Chapter XIV: The Battle of Lake Trasimene

The battle of Trebia cost Malchus the loss of his father. It was against the portion of the force headed by Hamilcar that the Romans, who cut their way through the circle of foes which Hannibal had thrown round them, flung themselves. Hamilcar had in vain attempted to stem the torrent. Surrounded by his bravest officers, he had cast himself in the way of the Roman legion; but nothing could withstand the rush of the heavy armed spearmen, who, knowing that all was lost, and that their only hope was in cutting their way through the Carthaginians, pressed forward, shoulder to shoulder, and swept aside the opposition of their more lightly armed foes. Hamilcar and most of his officers fell, striving to the last to stem the current.

It was a grievous blow to Malchus, when, as he was exulting in the great victory which had been gained, the news came to him that his father had fallen. Hamilcar was very dear to him. He had been his companion and his friend, his guide and adviser. He had encouraged him in his aspirations, and had from his earliest years urged him to make the sacrifices and exertions necessary to qualify him to bear a prominent part under his cousin Hannibal.

He had been his tutor in arms, and had striven to inspire him with the noblest sentiments. Since they had reached Spain he had seen less of him than before, for Hamilcar felt that it was best for his son to depend upon himself alone. He was proud of the name which Malchus was already winning for himself, and knew that it was better for him that his advancement should be considered due to his own exertions and gallantry and not to the influence of his father.

When, however, they were thrown together, their relations were unchanged. Malchus was as affectionate, as respectful, and as eager to listen to his father's advice, as he had been as a boy, while Hamilcar was glad in the society of his son to forget the cares and toils of the expedition in which they had embarked and to talk of the dear ones at home.

It was only three days before the battle that they had rejoiced together over the news which had reached them by a messenger from Gaul that Thyra had married Adherbal, and had immediately set out with him for Carthagena, where Adherbal had been offered a command by Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal, the governor of Spain, in his absence.

Father and son had rejoiced at this for several reasons. Hanno's faction had now gained the upper hand, and the friends of Hannibal were subjected to persecution of all kinds. The very life of Adherbal as a prominent member of the Barcine party had been menaced. And it was only by embarking secretly for Spain that he had succeeded in avoiding arrest. The property of many of Hannibal's friends had been confiscated. Several had been put to death under one pretext or another, and although Hamilcar did not think that Hanno's faction would venture to bring forward any accusation against him while he was fighting the battles of his country, he experienced a sense of relief at the knowledge that, should the worst happen, his wife and Anna would find a refuge and asylum with Adherbal in Spain. Hamilcar and Malchus had discussed the matter long and seriously, and had talked, Hamilcar with sorrow, Malchus with indignation and rage, of the state of Carthage.

"It makes one hate one's country," Malchus exclaimed passionately, "when one hears of these things. You taught me to love Carthage, father, and to be proud of her. How can one be proud of a country so misgoverned, so corrupt, so base as this? Of what use are sacrifices and efforts here, when at home they think of nothing but luxury and ease and the making of money, when the best and bravest of the Carthaginians are disgraced and dishonoured, and the people bow before these men whose wealth has been gained solely by corruption and robbery? It makes one wish one had been born a Roman."

"Did not one hope that a better time would come, Malchus, when Carthage will emancipate herself from the rule of men like Hanno and his corrupt friends, I should, indeed, despair of her, for even the genius of Hannibal and the valour of his troops cannot avail alone to carry to a successful conclusion a struggle between such a state as Carthage now is and a vigourous, patriotic, and self-reliant people like those of Rome.

"We may win battles, but, however great the victories may be, we can never succeed in the long run against the power of Rome unless Carthage proves true to herself. Our army is not a large one. Rome and her Latin allies can, if need be, put ten such in the field. If Carthage at this crisis of her fate proves worthy of the occasion, if she by a great effort again wins the sovereignty of the sea, and sends over armies to support us in our struggle, we may in the end triumph. If not, glorious as may be our success for a time, we are in the end doomed to failure, and our failure will assuredly involve the final destruction of Carthage.

"Rome will not be slow to profit by the lesson which Hannibal is teaching her. His genius perceives that only by striking at Rome in Italy could a vital blow be given to her. The Romans in turn will perceive that only by an invasion of Africa can Carthage be humbled. Her task will then be far easier than ours is now, for not only is Rome fresh, strong, and vigourous, but she has had the wisdom to bind the Latin peoples around her closely to her by bestowing upon them the rights of citizenship, by making them feel that her cause is theirs.

