Chapter XXII: The Lion
 

Malchus was sleeping soundly that night when he was awakened by a low angry sound from the lion.

He looked up, and saw by the faint light of a lamp which burned in the hall, from which the niche like bed chambers of the principal slaves opened, that the animal had risen to its feet. Knowing that, docile as it was with those it knew, the lion objected to strangers, the thought occurred to him that some midnight thief had entered the house for the purpose of robbery. Malchus took his staff and sallied out, the lion walking beside him.

He traversed the hall and went from room to room until he entered the portion of the house inhabited by Flavia and the female slaves. Here he would have hesitated, but the lion continued its way, crouching as it walked, with its tail beating its sides with short quick strokes.

There was no one in the principal apartment. He entered the corridor, from which as he knew issued the bed chambers of the slaves. Here he stopped in sudden surprise at seeing a woman holding a light, while two men were issuing from one of the apartments bearing between them a body wrapped up in a cloak. Sempronius stood by the men directing their movements. The face of the person carried was invisible, but the light of the lamp fell upon a mass of golden brown hair, and Malchus knew at once that it was Clotilde who was being carried off.

Malchus sprang forward and with a blow of his staff levelled one of the slaves to the ground; Sempronius with a furious exclamation drew his sword and rushed at him, while the other slave, dropping his burden, closed with Malchus and threw his arms around him. For a moment Malchus felt powerless, but before Sempronius could strike there was a deep roar, a dark body sprang forward and hurled itself upon him, levelling him to the ground with a crushing blow of its paw, and then seized him by the shoulder and shook him violently. The slave who held Malchus loosed his hold and fled with a cry of affright, the female slave dropped the light and fled also. Clotilde had by this time gained her feet.

"Quick, love!" Malchus said; "seize your disguise and join me at the back gate. Sempronius is killed; I will join you as quickly as I can."

By this time the household was alarmed, the shout of Malchus and the roar of the lion had aroused everyone, and the slaves soon came hurrying with lights to the spot. Malchus checked them as they came running out.

"Fetch the net," he said. The net in question had been procured after the lion had before made an attack upon the slave, but had not since been required.

Malchus dared not approach the creature now, for though he was not afraid for himself, it was now furious, and might, if disturbed, rush among the others and do terrible destruction before it could be secured. The net was quickly brought, and Malchus, with three of the most resolute of the slaves, advanced and threw it over the lion, which was lying upon the prostrate body of Sempronius. It sprang to its feet, but the net was round it, and in its struggle to escape it fell on its side. Another twist of the net and it was helplessly inclosed; the four men lifted the ends and carried it away. Cutting a portion of the net Malchus placed the massive iron collar attached to the chain round its neck and then left it, saying to the others:

"We can cut the rest of the net off it afterwards."

He then hurried back to the scene of the struggle. Flavia was already there.

"What is all this, Malchus," she asked. "Here I find Sempronius dead and one of his slaves senseless beside him; they tell me when he first arrived you were here."

"I know nothing of it, lady," Malchus replied, "save that the lion aroused me by growling, and thinking that robbers might have entered the house, I arose and searched it and came upon three men. One I levelled to the ground with my staff; doubtless he is only stunned and will be able to tell you more when he recovers. I grappled with another, and while engaged in a struggle with him the third attacked me with a sword, and would have slain me had not the lion sprang upon him and felled him. The other man then fled -- this is all I know about it."

"What can it all mean?" Flavia said. "What could Sempronius with two slaves be doing in my house after midnight? It is a grave outrage, and there will be a terrible scandal in Rome tomorrow -- the son of a praetor and a friend of the house!"

She then ordered the slaves to raise the body of Sempronius and carry it to a couch, and to send at once for a leech. She also bade them throw water on the slave and bring him to consciousness, and then to bring him before her to be questioned.

"Where is my daughter?" she said suddenly; "has she not been roused by all this stir?" One of the female slaves stole into Julia's apartment, and returned saying that her mistress was sound asleep on her couch.

