THE SECOND COMING OF JULIUS CAESAR
C. IT looks, grandfather, as if Caesar was
afraid, his going off so quietly.
G. Well, my boy, it seems to me that he
was afraid in one way, and was not afraid in another.
He found out that he had not brought enough men, and
that he had come too late, for it was close upon the
stormiest time of the year. And then he knew what our
people ought to have done, and what he should have
done, if he had been in their place. No
 doubt he was glad enough to get safe back across the
sea; I take it there was more danger in that than in
anything else. And that he was really afraid I don't
believe, for, you see, he came again. But to go on with
my grandfather's story.
"There was great rejoicing and not a little boasting
when we found the camp empty. 'They have had enough of
it,' some of us said, 'we shall not see anything more
of them.' That I never believed; their general, I was
quite sure, was not a man to draw back from anything
that he had set his hand to. And so it turned out.
"We were not left long in doubt about what he was going
to do. Before the winter was over we heard from our
friends on the other side of the sea that all the ships
in the country were being brought together to the
harbours on the opposite coast, and that a number of
new ones were being built. Later on we were told that
the soldiers were being brought up to the coast, and
that there would be more than three times as many as
had come the year before. All this looked very serious,
and as if the Romans really meant to conquer the island
this time. There was some talk among us of all the
kings in the country joining their forces together; but
it came to nothing, at least then. All that was done
was to gather as big an army as we could find, and to
 watch the coast. Some time after midsummer—the days, I
remember, were beginning to get a little shorter—the
fleet came in sight, at much about the same place where
it had been first seen the year before. But they
seemed, somehow, to be coming the other way. They had
been carried too far; I suppose, by the tide, and were
now coming back. As soon as we caught sight of the
first ships, we made haste to get down to the beach
where they had landed the year before. But when we saw
what a multitude of vessels there was—there must have
been nearly ten times as many as had come the last
time—our men got fairly frightened. In spite of all
that some of the chiefs could do to keep them at their
post, they left the shore. In the end, the Romans
landed without any one trying to hinder them.
Afterwards we found that many of the ships we saw had
no soldiers on board, but belonged to merchants. They
had come with the army to buy and sell—buy any plunder
that the soldiers might get, and sell them wine and
other things. However, I doubt whether if we had tried
to stop them from landing we should have done any good.
"They did not give us any rest. The very day of their
landing, their general, without even waiting to pitch
his camp, as we had expected that he would do, marched
up the country after us. We tried to stop
 him at a difficult place, where he had to cross a river
and then make his way up a steep hill; but it was of no
use. We could not stand against him, and had to fall
back upon a strong fort that had been built about
twelve miles from the sea. It was now early in the
morning, for the Romans must have started very soon
after midnight. The camp was a very strong place, and
could not be taken, we thought, in a whole moon, except
by starving the garrison out. Well, it was, as I said,
early in the morning when the Romans came up, and they
had taken the place before noon. The soldiers covered
themselves with their shields while they filled up the
ditch first, and then made a mound against the wall.
And all the time they did this there was no getting at
them, they stood so close together and so firm. I don't
suppose that we wounded more than two or three. After a
while we gave up trying; in fact we left the place to
ROMAN SOLDIERS ATTACKING A FORT.
"That night we held a council. Some were for giving in
to the Romans without any more delay. 'We can't make
any head against them,' they said, and it really seemed
as if they were right. But most of us were for holding
out, but how this was to be done we could not think. At
last I took courage to say what I knew a great many
besides myself were thinking. 'If we are to save
Britain from being
con-  quered, I said, 'we must unite, we must have one general.' For
a time there was silence. At last some one cried out,
'And who is this one general to be?' ' Who can doubt?'
I said; 'it must be King Caswallon,'
There was no silence after that, you may be sure. Some
clapped their hands, but only
 a few, many hissed or groaned. There was not a man in
all Britain so hated and feared as King Caswallon. He
was never quiet, but always trying to get hold of
something that belonged to his neighbours, or to do
them a mischief in some way. Still, as I said, he was
the only man, because there was no one else who had
anything like the power, no one else who was great
enough for the others to submit to him. People will
obey a man whom they hate so long as they fear him;
but they won't obey one whom they despise. Well, there
was much talking, but at last all agreed that King
Caswallon was to be asked to take the chief command.
