ROME IN FLAMES All night the gladiators watched the ever widening area of fire. In the morning proclamations were found posted in every street, ordering all citizens to be under arms, as if expecting the attack of an enemy; each district was to be patrolled regularly, and all evildoers found attempting to plunder were to be instantly put to death, the laws being suspended in face of the common danger. All persons not enrolled in the lists of the city guards were exhorted to lend their aid in transporting goods from the neighbourhood of the fire to a place of safety in the public gardens, and the masters of the schools of gladiators were enjoined to see that their scholars gave their aid in this work. "Well, we may as well set to work," Scopus said. "There are some of my patrons to whom we may do a good service." "Will you let me go with my comrades first to aid Norbanus, a magistrate who has done me service?" Beric said. "After I have helped to move his things I will join you wherever you may appoint." Scopus nodded. "Very well, Beric. I shall go first to the house of Gallus the praetor, he is one of my best friends. After we are done there we will go to the aid of Lysimachus the senator; so, if you don't find us at the house of Gallus, you will find us there." Beric at once started with the four Britons to the house where he had left Ennia. It was distant but half a mile from the point the fire had now reached, and from many of the houses round the slaves were already bearing goods. Here, however, all was quiet. The door keeper, knowing Beric, permitted him and his companions to enter without question. Norbanus was already in his study. He looked up as Beric approached him. "Why, it is Beric!" he said in surprise. "I heard that you were in one of the ludi and was coming to see you, but I have been full of business since I came here. I am glad that you have come to visit me." "It is not a visit of ceremony," Beric said; "it is the fire that has brought me here." "Lesbia tells me that it is still blazing," Norbanus said indifferently. "She has been worrying about it all night. I tell her I am not praetor of the fire guard, and that it does not come within my scope of duty. I went down yesterday afternoon, but the soldiers and citizens are all doing their work under their officers, and doubtless it will soon be extinguished." "It is ever growing, Norbanus. It is within half a mile of your house now, and travelling fast." "Why, it was treble that distance last night," Norbanus said in surprise. "Think you that there is really danger of its coming this way?" "Unless a change takes place," Beric said, "it will assuredly be here by noon; even now sparks and burning flakes are falling in the street. The neighbours are already moving, and I would urge you to lose not a moment's time, but summon your slaves, choose all your most valuable goods, and have them carried up to a place of safety. If you come up to the roof you will see for yourself how pressing is the danger." Norbanus, still incredulous, ascended the stairs, but directly he looked round he saw that Beric had not exaggerated the state of things. "I have brought four of my tribesmen with me," Beric said, "and we are all capable of carrying good loads. There ought to be time to make three journeys at least up to the gardens on the hill, where they will be safe. I should say, let half your slaves aid us in carrying up your library and the valuables that come at once to hand, and then you can direct the others to pack up the goods you prize most so that they shall be ready by our return." "That shall be done," Norbanus said, "and I am thankful to you, Beric, for your aid." Descending, Norbanus at once gave the orders, and then going up to the women's apartments told Lesbia to bid the female slaves pack at once all the dresses, ornaments, and valuables. The cases containing the books were then brought out into the atrium, and there stacked in five piles. They were then bound together with sacking and cords. "But what are you going to do with these great piles?" Norbanus said as he came down from above, where Lesbia was raging at the news that much of their belongings would have to be abandoned. "Why, each of them is a wagon load." "They are large to look at, but not heavy. At any rate we can carry them. Is there anyone to whom we shall specially take them, or shall we place a guard over them?" "My cousin Lucius, the senator, will, I am sure, take them for me. His house is surrounded by gardens, and quite beyond reach of fire. His wife is Lesbia's sister, and Aemilia shall go up with you." The Britons helped each other up with the huge packets, four slaves with difficulty raising the last and placing it on Beric's head. "The weight is nothing now it is up," he said, "though I wish it were a solid packet instead of being composed of so many of these book boxes." The cases in which the Romans usually kept their books were about the size and shape of hat boxes, but of far stronger make, and each