An expression of doubt crossed Flavia's face, but she only said, "Do not disturb her," and then thoughtfully returned to her room. It was not until an hour later that the prisoner was sufficiently recovered to be brought before Flavia. He had already heard that his master was killed, and, knowing that concealment would be useless, he threw himself on the ground before Flavia, and owned that he and another slave had been brought by Sempronius to carry off a slave girl.

Acting on his instructions they had thrust a kerchief into her mouth, and wrapped a cloak round her, and were carrying her off when a man rushed at him, and he supposed struck him, for he remembered nothing more. He then with many tears implored mercy, on the ground that he was acting but on his master's orders. At this moment the praetor himself arrived, Flavia having sent for him immediately she had ascertained that Sempronius was dead. He was confused and bewildered at the suddenness of his loss.

"I thought at first," Flavia said, "that he must have been engaged in some wild scheme to carry off Julia, though why he should do so I could not imagine, seeing that he had my approval of his wooing; but Julia is asleep, not having been a wakened by the noise of the scuffle. It must have been one of the slave girls."

"Ah!" she exclaimed suddenly. "I did not see Clotilde." She struck a bell, and her attendant entered.

"Go," she said, "and summon Clotilde here."

In a few minutes the slave returned, saying that Clotilde was not to be found.

"She may have been carried off by the other slave," Flavia said, "but Malchus was there, and would have pursued. Fetch him here."

But Malchus too was found to be missing.

"They must have fled together," Flavia said. "There was an understanding between them. Doubtless Malchus feared that this affair with your son might cause him to be taken away from here. Perhaps it is best so, and I trust that they may get away, though I fear there is little chance, since no slaves are allowed to leave the city without a pass, and even did they succeed in gaining the open country they would be arrested and brought back by the first person who met them. But that is not the question for the present."

"What think you, my friend, what are we to do in this terrible business?"

"I know not," the praetor said with a groan.

"The honour of both our families is concerned," Flavia said calmly. "Your son has been found in my house at night and slain by my lion. All the world knows that he was a suitor for Julia's hand. There's but one thing to be done; the matter must be kept secret. It would not do to try and remove Sempronius tonight, for the litter might be stopped by the watch; it must be taken boldly away in daylight. Send four slaves whom you can trust, and order them to be silent on pain of death. I will tell my household that if a word is breathed of what has taken place tonight, I will hand whoever disobeys me over to the executioners. When you have got your son's body home you can spread a rumour that he is sick of the fever. There will be no difficulty in bribing the leech. Then in a few days you will give out that he is dead, and none will be any the wiser."

The praetor agreed that this was the best plan that could be adopted, and it was carried out in due course, and so well was the secret kept that no one in Rome ever doubted that Sempronius had fallen a victim to fever.

Julia's anger in the morning, when she heard that the Gaulish slave girl and the Carthaginian were missing, was great, and she hurried to her mother's room to demand that a hue and cry should be at once made for them, and a reward offered for their apprehension. She had, when informed of the scenes which had taken place in the night, and of the death of Sempronius, expressed great astonishment and horror, and indeed the news that her accomplice had been killed had really shocked her. The sentiment, however, had faded to insignificance in the anger which she felt when, as the narrative continued, she heard of the escape of the two slaves.

A stormy scene took place between her and her mother, Julia boldly avowing that she was the author of the scheme which had had so fatal a termination. Flavia, in her indignation at her daughter's conduct, sent her away at once to a small summer retreat belonging to her in the hills, and there she was kept for some months in strict seclusion under the watchful guardianship of some old and trusted slaves.

Malchus, having seen the lion fastened up, had seized the bundle containing his disguise, and hurried away to the gate where Clotilde was awaiting him.

"How long you have been!" she said with a gasp of relief.

"I could not get away until the lion was secured," he said, "for I should have been instantly missed. Now we will be off at once." Both had thrown large dark cloaks over their garments, and they now hurried along through the deserted streets, occasionally drawing aside into bylanes as they heard the tramp of the city watch.

