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opinion. It was agreed by the council that the army should maintain its 

ground and give the enemy battle. The officers then repaired to their 

respective camps. 


Brutus was greatly pleased at this decision. To fight the battle had 

been his original desire, and as his counsels had prevailed, he was, of 

course, gratified with the prospect for the morrow. He arranged a 

sumptuous entertainment in his tent, and invited all the officers of his 

division of the army to sup with him. The party spent the night in 

convivial pleasures, and in mutual congratulations at the prospect of 

the victory which, as they believed, awaited them on the morrow. Brutus 

entertained his guests with brilliant conversation all the evening, and 

inspired them with his own confident anticipations of success in the 

conflict which was to ensue. 


Cassius, on the other hand, in his camp by the sea, was silent and 

desponding. He supped privately with a few intimate friends. On rising 

from the table, he took one of his officers aside, and, pressing his 

hand, said to him that he felt great misgivings in respect to the result 

of the contest. "It is against my judgment," said he, "that we thus 

hazard the liberty of Rome on the event of one battle, fought under such 

circumstances as these. Whatever is the result, I wish you to bear me 

witness hereafter that I was forced into this measure by circumstances 

that I could not control. I suppose, however, that I ought to take 

courage, notwithstanding the reasons that I have for these gloomy 

forebodings. Let us, therefore, hope for the best; and come and sup with 

me again to-morrow night. To-morrow is my birth-day." 


The next morning, the scarlet mantle--the customary signal displayed in 

Roman camps on the morning of a day of battle--was seen at the tops of 

the tents of the two commanding generals, waving there in the air like a 

banner. While the troops, in obedience to this signal, were preparing 

themselves for the conflict, the two generals went to meet each other at 

a point midway between their two encampments, for a final consultation 

and agreement in respect to the arrangements of the day. When this 

business was concluded, and they were about to separate, in order to 

proceed each to his own sphere of duty, Cassius asked Brutus what he 

intended to do in case the day should go against them. "We hope for the 

best," said he, "and pray that the gods may grant us the victory in this 

most momentous crisis. But we must remember that it is the greatest and 

the most momentous of human affairs that are always the most uncertain, 

and we can not foresee what is to-day to be the result of the battle. If 

it goes against us, what do you intend to do? Do you intend to escape, 

or to die?" 


"When I was a young man," said Brutus, in reply, "and looked at this 

subject only as a question of theory, I thought it wrong for a man ever 

to take his own life. However great the evils that threatened him, and 

however desperate his condition, I considered it his duty to live, and 

to wait patiently for better times. But now, placed in the position in 

which I am, I see the subject in a different light. If we do not gain 

the battle this day, I shall consider all hope and possibility of saving 

our country forever gone, and I shall not leave the field of battle 



Cassius, in his despondency, had made the same resolution for himself 

before, and he was rejoiced to hear Brutus utter these sentiments. He 

grasped his colleague's hand with a countenance expressive of the 

greatest animation and pleasure, and bade him farewell, saying, "We will 

go out boldly to face the enemy. For we are certain either that we shall 

conquer them, or that we shall have nothing to fear from their victory 

over us." 


Cassius's dejection, and the tendency of his mind to take a despairing 

view of the prospects of the cause in which he was engaged, were owing, 

in some measure, to certain unfavorable omens which he had observed. 

These omens, though really frivolous and wholly unworthy of attention, 

seem to have had great influence upon him, notwithstanding his general 

intelligence, and the remarkable strength and energy of his character. 

They were as follows: 


In offering certain sacrifices, he was to wear, according to the usage 

prescribed on such occasions, a garland of flowers, and it happened that 

the officer who brought the garland, by mistake or accident, presented 

it wrong side before. Again, in some procession which was formed, and in 

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