, "this is a week of visitors!"

"How so?" I asked.

"Confound me, if we hadn't another Tyrian here five days ago!
Bodmilcar was his name; and a rascally set of scamps he brought.
Drunken beasts they were; they sacked some houses in the village
here, and, by Khousor Phtah! I vow they would have murdered us
every one if we had not pounced upon them pretty hard. I have seen
blackguards in my time, but never the like of those. And if any one
can succeed in swinging up Bodmilcar himself at a rope's end, he will
do the world a service."

"Where is he now?" I asked; "can you tell me that? I have a score of
my own to settle with him."

"By the gods! you will have some distance to go. He has taken a swarm
of Iberians with him into the interior. You had better be careful how
you meddle with them: they are dangerous folks to touch; and they are
a pretty strong force altogether."

"Never mind their force," said Chamai; "numbers don't matter; only
let us get them within reach of our swords."

"All very fine for you, young fellow, to be so cocksure of your
game," replied the overseer; and turning to me, he added, civilly
enough: "But I see you are determined to risk the consequences. Give
me a drink of wine, and by the gods! I will give you some hints that
may be useful to you. Silver is silver, you know."

"Yes, and wine is wine," muttered Himilco, always keenly interested
upon that topic.

I ordered a skin of good wine to be produced, that he might drink
while we talked over our scheme; but the overseer had no wish to be
outdone on the score of hospitality; and accordingly he clapped his
hands sharply, and when the manager of his slaves appeared in answer
to the summons, he gave instructions for one of his finest calves to
be killed, and a feast to be laid out for us under an adjacent clump
of trees.

After we had given each other the latest news of Phœnicia and
Tarshish, the overseer said in his own abrupt way:

"You seem brave enough; but I have a great respect for numbers.
Your wine is good stuff, and I like it. I am glad to meet a
fellow-townsman. Now, in return for the wine, curse me if I don't do
the best I can to help you."

After all, he had not much to tell. He informed us that in the
territory adjacent to that of Aitz, who had made his compact with
Ziba, there were some exceedingly rich veins of silver; and that,
although the Iberians in possession were decidedly disposed to
be hostile, they might readily be bought over by some trumpery
merchandise, or without difficulty might be subdued by our arms.

"And how near to them can we take our ships?" I asked.

"Within three days' march," he answered. "It is not so much that the
distance is great as that there are no roads; and after the ships are
left there is no further communication with the river. You have to
go through forests, and you have to go on foot. No horses can go; no
mules."

"Nice marching that!" said Hannibal, sententiously; "and you say we
have to take our own provisions?"

"As to that, I daresay you can get Ziba's overseer to lend you some
Iberians; they make capital beasts of burden."

"Very good," said Himilco; "and I think I can undertake to make them
trot along at a good pace. Give me a stick, and I will write a few
words of their Iberian tongue upon their backs in a way they will
perhaps remember."

The overseer seemed to enjoy Himilco's spiteful jest, for he laughed
aloud. We emptied our wine-cups, and broke up our meeting.

Betimes next morning we were again on our voyage up the river, and
in less than a day had reached Ziba's territory. Her overseer, a
native of Utica, lent me two hundred slaves as porters and miners,
and I divided them into gangs, which I put under the supervision
of my officers. The ships, with just a sufficient portion of their
crews, were left under the charge of Hasdrubal; the _Dagon_ and the
_Ashtoreth_ descending the river for a short distance to get a
better anchorage; the _Cabiros_, as drawing less water, being left
under orders to cruise about, and to keep on collecting a supply of
provisions. We had been provided with a guide; and everything being
arranged, I set out upon my exploration of the new territory.

We started across an extensive plateau, and having traversed several
woods and deep ravines, made our encampment for the night. Very
monotonous were the journeys of the following days, over gloomy hills
and across deep valleys, and it was not until the middle of the
fourth day after leaving the banks of the Bœtis, that we caught
sight of an Iberian village. The people were all under arms when we
arrived, and inclined to take a defiant attitude, but a few presents
had the effect of conciliating the chiefs, and inducing them to give
us permission to encamp on a barren knoll, about three stadia off
their cluster of huts. Under Hannibal's superintendence we surrounded
the encampment with a trench and a palisade, and in two days were
ready to commence our digging operations, in which we were directed
by an experienced man, who had been sent with us for the purpose.

We were beginning an arduous task. For three long months did our
labours proceed without intermission. The Iberians were always
distrustful, but never committed any overt act of hostility. Yet,
thanks to the favour of Ashtoreth, though our work was long, our
success was great. Excavation after excavation turned out prolific,
and as the result of our mining, I obtained no less than two thousand
shekels of silver. Some of this I refined on the spot, and retained
in my own keeping, the rest of the ore being periodically despatched
by hired slaves to the _Ashtoreth_, whence I received back a written
acknowledgment of each consignment as it was delivered on board.

At length I felt it was time to re-organise my caravan to return;
and under the direction of an Iberian guide, over whom a strict
surveillance was kept, we set out upon our way back to the ships,
rejoicing to quit the desolation in which we had been sojourning so
long.

No sooner were our backs turned upon the encampment than the Iberians
rushed towards it, tore down the palisade, and scrambled furiously
for any article, however worthless, that we happened to have left
behind.



CHAPTER XIV.

AN AMBUSCADE.


For two days we continued our return march without any interruption,
and reached the base of the steep ascent that leads to the plateau
overlooking the river.

The mounting of this height was a matter of no little difficulty. We
had to climb like goats, clinging to rocks and tufts of brushwood,
trampling down branches and dry grass, and hardly succeeded, after
all, in following the track which the head of the caravan had opened.

Suddenly, about half-way up the slope, the ground sank abruptly,
forming a deep ravine that had to be crossed before continuing the
ascent. We paused at its brink to recover our breath. Behind us the
long line of our sailors and porters was slowly filing through the
thicket; in front, yawned the precipitous ravine itself; and opposite
to us rose the mountain-side, to its very summit a mass of sombre
woods; several eagles were wheeling round above the chasm.

"A fine place for an ambush!" said Hannibal, wiping the perspiration
from his forehead, and little dreaming what was in store for us.

Himilco took a draught from the goat-skin that he carried at his
side, and heaved a long-drawn sigh:

"Ah!" he said, "it was in just such a plaguy hole as this that I lost
my eye ten years ago. I hope the hand that thrust the lance has been
rotten long since."

My own experience of the dangers of the land of Tarshish made me
very cautious, and with the approval of my two military subordinates,
I despatched Hanno and Jonah to the rear to call together the
stragglers, and to collect any that might have lost their way in the
woods; Bichri and his ten Benjamite archers, and Aminocles with his
five companion Phocians, I sent on in front to make their way rapidly
across the ravine, and to explore the forest on the opposite side.

Jonah's trumpet was soon heard sounding its call, and very shortly
afterwards Bichri and Aminocles were seen entering the wood beyond
the hollow. Without suspecting that there was any cause for alarm,
I ordered the guide (who was still being watched narrowly by my
sailors) to advance, and we began our descent. Some of us had already
reached the bottom, and the main body were making their way as best
they could down the troublesome incline, when the guide came to
a sudden halt. He was about fifty paces ahead, just beginning to
re-ascend the hollow. As soon as he stopped, a whistle was distinctly
heard from the woods in front, and Himilco called out:

"Look out, captain--look out! there's mischief brewing."

I shouted with all my might to the guide to move on more briskly,
and the sailor who had been put in charge of him was in the act of
pushing him forward, when the savage made a sudden dive, felled the
sailor to the ground, in two or three bounds cleared the intervening
space, and disappeared in the adjoining thicket.

"I told you so," said Himilco; "I knew well enough that the Iberian
scoundrels would be at their old games again."

  [Illustration: AN AVALANCHE OF STONES.
  _To face page 220._]

While he spoke, Jonah's trumpet sounding an alarm told only too
plainly that the column was being attacked in the rear, and in
front a frightful chorus of yells and war-cries was followed
instantaneously by an avalanche of stones. One of my poor sailors
fell at my side with his skull smashed, and all the native bearers
who had entered the ravine threw down their loads and fled
precipitately.

"Form a line!" shouted Hannibal to his men; and in spite of the
storm of stones that was falling around him, the intrepid leader
mounted a projecting rock, and brandishing his sword, vigorously
rallied his force. A party of sailors made a body-guard about the two
women, and Chamai, pale with rage and excitement, rushed with his
sword drawn to Hannibal's side.

"What do you think of this?" said Himilco to me, pathetically, as he
picked up a great stone that had fallen within a hand's breadth of
his side; "these Tarshish almonds seem to be falling pretty thick."

And as if in answer to his words, a second storm yet heavier than
the first came pelting down amongst us, and knocked over several of
our men; but this time it came from behind, from the quarter of the
ravine that we had just quitted, and showed us that we were assailed
as much in our rear as in front.

"O, if only we had some cavalry and some chariots," began Hannibal;
"how easy to turn both flanks like the Khetas[40] did with the
Assyrians.[41] We would send our cavalry to the right, and our
chariots to the left, and a free passage for our own centre should
soon be forced."

  [40] The Hittites of the Bible. Kheta was the general name given
  by the Egyptians to the Semitic tribes.

  [41] B.C. 1070.

"But considering we have no cavalry and no chariots," I said,
interrupting him, "we must defend ourselves how we can."

Without taking any notice of what I had said, he was proceeding to
expatiate upon the advantages and disadvantages of our position, when
a huge stone struck his helmet, knocking off the crest and battering
in the headpiece, and enforced upon him more effectually than I had
done the necessity of abandoning theory for practice. For an instant
he staggered with the shock, but quickly recovering himself, he
roared out:

"By Nergal! this won't do. Holy El-Adonai! this is too much. They
must pay the penalty for this. Archers! quick! up the slopes! shoot
every one who attempts to enter the ravine!"

And turning to me, he cried:

"Captain, will you take your sailors back again up the very path
by which you came down, and sweep round to those vagabonds who are
harassing our rear?"

"Men of Judah," he continued, "follow Chamai. Chamai, lead them
yonder to the left. And now, my men, to the right with me. Forward!"

"Forward to the left! long live the King!" shouted Chamai at the full
pitch of his lungs, as he obeyed orders, and led off his company in
the direction contrary to Hannibal.

The archers under Hamilcar formed a circle round the women and the
baggage, and were a guard for the bottom of the ravine; Himilco and
Gisgo, with my party, regained the ridge we had so recently quitted;
and thus on every side we presented a front to the enemy.

No sooner had we scaled the side of the ridge, than my men, cutlass
in hand, began to lay about them vigorously. The half-naked men of
Tarshish, armed only with clumsy bludgeons or wooden-pointed lances,
could make no stand against our sharp weapons, and fell in numbers
beneath our blows; and although crowds of them disappeared behind the
thickets, we did not break our compact mass to go in pursuit, but
pushed on straight ahead. Concealed and protected by the underwood,
many of the foe continued to follow us, and to hurl javelins at
us from piles that had been secreted ready for the purpose. When,
however, we came to any open patch, clear of trees, a detachment of
our men would make a dash into the brushwood in the hope of capturing
some of the stragglers; but the savages were generally much too fleet
of foot to allow themselves to be caught, and only about fifteen
altogether were secured in this way. To these no quarter was given.

  [Illustration: NO QUARTER.
  _To face page 222._]

Although we had advanced two stadia, we found no traces of Hanno
and Jonah. I did not consider it advisable to go further, and made
my men halt and form a circle round a large oak that stood alone
in a little glade; but Himilco, whose vengeance seemed insatiable,
ventured on for about another stadium, with Gisgo and fifteen
sailors. It was somewhat more than an hour before they returned.
They had caught and killed two of the Iberians, but what created a
far greater interest for us, they had found Hanno's writing-case all
covered with blood, lying in a copse with the dead bodies of nine
or ten of our adversaries, and the mutilated corpse of one of our
own sailors. The trampled soil, the pools of blood, and the carcases
of the savages strewn all about rendered it only too probable that
after a desperate struggle the scribe and poor Jonah had succumbed to
numbers, and that they had not only been massacred, but their bodies
had been carried away.

  [Illustration]

It was with saddened hearts that we made our way back to the spot
where we had been first surprised, repelling our enemies all along
as they persisted in harassing us. As soon as I reached the ridge,
and had satisfied myself that the women and the troop around them
were all safe, I closed in my ranks and told up my losses. Six of my
men had fallen. Meanwhile I was beginning to feel very uneasy about
both Hannibal and Chamai, but my anxiety was of no long duration;
they soon appeared together on the opposite height of the chasm:
Bichri, too, was with them, and the troops were in good order. They
had nearly forty prisoners; and in the midst of the ranks I could see
Aminocles marching along with a child in his arms, whilst amongst the
captives I could distinguish a woman, two men wearing kitonets, and
another dressed in a long Syrian robe. Hannibal was in front, and no
sooner did he catch sight of me than he waved his sword over his head
with a triumphant gesture, while Chamai, still more excited, with his
head bare and his forehead covered with blood, began running rapidly
towards me. I made pretence of looking another way as he stopped to
kiss Abigail in passing, but in a minute or two he was at my side,
his countenance beaming with joy. All out of breath, he exclaimed:

"Close quarters! but we have pretty well done for them now!"

Seeing the deep gash in his forehead and his blood-stained sword, I
observed that he bore evident traces of a smartish tussle with the
Iberians.

"Iberians!" he said, contemptuously; "who cares for Iberians? No; it
is our Tyrians that have done the mischief. However, we have nabbed
the scoundrel Hazael; and Aminocles has recovered his boy; he was
only just in time to save the child's life."

"And Bodmilcar? what of him?" I asked, all excitement at the
information.

"Ah! we have just missed him," he said; "Hannibal got near enough
to slice him pretty sharply in the ribs, and if it had not been for
this unlucky wound of mine, we should have had him here now; but his
people contrived to rescue him, and to carry him off to the wood."

Half-frantic with agitation, and impatient to exact vengeance on
my hated adversary, I forgot all about our perilous position, my
scattered ingots, and the fate of my unfortunate scribe, and declared
to Chamai that without the loss of an hour we must go in pursuit,
and get Bodmilcar dead or alive. Across the ravine, off I started,
bidding who would to follow.

Himilco had shown Chryseis the writing-case, stained as it was with
blood, and a very few words had sufficed to make her realise what
were the fears we entertained upon the scribe's behalf. She said
nothing, but while Abigail grasped her waist and wept tears of
sympathy, she walked steadily along, her hands tightly clenched, and
giving no other outward sign of emotion than a slight convulsive
movement of the shoulders. Chamai, whom I had omitted to inform of
the too likely fate of Hanno and Jonah, hurriedly asked Himilco what
had become of them, but the pilot only answered by a significant
shake of the head, and by pointing to the woods behind.

  [Illustration]

As I drew near to Hannibal, he advanced rapidly to greet me. He
seemed in high spirits, and although he was evidently affected by the
intelligence we gave him about Hanno, he endeavoured to disguise his
feelings by saying that we must all submit to the chances of war.

"But what's to be done next?" he added, quickly.

I told him that I was determined at all hazards to go in pursuit of
Bodmilcar, who must not be suffered to escape.

"Easier said than done," replied Hannibal. "Bodmilcar not only had
a large force of Phœnician criminals and deserters, but when he
attacked us he had a regular swarm of savages, all armed either with
clubs or javelins. At any rate, he can keep his distance. I know not
whether he is alive or dead; but I know this, that the fellows have
found out that it is not to their advantage to tackle us in close
quarters. However, we are too few to surround them, and to pursue
them is only to expose ourselves to another ambush."

"What is to be done, then?" I asked, gnashing my teeth with vexation.

"You must get to the top of the hill before night," he answered,
decidedly; "you must reach the open plain; you must not run the risk
of another surprise. Once on the plateau you are secure; you can rest
your men and give them food; they are knocked up. And you will have
time to interrogate your prisoners."

Chagrined as I was, I could not resist the conviction that Hannibal's
advice was judicious, and, however reluctantly, gave up all thought
of immediate pursuit. I directed that the prisoners should be
fastened together by a rope passed round their necks, and that forty
men should be told off under Himilco for a guard, with orders to kill
the first man that showed the least sign of resistance.

"You may trust me for that," said the pilot, with a vindictive grin;
"they have only left me one eye, but that is a sharp one."

When the captives had been securely bound, I had all the packages
and silver collected that had been left strewn about by the runaway
porters.

"There will be a double load for each of these scoundrels to carry,"
I remarked; "I shall take good care not to trust Iberians with my
property again till I have seen them well fettered."

The baggage was gathered without the occurrence of any renewed
attack, and Gisgo returned from the wood brandishing a stout cudgel
that he had cut from the bough of an oak.

"Here's something to make them stir their legs a bit!" he said, as he
saw the men loaded with their burdens.

"Now then, get on, you brutes!" Himilco screamed in Iberian; "and the
first rogue that shirks his work is a dead man!"

Placing the prisoners in the middle, we proceeded cautiously to
continue our ascent; and while we were prosecuting our toilsome
march, I asked Bichri to give me full particulars about the encounter
with Bodmilcar.

"As accurately as I can," he said, "I will. On leaving you we
advanced without obstruction some hundred paces into the wood, when
in a moment we found ourselves with a host of Iberians in our front,
and as many in our rear, pelting us with stones and darts. We ran
full speed to a spot where the trees were not so thick, and planting
our backs against a projecting rock, we stood on our defence; but
almost directly afterwards we espied a troop of soldiers dashing down
towards us. They were Bodmilcar and his miscreants. There seemed no
hope for us: in a few minutes we must have been overpowered; but,
happily, Hannibal and Chamai made their appearance, and a desperate
fray ensued. I saw Bodmilcar fall to the ground; Chamai had all but
secured him, when he was cut down by a cutlass, and the Tyrians
seized their opportunity to carry off their chief, the barbarians
covering their retreat, and hurling an incessant shower of missiles.
But we were rescued."

I had listened with eager attention to Bichri's story, and as he came
to a pause, I asked:

"But how about Hazael, and the woman and the child?"

"Patience, and you shall hear," he said. "We resolved to go in
pursuit of our foe, who, we had no doubt, was seriously wounded,
and we had got into the thick of the forest, when we came upon a
pile of wood with a child lying bound on the top of it. Fourteen or
fifteen soldiers were standing round, and Hazael, with a long knife
in his hand was on the very point of slaying the child, while two men
were forcibly dragging off a woman, who had evidently thrown herself
across its body. The very instant that Aminocles caught sight of the
victim, he shrieked aloud 'My son, my son!' and dashed like a madman
into the group; we all rushed after him, and Hazael, seeing that he
was in danger, made a lunge at the child with his knife and took to
his heels. However, I was too quick for him, and soon had him back
again. Meanwhile Aminocles and my archers had made short work with
the other men, and the boy, who had fainted, was set free by cutting
the cords that fastened him, and was found to have sustained no very
serious injury. The woman, too, who had been endeavouring to ward off
the blow of the knife, was recognised by one of the Phocians as the
wife whom he had lost. Altogether, considering we have captured the
eunuch, saved the child, and restored a man his wife, I do not know
that we have done a bad day's work."

  [Illustration: ON THE VERY POINT OF SLAYING THE CHILD.
  _To face page 228._]

But changing his tone, Bichri added, mournfully:

"And yet how it saddens all to think about poor Hanno and our big
friend Jonah. I loved them both, poor fellows! I wonder what has
become of old Gebal. Is he gone too?"

I said that I had very little doubt the monkey had been on his
usual perch upon the trumpeter's shoulder, and so most probably had
shared his fate. Bichri drew a long sigh, which seemed to convey the
impression that he was almost as much concerned at the loss of the
monkey as he was moved by the fate of his comrades.

We had now reached the plateau. It was a dreary plain, dotted at
rare intervals with a few trees and tufts of thistles, and as far as
I could estimate, about twelve stadia from the Bœtis. Our supply
of fresh water being nearly exhausted, we were obliged to be very
frugal with it at our evening meal; but as soon as this was
finished, and Hannibal had posted his sentinels and had all lights
extinguished, I summoned Hazael before me. I took my seat, supported
on either side by my officers and pilots, making Bichri, Aminocles
and his son, and the Phocian with his wife, likewise be present.

  [Illustration: THE DESPICABLE SYRIAN.
  _To face page 229._]

The prisoner was brought forward, pale and trembling; his hands were
tied behind his back, and his embroidered robe was torn and soiled
with dust and blood.

"You know me?" I roared out to him as he approached.

"Yes, my lord," he faltered out in a quivering voice, without lifting
his eyes from the ground.

"And you know your conduct towards me?" I roared again.

The culprit made no answer.

"Do you suppose I took you with me that you should plot against me in
Egypt, at Utica, at Gades?"

He still gave no reply.

"What made you dare to try and kill that child?" I said.

"I was under orders," he whined out; "Bodmilcar made me. He wanted to
sacrifice to Moloch to secure his favour. I dared not disobey him; he
has had me in his power all along. It is not I, it is Bodmilcar that
has wronged you."

"O, that matters not," I answered. "Curses on Bodmilcar! Would you
save your life? One way, one only way is open to you still."

The despicable Syrian prostrated himself till his face was on the
earth, and groaned out:

"Spare me! spare my life! ask what you will! trample on my neck! make
me your slave for ever! but spare my life!"

Chamai, who was standing beside me with a bandage on his forehead,
turned his head away in disgust.

"Spare your life!" I repealed; "why, if I did my duty I should make
your life a sacrifice this very minute to the souls of the brave
heroes who have lost their lives through you!" And after a pause,
I said: "But, listen to me! do what I require, and I will give you
more than your life; when we are back at Gades, I will give you your
liberty."

"O, I will do anything; but swear, swear that you will spare my
life!" implored the abject wretch, still grovelling with his forehead
in the dust.

"Yes, hearken!" I ejaculated. "By Ashtoreth! goddess of heaven, I
swear it!"

Relieved of his immediate terror, the pusillanimous craven started
to his feet, and in a tone quite brisk in contrast with his previous
whinings began to ask what it was that I required him to do.

"You must first inform us of the strength of Bodmilcar's force."

"One hundred and sixty Phœnicians. Six hundred or perhaps seven
hundred Iberians."

"You must next tell us the place of rendezvous he had appointed, in
case his attack should fail."

Hazael hesitated. Chamai said that if he revealed this, he would
deserve a score of hangings for his treachery. Without noticing the
interruption, I said again:

"You must tell us his place of rendezvous."

Again no answer.

"Except you tell, you shall be hanged this very minute."

And to show him that I was in earnest I called for a rope. Himilco
produced a strong cable-end that he always wore round his waist under
his kitonet. Hazael quivered and turned pale.

"Stop, stop! don't hang me! I _will_ tell!"

"Out with it, then; quick!"

"At the Wolf's knoll."

"So far, so good. But where is that?"

"In the wood, two stadia off."

"But which way?"

"Behind us; over there; there to the right."

"Well then, come and show us the way."

And weary as I was, almost worn out by fatigue, I could not resist
the desire to go upon the simplest chance of meeting the adversary
that I hated so bitterly. I called out to my men that I wanted fifty
volunteers to go with me and hunt out Bodmilcar from his lurking
place. Many more than I had called answered to my appeal, eager to
offer their services, and I could only request Hannibal to select
those best fitted for the expedition, and bid the others take good
care of the women and the baggage, and see that the captives were
well secured.

Aminocles begged for permission to remain behind with his little son,
and asked that his countryman Demaretes might likewise be allowed
to stay with his newly-rescued wife; he acknowledged that they were
indebted to me for the recovery of their dear ones, promised that
they would fight doubly hard another time, but pleaded that they
might be excused now. Of course I had no hesitation in yielding to
his request.

Before setting out I said, incidentally, that we might perchance be
fortunate enough to recover the bodies either of Hanno or Jonah, or
both. Chryseis rose instantly to her feet, and, pale with agitation,
placed herself at my side. To my inquiry whither she was going, she
replied in a steady voice:

"To seek the body of my betrothed. If it be the will of the gods, I
will consign it to a tomb."

"Come, then, you shall," I said, deeply affected by her sorrow, her
resignation, and her courage; "and may Ashtoreth protect us all!"

Hannibal gave the order to march. Bichri, ever indefatigable, went to
the head of the column, leading Hazael by the cord which bound his
wrists; Gisgo, with his hatchet on his shoulder, kept close to the
eunuch on the other side; and Himilco, with his sword drawn, followed
on behind. We advanced in silence towards the woods, choosing such
hollows in the ground as the moonlight left in shadow, and in a
short time were within sight of the dark masses of foliage that
bounded the moonlit plain. Making our way as stealthily as we could
through the thickets, we came to a mound near the edge of the steep
that we had scaled in the morning. It was an abrupt elevation of the
soil, and was described to us by Hazael as being the place known as
the Wolf's knoll, and which Bodmilcar had fixed as the rally-point of
his people. When we halted there was not a light to be seen, not a
sound to be heard, nothing to break the gloom or the stillness of the
forest.

"Before we give the signal for attack," said Hannibal, under his
breath, "we ought to know what they are doing."

"I know my way," said the eunuch; "let me go and look, that I may
bring you word."

"Thanks," said Himilco; "you are very good--we will not trouble you."

After this sarcastic rebuff to his very transparent pretext for
eluding us, Hazael was relapsing into his former silence, when Bichri
suggested that he should himself take the eunuch and go and ascertain
the actual position of affairs, adding that if he made a movement to
escape, he would plunge his knife hilt-deep into his body.

Hannibal gave his consent, and the two disappeared in the thicket,
Bichri pushing on his prisoner before him. In less than half an hour
there was a crushing of the brushwood, and they were before us again.

"What news?" we asked.

"The rascal has deceived us," said Bichri; "we went all round the
mound, not a man, however, was to be seen."

"No, no, no!" sobbed the eunuch; "I have not deceived you. I swear I
heard Bodmilcar say, 'Wolf's knoll.' Cut out my tongue if I lie! I
swear it."

"Stop your oaths, liar!" I exclaimed impatiently. "Lucky for you
I pledged you your life; but be on your guard, or, by Ashtoreth,
another time----"

"It may be," said Hannibal, "the villains have been lurking about,
and, having discovered your approach, have decamped. The eunuch may
have told the truth. Anyhow, nothing can be done. I am dead-beat."

Himilco and Hamilcar both declared that they, too, were quite knocked
up, so that I determined to make our way back, and seek the repose of
which we were so much in need.



CHAPTER XV.

JUDGE GEBAL DISTINGUISHES HIMSELF.


On arriving within a comparatively few paces of our encampment, we
were challenged by the sentinels, who were keeping a sharp look-out.
As soon as we had entered the lines, Aminocles came running towards
us with excited gestures, and, hardly allowing me time to inquire
what had occurred, told me in broken Phœnician that during our
absence "the little man" had been and gone, and was now in a clump of
trees hard by.

For the moment I was puzzled; but Bichri, comprehending more quickly
what the man meant, exclaimed, "Gebal! Judge Gebal!" and dashing
off in the direction indicated, began to whistle his accustomed
call-note. In a few minutes he returned, his countenance beaming with
glee. The monkey was seated on his shoulder, and greeted us with
hideous yells and grimaces. Ugly as the creature was, I confess I
was glad to have it again amongst us; nearly every one came to look
at it, and although it pulled Hannibal's beard, scratched Himilco's
face, and bit Gisgo's nose, nothing was set down to spitefulness, but
all was taken in good part, until the beast tried to claw Chamai's
hand, upon which Chamai, never very patient either with man or brute,
struck it a violent blow which sent it howling back to Bichri. As
it sprang away it dropped something that looked like the strap of a
sandal. After picking it up and examining it by the light of a torch,
Chamai exclaimed:

"By all that's good, there is something written here! it is written
in Phœnician."

I snatched the strap away from him in my eagerness, and discerned in
a moment that it was covered with characters apparently traced in
blood. Without waiting to read it all, I cried out:

"Hanno is alive! old Gebal has brought us the news. Hanno has written
to us himself."

After I had deciphered the writing carefully, I said:

"Now, listen, my friends--this is what he says: 'We are prisoners,
alive and well: Jonah's trumpet saved us; savages would not give us
up to Bodmilcar; their chief wanted a Phœnician trumpeter. Another
chief wants a trumpeter before he will give his daughter in marriage
to this chief. I am spared as well. We are to be sent off at once to
the northern chief. Keep up your spirits. We will soon escape. Beware
of Bodmilcar; he is laying an ambush. He means to cut you off from
the river.' There, my men, that's what he says. We will hope to see
him yet."

As I ceased to read, Chryseis threw herself into Abigail's arms,
and wept for joy; Gisgo flung his cap into the air; Himilco took
a liberal draught from his goat-skin; and Hannibal manifested his
emotion by sneezing seven times in succession. As for Bichri, he took
the monkey in his arms, and fairly hugged it, a piece of attention
which Gebal acknowledged by plucking out a handful of his hair.

"O, Gebal, shame upon you! would you be pulling out my hair when you
know how much I love you? Brave old Gebal! I was only congratulating
you on distinguishing yourself so well."

The others were all equally anxious to pet the creature, and gave it
quantities of almonds and raisins, which it took without leaving its
perch upon Bichri's shoulder.

"Come, come!" I said, "no time for this trifling. Our water is gone;
we must get to the river; we must be beforehand with Bodmilcar.
But there is one piece of business that we must settle first. Bring
Hazael here."

The eunuch was brought before me, and addressing him very sternly, I
said:

"Hazael, you have heard this letter. It proves you a liar and a
traitor. Your villainy has cost us much trouble; there is no reprieve
this time; you must be sent forthwith to another tribunal. Menath,
Hokk, and Rhadamath must be your judges. You must die."

  [Illustration]

Flinging himself prostrate at my feet, the abject wretch broke out
into the most piteous supplications; he implored for mercy, but I was
inexorable. Two sailors raised him to his feet, and Himilco having
made a running noose in his rope, slipped it round the Syrian's neck.

"Choose your own tree, my good man," said Himilco; "for my part I
should recommend a sturdy holm."

Hazael made no reply, but struggled so violently that he had to be
dragged forcibly along.

"Don't be a fool!" cried Gisgo. "What objection can you have to be
hanged? it will save your shoe-leather."

"Now then," said Himilco, as soon as they had placed the eunuch under
the tree, "haul away, tackle him up to the standing-rigging; there!
his navigation has come to an end!"

And almost as he spoke, Hazael was dangling in the moonlight.

"One traitor gone to his last account," I said.

"And the other, I hope, soon to follow," Hannibal replied.

Brief and scanty was our rest that night; and when in the morning
the sun rose in a cloudless sky, so unrefreshed were we after our
fighting and toiling, that it was with the utmost difficulty that we
could drag ourselves across the hot and dusty plain. My own throat
was parched, and my stomach cramped with those terrible sensations
known only too well by those who have suffered the tortures of
excessive thirst. Himilco had drained his last drop of wine, and went
feebly along through lack of stimulant; Hannibal removed his helmet,
and carried it slung from his girdle; and all were too worn and weary
to utter a syllable as we marched. Bichri was the only one of us who
exhibited no symptom of fatigue, his wiry frame being capable of
unlimited endurance.

About the middle of the afternoon a light mist, indicating the
course of the river, revived our flagging energies by making us
aware that fresh water was not far off. I took Bichri and a number
of men carrying gourds and goat-skins, and hurried on to obtain,
without loss of time, some drink for my thirsty host; but when I had
got within half a stadium of the river-bank I was seized with such
violent pain and nausea that I could hardly stand. I persevered,
however, till we were hardly more than twenty paces from the water's
edge, when suddenly there was a rustling in the bushes, and a score
or more of lances came whizzing about us, and we were startled by
the shrill war-cry of the Iberians. Surprised, but not intimidated
by the attack, we kept steadily on our way, and were close upon the
river-bank, when some thirty or forty savages emerged from the
rushes and confronted us with their lances, whilst as many again,
with hideous yells, ran to assail the flank of our main body.
Hannibal and Chamai soon dispersed their adversaries, but I with
my party in advance did not fare so well, for notwithstanding that
Bichri struck down more than one of the foremost of the barbarians,
they succeeded in entirely surrounding us. One of the sailors had his
arm pierced by a javelin. Bichri had a cut in the calf of his leg,
and my own movements were completely paralysed by a lance having got
tightly fixed in my shield and shoulder-belt. I confess I thought it
was all up with us, but at the critical moment the well-known sound
of the Phœnician trumpet broke upon us, followed by the animating
cry, "Courage, courage, we are here!" and a change passed upon the
scene. Like a flock of startled birds the savages were off in scared
retreat; an advancing troop, doubtless Bodmilcar's own, wheeled
rapidly about and took to flight; they had descried Hasdrubal who,
from the river-bank, was bringing up a company to our rescue. Never
did a friend receive a warmer welcome. To my inquiry how it was that
he had arrived so opportunely, he told me he had been watching the
enemy's movements all the morning; they had been too engrossed with
their own schemes to observe him, but he was so convinced they were
designing mischief that he lowered the mast of the _Cabiros_ and
brought her up to the side-arm of the river, whence he had led his
men forward just in time to render us good service.

Thus happily relieved from the threatened peril, our force hastened
onwards to slake their thirst, and I think it was for the first
time in my life that I saw Himilco gulp down (and that with evident
satisfaction) a draught of pure water. Another hour and we were
descending the Bœtis, and joyously recounting our adventures.

That night, which was spent on board the _Cabiros_, was a night of
well-earned rest. Next morning we started early for the spot where
the _Dagon_ and the _Ashtoreth_ had been moored.

I gave my sailors five shekels apiece, and a triple ration of
wine, and conscious that they had been overworked, I granted them
twenty-four hours' release from labour before finally recommencing
our voyage. They spent their holiday according to their own taste;
they drank, they shouted, they sang, they danced, and occasionally
they diversified their amusement by a little fighting; yet,
notwithstanding the obstreperousness of their proceedings, when
evening came they calmed down quietly enough to their ordinary
discipline.

The next day found us once more on the open sea, and for myself I
felt an indescribable satisfaction in again looking upon its green
and restless face, and in hearing its waves plash against the sides
of my ship.

In two days we had reached Gades, and I settled all the business I
had to transact with Ziba.

And now the time had come for me to announce to my officers and crew
a purpose that I had long been contemplating. Accordingly I invited
them all to an entertainment in a tent at some public gardens beyond
the town, and when the repast was over I rose and told them why I had
gathered them together.

"My friends," I began, "our mission is accomplished. King David's
demands are met; King Hiram's orders are fulfilled. King David's
subjects are at liberty to return to Palestine, and I have brought
them here to bid them all farewell."

Chamai started to his feet impatiently, and looking at me with a keen
and earnest scrutiny, asked what I meant.

"What I mean," I continued, "is soon told. I propose to put all my
silver on board the _Dagon_, and to place her under the command of
Hasdrubal. In the _Dagon_ you, too, can return. Hasdrubal shall have
orders to land you and Abigail and Hannibal, and whoever else may
choose to accompany you, at Joppa."

Upon hearing this, Hannibal, in a voice agitated with emotion, called
out:

"And you? What about yourself? And are not Himilco, Hamilcar, and
Gisgo to go back with us?"

"Not one of them," I answered; "we have other work to do."

  [Illustration]

A blank silence fell upon them all. Hannibal gazed at me in
bewilderment, big tears gathering in his eyes; Chamai broke his
reverie by bringing his fist down so violently upon a chair that
it broke under the blow; and after a space, Bichri began softly to
whistle one of the melodies of his tribe, his usual way of trying to
exhibit a contemptuous indifference.

Chamai was the first to speak.

"By our holy God! captain, I could never have believed you capable of
this," he blurted out.

"Yes, indeed, by all that's holy!" said Hannibal, finding his voice,
"what have we done that merits treatment of this kind?"

"I am doing you no wrong," I answered; "friends we have been
hitherto; friends let us part. You can surely ask no more than that
I should remit you to your homes to pass the rest of your lives in
ease and affluence."

"But why not return yourself?" they asked.

"I have invited you here, to tell you why. It is the resolve of
myself and of the Sidonians that are with me to make a voyage of
discovery. I have set my heart on finding out what lands there
are, whether they be isles or continents, lying to the north. I am
determined, if I can, to settle whether it be possible, by sailing
round Tarshish to the west, to reach the Celtic shores. These are the
problems that I seek to solve."

"And do you think," said Chamai, "that we shall be content to enjoy
our repose while you are braving all the perils of the unknown sea?
No, no; not quite so ungrateful as that!"

"Desert our colours in the middle of the fight? nay, that will never
do," cried Hannibal: "return home, who will; my post is with you,
captain."

Chamai echoed his words, and Abigail averred her intention of not
being parted from her lover.

I was quite overcome by the attachment of my people, and grasped them
all in turns by the hand.

"The gods reward your courage and fidelity," I exclaimed. "But surely
some of you will wish to return? Aminocles, what say you? do you not
want to take your son back to his home? And you, Chryseis, you will
hardly think of facing the perils of the untried sea?"

Aminocles replied that he could not desire his son to have a better
home than the society of warriors offered; and Chryseis avowed that
she was bound to me by a perpetual debt of gratitude: I had liberated
her from slavery, and it might be, if she continued with me still,
that her missing lover would be restored to her.

Turning to Bichri, who was still whistling some national air in a
lackadaisical manner, I said to him:

"As yet, young man, we have not heard your decision. Have you nothing
to say?"

"Not much," he answered; "I planted a patch of Ziba's land with a lot
of vine-slips. I think I shall go north with you, and look in here at
Tarshish on my way back, just to see how my plantation prospers."

"Well done, Bichri!" cried Himilco; "you have set a young vineyard
going, have you? You will have a long generation of tipplers never
ceasing to bless the day you came to Gades. May the gods smile on you
and your vines!"

Bichri did not vouchsafe Himilco any answer, but went on, as though
talking to himself:

"With old Gebal, and little Dionysos, I think I can be happy enough.
I shall miss poor Jonah, though."

I had thus learnt to my great surprise that there was not one of my
companions who was disposed to leave me. I took measures, therefore,
for consigning the charge of my cargo, including the silver, to a
Sidonian captain who was about returning home, and then, without loss
of time, laid in an ample store of provisions for my voyage over the
untraversed waters of the West.

On the morning of my departure I went to take my leave of the naval
suffect and of Ziba. As I passed along the quay by the entrance of
the harbour, I found a great concourse of people gathered together
for the purpose of witnessing the erection of two great pillars, one
of which bore a figure of the sun, and the other a statue of our
god Melkarth. I was naturally curious to ascertain the meaning of
the columns, and was informed that they indicated the limits of the
habitable world, and that beyond them there was nothing but ocean.
But the response of the oracle was still echoing in my memory: the
world for me had wider bounds, I smiled, and went my way with a
hopeful heart.



CHAPTER XVI.

PERILS OF THE OCEAN.


For a whole week I followed the coast steadily to the north, and
having rounded a lofty promontory, bore towards the east. In all my
previous navigation I had never experienced such difficult sailing,
nor seen waves more angry than those which dashed against the cliffs
that formed the shore. One headland there was which took us little
short of four days to double, and it was not until we had been
battling for more than a fortnight with continual tempest that we
found ourselves in calmer waters and off a flat coast, of which,
after the mountains had come to their limit, the direction was again
northwards. We were all greatly fatigued.

Before we had proceeded much further we came to a river with a mouth
so wide that at first I imagined it to be a gulf; the shores on
either hand were wooded and undulating, and the general aspect of
the country was so inviting that I determined to lay to, and had
no difficulty in finding excellent anchorage about half-way up the
estuary.

"By all that's good!" exclaimed Gisgo, "I recognise those cabins.
That's a Celtic village;" and he pointed to a cluster of huts, with
conical roofs made of thatched reeds, and without more ado made
four rowers pull him ashore in a boat to pay a visit to his former
acquaintances.

He was not mistaken. In half an hour our vessels were surrounded by
the ill-made coracles of the inquisitive Celts some of whom were
so eager to scrutinise us that they swam out all the way from the
shore; and our decks were soon invaded by numbers of them, who, with
loud laughter and much gesticulating, began talking all at once in a
language which was anything but euphonious. They appeared perfectly
friendly, and were far less barbarous in their manners than the
people of Tarshish. They were dressed in very short tunics, made of
coarse material woven by themselves, and their legs were covered
with trousers that came to the ankles; their faces were round, and
generally bore a good-humoured expression; their eyes were bright,
and for the most part blue; their hair light brown, and occasionally
quite flaxen. Some of them had bronze weapons and jewellery, which
had found their way from Phœnicia along the Rhone by means of the
Salians; the majority of them, however, still retained their wooden,
stone, or bone implements, many of which were very well made.

The Celts, as I learnt on visiting one of their villages built upon
piles in the water, are very expert fishermen. I bought some gold
dust of them in exchange for some of my goods, which they seemed glad
to obtain. They all agreed in affirming that they had come from the
north-east, and had been established for nearly a century in their
present localities, whence they had driven out some people resembling
the Iberians and Ligurians; and they said that in the regions behind
them there were some other tribes of Celts, whom they called Gauls
and Cymri.

After leaving their "mas," as they termed their village, I returned
to the ships, and we resumed our northward course. Eight days'
moderate sailing brought us into a labyrinth of rocky shoals and
islands. On the mainland we found some more Celts, who told us that
the name of the country was Ar-Mor, that is to say, "the land of
the sea;" and relying on their statement that north of their own
country there was a large island both rich and fertile, I resolved to
prosecute my voyage in that direction.

Two days later we were overtaken by a tremendous tempest, and the
sea being at the same time overhung by a dense fog, which my people
called "the lungs of the ocean," we were tossed about by the foaming
waves, and seemed for several succeeding days to be wandering in the
gloomy realms of the dead. By the evening of the fifth day we had
lost all reckoning of our position, and were drifting helplessly at
the mercy of the wind and waves. Towards midnight, overcome with
fatigue, I was dozing at the foot of the mast, when I was aroused by
Himilco's stentorian shout, "Breakers ahead!"

In an instant I was upon my feet, and at the helmsman's side.

"Backwater!" I shouted, "and signal the other ships."

All hastened to light the torches and lamps; but it was too late--a
long cry of distress made us aware that the _Dagon_ had already
stranded, and as I tacked about to effect a retreat, I witnessed the
heart-breaking spectacle of the _Cabiros_ completely heeled over, and
lying in the very midst of the breakers.

The _Ashtoreth_, although she was hitherto uninjured, was environed
by reefs which were level with the surface of the water. The current
was so strong that all my efforts to get back to the channel by
which we had entered were unavailing, and after an hour's struggle
I still found myself near enough to hear the surf curling over the
peaks of the rocks. For nearly the twentieth time I gave the order
to tack, when a sudden and ominous crash revealed the appalling fact
that we had struck the shoal, and were aground; and all through that
pitch-black night we had to endure the torture of believing that all
our vessels were irretrievably lost.

The wind dropped with the first streak of dawn, and beyond the
breakers I could distinguish that the sea was calm, and that we
were not much more than half a stadium from the shore. Shipwrecked
though we might be, our lives were spared, and our situation was not
altogether so desperate as we had imagined. The _Cabiros_ was safe,
in spite of her disaster, and had been hauled up on shore; but the
_Dagon_, it was only too evident, was in a very critical position.
I ordered all my men to abandon the ships and make for land. Some
of them hung back, unwilling to leave me; Chamai being so reluctant
to go that he had to be sent ashore by main force, and Hamilcar,
Hasdrubal, Gisgo, and Himilco all pleading so earnestly to remain
with me that I was forced to consent. My own resolution, of course,
was to abide, while the planks held together, with the ship that had
carried us so far in safety.

As the day advanced the swell gradually abated, and the pale-blue
sky was broken by fleecy clouds; not far away we could see the green
shore, where our people were standing on the water's edge waving
signs of encouragement, and very soon Bichri and Dionysos managed to
clamber over the rocks and to come aboard our vessel.

At low tide I made a careful examination of the keels, and found that
not only was the keel of the _Ashtoreth_ very little injured, but
that her stern was wedged so tightly between the two rocks that her
position was secure; at the same time she had not been jammed in so
violently but that I hoped a high tide might float her again. With
the _Dagon_, however, the case was unfortunately very different; she
had been dashed so hopelessly against the jutting crags that she must
inevitably go to pieces, and I lost no time in beginning to unload
her.

Our people had discovered a stream of fresh water, and a neighbouring
wood afforded fuel, so that the spot was very favourable for a camp,
the whole arrangement of which I deputed to Hannibal, who immediately
enclosed the site with an intrenchment. Having completed the task of
unloading both ships, we took down the mast of the _Ashtoreth_, and
rescued from the _Dagon_ as much planking and as many fittings as we
could, as well as the best part of her copper sheathing. Lightened
by the removal of her cargo and rigging, the _Ashtoreth_, under the
influence of a stiffish breeze, was set afloat on the third day
amidst general acclamation, and so admirably was she managed by
Himilco, that she was soon brought to land, and laid high and dry
upon the shore.

  [Illustration: I DID WHAT I COULD TO CONSOLE HASDRUBAL.
  _To face page 247._]

I did what I could to console Hasdrubal for the loss of his ship, but
he wept tears of bitter sorrow as he saw his ill-fated _Dagon_ break
up before his eyes.

