C. You promised, grandfather, to finish
the story of the Queen.
G. You shall hear it, though it was a
miserable business from beginning to end. Well, after
the Roman towns had been destroyed, many of our people,
not so much the Queen's own tribe as those that had
joined in afterwards, began to slip away with their
plunder. I dare say some of them hoped to get off free
whatever might happen. However, there were quite enough
left to do all that was wanted. Indeed, to tell you the
truth, I believe that we should have fared much better
if we had had only half the number. A great mob of all
sorts such as we had,
 many of them with more of the robber than the soldier
in them, was not good for much. It was too confident at
first, and too easily frightened afterwards. However,
we did not think so then. You see we had never really
tried what the Roman soldiers were like. The legion we
destroyed on the way to London was taken by surprise,
and had no chance of showing what it was like. After
that there had been no fighting at all, only plundering
and slaying helpless people. And we certainly seemed to
be more than a match for them. Our scouts told us that
the Governor had no more than ten thousand men. He had
sent—so they said—to the commander of a camp in the
west to bring all the troops that he could spare, and
the man had refused. That encouraged us, as you may
suppose, not a little. Some of the Romans, we could
see, were afraid.
C. But what a foolish thing for him to do,
G. Yes, indeed, my boy. What could he have
hoped to do if the main body had been destroyed? He
killed himself afterwards, so ashamed was he of having
been so cowardly and foolish. However, as I said, it
gave us no little confidence. There was scarcely one
among us but believed that there would not be a Roman
soldier alive at the end of the day. Soon after
daybreak we were ready for the battle.
 Before we moved forward the Queen drove in her chariot
through the army, and spoke to every division—it was
divided, you must understand, by tribes, and not a
little jealousy and quarrelling was there about places.
C. What was she like, grandfather?
G. The very noblest-looking woman that I
ever saw. She was taller than most men—indeed there
were not many in the whole army that overtopped her.
There was a stern look on her face, and a fierce light
in her eyes, though I can remember a time when she was
as sweet and gentle a lady as there was in Britain. But
many things had happened since then. Her hair was of
rich golden red, and fell in great waves down to her
hips. Round her head it was kept together by a circlet
of gold. She had a tunic, with crossbars of bright
colours on it—you seldom see such a thing now that the
Roman dress is so much in fashion—and a military cloak
over her shoulders. In her right hand she held a spear.
C. Can you remember what she said,
G. Every word, and shall to the day of my
death, or as long, at least, as I remember anything.
But I shall not repeat it. What good would it be if I
did? The Romans are our masters, and it is best to be
content with them. Anyhow they are the best that we are
likely to find. But you shall hear the last
 thing that she said, because it was so like her. "We
must conquer," she said, "nor do I see how we can fail.
But if not, what then? DIE, that is what a woman means
to do; I leave it to men to live and be slaves."
The Queen had left her own people to the last; and as
the division to which I belonged was on the extreme
right of the army—she began her progress through the
divisions at the left—when she had finished her speech
to us the battle began. Our men rushed forward
helter-skelter, as if they were going to simply run
over the enemy, as a herd of cattle might run over a
man. And there was such a cloud of javelins, darts,
arrows, stones, as, I should think, had never been seen
before. The Romans simply stood where they were, and
bore it. They held their shields over their heads, but
no man moved an inch from his place. If a man was
struck down—and though hundreds of missiles missed
where one hit, some of them were; I myself saw several
fall—the gap was filled up in a moment. This went on
for about an hour. By the end of that time we had spent
all our stock of breath and of weapons. Then there
happened something that I suppose no one had looked
for. The legion charged. It was in close order,
something like a wedge, and marched, I may say, like
one man. There was no standing against it.
 It broke through our loose ranks as a hatchet breaks
through a piece of wood. And then their light-armed
soldiers and their horsemen finished what the legion
had begun, for they cut down those that fled, or tried
to fly, for it was very hard to get away from the
battlefield. There were rows of wagons in our rear, in
which the women and children were carried. Poor things!
they had come to see a fine sight, as they thought. But
it turned out to be something very, very different.
ROMAN SOLDIERS IN BATTLE.
C. And what happened to the Queen?
G. It was no fault of hers that she did
not die on the field of battle. If a woman ever sought
 she did. But it was not to be. Towards the end of the
day she was wounded, and fainted with loss of blood.
While she was in this state her charioteer drove her
off the field. It was a long time before she rightly
came to herself. When she did she would have killed
herself; but her servants put everything out of her
reach. You see they wanted to make favour with the
Romans by giving her up to them. The Governor would
have paid a high price, no doubt, if he could have got
hold of her alive. Of course you have read in your
histories about the Roman triumphs, as they call them.
It would have been a fine thing for the Governor to
take such a woman as the Queen through the streets of
Rome. I doubt whether they had ever seen her like
before. However, they did not get their way. She
managed to get at some poison, and killed herself in
C. So that was the end of the great Queen!
And now tell me about my own people.
G. Your grandfather was killed in the
battle, and I was taken prisoner. We were in the same
chariot. Of course I never expected or indeed wished
for anything but death. But they spared my life; I had
been able to save a few people when London was sacked,
and they were grateful for it. One of them in
particular, a very rich knight, made great interest
 with the Governor for me. He found it a very hard
matter, for Paulinus—that was the Governor's name—was
as hard and stern as a man could be. But Paulinus was
recalled,and some one less stern and strict was sent
out in his place. Then I received my pardon, and with
it a share of my property, which, of course, had been
confiscated. At the time I would sooner have died, but
afterwards I was reconciled to life. My son, your
grandfather that is, had left a daughter, who was then
a girl of ten years old or so. It was a great comfort
to me to have her with me; she was all that was left to
me, for my second son had died, as I told you, in
Italy. When she was eighteen, she married a Roman
officer, who had bought some property in the island. I
thought that I should spend my last days with her and
her husband, but it was not to be. The year after their
marriage there were awful troubles all over the world,
and they reached even to our poor home out here.
First the Emperor at Rome was killed, or rather driven
to kill himself. Then the general that was chosen to
come after him was murdered by the soldiers in the
streets of Rome. The soldiers of Rome put up an Emperor
of their own, but the army in Germany would not have
him, and chose their own general. He won the victory,
after some very fierce fighting. And then the army in
 East had their turn. Why should not they have their
Emperor, they said, as well as any one else? And it so
happened that they had a really good man at their head.
Vespasian was his name. Many years before he had been a
soldier in this country, and had distinguished himself
very much, and my son-in-law had served under him then,
and had got to like and admire him very much. And now,
as soon as he heard what had happened, nothing would
content him but that he must hurry over to Italy, and
do what he could to help his old chief. I could not
blame him, but all the same I wished with all my heart
that the thought had never entered into his mind. But
he was ambitious, I suppose, as well as grateful. He
had thought that he was content to farm, and hunt, and
fish, but it was not so; as soon as he had the chance
of something more he took it. Well, there was some
sharp fighting in Italy before Vespasian's party won
the day, and my granddaughter's husband went through
all of it without getting as much as a scratch. And
just in the last battle of all, at the very end of the
day, when they were making their way into Rome, he was
killed by a wounded man, who struck at him from the
ground. The news killed my poor granddaughter. You were
born on the day when it arrived, and she just lived
long enough to kiss you.
 Now, my dear boy, you will not wonder that I do not
altogether love these Romans. Still, they are here, and
you must make the best of them. My time is short, and
the future does not concern me; but you have your time
to live, and the better friends you are with your
masters, the more you will prosper.
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