Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/207

This page has been validated.
193
BATTLE OF THE METAURUS.

numbers seemed to have increased, and that the armour of some of them was unusually dull and stained. He noticed also that the horses of some of the cavalry appeared to be rough and out of condition, as if they had just come from a succession of forced marches. So also, though, owing to the precaution of Livius, the Roman camp showed no change of size, it had not escaped the quick ear of the Carthaginian general, that the trumpet which gave the signal to the Roman legions, sounded that morning once oftener than usual, as if directing the troops of some additional superior officer. Hasdrubal, from his Spanish campaigns, was well acquainted with all the sounds and signals of Roman war; and from all that he heard and saw, he felt convinced that both the Roman consuls were before him. In doubt and difficulty as to what might have taken place between the armies of the south, and probably hoping that Hannibal also was approaching, Hasdrubal determined to avoid an encounter with the combined Roman forces, and to endeavour to retreat upon Insubrian Gaul, where he would be in a friendly

country, and could endeavour to re-open his communications with his brother. He therefore led his troops back into their camp; and as the Romans did not venture on an assault upon his entrenchments, and Hasdrubal did not choose to