IT is needless to describe minutely the preparation of
Cleonicé and her allies for their expedition to the
hills. The Corsican and Rufus were provided with horses
from the Archon's stables, and furnished themselves
with arms such as could be carried without any display.
Cleonicé, it is hardly necessary to say, made a very
good-looking boy. She had to shorten her hair, but not
to crop it, for it was the fashion for the young to
wear it long, even beyond the limits of boyhood.
It was not wholly without a pang that she made this
sacrifice, but it was not a time for hesitating at
trifles. A skilful application of dye gave a sunburnt
look to her face and hands. Altogether
 the disguise was as successful as could be desired.
Everything was complete while the sun was still high in
the heavens, and the start was made in such good time
that the travellers might expect to reach their
journey's end about sunset.
The plan of operations had of course to be left to
Cleonicé, for she, and she alone of the three, knew
anything about the region to be traversed. Her object
was to reach her foster-mother's cottage without
observation, and the way in which she hoped to
accomplish this end was as follows. The road was
bordered on one side by a wood, and she proposed that
she and her companions should diverge into this while
still two miles or so short of the place where the
outposts of the robbers might be expected to be found.
She had a thorough knowledge of the locality. When she
was some ten years old she had paid a long visit to her
foster-mother. Her health had seemed in some danger of
failing, and the family physician had recommended a
complete change of life. Archias had proposed to take
a house somewhere out of Corinth, but the physician had
declared that this would not be enough.
"She wants," he said, "something more than a change of
air. You say that Sicyon is a bracing place, that it
looks north, and so on. Very
 true; I often recommend it for that reason. But that
wouldn't help this child much. You take a house at
Sicyon; well, but she would be living there in exactly
the same way as she is living here. 'No lessons,' you
say. Very good; but still the same atmosphere. The
same abundance, the same luxuries—everything, in fact,
the same. Now I want to change all that. She must live
a different life; she must be turned from an aristocrat
into a peasant. There's her foster-mother. Why not send
the child to her for a year? Hardships! Yes; that is
exactly what she wants. I would not put her into a
family of the very poorest. That would be overdoing it.
But a plain-living household, where they have the
genuine peasant fare, that is the thing."
And so it was settled. Cleonicé went for a year to her
foster-mother's cottage, and the change was as thorough
as could be desired, and it had all the bracing and
restoring effect upon her health that the physician had
expected. It was then that she began to learn all the
ins and outs, all the highways and byeways of the great
wood at the edge of which the cottage stood. This
knowledge she had increased by frequent visits in after
years. When the summer was at its hottest in Corinth,
Archias had taken the most commodious cottage
 in the village, and it had been the girl's delight to
explore the forest recesses. The knowledge thus
acquired she was now about to put to a use which she
had certainly never anticipated.
She and her companions struck into a green road which
would take them, she knew, by almost a straight line to
the cottage. The distance was traversed without
incident. When the party was about three hundred yards
from its destination, she called a halt. There was a
shed used by wood-cutters for sleep and meals when they
were busy with their spring or autumn work. It was now
unoccupied, and here the Corsican and Rufus were to
wait, and she would join them when her errand had been
Manto, the foster-mother, was busy preparing her
husband's evening meal, when she was startled to see a
quite unknown figure standing in the doorway of her
cottage. For it was not only unknown, but of an
appearance wholly unfamiliar. It was a handsome lad
attired in an elegant riding costume whom she saw, and
for a minute or so her powers of recognition absolutely
failed her. Then her visitor bade her good-evening, and
the voice—it is curious how we recognize voices, for
the recognition is an absolutely unaided effort of
memory—seemed to bring back some recollection. The
recollection became more vivid when she
 heard a pet name which had been frequently on the lips
of her foster-child in former days, and it became
absolute recognition when the stranger threw his arms
round her and kissed her on either cheek.