For some days we had seen no trace of any natives, and were in want
of provisions. I was preparing to send out two boats on a fishing
excursion, when we caught sight of a long coracle rounding the
point that sheltered our position. It was made of hides stretched
out upon a wooden frame, and was paddled by four men, half-naked.
On nearing us they hesitated, but we made signs to them of our
friendly intentions, and they came on and landed. Gisgo, recognising
them as Celts, both by their physiognomy and general aspect, began
to address them in their own language, and they answered him very
volubly, making many gesticulations all the time they were speaking.
So delighted did they profess themselves at meeting with people
who understood their tongue, that they insisted on kissing us; and
notwithstanding the smell of their long hair, which was reeking with
rancid grease, we were obliged to submit to their embraces.

Gisgo told us that although they spoke a language similar to that of
the southern and central Celts, they were really the Cymri, a kindred
tribe from the north, where they inhabited an island which they
called Prydhayn; they seemed restless and inquisitive, overwhelming
us with all manner of questions; they were tall and handsome, and
had pink and white complexions, eyes of azure blue, and hair of the
colour of ripe corn.

"Fine soldiers these fellows would make," said Hannibal; "I should
like to have a thousand of them to drill; I would soon be more than a
match for Bodmilcar."

To Bichri's remark that they seemed to have no bows, Gisgo replied
that he had seen them with bows occasionally, but that their
ordinary weapons were lances and hatchets, of which the stone tips
and blades were always sharp and often beautifully made.

I had the men questioned as to whether they had any previous
knowledge of the Phœnicians. They said that their kinsmen, the
Cymri of the north, had often spoken of strangers with dark skins
and black hair, who came in large ships and brought beautiful
merchandise, but that they themselves had never been thrown into
contact with them.

  [Illustration: JUDGE GEBAL.
  _To face page 248._]

I made them a number of presents, and much to Himilco's annoyance
(for he knew our supply was rapidly diminishing), I gave them some
wine. This exhilarated them very much for a time, although their
shouting and screaming ended in some bickerings amongst themselves;
to us, however, they were civil, and in spite of a little roughness,
we found their manners so kind, that it was impossible to be in any
way alarmed at them. When they went away they promised to return
in the evening, and bring their whole population and some goods in
return for our presents, but we saw nothing more of them until the
next morning, when they came followed by a whole retinue of men,
women, and children, but all of them quite empty-handed. Rushing
into the camp with great excitement, they overwhelmed us with their
embraces, and asked such countless questions that I was quite
bewildered; they insisted upon helping us to arrange our camp, but
introduced disorder wherever they went: loud in their praises of
what they saw, they were scrupulously honest, and did not attempt to
purloin the smallest article, but their inquisitiveness and their
meddling rendered them a perpetual nuisance. They tried Hannibal's
temper sorely, by handling his cuirass and helmet; the more he pushed
them off the more they laughed and enjoyed his annoyance. Chryseis
and Abigail had a hard matter to keep them from stripping them, in
their curiosity to examine their clothes. Judge Gebal did not fail to
provide them boundless amusement, and they roared with laughter as
Bichri and Dionysos made their mischievous little quadruped show
off his antics. Some of my people regretted that we had lost the
attraction of Jonah's trumpet, but there was a sufficient variety of
objects without that to give them abundance of diversion.

Amidst all this, however, I did not suffer myself to forget either
of the two grand objects of my voyage, the discovery of new lands
and the acquisition of rare commodities; and accordingly I took much
pains to examine the people about the situation and configuration,
both of their own islands and of the land we had just left.
They seemed a very intelligent race, and I found that they were
adventurous, frequently accomplishing long distances in their canoes
of hide. According to their information we were now on the largest
and most important of a group of twelve small islands,[42] but that
the great island Prydhayn was so large that it took them no less
than two months to circumnavigate it in their canoes, from which I
drew the inference that it must be as large as Tarshish. I requested
the men to bring me whatever food they had for sale, and they never
failed subsequently in keeping me well supplied with fish and
venison. Seeing at once that they were not an agricultural people, I
made no demands for corn and vegetables; but as some time afterwards
a small quantity of barley and some other edible grain arrived from
Prydhayn, I conjectured that some of the natives are beginning to
have some notion of husbandry.

  [42] The Scilly Islands, the Cassiterides, or Tin islands of the
  ancients.

I was much struck by the number of trinkets that the Cymri wore about
their persons; and observing that the metal of which many of them
were made was singularly white, I was curious to know what it was
and where it could be procured. To my surprise, and I may add to my
delight, I was informed that the island on which we were encamped
yielded it in great abundance, and I lost no time in investigating
the veins of ore. Accompanied by a few men, I set out upon a search
which was rewarded by the discovery that the entire island was one
vast mine of tin.

A scheme suggested itself to my mind which I resolved to carry out.
With the wood obtained either here or from the neighbouring large
island, I determined to build a new ship to replace the shattered
_Dagon_; and during the time that it was being constructed I purposed
gathering such a store of metal as would form a cargo far surpassing
anything of the kind which Phœnicia had witnessed before. Every
one around me most heartily approved of my project.

In return for a few trifling knick-knacks, and for some fragments
of the old copper sheathing of the _Dagon_, the natives willingly
acquiesced in our working their mines, and in letting us portions of
their territory for as long as we pleased to retain it; in fact, they
seemed to wish that we would settle permanently amongst them; they
volunteered their assistance in every way, and our camp was quite
over-stocked with the produce of their hunting and fishing, whilst
for the presents we made them they were profuse in their expressions
of pleasure and gratitude. In spite of their restlessness,
inquisitiveness, and love of talking, I have no hesitation in
pronouncing them the most favourable specimens of savages we had
hitherto seen.

Our arrangements were soon made. Hamilcar, with Bichri and twenty
archers, started on board the _Cabiros_ to explore the islands and
the coast of Prydhayn; Hasdrubal and Gisgo undertook the supervision
of the working of the mines; I remained with Himilco in the camp to
devote myself to the construction of our new ship; and, first of all,
in order to protect our men against the rainy and rigorous climate,
I had some substantial huts erected, as being more suitable than the
tents. For Hannibal and Chamai there was no definite employment,
and they spent most of their time in hunting and fishing, and in
joining in the sports of the islanders, whom they began to instruct
in military drill; and never had they found more apt or devoted
learners.

One day Hannibal and Chamai made their appearance among us with their
chins closely shorn, and no hair left on the face except a moustache
on the upper lip; they had fraternised so far with the savages as to
conform to their fashion.

"You cut fine figures," I said, laughing; "go and paint your faces,
and you will make capital Cymri."

Hannibal tried by very elaborate reasoning to justify his proceeding,
alleging that one ought to conform to national customs, and that as
the warriors here had their faces shorn, it was right that he as a
warrior amongst warriors should do the same.

"And Abigail," said Chamai, "thinks the change is very becoming to
me."

  [Illustration]

This argument being unanswerable, I had not another word to say.

Days, weeks and months glided on whilst we continued our active
though somewhat monotonous labours.

When Hamilcar returned from his cruise, he informed us that he had
not only made his way along the west coast of the great island, but
that, still farther to the west, he had discovered a somewhat smaller
island which he had completely circumnavigated; the natives, he said,
called it Erin, or "the green isle," from its remarkable verdure, and
I retained the name.

The winter came on, cold and drear. I have no power to describe the
consternation of those of our party who had never before seen frost
or snow; nothing but the sternest necessity could induce them ever
to leave their huts. The poor monkey suffered excessively. Bichri and
Dionysos alone seemed unaffected by the fall of temperature; they
were always ready to join the young Cymri in games of snowballing,
and would glide along the frozen surface of the water until their
faces glowed again with the exertion.

Under Bichri's tuition the little Phocian boy was becoming an adept
in the use both of the sling and of the bow; he seemed always
delighted to be bringing back from his hunting excursions fresh
trophies of his skill.

  [Illustration]

The most hipped of all the party was Himilco; not that the sturdy
pilot had more dread than the rest of mists and frosts, but because
he was much disconcerted at the rapid diminution in our stock of wine.

"Ah me!" he would sigh, as each goat-skin was drained; "another gone!
we shall have nothing but water with which to greet the advent of
spring. Ah, yes! it is time we were back again in Phœnicia; it
would do one good to see the vines on the hill-side of Berytos."

In his forebodings Himilco found a genuine sympathiser in Hannibal,
who (although I should not like to say that there was one amongst us
who would not be sorry for all our wine to be exhausted) was the only
one who openly shared the regret of our thirsty pilot.

At length the days grew longer and brighter, and the sea, which had
been almost always angry and restless, settled down into something
of a calm. Our new ship was finished. We launched it on our feast of
navigation, and not only did the Cymri come to assist, but in honour
of the occasion their priests and priestesses stripped themselves of
their clothes, and stained their bodies with blue and black paint. In
the evening we had a banquet of fish, venison, barley, and some of
the esculents of the country. We also finished the last drop of our
wine.

"Let us drink to our prosperous return," said Himilco.

"It is much too soon to speak about that," I rejoined; "our voyage as
yet is far from its end."

Every one looked at me in bewilderment; it had never occurred to them
that we could be bound elsewhere than for Sidon. Chamai asked whether
we were going to have a little further benefit of "the lungs of the
sea."

"You are perfectly at liberty to go home," I answered him. "This new
ship has been built, and I am quite prepared to let her return with
her cargo and as many of you as are no longer disposed to encounter
the cold and mists."

Chamai started to his feet, and said impulsively:

"Surely, captain, you did not suppose I was in earnest; you cannot
believe I was thinking of leaving you. I profess I do not like this
chill and dreary climate; but you may rely on this, wherever you go,
I shall go also."

I gave him my hand, assuring him that I had every confidence in his
fidelity, and then proceeded to explain the motive that induced me to
extend my voyage. I showed them a fragment of a transparent yellow
substance, which appeared to be comparable to some of the jewels of
our own land. The Celt who had given it me called it amber, and told
me that thirty days' sailing to the east would bring me to the shore
of a large continent where it was washed up in great abundance. Here
truly was a gift from Ashtoreth!

"And who knows," I continued, "whether the vast ocean which is united
to the Great Sea at the Straits of Gades may not again be united to
it in the east? Hitherto we have learnt nothing about the northern
shores of the Black Sea, and who can tell whether we shall not be
able to return to Sidon by way of Caria and Chittim?"

The familiar sound of these names rekindled the courage of my people,
who one and all avowed their intention of accompanying me eastwards
to the amber-coast.

"Yes," said Himilco, "although the wine is all gone."

Our new vessel (which was called the _Adonibal_, after the naval
suffect at Utica) was well freighted with our cargo of tin; like the
other ships, she took in a good supply of water and a quantity of dry
salted meat, as well as some grain and some of the sour native fruits.

After bidding farewell to the kindly-disposed Cymri, who had
contributed so much to our comfort during our long sojourn among
them, we put out to sea. The islanders accompanied us for some
distance in their canoes, but we soon outstripped them and left them
out of sight as we doubled the western extremity of Prydhayn.

Six days' rough sailing brought us to the eastern extremity of the
island; thence steering due east I came to a low flat coast, along
which I continued to advance very cautiously. This took us a week,
at the end of which we found ourselves in a wide estuary, on the far
side of which the coast resumed its northerly direction. In spite of
the violent wind and angry sea I persisted in following the coast for
yet five days more, seeking a passage towards the east, holding no
communication with the natives, although the glow of the fires inland
demonstrated that the country was inhabited. But at last the state
of our provisions and the continuance of rough weather compelled us
to abandon all hope of discovering a passage, even if one existed,
which probably after all was not the case, and we turned back,
meeting on our way four large Cymrian canoes coming back from the
continent, where their crews had been collecting amber. They assured
us we should find unlimited quantities on the eastern shore, and I
was preparing to proceed thitherwards when we were enveloped in a fog
so dense, that we were forced to lay to. We sent some boats out to
reconnoitre; these had some difficulty in getting to the shore, but
considerably more in getting back again to the ships, although I had
lighted a number of torches and lamps as beacons.

When the fog lifted a little we made our way very gradually until we
came to what looked like land. This was the amber country.

"Since there is nothing to be found at sea," I said, "let us
disembark."

But disembarkment was no easy matter. We had entered, without knowing
it, into what seemed to be the estuary of a river; but we were
literally imbedded in mire, and it was next to impossible to define
the boundary between the muddy water and the slimy shore; in the
gloomy atmosphere, earth, air, sky, seemed all to be blended into
one. After four or five hours' toil the _Ashtoreth_ was moored in
a small creek, and the other vessels were drawn up on what was the
nearest approach to dry land that the sodden sands afforded. It took
the rest of the day to dig a trench round the ships, and to make a
kind of encampment for ourselves; the fog again became extremely
dense, and the gloomy day yielded only to a gloomier night.

Bichri, who with twenty men had started on a foraging expedition,
returned shivering with cold; he brought some good faggots, which,
though they were damp, were very resinous, and burnt well. We lighted
as many fires as we could, and heedless of the volumes of smoke
which they emitted, we crouched closely around them as we cooked our
supper.

Chamai, who had wrapped himself tightly in his mantle, was the first
to break the depressing silence.

"Frightful, odious country!" he exclaimed, "can human creatures exist
in such a desolation as this? It is a place for monsters, not for
men!"

"It would just suit old Jonah, then," said Hannibal, with a sigh; "it
would cheer us up, too, if Hanno were here to entertain us with a
sprinkling of his wit."

"I do not think we need have much fear on their account," I said; "by
this time, I should hope, they are pacing the sunny streets of Sidon,
or enjoying the fragrant heights of Libanus."

"Yes; I daresay," Himilco assented; "and no doubt they have plenty of
good wine to drink; wine, rich as nectar, from Helbon, Byblos, and
Sarepta!"

"There now, enough of that," cried Hannibal; "cease your talking, or
you will be making me as much a wine-bibber as yourself."

"Call me a wine-bibber?" groaned Hannibal, holding up a goblet of
turbid water; "do you think this is the kind of stuff to get tipsy
on?"

The dull mist grew more and more chilling, and every one appeared
quite benumbed. Gebal was wrapped up in folds of woollen cloth, which
Bichri had provided for him, but was almost too paralysed to make a
grimace. We crouched down still closer to our fires, and obtained
what unrefreshing sleep we could.

The morning dawned, grey, and almost as gloomy as ever, without
one streak of sunlight. Red with anger was Chamai as he exclaimed
impatiently:

"I suppose the sun does not shine in these cursed regions!"

"Oh yes!" replied Gisgo, "he does come now and then, but he finds
everything so confoundedly ugly, that he is glad to get back again to
the Great Sea, and to his own dear Phœnicia."

Aminocles once again became subject to his nervous fancies; he was
sure that we must have entered Hades, and implored us to lose no time
in offering a sacrifice to propitiate the gods of the lower world.
Naturally enough we ridiculed his fears, but it cannot be denied that
the influence of the climate is most depressing, and conducing to
hypochondria.

I urged upon my companions the importance of our seeking
communication if possible with the natives, and as soon as we had
taken our morning meal we arranged to set out and explore the river.
Bichri and twenty men went forward as an advanced guard; I followed
with Hannibal and the main body of the fighting force; Hamilcar,
with about thirty more, brought up the rear. Hasdrubal and fifty men
were told off to keep guard over the ships and encampment during
our absence. Just as he was setting out Bichri remarked that he
wished he had Jonah with his trumpet to attract the attention of the
inhabitants, but I bade him not to indulge just then in unavailing
regrets.

After wading through such desperate quagmires that we could hardly
determine whether we were going by land or by water, we arrived at
some forests consisting of black firs, and some other trees that
were remarkable for their slimness and scanty grey foliage. The soil
everywhere was marshy, and often broken by large pools. Although we
did not come across a human being, we observed many vestiges which
showed that the place was by no means untrodden by the foot of man.
In four places we passed some ruined reed-huts, surrounded by piles
of ashes, numbers of shells, and some gnawed bones that bore the
marks of fire. But if men were wanting, animals abounded. At every
turn we noticed prints, large and small, of cloven hoofs, betokening
that we were traversing the haunt both of bullocks and deer, some of
the impressions being obviously those of very enormous creatures.
Bichri, who followed one of the tracks for some distance into the
wood, remarked that branches had been broken off the trees by the
animals' horns at so great a height from the ground, that he was
convinced it had been done by a beast several hands taller than
the largest horse. On our way back to the camp we saw two deer of
a smaller species; Gisgo recognised them as the same he had seen
in the country of the Celts, who call them renns or reindeer; they
took to flight immediately they caught sight of us, a circumstance
that convinced me that the inhabitants were accustomed to hunt them;
Bichri and Dionysos, however, not only contrived to get within
bowshot of them, but brought them both down, a great boon to us all,
as we were in much need of fresh meat. The renns were about the size
of a donkey; they had very slender legs, large hoofs, thick grey
hair, a white spot upon their breasts, and large branching horns.

  [Illustration: BICHRI AND DIONYSOS BROUGHT THEM BOTH DOWN.
  _To face page 258._]

Next day I sent Hamilcar with two boats to cruise along the coast,
and taking nearly all the rest of my people and thirty archers with
me, went myself to make a more thorough exploration of the country.
We were met by a herd of wild bulls. We attacked them as vigorously
as we could, but at the first touch of our arrows the brutes charged
down upon us so furiously that we were obliged to take refuge behind
the trees. One poor soldier who could not succeed in getting out of
the way was trampled under the animals' feet, and another was tossed
into the air so violently that his back was broken by the fall. Three
of the bullocks were killed, and after being cut in pieces, their
flesh was conveyed to the camp.

On our way back Bichri wounded a gigantic stag, which Chamai
succeeded in killing by stabbing it just below the shoulder-blade. It
was of a kind which Gisgo said was not often seen by the Celts, and
he called it an elenn or eland. Elenns are considerably larger than
horses, and as a general rule feed upon the lower branches of trees,
their necks being so short and rigid that unless they can graze upon
soft soil into which they can sink nearly to their knees, they cannot
get their heads down sufficiently low to reach the grass; they have
very formidable antlers, which do not stand high, but branch out very
wide on both sides; their strength is enormous, and, unlike the
rest of the deer tribe, they do not exhibit terror when attacked, but
boldly front the hunter. They are consequently animals which it is
by no means prudent to assail in close quarters, as we subsequently
learnt by our own experience.

Hamilcar returned, bringing a fair supply of amber that he had
collected along the coast.

We remained in our quarters here for more than a fortnight, spending
our time in gathering amber, and subsisting upon whatever renns,
elenns, or wild bulls we were able to kill.

The poor fellow who had been killed was buried where he had fallen.
Over his grave was placed a stone engraved with his name and an
invocation to the gods.



CHAPTER XVII.

JONO, THE GOD OF THE SUOMI.


After sixteen days' sojourn, finding the amber beginning to run
short, and the game getting very wild, I resolved to proceed, and
sailed eastwards for five days, until the lack of provisions, no
less than the desire of exploring, induced me to enter the mouth of
the great river we had previously seen. The aspect of the place was
scarcely more inviting than where we had landed before, but we hauled
up our ships, and made an encampment as near to them as we could.

On setting out next morning to explore, we had proceeded but a little
way before we came upon traces proving beyond a question that human
beings had been in the neighbourhood quite recently. We entered
nearly a dozen of the conical huts that we came to, in one of them
finding a fire still burning, and in several of the others a variety
of arms and implements, consisting of weapons made of polished stone,
hatchets, and some copper caldrons. Examining them with greater
minuteness, we ascertained that the huts had been abandoned in great
haste; not only were there fragments of partially-consumed meat and
fish, but one of the litters of reeds covered with moss was still
warm from being lately occupied. I felt convinced that the natives
must have evacuated their tenements in alarm at our approach, and
suspecting that they were still lurking about, I ordered some red
cloth, some beads, some bracelets and necklaces, and other things
which I thought might attract their interest, to be displayed in one
of the most spacious of the huts. I next made my people retire about
three hundred paces, and waited to see the result of my device.

Before long the savages returned, and seeing us stand quietly,
without any apparent wish to molest them, they allowed themselves
to be seen, and came nearer to us. I took Gisgo and advanced to
meet them; but when he addressed them in the Celtic tongue, I
found that they did not understand a word he said, but replied
in a language that neither of us had ever heard before. Pointing
first to a neighbouring marsh, they cried, "Suom, Suom," and then
pointing to their own breasts, they said, "Suomi, Suomi," from which
I conjectured that they called a marsh "suom," and that they were
themselves "people of the marshes." When they showed us their stone
weapons, they pointed to the north-east and said "Gothi;" and what
struck me as remarkable, they used the same word when they spoke of
their articles of Tibarenian bronze. I had never before heard of
a people of that name, but could not help wondering whether these
"Gothi" could by any possibility be Caucasians.

I had seen many savages in my time, but I had never seen savages so
frightfully ugly as these; their huge heads, flat faces, small eyes,
enormous mouths, sallow complexions, made up a physiognomy that
was simply hideous; their short, thin legs appeared scarcely able
to support their clumsy bodies. They made us understand by their
gestures that their friends the "Gothi" were taller either than
themselves or us.

Besides being ugly, their appearance was most sordid. None of the
ornaments so frequently worn by savage tribes adorned them, but their
bodies were scantily protected by fragments of skins, and their
weapons, for the most part, were clumsy bludgeons, stone lances, and
a kind of harpoon tipped with bone. One alone wore a necklace made
of shells and pieces of uncut amber. He appeared to be a sort of
chieftain, and as a token of his good-will he held out a wild bull's
horn full of some yellowish fluid; I was on the point of taking the
horn into my hand, when Himilco, ever ready to guzzle, raised it to
his lips; but no sooner had he tasted the contents than he dashed
it to the ground, and began spitting and spluttering with every
expression of disgust.

  [Illustration: HE DASHED IT TO THE GROUND.
  _To face page 262._]

"Ugh! the vile stuff!" he said, as soon as he could speak; "it's
nothing in the world but beastly fish-oil! Ugh!"

We all roared with laughter; but the chief, highly offended at
the way in which we received his proferred attention, assumed a
threatening attitude, and in spite of my attempts to pacify him,
withdrew with his followers to the woods.

Poor Himilco looked very penitent when he saw the mischief he had
done.

"What a besotted idiot I am!" he exclaimed; "I declare I deserve
nothing less than to be swung up to the nearest oak. But who was to
know that what looked so tempting was nothing but stinking oil?"

"Well, well," I said; "never mind, you will have better luck another
time. I don't fear but that we shall soon have another opportunity of
improving our acquaintance with these barbarians."

As we proceeded up the river we met occasional groups of the people,
who were always full of gesticulations; they snatched greedily at any
gifts we offered them, but took themselves off directly we attempted
to open any negotiations.

A clearance in the wood made us suspect we were approaching a larger
settlement, and we soon came to a large sheet of water, in the middle
of which was an island crowded with conical huts, that in the centre
being much higher than the rest. The island had been connected with
the land by a narrow causeway, which the natives made us understand
we were not to cross; but they were not altogether indisposed to
transact business with us, and parted with some amber at a very
low rate. But although they attached so little value to their amber,
it was far otherwise with their weapons; we could not induce them
to part with one of their clumsy lances nor one of their smallest
bone hooks for any article that we could offer them. They showed us
various implements of polished stone, and appeared to be desirous of
getting more like them, exhibiting some surprise that we had none to
exchange away. Bronze they had seen before, and they were acquainted
with the use of bows and arrows; they pointed to the birds upon the
trees, as an indication that they wanted Bichri to shoot some; a
desire on their part which he was more than ready to gratify.

