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FABIUS MAXIMUS. Fabius Maximus would not fight, but chose to spin away the time with Hannibal,—who wanted both money and provision for his army,—by pursuing and facing him in rocky and mountainous places. When many laughed at him and called him Hannibal's schoolmaster, he took little notice of them, but pursued his own design, and told his friends: He that is afraid of scoffs and reproaches is more a coward than he that flies from the enemy. When Minucius, his fellow-consul, [p. 228] upon routing a party of the enemy, was highly extolled as a man worthy of Rome; I am more afraid, said he, of Minucius's success than of his misfortune. And not long after he fell into an ambush, and was in danger of perishing with his forces, until Fabius succored him, slew many of the enemy, and brought him off. Whereupon Hannibal told his friends: Did I not often presage that cloud on the hills would some time or other break upon us? After the city received the great overthrow at Cannae, he was chosen consul with Marcellus, a daring person and much desirous to fight Hannibal, whose forces, if nobody fought him, he hoped would shortly disperse and be dissolved. Therefore Hannibal said, he feared fighting Marcellus less than Fabius who would not fight. He was informed of a Lucanian soldier that frequently wandered out of the camp by night after a woman he loved, but otherwise an admirable soldier; he caused his mistress to be seized privately and brought to him. When she came, he sent for the soldier and told him: It is known you lie out a nights, contrary to the law; but your former good behavior is not forgotten, therefore your faults are forgiven to your merits. Henceforwards you shall tarry with me, for I have your surety. And he brought out the woman to him. Hannibal kept Tarentum with a garrison, all but the castle; and Fabius drew the enemy far from it, and by a stratagem took the town and plundered it. When his secretary asked what was his pleasure as to the holy images, Let us leave, said he, the Tarentines their offended Gods. When M. Livius, who kept a garrison in the castle, said he took Tarentum by his assistance, others laughed at him; but said Fabius, You say true, for if you had not lost the city, I had not retook it. When he was ancient, his son was consul, and as he was discharging his office publicly with many attendants, he met him on horseback. The young man [p. 229] sent a sergeant to command him to alight; when others were at a stand, Fabius presently alighted, and running faster than for his age might be expected, embraced his son. Well done, son, said he, I see you are wise, and know whom you govern, and the grandeur of the office you have undertaken.

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