Carthage had not strength enough to be indignant with him. Its losses had amounted to one hundred thousand nine hundred and seventy-two shekels of silver, fifteen thousand six hundred and twenty-three shekels of gold, eighteen elephants, fourteen members of the Great Council, three hundred of the rich, eight thousand citizens, corn enough for three moons, a considerable quantity of baggage, and all the engines of war! The defection of Narr’ Havas was certain, and both sieges were beginning again. The army under Autaritus now extended from Tunis to Rhades. From the top of the Acropolis long columns of smoke might be seen in the country ascending to the sky; they were the mansions of the rich, which were on fire.
One man alone could have saved the Republic. People repented that they had slighted him, and the peace party itself voted holocausts for Hamilcar’s return.
The sight of the zaimph had upset Salammbo. At night she thought that she could hear the footsteps of the goddess, and she would awake terrified and shrieking. Every day she sent food to the temples. Taanach was worn out with executing her orders, and Schahabarim never left her.
The Announcer of the Moons, who watched on the summit of the temple of Eschmoun every night in order to signal the disturbances of the planet with his trumpet, one morning perceived towards the west something like a bird skimming the surface of the sea with its long wings.
It was a ship with three tiers of oars and with a horse carved on the prow. The sun was rising; the Announcer of the Moons put up his hand before his eyes, and then grasping his clarion with outstretched arms sounded a loud brazen cry over Carthage.
People came out of every house; they would not believe what was said; they disputed with one another; the mole was covered with people. At last they recognised Hamilcar’s trireme.
It advanced in fierce and haughty fashion, cleaving the foam around it, the lateen-yard quite square and the sail bulging down the whole length of the mast; its gigantic oars kept time as they beat the water; every now and then the extremity of the keel, which was shaped like a plough-share, would appear, and the ivory-headed horse, rearing both its feet beneath the spur which terminated the prow, would seem to be speeding over the plains of the sea.
As it rounded the promontory the wind ceased, the sail fell, and a man was seen standing bareheaded beside the pilot. It was he, Hamilcar, the Suffet! About his sides he wore gleaming sheets of steel; a red cloak, fastened to his shoulders, left his arms visible; two pearls of great length hung from his ears, and his black, bushy beard rested on his breast.
The galley, however, tossing amid the rocks, was proceeding along the side of the mole, and the crowd followed it on the flag-stones, shouting: