GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary

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  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    Envoy Extraordinary v. 1.0

    by William Golding

    Scanned and proofed by Kass


    The curtains beteen the loggia and the rest of the villa ere no defence against the eunuch!svoice. "is discourse on passion as understandably but divinely impersonal. #t tisted andsoared$ it punched the third part of a tone suggestive of a hole man!s agony$ it bro%e into acontrolled obble$ dived$ panted neatly in syncopation for breath. The young man ho stoodagainst one of the pillars of the loggia continued to roll his head from side to side. There erefurros in his forehead as deep as youth could ma%e them and his eyelids ere not screed up

    but loered as if they ere a eary and unendurable eight. &eyond and belo him the gardenas overhelmed ith sunset. ' glo$ impersonal as the eunuch lay over him$ but even so it aspossible to see that he as ex(uisite to loo% at$ tall$ red)haired a gentle. "is lips fluttered and asigh came through them.

    The old man ho sat so restfully by the other pillar of the loggia loo%ed up from his or%.


    +amillius shrugged inside his toga but did not open his eyes. The old man atched him for ahile. The expression on his face as difficult to read$ for the sunlight as reflected from thestone pavement and lit him upside don so that the e nose as blunted and an artificialbenevolence lay the mouth. There might have been a orried smile under it. "e raised his voicea little.

    *,et him sing again.*

    Three notes of a harp$ tonic$ sub)dominant dominant$ foundations of the universe. The voice roseand the sun continued to sin%$ ith remote unimpassioned certainty. +amillius inced$ the mangestured ith his left hand and the voice ceased as if he had turned it off.

    *-ome Tell me hat is the matter.*

    +amillius opened his eyes. "e turned his head sideays and loo%ed don at the gardens$ levelafter declining level of lan that ye$ cypress and /uniper shadoed and formalied$ loo%edlistlessly at the last level of all$ the glittering sea.

    *ou ould not understand.*

    The old. man crossed his sandalled feet on the footstool and leaned bac%. "e put the tips of hisfingers together and an amethyst ring spar%led on one of them. The sunset dyed his toga moregorgeously than the Syrians could manage and the broad$ purple fringe loo%ed blac%.

    *2nderstanding is my business. 'fter all$ # am your grandfather$ even though you are not from themain trun% of the imperial tree. Tell me hat is the matter.*


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    The old man nodded gravely.

    *Time slips through our fingers li%e ater. We gape in astonishment to see ho little is left.*

    +amillius had shut his eyes$ the furros ere bac% and he had begun to roll his head against thepillar again.

    *Time stands still. There is eternity beteen a sleep and a sleep # cannot endure the length ofliving.*

    The old man considered for a moment. "e put one hand into a bas%et at his right$ too% out apaper$ glanced at it and thre it into a bas%et on his left. +uch or% by many expert hands hadgone to giving him the air of clean distinction he cut even before that garden and in that light. "eas perfected by art$ from the gleaming scalp under the scanty hite hair to the tips of the tendedtoes.

    *+illions of people must thin% that the Emperor!s grandsoneven one on the left)hand side ) isutterly happy.*

    !# have run through the sources of happiness.*

    The Emperor made a sudden noise that might have been the beginnings of a shout of laughter ifithad not ended in a f it of coughing and a nose)blo in the 3oman manner. "e turned to his papersagain.

    *'n hour ago you ere going to help me ith these petitions.*

    *That as before # had begun to read them. 4oes the hole orld thin% of nothing but cadgingfavours5*

    ' nightingale flitted across the garden$ came to rest in the dar% side of a cypress and tried over a

    fe notes.

    *Write some more of your ex(uisite verses. # particularly li%ed the ones to be inscribed on aneggshell. They appealed to the gastronome in me.*

    *# found someone had done it before. # shall not rite again.*

    Then for a hile they ere silent$ prepared to listen to the nightingale6 but as if she ereconscious of the toodistinguished audience she gave up and fle aay.

    +amillius shoo% out his toga.

    *+ourning #tys all these years. What passionate unintelligence*

    *Try the other arts.*

    *4eclamation5 Gastronomy5*

    *ou are too shy for the one and too young for the other.*

    *# thought you applauded my interest in coo%ing.*

    *ou tal%$ +amillius$ but you do not understand. Gastronomy is not the pleasure of youth but the

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    evocation of it.*

    *The 7ather of his -ountry is pleased to be obscure. 'nd # am still bored.*

    *#f you ere not so onderfully transparent should prescribe senna.*

    *# am distressingly regular.*

    *' oman5*

    *# hope # am more civilied than that.*

    This time the Emperor as unable to stop himself. "e tried to untist the laughter out of his facebut it convulsed his body instead. "e gave up and laughed till the. tears /er%ed out of his eyes.The colour in his grandson!s face deepened$ caught up the sunset and passed it.

    *'m # so funny5*

    The Emperor iped his chee%s.

    *# am sorry. # onder if you ill understand that part of my exasperated affection for you is rootedin your very)+amillius$ you are so desperately up)to)date that you dare not en/oy yourself for fearof being thought old)fashioned. #f you could only see the orld through my regretful and fadingeyes*

    *The trouble is$ grandfather$ # do not even ant to. There is nothing ne under the sun.Everything has been invented$ everything has been ritten. Time has had a stop.*

    The Emperor tossed another paper into his bas%et.

    *"ave you ever heard of -hina5*


    *# must have heard of -hina tenty years ago. 'n island$ # thought$ beyond #ndia. Since then$ oddfragments of information have filtered through to me. 4o you %no$ +amillius$ -hina is an Empirebigger than our on5*

    *That is nonsense. ' contradiction in nature.*

    *&ut true$ none the less. # sometimes fall into a dae of onder as # imagine this ball of earth held$as it ere$ in to hands)one light bron and the other$ according to my information$ /aundiceyello. 9erhaps at last man ill be confronted ith his long)lost tin as in that comedy.*

    *Travellers! tales.*

    *# try to prove to you ho vast and onderful life is.*

    *4o you suggest that # should go exploring5*

    *ou could not go by sea and it ould ta%e ten years by trac% or river if the 'rimaspians ould letyou. Stay home and amuse an old man ho gros lonely.*

    *Than% you for alloing me to be your fool.*

    *&oy$* said the Emperor strongly$ *go and get mixed up in a good bloody battle.*

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  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    *' part of Egypt. #f you go$ +amillius$ it ill be for your on sa%e. ou ould find nothing of me onyour return but ashes and a monument or to. &e happy then$ if only to cheer an ageing civilservant.*

    *What has Egypt to ma%e me happy5 There is nothing ne$ even out of 'frica.*

    The Emperor unrolled another paper$ glanced at it$ smiled$ then alloed himself to laugh.

    *"ere is something ne for you. They are to of your prospective sub/ects. ou had better seethem.*

    ,istlessly +amillius accepted the paper$ stood ith his bac% to the Emperor and held it up to thelight. "e let go the end and glanced over his shoulder$ grinning$ as the paper rolled itself up. "eturned and they laughed in each other!s eyes. The Emperor laughed$ en/oying himself$ younger$delighted. +amillius as suddenly younger$ his laugh uncertain in pitch.

    *"e ants to play boats ith -aesar.*

    So they laughed together under the song of the nightingale. The Emperor as the first to

    compose himself to stillness. "e nodded toards the curtains +amillius ent toards them$pulled one aside and spo%e in a coldly formal voice.

    *The Emperor ill see the petitioners 9hanocles and Euphrosyne.*

    Then he as bac% by the pillar and they ere nodding and grinning at each other conspiratorially.

    &ut -aesar could not be approached as though he ere no more than a man. ' fat secretarycame through the curtains$ san% on one %nee and rested the tablets on the other. With a stampand clan% a soldier in full armour marched into the loggia. "e came to attention behind theEmperor and a little to one side$ rasped out a sord and flashed it upright. There ere voiceshispering behind the curtain and to slaves dre them bac%. Someone struc% a staff on stonepaving.

    *The Emperor permits you to approach him.*

    ' man came through the curtain and a oman folloed him carrying a burden. The slavesdropped the curtain and the man stood for a moment$ perhaps daled by the sunset so that theyhad a moment or to to inspect him. "e ore a lightcoloured tunic and over that a long greencloa%. "is dar% hair and beard ere ild$ ruffled either by the ind of his on approach or bysome exterior insolence of eather that as not permitted to invade the Emperor!s seclusion. Thecloa% as threadbare$ patched and dusty. 8o one had ta%en care of his hands and feet. "is faceas lumpy$ haphaard and to be accepted as nothing more than the front of a head.The oman ho had folloed him shran% aside to the shadoy corner that seemed her naturalplace. She as little but a pillar of drapery$ for a veil as over her head and caught loosely acrossher face. She stood sideays to the men and boed her head over the bundle she carried. The

    instep lifted the long robe so that it revealed a sandal and four inches of modelled foot. Thesoldier made no sign behind his sord6 only his eyes sivelling sideays ra%ed her$ assessing$expertly removing the rappings$ /udging ith the intuitive s%ill of long practice$ from the fe hintsshe alloed him$ the oman ho lay beneath. "e sa a hand halfhidden$ the rounded shape of a%nee beneath the fabric. "is eyes returned to their divided stare on either side of the sord. "islips pursed and rounded. &reathed through at a more propitious time and place they ould havehistled.

    Suspecting this transaction$ the Emperor glanced (uic%ly behind him. The soldier!s eyes staredstraight ahead. #t as impossible to believe that they had ever moved or ould ever move again.

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    The Emperor glanced at +amillius.

    "e as atching the oman sideays$ his eyes$ sivelling$ ra%ed her$ removing the rappings$/udging ith the intuitive and boundless optimism of youth the oman ho lay beneath.

    The Emperor leaned bac% happily. The man found his oman and too% the bundle from her butcould see nohere to put it. "e peered shortsightedly at the Emperor!s footstool. The Emperorcroo%ed a finger at the secretary.

    *Ta%e a note.*

    "e atched +amillius$ %indly$ triumphantly.

    *9yrrha!s 9ebbles$ ;ehovah!s Spontaneous -reation$ or the 3ed -lay of Thoth6 but it has alaysappeared to me that some god found man on all fours$ put a %nee in the small of his bac% and

    /er%ed him upright. The sensualist relies on this. The ise man remembers it.*

    &ut +amillius as not listening.

    The ild man made up his mind. "e removed some sac%ing from the bundle$ bent and placed a

    model ship on the pavement beteen the Emperor and +amillius. She as about a yard long andunhandsome. The Emperor glanced from her to the man.

    *ou are 9hanocles5*

    *9hanocles$ -aesar$ the son of +yron$ an 'lexandrian.*

    *+yron5 ou are librarian.*

    *# as$ -aesaran assistant)until))*

    "e gestured ith extraordinary violence tards the boat. The Emperor continued to loo% at him.

    *'nd you ant to play boats ith -aesar5*

    "e as able to %eep the amusement out of his face but it crept into his voice. 9hanocles turned indesperation to +amillius but he as still occupied and more fran%ly no. Suddenly 9hanoclesburst into a flood of speech.

    *There as obstruction$ -aesar$ from top to bottom. # as asting my time$ they said$ and # asdabbling$ in blac% magic$ they said$ and they laughed. # am a poor man and hen the last of myfather!s money)he left me a little you understand)not much and # spent that)hat are e to do$-aesar5*

    The Emperor atched him$ saying nothing. "e could see that 9hanocles had not been blinded bythe sunset. The dregs of it ere enough to sho him that the man as short)sighted. The

    frustration of this gave him an air of beilderment and anger as if some perpetual source ofastonishment and outrage hung in the empty air a yard before his face.

    *)and # %ne if # could only reach -aesar)*

    &ut there had been obstruction and more obstruction$ moc%ery$ incomprehension$ anger$persecution.

    *"o much did it cost you to see me today5*

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    *Seven pieces of gold.*

    *That seems reasonable. # am$ not in 3ome.*

    *#t as all # had.*

    *+amillius. See that 9hanocles does not lose by his visit. +amillius*


    Shados ere creeping don from the roof of the loggia and elling out of the corners. Thenightingale still sang from the tall cypress. The Emperor!s eyes ent li%e the soldier!s to the veiledoman then$ unli%e his$ to +amillius.

    *'nd your sister5*

    *Euphrosyne$ -aesar$ a free oman and a virgin.*

    The Emperor alloed his palm to turn and his finger to croo% until there lay on his lap the imageof a bec%oning hand. 4ran by that irresistible compulsion Euphrosyne moved noiselessly out of

    her corner and stood before him. The folds of her dress rearranged themselves$ the veil flutteredover her mouth.

    The Emperor glanced at +amillius and said to himself6

    *There is nothing ne under the sun.*

    "e turned to Euphrosyne.

    *,ady$ let us see your face.*

    9hanocles too% a sudden step forard and found himself chec%ed by the model.

    "e danced to save it from in/ury.


    *ou must accustom yourselves to our Western manners.*

    "e glanced don at the sandalled toes$ the moulded %nee$ up at the unbelievable hands clutchedso tightly into the fabric of her dress. "e nodded gently and put out the hand ith the amethyst onit in assurance.

    *We intend no discourtesy$ lady. +odesty is the proper ornament of virginity. &ut let us see youreyes at least so that e may %no to hom e spea%.*

    "er head turned in the veil to her brother$ but he as standing helplessly$ hands clasped andmouth open. 't last one hand dre don over her breast a little ay and the veil came too so thatit revealed the upper part of her face. She loo%ed at the Emperor and then her head san% asthough her hole body ere a poppy stem and hardly strong enough for the eight.

    The Emperor loo%ed bac% at her eyes$ smiling and froning. "e said nothing$ but the unspo%ennes of his need had gone forth. The curtains parted and three omen paced solemnly on to theloggia. Each seemed to carry a double handful of light in cupped hands so that faces ere lit andthe fingers a rose)coloured transparency. The Emperor$ still atching Euphrosyne$ began toarrange these nameless lamps ith movements of a finger.

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    and forard$ one behind her so that immediately the light ran and glittered in her hair. The thirdhe moved in$ close$ dose$ bade the light rise till it as lifted by her face on the left side$ so nearthat its armth fluttered a curl by her car.

    The Emperor turned to +amillius$ ho said nothing. There as a shoc%ed loo% on his face asthough he had been /er%ed out of a deep sleep. With a sudden motion Euphrosyne covered herface again and it as as though a fourth light had been extinguished. The soldier!s sord assha%ing.

    The Emperor leaned bac% in his chair and spo%e to 9hanocles.

    *ou bring the tenth onder of the orld ith you.

    The seat as running don 9hanocles! face. "e loo%ed at the model in beildered relief.

    *&ut # have not explained$ -aesar)*

    The Emperor aved his hand.

    *-alm yourself. 8o harm is intended to you or your sister. +amillius$ they are our guests.*

    +amillius let out his breath and loo%ed at the Emperor. "is head began to turn from side to siderestlessly as though he ere trying to brea% loose from invisible strings. et the Emperor!sannouncement had set another pattern in motion. The omen ranged themselves to light thecurtained dooray and the grave house dame came through it$ illing to give of her plenteousstore. She inclined her head to the Emperor$ to +amillius$ to Euphrosyne$ too% her by the ristand led her aay. The curtains dropped together and the loggia as dar% at last$ the brightestlights ere here the fishing boats danced by their nets. +amillius came close to 9hanocles andspo%e to him in a voice that remembered ho recently it had bro%en.