"Upon the other hand, Carthage has throughout her history been paving the way for her fall. She fights, but it is with foreign mercenaries. She stamps under foot the people she has conquered, and while her tax collectors grind them to the earth, and she forces them to send their sons to fight her battles, she gives them no share in her privileges, no voice in her councils.

"I had hoped, Malchus, that at such a moment as this faction would have been silent at Carthage, and a feeling of patriotism would once again have asserted itself. I find that it is not so, and my heart sinks for my country. Were it not for my wife and family, Malchus, I would gladly die in the coming battle."

The words recurred to Malchus as he sat in his tent by the side of his father's body on the night after the battle of the Trebia, and a deep bitterness mingled with his sorrow.

"Giscon was right," he exclaimed. "All means are justifiable to rid one's country of those who are destroying her. It makes one mad to think that while men like my father are fighting and dying for their country, the tribunes of the democracy, who fatten on our spoils, are plotting against them at home. Henceforth, I fight not as a Carthaginian, but as a soldier of Hannibal, and will aid him in his endeavour to humble Rome; not that Carthage, with her blood stained altars, her corrupt officials, and her indolent population, may continue to exist, but that these manly and valiant Gauls who have thrown in their lot with us may live free and independent of the yoke of Rome. These people are rude and primitive, but their simple virtues, their love of freedom, their readiness to die rather than to be slaves, put the sham patriotism of Carthage to shame."

When the army went into winter quarters, and Hannibal dismissed his Gaulish allies, with many rich presents, to their homes, Malchus obtained leave from Hannibal to depart with Allobrigius -- the chief of the Insubrian tribe living on the Orcus -- who had, with his fighting men, accompanied Hannibal through the campaign. The chief's wife and daughters had returned after seeing the army across the Po. Malchus had sought the society of his late host during the campaign, had often ridden beside him on the march, and had spent the evening in his tent talking either of the civilization of Carthage, which seemed wonderful indeed to the simple Gaulish chieftain, or of the campaign on which they were engaged.

Malchus had by this time mastered the differences between the dialect of the Cisalpine Gauls and that of those in Gaul itself and Iberia, with which he was already acquainted. The chief was gratified by the friendship of Hannibal's kinsman, and liked the frank simplicity of his manner. He had laughed loudly when his wife had told him how Malchus had leaped from the bridge to save the life of Clotilde when she fell into the river. But the act had proved that Malchus was grateful for the kindness which had been shown him, and had cemented the friendship between them. Therefore, when the campaign came to a close, he had offered a hearty invitation to Malchus to spend the time, until the army should again assemble, with him in his village on the banks of the Orcus. Hannibal had smiled when Malchus had asked for leave of absence.

"Those daughters of the chief whom you presented to me on the day when we crossed the Po are the fairest I have seen in Gaul. Malchus, are you thinking of keeping up the traditions of our family? My father wedded all my sisters, as you know, to native princes in Africa, and I took an Iberian maiden as my wife. It would be in every way politic and to be desired that one so nearly related to me as yourself should form an alliance by marriage with one of these Gaulish chiefs."

Malchus laughed somewhat confusedly.

"It will be time to talk about marriage some years hence, Hannibal; I am scarce twenty yet, and she is but a girl."

"Oh! there is a she in the case," Hannibal laughed; "and my arrow drawn at a venture has struck home. Ah! yes, there were three of them, two tall and stately maidens and one still a slim and unformed girl. Indeed, I remember now having heard that you lost your armour and helmet in jumping off the bridge across the Po to fish out one of the daughters of Allobrigius, who turned out to be able to swim much better than you could. I had a hearty laugh over it with your poor father, but with the Romans at Piacenza and a great battle before us the matter passed from my mind. So that is how the wind lies. Well, as you say, you are both young, and there is no saying what the next two or three years may bring forth. However, bear in mind that such an alliance would please me much, and remember also that the Gaulish maidens marry young, and in times like ours, Malchus, it is never well to delay long."

Malchus took with him Nessus, who had, from the day when they escaped together from Scipio's camp, been always near his person, had carried his helmet on the line of march, slept next to him by the campfire, and fought by his side in battle, ready at any moment to give his life to avert harm from his leader.

