Salammbo eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about Salammbo.

She fell upon her knees placing two fingers against her ears in token of repentance; and crushed by the priest’s words, and filled at once with anger against him, with terror and humiliation, she burst into sobs.  Schahabarim remained erect, and more insensible than the stones of the terrace.  He looked down upon her quivering at his feet, and felt a kind of joy on seeing her suffer for his divinity whom he himself could not wholly embrace.  The birds were already singing, a cold wind was blowing, and little clouds were drifting in the paling sky.

Suddenly he perceived on the horizon, behind Tunis, what looked like slight mists trailing along the ground; then these became a great curtain of dust extending perpendicularly, and, amid the whirlwinds of the thronging mass, dromedaries’ heads, lances and shields appeared.  It was the army of the Barbarians advancing upon Carthage.

CHAPTER IV

BENEATH THE WALLS OF CARTHAGE

Some country people, riding on asses or running on foot, arrived in the town, pale, breathless, and mad with fear.  They were flying before the army.  It had accomplished the journey from Sicca in three days, in order to reach Carthage and wholly exterminate it.

The gates were shut.  The Barbarians appeared almost immediately; but they stopped in the middle of the isthmus, on the edge of the lake.

At first they made no hostile announcement.  Several approached with palm branches in their hands.  They were driven back with arrows, so great was the terror.

In the morning and at nightfall prowlers would sometimes wander along the walls.  A little man carefully wrapped in a cloak, and with his face concealed beneath a very low visor, was especially noticed.  He would remain whole hours gazing at the aqueduct, and so persistently that he doubtless wished to mislead the Carthaginians as to his real designs.  Another man, a sort of giant who walked bareheaded, used to accompany him.

But Carthage was defended throughout the whole breadth of the isthmus:  first by a trench, then by a grassy rampart, and lastly by a wall thirty cubits high, built of freestone, and in two storys.  It contained stables for three hundred elephants with stores for their caparisons, shackles, and food; other stables again for four thousand horses with supplies of barley and harness, and barracks for twenty thousand soldiers with armour and all materials of war.  Towers rose from the second story, all provided with battlements, and having bronze bucklers hung on cramps on the outside.

This first line of wall gave immediate shelter to Malqua, the sailors’ and dyers’ quarter.  Masts might be seen whereon purple sails were drying, and on the highest terraces clay furnaces for heating the pickle were visible.

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Salammbo from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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