holding from six to ten rolls of vellum. A dozen slaves under the superintendence of the steward, and carrying valuable articles of furniture, followed the Britons, and behind them came Aemilia, with four or five female slaves carrying on their heads great packages of the ladies' clothing. The house of Lucius was but half a mile away from that of Norbanus. Even among the crowd of frightened men and women hurrying up the hill the sight of the five Britons, with their prodigious burdens created lively astonishment and admiration. "Twenty such men as those," one said, "would carry off a senator's villa bodily, if there was room for it in the road." "They are the Titans come to life again," another remarked. "It would take six Romans to carry the weight that one of them bears." When they neared the villa of Lucius, Aemilia hurried on ahead with the female slaves, and was standing at the door with the senator when the Britons approached. The senator uttered an exclamation of astonishment. "Whence have you got these wonderful porters, Aemilia?" "I know not," the girl said. "We were dressing, when our father called out that we were to hurry and to put our best garments together, for that we were to depart instantly, as the fire was approaching. For a few minutes there was terrible confusion. The slaves were packing up our things, all talking together, and in an extreme terror. Our mother was terribly upset, and I think she made things worse by giving fresh orders every minute. In the middle of it my father shouted to me to come down at once, and the slaves were to bring down such things as were ready. When I got down I was astonished at seeing these great men quite hidden under the burdens they carried, but I had no time to ask questions. My father said, 'Go with them to my cousin Lucius, and ask him to take in our goods,' and I came." By this time the party had reached the house. "Follow me," Lucius said, leading the way along the front of the house, and round to the storehouses in its rear. Aemilia accompanied him. The slaves deposited their burdens on the ground, and then aided the Britons to lower theirs. Aemilia gave an exclamation of astonishment as Beric turned round. "Why, it is Beric the Briton!" she exclaimed. "You did not recognize me, then?" Beric said smiling. "I should have done so had I looked at you closely," she said, "in spite of your Roman garb; but what with the crowd, and the smoke, and the fright, I did not think anything about it after my first wonder at seeing you so loaded. Where did you come from so suddenly to our aid? Are these your countrymen? Ennia and I have asked our father almost every day since we came to Rome to go and find you, and bring you to us. He always said he would, but what with his business and his books he was never able to. How good of you to come to our aid! I am sure the books would never have been saved if it had not been for you, and father would never have got over their loss." "I knew where your house was," Beric said, "and was glad to be able to do something in gratitude for your father's kindness at Massilia. But I must not lose a moment talking; I hope to make two or three more trips before the fire reaches your house. Your slaves have orders to return with us. Will you tell your steward to guide us back by a less frequented road than that we came by, and then we can keep together and shall not lose time forcing our way through the crowd." By the time they reached the house of Norbanus the slaves left behind had packed up everything of value. "I will go up," Norbanus said, "with all the slaves, male and female, if you will remain here to guard the rest of the things till we return. Several parties of ill favoured looking men have entered by the door, evidently in the hopes of plunder, but left when they saw we were still here. The ladies' apartments have been completely stripped, and their belongings will go up this time, so that there will be no occasion for them to return. If the flames approach too closely before we come back, do not stay, Beric, nor trouble about the goods that remain. I have saved my library and my own manuscripts, which is all I care for. My wife and daughters have saved all their dresses and jewels. All the most valuable of my goods will now be carried up by my slaves, and if the rest is lost it will be no great matter." Beric and his companions seated themselves on the carved benches of the atrium and waited quietly. Parties of marauders once or twice entered, for the area of the fire was now so vast that even the troops and armed citizens were unable properly to guard the whole neighbourhood beyond its limits; but upon seeing these five formidable figures they hastily retired, to look for booty where it could be obtained at less risk. The fire was but a few hundred yards away, and clouds of sparks and blazing fragments were falling round the house when Norbanus and his slaves returned. These were sufficient to carry up the remaining parcels of goods without