“‘I came, General, to ask you what we are to do with the dead.’
“’Kill ’em,’ roared Caesar, ’kill ’em, d—n ’em.’
“‘But, General, they are dead already,’ replied the officer who was a steady fellow and perfectly sober.
“Well, what’s the matter with ’em, then?’ replied Caesar. ’Come, come, Bill, if they’re dead, that’s the end of them. Take a drink,’ and he turned, unsteadily, toward the council-table, on which stood several bottles and demijohns.
“‘But some of us have talked it over,’ said the officer. ’A number of the streets are impassable already with the dead. There must be a quarter of a million of soldiers and citizens lying about, and the number is being added to every minute. The weather is warm, and they will soon breed a pestilence that will revenge them on their slayers. Those killed by the poison are beginning to smell already. We couldn’t take any action without your authority, and so I came to ask you for your orders.’
“’Burn ’em up,’ said Caesar.
“‘We can’t,’ said the man; ’we would have to burn up the city to destroy them in that way; there are too many of them; and it would be an immense task to bury them.’
“’Heap ’em all up in one big pile,’ said Caesar.
“’That wouldn’t do—the smell they would make in decaying would be unbearable, to say nothing of the sickness they would create.’
“Caesar was standing unsteadily, looking at us with lackluster eyes. Suddenly an idea seemed to dawn in his monstrous head—an idea as monstrous and uncouth as the head itself. His eyes lighted up.
“‘I have it!’ he shouted. ’By G-d, I have it! Make a pyramid of them, and pour cement over them, and let it stand forever as a monument of this day’s glorious work! Hoorrah!”
“‘That’s a pretty good idea,’ said the officer, and the others present, courtier-like—for King Caesar already has his courtiers—applauded the idea vociferously.
“‘We’ll have a monument that shall last while the earth stands,’ cried Caesar. ‘And, hold on, Bill,’ he continued, ’you shall build it;—and—I say—we won’t make a pyramid of it—it shall be a column—Caesar’s Column—by G-d. It shall reach to the skies! And if there aren’t enough dead to build it of, why, we’ll kill some more; we’ve got plenty to kill. Old Thingumbob, who used to live here—in my palace—said he would kill ten million of us to-day. But he didn’t. Not much! Max’s friend—that d—–d long-legged fellow, from Africa—he dished him, for he told old Quincy all about it. And now I’ve got old Thingumbob’s best girl in the corner yonder. Oh, it’s jolly. But build the column, Bill—build it high and strong. I remember—hic—how they used to build houses on the Saskatchewan, when I was grubbing for potatoes there. They had a board frame the length of a wall, and three or four feet high. They would throw in stones, bowlders, pebbles, dirt, anything, and, when it was full, they