The return of Allobrigius and his tribesmen was celebrated by great rejoicings on the Orcus. The women and old men and boys met them some miles from the village, raising loud cries of welcome and triumph as they returned from their successful campaign against their former oppressors. Among no people were family ties held more precious than among the Gauls, and the rough military order which the tribesmen had preserved upon their march was at once broken up when the two parties met.

Wives rushed into the arms of husbands, mothers embraced their sons, girls hung on the necks of their fathers and brothers. There was nothing to mar the joy of the meeting, for messengers had from time to time carried news from the army to the village, and the women who had lost those dearest to them in the campaign remained behind in the village, so that their mourning should not mar the brightness of the return of the tribe.

Brunilda, the wife of the chief, stood with her daughters a little apart from the crowd on a rising knoll of ground, and the chief, who was mounted upon a horse taken from the Romans at the Trebia, spurred forward towards them, while Malchus hung behind to let the first greeting pass over before he joined the family circle. He had, however, been noticed, and Clotilde's cheeks were colouring hotly when her father rode up, from some laughing remark from her sisters. Brunilda received Malchus cordially, saying that she had often heard of him in the messages sent by her husband.

"He has come to stop the winter with us," Allobrigius said. "I promised him a warm welcome, and he needs rest and quiet, as do we all, for it has been hard work even to seasoned men like us. What with snow and rain I have scarcely been dry since I left you."

"That would not matter to the young Carthaginian lord," the eldest girl said with a smile; "we know that he rather likes getting wet, don't we, Clotilde?" she said, turning to her sister, who was, contrary to her usual custom, standing shyly behind her.

"I am afraid I shall never hear the last of that," Malchus laughed; "I can only say that I meant well."

"Of course you did," Allobrigius said; "you could not know that our Gaulish maidens could swim and march, and, if necessary, fight as stoutly as the men. The Romans before now have learned that, in the absence of the men from the camp, the women of Gaul can fight desperately for country, and home, and honour. Do not let yourself be troubled by what these wild girls say, my lord Malchus; you know our Gaulish women are free of tongue, and hold not their men in such awe and deference as is the custom among other nations."

"I am accustomed to be laughed at," Malchus said smiling; "I have two sisters at home, and, whatever respect women may pay to their lords in Carthage, I suppose that neither there nor anywhere else have girls respect for their brothers."

The music at this moment struck up, the harpers began a song which they had composed in honour of the occasion, the tribesmen fell into their ranks again, and Allobrigius placed himself at their head. Malchus dismounted, and, leading his horse, walked by the side of Brunilda, who, with the rest of the women, walked on the flanks of the column on its way back to the village.

The next three months passed very pleasantly to Malchus. In the day he hunted the boar, the bear, and the wolf among the mountains with Allobrigius; of an evening he sat by the fire and listened to the songs of the harpers or to the tales of the wars and wanderings of the Gaulish tribes, or himself told the story of Carthage and Tyre and the wars of the former with the Romans, described the life and manners of the great city, or the hunting of the lion in the Libyan deserts.

While his listeners wondered at the complex life and strange arts and magnificence of Carthage, Malchus was struck with the simple existence, the warm family ties, the honest sincerity, and the deep love of freedom of the Gauls. When Brunilda and her daughter sighed with envy at the thought of the luxuries and pleasures of the great city, he told them that they would soon weary of so artificial an existence, and that Carthage, with its corruption, its ever present dread of the rising of one class against another, its constant fear of revolt from the people it had enslaved, its secret tribunals, its oppression and tyranny, had little which need be envied by the free tribes of Gaul.

"I grant," he said, "that you would gain greater comfort by adopting something of our civilization. You might improve your dwellings, hangings round your walls would keep out the bitter winds, well made doors are in winter very preferable to the skins which hang at your entrance, and I do think that a Carthaginian cook might, with advantage, give lessons to the tribes as to preparations of food; but beyond that I think that you have the best of it."

"The well built houses you speak of," Allobrigius said, "have their advantages, but they have their drawbacks. A people who once settle down into permanent abodes have taken the first step towards losing their freedom. Look at all the large towns in the plains; until lately each of them held a Roman garrison. In the first place, they offer an incentive to the attack of a covetous foe; in the second, they bind their owners to them. The inhabitants of a town cling to their houses and possessions, and, if conquered, become mere slaves to their captors; we who live in dwellings which cost but a few weeks of work, whose worldly goods are the work of our own hands, or the products of the chase, should never be conquered; we may be beaten, but if so, we can retire before our enemies and live in freedom in the forest or mountains, or travel beyond the reach of our foes.

"Had not your army come and freed us from Rome I was already meditating moving with my tribe across the great mountains to the north and settling among Brunilda's people in the German forests, far beyond the reach of Rome. What though, as she tells me, the winters are long and severe, the people ignorant of many of the comforts which we have adopted from our neighbours; at least we should be free, and of all blessings none is to compare with that."

"I agree with you," Malchus said, thinking of the plots and conspiracies, the secret denunciations, the tyranny and corruption of Carthage, "it is good to be great, but it is better to be free. However," he added more cheerfully, "I trust that we are going to free you from all future fear of Rome, and that you will be able to enjoy your liberty here without having to remove to the dark forests and long winter of the country north of the Alps."

So passed the winter. Early in the spring a messenger arrived from Hannibal bidding Malchus rejoin him, and calling upon Allobrigius to prepare to take the field against the Romans. Similar messages had been sent to all the Gaulish tribes friendly to Carthage, and early in March Hannibal prepared to cross the Apennines and to advance against Rome.

The position occupied by the two Roman armies barred the only two roads by which it was believed that Hannibal could march upon Rome, but as soon as the spring commenced Hannibal started by a path, hitherto untrodden by troops, across the Apennines. In the march the troops suffered even greater hardships than those which they had undergone in the passage of the Alps, for during four days and three nights they marched knee deep in water, unable for a single moment to lie down.

While ever moving backwards and forwards among his men to encourage them with his presence and words, even the iron frame of Hannibal gave way under the terrible hardships. The long continued strain, the want of sleep, and the obnoxious miasma from the marshes, brought on a fever and cost him the sight of one of his eyes. Of all the elephants but one survived the march, and it was with an army as worn out and exhausted as that which had issued from the Alps that he descended into the fertile plains of Tuscany, near Fiesole.

The army of Flaminius, 30,000 strong, was still lying at Arezzo, on his direct road south, and it was with this only that Hannibal had now to deal, the force of Servilius being still far away at Rimini. His own army was some 35,000 strong, and crossing the Upper Arno near Florence, Hannibal marched towards Arezzo. Flaminius, as soon as he had heard that Hannibal was ascending the slopes of the Apennines, had sent to Servilius to join him, but the latter, alleging that he feared an invasion by the Gaulish tribes on the north, refused to move, but sent four thousand cavalry to Flaminius. This brought the armies to nearly equal strength, but, although Hannibal marched his troops within sight of Arezzo, Flaminius would not issue from his camp to attack him.

He knew that Hannibal had defeated a force of tried troops, much exceeding his own in numbers, in the north, and that he would therefore probably be successful against one which scarcely equalled his own. He hoped, too, that Hannibal would attack him in his intrenched position. This the Carthaginian general had no intention of doing, but, leaving the camp behind him, marched on, plundering and ravaging the country towards Rome. Flaminius at once broke up his camp and followed on his track, preparing to take any opportunity which might occur to fall upon the Carthaginians, and knowing that the senate would at once call up the army of Servilius to assist him.

Hannibal, by means of scouts left in his rear, found that Flaminius was marching on with his troops in solid column, taking no precaution against surprise, secure in the belief that Hannibal's object was to march on Rome without a stop. The Carthaginian general prepared at once to take advantage of his enemy's carelessness. He halted his troops at Cortona. The road by which he had passed wound along the shore of Lake Trasimene, at the foot of a range of steep hills, which approached closely to the water.

Half way along these hills a stream runs down a valley into the lake, and in the valley, completely hidden from the sight of an enemy approaching, Hannibal placed the Numidian cavalry and the Gaulish infantry. Among some woods clothing the lower slope of the hills facing the lake he placed his light troops, while the Spanish and African infantry and the Gaulish cavalry were similarly hidden on the outer slopes of the hill in readiness to close in on the rear of the Romans when they had entered on the road between the hills and the lake.

No better position could have been chosen for a surprise. When once the Romans had entered the path between the hills and the lake there was no escape for them. They were shut up between the wood clad hills swarming with the Carthaginian light troops and the lake, while the heavy infantry and cavalry of Hannibal were ready to fall on them front and rear.

