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CHAPTER VI: HANNO
"I ought to have carried her off!" Matho said in the evening to Spendius. "I should
have seized her, and torn her from her house! No one would have dared to touch
Spendius was not listening to him. Stretched on his back he was taking delicious
rest beside a large jar filled with honey-coloured water, into which he would dip
his head from time to time in order to drink more copiously.
"What is to be done? How can we re-enter Carthage?"
"I do not know," said Spendius.
Such impassibility exasperated Matho and he exclaimed:
"Why! the fault is yours! You carry me away, and then you forsake me, coward
that you are! Why, pray, should I obey you? Do you think that you are my
master? Ah! you prostituter, you slave, you son of a slave!" He ground his teeth
and raised his broad hand above Spendius.
The Greek did not reply. An earthen lamp was burning gently against the tent-
pole, where the zaimph shone amid the hanging panoply. Suddenly Matho put on
his cothurni, buckled on his brazen jacket of mail, and took his helmet.
"Where are you going?" asked Spendius.
"I am returning! Let me alone! I will bring her back! And if they show themselves I
will crush them like vipers! I will put her to death, Spendius! Yes," he repeated, "I
will kill her! You shall see, I will kill her!"
But Spendius, who was listening eagerly, snatched up the zaimph abruptly and
threw it into a corner, heaping up fleeces above it. A murmuring of voices was
heard, torches gleamed, and Narr' Havas entered, followed by about twenty men.
They wore white woollen cloaks, long daggers, copper necklaces, wooden
earrings, and boots of hyena skin; and standing on the threshold they leaned
upon their lances like herdsmen resting themselves. Narr' Havas was the
handsomest of all; his slender arms were bound with straps ornamented with
pearls. The golden circlet which fastened his ample garment about his head held
an ostrich feather which hung down behind his shoulder; his teeth were displayed
in a continual smile; his eyes seemed sharpened like arrows, and there was
something observant and airy about his whole demeanour.
He declared that he had come to join the Mercenaries, for the Republic had long
been threatening his kingdom. Accordingly he was interested in assisting the
Barbarians, and he might also be of service to them.
"I will provide you with elephants (my forests are full of them), wine, oil, barley,
dates, pitch and sulphur for sieges, twenty thousand foot-soldiers and ten
thousand horses. If I address myself to you, Matho, it is because the possession
of the zaimph has made you chief man in the army. Moreover," he added, "we
are old friends."
Matho, however, was looking at Spendius, who, seated on the sheep-skins, was
listening, and giving little nods of assent the while. Narr' Havas continued
speaking. He called the gods to witness he cursed Carthage. In his imprecations