His horsemen outstripped the elephants, which were slackening their speed; and all the horses, stretching out their unbridled heads, galloped at so furious a rate that their bellies seemed to graze the earth. Then suddenly Narr’ Havas went resolutely up to a sentry. He threw away his sword, lance, and javelins, and disappeared among the Carthaginians.
The king of the Numidians reached Hamilcar’s tent, and pointing to his men, who were standing still at a distance, he said:
“Barca! I bring them to you. They are yours.”
Then he prostrated himself in token of bondage, and to prove his fidelity recalled all his conduct from the beginning of the war.
First, he had prevented the siege of Carthage and the massacre of the captives; then he had taken no advantage of the victory over Hanno after the defeat at Utica. As to the Tyrian towns, they were on the frontiers of his kingdom. Finally he had not taken part in the battle of the Macaras; and he had even expressly absented himself in order to evade the obligation of fighting against the Suffet.
Narr’ Havas had in fact wished to aggrandise himself by encroachments upon the Punic provinces, and had alternately assisted and forsaken the Mercenaries according to the chances of victory. But seeing that Hamilcar would ultimately prove the stronger, he had gone over to him; and in his desertion there was perhaps something of a grudge against Matho, whether on account of the command or of his former love.
The Suffet listened without interrupting him. The man who thus presented himself with an army where vengeance was his due was not an auxiliary to be despised; Hamilcar at once divined the utility of such an alliance in his great projects. With the Numidians he would get rid of the Libyans. Then he would draw off the West to the conquest of Iberia; and, without asking Narr’ Havas why he had not come sooner, or noticing any of his lies, he kissed him, striking his breast thrice against his own.
It was to bring matters to an end and in despair that he had fired the camp of the Libyans. This army came to him like a relief from the gods; dissembling his joy he replied:
“May the Baals favour you! I do not know what the Republic will do for you, but Hamilcar is not ungrateful.”
The tumult increased; some captains entered. He was arming himself as he spoke.
“Come, return! You will use your horsemen to beat down their infantry between your elephants and mine. Courage! exterminate them!”
And Narr’ Havas was rushing away when Salammbo appeared.
She leaped down quickly from her horse. She opened her ample cloak and spreading out her arms displayed the zaimph.