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The Carthaginians were recalled from the gloomy reflections into which the dire news had plunged them by the pressure of immediate danger and the necessity of devising means to meet it.  They decided to raise a hasty levy from the town and country population alike, to send officers to enlist African mercenaries, to strengthen the defences of the city, to accumulate stores of corn, to prepare a supply of weapons and armour, to fit out ships and despatch them against the Roman fleet at Hippo.  In the midst of these preparations news came that it was Laelius, not Scipio, who was in command, that the force he had brought was only sufficient to make a raid and that the main strength of the war was still in Sicily.  So they breathed freely once more, and began to send deputations to Syphax and the other princes with the view of consolidating their alliance. They even sent envoys to Philip with the promise of two hundred talents of silver to induce him to invade either Sicily or Italy. Instructions were also sent to their generals in Italy to keep Scipio fully employed at home and so prevent him from leaving the country.  To Mago they sent not only instructions but also 25 warships, a force of 6000 infantry, 800 cavalry and 7 elephants.  A large amount of money was also forwarded to him to enable him to raise a body of mercenaries, with which he might be able to move nearer Rome and form a junction with Hannibal. Such were the preparations and plans of Carthage.  While Laelius was carrying off the enormous quantity of booty which he had taken from the defenceless and unprotected peasantry, Masinissa, who had heard of the arrival of the Roman fleet, came with a small escort to visit him. He complained of the want of energy shown by Scipio.  Why, he asked, had he not brought his army to Africa just at a time when the Carthaginians were in a state of dismay and consternation, and Syphax was preoccupied with war with his neighbours? He was quite certain that if time were allowed him for arranging matters as he wished, Syphax would be anything but a true friend to the Romans. Laelius must urge Scipio to push on without delay and he, Masinissa, though driven from his kingdom would assist him with a force of horse and foot, which would be by no means contemptible.  Laelius himself, too, must not stay in Africa, there was reason to believe that a fleet had sailed from Carthage with which in Scipio's absence it would not be safe to engage. After this conversation Masinissa took his departure, and the following day Laelius left Hippo with his ships laden with plunder and returned to Sicily where he laid Masinissa's instructions before Scipio.
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