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messenger went accordingly to the brook again, but he came back very
soon, wounded and bleeding, and reported that the enemy was close upon
them on that side too, and that he had narrowly escaped with his life.
The apprehensions of Brutus's party were greatly increased by these
tidings; it was evident that all hope of being able to remain long
concealed where they were must fast disappear.
One of the officers, named Statilius, then proposed to make the attempt
to find his way out of the snare in which they had become involved. He
would go, he said, as cautiously as possible, avoiding all parties of
the enemy, and being favored by the darkness of the night, he hoped to
find some way of retreat. If he succeeded, he would display a torch on a
distant elevation which he designated, so that the party in the glen, on
seeing the light, might be assured of his safety. He would then return
and guide them all through the danger, by the way which he should have
This plan was approved, and Statilius accordingly departed. In due time
the light was seen burning at the place which had been pointed out, and
indicating that Statilius had accomplished his undertaking. Brutus and
his party were greatly cheered by the new hope which this result
awakened. They began to watch and listen for their messenger's return.
They watched and waited long, but he did not come. On the way back he
was intercepted and slain.
When at length all hope that he would return was finally abandoned, some
of the party, in the course of the despairing consultations which the
unhappy fugitives held with one another, said that they _must not_
remain any longer where they were, but must make their escape from that
spot at all hazards. "Yes," said Brutus, "we must indeed make our escape
from our present situation, but we must do it with our hands, and not
with our feet." He meant by this that the only means now left to them to
evade their enemies was self-destruction. When his friends understood
that this was his meaning, and that he was resolved to put this design
into execution in his own case, they were overwhelmed with sorrow.
Brutus took them, one by one, by the hand and bade them farewell. He
thanked them for their fidelity in adhering to his cause to the last,
and said that it was a source of great comfort and satisfaction to him
that all his friends had proved so faithful and true. "I do not complain
of my hard fate," he added, "so far as I myself am concerned. I mourn
only for my unhappy country. As to myself, I think that my condition
even now is better than that of my enemies; for though I die, posterity
will do me justice, and I shall enjoy forever the honor which virtue and
integrity deserve; while they, though they live, live only to reap the
bitter fruits of injustice and of tyranny.
"After I am gone," he continued, addressing his friends, as before,
"think no longer of me, but take care of yourselves. Antony, I am sure,
will be satisfied with Cassius's death and mine. He will not be disposed
to pursue you vindictively any longer. Make peace with him on the best
terms that you can."
Brutus then asked first one and then another of his friends to aid him
in the last duty, as he seems to have considered it, of destroying his
life; but one after another declared that they could not do any thing to
assist him in carrying into effect so dreadful a determination. Finally,
he took with him an old and long-tried friend named Strato, and went
away a little, apart from the rest. Here he solicited once more the
favor which had been refused him before,--begging that Strato would hold
out his sword. Strato still refused. Brutus then called one of his
slaves. Upon this Strato declared that he would do any thing rather than
that Brutus should die by the hand of a slave. He took the sword, and.
with his right hand held it extended in the air. With the left hand he
covered his eyes, that he might not witness the horrible spectacle.
Brutus, rushed upon the point of the weapon with such fatal force that
he fell and immediately expired.
Thus ended the great and famous battle of Philippi, celebrated in
history as marking the termination of the great conflict between the
friends and the enemies of Caesar, which agitated the world so deeply
after the conqueror's death. This battle established the ascendency of
Antony, and made him for a time the most conspicuous man, as Cleopatra
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