assistance from the Britons, who, however, acted as an escort to them on their way back. Their throats were dry and parched by the hot air, and they were glad of a long draught of the good wine that Lucius had in readiness for their arrival. Beric at first refused other refreshment, being anxious to hasten away to join Scopus, but the senator insisted upon their sitting down to a meal. "You do not know when you may eat another," he said; "there will be little food cooked in this part of Rome today." As Beric saw it was indeed improbable that they would obtain other food if they neglected this opportunity, he and the others sat down and ate a good, though hasty, meal. "You will come and see us directly the fire is over," Norbanus said as they rose to leave. "Remember, I shall not know where to find you, and I have had no time to thank you worthily for the service that you have rendered me. Many of the volumes you have saved were unique, and although my own manuscripts may be of little value to the world, they represent the labour of many years." Hurrying down to the rendezvous Scopus had given him, Beric found that both villas had already been swept away by the fire. He then went up to the spot where their goods were deposited, but the two gladiators in charge said that they had seen nothing whatever of Scopus. "Then we will go down and do what we can," Beric said. "Should Scopus return, tell him that we will be here at nightfall." For another two days the conflagration raged, spreading wider and wider, and when at last the wind dropped and the fury of the flames abated, more than the half of Rome lay in ashes. Of the fourteen districts of the city three were absolutely destroyed, and in seven others scarce a house had escaped. Nero, who had been absent, reached Rome on the third day of the fire. The accusation that he had caused it to be lighted, brought against him by his enemies years afterwards, was absurd. There had been occasional fires in Rome for centuries, just as there had been in London before the one that destroyed it, and the strong wind that was blowing was responsible for the magnitude of the fire. There can, however, be little doubt that the misfortune which appeared so terrible to the citizens was regarded by Nero in a different light. Nero was prouder of being an artist than of being an emperor. Up to this time Rome, although embellished with innumerable temples and palaces, was yet the Rome of the Tarquins. The streets were narrow, and the houses huddled together. Mean cottages stood next to palaces. There was an absence of anything like a general plan. Rome had spread as its population had increased, but it was a collection of houses rather than a capital city. Nero saw at once how vast was the opportunity. In place of the rambling tortuous streets and crowded rookeries, a city should rise stately, regular, and well ordered, with broad streets and noble thoroughfares, while in its midst should be a palace unequalled in the world, surrounded by gardens, lakes, and parks. There was ample room on the seven hills, and across the Tiber, for all the population, with breathing space for everyone. What glory would there not be to him who thus transformed Rome, and made it a worthy capital of the world! First, however, the people must be attended to and kept in good humour, and accordingly orders were at once issued that the gardens of the emperor's palaces should be thrown open, and the fugitives allowed to encamp there. Such magazines as had escaped the fire were thrown open, and food distributed to all, while ships were sent at once to Sicily and Sardinia for large supplies of grain for the multitude. While the ruins were still smoking the emperor was engaged with the best architects in Rome in drawing out plans for laying out the new city on a superb scale, and in making preparations for the commencement of work. The claims of owners of ground were at once wiped out by an edict saying, that for the public advantage it was necessary that the whole of the ground should be treated as public property, but that on claims being sent in other sites would be given elsewhere. Summonses were sent to every town and district of the countries under the Roman sway calling for contributions towards the rebuilding of the capital. So heavy was the drain, and so continuous the exactions to raise the enormous sums required to pay for the rebuilding of the city and the superb palaces for the emperor, that the wealth of the known world scarce sufficed for it, and the Roman Empire was for many years impoverished by the tremendous drain upon its resources. The great mass of the Roman population benefited by the fire. There was work for everyone, from the roughest labourer to the most skilled artisan and artist. Crowds of workmen were brought from all parts. Greece sent her most skilful architects and decorators, her sculptors and painters. Money was abundant, and Rome rose again from her ruins with a rapidity which was astonishing. The people were housed