By good luck we had some time to get our men together,
for the Roman general had to go back to see after his
ships, which had been damaged by a storm—so our spies
told us. By the time he had finished looking after
them, King Caswallon came up with his men. His cavalry
and his chariots were the best in Britain, and we hoped
that he would have better success than we had had. And
so it turned out for a time. First there was a fight of
cavalry, and the Roman horsemen followed our men so far
into the woods that they were entangled. The King
 saw this and cut off a good many of them. A few days
afterwards he found them quite off their guard. They
were busy fortifying the camp, and seemed not to have
any notion that we were in the neighbourhood. We crept
up close to them under cover of the woods, which
somehow they had forgotten to watch, and fell on the
companies that were nearest to us. These we put to
flight; two new companies, which we heard afterwards
were reckoned to be the best soldiers they had, hardly
did any better; we broke right through them, killing a
good many, and carrying off the body of one of their
chief officers. We lost hardly any of our men.
There was one thing, you know, in which we had the
better of them, and that was our chariots. These had
great scythes fastened to their axles, and did a great
deal of damage to the enemy. Our men used to drive them
up at full gallop, and it was very seldom that they did
not manage to break through the Roman line with them. I
have seen a dozen chariots go clean through a division.
After a time they got more used to them, for they were
wonderfully brave men. Then they took to killing the
horses. But to the very last, the first rush of the
chariots made a great impression upon them.
"Of course we were greatly encouraged by our success.
Unluckily, it made us too bold. A few
 days afterwards we tried a regular pitched battle with
the enemy, and were terribly beaten. As they had now a
great number of cavalry, they pursued us a long way and
killed a great many of our men. The next day half or
more of those that escaped went away to their homes.
They had had enough of fighting with the Romans.
"Very soon after this the Romans marched to the river
Thames. That was then King Caswallon's boundary on the
south. It could only be forded in one place, and that
not at all easily, the water was so deep and the stream
so strong. Besides, to make it all the harder, a number
of stakes had been driven into the bed of the river. I
was not there at the time, but I heard what happened
afterwards from some one who was present. They did not
stop for a moment when they came to the water's edge,
though the stream was running strong, and the other
bank was covered with men. They went into the river at
a run, foot-soldiers and horse-soldiers mixed together.
It was so deep that the men on foot had only their
heads above the water. Even that did not stop them,
nor, as you may suppose, did the men that were posted
on the other bank. In fact, none of them stayed till
the Romans got across. They said there was no standing
against such wonderful soldiers.
"After this King Caswallon did not try to meet the
 enemy in open fight again. He sent all his
foot-soldiers home, keeping only some of the horsemen
and chariots. With these he followed the Romans on
their march. Neither man nor beast was left in the open
country; all were driven into the woods; and as soon as
ever a Roman soldier left the main body to get a little
plunder or to look for provisions—and they had not much
food beyond what they could get in this way—he was sure
to be cut off. The King could not stop the enemy from
going on; still, they lost many men in this way.
"However, they did our people a great deal more harm
than we could do them. There was not a village anywhere
near their line of march that was not burnt, nor a
house or field that was not plundered, no, nor a fruit
tree that was not cut down. Then some of our tribes
began to fall off and make peace with the Romans. The
first to do so were the Trinobantes. Caswallon had
killed their king, and driven his son into banishment.
They made a treaty with Caesar, sending him hostages,
and a quantity of corn for his army. Others did the
same. From some of their envoys the Romans learnt the
way to Caswallon's chief town. It was a difficult
place to find, with woods and marshes all round it,
but these traitors sent the Romans a guide. It was a
strong place, as we had been used to reckon strong
places, but the
 Romans made very short work with it; they attacked it
on two sides at once, and the King's people did not
wait for them, but made the best of their way out. The
King and his tribe lost thousands of cattle there.
"Then Caswallon tried his last chance. He sent orders
to the kings on the sea-coast that they were to try to
destroy the ships. If that could be done Caesar would
certainly have to go back. They did what they were
ordered to do, but it was of no use. The fortification
round the ships was too strong and too well protected.
The kings were beaten back and lost many men.
"After this there was nothing left for Caswallon but to
make peace. This he found easy enough, for Caesar was
very anxious to get away, because he had heard bad news
from the other side of the sea. The King had to give
hostages, and he agreed to pay a tribute every year.
Part of this tribute the Romans took away with them,
but the rest they never got. Caesar had plenty to do in
Gaul, as we heard from our friends and kinsmen over
there, and though he sent once or twice to ask for what
was owing, he never did anything else."
That was my grandfather's story. Well, the Romans never
came again till about forty years ago, though I
remember that there was talk about their coming once or
twice when I was a young man.