The next morning, the scarlet mantle--the customary signal displayed in
Roman camps on the morning of a day of battle--was seen at the tops of
the tents of the two commanding generals, waving there in the air like a
banner. While the troops, in obedience to this signal, were preparing
themselves for the conflict, the two generals went to meet each other at
a point midway between their two encampments, for a final consultation
and agreement in respect to the arrangements of the day. When this
business was concluded, and they were about to separate, in order to
proceed each to his own sphere of duty, Cassius asked Brutus what he
intended to do in case the day should go against them. "We hope for the
best," said he, "and pray that the gods may grant us the victory in this
most momentous crisis. But we must remember that it is the greatest and
the most momentous of human affairs that are always the most uncertain,
and we can not foresee what is to-day to be the result of the battle. If
it goes against us, what do you intend to do? Do you intend to escape,
or to die?"

"When I was a young man," said Brutus, in reply, "and looked at this
subject only as a question of theory, I thought it wrong for a man ever
to take his own life. However great the evils that threatened him, and
however desperate his condition, I considered it his duty to live, and
to wait patiently for better times. But now, placed in the position in
which I am, I see the subject in a different light. If we do not gain
the battle this day, I shall consider all hope and possibility of saving
our country forever gone, and I shall not leave the field of battle
alive."

Cassius, in his despondency, had made the same resolution for himself
before, and he was rejoiced to hear Brutus utter these sentiments. He
grasped his colleague's hand with a countenance expressive of the
greatest animation and pleasure, and bade him farewell, saying, "We will
go out boldly to face the enemy. For we are certain either that we shall
conquer them, or that we shall have nothing to fear from their victory
over us."

Cassius's dejection, and the tendency of his mind to take a despairing
view of the prospects of the cause in which he was engaged, were owing,
in some measure, to certain unfavorable omens which he had observed.
These omens, though really frivolous and wholly unworthy of attention,
seem to have had great influence upon him, notwithstanding his general
intelligence, and the remarkable strength and energy of his character.
They were as follows:

[...]
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