C. WELL, there is not much difference,
after all, between your grandfather's story and what
Julius wrote. I asked my teacher to let me read it all,
for I had heard only parts of it before. He offered to
lend me the book, but I was afraid to borrow it, lest
it should come to some harm. He said that there was not
another copy in all Britain, and that he should have to
send to Lugdunum in Gaul for it.
Perhaps Julius makes one think that he did more in
Britain than was really the case; but on the whole his
story agrees wonderfully well with your grandfather's.
But now tell me what you yourself remember.
G. So I will. We were threatened by the
Romans several times before they actually came. Once
the Roman Emperor came as near as the opposite shore of
Gaul. Our king Cunobelin had banished his son,
 and the worthless fellow went to the Emperor and
pretended to give up the kingdom to him—of course it
was never his to give. The Emperor—he was more than
half a madman I have been told—marched his legions down
to the sea, drew them up in order of battle, and then
set them to picking up shells. "Spoils of the ocean" he
called them, and had them solemnly sent to Rome and
laid up in the chief temple. Three years afterwards
they came in earnest. The Emperor—not the one I spoke
of, he had been murdered—himself came with them, though
I doubt whether he had much to do with the fighting.
However, he or his general took King Cunobelin's town.
That did not finish the war; there was fighting for
several years in the south and west of the country. The
last to hold out was the brave King Caractacus. He too
was conquered in the end. The fact is, we Britons are
not a match for these Romans. Man for man, we are as
brave, and certainly taller and stronger. But then they
have far better arms, and they are better disciplined.
There was a great battle somewhere in the west. Our
people had a very strong position. They were posted on
a hill, with a thick wood on either side and a river in
front. And there were three or four times as many of
them as of the Romans. I have heard that the Roman
general himself was afraid to attack; but the soldiers
 almost, I may say, in spite of him, and stormed the
place. Our people, you see, had no breast-plates, and
their wicker shields were not of much use against a
heavy Roman sword. And then their own swords and spears
were mostly of bronze. You, my boy, are used to see
everything made of iron, but it was not so at the time
that I am speaking of, thirty or
 forty years ago. Iron weapons cost so much that only
the chiefs had them. The common people used bronze; and
bronze, I need not tell you, is no match for iron.
Well, as I said, the King's camp was taken, and his
wife and children with it. His brothers gave themselves
up. As for the King himself, he managed to escape.
ROMAN SOLDIERS CROSSING A RIVER.
C. And what became of him?
G. He took refuge with a neighbour, Queen
of the Brigantes. She put him in prison, and gave him
up to the Romans.
C. What a wicked woman!
G. Yes, indeed; but what can you expect of
a creature who sent away her husband, one of the best
soldiers that ever was in Britain, and married the
driver of her own chariot?
C. And what did the Romans do with him?
G. They behaved better to him than is
their custom. He was taken to Rome and brought before
the Emperor. I saw one of the soldiers who was on guard
that day, and he told me the whole story. The Emperor
sat on one seat, with the flags of the Roman legions
round him, and his wife on another, just as if she were
his equal. We Britons, you know, would as willingly
have a queen as a king, but the Romans don't hold with
us in that; they don't take such account of women; but
this was one who thought
 herself equal to any man, and her husband was, by all
accounts, a very poor creature. Well, as I said, the
King was brought, and told to answer for himself, he
and his brothers and all his family. The rest threw
themselves on the ground and begged for their lives.
But he would not stoop to do such a thing. What he said
was something like this: "If I had chosen to submit to
you, I might have been your friend and not your
prisoner to-day; but I preferred to be my own master. I
thought that I was strong enough to be so; you have
shown me that I was wrong, and you have the glory of
it. And now, you can do what you will with me. If you
kill me, there is nothing more to be said; if you
pardon me, your generosity will never be forgotten."
Pardoned he was; but they never let him come back to
his own country. They were afraid, I suppose, that he
would make trouble.
C. And you took no part in this war?
G. No; we had nothing to do with it. You
see, when King Cunobelin's town was taken, my master,
whose country was not far off—it lies to the north, as
you know—thought it best to make terms with the
new-comers. I and three other chiefs were sent as
ambassadors to the Roman generals with presents and
hostages. The Romans always asked for hostages, and a
good plan it is for what they want. Ah! they have a
clever way of managing the people they
 have to do with. But it is a terrible thing for those
who have to give them. My own son—my second boy—was one
of them. He was taken away to Italy, and died, I heard,
of a fever, about a year afterwards. They put a tribute
upon us. However, it was not very heavy, and, anyhow,
we had peace and quiet as long as we paid it. As for
the King, my master, he was fairly charmed with the
strangers. He went to Rome, and when he came back,
nothing would satisfy him but he must have everything
in Roman fashion. Ah! if he could only have foreseen
what was to come! Happily for him, the trouble, as you
will hear, came after his days.
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