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in gruff tones through the serried lines, the other side of the basin, pursued the sterner than ever, with anticipation of the scattered fugitives down the farther slope of approaching vengeful carnage.
the mountain. From another direction soon came the And then, behind where Cleon remained, half-hushed tramp of other troops-the straining his gaze over the troubled scene, cohorts creeping from the farther side of suddenly broke forth loud, deep tones of the crater basin, to take their position in anger; and the Tribune Balbus, riding at the a more compact mass at the front. A head of his cohorts and reining his horse moment more, and they began to gather in; up the last acclivity of the mountain, appeared the men elate with kindling ardor for the upon the summit. strife, but their officers wearing puzzled “What saturnalia is this?” he cried, his looks, in their well-justified doubt about the eyes blazing with the intensity of his newly wisdom of a maneuver into the real pur- kindled wrath. “What contempt of orders pose of which it was no part of their duty or what treachery? Who is there to anto inquire. In an instant all these had be- swer for it?” stowed themselves in battle array, in readi- There was only one person to answer for ness for the onset, looking eagerly towards it; and Cleon sprung forward to accuse, and their leader in hushed expectation of the if necessary, convict himself with the open order to advance. There were already more confession of his fault. Better now than than enough assembled to begin the work, at any other time, he thought, and let the yet for the moment Cleon hesitated. Was floodgates of his superior's passion be his object gained, or was it doomed to opened at once, and the torrent of wrath be failure?
outpoured and expended without delay, Then from the furthermost point came a rather than remain sealed to take new shape sudden cry that the insurgents were escap- and consistency, and so lead to worse results. ing, and still Cleon delayed—-doubtingly But before he could speak, one near at hand delayed—until the clouding looks turned leaned forward and whispered into the ear of upon him gave assurance that no further Balbus a word, and from that an animated dallying with the crisis could be tolerated; conference between the two ensued. and so at last he yielded to the fate forced “Say you so?” cried Balbus at length, upon him, and pealed forth his order for breaking off the muttered conversation. the onset.
"This, then, must be sternly looked into, and At once there arose a fierce, impulsive not lightly passed over. Let me first give shout, growing momentarily wilder and note to these other matters which need shriller; and the nearest of the legionaries present attention, and then, by the immortal leaping across the now unprotected borders gods--" of the crater slope, plunged rapidly down in He did not finish the exclamation; but hot pursuit of the flying enemy. A mo- grasping with nervous energy the hilt of his ment more, and loud cries of rage, pain, sword, he swept his gaze slowly around, with and exultation filled the air, as laggard or an expression of keen intensity which feeble groups were overtaken, and either seemed to search into the mind of every fell fighting desperately for their forfeited person in the little group about him, and lives, or were stricken down without resist. yet at the same time to pass beyond them,
Then, as though inspired by the and piercing through the darkness to gather turmoil, fresh soldiers leaped into the arena every feature of the distant scene of rout with yet louder acclaim, until in an instant and slaughter. Not even upon Cleon, who nearly all were engaged in the mingled and stood directly in his front, waiting to be confused work of destruction and butchery. questioned, did he bestow more than a passSoon the savage uproar grew more distant, ing look, treating him like the others, as one as the foremost of the legionaries, crossing to of too little consequence to be then inquired
of or noticed; though, in that instantaneous the conscious aspect of men who knew glance, Cleon could read expressions that something to which as yet it was not safe boded no good: deep-seated wrath at the to give expression. orders disobeyed, bitter disappointment As time passed on, these glances in some the frustration of plans that were to have became mingled with anger; for had he not led to a signal triumph, and behind all a robbed the soldiers of their rightful spoil? certain irrepressible joy that the fates had For though so many of the insurgents had at last given into remorseless hands an been overtaken and slain, there were hunenemy so detested.
dreds who had escaped, and in the imaginaThen, without further delay, striking the tion of the pursuers, those were ever the flanks of his horse, the Tribune galloped ones who had borne upon their persons the off around the edge of the crater basin to most coveted booty. Wrathful words began the farther side, whence in an instant his to be uttered regarding the loss of those harsh voice could be heard ringing through illusive spoils; and even such of the soldiers the night air, as, in his efforts to repair the as had had the fortune to reap a goodly porrecent error, he cried out to cut down and tion were angry because it had not proved
larger. As in the case of one who, comCleon, moving slowly away, repaired to ing back from the pursuit with well-hacked his tent, there to await the issue of the sword and dented shield, paused near the affair. He could now remain in quiet, hav- the tent of Cleon, and exhibited to a little ing no longer any duties to perform, since knot of comrades a golden collar torn from Balbus had superseded him in the command. the neck of a butchered slave. But when This, of course, had long been foreseen and the others envied his good fortune, the arranged; and yet, had all things been soldier himself mourned, shaking his head already properly carried out, and had Bal- and saying: bus been his friend, the duties of the ser- “There was a slave in front of me who vice might still have been practically divided had his legs heavy with golden anklets; and between them, the new commander asking where now are they, or who else has gained counsel of the old. But even this courtesy them?” could not now be shown, and Cleon was left Hearing this, and imagining that the disa supernumerary in the camp which a appointed legionaries cast looks of anger moment before he had governed; feeling and reproach towards his tent, Cleon moved himself of less authority, indeed, than even away with half-consciousness of guilt, and the lowest of his centurions.