far better than they had ever been before; the rich had now space and convenience for the construction of their houses, and although most of them had lost the greater portion of their valuables in the fire, they were yet gainers by it. All shared in the pride excited by the new city, with its broad streets and magnificent buildings, and the groans of the provincials, at whose cost it was raised, troubled them not at all. It was true that Nero, in his need for money, seized many of the wealthier citizens, and, upon one pretext or other, put them to death and confiscated their property; but this mattered little to the crowd, and disturbed none save those whose wealth exposed them to the risk of the same fate. Beric saw nothing of these things, for upon the very day after the fire died out Scopus started with his scholars to a villa on the Alban Hills that had been placed at his disposal by one of his patrons. There were several other schools in the neighbourhood, as the air of the hills was considered to be far healthier and more strengthening than that of Rome. In spite of the public calamity Nero continued to give games for the amusement of the populace, other rich men followed his example, and the sports of the amphitheatre were carried on on an even more extensive scale than before. Scopus took six of his best pupils to the first games that were given after the fire. Four of them returned victorious, two were sorely wounded and defeated. Their lives had, however, been spared, partly on account of their skill and bravery, partly because the emperor was in an excellent humour, and the mass of the spectators, on whom the decision of life or death rested, saw that the signal for mercy would be acceptable to him. The Britons greatly preferred their life on the Alban Hills to that in Rome; for, their exercises done, they could wander about without being stared at and commented upon. The pure air of the hills was invigorating after that of the great city; and here, too, they met ten of their comrades whose ludi had been all along established on the hills. Plans of escape were sometimes talked over, but though they could not resist the pleasure of discussing them, they all knew that it was hopeless. Though altogether unwatched and free to do as they liked after the work of the day was over, they were as much prisoners as if immured in the strongest dungeons. The arm of Rome stretched everywhere; they would be at once followed and hunted down wherever they went. Their height and complexion rendered disguise impossible, and even if they reached the mountains of Calabria, or traversed the length of Italy successfully and reached the Alps -- an almost hopeless prospect -- they would find none to give them shelter, and would ere long be hunted down. At times they talked of making their way to a seaport, seizing a small craft, and setting sail in her; but none of them knew aught of navigation, and the task of traversing the Mediterranean, passing through the Pillars of Hercules, and navigating the stormy seas beyond until they reached Britain, would have been impossible for them. News came daily from the city, and they heard that Nero had accused the new sect of being the authors of the conflagration, that the most rigid edicts had been issued against them, and that all who refused to abjure their religion were to be sent to the wild beasts in the arena. Beric had not seen Norbanus since the day when he had saved his library from the fire; but a few days after they had established themselves in the hills he received a letter from him saying that he had, after much inquiry, learned where Scopus had established his ludus; he greatly regretted Beric had left Rome without his seeing him, and hoped he would call as soon as he returned. His family was already established in a house near that of Lucius. After that Beric occasionally received letters from Aemilia, who wrote sometimes in her father's name and sometimes in her own. She gave him the gossip of Rome, described the wonderful work that was being done, and sent him letters from Pollio to read. One day a letter, instead of coming by the ordinary post, was brought by one of the household slaves. "We are all in terrible distress, Beric," she said. "I have told you about the severe persecution that has set in of the Christians. A terrible thing has happened. You know that our old nurse belonged to that sect. She often talked to me about it, but it did not seem to me that what she said could be true; I knew that Ennia, who is graver in her disposition than I am, thought much of it, but I did not think for a moment that she had joined the sect. Two nights ago some spies reported to one of the praetors that some persons, believed to be Christians, were in the habit of assembling one or two nights a week at a lonely house belonging to a freedman. A guard was set and the house surrounded, and fifty people were found there. Some of them were slaves, some freedmen, some of them belonged to noble families, and among them was Ennia. "She had gone accompanied by that wretched old woman. All who had been questioned boldly avowed themselves to be Christians, and they were taken down and thrown into prison. Imagine our alarm in the morning when we found that Ennia was missing from the house, and our terrible grief when, an hour later, a messenger came from the governor of the prison to say that Ennia was in his charge. My father is quite broken down by the blow. He does not seem to care about Ennia having joined the new sect -- you know it is his opinion that everyone should choose their own religion -- but he is chiefly grieved at the thought that she should have gone out at night attended only by her nurse, and that she should have done this secretly and without his knowledge. My mother, on the other hand, is most of all shocked that Ennia should have given up the gods of Rome for a religion of slaves, and that, being the daughter of a noble house, she should have consorted with people beneath her. "I don't think much of any of these things. Ennia may have done wrong, but that is nothing to me. I only think of her as in terrible danger of her life, for they say that Nero will spare none of the Christians, whether of high or low degree. My father has gone out this morning to see the heads of our family and of those allied to us by kinship, to try to get them to use all their influence to obtain Ennia's pardon. My mother does nothing but bemoan herself on the disgrace that has fallen upon us. I am beside myself with grief, and so, as I can do nothing else, I write to tell you of the trouble that has befallen us. I will write often and tell you the news." Beric's first emotion was that of anger that Ennia should, after the promise she had given him, have again gone alone to the Christian gathering. Then he reflected that as he was away from Rome, she was, of course, unable to keep that promise. He had not seen her since that night, for she had passed straight through the atrium with her mother while he was assisting the slaves to take up their burdens. He could not help feeling an admiration for her steadfastness in this new Faith that she had taken up. By the side of her livelier sister he had regarded her as a quiet and retiring girl, and was sure that to her these midnight outings by stealth must have been very terrible, and that only from the very strongest sense of duty would she have undertaken them. Now her open avowal of Christianity, when she must have known what were the penalties that the confession entailed, seemed to him heroic. "It must be a strange religion that could thus influence a timid girl," he said to himself. "My mother killed herself because she would not survive the disaster that had fallen upon her people and her gods; but her death was deemed by all Britons to be honourable. Besides, my mother was a Briton, strong and firm, and capable of heroic actions. This child is courting a death that all who belong to her will deem most dishonourable. There is nothing of the heroine in her disposition; it can only be her Faith in her religion that sustains her. As soon as I return to Rome I will inquire more into it." It was now ten months since Beric had entered the school of Scopus. He was nearly twenty years old, and his constant and severe exercises had broadened him and brought him to well nigh his full strength. Scopus regarded him with pride, for in all the various exercises of the arena he was already ahead of the other gladiators. His activity was as remarkable as his strength, and he was equally formidable with the trident and net as with sword and buckler; while in wrestling and with the caestus none of the others could stand up against him. He had been carefully instructed in the most terrible contest of all, that against wild beasts, for Scopus deemed that, being a captive of rank and importance, he might be selected for such a display. A Libyan, who had often hunted the lion in its native wilds, had described to him over and over again the nature of the animal's attack, and the spring with which it hurls itself upon its opponent, and Scopus having obtained a skin of one of the animals killed in the arena, the Libyan had stuffed it with outstretched paws; and Scopus obtained a balista, by which it was hurled through the air as if in the act of springing. Against this Beric frequently practised. "You must remember," the Libyan said, "that the lion is like a great cat, and as it springs it strikes, so that you must avoid not only its direct spring, but its paws stretched to their full extent as it passes you in the air. You must be as quick as the animal itself, and must not swerve till it is in the air. Then you must leap aside like lightning, and, turning as you leap, be ready to drive your spear through it as it touches the ground. The inert mass, although it may pass through the air as rapidly as the wild beast, but poorly represents the force and fierceness of the lion's spring. We Libyans meet the charge standing