At last, after half an hour's walking, they reached the wall. Malchus knew the exact spot where he had hidden the rope, and had no difficulty in finding it. They mounted the steps and stood on the battlements. The sentries were far apart, for no enemy was in the neighbourhood of Rome. Malchus fastened the rope round Clotilde, and lowered her down over the battlements. When he found that she had reached the ground he made fast the end of the rope and slid down till he stood beside her. They proceeded with the utmost caution until at some distance from the walls; and then shaped their course until, after a long walk, they came down upon the Tiber below the city.

Day had by this time broken, and Malchus bade Clotilde enter a little wood to change her garments and dye her skin. He then proceeded to do the same, and rolling up the clothes he had taken off, hid them under a bush. Clotilde soon joined him again. She wore the dress of a peasant boy, consisting of a tunic of rough cloth reaching to her knees. Her limbs, face, and neck were dyed a sunny brown, and her hair, which was cut quite short, was blackened. Dyes were largely in use by Roman ladies, and Malchus had had no difficulty in procuring those necessary for their disguises.

"I don't think anyone would suspect you, Clotilde," he said; "even I should pass you without notice. What a pity you have had to part with all your sunny hair!"

"It will soon grow again," she said; "and now, Malchus, do not let us waste a moment. I am in terror while those dark walls are in sight."

"We shall soon leave them behind," Malchus said encouragingly. "There are plenty of fishermen's boats moored along the bank here. We shall soon leave Rome behind us."

They stepped into a boat, loosened the moorings, and pushed off, and Malchus, getting out the oars, rowed steadily down the river until they neared its mouth. Then they landed, pushed the boat into the stream again, lest, if it were found fastened up, it might give a clue to any who were in pursuit of them, and then struck off into the country. After travelling some miles they turned into a wood, where they lay down for several hours, and did not resume their course until nightfall.

Malchus had, before starting, entered the kitchen, and had filled a bag with cold meat, oatmeal cakes, and other food, and this, when examined, proved ample for four days' supply, and he had, therefore, no occasion to enter the villages to buy provisions. They kept by the seashore until they neared Terracina, and then took to the hills, and skirted these until they had left the state of Latium. They kept along at the foot of the great range which forms the backbone of Italy, and so passing along Samnium, came down upon the Volturnus, having thus avoided the Roman army, which lay between Capua and Rome.

Their journey had been a rough one, for, by the winding road they had followed along the mountains, the distance they traversed was over one hundred miles. The fatigue had been great, and it was well that Clotilde had had a Gaulish training. After their provisions were exhausted they had subsisted upon corn which they gathered in the patches of cultivated ground near the mountain villages, and upon fruits which they picked in the woods.

Twice, too, they had come upon herds of half wild goats in the mountains, and Malchus had succeeded in knocking down a kid with a stone. They had not made very long journeys, resting always for a few hours in the heat of the day, and it was ten days after they had left Rome before, from an eminence, they saw the walls of Capua.

"How can I go in like this?" Clotilde exclaimed in a sudden fit of shyness.

"We will wait until it is dusk," Malchus said; "the dye is fast wearing off, and your arms are strangely white for a peasant girl's. I will take you straight to Hannibal's palace, and you will soon be fitted out gorgeously. There are spoils enough stored up to clothe all the women of Rome."

They sat down in the shade of a clump of trees, and waited till the heat of the day was past; then they rose and walked on until, after darkness had fallen, they entered the town of Capua. They had no difficulty in discovering the palace where Hannibal was lodged. They were stopped at the entrance by the guards, who gave a cry of surprise and pleasure when Malchus revealed himself. At first they could hardly credit that, in the dark skinned peasant, their own commander stood before them, and as the news spread rapidly the officers of the corps ran down and saluted him with a joyous greeting. While this was going on Clotilde shrank back out of the crowd.

