Then thinking it right to send news of their doings to John Ducas, the ex-emperor, who was at that time living on his own property in the country of Morobundus, they dispatched a messenger to inform him of their rebellion. The man carrying the message happened to arrive at early dawn and was standing outside the gates of the farm asking for the Emperor. And his grandchild John, still quite a child, not even a boy yet, and consequently always with the Emperor, saw the man and at once ran in, woke up his grandfather who was still asleep, and told him of the rebellion. But the latter astounded by the words, gave the child a box on the ears, and advising him not to talk nonsense, sent him off.
In a little while, however, he came back again, bringing the same news, and in addition the message addressed to his grandfather by the Comneni. Now this message had an excellent touch of wit in it which hinted at Alexius’ doings for it said; “We on our side have prepared a right good meal, not wanting in rich condiments, but if you on your side wish to share this banquet, you must come with all speed to partake of it.” Then the Emperor sat up and propping himself on his right elbow bade them bring in the messenger, and when this man had finished his tale about the Comneni, he at once exclaimed; “Woe is me!” and clapped his hands over his eyes.
Chanced upon a Byzantine
And after grasping his beard for a time, as a man will when revolving matters of deep import in his mind, he settled on this one point, namely, that he too would yield to their wish. Therefore he immediately summoned his grooms and mounting his horse, rode off to join the Comneni. On the way he chanced upon a Byzantine who was carrying a heavy purse of gold and travelling to the capital, so in the words of Homer he asked him, “Who and whence art thou?” On learning that he had collected a large sum from certain taxes and was conveying it to the treasury, he urged him to halt for the night with him, promising that at daybreak he should go off where he liked.
At the other’s refusing and getting angry, the Emperor insisted all the more and finally persuaded him – for he was marvellously glib of speech and quick in thought, and persuasion sat on his tongue as if he were a second Aeschines or Demosthenes. So he took him with him and turned in at an inn, where he detained him by looking after him kindly in all ways, making him share his table and seeing that he could rest comfortably. But at dawn just when the sun was climbing up the eastern horizon, the Byzantine spread the cloths on the horses and was for hurrying off to ride at full speed to Byzantium.
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