closely together, with our spears in advance for it to spring on, and even then it is rarely we kill it without one or two being struck down before it dies. Bulls are thought by some to be more formidable than lions; but as you are quick, you can easily evade their rush. The bears are ugly customers. They seem slow and clumsy, but they are not so, and they are very hard to kill. One blow from their forepaws will strip off the flesh as readily as the blow of a tiger. They will snap a spear shaft as easily as if it were a reed. They are all ugly beasts to fight, and more than a fair match for a single man. Better by far fight the most skilled gladiator in the ring than have anything to do with these creatures. Yet it is well to know how to meet them, so that if ill fortune places you in front of them, you may know how to do your best." Accounts came almost daily to the hills of the scenes in the arena, and the Romans, accustomed though they were to the fortitude with which the gladiators met the death stroke, were yet astonished at the undaunted bearing of the Christians -- old men and girls, slaves and men of noble family, calmly facing death, and even seeming to rejoice in it. One evening a slave brought a note from Aemilia to Beric. It contained but a few words: "Our efforts are vain; Ennia is condemned, and will be handed to the lions tomorrow in the arena. We have received orders to be present, as a punishment for not having kept a closer watch over her. I think I shall die." Beric went to Scopus at once. "You advised me several times to go to the arena, Scopus, in order to learn something from the conflicts. I want to be present tomorrow. Porus and Lupus are both to fight." "I am going myself, Beric, and will take you with me. I shall start two hours before daybreak, so as to be there in good time. As their lanista I shall enter the arena with them. I cannot take you there, but I know all the attendants, and can arrange for you to be down at the level of the arena. It may not be long before you have to play your part there, and I should like you to get accustomed to the scene, the wall of faces and the roar of applause, for these things are apt to shake the nerves of one unaccustomed to them." Beric smiled. "After meeting the Romans twenty times in battle, Scopus, the noise of a crowd would no more affect me than the roar of the wind over the treetops. Still I want to see it; and more, I want to see how the people of this new sect face death. British women do not fear to die, and often slay themselves rather than fall into the hands of the Romans, knowing well that they will go straight to the Happy Island and have no more trouble. Are these Christians as brave?" Scopus shrugged his shoulders. "Yes, they die bravely enough. But who fears death? Among all the peoples Rome has conquered where has she met with cowards? Everywhere the women are found ready to fall by their husbands' swords rather than become captives; to leap from precipices, or cast themselves into blazing pyres. Is man anywhere lower than the wild beast, who will face his assailants till the last? I have seen men of every tribe and people fight in the arena. If conquered, they raise their hand in order to live to conquer another day; but not once, when the thumbs have been turned down, have I seen one flinch from the fatal stroke." "That is true enough," Beric said; "but methinks it is one thing to court death in the hour of defeat, when all your friends have fallen round you, and all hope is lost, and quite another to stand alone and friendless with the eyes of a multitude fixed on you. Still I would see it." The next day Beric stood beside Scopus among a group of guards and attendants of the arena at one of the doors leading from it. Above, every seat of the vast circle was crowded with spectators. In the centre of the lower tier sat the emperor; near him were the members of his council and court. The lower tiers round the arena were filled by the senators and equities, with their wives and daughters. Above these were the seats of officials and others having a right to special seats, and then came, tier above tier to the uppermost seats, the vast concourse of people. When the great door of the arena opened a procession entered, headed by Cneius Spado, the senator at whose expense the games were given. Then, two and two, marched the gladiators who were to take part in it, accompanied by their lanistae or teachers. Scopus, after seeing Beric well placed, had left him to accompany Porus and Lupus. The gladiators were variously armed. There were the hoplomachi, who fought in complete suits of armour; the laqueatores, who used a noose to catch their adversaries; the retiarii, with their net and trident, and wearing neither armour nor helmet; the mirmillones, armed like the Gauls; the Samni, with oblong shields; and the Thracians, with round ones. With the exception of the retiarii all wore helmets, and their right arms were covered with armour, the left being protected by