As soon as he could extricate himself from his comrades, Malchus joined her, and led her to Hannibal, who, hearing the unusual stir, was issuing from his apartment to see what had occasioned it. The shouts of "Long live Malchus!" which rose from the soldiers informed him of what had happened, and he at once recognized his kinsman in the figure advancing to meet him.

"My dear Malchus," he exclaimed, "this is a joyous surprise. I have been in vain endeavouring to get you out of the hands of the Romans, but they were obstinate in refusing an exchange; but knowing your adroitness, I have never given up hopes of seeing you appear some day among us. But whom have you here?" he asked as he re-entered his room accompanied by Malchus and his companion.

"This is Clotilde, daughter of Allobrigius, the chief of the Orcan tribe," Malchus replied, "and my affianced wife. Her father has been defeated and killed by Postumius, and she was carried as a slave to Rome. There good fortune and the gods threw us together, and I have managed to bring her with me."

"I remember you, of course," Hannibal said to the girl, "and that I joked my young kinsman about you. This is well, indeed; but we must see at once about providing you with proper garments. There are no females in my palace, but I will send at once for Chalcus, who is now captain of my guard, and who has married here in Capua, and beg him to bring hither his wife; she will l am sure take charge of you, and furnish you with garments."

Clotilde was soon handed over to the care of the Italian lady, and Malchus then proceeded to relate to Hannibal the various incidents which had occurred since he had sailed from Capua for Sardinia. He learned in return that the mission of Mago to Carthage had been unsuccessful. He had brought over a small reinforcement of cavalry and elephants, which had landed in Bruttium and had safely joined the army; but this only repaired a few of the many gaps made by the war, and was useless to enable Hannibal to carry out his great purpose.

"Hanno's influence was too strong," Hannibal said, "and I foresee that sooner or later the end must come. I may hold out for years here in Southern Italy, but unless Carthage rises from her lethargy, I must finally be overpowered."

"It seems to me," Malchus said, "that the only hope is in rousing the Gauls to invade Italy from the north."

"I know nothing of what is passing there," Hannibal said; "but it is clear from the disaster which has befallen our friends the Orcans that the Romans are more than holding their own north of the Apennines. Still, if a diversion could be made it would be useful. I suppose you are desirous of taking your bride back to her tribe."

"Such is my wish, certainly," Malchus said. "As I have told you, Hannibal, I have made up my mind never to return to Carthage. It is hateful to me. Her tame submission to the intolerable tyranny of Hanno and his faction, her sufferance of the corruption which reigns in every department, her base ingratitude to you and the army which have done and suffered so much, the lethargy which she betrays when dangers are thickening and her fall and destruction are becoming more and more sure, have sickened me of her. I have resolved, as I have told you, to cast her off, and to live and die among the Gauls -- a life rough and simple, but at least free."

"But it seems that the Gauls have again been subjected to Rome," Hannibal said.

"On this side of the Alps," Malchus replied, "but beyond are great tribes who have never as yet heard of Rome. It is to them that Clotilde's mother belongs, and we have settled that we will first try and find her mother and persuade her to go with us, and that if she is dead we will journey alone until we join her tribe in Germany. But before I go I will, if it be possible, try and rouse the Gauls to make another effort for freedom by acting in concert, by driving out the Romans and invading Italy. You will, I trust, Hannibal, not oppose my plans."

"Assuredly not, Malchus; I sympathize with you, and were I younger and without ties and responsibilities would fain do the same. It is a sacrifice, no doubt, to give up civilization and to begin life anew, but it is what our colonists are always doing. At any rate it is freedom -- freedom from the corruption, the intrigue, the sloth, and the littleness of a decaying power like that of Carthage. You will be happy at least in having your wife with you, while the gods only know when I shall see the face of my beloved Imilce.

