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Title: Cleopatra — Volume 01
Author: Ebers, Georg
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Cleopatra — Volume 01" ***

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CLEOPATRA

By Georg Ebers

Volume 1.



Translated from the German by Mary J. Safford



PREFACE.

If the author should be told that the sentimental love of our day was
unknown to the pagan world, he would not cite last the two lovers, Antony
and Cleopatra, and the will of the powerful Roman general, in which he
expressed the desire, wherever he might die, to be buried beside the
woman whom he loved to his latest hour.  His wish was fulfilled, and the
love-life of these two distinguished mortals, which belongs to history,
has more than once afforded to art and poesy a welcome subject.

In regard to Cleopatra, especially, life was surrounded with an
atmosphere of romance bordering on the fabulous.  Even her bitterest foes
admire her beauty and rare gifts of intellect.  Her character, on the
contrary, presents one of the most difficult problems of psychology.  The
servility of Roman poets and authors, who were unwilling frankly to
acknowledge the light emanating so brilliantly from the foe of the state
and the Imperator, solved it to her disadvantage.  Everything that bore
the name of Egyptian was hateful or suspicious to the Roman, and it was
hard to forgive this woman, born on the banks of the Nile, for having
seen Julius Caesar at her feet and compelled Mark Antony to do her
bidding.  Other historians, Plutarch at their head, explained the enigma
more justly, and in many respects in her favour.

It was a delightful task to the author to scan more closely the
personality of the hapless Queen, and from the wealth of existing
information shape for himself a creature in whom he could believe.  Years
elapsed ere he succeeded; but now that he views the completed picture, he
thinks that many persons might be disposed to object to the brightness of
his colours.  Yet it would not be difficult for the writer to justify
every shade which he has used.  If, during his creative work, he learned
to love his heroine, it was because, the more distinctly he conjured
before his mind the image of this wonderful woman, the more keenly he
felt and the more distinctly he perceived how fully she merited not only
sympathy and admiration, but, in spite of all her sins and weaknesses,
the self-sacrificing affection which she inspired in so many hearts.

It was an author of no less importance than Horace who called Cleopatra
"non humilis mulier"--a woman capable of no baseness.  But the phrase
gains its greatest importance from the fact that it adorns the hymn which
the poet dedicated to Octavianus and his victory over Antony and
Cleopatra.  It was a bold act, in such an ode, to praise the victor's
foe.  Yet he did it, and his words, which are equivalent to a deed, are
among this greatly misjudged woman's fairest claims to renown.

Unfortunately it proved less potent than the opinion of Dio, who often
distorted what Plutarch related, but probably followed most closely the
farce or the popular tales which, in Rome, did not venture to show the
Egyptian in a favourable light.

The Greek Plutarch, who lived much nearer the period of our heroine than
Dio, estimated her more justly than most of the Roman historians.  His
grandfather had heard many tales of both Cleopatra and Antony from his
countryman Philotas, who, during the brilliant days when they revelled in
Alexandria, had lived there as a student.  Of all the writers who
describe the Queen, Plutarch is the most trustworthy, but even his
narrative must be used with caution.  We have closely followed the clear
and comprehensive description given by Plutarch of the last days of our
heroine.  It bears the impress of truth, and to deviate widely from it
would be arbitrary.

Unluckily, Egyptian records contain nothing which could have much weight
in estimating the character of Cleopatra, though we have likenesses
representing the Queen alone, or with her son Caesarion.  Very recently
(in 1892) the fragment of a colossal double statue was found in
Alexandria, which can scarcely be intended for any persons except
Cleopatra and Antony hand in hand.  The upper part of the female figure
is in a state of tolerable preservation, and shows a young and attractive
face.  The male figure was doubtless sacrificed to Octavianus's command
to destroy Antony's statues.  We are indebted to Herr Dr. Walther, in
Alexandria, for an excellent photograph of this remarkable piece of
sculpture.  Comparatively few other works of plastic art, in which we
here include coins, that could render us familiar with our heroine's
appearance, have been preserved.

Though the author must especially desire to render his creation a work of
art, it is also requisite to strive for fidelity.  As the heroine's
portrait must reveal her true character, so the life represented here
must correspond in every line with the civilization of the period
described.  For this purpose we placed Cleopatra in the centre of a
larger group of people, whom she influences, and who enable her
personality to be displayed in the various relations of life.

Should the author succeed in making the picture of the remarkable woman,
who was so differently judged, as "lifelike" and vivid as it stamped
itself upon his own imagination, he might remember with pleasure the
hours which he devoted to this book.