"Good Heavens, my darling! what is the meaning of
this?" she gasped out. "You are not really changed, are
Stories of change from youth to maiden and maiden to
youth were among the legends told in Greek cottages of
old days, and Manto had not failed to hear them.
"Changed!" cried Cleonicé. "Certainly not. I am still
your dear daughter, as you are still my dear mother."
"But what does all this mean—this riding coat and
breeches? You make a very good looking young man, I
must allow, my dear child; but still I like you better
as you really are."
"In a moment, dearest mother," said Cleonicé. She was
burning with impatience to do her errand, but she knew
also that the subject must not be too abruptly
introduced. "All in good time, mother," she said; "but
just tell me all about yourself and everybody. How is
father?" Father was Manto's husband, and she was
always especially pleased when her foster-child called
him by this name. "And Theon?" Theon,
 it should be said, was the foster-brother, who was then
serving in the body guard of Herod Agrippa.
Her questions duly answered, she went on to give news
of Tecmessa, and her baby, the finest baby, she said,
in Corinth. It was not difficult, as may be readily
understood, to bring in the name of Eubulus. Theon in
former days had won a boys' race at the Isthmus and
another at Nemea, and Manto, besides the common
interest which all Greeks felt in the great national
games, was always keen to hear about them. Cleonicé was
strictly guarded in her praises of the young man, but
she enlarged on the incident that had brought them
together. Manto listened with rapt attention to the
story of how her darling had been rescued from the
imminent danger of drowning, grew pale with horror at
the description, artfully prolonged and heightened in
fact by the narrator, of the peril—"My clothes had
kept me up so far, but I was just beginning to sink,"
she said—and was ready to do anything for the young
hero who had come to the rescue at exactly the right
moment. Now was the time, the girl felt, for
introducing the business on which she had come. "And
now," she went on, "the robbers have caught him. They
sent a false message that his father was dying and
wanted to see him. They have him
 somewhere here, and they will not let him go till the
race is over. It will break his heart to lose
it—perhaps they will kill him."
"And you have come to rescue him? Oh, you brave child!"
This was quite true, but somehow, stated in this abrupt
way, it struck the girl with confusion, especially when
Manto looked at her with a penetrating glance. She
coloured up to the roots of her hair.
"My father," she began—then she remembered that her
father knew nothing of what she was doing. "Well," she
stammered, "I could not help being interested, and
trying to do something. All Corinth, you know, is wild
"Yes, dear," said Manto, "and you love him," going to
the point with the directness of her class.
"Certainly not," cried Cleonicé with another furious
blush. "He hasn't said a word about love to me."
"That'll come in good time, my dear," said Manto, and
she evidently considered the matter as good as settled.
"But now what is it that you want me to do?"
"To set him free," replied the girl.
Manto's face fell. That was a very difficult and risky
business, and she did not see how she was to
 set about it. Just at this moment the husband returned.
He was carrying a basket, and was evidently in a great
"Give me a snack just to go on with," he said to his
wife. "I have some business to do at the camp, and must
do it at once. They"—he did not specify any further
who was meant by the "they"—"have taken some one on the
road, and I have been getting something for him from
the inn. He seems to be a person of some importance,
for he can't do, it seems, with common fare. I have got
a roast fowl and a flask of Chian here for him, and I
must take them to him, for he will be wanting his
"Yes, father," said Manto, "but here is the dear child
from Corinth, who wants to speak to you."
"The dear child from Corinth," repeated the man in
amazement. "What do you mean?"
"Surely," said Cleonicé, "you haven't forgotten me,
though I must allow that I am not dressed as usual."
There was no time to lose, and the story was told
again. The shepherd, for this was the man's occupation,
was not less taken aback than his wife had been.
"Set him free!" he exclaimed, when he saw what he was
asked to do. "Set him free!
 But what are Manto and I to do afterwards, for we shall
certainly not be able to stay here any longer?"
"I have thought of that, dear father," said Cleonicé.