withdrew himself still farther into the darker Gradually the night wore on, as there he shadow of its doorway. Then the soldiers sat by the door of his tent and anxiously passed on, with new growls of disappointawaited a summons. The hours passed one ment, and Cleon remained, awaiting that by one, but no message came. This in it- summons which did not come, and revolyself was a cheerless sign, for it gave suspi- ing over and over the same sequences of cion that the Tribune was nursing his wrath disturbing thought, in vain attempts to get into a settled and available form, adapting comfort from them. it with steady and deliberate reflection to He found, as he did so, his reflections purposes of more complete punishment and becoming more and more alloyed with revenge. And little by little Cleon could bitterness; for now, in addition to other consee that the rumor of his impending dis- siderations, cruel doubts began to arise as grace and ruin had opened itself about the to whether, after all and apart from this camp. The captains and centurions, whom present trouble, his whole life had not he had so lately commanded, now hurried been a mistake: not merely now, but far by with averted gaze; and even the com- back to the time when all had been brightmon legionaries glanced at him askance, with ness about his path, and applause and glory had accompanied him, and no clouds have pointed out the true end of existence, had threatened to obscure his fair horizon. and have let it be known whether the pleasNot a mistake in the way that he had once ures of ease or the rewards of exertion should imagined it, when at that chance gather- most earnestly be striven for, of what real ing at the bath so few days before, he had consequence to men could these gods be? given impulsive vent to his one transitory Not merely did they neglectfully leave rebellion of spirit against duty, disposing everything in mist and darkness, not manihimself for the moment to weigh his years festing whether they would most readily apof hardship and service against his glory, prove of this or that course of life, but they and to find his career a failure, inasmuch seemed not to regard with interest any as it lacked those other glittering attrac- course at all. tions which could so much more easily Could it be true, indeed, as so many bebe gathered in the paths of gayety and lieved, that there was only one God, and he pleasure. But he began to wonder whether the God of the Christians?
Of a surety, it might not prove the most commendable there seemed to be a mysterious power course of life to treat not only pleasure but somewhere which needed to be better comhonor with contempt, and to couple himself prehended. For nothing could be more with some earnest duty, without considera- certain than that, though the believers in tion of any resulting glory or reward. For the gods of Rome died calmly and with what, if he regarded recompense at all, had resignation, it was with the calmness and been the result of his earnest efforts to resignation of ignorance and despair; while shape out a glorious career for himself? in Thaloe he saw a young girl who, joyful Lo! cruel fate had interfered, and in an in the hope of something better to comehour had destroyed all that he had so far, But why ponder upon this, either? Whence with such unremitting diligence of purpose, was any light to come—at least, to himself, accomplished for himself.
the hardened, so long unreasoning soldier? Even had it been otherwise, and were the Soon the first faint gleam of pale gray star of his destiny still to shine resplendently light about the east showed that, though over him, pointing its rays to yet newer the darkness had not yet begun to pass glories, what would it profit him? Honor, away, the morning hours were at hand; after all, was like the grosser pleasures of and then a single figure, approaching with the senses—a mere earthly phantom and de- hasty steps, flung himself into the tent. It ception. Where peace of soul was needed, was not the figure of the expected messendid honor give the faintest promise of it? ger from the Tribune Balbus, but that of the He had often noted how men of state and page, Camillus. condition, lying down to die, had not be- “You have come?” said Cleon, with some wailed or repented of their lives of ease and bitterness. “I thought that you, too, had luxury: so far, well. But when the great abandoned me.” self-denying statesmen and generals of the “I do not well know how I ought to act," empire had taken their turn at mingling responded the page; “I cannot but feel that with the dust, had their gathered fame and for the sake of Alypia I should be very angry. honors proved any comfort to them? And yet, I have so loved you that I cannot
Then, as Cleon's thoughts carried him still resist coming hither to warn and if possible farther along that one line of argument, save you. You must fly, Cleon, and at even to a momentary forgetfulness of his once.” present sad condition, new fields of reasoning “From what? And whither should I spread themselves out alluringly before him. fly?" asked Cleon, moodily. Since men were thus left to grope in blind- “From disgrace — destruction death!” ness, living and dying in hopeless uncertainty, exclaimed the other, hurriedly; "your enethough the gods of Olympus might so easily mies have been thronging to the Tribune
you for it."
Balbus, and have told him that you pur- is not wont to look too remorselessly upon posely allowed these insurgents to escape." deeds committed for a maiden's love."