    *What is her voice li%e5 "o does she spea%5*

    *She spea%s very seldom$ lord. # cannot remember the (uality of her voice.*

    *+en have built temples for ob/ects of less beauty.*

    *She is my sister*

    The Emperor stirred in his chair.

    *#f you are so poor$ 9hanocles$ has it never occurred to you to ma%e your fortune by a brilliantconnection5*9hanocles peered ildly round the loggia as though he ere trapped.

    *What oman ould you have me marry$ -aesar5*

    #nto the incredulous silence that folloed his speech the nightingale spilled a rill of song. She hadevo%ed the evening star that spar%led no in a patch of dense blue beteen the blac%nesses ofthe /unipers. +amillius spo%e in his rebro%en voice.

    *"as she an ambition$ 9hanocles5*

    The Emperor laughed a little.

    *' beautiful oman is her on ambition.*

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    *She is all the reasons in the orld for poetry.*

    *-orinthian is your style$ +amillius. "oever continue. *

    *She is of epic simplicity.*

    *our eternities of boredom ill be sufficient for all tentyfour boo%s.*

    *4on!t laugh at me.*

    *# am not laughing. ou have made me very happy. 9hanocles ho did you preserve thisphoenix5!!

    9hanocles as groping in a double dar%ness.

    *What am # to say$ -aesar5 She is my sister. "er beauty has come up$ as it ere$ overnight.*

    "e paused$ searching for ords. They burst out of him.

    *# do not understand you or any man. Why can they not let us be5

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    *)tell you you are mad5*

    *es$ -aesar. That is hy #)severed my connection ith the library.*

    *# understand.*

    *'m # mad5*

    *,et us hear further.*

    *The universe is a machine.*

    +amillius stirred.

    *'re you a magician5*

    *There is no magic.*

    *our sister is a living proof and epitome of magic.*

    9hanocles turned$ tormented$ to the Emperor.

    *That is ho they all tal%$ -aesar. 9oetry$ magic$ religion))*

    The Emperor chuc%led.

    *&e careful$ Gree%. ou are tal%ing to the 9ontifex +aximus.*

    9hanocles darted the shado of a finger at his face.

    *4oes -aesar believe in the things that the 9ontifex +aximus has to do5*

    *# prefer not to anser that (uestion.*

    *,ord +amillius. 4o you believe in your very heart that there is an unreasonable andunpredictable force of poetry outside your rolls of paper5*

    *Then she is beyond 8ature!s legislation.

    *That may ell be. #s there any poetry in your universe5*

    *"o dull your life must be*


    "e too% a half)step toards the Emperor$ remembered the sord and stopped in time.

    *+y life is passed in a condition of ravished astonishment.*

    The Emperor ansered him patiently.

    *Then a mere Emperor can do nothing for you. 4iogenes as no happier than you in his tub. 'll #can do is to stand out of the sun.**et # am destitute. Without your help # must starve. With it # can change the universe.*

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    *Will you improve it5*

    *"e is mad$ -aesar.*

    *,et him be$ +amillius. 9hanocles$ in my experience$ changes are almost alays for the # entertain you for my)for your sister!s sa%e. &e brief. What do you ant5*

    There had been obstruction. The ship$ not his sister$ as the tenth onder: he could notunderstand men$ but ith this ship the Emperor ould be more famous than 'lexander. +amilliushad ceased to listen and as muttering to himself$ and beating time ith his finger.

    The Emperor said nothing as 9hanocles rambled on$ did nothing$ but alloed a little cold air toform round him in the dar%ness and extend outards. 't last for all the man!s insensitivity hefaltered to a stop.

    +amillius spo%e.

    *The speechless elo(uence of beauty)*

    *# have heard that before somehere$* said the Emperor thoughtfully. *&ion$ # thin%$ or is it


    9hanocles cried out.


    *'h$ yes. our model. What do you ant5*

    *,et a light be brought.*

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    +amillius strolled through the curtains ith an air of leisurely indifference.

    They heard ho his steps (uic%ened immediately he as out of sight. The Emperor laughed andloo%ed don at the boat.

    *She is unseaorthy$ flat)bottomed$ ith little sheer and bos li%e a corn)barge. What are theornaments5 "ave they a religious significance5*

    *"ardly$ -aesar.*

    *So you ant to$ play boats ith me5 #f # ere not charmed ith your innocence # should bedispleased at your presumption.*

    *# have three toys for you$ -aesar. This is only the first. *

    *# entertain you.*

    *-aesar. "ave you ever seen ater boiling in a pot5*

    *# have.*

    *There is much steam evolved hich escapes into the air. #f the pot ere closed hat ouldhappen5*

    *The steam could not escape.*

    *The pot ould burst. The force exerted by steam is titanic.*

    *3eally* said the Emperor ith interest. *"ave you ever seen a pot burst5*

    9hanocles mastered himself.

    *&eyond Syria there is a savage tribe. They inhabit a land full of natural oil and inflammable

    vapour. When they desire to coo% they lead the vapour through pipes into stoves at the sides oftheir houses. The meat these natives eat is tough and must be coo%ed for a long time. They putone dish on top of another$ inverted. 8o the steam builds up a pressure under the pot thatpenetrates the meat and coo%s it thoroughly and (uic%ly.*

    *Will not the steam burst the pot5*

    *There is the ingenuity of the device. #f the pressure becomes too great it ill. lift the pot and allothe steam to escape. &ut do you not see5 The upper lid is lifted)steam could lift a eight that anelephant ould baul% at.*

    The Emperor as sitting upright$ leaning forard$ his hands on the arms of his chair.

    *'nd the flavour$ 9hanocles #t ill be confined The hole onderful intention of the comestibleill be preserved by magic*

    "e stood up and began to pace round the loggia.

    *We should taste meat for the first time))*


    *# have alays been a primitive here meat is concerned. Elephant!s foot and mammoth$ your

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    rarities$ spices$ unguents$ they are unorthy and vulgar. +y grandson ould plead that e shouldexplore all variables and enlarge$ as it ere$ the frontiers of gustatory experience))*

    *+y ship))*

    *)but that is boy!s tal%. To taste meat in its ex(uisite simplicity ould be a return to thoseexperiences of youth that time had blunted. There should be a ood fire$ a healthy tiredness inthe limbs$ and if possible a sense of peril. Then a robust red ine))*

    They faced each other$ to mouths open but for different reasons.

    *9hanocles$ e are on the verge of an immense discovery. What do the natives call their todishes5*

    *' pressure coo%er.*

    *"o soon could you ma%e me one5

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    shoulder and cut from the thinnest Egyptian linen$ added masculine dignity ithout oppression. #fone al%ed fast)and for a moment he did so (uite deliberately)it floated on the air and gave aneffect of mercurial speed. The tunic as daringly short and slit at the sides but this$ after all$ asmerely fashionable. #f # ere to come on her no$ he thought$ sitting beteen the lichened8aiads$ ould she not dra the veil from her face and spea%5 "e %ept his eyes open for her ashe passed don the many steps$ but the hot gardens ere deserted. Each s(uare of lan asli%e velvet as it should have been according to literary convention and the clipped ye patternsere less alive than the statuary they surrounded. "e peered into arbours and herb gardens$threaded his ay beteen groups of stone "amadryads$ 7auns$ &rone &oys: he made the usualsalutation mechanically before the "erms that stood among the denser thic%ets.

    &ut the trouble as she ould not spea% and as rarely to be seen. # %no a little about loveno$ he thought$ and not only from reading about it. ,ove is this nagging preoccupation$ thisfeeling that the treasure of life has condensed itself to the little space herever she is. # guessahead and understand that love as reared in the ilderness and suc%ed the lion!s dug. Whatdoes she thin% of me$ ho does she spea%$ is she in love5

    ' %ind of burning spread over him and set his flesh trembling. # disli%e this$ he thought$ # must notthin% of her. 't that$ a procession of horribly masculine lovers presented themselves to hisimagination. &y the time he had reached the lily)pond on the edge of the cliff at the foot of the

    garden he as struggling up out of his mind li%e a diver coming out of deep ater.