                                   GEORG EBERS

TUTZING ON THE STARNBERGER SEE, October 5, 1893.



CLEOPATRA.

Gorgias, the architect, had learned to bear the scorching sunbeams of the
Egyptian noonday.  Though not yet thirty, he had directed--first as his
late father's assistant and afterwards as his successor--the construction
of the huge buildings erected by Cleopatra in Alexandria.

Now he was overwhelmed with commissions; yet he had come hither ere the
hours of work were over, merely to oblige a youth who had barely passed
the confines of boyhood.

True, the person for whom he made this sacrifice was Caesarion, the son
whom Cleopatra had given to Julius Caesar.  Antony had honoured him with
the proud title of "King of kings"; yet he was permitted neither to rule
nor even to issue orders, for his mother kept him aloof from affairs of
state, and he himself had no desire to hold the sceptre.

Gorgias had granted his wish the more readily, because it was apparent
that he wanted to speak to him in private, though he had not the least
idea what Caesarion desired to confide, and, under any circumstances, he
could give him only a brief interview.  The fleet, at whose head the
Queen had set sail, with Mark Antony, for Greece, must have already met
Octavianus's galleys, and doubtless a battle wherein the destiny of the
world was decided had also been fought upon the land, Gorgias believed
that the victory would fall to Antony and the Queen, and wished the noble
pair success with his whole heart.  He was even obliged to act as if the
battle had been already determined in their favour, for the architectural
preparations for the reception of the conquerors were entrusted to his
charge, and that very day must witness the decision of the location of
the colossal statues which represented Antony hand in hand with his royal
love.

The epitrop Mardion, a eunuch, who as Regent, represented Cleopatra; and
Zeno, the Keeper of the Seal, who rarely opposed him, wished to have the
piece of sculpture erected in a different place from the one he favoured.
The principal objection to the choice made by the powerful head of the
government was that it had fallen on land owned by a private individual.
This might lead to difficulties, and Gorgias opposed it.  As an artist,
too, he did not approve Mardion's plan; for though, on Didymus's land,
the statues would have faced the sea, which the Regent and the Keeper of
the Seal regarded as very important, no fitting background could have
been obtained.

At any rate, the architect could now avail himself of Caesarion's
invitation to overlook from the appointed place of meeting--the lofty
steps of the Temple of Isis--the Bruchium, and seek the best site for the
twin statues.  He was anxious to select the most suitable one; the master
who had created this work of art had been his friend, and had closed his
eyes in death shortly after its completion.

The sanctuary whence Gorgias commenced his survey was in one of the
fairest portions of the Bruchium, the Alexandrian quarter, where stood
the royal palace with its extensive annexes, the finest temples--except
the Serapeum, situated in another part of the city-and the largest
theatres; the Forum invited the council of Macedonian citizens to its
assemblies, and the Museum afforded a resort for the scholars.

The little square closed in the east by the Temple of Isis was called the
"Corner of the Muses," on account of the two marble statues of women
before the entrance of the house, which, with its large garden facing the
square northward and extending along the sea, belonged to Didymus, an old
and highly respected scholar and member of the Museum.

The day had been hot, and the shade of the Temple of Isis was very
welcome to the architect.

This sanctuary rested upon a lofty foundation, and a long flight of steps
led to the cella.  The spot afforded Gorgias a wide prospect.

Most of the buildings within his vision belonged to the time of Alexander
and his successors in the house of the Ptolemies, but some, and by no
means the least stately, were the work of Gorgias himself or of his
father.  The artist's heart swelled with enthusiastic delight at the
sight of this portion of his native city.

He had been in Rome, and visited many other places numbered among the
world's fairest and most populous cities; but not one contained so many
superb works of art crowded together in so small a space.

"If one of the immortals themselves," he murmured, "should strive to
erect for the inhabitants of Olympus a quarter meet for their grandeur
and beauty, it could scarcely be much more superb or better fitted to
satisfy the artistic needs which we possess as their gift, and it would
surely be placed on the shore of such a sea."