“They told him only the truth, Camillus. “Not upon his own deeds thus comTo you, at least, who know so much already, initted, Cleon; but when another has done I can own it. Could I stand by and see the same, who so unpitying as he?” Thaloe perish, and not raise a hand to save “It may be as you say. Even with him her?”
there may be no hope. But if the Cæsar “It may be—it may be so. I stop not himself decrees the utmost penalty, it will now to ask you whether you did it with in- be death with dignity. To fall upon my tent or not. But this I know, Cleon, that own sword in the palace court, or to die the Tribune has sent to Nero by a swift with open veins in my bath, with my friends messenger the story of your fault, and asks about me: that surely would be better than that he may have authority here to deal with sudden, ignominious execution here. There
fore, I will now go to Nero, appearing before "And then?" demanded Cleon, partially him as befits a suppliant, and one conscious arousing from the stupor of his thoughts, of his fault." but hardly as yet realizing the imminence of With that, Cleon took off from his helmet the situation.
the few insignia which marked his rank, un“Do you not see?” responded the other, buckled and laid aside his sword, and in a with all the desperation of frenzy. “He moment stood in no way differing in appearwill here disgrace you—will even claim the ance from one of the common legionaries, right to put you to death, as one who has except in the richer material of his tunic. disobeyed orders upon the field of battle; “Now let us go,” he said; “I will leave and none can save you!"
my horse behind me, and will procure an“Nay, this shall never be!” cried Cleon, other in the city below; for were I recognow fully awakened to the danger, and start- nized, I might even now be stopped. This ing to his feet with sudden resolution. time I must stealthily depart from my own “Disgrace—even death-I can be prepared camp; to-morrow—why, to-morrow I shall for, but not to meet it ignobly at the traitor- either be able to return a pardoned man, or ous pleasure of a jealous enemy! I will else be dead, indeed. And little now does leave this place at once! I will go myself it seem to matter which it may
be.” to Nero, and there confess all my fault and “Let us only think of the former," exseek his pardon."
claimed Camillus, in a sudden ecstasy of “You will surely not do that?" exclaimed hope. “All may yet be well. the page, with yet greater alarm. “What forgive; and Alypia, should she know of hope can you have from one who never this, may forget. And so—” spares even his own kin when he is
7?" "Poor boy!" interrupted Cleon, in com“What else is there that I can do, Camil- passionate tone, arresting himself, for the lus? Would you have me leave the camp few steps already taken had brought them and skulk off into the mountains, like these to the outer border of the camp, where, at a slaves who have just fled — to be there little distance, a solitary sentinel stood at tracked with all the ingenuity that malice his post, keeping up, in the relaxed and and hatred can invent, and surely, at the end, needless discipline of a finished campaign, be captured? That fate, at least, shall not the mere form of watchfulness. “Have you be mine. Nero himself shall judge my fault, yet learned so little of the world as not to and in my own presence decree my sentence. know that all must now be over between It may be that he will pardon. Perchance Alypia and myself? Do you not perceive I may find him at his table, his heart mel- that even were I pardoned for this fault of lowed with wine or with some stale jest, so mine, none the less will the memory of it that he will be disposed towards mercy. He always hang about my name, so that in the
future I shall be hindered from any further ing a smile upon his face; for in a Roman's trust or increase of authority? And is eyes the omen was a fearful one, and for the Alypia made of such a mold that she can moment it smote him with dismay. “A simattach her fortunes to those of a ruined, ple matter. The stone supporting the bust was baffled man? With her, ambition must go old and worn; therefore, it fell. A week ago, before love, else the latter will lose its zest the circumstance might easily have troubled and die. I blame her not. A month ago, me; but now-how it is, I cannot tell, Caand I myself could not have truly loved, I millus, but it seems to me that this day there thought, except where fame and promotion have been mists passing away from before my pointed out the way. Therefore, I say, I mind, so that I see some things more clearly blame her not. She will turn from me now, than before, and can afford to disregard whatever the issue of my journey. Let her other matters that once would have surely but think of me as one to whom she will tormented me. So, though for the instant wish well, and it is all I can ask. And I felt startled at what you have mentioned, now, farewell. Be not disconsolate. A few I can yet laugh at it, as one of those idle short hours, and everything may yet turn fancies which henceforth may have no hold out for good.”
upon me forever.
And yet, perhaps even “I hope, and yet I fear-"
now too easily I fortify myself. I may yet “Why look you so strangly, Camillus? return to all our olden superstitions. I What further have you upon your mind?” cannot tell how it will be. I feel myself
"I do not know whether— Nay, I will tell groping in the twilight, and any step may it all, Cleon. Two weeks ago, before I had bring me either into bright sunlight or carry left Rome, I passed your house upon the me back to darkness. Well, once again, Aventine Hill, and, as I gazed up, the bust of farewell. Whatever happens, do you, Cayour ancestor fell, seemingly of its own millus, think of me as one who loved you accord, from over the doorway. What always as himself.” should this portend, if not the ruin of your
With that he threw his arms about the family?"
page and pressed him to his heart; and then, “A simple matter, after all," responded gliding past the inattentive sentinel, began Cleon, though with some difficulty gather- the descent of the mountain.
Leonard Kip. (CONTINUED IN NEXT NUMBER.]
He could not be among those mighty men,
The Argonauts--their poem was the State;
Their hands were wed to pick and pan, and fate
The way was easy through the Golden Gate,
The glories of the western land relate;
We cannot love the old and new the same.
But from her children one shall rise ere long
To make her birds and flowers known to fame,
Charles S. Greene,