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to himself. "This is a fine country we are passing through."

But when 'Rita passed he held his ears most erect, and his nostrils swelled to their widest, and he turned his head as far her way as the leading halter would allow; for she had upon her toilet-table in the old stone house back of the bodega a vial of perfume sent from Seville itself by that mythical uncle of hers.

"At last," the little blind ass of the clay mill would say, "we have reached the pleasant valley of flowers. Fine country there to the right! Valley-lilies, roseswhiff! Sniff! Um! Fine place for a young fellow such as I was once to kick up his heels and nibble blossoms."

But though he stretched out his head, Pedro never unharnessed him, and the little gray ass went on contentedly when 'Rita, leaving a whiff of the perfume behind, passed on her way.

"All for the best!" said the little blind ass of the clay mill. "I'm past the age for nibbling blossoms. tough thistle any day. tles, hay is preferable. Nebuchadnezzar!"

Give me a rich, And as for this

Blessed be St.

So day after day he walked around the clay-mill path, seeing far lands,-seeing


fields of grain, and hillsides rich with ruddy grapes, and pleasant villages,-and every week the country became more beautiful in the blind eyes of the little gray ass; for the fields of flowers became more and more plentiful.

Which is only saying that 'Rita stopped more and more often to chat with Pedro.

"Good word!" said the little blind ass. "No wonder my master has driven me so far, for such a land of blossoms was well worth seeking. It is a pleasure to wander through such a land."

"What do you think?" said the yellow loafers before the wine-shop. "Pedro is going to marry 'Rita!"

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Fool!" they said. But there was one José-who said nothing. He slipped away from his fellows and glided up the straight road until he saw 'Rita, one hand on the great olive-tree, talking with Pedro, while the little blind ass rested in the shade of the tree, very happy and very content. As José crept closer, the little blind traveler closed one eye and then the other. He was awakened by the angry voices of José and his master. He heard, too, the weeping of 'Rita. He heard the voices grow louder, and a woman's shriek of anger, dying into agony and silence,


and the sound of men's voices panting in a struggle, and a gasp, and the hurried noise of a pair of feet running away down the road.

For minutes more the little blind ass of the 'dobe mill stood awaiting the word of command from his master. He could still scent the blossom fields close at hand. From time to time he raised his long ears. No doubt his master had gone to pick blossoms.

He stood until the sun, moving westward, carried the shadow of the great

olive-tree to one side and the sunlight fell on his flanks. Then he leaned forward and put his weight against the yoke, and patiently moved on around the beaten path that surrounded the clay mill.

"Dallying with the flowers is well enough," he said to himself, "and I would willingly stand all day; but wisdom comes with years, and I must get on my way, or I shall not reach the stable, with its sweet hay, by sunset."

And around and around the beaten path trudged the little blind ass of the clay mill.

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Author of "The Greatness and Decline of Rome," etc.

HE blackest and most tragic period pass into history as the worst period of the

the death of Germanicus and the terrible scandal of the suit against Piso. It was to

1 There was in the Roman legal system no public prosecutor and virtually no police. Every Roman citizen was supposed to watch over the laws and see that they were not infringed. On his retirement from office, any governor or magistrate ran the risk of being impeached by some young aspirant to political honors, and not infre

time that the famous lex de majestate1 (on high treason), which had not been quently oratory, an art much cultivated by the Romans, triumphed over righteousness. In the earlier period the ground on which charges were usually brought was malversation; in the time of the empire they were also frequently brought under the above-mentioned law de majestate. It has been said that this common act of accusation,

applied under Augustus, came to be frequently invoked, and through its operation atrocious accusations, scandalous trials, and frightful condemnations were multiplied in Rome, to the terror of all. Many committed suicide in despair, and illustrious. families were given over to ruin and infamy.

Posterity still holds Tiberius to account for these tragedies; his cruel and suspicious tyranny is made responsible for these accusations, for the suits which followed, and for the cruel condemnations in which they ended. It is said that every free mind which still remembered ancient Roman liberty gave him umbrage and caused him distress, and that he could suffer to have about him only slaves and hired assassins. But how far this is from the truth! How poorly the superficial judgment of posterity has understood the terrible tragedy of the reign of Tiberius! We always forget that Tiberius was the next Roman emperor after Augustus; the first, that is, who had to bear the weight of the immense charge created by its founder, but without the immense prestige and respect which Augustus had derived from the extraordinary good fortune of his life, from the critical moment in which he had taken over the government, from the general opinion that he had ended the civil wars, brought peace back to an empire in travail, and saved Rome from the imminent ruin with which Egypt and Cleopatra had threatened it. For these reasons, while Augustus lived, the envy, jealousy, rivalry, and hatred of the new authority were held in check in his presence; but they were ever smoldering in the Roman aristocracy, which considered itself robbed of a part of its privileges, and always felt itself humiliated by this same authority, even when it was necessary to submit to it in cases of supreme political necessity. But all this envy, all these jealousies, all these rival ries, I have said it before, but it is well to repeat it, since the point is of capital importance for the understanding of the whole history of the first empire,- were unleashed when Tiberius was exalted to the imperial dignity.

the birthright of the Roman citizen, the greatly esteemed palladium of Roman freedom, became the most convenient instrument of despotism. Since he who could bring a criminal to justice received a fourth of his possessions and estates, and since it brought the accuser into prominence,