  [Illustration]

Not thinking it prudent to remain all night in our present position,
I gave orders for making our way back to the ships, yielding,
however, to the wish expressed by several of the Suomi to accompany
us; but so dark was the night, and so bad were the roads, that we
utterly lost our way amidst the quagmires. We wandered about till
near daybreak, when six of us--Hannibal, Chamai, Himilco, Bichri,
one of the sailors, and myself--found ourselves up to our waists
in a swamp. After extricating ourselves with much difficulty, we
discovered that the rest of our party was out of sight, and although
we shouted with all the strength of our lungs, we failed in making
ourselves heard. Terrible as our situation was, there was a still
greater dilemma in store. While we were anxiously endeavouring to
find some waymarks to guide us, we were all at once surrounded by
nearly two hundred of the savages, all stoutly armed. Resistance
would have been useless even if it had been possible. The men had
started, as if called by an incantation, from the tufted brushwood
around, and before we could lay our hands upon our swords, they had
felled us to the ground and pinioned our arms, yelling and dancing
all the time. They did not allow us time to regain our feet, but
pounced down upon us. Two men seized me by the arms, two by the
feet, and a fifth, after taking away my sword, my cap, and my
shoulder-belt, came dancing along behind, every now and then leaning
close over me to peer into my face. They had all evidently tricked
themselves out for their adventure; their hair was dyed red, and
their faces were tattooed blue and black with war-paints.

  [Illustration]

After about an hour we were made to cross the causeway from which
we had been repelled the day before, and alternately pushed and
pulled, we were thrust into one of the huts. Hideous women and still
more hideous children followed us in groups until we reached our
destination, where a matting was fastened closely over the doorway,
and we were left upon the cold damp ground in complete darkness,
pillaged, bruised, and bound. There was the sound of retreating
footsteps, and soon the noisy yells lapsed into perfect silence.

If we had been pinioned with rope we might perhaps have contrived to
extricate ourselves, but we had been tied with a tough twist made of
bark, which lacerated our wrists every time we made an attempt to
release them. Chamai groaned aloud with agony.

"Who's groaning?" asked Hannibal, his voice being at once recognised
in the darkness.

"I cannot slip these cursed cords," said Chamai.

"No," said Himilco, "you might as well try to break a ship's cable;"
and remembering that he had not heard either me or Bichri speak, he
asked whether we were there.

Bichri replied:

"Here we are, both of us; and I only wish old Judge Gebal was with
us; he would have got us out of this dilemma."

"What do you mean?" I said. "I don't understand what good the monkey
could do. Anyhow, we must now help ourselves; and that doesn't seem a
very easy business."

"If Hamilcar and Hasdrubal do not come to our rescue, I shall think
them the vilest cowards on the face of the earth," said Hannibal.

"Ah, you must not judge too hastily," I answered; "I do not doubt
but that they will do all in their power, but it is only too likely
they have been attacked, and are in the same plight as ourselves.
Besides, I hardly see how they are to get across that causeway."

"No difficulty there," said the general, warming into enthusiasm;
"archers, right and left; fighting men in a column, four abreast;
sound your trumpets and----"

He stopped abruptly; the clang of a trumpet had caught his ears.

"They come! they come!" cried Chamai, all excitement; "The Lord of
hosts be with them!"

Another blast.

Hannibal continued to expatiate very scientifically about columns of
four and columns of eight, and bewailed his fate that he was not in
command; Bichri, less calm, fancied himself at the head of his troop.

The notes of the trumpet seemed more and more distinct.

"I cannot make out that trumpet," said Himilco; "it does not sound
like one of ours."

"Whose else should it be?" replied Hannibal, testily. "Savages do not
blow trumpets."

The pilot now insisted that the sound did not come across the water
at all, but from the very centre of the huts.

"And yet," he said, "if it means an attack, I wonder we do not hear
the war-cry."

We were all bewildered, and no less so when we heard three loud
shouts rend the air, and the trumpet notes which had been going on at
intervals for a quarter of an hour come to an end with a prolonged
and thrilling flourish.

"I never knew but one pair of lungs that could make a clarion ring
out like that," said Himilco.

The name of Jonah rose simultaneously to the lips of us all, and
Bichri said he should like to see Gebal come in and confirm our
impression.

"Nonsense," I said, "why indulge these foolish fancies? we must be
practical. If we are rescued by our troops, well and good; otherwise
we shall either have to buy ourselves off by a ransom or invent some
ruse to escape."

The sailor who was with us, speaking now for the first time,
reminded us that there were several canoes moored to the causeway,
and Himilco recollected having noticed them. This set us speculating
whether we could devise any means of getting at the canoes, and using
them to facilitate our escape. Hannibal declared that we should still
be in the clutches of the savages, even if we got to land; but Bichri
and Chamai maintained that once free they could take good care of
themselves.

I interrupted them to inquire whether any one amongst them had a
knife, but it proved, as might have been expected, that the savages
had not left us anything of the sort.

"Then roll yourself over here, Bichri," I said, "and see whether you
cannot gnaw this twisted stuff off my hands."

"I have pretty good teeth," replied the youth, "and I will try."

Silence fell upon us all as we listened to him shuffling along the
ground and panting with his exertions. I cannot tell how long it was
before I felt his warm breath upon my hands, but it seemed to me at
least half an hour. He nibbled indefatigably at the cord, giving
my flesh an occasional grip in the process, until the material was
reduced to the substance of twine, when by a slight effort of my own
I burst it asunder, and I was free. An exclamation of delight broke
from my lips, and I was about to liberate the others, when Himilco,
who was lying across the doorway, said:

"Hush! some one comes!"

  [Illustration: SEVERAL OF THE SAVAGES ENTERED THE HUT.
  _To face page 267._]

In an instant I twisted the broken cord around my wrists, but only
just before a party of several of the savages entered the hut. One
of them having fastened back the covering at the door, took a long
pole and pushed up a kind of trap that had closed the aperture at the
top that served the purpose of a chimney, and the gleams of light
afforded by these two openings allowed us to inspect our place of
confinement.

The hut was perfectly empty, without an article of furniture; the
walls were grimed with soot and smoke; upon the clay floor three rude
stones formed a kind of fire-place which was filled with ashes and
the refuse of some victuals. A cold drizzling rain penetrated the
hole in the roof, and pattered down upon the ground below.

The men that had entered were elaborately covered with their
war-paint. One of them had the head and skin of a bear drawn over
his face like a mask, in the way that I have seen done by the
Assyrians; another wore upon his shoulders the head and horns of an
elk. A third, who carried a stick in his hand, ushered the other two
into the middle of the hut, where they began dancing and making the
strangest of contortions, but all without uttering a word. After
this had gone on for some time, one of the two, who wore a necklace
made of the teeth of wild animals, and who apparently was the chief,
walked up to me, and stood gazing in my face. I noticed that he had
my own sword in his hand. He began a long harangue of which I could
not understand a word, but observed that he repeatedly said "Jono,"
and as often as he did so, all the others gave a loud shout. When his
oration came to an end, the savage sprinkled us with some stinking
liquor, which he poured from a horn; and having in chorus muttered
some kind of refrain that ended in "Jono," they all quitted the hut,
fastening the doorway securely behind them.

"No chance of making terms with such brutes as these," I indignantly
exclaimed, when we were again alone.

"Patience!" said Hannibal; "only let me get my hands at liberty, and
I'll guarantee to floor half-a-dozen of them, unarmed as I am."

Himilco avowed that he was burning for a chance to avenge himself
for the filthy fish-oil; and Chamai protested that though the brutes
should be as countless as the palms of Jericho or the fleas at
Shechem, he would outwit them yet, and find his way back to Abigail.

While they had been talking in this strain, I had disengaged my
hands, and very soon succeeded in freeing Bichri, who assisted me in
liberating all the rest. Once again upon their feet, they stretched
their stiff and weary limbs, and Hannibal, Chamai, and Himilco each
armed themselves with one of the stones that formed the fire-place.

"Here's something that may smash a skull or two," said Chamai, as he
poised his stone aloft.

"Not altogether a military-looking weapon," was Hannibal's remark,
whilst he examined the cumbersome missile; "but our forefathers have
done good execution with worse."

Picking up a few fragments of stone, Bichri was beginning to lament
that he had not a sling, when Himilco in a moment produced the rope
which he invariably wore, and tore off a piece of the goat-skin that
had carried his wine, and with these materials the young archer was
not long in putting together a sling which he hoped might do him good
service.

Night closed in. It was still raining; the wind blew furiously.
Everything seemed to favour our escape.

"Now's your time, my men!" I said. "Make your prayer to your gods,
and we will be off at once."

It was agreed that if we should find more than one sentinel, we
should fight our way through and make for the canoes, and that if we
failed in that attempt, we should take to the water, and swim to the
far end of the causeway. Our watch-word should be three raven-croaks.

"Now, invoke your gods," I repeated.

There was silence in the hut, and I noticed that Himilco raised his
single eye to the aperture in the roof, as though looking for the
Cabiri, but there was nothing to be seen except the pitchy blackness
of the night.

I was about to lead the way, when, on peering out, I not only heard
the sound of footsteps, but saw the glimmer of a torch. My heart beat
fast, and I made my companions arrange themselves on either side of
the doorway, so as to guard the entrance. It seemed to me that there
were not more than one or two approaching. Chamai pressed his back
against the wall, ready to brain the first savage that came within
reach; but whoever they were that were coming, it was evident that
they were not hurrying themselves: they paused in quiet conversation
outside, and at intervals we could again catch the mysterious word
"Jono."

"I wonder whether they are going to give us any more of their beastly
sprinkling," said Himilco.

"I have something here," muttered Hannibal, "that may give them a
sprinkling they don't expect."

Breaking the silence of the night, we now heard the ringing notes
of the trumpet, followed by yells and vociferations. The clamour
was obviously a signal, for at the same moment the covering at the
door was raised, and a man carrying a torch entered the hut, and
closed the entrance behind him. But scarcely had he advanced a step,
when four strong arms arrested him. Chamai's hand was across the
intruder's mouth, effectually stopping any outcry he might raise; I
took possession of his torch; and Himilco, having lifted the stone
above his head, was about to hurl it on his victim, when he let it
fall to the ground, and ejaculated:

"Merciful Cabiri!"

I raised the torch to the visitor's face, and in a moment had thrown
myself upon his neck. It was Hanno.

The sailor picked up the torch that I had dropped in my excitement,
and enabled Hanno in his turn to recognise us.

We were speechless.

For some moments we could do nothing but grasp each other's hands and
embrace our long-lost friend.

Hanno himself was the first to speak.

"Don't strangle me quite. What a joyful surprise is this!"

"Out with a joke, Hanno!" cried Hannibal, "or I shall never believe
it's you!"

Hanno did not smile, but inquired anxiously about Chryseis. Hearing
from me that she was safe and well, his eyes filled with tears, and
he murmured:

"Ashtoreth be praised!"

A violent thumping outside brought us back to a sense of our real
position, and when the thumping was renewed Hanno went to the door,
and having addressed some one with a few guttural words, which were
received with a half-approving grunt, he returned to us.

"And now," he said, his voice assuming its old tone of vivacity,
"perhaps you would like to know what brings me here. I am come to
conduct you to the grand temple of the Suomi; and a fine structure
you will see it is, built of reeds and fish-bones in tip-top style.
You are there to be sacrificed to the great god Jono."

"So then Jono is a god, is he?" I said; "but if you are his high
priest I presume we need not give ourselves much alarm."

Himilco said that if this Jono were the god of fish-oil he most
heartily wished that he might be sent some hundred fathoms down below
the sea.

"Gently, gently, good pilot!" said Hanno, with mock solemnity; "you
must not speak disparagingly of the great divinity. I can, however,
tell you one thing. Jono has no more liking for fish-oil than you
have yourself. No one loves a draught of good wine better. And I may
as well tell you at once who he is. He is none other than our friend
Jonah of Eltekeh! our incomparable trumpeter, Jonah!"

"Ah! didn't I say," cried Himilco, "that no one but Jonah could bring
out such a flourish as that?"

Hanno went on to tell us that the people were already assembled in
the temple awaiting the arrival of ourselves, their destined victims,
and in reply to Chamai, who suggested that we should rise up and
attack them bodily, informed us that there were more than three
thousand of them, so that any resistance on our part would not only
be useless, but must result in our immediate destruction.

"No;" he continued; "you have no alternative but to trust yourselves
implicitly to the influence of the mighty Jono and of his high priest
Hono, your humble servant. My first proceeding will be to acquaint
the assembly that I have released you from your bonds, and that by
the agency of magic I have rendered you quite mild and submissive."

"Allow me to interrupt you for a moment," I said; "but I am intensely
anxious to learn whether you know anything of our comrades?"

"They are now on their way hither," replied Hanno; "and the very
object with which the Suomi propose to sacrifice you is to propitiate
their god, so that he may vouchsafe them the victory."

Hannibal burst out enthusiastically:

"I knew our fellows would come to our defence; brave souls they are!
we'll conquer yet!"

"Not so fast," was the reply; "you must be content to leave
everything to me. I will send a message to Hamilcar and Hasdrubal.
See now; I have my writing materials ready; I made myself a calamus
from the marsh-reeds; my ink is some of the Suomi war-paint; and for
papyrus I have a piece of deer-skin."

Hanno wrote and talked at once; and as soon as he had finished he
turned to us:

"Now then, follow me to the temple. You need be under no apprehension
yet. I will take care that the god shall declare that he does not
require your lives at present. This will give some hours' respite.
In the interval I shall be able, I trust, to send my letter to our
friends. Let us go: but one more word of caution; you must be careful
above all things not to laugh at any of our proceedings."

"You will have to conjure pretty cleverly," I said, "if you are going
to conjure us out of this dilemma."

"Well, you know," he said with a smile, "I have had some education
in this line. I have learnt a bit of the craft of a priest and a
magician; though I acknowledge I did not anticipate that I should
have to practise under the present circumstances."

Taking his torch, he led the way; and with downcast eyes, and much
to the amazement of some savages who were waiting outside, we filed
demurely after him.

The island which we proceeded to cross was considerably larger than
it had at first sight appeared. The huts were arranged in irregular
clusters, each group surrounded by its own palisade. The road was
very dark, and we had to ford a number of pools of water, while
the rain splashed heavily down upon our bare heads. After winding
through the labyrinth of huts, we reached an open place in the heart
of the village, lighted with torches, and thronged with a crowd of
Suomi, armed and coloured with their paint. The central hut into
which we were conducted was much larger than the others, and served
the purpose of a temple; it was circular, and had the appearance
of a gigantic beehive. The interior was lighted with torches, and
with pans of oil, furnished with flaming wicks, which had been made
of bark; it was crowded with the savages, and what with the fumes
of the torches, the vile odour of the burning oil, and the stench
of the grease with which the savages had smeared their bodies, the
atmosphere of the place was positively sickening.

On first entering the assembly the mist was so thick, and the
confusion from the noise of the savages, who were raving like
maniacs, was so great, that I could not distinguish the venerated
deity; but as I gradually got accustomed to the smoky glare and the
boisterous hubbub, I made out that there was a kind of dais or altar
piled up with every conceivable variety of natural products,--skins
of beasts, intestines of fishes, bladders of sea-calves, feathers of
birds--mounted upon which, daubed with blue and crimson, and adorned
with bulls' horns and sea-calves tusks, was the god himself. Not a
feature could I distinguish; one only object seemed familiar; in
one of his crimson hands the god held the very trumpet which I had
purchased for twelve silver shekels of Khelesh-baal the merchant of
Tyre.

The savages did more than make room for us to pass; they thrust
us forward till we were close in front of the altar-shrine. Hanno
placed himself at the side of the god, who, at a given signal, raised
his trumpet to his mouth and blew a deafening blast. A few words
from Hanno made the entire assembly, except ourselves, prostrate
themselves with their faces to the very ground, and thus left
standing conspicuously above the rest, the god could not fail to
recognise us.

No words of mine can describe Jonah's amazement. Eyes, nose, and
mouth, were all distended until the very paint broke in scales upon
his face. He was dumbfounded for the time, and only after a long
stare of astonishment, exclaimed:

"Baal Chamaim! lord of the heavens!"

A sensation of terror thrilled through the prostrate worshippers. The
mighty Jono had spoken!

"Hold your tongue, you fool!" exclaimed Hannibal, with sonorous
solemnity, but in plain Phœnician. The god started, and said no
more.

The crowd of worshippers shivered with awe.

All at once a piercing shriek echoed through the temple. A
black-haired object, ill-defined, had made a tremendous bound, and
perching upon the head of the divinity himself, began tearing his
hair, scratching his face, and hugging and caressing him with wild
delight. The savages started to their feet in consternation, and some
of them fled at once; but when they saw their god drop his trumpet
and take the apparition in his arms, and heard him say to it, "Gebal,
Gebal! dear little man! and have you found out your poor old Jonah?"
their terror knew no bounds, and they rushed frantically out, leaving
us absolutely by ourselves.

Chamai on one side gave the god a good dig in his ribs, while Hanno
on the other kicked him pretty sharply on the leg, but neither
of these attentions seemed to disconcert him in the least; he came
forward and said:

"Delighted to see you all, my friends; an unexpected pleasure: you
know I am a god now; what shall I order for you to eat?"

  [Illustration: THE GOD JONO.
  _To face page 275._]

"Back to your seat, jackanapes!" cried Hanno, severely, "and don't
speak another word until I give you leave."

For a moment Jonah's dignity seemed somewhat wounded, and he
hesitated about complying; but upon my promising him a good skin of
wine, he returned to his shrine without further murmuring. Hanno
re-arranged the trumpery jewellery with which the god was bedecked,
and Bichri whistled the monkey back to his own shoulder.

"Here's a messenger," said Hanno, "that I think will answer my
purpose very well."

And turning to the creature, who was making the oddest grimaces, he
said:

"Now, Gebal, take this to Hamilcar, quick; and you shall have some
cake."

The monkey appeared perfectly to comprehend what was wanted, snatched
the piece of skin that was held out to it, gnashed its teeth, and
on three legs hopped rapidly out of the temple. A buzz of mingled
surprise and fright made us aware that the animal had passed through
the crowd outside.

"So far, so good," said Hanno; "now for the next scene. You must all
prostrate yourselves to the ground before Jonah. I am going to recall
the Suomi."

Jonah was taken aback, and modestly remonstrated against this
humiliation on our part; but Chamai, by way of enforcing obedience
to Hanno's injunction of silence, gave him a sharp blow across his
mouth, and then came and took up with the rest of us his posture of
outward reverence and awe.

Standing at the doorway in the character of Hono the priest, Hanno
encouraged the people to re-enter their temple. Gradually the more
courageous were induced to return, and ultimately about fifty, still
tremulous with their recent alarm, were assembled in front of the
shrine. Jono once again made the building ring with a tremendous
blast, and Hanno delivered a brief oration, which seemed to have a
soothing effect. The Suomi quietly retired, and we could hear them
placing sentinels outside to prevent any one from entering.

Finding that we were not likely to be disturbed again, Hanno
extinguished all the lights except two torches, and led us into the
darkest corner of the temple, whither Jonah, after flinging off all
his gew-gaws, was only too delighted to follow us.



CHAPTER XVIII.

JONAH WAXES AMBITIOUS.


"Where's my wine?" was Jonah's first inquiry.

"Coming in good time," I answered; "but you must have patience to
wait, it may be a few months."

The giant looked aghast and stupified, until he was recalled to
himself by a friendly poke from Chamai.

"Glad to see you amongst us again, old tippler!"

"And I am glad too," he said; "but what am I to do next?"

"Whatever else you do, you must obey Hanno," I said; "he is trying to
accomplish our escape to our ships."

What I informed him seemed to have the effect of plunging him into
a deep reverie; he knitted his forehead till a layer of red paint
peeled off, and at last roused himself to ask if he should have to
accompany us.

"Certainly," I replied; "unless you prefer remaining with these
barbarians."

"And with their revolting fish-oil," put in Himilco.

"But here I am a god," said the trumpeter, slowly, as if pondering
the matter. "On board ship, Chamai knocks me about, and Hannibal
kicks me, and every one calls me a lubber: but here it is all
different; instead of being thumped, I may thump whom I please; I
gave the god of the savages in the north such a thrashing that he
died an hour afterwards. At home too, in Eltekeh, the little children
used to call me a blockhead, and the men used to make me carry
olive-baskets on my head and sacks of corn on my back, and scant
measure of wine did I ever get; but here, I blow my trumpet, and in
there comes no end of good things, meat and venison and fish, more
than I can eat. It's no bad thing to be a god."

We all stared in amazement. He had never been known to make such
a long speech before, far less to arrive so logically at any
conclusion; at any rate, his deification had expanded his ideas, and
inspired him with a new ambition.

"So then," I said, "you do not mean to go back with us."

He hesitated; but soon said that where Hanno went he should go too.

Himilco began to jeer him:

"O! you mean that you like Suomi fish-oil better than Helbon wine?
and you prefer the chilly fogs of the marshes to the olive-yards of
Dan? and you like slices of reindeer more than wheat and honey cakes?"

A tear stood trembling in the giant's eye.

"I think," he said, "I would rather go with you."

"And surely," added Hanno, "you would wish to go back to Eltekeh; you
must want to tell them all about the leviathans, and the behemoths,
and Nergal's kitchen, and how you have been a god yourself."

"They wouldn't believe me!"

"And think," said Bichri, "we shall have old Gebal with us to show
the men of Dan!"

This last appeal was too much for Jonah, and fairly bursting out into
tears, he sobbed out:

"Yes, I must go; I must go with you and Gebal."

Hannibal laughed outright at what he called Jonah's calf's tears, but
declared that he was really very pleased to have his trumpeter back
again, and pulling out two silver shekels from his purse, which he
had contrived to retain, he said:

"There, man, take these; they will pay somebody to give you a good
wash when you get on board."

Hanno now proceeded to explain his scheme. The written message he
had sent to Hamilcar was to the effect that he should parley with the
Suomi until he heard the sound of Jonah's trumpet, and should then
answer the signal by his own trumpet.

"I shall pretend to the savages," he continued, "that their god has
ordered them to lead out their victims for sacrifice, and if by this
stratagem we can once get over the causeway and within reach of our
own people, everything is easy."

Approving of his plan, I merely observed that there might be some
difficulty in knowing when our comrades were holding their parley;
but Hanno at once assured me that the savages would not do anything
without consulting him as their priest, so that he should be fully
informed of everything that transpired.

We had now been twenty-four hours without food, and were suffering
from fatigue and hunger. Hannibal ventured to ask whether some
provisions were not to be had, and in an instant Hanno went to the
door and uttered a few syllables that sounded something like the
croaking of an old crow.

"I have told them," he said, "that Jono wants something to eat. They
know what his appetite is; I daresay they will bring enough for you
all."

Very shortly there was a knocking at the entrance of the temple;
some savages had brought platters of boiled fish and roast venison,
and several large horns full of drink, the whole of which Hanno took
from their hands at the door and passed on to us. Half-famished as
we were, we made short work with the dishes, the god appropriating
as his own modest share a fish half as large as a tunny, and a
reindeer-steak. Hanno joined us, and asked innumerable questions all
the time we were eating. Both he and Jonah drank freely from the
horns, which had been placed with their small ends on the ground;
but Himilco and Hannibal could not conceal their disgust at seeing
them swallow what they supposed to be rancid oil. Hanno, however,
soon explained that the contents of the horns was a liquid made of
fermented barley and some vegetable juice, and that it was the common
beverage, not only of the Suomi and Cymri, but of the Celts of the
west, the Gothi of the east, and the Germani of the south.

"I should not think of saying that it is in any way equal to the
juice of the grape," he said; "but it is really not unpalatable; you
may safely taste it."

Hannibal looked doubtful. Himilco said that he had heard Gisgo speak
of some preparation of the kind before, and that he was not sure he
had not himself tasted it at the mouth of the Rhone; he raised one of
the horns cautiously to his lips, sipped, and said nothing.

We all in turn followed his example. Bichri pronounced it very acid;
Chamai declared it was detestably bitter; the sailor and I both
recognised it as very like what we had tasted elsewhere.

"Not good for much!" said Hannibal, after he had taken a good
draught; "is it intoxicating?"

"Most assuredly it is," replied Hanno.

"The most villainous stuff I ever tasted," said Himilco, the last to
pass an opinion. "However, I think I will have a little more."

And he drained another horn.

"Disgusting!" he sputtered out; but he seemed so thoroughly to have
reconciled himself to the flavour of what he abused, that I was only
fearful that he would take more than was good for him.

By the time we had finished our refreshment, day was beginning to
dawn, and Hanno was summoned outside; he returned almost immediately,
ordered Jonah to sound his trumpet, and bade us all be prepared to
start.

Jonah went to the doorway and delivered a ringing blast.

Himilco hastily emptied every one of the horns, protesting all the
while that it was odious stuff, sickening to the palate, and almost
as vile a drink as plain water.

In answer to Jonah's signal we soon heard the reverberation of our
Phœnician trumpets, and without loss of time, Jonah and Hanno at
our head, we marched out of the temple. The crowd outside, regarding
us with a superstitious reverence, allowed us to pass freely through
them, and to proceed onwards without hindrance, so that in the course
of half-an-hour we were in the midst of our friends, Hanno clasping
Chryseis in his arms, Jonah hugging Judge Gebal, and Chamai so
engaged with Abigail, that he did not notice how Hannibal, Himilco,
and Bichri had been mercilessly thrashing a group of the nearest
savages.

  [Illustration]

Our reception by our party had the immediate effect of opening the
eyes of the barbarians to the terrestrial nature of their supposed
god; and they no sooner became aware how we had escaped their
clutches than they began to assail us with showers of stones and
lances, so that our retreat to the ships was a matter of considerable
peril. No one, however, was seriously injured; there were many slight
contusions, and Jonah's nose was ignominiously bruised by a stone
hurled at him by one of his late worshippers.

Once safely on board, we made no delay in turning our backs upon
this inhospitable shore, and steering westwards, made towards the
island of Prydhayn.

With a calm sea and a favourable wind, our progress was easy; and
anxious to learn all that had befallen Hanno and Jonah since we had
lost them, we assembled on the stern of the _Ashtoreth_ expressly
to hear their story. Jonah, who had been well washed, insisted upon
being dressed in Phœnician costume, and took his seat, with the
monkey upon his shoulder, by the side of the scribe, who proceeded to
recount their adventures.

"It is now, you know, more than a year since the day when we were
caught in the ambush of the men of Tarshish. When we were first
captured our lives were in the greatest jeopardy, for according to
what we were told by a Phœnician I met, we were at once to be
handed over to Bodmilcar, who was close at hand. Negotiations to this
effect were going on, when it transpired that one of the Iberian
chiefs had been so fascinated by Jonah's trumpet that we were to be
retained, and not given over to the Tyrian, who was reported to be
wounded. During this respite I contrived, by means of a stick and
some blood from a wound of my own, to write a message for you on
my sandal-strap; I had no doubt that the instinct of Gebal would
take him back to Bichri, and accordingly I resolved to make him my
messenger."

"Yes; and your message came that night," I said.

"I conjectured so," he continued, "by the monkey not returning. We
were soon sent off towards the north, under the guardianship of a
troop of Iberians, who did not by any means treat us badly, and after
a toilsome journey came to a region where the mountains were so high
that they were all covered with snow; they separated the land of
Tarshish from the land of the Celts, and were called the Pyrenees.
Here we were handed over to the chief of the Guipuzcoa, for whom we
were destined. These Guipuzcoa are sometimes known as Bascons; they
are a warlike people, perpetually engaged in hostilities with the
Aitzcoa, or "men of the rocks," on the north-west, and with other
Iberians on the south. We remained for more than two months before
any opportunity of escape occurred; but at last, during one of the
forays, we were left behind in the village, which was built upon
piles at the mouth of a small river. We got possession of a canoe,
and having filled it as far as we could with provisions, we ventured
out to sea, and contrived to reach the shores of the Celts, from
whom, in answer to many inquiries, I ascertained that some ships
had recently passed along their coast, and, from various articles
that they showed me, I had little doubt they were the _Ashtoreth_,
the _Dagon_, and the _Cabiros_. Making out from the Celts that you
had gone northwards, we left our canoe, and took passage in one of
their ships that was on the point of sailing for Ar-Mor; but upon
our arrival we found the people engaged in war with the Cymri of the
Island of Prydhayn, so that we could not get transported there. For
two months I sojourned in various parts of the islands of Ar-Mor, and
picked up some knowledge of Celtic; but all the time I was trying to
devise some plan of following you in the direction I felt sure you
had taken. At length it chanced that I found a tribe of Cymri who
were not at war with the people of Prydhayn, and embarked in one of
their boats; but a tremendous storm arose, and we were driven far
away to the east."

  [Illustration]

"Talk of storms," said Jonah, putting in his word; "was not that a
storm? I saw leviathans spouting water from their noses as high as
your mast, and we were tossed about the waters like a log. For three
days we had nothing to eat or to drink."

"Jonah is right," continued Hanno; "the tempest was really frightful,
and we were dashed upon the muddy swamps of the coast. The Cymri
drowned themselves in sheer desperation, and we, more dead than
alive, existed for more than a week upon roots and wild fruit from
the wood."

"And what did you find to drink?" asked Himilco.

"Nothing but muddy water."

The good pilot's sympathy was deeply moved, and he said:

"Sorry drink that, as I know by experience."

After this interruption, Hanno went on:

  [Illustration: BLOWING HIS TRUMPET.
  _To face page 284._]

"Jonah persisted in blowing his trumpet perpetually, resolved if
possible to attract attention, and at length succeeded in making
himself heard by a troop of Suomi who were migrating eastwards in
consequence of the aggressions of the Cymri and the Germani, who were
appropriating territory after territory to themselves. Not only did
Jonah's enormous trumpet excite the wonder of the Suomi, but I could
observe at once that his huge and imposing stature, and his abundant
growth of shaggy hair impressed this diminutive, smooth-faced
people with superstitious awe, a sentiment which I resolved to
encourage, with the object of turning it to our own advantage. We
accompanied them in their migration to their new settlement, where
we witnessed the erection of the village in which you found us, and
my representations prevailed so completely that they recognised
Jonah--Jono, as they called him--as their presiding deity, regarding
me as his high priest. For some time, then, you see we have been in
the lap of luxury; but nothing has ever led me for a moment to forget
you or your ships, or to cease to long for the Great Sea and our
noble Sidon."

"And Sidon ere long you shall see!" said I, when he had finished his
narrative; "we are now on our way back; it is impossible to penetrate
farther, and we are homeward bound."

"Sidon for ever! and long live the King!" shouted Chamai; "we shall
see the sun again."

"And get some wine!" cried Himilco, tossing his cap in the air.

"And some new clothes!" chimed in Hannibal; "beggars in rags are our
soldiers now."

In the midst of the general hilarity Jonah sat silent and full of
thought.

"What ails you, trumpeter?" I asked; "cannot you quite make up your
mind to go back?"

"It is no good my going back," he half blubbered out; "they will
never believe me; they will only laugh when I tell them I have been
to Nergal's kitchen and seen behemoths by dozens; and if I were to
say I have been worshipped for a god, and had dinners brought me
every day, big enough for a month, they will declare I'm stark mad."

"Never mind, old fellow," said Chamai; "we'll back you up; we will
testify to the truth of your stories; and what's more, you shall be
presented to the King, and he shall hear you blow your trumpet."

Overcome by Chamai's good-natured encouragement, and his own
prospective honours, he fairly burst into tears.

"Do you really mean it? and will the King see Gebal too?"

"Aye, that he will; and we must teach old Gebal to act the courtier,
and to make a bow."

Hannibal declared that he thought Jonah ought to be court-trumpeter,
and to wear a scarlet tunic; and I pledged myself to use any
influence I could to secure him the appointment, promising that if I
succeeded I would make him a present of his first uniform.

Jonah chuckled aloud with delight.

"And shall I wear a scarlet tunic? and shall I play before the
King? What will they say at Eltekeh? Happy day that made me come to
Tarshish! Long live the King!"

With ejaculations such as these he withdrew to the extreme limit of
the prow, and relapsing into silence, mused in solitude upon the
dignity that awaited him.

From that day forward, Jonah was another man.



CHAPTER XIX.

BODMILCAR AGAIN.


Some easy sailing carried us past both the eastern and western limits
of Prydhayn and the Tin Islands, and brought us off the rocky shores
of the archipelago of Ar-Mor, with its islands all perforated and
undermined by the action of the waves. Hanno recognised nearly every
locality.

"There," he said, pointing out one spot after another, "there is the
island where I learnt to croak my little bit of Celtic; and that is
the rock from which Jonah and I used to fish with bone-hooks; and
over there is the island where the priestesses paint their faces blue
and black for their religious mysteries. Whilst we were with them
they wanted us to shave all our hair off our faces, with razors made
of shells."

"They gave the same advice," said Himilco, "on the Tin Islands to
Hannibal and Chamai, who came back to us one day with their beards
gone and their chins as smooth as pebbles."

"I only wish," remarked Hannibal, "that they would do for Bodmilcar
what we did for ourselves; only instead of a shell I should like to
have a good sharp sword put across his throat."

The mention of Bodmilcar's name led Hanno to inquire whether we knew
anything of him; and this led Hannibal to tell him how on the day of
the ambush he had given him a thrust in his side, which had been, no
doubt, severely wounded, but his people had succeeded in carrying him
off.

"Never mind," exclaimed Chamai; "we are sure to have another chance."

"And then I trust," said Hanno, "it will fall to my lot to deal with
him after his deserts."

"Unless I am beforehand with an arrow from my good bow," said a voice
from the yard-arm high up in the air. Bichri and Dionysos were up
there, playing with the monkey. Hanno laughed, and said that Bichri
had been associated so long with the monkey that he was becoming a
monkey himself, and was making Dionysos just as volatile. Without
leaving his perch Bichri asked:

"Why should I not teach the boy the use of his limbs? and why should
I not drill him to use a bow?"

"And why," added Hanno, "should you not teach him to read?"

"How can I," he said, "when I have never learnt myself? besides,
reading will not help him to climb mountains, hunt wild goats, or put
an arrow in a mark."

"You may learn some day," rejoined the scribe, "that a pen may be a
surer and a sharper weapon than an arrow. Would you and Dionysos like
to learn to read?"

Startled by the suggestion, the archer caught hold of a rope, and
in an instant had slid down to Hanno's feet. Dionysos followed. The
monkey flew up to the mast-head.

"To learn to read, did you say?"

"Yes," replied Hanno. "Let us make a compact; you shall teach me to
shoot, and I will teach you both to read."

"Agreed!" cried Bichri, enthusiastically; "and I'll warrant that in
a month you shall hit a mark no bigger than my hand at the ship's
length."

And so the days passed on. Hanno taught Bichri and the young Phocian
the alphabet. Himilco, as he piloted the vessel, kept up a perpetual
howling over his compulsory abstinence; Chamai and Hannibal, when
they were not yawning in idle listlessness, were generally playing
at knuckle-bones; the two women gossipped contentedly in their
cabin; and Jonah confided to Judge Gebal his dreams of future
greatness.

In something more than six weeks we sighted the pillars of Melkarth,
and shortly afterwards entered the harbour of Gades. The suffect,
Ziba, and all our acquaintances had imagined that we had long since
been drowned, and were loud in their congratulations on seeing us
back again safe and well, and were full of surprise when I exhibited
my magnificent cargo of tin and amber.

I inquired eagerly about Bodmilcar, but could only gather from the
suffect's account that fragments of what were supposed to be his
vessels had been picked up at the mouth of the Illiturgis, but
that nothing whatever had been seen of his gaoul, so that the most
probable conjecture I could form was that the scoundrel had been
massacred in the interior of the country.

It cannot be denied that we had all been looking forward with much
impatience for the opportunity of obtaining some decent food and
drink. Himilco was really getting exhausted with his subsistence
for so many months on a water diet; so that on reaching land I
took the very earliest chance of allowing my men to go ashore,
where, doubtless, they directed their steps only too quickly to the
wine-shops. Before Jonah left the ship I observed that he had some
shekels in his hand, and asked him if he would not put them in his
purse.

"No," he said; "they will never be quite safe until I have changed
them for wine, and put them into my inside."

Hanno, Chamai, and their sweethearts went with me to dinner at Ziba's
house; Bichri and Dionysos wandered about the streets and gardens of
the city; while Hannibal, who said that now that we had come to a
civilised country he should wish his trumpeter to be a credit to his
troop, carried off Jonah to buy him a proper tunic.

We had given up two days to recreation when, returning to the
_Ashtoreth_, I met Himilco and Gisgo, both extremely excited, in
company with a Phœnician sailor who was a stranger to me.

"Good news, captain!" shouted Himilco, as soon as he was within
hearing; "good news! tidings of Bodmilcar!"

"Tell me, quick!" I answered impatiently.

"Well, you must know," said Himilco, who was anything but steady upon
his legs, "we met this good man; he was thirsty and we were thirsty,
and I treated him to a cup at a tavern, where he told us that he had
escaped from Bodmilcar's ship."

"Leave your plagued thirst," I said; "go on, tell me what you know."

"Leave my thirst? no, no; it's my thirst will not leave me."

"Curse you!" I said, half-frantic with irritation; "tell me at once!"

"Give me time and I will tell you all that he told us in the tavern."

"Where's Bodmilcar? you drunken fool!" I roared, stamping with rage;
and turning in despair to the sailor, said: "Tell me, my good man,
where have you come from?"

"Come from?" echoed the irrepressible pilot; "why he has come with
us; he has come from where we have been drinking."

My patience was exhausted, and I struck him a sharpish blow across
the mouth, a hint that he took that he had better keep quiet.

According to what I could make out from the sailor's version of
things, he had come from an unfrequented bay some 150 stadia to the
south-east; that Bodmilcar had been there, at first with one gaoul,
the _Melkarth_, but afterwards he had three galleys besides; that he
had forced a number of the natives of Tarshish into his service; and
that by some means he had collected a great body of criminals and
deserters. He had himself, he said, been kidnapped by Bodmilcar, but
had contrived to escape, and having made his way on foot along the
coast, was now going to make his deposition before the naval suffect
at Gades.

I inquired how long it was since he had run away from Bodmilcar, and
whether he knew anything of Bodmilcar's movements. He replied that it
was a week since he effected his escape, and that he knew that it was
the Tyrian's intention to make for the country of the Rasennæ, and
thence to proceed to Ionia.

Telling the man that I was returning to Tyre, I offered him a
passage with me, if he liked, as one of my crew, to which he agreed
with apparent pleasure; he not only assured me of his fidelity, but
declared that nothing would gratify him more than to be able to
avenge himself upon Bodmilcar.

On the third day after this, having thoroughly revictualled the
ships, we set sail with our hearts all elated at the prospect of
seeing our native shores. We sighted Calpe and Abyla, but the wind
having freshened, we were obliged to beat to windward to enter
the strait. Next evening I noticed a large galley sailing in the
direction opposite to ourselves, and tried to hail her; but as
the weather did not permit us to get near, I made Himilco take
half-a-dozen sailors in one of the boats and row towards her; a
circumstance that struck me was the extreme readiness with which the
new sailor volunteered to take an oar.

The boat had not long pushed off before one of the crew rushed up to
me with consternation written in his face, and exclaimed:

"Captain, we have sprung a leak!"

I lit a lamp, and in a minute was making my way down into the hold.
Two sailors and one of the helmsmen followed. My heart sunk within me
at what I saw. The water had not only got into the hold, but it was
already knee-deep; worst of all, it was still rising rapidly. The sea
was rough, and the ship was labouring hard against the wind. Unless
the evil could be remedied, another quarter of an hour would see us
at the bottom. Almost beside myself with agitation, I caught hold
of a handspike and plunged it wildly about in every direction; the
ill-tidings soon ran through the ship, and there was a general rush
towards the hold, but I drove every one back, and suffered nobody
to remain except the three men who had first come down with me, and
young Dionysos, who had slipped in unobserved, and was paddling about
in the water, which was up to his shoulders.

In the midst of my frantic endeavours to ascertain the position
of the leak, my attention was arrested by voices above speaking
hurriedly in a tone that indicated alarm, and I distinctly caught
the names of Bodmilcar and the _Melkarth_. Almost at the same moment
the man standing on the ladder to hold the lamp moved on one side to
allow by-way for some one who flew, rather than ran, into the hold.
The light was not so dim but that I recognised Himilco, his head
bare, his hair dishevelled, and his cutlass in his hand. Before I had
time to speak to him a trumpet was sounding overhead, and Hannibal's
stentorian voice was shouting:

"Make ready the scorpions! Archers, to your ranks!"

"Good gods!" I exclaimed at last, "what does this mean?"

"Soon told," said Himilco; "the man we took on board was Bodmilcar's
agent, bent on mischief. I have managed to get my boat back, but the
_Melkarth_ and her galleys will be upon us in a moment."

He had hardly time to finish speaking, when the commotion above made
it manifest that the struggle was already beginning.

"Then we are lost," I cried, in absolute despair at our twofold
peril: "that infernal rascal has scuttled the ship."

Himilco groaned aloud in dismay.

A shrill cry of distress at this very moment rose from Dionysos,
calling for help:

"Save me! save me! I am in a hole; I am sinking!"

The lad's head had already disappeared, when Himilco, sticking
his cutlass into the ladder, and shouting that the child had found
the leak, made a dive and brought him back half-fainting from the
water, and delivered him to the sailors, who carried him on deck. Not
a moment was lost. Carpenters and sailors were summoned to the task,
and a heavy wave making the ship lurch so that the leak was actually
seen, we put forth all our energies, and notwithstanding the combat
that was being waged above our heads, succeeded--all praise to our
gracious Ashtoreth!--in temporarily stopping the hole.

  [Illustration: THE CHILD HAD FOUND THE LEAK.
  _To face page 293._]

Meanwhile the clamour of the fighting had given place to silence. On
remounting the deck I found several dead bodies, and pools of blood
in various places; I saw that the _Adonibal_ and the _Cabiros_ were
lying alongside right and left, but Bodmilcar's vessels had vanished
in the twilight.

Hannibal and Chamai were furious at their escape, and could hardly
find words strong enough to express their contempt of a cowardice
that had shirked a fair fight. Hanno, with his bow still in his hand,
avowed that nothing else than the gathering gloom of night had saved
Bodmilcar; if he could have recognised him, he would have been a dead
man.

"When I was attacked in the boat," said Himilco, "I recognised the
villain who took my eye out of my head; and if there had not been
some thousand of them peppering away at us all at once----"

"How many, do you say?" asked Hannibal, with a smile.

"Well, then, I am sure there were six or eight; but never mind, many
or few, there was one man I knew only too well, and while I was down
there looking after that leak, no one knows how my heart was burning
for a chance of getting him by the throat."

All this time the wind was rising, and after a while it blew a
hurricane. There was every cause for apprehension; the leak was
stopped so insufficiently that it might break open again at any
moment, and the waves were playing with our ship like a ball.

There was no sleep that night. The men, in relays, had to toil with
all their might at scooping out the water; and after that had been
reduced below the level of the leakage, it took more than five hours
to strengthen and caulk the fresh planking that had repaired the gap.
All danger, however, from that source was averted.

Daylight came, but the tempest was more violent than ever. I hardly
recollect so furious a wind; the pigeons that I let loose were
unable to withstand the hurricane, and fluttered back helplessly on
to the deck. All control over the ship was lost, and there was no
alternative but to allow her to drift we knew not whither.

  [Illustration]



CHAPTER XX.

THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN.


For eight days did the tempest rage, when, at the end of that time,
the wind dropped and the sky cleared, I found that we were quite
close to the shore, and off a headland beyond which the coast
stretched away indefinitely to the south. Continuing our course in
that direction, we came in sight of a mountainous island, richly
wooded and extremely picturesque. The glowing sun and the genial
temperature reminded us of our beloved Phœnicia; and so tempting
was the aspect of the place, that I resolved to disembark, not merely
as a matter of pleasure, but to look to the ships, which, after their
strain, required some examination.

We anchored in a charming bay, and were soon surrounded by canoes
full of savages, of whom the first characteristic that I noticed
was their low foreheads and yet elongated skulls. To my surprise,
they addressed us in the Libyan tongue, and proved to be the true
Garamantine or red Libyans. We were the first Orientals they had ever
seen on their shores; but one of their old men stated that he had
been to Rusadir, and had seen Phœnicians there. They received us
very kindly, and told us that their island was one of a group that
was situated to the west of Libya. Ignorant of navigation, they could
give me no information about distance; and all that I could make
out was that the coast of Libya extended far to the south, and was
inhabited by people of the same race as themselves; and that still
farther south there was a region where the men were like animals, and
perfectly black.

"That's a country worth seeing; I should like to catch a black man,"
said Bichri.

The residents, I observed, wore bracelets, necklaces, and earrings,
which were, I found, made of gold; and in reply to my inquiry whether
the gold was found in the island, they told me that they obtained it
both in nuggets and in dust from the Garamantines of the mainland,
who collected it by means of fleeces at the mouths of their rivers.

