The influence of Tarquin among the chief men of the Latins was now considerable, when he issues an order that they should assemble on a certain day at the grove of Ferentina; that there was business about which he wished to confer with them touching their common interest.
They assemble in great numbers at the break of day. Tarquinius himself observed the day indeed, but he came a little before sun-set. Many matters were there canvassed in the meeting in various conversations.
Turnus Herdonius, from Aricia, inveighed violently against Tarquin for his absence. “That it was no wonder the cognomen of Proud was given him at Rome;” for they now called him so secretly and in whispers, but still generally. “Could any thing be more proud than thus to trifle with the entire nation of the Latins?
After their chiefs had been called at so great a distance from home, that he who summoned the meeting did not attend; that no doubt their patience was tried, in order that if they submitted to the yoke, he may crush them when at his mercy. For to whom did it not plainly appear that he was aiming at sovereignty over the Latins?
But if his own countrymen did well in intrusting it to him, or if it was intrusted, and not seized on by means of murder, that the Latins also ought to intrust him (though
not even so, inasmuch as he was a foreigner). But if his own subjects are dissatisfied with him, (seeing that they are butchered one upon another, driven into exile, and deprived of their property,) what better prospects are held out to the Latins? If they follow his advice, that they would depart thence, each to his own home, and take no more notice of the day of meeting than the person who appointed it.”
When this man, turbulent and daring, and one who had attained influence at home by these means, was pressing these and other observations having the same tendency, Tarquin came in.
This put a conclusion to his harangue. All turned away from him to salute Tarquin, who, on silence being enjoined, being advised by those next him to apologize for having come at that time, says, that he had been chosen arbiter between a father and a son; that, frown his anxiety to reconcile them, he had delayed; and because that circum- [p. 67]
stance had consumed that day, that on the morrow he would transact the business which he had determined on.
They say that he did not make even that observation without a remark from Turnus; “that no controversy was shorter than one between a father and son, and that it might be decided in a few words, —unless he submitted to his father, that he must prove unfortunate.”