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doors showed no one in the paved courts. No living man was to be seen, till at last, hurrying down the steep empty streets, they reached the great open space of the Forum, and there they stood still in amazement, for, ranged along a gallery, were a row of ivory chairs, and in each chair sat the figure of a white-haired, white-bearded man, with arms and legs bare, and robes either of snowy white, white bordered with purple, or purple richly embroidered, ivory staves in their hands, and majestic, unmoved countenances. So motionless were they, that the Gauls stood still, not knowing whether they beheld men or statues. A wondrous scene it must have been, as the brawny, red-haired Gauls, with freckled visage, keen little eyes, long broad sword, and wide plaid garment, fashioned into loose trousers, came curiously down into the market-place, one after another; and each stood silent and transfixed at the spectacle of those grand figures, still unmoving, save that their large full liquid dark eyes showed them to be living beings. Surely these Gauls deemed themselves in the presence of that council of kings who were sometimes supposed to govern Rome, nay, if they were not before the gods themselves. At last, one Gaul, ruder, or more curious than the rest, came up to one of the venerable figures, and, to make proof whether he were flesh and blood, stroked his beard. Such an insult from an uncouth barbarian was more than Roman blood could brook, and the Gaul soon had his doubt satisfied by a sharp blow on the head from the ivory staff. All reverence was dispelled by that stroke; it was at once returned by a death thrust, and the fury of the savages wakening in proportion to the awe that had at first struck them, they rushed on the old senators, and slew each one in his curule chair.

Then they dispersed through the city, burning, plundering, and destroying. To take the Capitol they soon found to be beyond their power, but they hoped to starve the defenders out; and in the meantime they spent their time in pulling down the outer walls, and such houses and temples as had resisted the fire, till the defenders of the Capitol looked down from their height on nothing but desolate black burnt ground, with a few heaps of ruins in the midst, and the barbarians roaming about in it, and driving in the cattle that their foraging parties collected from the country round. There was much earnest faith in their own religion among the Romans : they took all this ruin as the just reward of their shelter of the Fabii, and even in their extremity were resolved not to transgress any sacred rule. Though food daily became more scarce and starvation was fast approaching, not one of the sacred geese that were kept in Juno's Temple was touched ; and one Fabius Dorso, who believed that the household gods of his family required yearly a sacrifice on their own festival day on the Quirinal Hill, arrayed himself in the white robes of a sacrificer, took his sacred images in his arms, and went out of the Capitol, through the midst of the enemy, through the ruins to the accustomed altar, and there performed the regular rites. The Gauls, seeing that it was a religious ceremony, let him pass through them untouched, and he returned in safety ; but Brennus was resolved on completing his conquest, and while half his forces went out to plunder, he remained with the other half, watching the moment to effect an entrance into the Capitol ; and how were the defenders, worn out with hunger, to resist without relief from without ? And who was there to bring relief to them, who were themselves the Roman State and government ?

Now there was a citizen, named Marcus Furius Camillus, who was, without question, at that time, the first soldier of Rome, and had taken several of the chief Italian cities, especially that of Veii, which had long been a most dangerous enemy: But he was a proud, haughty man, and had brought on himself much dislike ; until, at last, a false accusation was brought against him, that he had taken an unfair share of the plunder of Veii. He was too proud to stand a trial ; and, leaving the city, was immediately fined a considerable sum. He had taken up his abode at the city of Ardea, and was there living when the plundering half of Brennus's army was reported to be coming thither. Camillus immediately offered the magistrates to undertake their defence ; and getting together all the men who could bear arms, he led them out, fell upon the Gauls as they all lay asleep and unguarded in the dead of night, made a great slaughter of them, and saved Ardea. All this was heard by the many Romans who had been living dispersed since the rout of Allia ; and they began to recover heart and spirit, and to think that if Camillus would be their leader, they might yet do something to redeem the honor of Rome, and save their friends in the Capitol. An entreaty was sent to him to take the command of them ; but, like a proud, stern man as he was, he made answer, that he was a mere exile, and could not take upon himself to lead Romans without a decree from the Senate giving him authority. The Senate was — all that remained of it

shut up in the Capitol; the Gauls were spread all round; how was that decree to be obtained ?

A young man, named Pontius Cominius, undertook the desperate mission. He put on a peasant dress, and hid some corks under it, supposing that he should find no passage by the bridge over the Tiber. Travelling all day on foot, he came at night to the bank, and saw the guard at the bridge ; then, having waited for darkness, he rolled his one thin, light garment, with the corks wrapped up in it, round his head, and trusted himself to the stream of Father Tiber, like “good Horatius” before him ; and he was safely borne along to the foot of the Capitoline Hill. He crept along, avoiding every place where he saw lights or heard noise, till he came to a rugged precipice, which he suspected would not be watched by the enemy, who would suppose

it too steep to be climbed from above or below. But the resolute man did not fear the giddy, dangerous ascent, even in the darkness ; he swung himself up by the stems and boughs of vines and climbing plants, his naked feet clung to the rocks and tufts of grass, and at length he stood on the top of the rampart, calling out his name to the soldiers who came in haste around him, not knowing whether he were friend or foe. A joyful sound must his Latin speech have been to the long-tried, half-starved garrison, who had not seen a fresh face for six long months! The few who represented the Senate and people of Rome were hastily awakened from their sleep, and gathered together to hear the tidings brought them at so much risk. Pontius told them of the victory at Ardea, and that Camillus and the Romans collected at Veii were only waiting to march to their succor till they should give him lawful power to take the command. There was little debate. The vote was passed at once to make Camillus Dictator, an office to which Romans were elected upon great emergencies, and which gave them for the time, absolute kingly control ; and then Pontius, bearing the appointment, set off once again upon his mission, still under shelter of night, clambered down the rock, and crossed the Gallic camp before the barbarians were yet awake.

There was hope in the little garrison ; but danger was not over. The sharp-eyed Gauls observed that the shrubs and creepers were broken, the moss frayed, and fresh stones and earth rolled down at

the crag of the Capitol: they were sure that the rock had been climbed, and, therefore, that it might be climbed again. Should they, who were used to the snowy peaks, dark abysses, and huge glaciers of the Alps, be afraid to climb where a soft dweller in a táme Italian town could venture a passage ? Brennus chose out the hardiest of his mountaineers, and directed them to climb up in the dead of night, one by one, in perfect silence, and thus to surprise the Romans, and complete the slaughter and victory, before the forces assembling at Veii could come to their rescue.

Silently the Gauls climbed, so stilly that not even a dog heard them; and the sentinel nearest to the post, who had fallen into a dead sleep of exhaustion from hunger, never awoke. But the fatal stillness was suddenly broken by loud gabbling, cackling, and flapping of heavy wings. The sacred geese of Juno, which had been so religiously spared in the famine, were frightened by the rustling beneath, and proclaimed their terror in their own noisy fashion. The first to take the alarm was Marcus Manlius, who started forward just in time to meet the foremost climbers as they set foot on the rampart. One, who raised an axe to strike, lost his arm by one stroke of Manlius's short Roman sword ; the next was by main strength hurled backwards over the precipice, and Manlius stood alone on the top, for a few moments, ready to strike the next who should struggle up. The whole of the garrison were in a few moments on the alert, and the attack was entirely repulsed; the sleeping sentry was cast headlong down the rock; and Manlius was brought, by each grateful soldier, that which was then most valuable to all, a little meal and a small measure of wine. Still, the condition of the Capitol was lamentable : there was no certainty that Pontius had ever reached Camillus in safety; and,

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