CHAPTER XIV
THE DESCENDANTS OF HORATIUS

So the twenty honourable members of the State Senate had been dubbed by the man who had a sense of humour and a smattering of the classics, because they had been put there to hold the bridge against the Tarquins who would invade the dominions of the Northeastern. Twenty picked men, and true they were indeed, but a better name for their body would have been the Life Guard of the Sovereign. The five hundred far below them might rage and at times revolt, but the twenty in their shining armour stood undaunted above the vulnerable ground and smiled grimly at the mob. The citadel was safe.

The real Horatius of the stirring time of which we write was that old and tried veteran, the Honourable Brush Bascom; and Spurius Lartius might be typified by the indomitable warrior, the Honourable Jacob Botcher; while the Honourable Samuel Doby of Hale, Speaker of the House, was unquestionably Herminius. How the three held the bridge that year will be told in as few and as stirring words as possible. A greater than Porsena confronted them, and well it was for them, and for the Empire, that the Body Guard of the Twenty stood behind them.

"Lars Porsena of Clusium,
By the Nine Gods he swore."

The morning after the State Tribune had printed that memorable speech on national affairs -- statistics and all, with an editorial which gave every evidence of Mr. Peter Pardriff's best sparkle -- Mr. Crewe appeared on the floor of the House with a new look in his eye which made discerning men turn and stare at him. It was the look of

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