[Sidenote: The assassins.] [Sidenote: Gloomy silence.]
Among the men whom Achillas had provided to aid him in the assassination was an offieer of the Roman army who had formerly served under Pompey. As soon as Pompey was seated in the boat, he recognized the countenance of this man, and addressed him, saying, “I think I remember you as having been in former days my fellow-soldier.” The man replied merely by a nod of assent. Feeling somewhat guilty and self-condemned at the thoughts of the treachery which he was about to perpetrate, he was little inclined to renew the recollection of the days when he was Pompey’s friend. In fact, the whole company in the boat, filled on the one part with awe in anticipation of the terrible deed which they were soon to commit, and on the other with a dread suspense and alarm, were little disposed for conversation, and Pompey took out a manuscript of an address in Greek which he had prepared to make to the young king at his approaching interview with him, and occupied himself in reading it over. Thus they advanced in a gloomy and solemn silence, hearing no sound but the dip of the oars in the water, and the gentle dash of the waves along the line of the shore.
[Sidenote: Assassination of Pompey.]
At length the boat touched the sand, while Cornelia still stood on the deck of the galley, watching every movement with great solicitude and concern. One of the two servants whom Pompey had taken with him, named Philip, his favorite personal attendant, rose to assist his master in landing. He gave Pompey his hand to aid him in rising from his seat, and at that moment the Roman officer whom Pompey had recognized as his fellow-soldier, advanced behind him and stabbed him in the back. At the same instant Achillas and the others drew their swords. Pompey saw that all was lost. He did not speak, and he uttered no cry of alarm, though Cornelia’s dreadful shriek was so loud and piercing that it was heard upon the shore. From the suffering victim himself nothing was heard but an inarticulate groan extorted by his agony. He gathered his mantle over his face, and sank down and died.
[Sidenote: Cornelia.] [Sidenote: The funeral pile.] [Sidenote: Pompey’s ashes sent to Cornelia.]
Of course, all was now excitement and confusion. As soon as the deed was done, the perpetrators of it retired from the scene, taking the head of their unhappy victim with them, to offer to Caesar as proof that his enemy was really no more. The officers who remained in the fleet which had brought Pompey to the coast made all haste to sail away, bearing the wretched Cornelia with them, utterly distracted with grief and despair, while Philip and his fellow-servant remained upon the beach, standing bewildered and stupefied over the headless body of their beloved master. Crowds of spectators came in succession to look upon the hideous spectacle a moment in silence, and then to turn, shocked and repelled, away. At length,