"That can easily be settled, if you are willing. My
father has a farm about to become empty just now on the
Sicyon road. He will put you into that, and you will be
twice as comfortable as you are here, and nothing
disagreeable to do."
"Well," said the shepherd, "I don't want a reward. I am
ready to do anything in my power for you, my dear
child; but one has to look ahead a bit. But now let us
consider what is to be done."
This was not difficult to see. The prisoner was in
charge of two of the band. These would have to be
disposed of in some way, and the readiest and safest
way was to drug their drink. The shepherd, who had
served the robbers for some years, was implicitly
trusted. All his interests were supposed to be
identical with theirs; it was the accepted rule that he
had a share in the ransom of a prisoner, and no one so
much as imagined that he would ever have an interest in
setting a prisoner free.
"By good luck," he said, "I bought a couple of flasks.
It would save me a journey, I thought to
 myself, to get it at once, and now the second will come
"But how about the drug?" said Manto.
"Oh!" replied the shepherd, "I have something here
that will do perfectly well. It is something that I
give the sheep now and then when they have the colic.
I'll warrant that it does the business, and in pretty
quick time, too. But now I must be off."
Everything went well. Eubulus, who had a happy,
faculty of getting on in every company, and making the
best of every situation, was already on friendly terms
with his guards. When the shepherd made his appearance
with the fowl and the flask of Chian, he at once
proposed to the men that they should pledge him in the
wine. This he did out of simple bonhomie, but it worked
into his deliverer's hands with admirable effect.
"Will you have it neat or mixed?" asked the shepherd.
The men would have preferred the drink without water;
but prudence prevailed.
"Well," said one of them, "for my part I think that
water somewhat spoils the taste. But we have to be
careful. Supposing that we should fall asleep? There
would be a pretty to do?"
The shepherd retired to the kitchen of the hut to mix
the bowl, and had, of course, an admirable
 opportunity of putting in the narcotic. When he
returned with the doctored wine, he was thinking how
he could manage to warn the young man against the
beverage, and was not a little perplexed by the
problem to be solved. Eubulus relieved him quite
unintentionally. "For myself," he said, "I prefer
water. I am in training, and wine does not suit me."
"The better for us," whispered one of the guards to the
other, "though we must really be careful."
"Then, gentlemen," said the shepherd, "I will wish you
good-night. I must be off home, where my wife is
waiting supper for me."
EUBOLUS IN THE HANDS OF THE BRIGANDS.
He left the hut, but, of course, only to wait outside
for so long as might be necessary before the drug did
its work. It was amusing, or would have been amusing,
to one not directly interested in the matter, to note
the working out of the plan. The talk of the two men
grew louder, then there was an attempt at singing, and
in a few minutes absolute silence. The shepherd looked
in, and saw that both the men were stretched on the
floor, snoring loudly enough, it might have been said,
to bring the house down. On this he slipped in, cut the
string by which the prisoner's ankles were tied
together, and the rope—by which he was bound to a
staple in the wall
 and whispered in his ear—he might have shouted the
words for all power of hearing that was left to the
guards—"Come along, sir, now is your time," and he led
the way to the cottage.
Manto meanwhile had been collecting her personal
belongings. All the furniture of the cottage would have
to be abandoned. Luckily there was very little of this;
the average cottage of the Greek labouring man was very
scantily furnished. But she had a few ornaments, a
necklace and such like, a band of coins, and some other
trifles, and a gala dress. These things, with
Cleonicé's help, she made up into a bundle, not without
tears, which the girl did her best to dispel.
Everything was ready when the shepherd returned. The
meal was hastily dispatched, neither of the women,
however, being disposed to share it. In less than half
an hour they had rejoined the party in the barn. Rufus,
who had the strongest horse, took up Manto behind him;
the Corsican and Cleonicé rode on before, and the
shepherd with Eubulus made his way through the wood to
the high road on foot. Before dawn on the following day
they were all safe at Corinth.