"Yes, Malchus, follow your own devices. Carthage, when she flung you in prison and would have put you to a disgraceful death, forfeited all further claim upon you. You have rendered her great services, you have risked your life over and over again in her cause, you have repaid tenfold the debt which you incurred when she gave you birth. You are free now to carry your sword where you will. I shall deeply regret your loss, but your father has gone and many another true friend of mine, and it is but one more in the list of those I have lost. Follow your own wishes, and live in that freedom which you will never attain in the service of Carthage."

The next day the marriage of Malchus and Clotilde took place. Hannibal himself joined their hands and prayed the gods to bless their union. Three weeks later Hannibal arranged that a body of a hundred Carthaginian horse should accompany Malchus to the north, where he would endeavour to raise the Gaulish tribes. They were to cross into Apulia, to travel up the east coast until past the ranges of the Apennines, and then make their way across the plains to the Alps. A dozen officers accompanied him; these were to aid him in his negotiations with the chiefs, and in organizing the new forces, should his efforts be successful.

To the great joy of Malchus, on the very evening before he started Nessus arrived in the camp. He had, when Malchus was at Rome, been employed with the other Carthaginian soldiers on the fortifications. Malchus had once or twice seen him as, with the others, he was marched from the prison to the walls, and had exchanged a few words with him. He had told him that he intended to escape, but could not say when he should find an opportunity to do so; but that if at any time a month passed without his seeing him, Nessus would know that he had gone.

The extra rigour with which the prisoners were guarded had led Nessus to suspect that a prisoner had escaped, and a month having passed without his seeing Malchus, he determined on making an attempt at flight. So rigourous was the watch that there was no possibility of this being done secretly, and, therefore, one day when they were employed in repairing the foundations of the wall outside the city Nessus seized the opportunity, when the attention of the guards was for a moment directed in another quarter, to start at the top of his speed. He had chosen the hottest hour of the day for the attempt, when few people were about, and the peasants had left the fields for an hour's sleep under the shade of trees.

The Roman guard had started in pursuit, but Nessus had not overrated his powers. Gradually he left them behind him, and, making straight for the Tiber, plunged in and swam the river. He had followed the right bank up to the hills, and on the second evening after starting made his appearance at Capua. When he heard the plans of Malchus he announced, as a matter of course, that he should accompany him. Malchus pointed out that, with the rewards and spoils he had obtained, he had now sufficient money to become a man of importance among his own people. Nessus quietly waved the remark aside as if it were wholly unworthy of consideration.

The cavalry who were to accompany Malchus were light armed Numidians, whose speed would enable them to distance any bodies of the enemy they might meet on their way. With them were thirty lead horses, some of them carrying a large sum of money, which Hannibal had directed should be paid to Malchus from the treasury, as his share, as an officer of high rank, of the captured booty. The rest of the horses were laden with costly arms, robes of honour, and money as presents for the Gaulish chiefs. These also were furnished from the abundant spoils which had fallen into the hands of the Carthaginians.

Hannibal directed Malchus that, in the event of his failing in his mission, he was not to trouble to send these things back, but was to retain them to win the friendship and goodwill of the chiefs of the country to which he proposed to journey. The next morning Malchus took an affectionate farewell of the general and his old comrades, and then, with Clotilde riding by his side -- for the women of the Gauls were as well skilled as the men in the management of horses -- he started at the head of his party. He followed the route marked out for him without any adventure of importance. He had one or two skirmishes with parties of tribesmen allied with Rome, but his movements were too rapid for any force sufficient to oppose his passage being collected.

After ascending the sea coast the troop skirted the northern slopes of the Apennines, passing close to the battlefield of Trebia, and crossing the Po by a ford, ascended the banks of the Orcus, and reached Clotilde's native village. A few ruins alone marked where it had stood. Malchus halted there and despatched scouts far up the valley. These succeeded in finding a native, who informed them that Brunilda with the remains of the tribe were living in the forests far up on the slopes. The scouts delivered to them the message with which they were charged: that Clotilde and Malchus, with a Carthaginian force, were at Orca. The following evening Brunilda and her followers came into camp.