    *# ish # ere bored again.*

    9erhaps the hat had not been such a good idea after all. The edges of his private pool of shadoere dulled and though the heat as already intense the s%y to seaard as not as blue as ithad been yesterday. There as a faint hae lying along the horion and spreading toards theland. "e spo%e to a eather)beaten Satyr.

    *We shall have thunder.*

    The Satyr continued to grin toothily. "e %ne hat it as all about. Euphrosyne. +amillius /er%edhimself aay and turned to the left here the tunnel ran through the little headland and don to

    the harbour in the next cove. The sentry at the mouth of the tunnel came to attention. 9artlybecause of the uninviting tunnel and partly because tal%ing to soldiers alays gave him acomfortable feeling of superiority$ +amillius spo%e to him.

    *Good morning. 're you comfortable here5*


    *"o many of you are there5*

    *Tenty)five$ sir. 7ive officers and tenty men$ sir.*

    *Where are you billeted5*

    The soldier /er%ed his head.

    *Through the tunnel$ sir. #n the trireme alongside the (uay.*

    *So # shall have to climb across her if # ant to visit the ne ship5*


    *Tiresome. 9leasanter in the Emperor!s garden than in the harbour$ isn!t it5*

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    The soldier thought.

    *=uieter$ sir. >ery nice for them as li%es a bit of (uiet.*

    *ou prefer your billets in hell5*


    +amillius turned aay and al%ed into the dar% tunnel and a confusion of green after)images thatremembered the toothy Satyr. "e held his breath for as long as possible because the guardsused the tunnel as more than an approach to the gardens. The after)images ere pierced andthen replaced by his first vie of hell.

    To anyone but an Emperor!s grandson in a brief and slit tunic$ hell ould have seemed aninteresting and even attractive place. The port as built in a small bay that as li%e half a cup.3ound it climbed gaudy arehouses and tenements that ere painted red and yello and hite.The inside of the cup had a half)circle of (uay running round it here every %ind of vessel aslying$ five or ten deep. The entrance to the cup as defended from the sea by to (uays thatalmost met each other. The tunnel emerged on to the root of the nearer (uay. Tenements$ (uays$

    arehouses$ ships)they craled ith people. There ere seamen$ slaves or free$ singing overthe sides of ships$ and smearing on tar or paint. There ere boys sung aloft and or%ing atrunning rigging$ there ere men in s%iffs and barges$ and na%ed harbour rats oaring themselvesafter driftood through the lolloping garbage.

    The hot air of the harbour shoo% the arehouses and tenements$ shoo% the steep hills$ ouldprobably have sha%en the s%y if there had been any clouds to reveal the movement. Smo%e fromcaul%ing braiers$ from steaming pipes here the plan%s ere tisted$ from vats and coo%shopsand galleys dirtied the air and cast a hundred braen shados. The sun burned into all this andblaed from the ater in the middle of the harbour in molten shapelessness.

    +amillius pulled don the brim of his stra hat and folded a corner of cloa% across his nose. "epaused for a hile$ appalled and secretly gratified by his genuine distaste for humanity and the

    violent mess they made of themselves. +oreover he felt he had a contribution to ma%e to themythology of hell. #t not only stan% and burned: it roared. 8oise climbed ith the heat$ vibration$ adrum)roll of sound on hich screams floated li%e the tisted flight of a gull.

    "e turned from the port itself to the (uay here his business as. The (uay stretched across halfthe port to the entrance ith a shoulder)high all to seaard. There ere three ships made fastto it. The first$ on his left hand and only a fe yards from him$ as the imperial barge. She lay loin the ater$ her roers sleeping on their benches in the sun$ a slave boy doing something to thecushions of her throne under its huge purple baldachino. 'head of her as the slim shape of thetrireme$ her oars unshipped and stoed. Slaves ere or%ing on her dec%$ but she as very dirtyfrom the traffic that crossed and recrossed her$ forAmphitrite as made fast on the outboard sideof her$ s(uat and uni(uely ugly.

    +amillius strolled along the (uay as sloly as possible$ putting off the moment hen he ouldhave to endure the heat from her hold. "e stopped by 9hanocles! second invention and examinedit curiously$ for he had not seen it before. The tormentum had been set up and trained over theall$ pointing out to sea. 'gainst all military sense$ 9hanocles had ound bac% the chain thatserved for a string and coc%ed the mechanism. Even the sledge that ould drive the peg andrelease the string as lying ready. There as a bolt lying in the groove and on the other end ofthe bolt as a shining %eg ending in a brass butterfly ith a pro/ecting iron sting. The thing as asuitable insect for hell. Stri%e the peg and the bolt ould bu seaard$ out to the fishing boats$ould )bear the %eg to them$ a drin% ith the Emperor!s compliments.

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    +amillius shuddered at the machine$ then laughed as he remembered 9hanocles! explanation. #nthe end$ desperately$ as though the Emperor ere a child$ he had flung out his arms$ said onesentence and refused to add to it.

    *# have shut lightning in the %ey and can release it hen # ill.*

    The sentry ho had been doing behind the tormentum found himself discovered and attemptedto cover his fault by chatting as though he and +amillius ere on one side of a fence and militarydiscipline on the other.

    *8ice little horror$ isn!t she$ sir5*

    +amillius nodded ithout spea%ing. The sentry loo%ed up at the heat hae creeping over the(uay all.

    *Going to have thunder$ sir.*

    +amillius made the sign that averts evil and al%ed hastily along the (uay. There as no sentryon the trireme to meet him and no one to greet him at the gangay. 8o that he as aboard herhe could identify the ground bass to the uproar of the harbour)the slaves in every 1 ship ere

    groling li%e beasts that lust for the food of the arena. The only silent slaves ere those or%inglistlessly$ moodily on dec%. "e crossed the trireme amidships and stood loo%ing don atAmphitrite.

    She made the tormentum loo% li%e a toy. 9ro/ecting from her on either side ere the biggestheels in the orld and each heel bore a doen paddles. ' great bar of iron that 9hanocles hadhad tisted into a ic%ed shape rithed its ay across the dec% beteen them. 7our metal handsheld this bar$ to pushing$ to pulling bac%. &ehind the hands ere iron forearms and upper armsthat slid bac% into sleeves of brass. +amillius %ne hat 9hanocles called the sleeves. Theyere the pistons: and because there as no other ay of ma%ing them ith the ludicrous$accuracy he)demanded they had been dran off to alabaster pillars that had been intended fora temple of the Graces.

    3eminded by the Graces of Euphrosyne$ +amillius turned aft. &eteen the pistons as the mostdaunting thing of all6 Talos$ the man of brass. "e as headless$ a flashing sphere half)sun% in the

    dec%$ his four arms reached forard and gripped the ic%ed cran%. &eteen him and the cran%fitting in the space that the arms left beteen them as a brass funnel$ tall as a mast$ scandalousparody of the "oly 9hallus.

    There ere fe men about. ' slave as doing something highly technical to one of the steeringpaddles and someone as shovelling coal in the hold. The coal grit lay everyhere on her dec%and sides and paddles.

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    *"aven!t you made any preparations for him5*

    *"e said there as to be no ceremony.*

    *&utAmphitrite is filthily dirty*

    9hanocles peered don at the dec%.

    *This coal costs a fortune.*

    +amillius stepped aboard gingerly.

    *The hottest corner in hell.*

    The heat hit him from the boiler and seat streamed don his face. 9hanocles loo%ed round atTalos for a moment then handed +amillius the piece of aste. "e conceded the point.

    *# suppose it is hotter than usual.*

    +amillius aved aay the aste and iped his streaming face on the corner of his elegant cloa%.

    8o that he as chee% by /ol ith Talos he could see more of his construction. /ust above dec%level at the after)end of the sphere as a pro/ection surrounded ith springs. 9hanocles$folloing his gae$ reached out and flic%ed the brass ith his fingers so that it tinged and gave outa puff of steam. "e loo%ed moodily at the pro/ection.

    *See that5 # call it a safety valve. # gave exact instructions))*

    &ut the craftsman had added a inged &oreas ho touched the brass ith an accidental toe androunded his chee%s to e/ect a fair ind. +amillius smiled ith constraint.

    *>ery pretty.*

    The springs strained$ steam shot out and +amillius leapt bac%. 9hanocles rubbed his hands.

    *8o e are ready.*

    "e came seatily close to +amillius.

    *# have had her out in the centre of the harbour and once out in the bay. She or%s as certainlyand easily as the stars.*

    +amillius$ averting his face$ found himself regarding his on distorted face in Talos! shining side.#t faded aay from the mouth and pointed nose. 8o matter ho he moved it folloed him ith theincurious but remorseless stare of a fish. The heat from the boiler and the smo%ing funnel asli%e a blo.

    *# ant to get out of this))*

    "e made his ay under the contorted cran%s and paused in the bos. The air as a little coolerhere so that he too% off his stra hat and fanned himself ith it. 9hanocles al%ed forard tooand they leaned their bac%s against the bular%s. Slaves ere or%ing on the fo!castle of thetrireme only a fe feet above them.

    *This is an evil ship.*

    9hanocles finished iping his hands and dropped the aste over the side. They turned to atch it

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    drift. 9hanocles pointed upard ith his thumb.

    *She is not evil.

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    *"e said that a mammoth as too much to begin ith. &lamed me.*


    +amillius shoo% his head.

    *'ll the same$ he is sorry about the three coo%s and the north ing of the villa.*

    9hanocles nodded$ seating. "e froned at a memory.

    *4o you thin% that as hat he meant by a !Sense if possible of peril!5*

    The slave ho had been firing the furnace climbed to the dec% and they atched him idly. "ethre a buc%et over the side on a rope!s end$ hauled up ater and tipped it over his na%ed body.The ater floed along the dec%$ carrying sna%es of coal dust. 'gain and again he laved the filthyharbour ater over himself. 9hanocles called to him.

    *-lean the dec% here.*

    The slave touched his smeared foreloc%. "e dre up another buc%etful$ then shot it along thedec% so that ater splashed over their feet. They started up ith a shout of annoyance and therecame the sound of a rope brea%ing under strain.Amphitrite duc%ed under them$ sidled and madea loud ooden remar% as though she had crunched one of her on timbers ith metal teeth.There came a dull thump from the harbour bottom$ then a huge cascade of ater fell on themfrom the s%y$ ater full of garbage and mud and oil and tar. 9hanocles stumbled forard and+amillius boed under the torrent$ too shoc%ed even to curse. The ater ceased to fall from thes%y but surged$ aist)deep$ over the dec%s instead. 9uffs of steam spurted from Talos li%ee/aculations of rage. Then the ater had all streamed aay$ the dec%s ere shining and the roarof the harbour had risen to a freny. +amillius as cursing at last under a hat li%e a co pat andin clothes that clung greasily to him. Then he as silent$ turning to the place here they hadleaned and tal%ed. The crab had snatched aay six feet of the bular%s$ had torn off plan%ingfrom the dec% and laid bare the splintered beam ends. The huge cable led straight don from the

    yard of the trireme into the ater here yello mud still stan% and sirled. ' mob of men erebraling on the trireme$ and soldiers ere among them$ using the pommels of their sords. 'man bro%e free. "e stumbled to the (uay$ seied a loose stone$ clasped it to his stomach andplunged over the harbour all into the sea. The struggle sorted itself out. To of the Emperor!sguards ere bashing heads impartially.

    +amillius ent hite sloly under the filth that covered him.

    *That is the first time anyone has tried to %ill me.*

    9hanocles as gaping at the bro%en bular%s. +amillius began to shiver.

    *# have harmed no one.*

    The captain of the trireme came$ leaping nimbly to the dec%.

    *,ord$ hat can # say5*

    The freny from the harbour seemed as though it ould never die aay. There as the sense ofeyes$ thousands of eyes atching across the deceptive embroidery of the ater. +amillius gaedildly round into the hite air. "is nerves ere /er%ing. 9hanocles spo%e in a foolishlycomplaining voice.

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    *They have damaged her.*

    *-urse your filthy ship))*

    *,ord. The slave ho cut the cable has droned himself. We are trying to find the ringleader.*

    +amillius cried out.


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    *Stay ith me$ +amillius. # have nes for you.*

    "e paused and coc%ed his ear critically at the harbour noises.

    *# am not popular.*

    +amillius shoo% again.

    *8either am #. They tried to %ill me.*

    The Emperor smiled grimly.

    *#t as not the slaves$ +amillius. # have received a report from #llyria.*

    ' loo% of appalled understanding appeared beneath the mud on +amillius! face.


    *"e has bro%en off his campaign. "e has concentrated his army on the seaport and is strippingthe coast of every ship from triremes to fishing boats. *

    +amillius made a (uic% and aimless step that nearly too% him into the arms of Talos.

    *"e is tired of heroics.*

    The Emperor came close and laid a finger delicately on his grandson!s sodden tunic.

    *8o$ +amillius. "e has heard that the Emperor!s grandson is becoming interested in ships andeapons of ar. "e fears your influence and he is a realist. 9erhaps our unfortunate conversationon the loggia reached the ears of the ill)disposed. We dare not aste a moment.*

    "e turned to 9hanocles.

    *ou ill have to share our council. "o fast can Amphitrite ta%e us to #llyria5*

    *Tice as fast as your triremes$ -aesar.*

    *+amillius$ e are going together. # to convince him that 1 am still Emperor$ you to convince himthat you do not ant to be one.*

    *&ut that ill be dangerous*

    !Would you sooner stay and have your throat cut5

    # do not thin% 9osthumus ould allo you to commit suicide.*

    *'nd you5*

    *Than% you$ +amillius. 'mid all my orries # am touched. ,et us start.*

    9hanocles pressed his fists to his forehead. The Emperor nodded to the (uay and a processionof slaves began to cross the trireme ith luggage. ' little Syrian came hurrying from aft. "e spo%e(uic%ly to +amillius.

    *,ord$ it is impossible. There is nohere for the Emperor to sleep. 'nd loo% at the s%y*

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    There as no longer any blue to be seen. The sun as dispersed into a great patch of light thatmight soon he hidden completely.

    *)and ho am # to hold a course$ lord$ hen # can no longer see the s%y and there is no ind5*

    *#t is an order. Grandfather$ let us get ashore for a moment at least.*


    *She is so dirty))*

    *So are you$ +amillius. ou stin%.*

    The Syrian sidled up to the Emperor.

    *#f it is an order$ -aesar$ # ill do my best. &ut first let us move the ship outside the harbour. oucan transfer to her from your barge.*

    *#t shall be so.*

    They crossed the trireme together. +amillius ran to the tunnel ith head averted from the omenand disappeared. The Emperor ent to here his barge as moored astern of the trireme andarranged himself comfortably under the baldachino. #t as only then that he began to realie hougly and preposterous the ne ship as.

    "e shoo% his head gently.

