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- A Thorny Path, Volume 10. - 9/9 -

burned with equal strength, now reached the highest pitch. Like a hunted deer which stays its flight for a moment to find an outlet or to turn upon his pursuers, he gazed wildly round him, and before the emperor could finish his threat; leaning against the pillar of the window as if prepared to receive his death-blow, he interrupted Caracalla:

"If your dull wit can invent no death to satisfy your cruelty, the blood- hound Zminis can aid you. You are a worthy couple. Curses on you!....

"At him!" yelled the emperor to Macrinus and the legate, for no substitute had appeared for the centurion he had dismissed.

But while the nobles advanced warily upon the madman, and Macrinus called to the Germanic body-guard in the anteroom, Philip had turned like lightning and disappeared through the window.

The legates and Caesar came too late to hold him back, and from below came cries of: "Crushed!--dead! . . What crime has he committed? . They cast him down! . . . He can not have done it himself . . . Impossible! . . . His arms are bound. . . A new manner of death invented specially for the Alexandrians!"

Then another whistle sounded, and the shout, "Down with the tyrant!"

But no second cry followed. The place was too full of soldiers and lictors.

"Caracalla heard it all. He turned back into the room, wiped the perspiration from his brow, and said in a voice of studied unconcern, yet with horrible harshness:

"He deserved his death-ten times over. However, I have to thank him for a good suggestion. I had forgotten the Egyptian Zminis. If he is still alive, Macrinus, take him from his dungeon and bring him here. But quickly--in a chariot! Let him come just as he is. I can make use of him now."

The prefect bowed assent, and by the rapidity with which he departed he betrayed how willingly he carried out this order of his master's.


Possess little and require nothing

A Thorny Path, Volume 10. - 9/9

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