Deep was the joy of the mother and daughter. The former had long since given up all hope of ever hearing of Clotilde again, and had devoted her life to vengeance on the Romans. From her fastness in the mountain she had from time to time led her followers down, and carried fire and sword over the fields and plantations of the Roman colonists, retiring rapidly before the garrisons could sally from the towns and fall upon her. She was rejoiced to find that her child had found a husband and protector in the young Carthaginian, still more rejoiced when she found that the latter had determined upon throwing in his lot with the Gauls.

All that night mother and daughter sat talking over the events which had happened since they parted. Brunilda could give Malchus but little encouragement for the mission on which he had come. The legion of Postumius had indeed been defeated and nearly destroyed in a rising which had taken place early in the spring; but fresh troops had arrived, dissensions had, as usual, broken out among the chiefs, many of them had again submitted to the Romans, and the rest had been defeated and crushed. Brunilda thought that there was little hope at present of their again taking up arms.

For some weeks Malchus attempted to carry out Hannibal's instructions; he and his lieutenants, accompanied by small parties of horse, rode through the country and visited all the chiefs of Cisalpine Gaul, but the spirit of the people was broken. The successes they had gained had never been more than partial, the Roman garrison towns had always defied all their efforts, and sooner or later the Roman legions swept down across the Apennines and carried all before them.

In vain Malchus told them of the victories that Hannibal had won, that Southern Italy was in his hands, and the Roman dominion tottering. In reply they pointed to the garrisons and the legion, and said that, were Rome in a sore strait, she would recall her legion for her own defence, and no arguments that Malchus could use could move them to lay aside their own differences and to unite in another effort for freedom. Winter was now at hand. Malchus remained in the mountains with the Orcans until spring came, and then renewed his efforts with no greater success than before. Then he dismissed the Carthaginians, with a letter giving Hannibal an account of all he had done, and bade them find their way back to Capua by the road by which they had come.

Brunilda had joyfully agreed to his proposal that they should cross the Alps and join her kinsmen in Germany, and the remnant of the tribe willingly consented to accompany them. Accordingly in the month of May they set out, and journeying north made their way along the shore of the lake now called the Lago di Guarda, and, crossing by the pass of the Trentino, came down on the northern side of the Alps, and, after journeying for some weeks among the great forests which covered the country, reached the part inhabited by the tribe of the Cherusei, to which Brunilda belonged.

Here they were hospitably received. Brunilda's family were among the noblest of the tribe, and the rich presents which the ample resources of Malchus enabled him to distribute among all the chiefs, at once raised him to a position of high rank and consideration among them. Although accepting the life of barbarism Malchus was not prepared to give up all the usages of civilization. He built a house, which, although it would have been but a small structure in Carthage, was regarded with admiration and wonder by the Gauls. Here he introduced the usages and customs of civilization. The walls, indeed, instead of being hung with silk and tapestry, were covered with the skins of stags, bears, and other animals slain in the chase; but these were warmer and better suited for the rigour of the climate in winter than silks would have been. The wealth, knowledge, and tact of Malchus gained him an immense influence in the tribe, and in time he was elected the chief of that portion of it dwelling near him. He did not succeed in getting his followers to abandon their own modes of life, but he introduced among them many of the customs of civilization, and persuaded them to adopt the military formation in use among the Carthaginians. It was with some reluctance that they submitted to this; but so complete was the victory which they obtained over a rival tribe, upon their first encounter when led by Malchus and his able lieutenant Nessus, that he had no difficulty in future on this score.

The advantages, indeed, of fighting in solid formation, instead of the irregular order in which each man fought for himself, were so overwhelming that the tribe rapidly increased in power and importance, and became one of the leading peoples in that part of Germany. Above all, Malchus inculcated them with a deep hatred of Rome, and warned them that when the time came, as it assuredly would do, that the Romans would cross the Alps and attempt the conquest of the country, it behooved the German tribes to lay aside all their disputes and to join in a common resistance against the enemy.