When Flaminius arrived at Cortona late at night he heard of the ravages and executions committed by the Carthaginians, as they had passed through early in the morning, and resolved to press forward at daybreak in hopes of finding some opportunity for falling upon and punishing them. When day broke it seemed favourable to his design, for a thick mist was rising from the lake and marshes. This, he thought, would conceal his advance from the Carthaginians, while, as the high ground ahead rose above the mist, he would be enabled to see their position. He pushed forward then rapidly, thinking that he should be able to overtake the rear of the Carthaginian army as it moved slowly along encumbered with its plunder.

As he neared the entrance to the pass he caught sight of the heavy armed Carthaginians on the distant hill above the level of the mist, and believing that his own movements were hidden from the enemy, pushed forward as fast as the infantry could march. But the moment the rear of his column had entered the narrow flat between the foot of the hills and the lake, the Numidians quietly moved down and closed the pass behind them, while Hannibal with his heavy infantry descended from the farther hill to confront him. When all was ready he gave the signal, and at once in front, on their right flank, and on their rear the Carthaginians fell upon them.

The light troops heralded their attack by rolling a vast quantity of rocks down the hill on the long column, and then, pressing down through the woods, poured their arrows and javelins into the struggling mass.

Taken wholly by surprise, unable to advance or retreat, desperate at finding themselves thus caught in a trap, the Romans fought bravely but in vain. An earthquake shook the ground on which the terrible fight was going on; but not for a moment did it interrupt the struggle. For three hours the Romans, although suffering terribly, still fought on; then Flaminius was killed, and from that time they thought only of escape. But this was next to impossible. Six thousand only cut their way out. Fifteen thousand fell, and nine thousand were taken prisoners.

As soon as the battle was over Hannibal despatched Maharbal with his division of the army in pursuit of the six thousand who had escaped, and, overtaking them next morning at Perugia, Maharbal forced them to surrender. At the same time he detached a strong force against the four thousand horsemen, whom Servilius had despatched from Rimini to aid his colleague, and the whole of these were surrounded and taken prisoners. Thus of the Roman army, thirty-six thousand strong, not a single man escaped.

In all history there is no record of so great and successful a surprise. Hannibal retained as prisoners the Roman citizens and Latins, but released the rest of the captives, telling them that, far from being their enemy, he had invaded Italy for the purpose of liberating its helpless people from the tyranny of the Roman domination. The loss to the Carthaginians in the battle of Lake Trasimene was only fifteen hundred men.

Hannibal has been blamed for not advancing against Rome after the battle of Lake Trasimene; but he knew that he could not hope to subdue that city so long as she was surrounded by faithful allies. His army was numerically insufficient to undertake such a siege, and was destitute of the machines for battering the walls. Rome was still defended by the city legions, besides which every man capable of bearing arms was a soldier. The bitter hostility of the Latins would have rendered it difficult in the extreme for the army to have obtained provisions while carrying on the siege, while in its rear, waiting for an opportunity to attack, would have lain the army of Servilius, thirty thousand strong, and growing daily more numerous as the friends and allies of Rome flocked to its banners.

Hannibal saw that to undertake such an enterprise at present would be ruin. His course was clear. He had to beat the armies which Rome could put into the field; to shake the confidence of the Italian tribes in the power of Rome; to subsist his army upon their territories, and so gradually to detach them from their alliance with Rome. He hoped that, by the time this work was finished, Carthage would send another great army to his assistance provided with siege materials, and he would then be able to undertake with confidence the great task of striking a vital blow at Rome herself.

"Malchus," Hannibal said one day, "I wish you to ride north. The tribes at the foot of the hills promised to aid us, but have so far done nothing. If they would pour down to the plains now they would occupy the tribes friendly to the Romans, and would prevent them from sending men and stores to them. They sent me a message a month ago, saying that they were still willing to help us, and I then replied that I had been long waiting to hear that they had risen, and urged them to do so without loss of time. I have not heard since, and fear that the Roman agents have, by promises of money and privileges, prevailed upon them to keep quiet. It is a service of danger; for if they have been bought over they may seize you and send you in token of their goodwill as a prisoner to Rome; but I know that will not deter you."

"I am ready to go," Malchus said, "and will start today. What force shall I take with me, and which of the chiefs shall I first see?"