the shield. The gladiators saluted the emperor and people, and the procession then left the arena, the first two matched against each other again entering, each accompanied by his lanista. Both the gladiators were novices, the men who had frequently fought and conquered being reserved for the later contests, as the excitement of the audience became roused. One of the combatants was armed as a Gaul, the other as a Thracian. The combat was not a long one. The men fought for a short time cautiously, and then closing exchanged fierce and rapid blows until one fell mortally wounded. A murmur of discontent rose from the spectators, there had not been a sufficient exhibition of skill to satisfy them. Eight or ten pairs of gladiators fought one after the other, the excitement of the audience rising with each conflict, as men of noted skill now contended. The victors were hailed with shouts of applause, and the vanquished were spared, a proof that the spectators were in a good temper and satisfied with the entertainment. Beric looked on with interest. In the age in which he lived feelings of compassion scarcely existed. War was the normal state of existence. Tribal wars were of constant occurrence, and the vanquished were either slain or enslaved. Men fought out their private quarrels to the death; and Beric, being by birth Briton and by education Roman, felt no more compunction at the sight of blood than did either Briton or Roman. To him the only unnatural feature in the contest was that there existed neither personal nor tribal hostility between the combatants, and that they fought solely for the amusement of the spectators. Otherwise he was no more moved by the scenes that passed before his eyes than is a Briton of the present day by a friendly boxing match. He was more interested when Porus entered the arena, accompanied by Scopus. He liked Porus, who, although quick and fiery in temper, was good natured and not given to brawling. He had often practised against him, and knew exactly his strength and skill. He was clever in the management of his net, but failed sometimes from his eagerness to use his trident. He was received with loud applause when he entered, and justified the good opinion of the spectators by defeating his antagonist, who was armed as a Samnite, the spectators expressing their dissatisfaction at the clumsiness of the latter by giving the hostile signal, when the Gaul -- for the vanquished belonged to that nationality -- instead of waiting for the approach of Porus, at once stabbed himself with his own sword. The last pair to fight were Lupus and one of the Britons. He had not been trained in the school of Scopus, but in one of the other ludi, and as he was the first of those brought over by Suetonius to appear in the arena, he was greeted with acclamation as loud as those with which Lupus was received. Tall as Lupus was, the Briton far exceeded him in stature, and the interest of the spectators was aroused by the question whether the strength of the newcomer would render him a fair match for the well known skill of Lupus. A buzz went round the amphitheatre as bets were made on the result. Beric felt a thrill of excitement, for the Briton was one of the youngest and most active of his followers, and had often fought side by side with him against the Romans. How well he had been trained Beric knew not, but as he knew that he himself was superior in swordmanship to Lupus, he felt that his countryman's chances of success were good. It was not long, however, before he saw that the teaching the Briton had received had been very inferior to that given at the school of Scopus, and although he twice nearly beat Lupus to the ground by the sheer weight of his blows, the latter thrice wounded him without himself receiving a scratch. Warned, however, of the superior strength of the Briton Lupus still fought cautiously, avoiding his blows, and trying to tire him out. For a long time the conflict continued, then, thinking that his opponent was now weakened by his exertions and by loss of blood, Lupus took the offensive and hotly pressed his antagonist, and presently inflicted a fourth and more severe wound than those previously given. A shout rose from the spectators, "Lupus wins!" when the Briton, with a sudden spring, threw himself upon his opponent. Their shields clashed together as they stood breast to breast. Lupus shortened his sword to thrust it in below the Briton's buckler, when the latter smote with the hilt of his sword with all his strength full upon his assailant's helmet, and so tremendous was the blow that Lupus fell an inert mass upon the ground, while a tremendous shout rose from the audience at this unexpected termination of the contest. Scopus leaned over the fallen man. He was insensible but breathed, being simply stunned by the weight of the blow. Scopus held up his own hand, and the unanimous upturning of the thumbs showed that the spectators were well satisfied with the skill and courage with which Lupus had fought.