    *# am a very reluctant innovator.*

    The crod of slaves aboardAmphitrite as being absorbed by her hold and the small cre asbusily casting off. The cremen of the trireme ere bearing off ith the looms of oars and shebegan to move sideays. "er cables splashed free in the ater and ere hauled aboard. TheEmperor$ under his shady purple$ could see ho the helmsman as heaving at the steering oars

    to bring her stern in and give her bos a sheer aay from the trireme. Steam as /ettingconstantly from the brass belly over the furnace. Then he sa 9hanocles stic% his head out of thehold and ave the helmsman into stillness. "e shouted something don to the boels of themachine$ the /et of steam increased till the scream of it rasped the air li%e a file then suddenlydisappeared altogether. #n anser a snarling roar rose from the ships and houses round theharbour tillAmphitrite lay li%e some impossible liard at bay in the centre of an arena.

    The Emperor fanned himself ith one hand.

    *# have alays considered a mob to be thoroughly predictable.*

    There came a grunt from the boels of the ship and an iron clan%. Talos moved all four hands$to bac%$ to forard. &oth heels began to revolve sloly$ port astern$ starboard ahead. The

    blades of the paddles came don)smac%$ pause$ smac%)so that dirty ater shot from underthem. They rose out of the ater$ throing it high in the air$ to fall bac% on the dec%. The holeship as streaming and steam rose in a cloud again$ but this time from the hot surface of thesphere and the funnel. ' great ailing came from her hold and 9hanocles leapt on dec%$ to standthere$ inspecting the deluge through screed)up eyes as though he had never seen anything sointeresting.Amphitrite as lying in one place$ ma%ing no ay$ but turning: and the ater sprayedup as from a fountain. 9hanocles shouted don the hatch$ the steam /etted up$ the paddlescrea%ed to a stop$ and the ater as running off her as though she had /ust come up from thebottom of the harbour. The noise from the people stormed at her as she lay in the centre ofharbour ith her steam /et screaming. There as a blin% of light in the hae over the hills and

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    almost immediately the thud of thunder.

    The Emperor made a furtive sign ith to fingers.

    The lightning$ hoever$ as a divine irrelevance. 's the Emperor shielded his eyes in expectationofAmphitrite's destruction at the hands of an outraged 9rovidence he glimpsed that she as notthe only portent moving on the aters.

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    *# thought)as e ere going to the army)*

    The Emperor surveyed the details of the uniform.

    *# see that both Troy and -arthage have fallen.*

    The blush came and ent$ came again ith a profuse perspiration.

    *4o you %no hose arship these are5*

    The Emperor rested his forehead on one hand.

    *#n the circumstances$ a distaff ould have been less open to misconstruction.*

    'lays +amillius %ept the all of his cloa% beteen him and the omen. "e sa the gold andscarlet banner sha%e as the arship came alongside the trireme. "er ram lay alongside thebarge. This time the colour left his face and did not return.

    *What shall e do5*

    *There is no time to do anything. 9erhaps you might put your helmet on.*

    *#t gives me a headache.*

    *4iplomacy$* said the Emperor. *"e has the soldiers)loo% at them &ut e have the intelligence. #till be hard if e cannot smooth things over.*

    *What about me5*


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    The Emperor raised his eyebros.

    *There are a fe sentries in the garden as usual and possibly a fe by the tunnel. 3eally$9osthumus$ you travel ith a considerable retinue.*

    9osthumus turned aside and spo%e briefly among his officers. ' detachment of laden legionariesdoubled along the (uay and stationed themselves beteen the Emperor and escape. The omenailed then settled to a steady lament. The Emperor affected not to notice but dre 9osthumustoards the barge. 'mphitrite continued to circle round her anchor sloly.

    9osthumus stopped.

    *#t as high time # came home.*

    +ore thunder. The Emperor loo%ed bac% at the dense mass of soldiers that filled the end of the(uay

    *'bout a hundred men$ # should say. 'n #mperial Salute5*

    9osthumus snorted.

    *ou can call it that. 9resently more ships ill enter the harbour. There ill he sufficient to ensurethat e agree on all points of policy. &ut hat a stro%e of luc% to find you both on the (uay*

    +amillius cleared his throat and spo%e in a high uncertain voice.

    *9osthumus$ you are mista%en.*

    *+amillius in arms.*

    *7or sho only. # do not ant to be Emperor.*


    9osthumus too% a step toards him and +amillius started bac%$ tripping on his cloa%. 9osthumuspo%ed a finger in his face.

    *ou may thin% not. &ut he ould bridge the 'driatic to please you.*

    The Emperor flushed a delicate pin%.

    *ou have never anted my affection$ 9osthumus$ so you have never missed it. #f # have beenfoolish enough to thin% that # could en/oy his company ithout more danger than the usualscandal$ # have been ise enough to %no that you are the best man to rule the Empire)hoeveruncongenial # may find you.*

    *# am informed otherise.*

    *'t least you might gloss over our differences in public.*9osthumus paid no attention to these ords$ but fished a folded paper from inside hisbreastplate.

    *To6 9osthumus$ etc.$ "eir 4esignate$ etc.7rom6 -###

    Ships and eapons are being built or converted on the (uay next to the tunnel. ) The Emperor $

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    and the ,ord +amillius ta%e much personal interest in a ship$ 'mphitrite$ ex)corn)barge$unclassified$ and a tormentum ?mar% >##@ that has been placed on the (uay and trained seaard.They are also experimenting ith methods of poisoning food on a large scale. ,ord +amilliusseems to he in a state of high excitement and anticipation))*

    *9osthumus$ # sear))*

    9osthumus merely raised his voice.

    *"e is corresponding ith the Emperor and others in code under cover of riting poetry)*

    +amillius as flaming.

    *,eave my poetry alone*

    !#t has not yet been found possible to brea% this code. Submitted to A,># it proved to becomposed of (uotations from +oschus$ Erinna$ +imnermus$ and sources not yet identified.3esearch is proceeding.*

    Tears of rage ran don +amillius! face.

    *ou filthy sine*

    !That as unnecessarily cruel$ 9osthumus.*

    9osthumus stuffed the paper bac%.

    *8o e have done ith fooling$ -aesar. The time has come for a regency.*

    *"e does not ant to be Emperor.*

    9osthumus sneered at +amillius.

    *"e is not going to be.*

    ' faint clattering sound came from +amillius! armour. The Emperor laid a hand on 9osthumus!arm.

    *lf the ship and the. tormentum orry you$ 9osthumus$ # can explain them rationally. &e fair.*

    "e turned to the officers and raised his voice.

    *&ring the Gree% to me.*

    9osthumus nodded$ aiting. 9hanocles stood before them$ restoring the circulation to his rists.

    *This man is the root of the matter.*

    !,ord 9osthumus)# am altering the shape of the orld.*

    *"e has this curious manner of speech$ 9osthumus.*

    *There ill be no slaves but coal and iron. The ends of the earth ill be /oined together.*

    9osthumus laughed and the sound cheered no one.

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    *'nd men ill fly.*

    "e turned to the officers and bec%oned.

    *-olonel)hy aren!t those ships coming in5*

    *>isibility$ sir.*

    *4amn the visibility. Signal them in or send a message.*

    "e turned bac% to 9hanocles.

    *This fantastic ship))*

    9hanocles spread his arms.

    *She ill go faster than any other. -iviliation is a matter of communications.* "e froned at themand searched for simple ords. *,ord 9osthumus. ou are a soldier. What is your greatestdifficulty5*

    *# have none.*

    *&ut if you had5*

    *Getting there first.*

    *ou see5 Even arfare is a matter of communications. Thin% of the elaborate efforts Aerxesmade to con(uer Greece. WithAmphitrite he could have crossed the 'egean in a day andagainst the ind.*

    +amillius struc% in$ teeth chattering$ eager to help.

    *Thin% of the first -aesar$ of 'lexander$ 3ameses))*

    9hanocles san% his head on one side and opened his hands as if the explanation as simple.

    *ou see$ lord5 -ommunications.*

    The Emperor nodded thoughtfully.

    *They should be made as difficult as possible.*

    Thunder rumbled again. 9osthumus strode over to the tormentum and the omen shran% aay.The roar of the harbour as rising again.

    *'nd this5*

    *# have to shut the lightning in the %eg. The sting hen it stri%es anything looses the lightning.Then there is a smo%ing hole in the ground.*

    The Emperor made a sign ith to fingers.

    *What is the brass butterfly at the base of the sting5*

    *#t is an arming vane. 'fter the %eg has gone some ay the butterfly shoots off$ otherise the %egould explode by setbac% hen you fired the tormentum.*

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    *Would this ma%e a smo%ing hole here there as a city all5*

    *es$ -aesar.*

    *Where there as an army5*

    *#f # ma%e the %eg big enough.*

    9osthumus considered 9hanocles closely.

    *'nd this is the only one you have made5*

    *es$ lord. *

    *# am not sure hether to have you executed straight aay or use you for other purposes.*

    *Execute me5*

    Suddenly the roar from the harbour rose till it could no longer be ignored..

    They turned together.

    #t asAmphitrite; they understood that immediately. She had revolved endlessly round heranchor. till her flaunted eccentricity had become more than any man could bear ho had redblood in his veins. There ere na%ed men plunging from ships and /etties till a hundred armsflashed in the ater.

    9hanocles cried out.


    9osthumus spo%e rapidly to the -olonel.

    *'ll troops ill disembar% on this (uay. +eanhile neither the Emperor nor his suite ill ish toleave. See that his ishes are respected. ou understand5*


    !9osthumus ran to the barge but the Emperor called to him.

    *While # am aiting # ill inspect these splendid fellos already assembled.*

    The colonel glanced at 9osthumus$ ho laughed softly.

    *4o as the 7ather

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    up amidships. The second arship sa the danger and bac%ed ater.

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    What are you going to have done for that boil$ my man5 "ere!s hat # call a really impressivefello. "o on earth he can support those three bundles # don!t %no. What!s your name5*

    Suddenly there as a gap of air in front of the Emperor and a braen crash. The legionary hadpassed out.

    *'s # as saying$ e must arrange some leave for them no that the "eir has brought themhome to their 7ather.*


    *Where did you lose that eye$ my man5 4on!t lose the other$ ill you5*


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    selling li%e ivy)branches. The Emperor smiled peacefully and turned to orm his ay beteenthe ran%s. #t as li%e being in a tunnel under the huge bundles$ in the thic% air and before the roof bulging eyes. &ut there ere a number of air)holes already here 9osthumus! chosen men layflat on their bac%s$ %eeled over on parade. The little trail of men$ the -olonel$ +amillius$9hanocles$ ormed after the Emperor. The panic uproar of the ton$ the harbour and theshipping as punctuated by the braen fall of legionaries.

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    3omulus and 3emus.


    +anlius$ "oratius. The Standard &earer of the 1Ath.


    The Emperor traced the expansion of the Empire$ the manly virtues hich they so admirablyexemplified. "e outlined the history of Greece$ its decadence: touched on Egyptian sloth.

    -rash. -rash.

    Suddenly the -olonel as no longer at his side on the seaall. There came one loud plop fromthe sea and no more. The -olonel!s armour as heavy.

    The Emperor tal%ed about battle honours.


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    The Emperor got don from the sea all.

    *Who is the man 9osthumus brought ith him in the barge5*


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    The Emperor croo%ed his finger.



    *Tell the "eir 4esignate once and for all hat you ere going to do.*

    *# told him$ -aesar. 8o slaves$ no ar.*

    9osthumus sneered.

    *&ring the slave # caught. "e as one of those ho burned your ship.*

    To soldiers frog)marched the slave forard. "e as na%ed$ though the ater had dried off him."e as a man to tear a lion apart$ bearded$ broad$ dar% and ild.

    The Emperor loo%ed him up and don.

    *What is he5*

    ' soldier seied the man!s hair$ tisted his head sideays and up so that he grinned ith pain.9osthumus leaned forard and inspected the notches cut in the slave!s ear. "e nodded and thesoldier let go.

    *Why did you do it5

    The slave ansered him in a voice at once hoarse ith shouting and clumsy ith disuse.

    *# am a roer.*

    The Emperor!s eyebros climbed.

    *#n future # must have roers chained to their oars$ or ould that be too expensive5*

    The slave tried to clasp his hands.

    *-aesar)be merciful. We could not %ill that man.*


    *"is demon protected him. ' plan% %illed the slave by his side. The crab missed him.*

    +amillius came out of his helmet ith a shrie%. "e hurried to the Emperor.

    *+amillius)the crab as not meant for you*

    +amillius turned excitedly to the slave.

    *ou did not try to %ill me5*

    *Why should e$ lord5 #f you use us up$ you have a right to. We ere bought. &ut this man doesnot use us at all. We sa his ship move ithout oars or sails and against the ind. What use illthere be for roers5*

  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    9hanocles cried out.

    *+y ship ould have set you free*

    The Emperor loo%ed don at the slave thoughtfully.

    *'re you happy on your bench5

    *The gods %no hat e suffer.*

    *Why then5

    The slave paused for a moment. When he spo%e again the ords came by rote out of some deepell of the past.

    *# had rather be slave to a smallholder than rule in hell over all the ghosts of men.*

    *# see.*

    The Emperor nodded to the soldiers.

    *Ta%e him aay.*

    9osthumus laughed unpleasantly.

    *That as hat a professional sailor thin%s of your ship$ Gree%*

    The Emperor raised his voice.

    *Wait. ,et us have the verdict of a professional soldier on the thunder)machine.

  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary



    *Stand easy. 9osthumus$ as% your (uestions.*

    9osthumus surveyed him for a moment.

    *-aptain. 4o you en/oy the prospect of a battle5*

    *#n defence of the 7ather of his -ountry))*

    The Emperor aved his hand. *our loyalty is not in (uestion. 'nser$ please.

    The -aptain thought. *

  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    *ou sa hat his ship did in the harbour.*

    The officer stepped bac%. "is mouth as open and he as breathing (uic%ly li%e a man in the firststages of nightmare. "e began to glance round him$ at the hedges$ the stone seats$ the soldiersbloc%ing the tunnel)

    9osthumus strode forard and grasped him by the arm.

    *Well$ -aptain5*

    Their eyes met. 4oubt left the -aptain!s face. "is /a /utted and the muscles of his chee%s stoodout.

    *-an you manage the others$ General5*

    9osthumus nodded.

    #nstantly there as a confusion. Through a friee of gesticulating figures$ through anentanglement of men ho sought to save their balance on the edge of the pond$ 9hanocles as

    visible sailing aay from 9osthumus! fist out over the (uiet lilies. Then the officer as running fasttoard the entrance of the tunnel and 9osthumus as lumbering behind him. The officer shoutedan order at the men guarding the entrance and they sidestepped li%e a human screen)one$ toone$ to one$ to 9osthumus and the officer vanished into the tunnel and the guard remained toone side at attention. The soldiers began to sort themselves out by the pool. +amillius$ ho hadthe hole idth of the pool beteen him and the tunnel$ as dashing this ay and that as hisastonished mind tried to find the (uic%est ay round it. esuvius5*

    There as a hining sound from the air over the headland that separated the garden from theport$ a descending hine$ a braen clang near at hand and the hisper of ye branches. Thetimeless moment of shoc% dulled for them the immediacy of their danger so that they loo%ed ateach other foolishly. 9hanocles as sha%ing. Then there ere footsteps in the tunnel$ cominghastily$ running$ staggering. ' soldier burst out of the entrance and they sa from the red andyello favour that he as one of 9osthumus! men.


    *9ull yourself together. Then ma%e your report.*

  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    *# oe my life to you it seems. 8ot that 9osthumus ouldn!t have made a better /ob of ruling.,ady$ # must see your face.*

    She said nothing$ did nothing. The Emperor atched her$ then nodded as though they had beenin explicit communion.

    *# understand.*

    "e got up$ al%ed round the pool and stood loo%ing over the cliff at the no visible aves.

    *,et this remain another bit of history that is better forgotten.*

    "e pitched the brass butterfly into the sea.

    4. L'ENVOY

    The Emperor and 9hanocles lay opposite each other on. either side of a lo table. The table$ thefloor$ the room$ ere circular and surrounded by pillars that held up a shadoy cupola. '

    constellation hung glittering in the opening directly over their heads but the room itself as litsoftly from lights placed behind the pillars)arm light$ congenial to leisure and digestion. ' flutemeditated somehere.

    *Will it or%$ do you thin%5*

    *Why not$ -aesar5*

    *Strange man. ou ponder thus and thus on universal la and evolve a certainty.

  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    The Emperor inclined his head gravely.

    *Whereas you and # %no that she is extremely clever and (uic%)itted.*

    9hanocles lifted a little on his couch.

    *"o could you %no that5*

    The Emperor rolled a grape bac%ards and forards under his finger.

    *# shall marry her$ of course. 4o not gape at me$. 9hanocles$ or fear that # shall have youstrangled hen # see her face. 't my age$ unfortunately$ it ill be a marriage in name only. &ut itill give her security and secrecy and a measure of peace. She has a harelip$ has she not5*

    The blood suffused 9hanocles! face$ seemed to dron him and ma%e his eyes bolt. The Emperoragged a finger.


  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    half the pleasure is evocation of the time hen you first read it5 ou see ho selfish # am$9hanocles #f # ere to read the eclogues # should not be transported to a 3oman 'rcady. # shouldbe a boy again$ preparing the next day!s passage for my tutor.*

    9hanocles as recovering.

    *' poor return for reading$ -aesar.*

    *4o you thin% so5 Surely e selfish men comprise all history in our on lives Each of usdiscovers the pyramids. Space$ time$ life)hat # might call the four)dimensional continuum)butyou see ho illadapted ,atin is to philosophy ,ife is a personal matter ith a single fixed point ofreference. 'lexander did not fight his ars until # discovered him at the age of seven. When # asa baby$ time as an instant: but # pushed$ smelled$ tasted$ sa$ heard$ baled that onesuffocating point into hole palaces of history and vast fields of space.*

    *'gain # do not understand you$ -aesar.*

    *ou should$ for # report on an experience common to us both. &ut you lac% my introversionorshall # say selfishness5 )see ho prone an uninterrupted Emperor is to parenthesis )andtherefore you cannot distinguish it. Thin%$ 9hanocles #f you can restore to me not the gratification

    of an appetite$ but a single precious memory "o else but by the enlargements of anticipationand memory does our human instant differ from the mindless movement of nature!s cloc%5*

    9hanocles glanced up at the constellation that hung so near and bright that they might havethought it deepened by a third dimension: but before he could thin% of anything to say the dishesere in place. The covers ere lifted$ and the seet steam came ith them. The Emperor closedhis eyes$ held his head forard and breathed in.


    Then is accents of profound emotion6


    9hanocles ate his trout (uic%ly$ for he as hungry$ and ished that the Emperor ould give him achance to drin% too. &ut the Emperor as in a trance. "is lips ere moving and the colour cameand ent in his face.

    *7reshness ,evels of shining ater and shados and cataracts from the dar% roc% on high.

    *#t comes bac% to me. # am lying on a roc% that is only /ust as big as my body. The cliffs rise aboutme$ the river runs by me and the ater is dar% for all the sun. To pigeons discourse musicallyand monotonously. There is pain in my right side$ for the edge of the roc% cuts me6 but # liefacedonard$ my right arm moving sloly as a ater)snail on a lump of stone. # touch a miracleof present actuality$ # stro%e)# am fiercely$ passionately alive)a moment more and the exultation ofmy heart ill burst in a fury of movement. &ut # still my ambition$ my desire$ my lust)# balance

    passion ith ill. # stro%e sloly as a drifting eed. She lies there in the dar%ness$ undulating$stemming the flo of ater. 8o) ' convulsion of to bodies$ sense of terror$ of rape)she flies inthe air and # grab ith lion!s clas. She is out$ she is mine))*

    The Emperor opened his eyes and loo%ed across at 9hanocles. ' tear tric%led on his chee%exactly above the untasted fish.

    *)my first trout.*

    "e seied a cup$ spilt a drop or to on the floor then held the cup up toards 9hanocles.

  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    *To the pressure coo%er. The most 9romethean discovery of them all.*

    'fter a hile he mastered his emotion and laughed a little.

    *# onder ho # am to reard you5*


    9hanocles gulped and spluttered.

    *+y explosive))*

    *# ta%e no account. of the steamship. She is amusing but expensive. # must admit that theexperimentalist in me as interested in her atrocious activities$ but once is enough. ou mustma%e no more steamships.*

    *&ut -aesar*

    *&esides$ ho can you find your ay ithout a ind5*

    *# might invent a mechanism hich pointed constantly in one direction.*

    *&y all means invent it. 9erhaps you could invent a movable arro that pointed constantly to3ome.*

    *Something that ould point to the 8orth.*

    *&ut no more steamships.*


    The Emperor aved his hand.

    *#t is our #mperial ill$ 9hanocles.*

    *# bo. *

    *She as dangerous.*

    *9erhaps one day$ -aesar$ hen men are free because they no longer believe themselves to beslaves))*

    The Emperor shoo% his head..

    *ou or% among perfect elements and therefore politically you are an idealist. There ill alays

    be slaves though the name may change. What is slavery but the domination of the ea% by thestrong5 "o can you ma%e them e(ual5

  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    *&ut they ere my greatest inventions*

    The first trout had disappeared$ cold from the Emperor!s plate. 'nother had descended and againhe immersed his face in its fragrance.

    *The pressure coo%er. # shall reard you for that.*

    *Then$ -aesar$ ho ill you reard me for this5*

    *7or hat5*

    *+y third invention. 1 have %ept it in reserve.*

    "is hand ent sloly$ dramatically$ to his belt.The Emperor atched him apprehensively.

    *"as this any connection ith thunder5*

    *With silence only.*

    The Emperor froned. "e held a paper in either hand and glanced from one to the other.

    *9oems5 ou are a poet then5*

    *+amillius rote it.*

    *# might have %non. Sophocles$ -arcides)ho ell read the boy is*

    *This ill ma%e him famous. 3ead the other poem$ -aesar$ for it is exactly the same. # haveinvented a method of multiplying boo%s. # call it printing.*

    *&ut this is)another pressure coo%er*

    *' man and a boy can ma%e a thousand copies of a boo% in a day.*

    The Emperor loo%ed up from the to papers.

    *We could give aay a hundred thousand copies of "omer*

    *' million if you li%e.*

    *8o poet need pine for lac% of an audience))*

    *8or for money. 8o more dictating an edition to a handful of slaves. -aesar. ' poet ill sell hispoems by the sac% li%e vegetables. The very scullions ill solace themselves ith the glories of

    our 'thenian drama))*

    The Emperor rose to a sitting position in his enthusiasm..

    *' 9ublic ,ibrary in every ton*

    *)in every home.*

    *Ten thousand copies of the love poems of -atullus))*

  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


  • 8/10/2019 GOLDING, William - Envoy Extraordinary


    *# am in -aesar!s hands.*

    The Emperor came close and)loo%ed at him ith (uivering lips.

    *Would you li%e to he an ambassador5*

    *+y highest ambition has never))*

    *ou ould have time then to invent your instrument hich points to the 8orth. ou can ta%e yourexplosive and your printing ith you. # shall ma%e you Envoy Extraordinary and 9lenipotentiary.*

    "e paused for a moment.

    *9hanocles$ my dear friend. # ant you to go to -hina.*