"You had best go first to Ostragarth. He is the most powerful of the chiefs on this side of the Apennines. You can select from the treasury such presents as you may choose for him and the others. You can promise them large grants of the land of the tribes aiding the Romans, together with a share in the plunder of the cities. I leave you quite free. In those respects you will be guided by what you see they want; but any promises you may make I will ratify. As to men I should not take a large escort. Force will, of course, be of no avail, and the appearance of a large number of troops might alarm them at once. Twenty men will be sufficient for dignity, and as a protection against any small bodies of the hostile tribesmen you may meet on your way; but have no frays if you can avoid it. The mission is an important one, and its success should not be risked merely to defeat a body of tribesmen. Go in your handsomest armour, and make as brave a show as you can, as my ambassador and kinsman. Take twenty of the Carthaginian horse; they will impose more upon the barbarians than would the Libyans or Numidians. Take your friend Trebon as their commander and a companion for yourself."

In two hours Malchus and his escort were ready to start. As their journey would be rapid they carried no stores with them, save three days' provisions, which each man carried at his saddlebow, and a bag containing a few feeds of corn for the horse. They took with them, however, two baggage horses laden with arms, armour, garments, and other presents for the chiefs.

They passed rapidly across the country, meeting with no hostile parties, for the raids of Hannibal's light armed horse had so terrified the people that the villages were for the most part deserted, the inhabitants having sought refuge in the fortified towns. After two days' brisk riding they arrived at the foot of the hills, and their progress was now slower. The village of Ostragarth lay far up among them, and, being ignorant of the direction, Malchus broke the troop up into parties of four, and sent them up different valleys with orders to capture the first native they came across, and oblige him either by threats or promises to act as a guide to the stronghold of the chief.

"I sincerely trust that this barbarian is friendly, Malchus, for the country looks wild and difficult in the extreme, and the forests which clothe these hills are thick and tangled. On the plain we can laugh at the natives, however numerous, and with twenty men I would charge a thousand of them; but among these hills it is different, one cannot find a level spot for a charge, and, if it comes to running, the mountaineers are as fleet as a horse on the broken ground of their hills."

"I agree with you, Trebon, that it would go hard with us, and that the utmost we could hope for would be a visit to Rome as captives. Still, these chiefs all offered alliance to Hannibal as he went south, and the success which has attended us should surely bind them to our interests. They are ever willing to join the winning side, and so far fortune has been wholly with us."

"That is so, Malchus, but then they see that the tribes of the plains still hold aloof from us and pin their faith on Rome. They must know that we are receiving no reinforcements to fill the gaps made in battle, and may well fear to provoke the anger of Rome by taking part with us before our success is, as they consider, absolutely secure."

"On the same grounds then, Trebon, they will be equally unwilling to offend us by any hostility until the scale is decidedly weighed down against us. Hannibal's anger might be as terrible as that of the Romans."

"There is something in that, Malchus, but not so much as you think. If Rome wins, Rome will have ample time and ample power, with the aid of all her native allies, to punish any who may have declared against her. On the other hand, should Carthage triumph, they may consider it probable that we should sack and burn Rome and then retire, or that if we remain there will be so much to arrange, so many tribes in the plains to subjugate and pacify, that we shall be little likely to undertake expeditions in the mountains. Therefore, you see, prudent men would decide for Rome. Could we have marched straight on after the victory at Lake Trasimene and have captured Rome, all these mountain tribes would have taken the opportunity to pour down into the plains to plunder and slay under the pretence of being our allies."

It was not until nightfall that the five parties returned to the spot where they had left their leaders. Three of them had been entirely unsuccessful, but the other two had each brought in a native. These men looked sullen and obstinate, and it was not until Malchus had ordered a halter to be placed round their necks and threatened them with instant death that they consented to act as guides.

A vigilant watch was kept over them all night, and at daybreak next morning the party started. For some miles they rode along at the foot of the mountains, and then entered a valley up which a little used track ran. The men upon being questioned intimated that it was several hours' journey to the village of the chief of whom they were in search.

This, indeed, proved to be the case, for it was not till the afternoon, after many hours' weary journey up gorges and through mountain valleys, that they arrived within sight of the village of Ostragarth. It was situated on one side of the valley, and consisted of huts surrounded by a rough stone wall of such height that only the tops of the circular roofs were visible above it. A loud shrill cry was heard as they came in sight, a cow horn was blown in the village, and instantly men could be seen running in. Others, engaged in tending flocks of goats high up on the mountain side, left their charges and began to hurry down.