The people did not attach any great value to their gold, and were
quite ready to barter it away very freely for many things we had to
offer them; for instance, for some glass trinkets they gave me as
much gold dust as I could hold in the hollow of my hand, while for
such things as knives, lance-heads, or swords, they would give an
equal weight in gold. The delight of my people was unbounded, and I
had the utmost difficulty in preventing them from bartering away all
their weapons. Hannibal sold his helmet, crest and all; and Jonah
even parted with his trumpet, boasting that he could now have one of
pure gold, with which to play before the King; but so enchanted was
he with the country, that if the inhabitants would have accepted him
for their god he would have been quite ready to reside permanently
amongst them.

I spent a fortnight in purchasing gold and repairing the ships,
and an interesting period we all found it. The fertile soil was
productive of some of the finest fruits I had ever seen; one fruit in
particular with a scaly covering was very delicious. The valleys were
full of orange-trees of the growth of centuries, and the mountains
were clothed with magnificent woods, in which beautiful little birds
with yellow plumage were fluttering about, and singing exquisitely.
Bichri, who did not care about purchasing more than just enough gold
to ornament his belt and quiver, spent several whole days in these
woods with Dionysos, and succeeded in catching some of the bright
little songsters, which he secured in a cage; but his trouble was of
little avail, as they all died upon their passage.

As for Judge Gebal, he manifested such a keen appreciation of the
charms of the scenery that we had to keep him tied up to prevent his
running away; but the time for our departure necessarily arrived,
and, after the repairs were all completed, we reluctantly bade
farewell to the lovely archipelago, upon which I bestowed the name of
the Fortunate Islands.

  [Illustration]

Once more at sea, I had no difficulty in determining my course.
All my party were eager to visit the wonderful gold-countries, and
Bichri persisted in saying that he should like to catch sight of
the black men; Himilco just at first protested against going in a
direction where wine would not be forthcoming, but his objection was
soon overruled, and he was contented with our resolution to sail
southward. What caused us much bewilderment as we advanced, was,
that not only did the sun rise higher over our heads, but the Cabiri
descended lower towards the horizon. Himilco complained that we were
sailing out of reach of the protection of the gods; I pondered the
matter, but kept my thoughts to myself.

After running some distance to the east, the coast resumed its
southerly direction; and then it was that the sun, which day by day
had gradually risen higher in the heavens, stood vertically over our
heads, and then began to change its position, shining at last upon
my left hand instead of upon my right. Evening after evening, too,
brought into view constellations that were quite unknown to us; and
so great was the amazement of all on board, that I resolved upon
holding a general consultation of officers and pilots, and the more
intelligent of the sailors, in order to discover a solution of the
mystery.

Hamilcar gave it as his opinion that the gods must have been making
some alterations in the face of the heavens; Hasdrubal suggested that
perhaps we had passed the bounds of our own world and entered upon
another; whilst Himilco avowed his suspicion that unless something
of that kind had occurred, the world must be round, and we were on
the other side of it. Absurd and outrageous as Himilco's conjecture
appeared to every one else, I confess it chimed in to a certain
degree with my own speculations, and set me reflecting that if it
were so it must be the sun and the stars that were standing still,
and the world that was moving round them. But, after all, Himilco was
much more inclined to believe in a prodigy than to entertain any of
these fanciful theories.

Pressed with inquiries as to what I intended to do, I announced
my resolution of continuing my course to the south; if ultimately
the coast should incline to the west (or what I presumed to be
the west), I should return to the Fortunate Islands; but if, as I
anticipated, it turned to the east, I should go on following it,
under the expectation of getting to the north at last, and reaching
Egypt by way of the Sea of Reeds. This scheme of circumnavigating the
entire land of Libya commended itself entirely to the judgment of my
pilots, but it quite baffled the comprehension of Hannibal and all
the landsmen.

When I spoke to Hannibal about arriving at Egypt, he looked quite
aghast, and exclaimed:

"Egypt! here are we sailing farther and farther away from the
Straits of Gades; and yet you talk about getting this way to Egypt.
Impossible!"

"Patience!" I said; "perhaps we may find you a short cut even yet!"

He shook his head dubiously; and even Hanno observed that the
mysteries of navigation were very abstruse, and that the studies
which he had pursued at Sidon did not enable him to solve these
enigmas.

"Ah! you should have travelled more, young man," said Himilco; "and
you should have learned to know the stars."

"I should think this voyage is travelling enough for any one,"
replied Hanno.

Chamai merely remarked that he was quite sure that they might
all rely with perfect confidence in my judgment. And thus the
consultation was brought to a close.

Many times did we approach the coast with the intention of landing;
but either it was utterly desolate, or it was so crowded with black
men, who yelled and assumed such a threatening attitude, that we
always postponed any attempt to go ashore. One night in particular,
as we were passing under a promontory that I had named "the chariot
of the gods," the noises we heard seemed of so threatening a
character that I deemed it prudent to put out a little further to
sea; but at length our provisions began to run short, and there
was nothing to be done but to venture on land. Bichri, patient and
enduring as he ever was, complained of living on salt fish; Jonah
murmured that there was short allowance for ourselves, and no fruit
for Gebal; and Hannibal regretted that we were losing our chance of
picking up gold. I was accordingly induced to lay to as soon as I
found a convenient opportunity.

Our anchorage was the estuary of a river apparently as large as the
Egyptian Nile; its banks were covered with thick woods; numbers of
crocodiles and hippopotamuses were visible in the water by its shore;
and great birds, uttering shrill and piercing cries, whirled around
above our heads.

For four days we wandered about without finding any sign of human
being; we obtained, however, an abundance of wild fruit, and shot
several buffaloes and antelopes, of which a great portion of the
flesh was carried on board and salted. On returning from one of the
foraging excursions, Bichri came running to me, looking utterly
woe-begone; he was followed by Dionysos, weeping bitterly, and Jonah,
gesticulating vehemently, and apparently as much agitated as himself.

"What's the matter, Bichri?" I asked.

"Gebal has gone!" he exclaimed; "he has been carried off by
Bodmilcar's monkeys."

I burst out laughing. In his indignation he looked as if he could
have annihilated me.

"I am sure they were Bodmilcar's!" he insisted; "creatures with long
tails; they took him away; he never would have gone with them of his
own accord."

Nothing I could do served to calm him; he would not be pacified until
I allowed him to take some men and go out again in search of his
lost favourite; but in the evening they all returned worn out with
fatigue, only to announce, as might have been expected, that their
search had been fruitless. There was no doubt the monkey had been
delighted to join the troop of his own tribe that was gambolling in
the woods. Bichri was very inadequately consoled for his loss by
bringing back a great black monster, which, after he had wounded it,
the men that were with him, in spite of the huge brute's desperate
defence, had succeeded in despatching with their pikes. It certainly
was a most formidable-looking creature, and I subsequently had it
stuffed, and it may now be seen in the temple of Ashtoreth in
Sidon. Bichri told us that after it had six or seven arrows in its
body it snapped a pike-staff in two as easily as if it had been a
reed; upon which Hannibal remarked that the strength that could break
asunder a pike-handle made of oak of Bashan must be prodigious.

  [Illustration: IT SNAPPED A PIKE STAFF IN TWO.
  _To face page 301._]

We were obliged to depart without finding any vestige of Gebal. After
sailing on for about a fortnight, our supplies again ran short, and
as we were discussing what steps we should take in consequence,
Hannibal interrupted us by shouting:

"A gaoul ahead!"

Every eye was bent in the direction to which we were pointed, and
sure enough there was a gaoul of Phœnician build; but on farther
scrutiny it was evident that it was all dismantled, and drifting at
the mercy of the waves.

"May be a ruse of Bodmilcar's," suggested Himilco.

Taking his hint, we approached very cautiously, and it was not until
we had thoroughly satisfied ourselves that there was no one on board
to answer our signals that we ventured close alongside. It was
perfectly deserted.

Gisgo said that he remembered having once abandoned his ship off the
Pityusai Islands, and that probably this was a similar case; but he
could not understand what current could have borne the gaoul to this
distant shore.

"Never mind where she comes from," I answered; "let us hope she may
prove a godsend."

Hannibal and Himilco, who went on board, brought back the welcome
intelligence that the hold was well freighted with corn and wine, the
whole of which we joyfully transferred to our own vessels, leaving
the empty hull again to the wind and waves. In the evening I caused
an offering to be made to Ashtoreth in acknowledgment of her manifest
interference on our behalf.

Next day we hove in sight of a lofty promontory, the top of which was
as flat as a table. A strong gale was springing up.

"Never mind the wind," cried Jonah. "What do I care for the wind
now? I've a purse full of gold; plenty to eat; plenty to drink; and a
red tunic before long. Tempests be hanged! Long live the King!"

The gale for some days increased in violence, and all attempts at
steering were quite useless. When, after eight days, the sea became
calmer, I could make out that the land was lying to our left. This
was according to my prognostications, and I followed the coast to
the north with renewed confidence, day by day becoming more and more
convinced that the sun was again rising in the heavens; and one
lovely night, about a fortnight afterwards, Himilco suddenly seized
my arm, and making me point to the northern horizon, exclaimed in a
voice trembling with excitement:

"See, the Cabiri!"

"Yes; true enough; there are the Cabiri," I answered, as full of
delight as he was himself. "We have accomplished an unheard-of
thing," I added; "we have circumnavigated Libya."

"And to-morrow," he said, "we shall have the sun once more on our
right; we are on our way to the Sea of Reeds."

"Aye, to the Sea of Reeds! and to Sidon, our own Sidon! Sidon the
glorious, Sidon the incomparable!"

There was none to witness; the crew were sleeping in their berths;
and in the fervour of our enthusiasm we threw ourselves into each
other's arms.

A month later, as we were taking in fresh water at the mouth of a
river, we fell in with some black men, who bore a marked resemblance
to the Ethiopians, who are often seen in Egypt. One of them could
speak a little Egyptian; he told me he had learnt it in Ethiopia,
which is subject to Pharaoh. His own country, he stated, was six
months' journey below the southernmost limit of Ethiopia; but he
could give no information whatever about its distance by sea.
These negroes called themselves Kouch, and having never seen any
Phœnicians, took us for Egyptians; but as soon as we explained
that so far from being subjects of Pharaoh we were enemies of the
Misraim, they welcomed us as friends, and treated us with the utmost
cordiality. They had evidently a great abhorrence of the Egyptians
on account of the cruel ravages that had been committed on their
northern boundaries.

For the next three months we never found a favourable wind to speed
us on our way. We employed our time in transacting business with the
Kouch, and in making hunting-expeditions into the interior of the
country. In the way of exchanges we procured gold, ivory, pearls,
and skins; and an immense success attended our hunting-excursions
in a region that was found to abound in elephants, rhinoceros, and
giraffes, as well as in smaller game. There was not one of us who had
not some trophy of our good fortune or our skill to exhibit. Bichri
killed a lion, with the skin of which he made himself a mantle, and
even little Dionysos brought down a panther.

At length the opportunity for which we had watched so eagerly
arrived, and we set sail once more. Ten days after our departure,
while a stiffish breeze was blowing from the north-east, I noticed
not very far ahead of us a large Phœnician gaoul, which appeared
to have sustained some damage, and to be drifting along under
the action of the wind. In answer to my signals, she gave me to
understand that she had lost some oars and her yard-arm, and that she
was in need of help. Always anxious to render assistance to a vessel
in distress, but yet fearful of treachery I immediately ordered out
my men, but meanwhile instructed Hannibal to have the catapults in
readiness; and thus prepared, the _Ashtoreth_ approached the gaoul on
one side, and the _Adonibal_ on the other, the _Cabiros_ following in
the rear.

There was no need for any apprehension on my part. As soon as we were
fairly within view of each other, the captain, standing on the stern,
raised his arms and shouted:

"By Baal Chamaim! it's Mago!"

"By Ashtoreth and all that's holy!" I exclaimed; "it is my cousin
Ethbaal!"

The recognition was a mutual pleasure; our ships were soon alongside,
and we were grasping each other's hands.

"How rejoiced I am to see you, Mago!" he repeated over and over
again; "Phœnicia has given you up in despair; every one mourned
you as lost. By Ashtoreth! you must have been saved by a miracle!"

And he put his hands upon my shoulders and long and keenly
scrutinised my face.

"Tell me two things," I said; "where am I? and what has brought you
here?"

Ethbaal seemed full of surprise; but said:

"Come, come; you are laughing at me. You must know well enough where
you are."

I assured him that I was in earnest in what I said, and repeated
my assertion that I was by no means aware of where I was; and when
Himilco informed him that we had come from a place where the Cabiri
could not be seen at all, and where the sun shone on the wrong side
of us, he looked as if he thought we had taken leave of our senses.
Nor did he appear to understand much better when Himilco went on to
expatiate upon having once drunk fish-oil, and having had no wine for
many months together.

"Mysterious!" muttered Ethbaal to himself; "here is Mago, close
to the entrance of the Sea of Reeds, only six days' voyage from
Ophir, and yet he comes from the south, after sailing four years ago
westward to Tarshish! Strange!"

He pondered awhile, and then addressed himself to me:

"Yes; you are close to the Sea of Reeds."

I uttered an exclamation of delight, and turning to my people cried
triumphantly:

"Was I not right? Did I not tell you that we were on our way to
Egypt? Lucky we did not turn back from the Fortunate Islands!"

Ethbaal appeared to be confirmed in his suspicion that I must be
mad, and declared his total ignorance of the Fortunate Islands:

"I have never heard of them!"

"No, nor yet of the Tin Islands; nor yet of Prydhayn; nor yet of the
river of the Suomi; nor yet of the chariot of the gods," exclaimed
Himilco. "Compared with us you are mere coasters, loafing about in
cockle-shells."

Genuine Sidonian as he was, my cousin could not brook any insinuation
against his seamanship, and colouring deeply at the slight which he
conceived was offered to him, he said in a tone of anger:

"Out upon your insolence! do you call a man a coaster who has made
the voyage to Ophir? do you call my gaoul a cockle-shell? Are you
mad, or are you drunk, you one-eyed fool?"

Himilco, recalled to a sense of propriety, changed his banter into
cajolery:

"Now then, my dear fellow, you can do a great deal better than bully
me. Haven't you a little wine on board? It would be a great boon to
give us a skin; we haven't tasted a drop this two months."

I interceded with Ethbaal, asking him to overlook what might seem
to be rudeness on the part of Himilco, and assured him that our
adventures had been so extraordinary that he must really pardon a
little bragging. He not only took my mediation in a good spirit, but
sent for a goat-skin of wine, which he himself handed to Himilco, in
token of forgiveness. Saying that he should make an offering with it
to the Cabiri, the pilot emptied so large a share of the contents
down his throat that his companions began to wonder when his draught
was coming to an end, and almost despaired of the wine lasting out
till it should come to their turn to partake of it.

"Glorious wine! wine of Arvad, Hannibal," he said, smacking his lips
as he removed the goat-skin from his mouth, and passed it to the
rest.

Gisgo and Hannibal clutched at the bottle together.

"Nay, nay, my friends," cried Ethbaal; "do not be fighting for the
wine. I have plenty more. My cargo is all wine which I am carrying to
Ophir."

"Could you not take me with you?" asked Himilco eagerly; "my services
are quite at your disposal."



CHAPTER XXI.

THE QUEEN OF SHEBA.


As soon as the wind dropped, we submitted ourselves to Ethbaal's
instructions as to the direction in which we ought to steer, and
taking his gaoul into tow, we proceeded on our course to Ophir.

When evening came we found that by Ethbaal's orders a true
Phœnician banquet had been prepared on the stern of the
_Ashtoreth_: cheese, olives, figs, raisins, and a double allowance of
wine were served out to the men; and we ourselves took our seats upon
brilliant carpets that had replaced the worn-out rags with which we
had been so long familiar, and for the first time for months, nay,
years, enjoyed the viands of Tyre and Sidon, and quaffed the wines of
Byblos and Arvad.

Our spirits rose to the occasion, and I should hesitate to say how
many times I filled and refilled my wine-cup before I began to
recount the adventures which Ethbaal was anxious to hear.

My story lasted far on into the night.

When I had finished, Ethbaal, who had never flagged for one moment in
his attention, raised his hands to the stars in the heavens above,
and swore by all the gods that my chronicle ought to be registered
in letters of gold. He went on to tell me that the cargo I had sent
from Gades and all my messages had been duly received at Tyre; that
everyone had come to the conclusion we must all have been drowned in
the ocean; and that nothing had been heard about Bodmilcar, who, it
was taken for granted, had been punished for his treachery by the
direct visitation of the gods.

I offered Ethbaal a present of some very fine pearls; he at first
refused to take any acknowledgment at all of his attention to us, but
I induced him ultimately to accept the gift. The damages to his gaoul
were only to the rigging, and did not affect the hull; and as we had
taken it into tow, there was nothing to cause us any anxiety, or to
prevent us from retiring to rest.

Next morning, in the course of conversation with Ethbaal, Himilco
asked:

"Have you had any fighting, captain, since you have been out?"

"Fighting? no, why?" he replied.

"Because if you continue in our company you will soon find that
fighting is our destiny. We are always fighting; if we are not
fighting men,--and that we are doing pretty frequently,--we are
fighting the beasts of the earth; and if we are not fighting beasts,
we are fighting against wind and waves. Go where we will we attract
the fightings, just like a headland attracts the storms. Fighting is
our luck; so I just warn you, you had better be on the look-out."

Ethbaal laughed. He said he hoped that we had come to the end of our
adventures in that way, and that we should have a prosperous voyage
to Ophir; then turning to me, he asked what I expected to procure
at Ophir, as I had already a large supply of gold, which was the
commodity ordinarily obtained there.

I reminded him that I had a much larger quantity of amber than I
really wanted, and that in return for a portion of it I intended to
lay in a stock of sandal-wood and spices, peacocks and apes, and
anything else that the country could offer.

The Arabian coast was rocky, but we sailed along it without
difficulty for six days, at the end of which we arrived at Havilah,
the principal city of the kingdom of Ophir and Sheba. Unlike the
Phœnician seaports, it has no quays, fortresses, nor arsenals,
but it is well-sheltered, and forms a commodious trade-harbour; the
town rises like an amphitheatre upon the surrounding heights, and the
white terraces, with their brown and red domes, broken by clusters
of palm-trees, stand out in pleasing contrast to the deep-blue sky,
while the domes of the temples are of gilded bronze, and glitter
with dazzling brightness in the sunlight. Although the people
are indifferent seamen, yet it is to the sea that they owe their
prosperity, their city forming the mart between our own country and
the distant Indies.

The Queen herself takes a keen interest in all matters connected with
navigation, and her palace is situated close to the sea-shore. It is
built of cedar, and ornamented with trellis-work and open balconies;
the walls are all adorned with paintings, inlaid with precious
stones, or hung with curtains of variegated stuffs.

I was very anxious to secure the Queen's favour, and to make her an
offering worthy of her acceptance. With this object, I placed some of
my finest pieces of amber in a casket made of Tarshish silver, and
carrying my gift in my hand, I presented myself with Ethbaal and most
of my officers at the entrance of the palace, and sounded the great
drum by which it is the custom to demand admittance to the royal
presence.

Ordinarily the Queen occupies a tapestried tent that overlooks
the sea; she had consequently been aware of our entrance into the
harbour, and when we presented ourselves at the gateway of the palace
she gave immediate orders that we should be conducted before her.
We were taken to her pavilion across a garden of surpassing beauty.
There were countless plants, wonderful alike in their blossoms and
their foliage, grouped in exquisite order around sparkling fountains;
there were sumptuous tents of every hue pitched amongst the rare and
graceful trees, to the boughs of which monkeys were attached by
golden chains; Indian birds with gayest plumage fluttered overhead;
and peacocks, displaying their gorgeous tails, were strutting along
the avenues. Every thing we saw seemed worthy of the stateliest
empire in the world.

We prostrated ourselves before the Queen, who at once bade us rise.
She was young and very fascinating; and although she was surrounded
by ladies in waiting and maids of honour, she was conspicuous among
them all for grace and beauty. Her attire, redolent of perfume, was
alike sumptuous and elegant; in her hair and round her neck were
jewels valuable enough not only to equip a fleet, but to maintain
it as well; a long robe, embroidered in gold with figures of men,
beasts, and birds, was thrown over her, but opened to display the
richness of the dress below; her sleeves were loose to the elbows,
and on her wrists were bracelets that must have been all but
priceless.

We were dazzled into silence as we first gazed upon her beauty and
magnificence; but Hanno almost immediately advanced, and ventured to
recite some verses of an Arab ode:

    "Fairer than moons are thy beaming eyes,
    Nay, they are radiant suns:
    Forth from the bow of thine arched brow
    Shoot the arrows that pierce man's heart:
    Be it thy justice prevails far and wide,
    The universe yields to thy charms.
    What are thy favours? Say I not true?
    Fetters they are that bind the soul;
    What are thy fingers? What do I kiss?
    Keys of a heavenly joy."

The language spoken in Ophir is very similar to our own, and the
Queen, who understands Phœnician well, expressed herself as being
highly gratified at Hanno's courtier-like address. She then deigned
to examine the presents I had brought, and requested me to give her
a brief outline of my travels and adventures; then rising from her
seat, and bidding us follow her, she went out, accompanied by her
retinue, into the garden, and moving with all the grace and dignity
of a goddess, herself conducted us to every point of interest in
her paradise. Before we took leave of her she desired me to visit
her again on the eve of our departure, that I might receive some
instructions that she wished to give me.

  [Illustration]

The same evening the munificent lady sent us a store of provisions
for our ships, and various presents for ourselves, amongst which I
should especially note several embroidered robes for the women, and
a scarlet tunic, a hyacinth-coloured girdle, and a gold-embroidered
shoulder-belt for Hanno.

We remained a week at Havilah, making exchanges, and inspecting
all that was worth seeing in the place. Representatives of nearly
every nation seemed to be congregated in the town; men from India
and Taprobane, from Ethiopia, and the mouth of the Euphrates. The
people of Sheba themselves bear a strong resemblance to the Jews,
Phœnicians, and Arabians, the principal difference being that they
are of smaller stature and darker complexion. The queen, however, is
remarkably fair. The gold and the tin that we procured here, as well
as the peacocks, tortoise-shell, and ivory, are all imported from
India; but the spices, stuffs, and vases of opaque glass, are brought
through India from a still more distant land, to which hitherto no
one has ever sailed, and which could not be reached in less than a
two years' voyage.

On the day of my departure I presented myself again before the Queen.

  [Illustration]

"I have to inform you, Captain Mago," she said, "that the old King
David who sent you to Tarshish died a year and a half ago, and has
been succeeded by his son Solomon, of whose power, but especially
of whose wisdom, I hear a wonderful report. His dominions extend
as far as the Gulf of Elam on the Sea of Reeds, where he holds the
port of Ezion-Geber. I am eager to enter into a treaty with him, and
I commission you, on my behalf, to convey to this august monarch a
present that shall be worthy of himself and me."