From time to time rumours, brought by parties of Cisalpine Gauls, who, like the Orcans, fled across the Alps to escape the tyranny of Rome, reached Malchus. For years the news came that no great battle had been fought, that Hannibal was still in the south of Italy defeating all the efforts of the Romans to dislodge him.

It was not until the thirteenth year after Hannibal had crossed the Alps that any considerable reinforcement was sent to aid the Carthaginian general. Then his brother Hasdrubal, having raised an army in Spain and Southern Gaul, crossed the Alps to join him. But he was met, as he marched south, by the consuls Livius and Nero with an army greatly superior to his own; and was crushed by them on the river Metaurus, the Spanish and Ligurian troops being annihilated and Hasdrubal himself killed.

For four years longer Hannibal maintained his position in the south of Italy. No assistance whatever reached him from Carthage, but alone and unaided he carried on the unequal war with Rome until, in 204 B.C., Scipio landed with a Roman force within a few miles of Carthage, captured Utica, defeated two Carthaginian armies with great slaughter, and blockaded Carthage. Then the city recalled the general and the army whom they had so grossly neglected and betrayed.

Hannibal succeeded in safely embarking his army and in sailing to Carthage; but so small was the remnant of the force which remained to him, that when he attempted to give battle to Scipio he was defeated, and Carthage was forced to make peace on terms which left her for the future at the mercy of Rome. She was to give up all her ships of war except ten, and all her elephants, to restore all Roman prisoners, to engage in no war out of Africa -- and none in Africa except with the consent of Rome, to restore to Massinissa, a prince of Numidia who had joined Rome, his kingdom, to pay a contribution of two hundred talents a year for fifty years, and to give a hundred hostages between the ages of fourteen and thirty, to be selected by the Roman general.

These terms left Carthage at the mercy of Rome, when the latter, confident in her power, entered upon the third Punic war, the overthrow and the destruction of her rival were a comparatively easy task for her. Hannibal lived nineteen years after his return to Carthage. For eight years he strove to rectify the administration, to reform abuses, and to raise and improve the state; but his exposure of the gross abuses of the public service united against him the faction which had so long profited by them, and, in B. C. 196, the great patriot and general was driven into exile.

He then repaired to the court of Antiochus, King of Syria, who was at that time engaged in a war against Rome; but that monarch would not follow the advice he gave him, and was in consequence defeated at Magnesia, and was forced to sue for peace and to accept the terms the Romans imposed, one of which was that Hannibal should be delivered into their hands.

Hannibal, being warned in time, left Syria and went to Bithynia. But Rome could not be easy so long as her great enemy lived, and made a demand upon Prusias, King of Bithynia, for his surrender. He was about to comply with the request when Hannibal put an end to his life, dying at the age of sixty-four.

No rumour of this event ever reached Malchus, but he heard, fifteen years after he had passed into Germany, that Hannibal had at last retired from Italy, and had been defeated at Zama, and that Carthage had been obliged to submit to conditions which placed her at the mercy of Rome. Malchus rejoiced more than ever at the choice he had made. His sons were now growing up, and he spared no efforts to instill in them a hatred and distrust of Rome, to teach them the tactics of war, and to fill their minds with noble and lofty thoughts.

Nessus had followed the example of his lord and had married a Gaulish maiden, and he was now a subchief in the tribe. Malchus and Clotilde lived to a great age, and the former never once regretted the choice he had made. From afar he heard of the ever growing power of Rome, and warned his grandsons, as he had warned his sons, against her, and begged them to impress upon their descendants in turn the counsels he had given them. The injunction was observed, and the time came when Arminius, a direct descendant of Malchus, then the leader of the Cherusei, assembled the German tribes and fell upon the legions of Varus, inflicting upon them a defeat as crushing and terrible as the Romans had ever suffered at the hands of Hannibal himself, and checking for once and all the efforts of the Romans to subdue the free people of Germany.

THE END