What in reality was the situation of Tiberius after the death of Germanicus? We must grasp it well if we wish to understand not only the cruelty of the accusations brought under the law of high treason, but also the whole family policy followed by the second emperor. It was he who had to bear the burden of the whole state, of the finances, of the supplies, of the army, of the home and foreign policies; his was the will that propelled, and the mind that regulated, all. To him every portion of the empire and every social class had recourse, and it was to him that they looked for redress for every wrong or inconvenience or danger. It was to him that the legions looked for their regular stipend, the common people of Rome for abundant grain, the senate for the preservation of boundaries and of the internal order; the provinces looked to him for justice, and the sovereign allies or vassals for the solution of all internal difficulties in which they became involved. These responsibilities were so numerous and so great that Tiberius, like Augustus, attempted to induce the senate to aid him by assuming its share, according to the ancient constitution; but it was in vain, for the senate sought to shield itself, and always left to him the heavier portion.

Is it conceivable that a man could have discharged so many responsibilities in times when the traditions of the government were only beginning to take form if he had not possessed a commanding personal authority, if he had not been the object of profound and general respect? Augustus would not have been able to govern so great an empire for more than forty years with such slight means had it not been for the fact, fortunate alike for himself and for the state, that he did enjoy this profound, sincere, and general admiration. Tiberius, on the other hand, who was already decidedly unpopular when he came into power, had seen this unpopularity increase during the first six years of his rule, despite all the efforts he had put forth to govern well. His solicitude about maintaining a certain order within the state was described as haughti

delation was recklessly indulged in by the unscrupulous, both for the sake of gain and as a means of venting personal spite. The vice lay in the Roman system, and was not the invention of Tiberius. He could hardly have done away with it without overthrowing the whole Roman procedure.


Half-tone plate engraved by H. Davidson



ness and harshness, his preoccupation lest the precarious resources of the government be dissipated in useless expenditures was dubbed avarice, and the prudence which had impelled him to restrain the rash policy of expansion and aggression which Germanicus had tried to initiate beyond the Rhine was construed as envy and surly malignity. Against all considerations of justice, logic, or good sense, this accusation was repeated, and now that destiny had cut down Germanicus, he was accused' sotto voce of being responsible for his death by many of the great families of Rome and even in senatorial circles. They treated it as most natural that through jealousy he should poison his own nephew, his adopted son, the popular descendant of Drusus, the son of that virtuous Antonia, who was his best and most faithful friend! But if, after having been accepted as true by the great families of Rome who sent it on its rounds, such a report had been allowed to circulate through the empire, how much authority would have been left to an emperor who was suspected of so terrible a crime? How could he have maintained discipline in the army, of which he was the head, and order among the people of Rome, of whom, as tribune, he was the great protector? How could he have directed, urged on, or restrained the senate, of which he was, in the language of to-day, the president? The various Italian peoples from whom the army and the judges were drawn did not yet consider the head of the state a being so superior to the laws that it would be permissible for him to commit crimes which were branded as disgustingly repulsive to ordinary human


No historian who understands the affairs of the world in general, and the story of the first century of the empire in particular, will attribute to ferocity or to the tyrannical spirit of Tiberius the increasingly harsh application of the lex de majestate which followed the death of Germanicus and the trial of Piso. This harshness was the natural reaction against the delirium of atrocious calumnies against Tiberius which raged in the aristocracy of that time and especially in the house of Agrippina.

Too credulous of Tacitus, many writers have severely characterized the facility and the severity with which the senate con

demned those accused under the lex de majestate: they consider it an indication of ignoble servility toward the emperor. Yet we know very well that the Roman senate at that time was not composed merely of adulators and hirelings; it still included many men of intelligence and character. We can explain this severity only by admitting that there were many persons in the senate who judged that the emperor could not be left defenseless against the wild slanders of the great families, since these extravagant and insidious calumnies compromised not only the prestige and the fame of the ruler, but also the tranquillity, the power, and the integrity of the empire. Undoubtedly the lex de majestate did give rise in time to false accusations, to private reprisals, and to unjust sentences of condemnation. Although it had been devised to defend the prestige of the state in the person of the magistrates who represented it, the law was frequently invoked by senators who wished to vent their fiercest personal hatreds. Yet we must go slow in accusing Tiberius of these excesses. Tacitus himself, who was averse to the emperor, recounts several incidents which show him in the act of intervening in trials of high treason for the benefit of the accused precisely for the purpose of hindering these excesses of private vengeance. The accounts which we have of many other trials are so brief and so biased that it is not fair for us to hazard a judgment.

We do know, however, that after the death of Germanicus there was formed at Rome, in the imperial family and the senate, a party of Agrippina, which began an implacable war upon Tiberius, and that Tiberius, the so-called tyrant, was at the beginning very weak, undecided, and vacillating in his resistance to this new opposition. His opponents did not spare his person; they did their best to spread the belief that the emperor was a poisoner, and persecuted him relentlessly with this calumny; they were already pushing forward Nero, the first-born son of Germanicus, though in 21 A.D. he was only fourteen years old, in order that he might in time be made the rival of Tiberius. The latter, indeed, tried at first to moderate the charges of high treason, his supreme defense; he feigned that he did not know or did not see many things, and instead of resisting, he began to make long

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