"Your will, O Queen, is my law," I replied, as I made my obeisance.

"But first of all, captain," she continued, "tell me whether you
and your companions in toil are too worn out with the fatigues that
you have already endured to undertake another voyage in my service.
Information has reached me that the King of Babylon, Assur, and Accad
is on his way, with a powerful army, to the mouth of the Euphrates to
put down an insurrection. No one so well as yourself can fulfil what
I desire. I want you, if you will, to convey him some messages from
me, and to be the bearer of presents that I shall send."

I did not hesitate to comply; not only did I express my willingness
to go, but assured her that the voyage would be neither difficult nor
long.

"Go then, brave mariner," said the Queen, with a beaming smile, "and
I shall not fail to recompense you royally."

I prostrated myself once again before her, and withdrew.

An hour later I had taken leave of Ethbaal, who was returning to
Sidon by way of Ezion-Geber and the canal of Pharaoh, and, with all
my people, I was embarking for yet another voyage.



CHAPTER XXII.

BELESYS FINDS BICHRI SOMEWHAT HEAVY.


It did not take us much more than a month to sail to the mouth of
the Euphrates, although during the time we made one sojourn with the
Arabians, and another with the fish-eating Gedrosians on the opposite
coast.

On receiving the announcement from me of the aged King David's death,
Chamai and his fellow-countrymen observed a week's mourning, fasted,
rent their clothes, and combed neither their hair nor their beards;
but at the end of the week they made plentiful ablutions, and held a
festival in honour of Solomon, the King's son and successor.

It was early in the morning that we reached the river-mouth, and
having entered it, proceeded till we came to a little town dedicated
to the god Oannes. There is no stone found in the country, and the
place, like all the other towns on the Euphrates, is built entirely
of bricks, the fortifications being circular walls constructed of
bricks, baked and unbaked, cemented with layers of bitumen. On the
right were the remains of vast forests, which, according to the
statements of the learned, were, three hundred years ago, the haunts
of the elephant. On the other side, extending as far as the eye could
reach, was a long stretch of meadow-lands and corn-fields. Looking up
the river, we could count some hundreds of tents pitched among the
crops or sheltered by the forest, the fires of the encampment sending
up columns of smoke, and groups of horses being picketed everywhere
amongst them. A few boats and two large ships of Phœnician build
were moored to the shore; but what struck us most of all was the
swarms of soldiers, many of them with swords drawn and lance in hand,
who were posted everywhere alike on the river-bank, in the pastures,
among the crops, and along the skirts of the forest.

"The army of the Assyrians!" cried Himilco.

"The gods be praised!" said Hannibal, in an ecstasy of delight; "now
shall I set eyes upon something like an army once again. See, how
admirable their position! how skilful their groupings! I must make
the acquaintance of their officers."

He was stopped short in his panegyric by the shouts of a troop of
horsemen who were galloping towards us, and ordering us, in Chaldean,
to bring our ships immediately to a standstill, and to tell them who
we were. From the stern of my ship I answered the officer in command
as courteously as I could, and he, in reply, ordered me to remain
where I was whilst he reported my statement to his superior. In about
a quarter of an hour he returned from the camp whither he had gone,
and brought with him a troop of cavalry, at the head of which rode a
burly fellow armed in a complete suit of mail, and carrying a lance.

Hannibal again began to praise the order and accoutrements of
the troop and their leader to Chamai, who, while admitting the
superiority of Assyrian cavalry, contended that the infantry of Judah
was second to none; but before they had finished their military
discussion, the Chaldean had halted just opposite our ships, and was
calling out that our principal officers must come ashore and state
our demands in the presence of Belesys, the King's commander-in-chief.

Hanno knew enough of Chaldean to remember that the word "belesys"
in that language signified "terrible," and muttered that it was a
formidable name for a man to have.

Taking the Queen of Sheba's letters, and followed by eight sailors
carrying her presents to the King, and escorted by my own officers, I
went on shore. The Chaldean was tall and stout; he had a wide face,
with a strong jaw and great deep-set eyes; his beard was thick and
frizzled like the rest of his company, and his manners were extremely
coarse and insolent.

"Come, now, you sailor fellows, stir yourselves a little briskly,
will you?" he cried; "I'm not fond of walking my horse."

He conducted us first of all through an enclosure filled with
war-chariots, and then past an encampment of infantry, composed of
Mesopotamians armed with maces and spears, and in physiognomy bearing
a striking likeness to the people of Judæa. A little removed from us
was a regiment of Medes, the representatives of a nation recently
subjugated, but whose ancestors had given Nineveh her line of
kings. They were thick-set, and had round heads, scanty beards, and
obliquely-set eyes. Their fierce expression of countenance attracted
our notice, and armed with their swords and short, strong bows, they
must be very formidable in battle. As we passed, we were near enough
to hear that they were making coarse jokes upon us in their own
tongue. A noisy band of half-naked Arabs next caught our attention.
These, with their camels, always form part of the contingent of the
King of Assyria, and mingling with them I recognised some Midianite
slave-dealers and some Phœnician merchants, who act as purveyors
to the army, but make their chief profits by purchasing slaves and
plunder from the soldiers.

We proceeded to the cavalry encampment, and when we were about in the
middle of it, we were ordered to halt. We found ourselves in front of
a large circular tent made of rich hangings, the entrance of which
was guarded by Kardook infantry carrying maces, and equipped with
breast-plates, greaves, crested helmets, and round shields. This was
the tent of Belesys, the terrible.

"Enter," said the officer who had been conducting us, adding in a
jeering tone: "I hope the general will give you a handsome reception;
perhaps he will put on a good temper for the occasion."

He burst into a roar of laughter and galloped off.

"Stop!" cried Chamai, wrathfully; "is that the way you speak to a
Phœnician captain?"

But his words were wasted. The Chaldean was out of hearing, far away.

The Kardook guards scrutinised us narrowly, and consulted each other
in an undertone. They appeared especially attracted by the dress of
Hanno, who had arrayed himself in the costly presents of the Queen of
Sheba. Turning to him, one of them said:

"Are you captain?"

"No," replied Hanno, pointing to me; "there is our captain."

The Kardooks stared in astonishment.

I was dressed in my ordinary naval attire; but as the Assyrians
always associate dignity of place with costliness of apparel, they
could only account for my appearance by conjecturing that I was in
disguise.

"You wish to see Belesys?" said the guard; and having entered the
tent, returned again immediately with permission for us to be
admitted.

The Assyrian commander-in-chief was at the farther extremity of
the tent, surrounded by a number of officers and slaves, and was
reclining, or rather lolling, upon a luxurious couch; he was superbly
dressed, but wore no armour. Armed men stood on both sides of him,
and two cup-bearers were in attendance holding goblets of wine, of
which, however, he was in no need, as he was already very drunk.

With the exception of Bichri, we all made a low bow on entering the
tent; but the young archer, who was not always in a conciliating
mood, did not feel disposed on this occasion to exhibit any sign of
courtesy.

Pushing aside one of the cup-bearers who was obstructing his view,
Belesys stared straight at us. He was a tall man, with a great
frizzled beard, thick lips, and a heavy jaw, and his hair was glossy
with perfumed ointment. A heavy mace which lay by his side was
surmounted by the figure of a bull's head. As he gazed at us, he
shook his head, screwed up his eyes, and, indeed, distorted all his
features; while his attendants, as if to flatter him by imitation,
did precisely the same. We waited some time for him to speak, and
at last, in a tone that quite confirmed our suspicion that he was
intoxicated, he roared out:

"You see those two big fellows? and you see that youngster with the
bow? Take them, and give them five-and-twenty lashes apiece; and then
put them amongst my archers. I don't dislike the look of them."

Utterly astounded, I held my tongue. Taking no notice of Hanno's
clenched fist and gleaming eye, he went on, hiccupping as he spoke:

"That young man with the gold shoulder-belt, strip him to the skin,
and pack him off to the slaves. I don't care for the other old
scarecrows; do as you like with them; there's an ugly one-eyed rascal
among them; hang him or behead him as you please, the sooner the
better."

"What?" shrieked Himilco, in ungovernable rage; "what? do you call me
a one-eyed rascal? and our captain, a Phœnician admiral, do you
call him a scarecrow? By all the gods!"----

Belesys burst into a roar of laughter, repeated his orders that
we should be put under arrest, and taking a cup from the nearest
cup-bearer, drained it at a gulp and flung it back into the man's
face.

"Handcuff them, I say!" he bawled again.

Several of his men approached to execute his bidding, but I shook
off the hands of the Chaldean who ventured near me; Hannibal floored
the man who was about to assail him, by planting his fist heavily in
the fellow's eyes after the Cymri fashion in Prydhayn; Chamai, in
genuine Celtic style, knocked down another by butting at him with
his head in the middle of the stomach; but Bichri, the most agile of
us all, took a much more determined measure. Bounding like a cat upon
the couch, he fixed his knee firmly upon the general's breast, and
with one hand caught hold of his beard, while with the other he held
the point of his knife close enough to his throat to be felt.

"Capital, Bichri! well done!" shouted Hannibal, drawing his sword.

"Keep your hold, Bichri, and long live the King!" cried Chamai,
following Hannibal's example.

Hanno and myself, resolved to act on the defensive, also drew our
swords; Himilco tripped up another of the Chaldeans by one of those
adroit turns of the hand with which a sailor knows so well how to
take a landsman by surprise; and all my own sailors, seeing the
aspect of affairs, in a moment set down their packages and unsheathed
their cutlasses.

"Shall I cut his throat?" asked Bichri, coolly, appealing to me.

"No; wait a little," I answered; "let me talk to him a bit first."

Approaching near enough for him to hear me distinctly, I said:

"Belesys, you have only to cry out or make the least resistance, and
in one instant that knife severs your head from your body."

"Soldiers," I continued, turning myself to his guard, "the moment you
call for assistance or lift up your hands to attack us, that moment,
mark me, your general is a dead man."

The proximity of Bichri's knife to the general's gullet seemed to
have a sobering influence upon him, and in a voice very much subdued,
he implored his soldiers and slaves to keep perfectly quiet, and at
his wish they retreated to the sides of the tent.

Bichri began to whistle one of his Benjamite airs, and deliberately
brought up his other knee on to the general's chest.

"You are stifling me, young man; let me breathe, let me breathe."

"O nonsense, I know better than that," replied Bichri, without
stirring an inch; "I am a very light weight."

"Let me go," gasped Belesys. "Believe me, I was only joking; let me
free, and I will recompense you liberally."

"As to letting you free, that's not my concern; that depends upon
Captain Mago; no one but the captain gives orders; you should sue to
him."

At a hint from me that he should allow the Assyrian room to breathe,
Bichri removed his feet to the ground, but without relaxing his hold
upon his beard or lifting the knife from his throat. Belesys was
breathing heavily; his face was pale; his forehead moist with a cold
sweat; there was no doubt about his being sober now; and he piteously
asked for our captain to speak to him. Without waiting for me,
Himilco began to jeer him.

"Ah! you would like to see the old scarecrow, would you? and here
am I, too, the one-eyed rascal; it is a long way to come, all round
Libya, to cut your throat, but it is quite worth the trouble if it
teaches you that you shouldn't get drunk all by yourself."

And snatching the goblet from one of the cup-bearers he drained it
off, and pitched the empty cup at the nose of the general.

"Gently," I said, and laid my hand upon the irascible pilot. "Belesys
is mistaken altogether; he did not understand that we were conveying
presents to his King."

The Assyrian gave so violent a start that his neck was actually
grazed by Bichri's knife. He was beginning to bawl out something
about his illustrious sovereign Belochus II., when I admonished him
that he had better not speak so loud, a warning that Bichri enforced
by tightening his grasp upon his throat.

"I was but jesting; you should take a joke," he gasped. "Only tell
your young man to loose his hold upon my throat, and I swear by the
almighty Nisroch, I will not hurt a hair of your heads. Can you not
trust me now?"

"Not quite," I answered, smiling.

It was now my turn to assume the tone of irony, and with mock
reverence I turned to him and said:

"And now, most valiant Belesys, servant of the mighty Belochus, will
you condescend to do me the favour of visiting our ships?"

"By all means. I am ready; I will come at once."

"We will take our time," I continued. "Just attend to me: you must
have, you know, every proper mark of respect; on your way to the
vessels you shall walk between Hannibal and Chamai; they shall show
their respect by drawing their swords, and Bichri shall walk close
behind you; that will be another sign of respect: and when you get on
board you shall remain on board until I have had an interview with
the King. On board ship, you have heard, it is the captain who gives
orders."

"I think I understand your terms," he replied. "I am to go with you;
if I cry out you will murder me; and when I am on your ship I am to
be kept as a hostage."

"Precisely so," I said.

The incorrigible Himilco renewed his jeering, and asked whether he
could not produce a little more wine, but the general made no reply,
and closed his eyes as if he were in deep thought. Bichri took his
seat upon the breast of his prisoner, who, in spite of the indignity
he was receiving, seemed to be so much struck with admiration for the
young man, that he promised to make his fortune if he would enter his
service.

"But get up, get up, I entreat you," he begged him, in an imploring
tone. "I assure you that you are a great deal heavier than you seem
to imagine."

Bichri made no answer, but whistled an air, and jolted himself up and
down upon his seat.

Himilco, meanwhile, filched a flask of wine from one of the
cup-bearers, whom he rewarded by some good hard knocks, and then
professed that he was enjoying himself extremely.

"Come now, general," I said at length; "we can't spend all day
waiting here; we shall have some one coming in. Is your mind made up?"

He made an ambiguous movement. Bichri frowned, and jerked his knife.

"Yes, I will come," he said, abruptly. "After all, I was in fault."

We now arranged our party as I had proposed. Assuming all the
appearance of respect, Hannibal and Chamai placed themselves one on
each side of Belesys, and Bichri, still whistling gently to himself,
followed alone behind. I followed with Hanno and Himilco, and the
sailors, taking up their packages, brought up the rear.

As we passed along the ranks, the soldiers all prostrated themselves
in honour of their general, and I could scarcely suppress a smile at
their ignorance of the true state of things. Belesys did not utter
a word or make a sign, and in half an hour's time he was on board
the _Ashtoreth_, witnessing the respectful salute with which my own
people always acknowledged my return.

"To your posts, men!" I cried, cheerily; "here is the noble
commander-in-chief of the Assyrian army; he does us the honour to
inspect our ships."

"And he intends," said Himilco, "to treat you to a double ration of
wine."

"Long live the King of Assyria! long live his illustrious general!"
rose in acclamation from a chorus of voices.

  [Illustration: IN HONOR OF THEIR GENERAL.
  _To face page 322._]

Belesys, who was still rather pale, smiled uneasily, but with a
forced hilarity professed himself ready not only to give my brave men
the double allowance of wine, but to provide them with some sheep and
oxen besides. Once again a general cheer was raised, and Hannibal
made him a military salute. Chamai merely shrugged his shoulders
and Bichri could not help confiding to Dionysos that the man before
them was nothing but a drunken coward, who ruled the 50,000 men under
his command by blows and lashes.

"They are not Hellenes, then," said the young Phocian, proudly; "no
Hellenes submit to blows!"

Belesys bit his lip; he had overheard what was said, and it mortified
him; he tried to conceal his annoyance, and remarked to me that
he had thought Phœnicians were too much engrossed by commerce
to have any concern in the affairs of states. Hannibal was on the
point of quoting the case of Adonibal, the naval suffect of Utica,
as an instance to the contrary, when our attention was arrested by
the transit of a section of the Assyrian army from one bank of the
river to the other. The water was covered with boats and with large
rafts, on which were placed all the war-chariots, and at the stern of
every one of them was a group of men holding the heads of the horses
that were swimming behind. The passage of the infantry was made on
inflated goat-skins. The utmost confusion prevailed; several poor
fellows were drowned, but that seemed a matter of utter indifference
to the officers that stood upon the bank lashing the men with whips
to make them quicken their movements. At one place we observed that
a large bevy of prisoners was being conducted before an official who
was seated on a kind of open air tribunal, surrounded by guards. Some
town had evidently been lately captured. All the gods, and a quantity
of booty, were first laid at the officer's feet, and then the
prisoners--men, women, and children--were brought before him. They
were a wretched, dejected set, many of the men fettered with heavy
bronze chains, and nearly all with their hands bound behind their
backs, the whole of them being compelled to prostrate themselves in
turn before the officer, who placed his foot upon their necks. In a
few cases a respite was granted and life was spared; but as a general
rule the captives were forthwith hanged or beheaded in the presence
of their fellow-sufferers. I observed that out of the number of
miserable objects, four were selected and sent off to be tied to
stakes that were driven into the ground on an adjacent eminence.

It was truly a heartrending spectacle. Chamai and Hannibal had seen
something of the kind before in the course of the warfare in their
own land; but to Aminocles and his countrymen, with their Hellenic
ideal of liberty, the sight was intolerably shocking, and they were
loud in their asseverations that they would die before they would
incur the risk of any such utter degradation.

While we were looking on at this humiliating exhibition, a messenger
arrived from the King to ascertain the object of my coming. I stated
it as briefly as possible, and in another hour the man came again to
summon us into the presence of Belochus. I took no one with me except
Hanno, and the sailors to carry the Queen's gifts. As we walked along
Hanno was silent, evidently preparing some graceful compliment;
but his painstaking in this way was of no avail, as we were only
permitted to view the splendour of the Assyrian sovereign from a
distance. At about a hundred paces from the throne we were commanded
to halt, and prostrate ourselves to the ground.

  [Illustration: WE WERE COMMANDED TO HALT.
  _To face page 324._]

Belochus II. was seated beneath a group of trees, surrounded so
closely by guards, cup-bearers, attendants with fans and parasols,
and slaves, with fly-whisks, that for a long time I could see nothing
of him except his tiara, which was very dazzling, his robes, which
were very elaborate, and his unshod feet sparkling with gems. But at
last the mass of gorgeous pomp seemed to open, and I could plainly
distinguish the majestic countenance of the King, encircled with long
hair, and conspicuous with a thick frizzled beard.

An avenue of soldiers was formed; some officers were sent to receive
whatever documents and presents we had brought; we were bidden a
second time to prostrate ourselves to the earth, and were then
escorted back to our ships. I found Belesys very impatient to be
released from his imprisonment, and he looked much chagrined when I
told him that it was necessary for me to detain him a while longer as
a hostage for my own safety.

In about an hour afterwards some letters, enclosed in a casket of
gold, arrived from King Belochus for the Queen of Sheba; the present
for the Queen was accompanied by a meagre gift of provisions and
stuffs for myself and my people.

My mission was now accomplished, and I prepared again to set sail.

  [Illustration]

"You may go," I said to my prisoner; "let us part friends."

Belesys gave a sigh of relief.

"I am glad you are a man of your word," he said.

I laughed heartily.

"Did you suppose I should keep you? What good could you do me?"

"Revenge is sweet," he answered. "I feared you would not let my
injustice go unpunished."

"Ah, you mean that would have been your course."

Belesys smiled.

"The hand that cannot be cut off must be caressed," he said.

I took good care that before he left he should see the scorpions
filled with missiles and put ready for action, and then I dismissed
him with the most punctilious observance of outward respect.

Before quitting the ship he made another attempt to induce Bichri to
join his service, an honour which was coolly and firmly declined.



CHAPTER XXIII.

WE SETTLE OUR ACCOUNTS WITH BODMILCAR.


It was quite late in the evening before we reached the bar of the
river, and as I was fearful of crossing it in the dark, I gave orders
to lay to for the night. A small Chaldean camp was within sight, but
I took every precaution to guard against any act of treachery on the
part of Belesys.

A number of booths made of branches of trees had been erected on
the shore, and some Phœnician dealers were purchasing plunder
from the soldiers, and supplying them with wine in return. Himilco,
Gisgo, and several others expressed a great wish to go ashore, and
although I knew that they would only be drinking and bragging of
their adventures, I could not find it in my heart to refuse them. I
only stipulated that they should not go out of hearing. A couple of
hours later, being curious to know what was going on in the little
mart that looked so bright with its many lamps, I took Bichri and
Jonah, and rowed to land. Just as I stepped on shore, I observed two
galleys pass down stream, as if about to anchor below us; they were
followed by a gaoul, which kept very close to the opposite bank;
but as the river was very wide, and it was quite dusk, I could not
distinguish its form. Knowing, moreover, that there was a great deal
of slave-trafficking going on with the Assyrians, I did not give the
circumstance more than a casual attention.

  [Illustration: HIMILCO AND GISGO IN ANIMATED CONVERSATION WITH
  THE CHALDEAN SOLDIERS.
  _To face page 327._]

I found Himilco and Gisgo in animated conversation with the Chaldean
soldiers, who evidently regarded all their tales about enormous
stags, stinking fish-oil, and the sun shining on the wrong side, as
mere romances, if not downright lies. One of them avowed that no
power on earth would ever make him believe that any people could
accept Jonah for their god, a mere human being like themselves. To
this Bichri replied, somewhat contemptuously, that he could not see
but that Jonah was every whit as good as Nisroch; and Gisgo added
that he could believe anything after seeing how the Assyrians allowed
themselves to be bullied by Belochus and his general Belesys.

  [Illustration]

Furious at the insults offered alike to his god and to his
rulers, the Chaldean threatened to break every bone in Gisgo's
skin; whereupon Gisgo replied that he was quite ready to accept a
challenge, and that he would fight it out in any way he pleased; like
the people of Prydhayn or Ar-Mor, if he chose.

"You had better not be fighting with us," said Himilco; "we conquer
wherever we go; Sicilians, Garamantines, Suomi, Germani, we have
thrashed them all. We have been to the river Illiturgis, and to the
Pyrenees, and to the Chariot of the Gods, and to the Fortunate
Islands, where we got as much gold as we liked. Everything succeeds
with us; and the best thing you can do is to leave us alone."

The man looked aghast at the string of names which Himilco repeated
out so volubly, and, in a half-apologetic tone, replied:

"You Sidonians are wonderful travellers. I am a Kardook, and thought
I had done something marvellous in coming here from my far-off
mountains. The world is much larger than I reckoned."

Another Chaldean now put in his word, and said that though he had not
been to Tarshish, he had just seen a man of Tarshish.

"Just seen one! where?" asked Himilco.

"In the royal camp. He was along with the Phœnician captain who
has taken service under King Belochus."

A thrill ran through me. In an instant I recollected the gaoul and
the two galleys, and the truth flashed upon my mind.

"His name?" I cried. "Tell me his name, and I will give you a shekel."

"Make it two, and I will tell you."

