Salammbo eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 373 pages of information about Salammbo.

Then came the mob of baggage, beasts of burden, and stragglers.  The sick groaned on the backs of dromedaries, while others limped along leaning on broken pikes.  The drunkards carried leathern bottles, and the greedy quarters of meat, cakes, fruits, butter wrapped in fig leaves, and snow in linen bags.  Some were to be seen with parasols in their hands, and parrots on their shoulders.  They had mastiffs, gazelles, and panthers following behind them.  Women of Libyan race, mounted on asses, inveighed against the Negresses who had forsaken the lupanaria of Malqua for the soldiers; many of them were suckling children suspended on their bosoms by leathern thongs.  The mules were goaded out at the point of the sword, their backs bending beneath the load of tents, while there were numbers of serving-men and water-carriers, emaciated, jaundiced with fever, and filthy with vermin, the scum of the Carthaginian populace, who had attached themselves to the Barbarians.

When they had passed, the gates were shut behind them, but the people did not descend from the walls.  The army soon spread over the breadth of the isthmus.

It parted into unequal masses.  Then the lances appeared like tall blades of grass, and finally all was lost in a train of dust; those of the soldiers who looked back towards Carthage could now only see its long walls with their vacant battlements cut out against the edge of the sky.

Then the Barbarians heard a great shout.  They thought that some from among them (for they did not know their own number) had remained in the town, and were amusing themselves by pillaging a temple.  They laughed a great deal at the idea of this, and then continued their journey.

They were rejoiced to find themselves, as in former days, marching all together in the open country, and some of the Greeks sang the old song of the Mamertines: 

“With my lance and sword I plough and reap; I am master of the house!  The disarmed man falls at my feet and calls me Lord and Great King.”

They shouted, they leaped, the merriest began to tell stories; the time of their miseries was past.  As they arrived at Tunis, some of them remarked that a troop of Balearic slingers was missing.  They were doubtless not far off; and no further heed was paid to them.

Some went to lodge in the houses, others camped at the foot of the walls, and the townspeople came out to chat with the soldiers.

During the whole night fires were seen burning on the horizon in the direction of Carthage; the light stretched like giant torches across the motionless lake.  No one in the army could tell what festival was being celebrated.

On the following day the Barbarian’s passed through a region that was covered with cultivation.  The domains of the patricians succeeded one another along the border of the route; channels of water flowed through woods of palm; there were long, green lines of olive-trees; rose-coloured vapours floated in the gorges of the hills, while blue mountains reared themselves behind.  A warm wind was blowing.  Chameleons were crawling on the broad leaves of the cactus.

Project Gutenberg
Salammbo from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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