I threw him the money, which he picked up and put in his purse. He
was walking off, saying that he did not see why he need tell me the
captain's name now that he was already paid. In my rage at the cool
effrontery of the rascal I was about to knock him down, when one of
the Phœnician dealers interposed:

"Never mind that fellow's nonsense, I will tell you what you want.
The captain's name is Bodmilcar; he is a Tyrian."

The very sound of the name was enough. My men caught it, and in an
instant we were all on our way back to the ships. Once on board, I
held a consultation with the officers, and put them in possession
of the fact that Bodmilcar was lying in wait a few cables' length
below us; that he was in connection with the army; and that it
was extremely likely that Belesys would attack us in the rear. How
melancholy would it be, I urged, if our enterprise, hitherto so
successful, should be marred by our hateful foe at last!

Animated by a general enthusiasm, my people declared that not a
moment should be lost, the hour for action was come, and the attack
must be made at once.

Chamai and Hanno began to contend for the right to kill Bodmilcar.

"Let me only get within reach of him!" cried Chamai.

"No, no," said Hanno, flushing with excitement; "he is my rival, and
by my hand must he fall."

"Don't be simpletons, young men!" I interposed; "there is something
better than wrangling for you to do now. Look to your duties. We will
make for the sea."

Using every possible caution, we proceeded towards the river-mouth.
The _Ashtoreth_ took the middle of the channel, with the _Adonibal_
on her right, and the _Cabiros_ on her left. Every light had been
extinguished, and it was with throbbing pulses that the men on board
stood, ready armed, peering out into the darkness. Bichri had spread
out his arrows within reach upon the deck, and was crouching down,
his bow full strung; he was between Dionysos and Jonah. The trumpeter
was armed with a huge hatchet in his girdle, and the little Phocian
was provided with his bow and arrow ready for immediate use. Himilco,
holding his cutlass and shield, took his post at the stern, directing
the helmsman; Hannibal and Chamai placed themselves at the head of
their own companies, and stood almost on tiptoe in their eagerness to
get the first glimpse of the enemy.

Before the hour of sunrise we could hear the rushing of the water at
the river-bar, and in the faint dawn could make out Bodmilcar's three
ships blockading our exit The _Melkarth_ was in the middle; the decks
of all three being perfectly thronged by men in helmets. The shore
was quite deserted.

"The stream is in our favour," I observed; "let us commence action
with the fire-ships."

A number of planks loaded with combustibles was soon set afloat.

I did not wait long before ordering Jonah to sound the signal for
attack: it was answered promptly by a challenge from the enemy; a
volley of lances fell upon our deck; we discharged another volley in
reply; and the battle had fairly commenced.

As I had myself superintended the construction of the _Melkarth_, I
was well aware that her flanks were far too substantial to be injured
by any blow from our prows; I knew, moreover, that her height was
so great that it gave her an immense advantage in overwhelming us
with missiles, and rendered every thought of boarding her untenable.
But I also knew her weak points. I had myself experienced that her
enormous weight made her difficult to move; and I resolved in my own
mind that, if possible, I would take advantage of this defect. After
ascertaining from Himilco, who knew enough of the channel to form a
reliable opinion, that the _Melkarth_ drew too much water to be able
to move a cable's length to the right of where she was, I ordered our
boats to be laden with all the combustibles they could carry. I next
signalled to the _Cabiros_ to come alongside, and telling Himilco to
follow me, I went on board her, Hamilcar being left in charge of the
_Ashtoreth_. All this time the arrows from the enemy's ships were
falling fast about us, and Bodmilcar, evidently expecting assistance
from Belesys behind us, was fighting as if sure of victory.

Gisgo joined Himilco at the helm of the _Cabiros_, and I stood
between them to give my orders. Never, I can confidently say, was a
vessel more skilfully piloted. After taking the two boats in tow, and
effectually setting light to their cargo of combustibles, we bore
straight down upon the _Melkarth_; and when we were within half a
bowshot, we were descried by Bodmilcar, who began to jeer us.

"All hail, Mago! you are right welcome; there are some old scores
to settle between us,--that little affair in Egypt, and that other
matter in Tarshish, and that piece of business in the Straits of
Gades; we may as well wipe them all off to-day. I hope to have the
pleasure of seeing you swing from that yard-arm before night. Most
happy to meet you now."

An arrow struck him as he finished speaking; he started back.

"Hit! he's hit!" shouted Bichri, in a voice that rang out high above
the general tumult.

"No!" roared Bodmilcar, "my cuirass is arrow-proof."

"Let us see whether your ship is fire-proof!" I bellowed in reply.

The _Cabiros_ now dashed between the _Melkarth_ and the galley on
her right, and in endeavouring to avoid us, the gaoul became wedged
between the burning boats. In the midst of a shower of arrows, one of
which wounded my cheek, I cut asunder the towing-ropes; the flames
broke forth, and a long jet of smoke rose high into the air. Gisgo
was wounded in the thigh, and could not stand, but he continued
bravely to steer upon his knees. So rapidly had we darted by, that
the volley of missiles intended for our deck went splashing and
crashing down upon the water in our wake; and as we retraced our
course on the other side just as rapidly, I called out to Bodmilcar
that I meant to serve his ship as I had served the Egyptian galley at
Tanis. Himilco, too, did not spare him some cutting jokes upon his
dilemma.

Having returned to my own ship, I ordered the _Adonibal_ and the
_Cabiros_ to make a joint attack with me upon one of the two galleys,
and then to get right ahead of the other. We made the assault with
the very utmost of our strength; the galley made a desperate effort
to escape us, but it was too late; before she could move I had stove
in one of her sides, and driven her, by the violence of the shock,
against the _Melkarth_ and the two burning boats. In the midst of
the smoke I could see that the _Melkarth's_ men were frantically
making their way on board the _Adonibal_, which had got between
her and the other galley, and that the whole of the six ships were
thus brought together into a compact mass, at one end of which the
flames were raging furiously, and at the other hatchets, swords, and
cutlasses were being wielded with relentless desperation.

"To the _Adonibal_!" I shouted; "board her! we shall have them now!"

Simultaneously my own people and the crew of the _Cabiros_ made their
way on to her deck. Bodmilcar was already there. Hanno rushed towards
him and cried:

"Now then, Bodmilcar, come on, and show yourself a man for once!"

"Come on, young milksop! I am quite ready! As soon as I have settled
your business, I shall have time to attend to the rest."

Their swords clashed as they closed in one upon the other, but the
throng around them was so dense that they were quite lost to my view.

All at once Himilco, who had never left my side, made a dash forward,
and shouted:

"Ah! you monster, scoundrel, wretch, I have you now!"

He had recognised the man for whom he had been looking for the last
fourteen years, and had knocked him down: the two were rolling
together on the deck.

"Well done, Himilco! hold him tight!" said Bichri, who was passing,
his sword all covered with blood.

"The brute is biting my arm; cannot you help me?"

Bichri, quick as lightning, slipped a knife into the hand of Himilco,
who plunged it deep into his adversary's side: he rolled back; the
death-rattle was already in his throat.

"Revenge is sweet," sighed the pilot; "this death of a dog is too
good for you!"

Meanwhile Jonah, backed up courageously by Aminocles, was performing
feats of wonder with his cutlass; Hannibal and Chamai, with their
armour all battered in, were on the prow, pushing man after man
back overboard into the water; Hamilcar was reported to be killed;
Hasdrubal was badly wounded, but still clinging to his helm; I went
to his assistance, and by our joint effort we succeeded in bringing
the ship round so as to be out of the reach of the threatening
flames; the _Ashtoreth_ and _Cabiros_ had sheered off a little, and
were waiting my summons to come again alongside; and the other galley
of the enemy, although it escaped the fire, had gone adrift.

Such was the condition of affairs, when as I was rallying my men
for another onslaught, Hanno, his sword broken, and his clothes all
stained with blood, rushed to my side.

"He has escaped!" he gasped. "I have lost him in the crowd."

"Patience!" I answered; "he is not far off."

I now resolved to fall back myself towards my two other ships, and as
soon as I saw the opportunity, I shouted to my men:

"Back to the _Ashtoreth_!"

As we retreated, we left the prow of the _Adonibal_ in complete
possession of Bodmilcar's troops, and then by drawing up two lines of
men made an avenue for our own escape at the stern.

Bodmilcar, perfectly helpless, was thus left in a trap, on board
the _Adonibal_, which was exposed to the full fury of our arrows
and catapults; his own ship was burning like a furnace; one of the
galleys was sunk, and the other, as I have said, had gone adrift.

For more than half an hour, Bodmilcar endured our projectiles; but at
length I came to the determination of again facing him on board the
_Adonibal_. We found him standing on the bow, surrounded by a scanty
remnant of hardly more than thirty men. His face was covered with
blood.

"Shall I shoot him?" asked Bichri.

"By no means," I answered, laying my hand upon the archer's arm; "he
must die a more ignominious death than that."

Desperate, but short, was the last effort of the Tyrian's body-guard.
He was about to make a frantic rush upon myself, when Jonah seized
him with a powerful grasp.

"Here's your man, captain!"

Bodmilcar struggled to get free.

"Attempt to escape," said the trumpeter, "and I'll shake the life out
of your body!"

Foaming with suppressed rage, the captured man submitted to his fate.

  [Illustration: MY ACCOUNT WAS SETTLED WITH BODMILCAR.
  _To face page 335._]

He was motionless and silent. Nothing could induce him to open his
lips; sullenly he heard my questions; obstinately he refused to
reply. He was tied to a rope's-end, and was soon swinging at the end
of the yard-arm of the _Adonibal_.

My account was settled with Bodmilcar.

       *       *       *       *       *

We were soon upon our homeward way.

After reporting our experiences to the Queen of Sheba, we proceeded
to Tyre along the canal of Pharaoh, stopping only to pay our devoirs
to King Solomon.

A triumphal reception awaited us. Throngs of our countrymen assembled
to welcome our return; and King Hiram, in our honour, gave a
sumptuous banquet, at which he invited me publicly to narrate the
history of our protracted and adventurous voyage.

The King munificently gave me the three vessels which I had brought
safely home, and the people unanimously elected me naval suffect at
Sidon.

I appointed Hannibal captain of my men-at-arms, and retained
Himilco, Gisgo, and Hasdrubal in my service in various posts of good
emolument. The report of Hamilcar being killed in action had proved
too true.

I have little more to tell.

All Phœnicia knows how I superintended the floating of the
cedar-wood and all the materials which King Solomon required for the
magnificent temple he was rearing at Jerusalem. Chamai is a captain
in King Solomon's army, and is invariably recognised with every
token of respect when he comes with Abigail, his wife, to visit me
at the Admiralty palace. Every one, too, knows Bichri, the rich
vine-dresser, who periodically comes to Sidon to sell his barrels
and skins of sparkling wine, always inviting Himilco to the first
taste of the produce of his vineyards; whilst every year a vessel is
sent with all due pomp to Paphos to bring Hanno, the high priest of
Ashtoreth, with the lovely Chryseis, her priestess and his wife, to
sacrifice in the temple of their great metropolis. Dionysos, who has
become a distinguished instructor of his countrymen in navigation,
and Aminocles, his proud and aged father, generally accompany them.

  [Illustration]

On these occasions the _Cabiros_, adorned with embroidered hangings,
puts out to sea in honour of my guests, and brings them to my private
quay, where they are always hailed with acclamation as my former
companions in the discovery of the Cassiterides, the Amber-coast,
and the Fortunate Islands.

During the period of our festivities it is generally observed that
Himilco does not walk home particularly straight, a circumstance
that Bichri notifies by whistling some Benjamite or Cymrian air; and
when finally the guests depart, Jonah is never missing, as he always
insists on preceding them to their ship with a magnificent flourish
of his trumpet.



NOTES.


CHAPTER I.

    _Phœnicians._--It is for simplicity's sake that throughout
    the preceding fiction I have adopted the classical name
    Phœnicians, which may be interpreted either as "the red
    men" or "men of the date-lands." Amongst themselves they were
    designated "Canaanites," or "people of the lowlands," in
    contradistinction to "Aramites," or "people of the highlands."

    It would be out of place here to enter into any critical
    dissertation upon the words Khna and Aram, from which
    Canaanites and Aramites derive their appellation.--_Page 1._

    _Shekel._--This word (which, in the Hebrew tongue, signifies
    a weight) is applied both to coined money, the use of which
    originated with the Phœnicians, and to a certain standard of
    ordinary weight.--_Page 2._

    _Tariff of the Sacrifices._--The ritual or tariff of sacrifices
    is extracted from the work of the Abbé Bargès on the
    Phœnician inscription discovered at Marseilles.--_Page 5._

    _Gaoul._--Originally this word signified any round hollow
    object. The Phœnicians designated the island of Gozo "Gaulo
    Melitta," Malta the Round, and it may easily be understood how
    the term came to be applied to their circular merchant ships,
    which were of a type essentially Tyrian. "_Onerariam navem
    Hippus Tyrius invenit._" (Pliny, 'Nat. Hist.')

    My authorities for the description of the Phœnician vessels
    are:

    1. Two engravings in Layard.

    2. Ezekiel's prophecy against Tyre. (Chap. xxvii. 7.)

    3. Xenophon's description in the 'Œconomia' of the great
    Phœnician ship that came every year to the Piræus.

    4. The engravings in Wilkinson.

    I have likewise ventured to draw some inferences by analogy
    from the accounts of Genevan, Pisan, and Venetian ships of
    the thirteenth century, given by Col. Yule, in his edition of
    'Marco Polo.'--_Page 8._

    _Sheathed with Copper._--Although this may seem an anachronism,
    it may with some degree of certainty be alleged that the
    Phœnicians had an idea of using copper for this purpose.
    It would seem to be implied by Vegetius ('Rei militaris,' iv.
    24) and by Athenæus (v. 40). An ancient legend attributes the
    invention to Melkarth, the Tyrian Hercules: _Hercules ... nave
    æneâ navigavit ... navem æneam habuit_ (Servius).

    The other materials employed in the building of the ships are
    mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel.

    Besides the gaoul, I have introduced the barque, the fast ship,
    and the long ship, or fifty-oared war-galley.

    Without entering into minute details, it may be said that the
    barque is essentially Phœnician. Barek, in Hebrew, signifies
    to bend or curve anything, as a plank. _Barca est quæ cuncta
    navis commercia ad littus portat_ (Isidorus, Origines). In the
    modern Berber dialect it is called "ibarka."

    The fast ship was called ἵππος, a horse, by the Greeks, either
    on account of its speed, or from the figure ordinarily found
    at its prow: Strabo distinctly asserts the latter reason. The
    vessel described in the text being of the type most frequently
    used in the Phœnician colony of Gades, has, on that account,
    been designated 'the _Gadita_.' Several Phœnician coins,
    apparently current on the coast of Africa, bear the impression
    of a horse's head; and the legend of a horse's head being
    discovered in the foundation of Carthage, probably originated
    in the national symbol affixed to the Phœnician ships.

    The true Sidonian war-ship is the fifty-oared galley:

    ναῦν πεντηκόντορον Σιδόνιαν.
      EURIP. _Hel._ 1141.

    What was the tonnage of such a vessel, or how it could be
    worked by only fifty oars, or carry 400 men, are matters on
    which I give no opinion; it is not my province to enter upon
    any technical arguments.

    If an analogy be required, it may be suggested by the huge
    Chinese junks which were seen by the Arabian, Ibn Batuta,
    in the fourteenth century, and which carried 600 men, and
    had fifty or sixty immense oars, each oar being worked by
    eight men, by means of ropes pulled in opposite directions.
    Those seen by Marco Polo had four men to each oar. It is not
    improbable that the Phœnician vessels were worked by some
    similar method.--_Page 9._

    _Purple sail._--My description of the parade-boats is not
    imaginary; pictures of them are given in Wilkinson (vol. iii.),
    and all the ancient writers, from Herodotus to Plutarch, enter
    into details concerning them. Herodotus describes the Sidonian
    vessel, from which Xerxes reviewed his fleet, as being adorned
    with golden hangings, meaning Babylonian materials wrought with
    gold.--_Page 16._


CHAPTER II.

    _Pigeons. Ravens._--The custom of taking birds on a voyage,
    to indicate by their flight the direction of land, is mentioned
    repeatedly in the annals of antiquity. As an instance of more
    modern time and of semi-barbarous races, it may be incidentally
    quoted that the sea-king, Ingolf, or Floke Vilgedarson, in 868
    took with him three ravens when he set out for the discovery of
    Iceland.--_Page 23._

    _Fleur-de-lys._--The tiara with this device may be seen amongst
    the engravings at the end of Botta's work.--_Page 31._


CHAPTER V.

    _Pharaoh._--The blank which exists in the records of Egypt at
    the end of the eleventh and beginning of the tenth centuries
    B.C., renders me unable to give the name of the Pharaoh
    reigning at this period.

    The war-chariots of the Egyptians were mounted by Libyans,
    i.e., by Berbers of the Tamachek race, of which the Kabyles and
    Touaregs are the modern representatives. These chariots and
    cavalry, also Libyan, formed the great strength of the Egyptian
    army.--_Page 79._


CHAPTER VI.

    _Cydonians. Pelasgians._--Without entering upon any dissertation
    on this topic, I content myself with mentioning the existence
    throughout Europe of races distinct both in type and language
    from the Aryan races whom they preceded. Two of these may be
    especially remarked: one with round skulls of Mongolian type,
    commonly called Turanians; the other with elongated skulls,
    classified as Australoids. These races have everywhere left
    traces alike of their presence and of their inferior civilisation.
    In the island of Crete, the Greeks preserved the memory of the
    Cydonians by the few words which I have introduced into the
    text.--_Page 100._


CHAPTER VII.

    _Homer._--My introduction of the name of Homer undoubtedly
    demands an apology. I can only plead that the temptation to
    uplift the veil of mystery, and to reveal the mighty poet
    in connection with my fiction, was very great. Even after
    Schliemann's researches, the date of the Trojan war is so
    uncertain that I feel quite at liberty to regard it as an open
    question.--_Page 129._


CHAPTER IX.

    _Tyrrhenian Privateers._--The description of these vessels
    is based upon a figure found upon a vase in the Campana
    Museum.--_Page 158._

    _Scylla. Charybdis._--The romances interwoven into my tale
    are strictly Phœnician; and I have felt quite justified in
    introducing an allusion to the way in which the Tyrian sailors
    delighted to mystify strangers upon whom they could impose. I
    may adduce the passage in Herodotus, where he speaks of the
    young girls fishing for gold in the island of Cyraunis, and
    calls it a fine Phœnician story. "Tell it to the Greeks!"
    has passed into a proverb, and the Phœnician tar was only
    too glad to amuse himself and to enhance the price of his wares
    by giving a highly-coloured version of his adventures.--_Page
    164._

    _Nergal._--The superstition about the gigantic cock is borrowed
    from a Rabbinical legend quoted by Movers.--_Page 164._


CHAPTER XI.

    _Adonibal._--I had already completed my fiction before I learnt
    from the researches of M. Sainte-Marie that Adonibal was the
    name usually borne by the naval suffects at Utica, or that it
    is at least established that a long line of magistrates were so
    called. It was a mere coincidence that I chose it as being the
    first appropriate Phœnician name that occurred to my mind.

    I may observe here that I have throughout the preceding
    pages written proper names in the way in which they are
    most familiar. It would be mere pedantry to put Hanna-baal
    (cherished by the gods) instead of Hannibal, or Bod-melkarth
    (the face of Melkarth) instead of Bodmilcar; and it will
    suffice for any reader who has not studied the Semitic dialects
    to know that any ancient Phœnician or Jewish name may be
    dissected like most modern Arab names; for example, Hamilcar is
    Abd-Melkarth (the servant of Melkarth), like Abd-Allah (the
    servant of God). The student of the Semitic dialects will have
    no need to come to my book for instruction.

    With regard to the names of places, I have felt considerable
    difficulty. My reasons for not writing them in Semitic are
    threefold:--

    1. They are not all known to us under this form.

    2. If known, they are unfamiliar to the general reader.

    3. The identity, orthography, and pronunciation could not be
    substantiated without entering into minute arguments, which
    would be out of place.

    I have accordingly, with few exceptions, used the most familiar
    forms, and have, at the risk of criticism, written Crete, for
    Caphtorim; Egypt, for Mizraim; Libyans, for Mashowiah, &c.--_Page
    177._


CHAPTER XII.

    I have represented Mago as sacrificing in a dolmen in the
    form of a covered avenue below a tumulus. The details are
    drawn from Bourguignat's _Monuments mégalithiques du nord de
    l'Afrique_. M. Daux also gives a description of a similar
    temple. I profess, however, that I am very far from accepting
    Bourguignat's theory about rude stone monuments being arranged
    in the form of serpents, scorpions, and other figures; I am
    altogether mistrustful of the accounts of prehistoric temples,
    and am quite of Fergusson's opinion, that these monuments are
    comparatively modern.--_Page 202._

    _Atlantides._--To my mind there is nothing improbable in the
    idea of the existence of an inland sea in Algeria which is
    suggested by the text. I cannot, however, say so much for the
    existence of Atlantis, but while speaking of the migrations of
    the Libyans, it seemed consistent to mention all the ancient
    traditions that relate to them.--_Page 203._


CHAPTER XVI.

    _Ar-Mor._--I entertain considerable doubt whether at the period
    of which I write the Celts had penetrated so far as the west
    coast of France; but at any rate they were already in the
    east, and upon the Rhone. I have ascertained the existence of
    anterior races, such as the Mongoloids and Australoids, and
    both here and in a subsequent chapter have referred to them. I
    plead guilty to an anachronism of four whole centuries, but I
    felt that to the general reader it would seem strange that I
    should depict my Phœnicians landing in Gaul without meeting
    with some well known Gallic people; all that I can say in
    extenuation is that I have endeavoured to construct my story so
    as to make the anachronism not too flagrant.--_Page 244._


CHAPTER XVII.

    _Suomi._--There is no reason to doubt the existence of Finns
    at this date at the mouth of the Elbe. For want of an ancient
    Finnish name, I have invented an appellation from the modern
    Finnish word Suomi.--_Page 261._


CHAPTER XX.

    _Circumnavigation of Libya._--Some adverse criticism may
    probably be aroused by my resorting to this expedient for
    the prosecuting of my story. That the Phœnicians might
    have accomplished it, cannot be disputed; and although
    the _Periplus_ of _Hanno_ has recently been proved to be
    apocryphal, and the work of some scientific Greek romance
    writer, I have not hesitated to incorporate the prominent
    feature of it into these imaginary adventures.--_Page 302._


CHAPTER XXI.

    _Sheba. Ophir._--The identity of this locality with the
    southern coast of Arabia is beyond a doubt.--_Page 309._

    "_Fairer, etc._"--These verses are translated from some later
    Arabian poetry. Oriental taste has altered so little, that
    I may claim to be pardoned for putting into the mouth of a
    Phœnician, a thousand years before the Christian era, some
    poetry belonging to a period a thousand years after.--_Page
    310._





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