While speaking, he shaded his keen eyes with his hand.  The architect,
who usually devoted his whole attention to the single object that claimed
his notice, now permitted himself the pleasure of enjoying the entire
picture in whose finishing touches he had himself borne a part; and, as
his practised eye perceived in every temple and colonnade the studied and
finished harmony of form, and the admirable grouping of the various
buildings and statues, he said to himself, with a sigh of satisfaction,
that his own art was the noblest and building the highest of royal
pleasures.  No doubt this belief was shared by the princes who, three
centuries before, had endeavoured to obtain an environment for their
palaces which should correspond with their vast power and overflowing
wealth, and at the same time give tangible expression to their reverence
for the gods and their delight in art and beauty.  No royal race in the
universe could boast of a more magnificent abode.  These thoughts passed
through Gorgias's mind as the deep azure hue of sea and sky blended with
the sunlight to bring into the strongest relief all that the skill and
brains of man, aided by exhaustless resources, had here created.

Waiting, usually a hard task for the busy architect, became a pleasure in
this spot; for the rays streaming lavishly in all directions from the
diadem of the sovereign sun flooded with dazzling radiance the thousands
of white marble statues on the temples and colonnades, and were reflected
from the surfaces of the polished granite of the obelisks and the equally
smooth walls of the white, yellow, and green marble, the syenite, and the
brown, speckled porphyry of sanctuaries and palaces.  They seemed to be
striving to melt the bright mosaic pictures which covered every foot Of
the ground, where no highway intersected and no tree shaded it, and
flashed back again from the glimmering metal or the smooth glaze in the
gay tiles on the roofs of the temples and houses.  Here they glittered on
the metal ornaments, yonder they seemed to be trying to rival the
brilliancy of the gilded domes, to lend to the superb green of the
tarnished bronze surfaces the sparkling lustre of the emerald, or to
transform the blue and red lines of the white marble temples into lapis-
lazuli and coral and their gilded decorations into topaz.  The pictures
in the mosaic pavement of the squares, and on the inner walls of the
colonnades, were doubly effective against the light masses of marble
surrounding them, which in their turn were indebted to the pictures for
affording the eye an attractive variety instead of dazzling monotony.

Here the light of the weltering sun enhanced the brilliancy of colour in
the flags and streamers which fluttered beside the obelisks and Egyptian
pylons, over the triumphal arches and the gates of the temples and
palaces.  Yet even the exquisite purplish blue of the banner waving above
the palace on the peninsula of Lochias, now occupied by Cleopatra's
children, was surpassed by the hue of the sea, whose deep azure near the
shore merged far away into bands of lighter and darker blue, blending
with dull or whitish green.

Gorgias was accustomed to grasp fully whatever he permitted to influence
him, and though still loyal to his custom of associating with his art
every remarkable work of the gods or man, he had not forgotten in his
enjoyment of the familiar scene the purpose of his presence in this spot.

No, the garden of Didymus was not the proper place for his friend's last
work.

While gazing at the lofty plane, sycamore, and mimosa trees which
surrounded the old scholar's home, the quiet square below him suddenly
became astir with noisy life, for all classes of the populace were
gathering in front of the sequestered house, as if some unusual spectacle
attracted them.

What could they want of the secluded philosopher?

Gorgias gazed earnestly at them, but soon turned away again; a gay voice
from below called his name.

A singular procession had approached the temple--a small body of armed
men, led by a short, stout fellow, whose big head, covered with bushy
curls, was crowned with a laurel wreath.  He was talking eagerly to a
younger man, but had paused with the others in front of the sanctuary to
greet the architect.  The latter shouted a few pleasant words in reply.
The laurel-crowned figure made a movement as if he intended to join him,
but his companion checked him, and, after a short parley, the older man
gave the younger one his hand, flung his heavy head back, and strutted
onward like a peacock, followed by his whole train.

The other looked after him, shrugging his shoulders; then called to
Gorgias, asking what boon he desired from the goddess.

"Your presence," replied the architect blithely.

"Then Isis will show herself gracious to you," was the answer, and the
next instant the two young men cordially grasped each other's hands.

Both were equally tall and well formed; the features bore witness to
their Greek origin; nay, they might have been taken for brothers, had not
the architect's whole appearance seemed sturdie and plainer than that of
his companion, whom he called "Dion" and friend.  As the latter heaped
merry sarcasms upon the figure wearing the laurel wreath who had just
left him, Anaxenor, the famous zither-player, on whom Antony had bestowed
the revenues of four cities and permission to keep body-guard, and
Gorgias's deeper voice sometime assented, sometimes opposed with sensible
objections, the difference between these two men of the same age and race
became clearly apparent.

Both showed a degree of self-reliance unusual, at their age; but the
architect's was the assurance which a man gains by toil and his own
merit, Dion's that which is bestowed by large possession and a high
position in society.  Those who were ignorant that the weight of Dion's
carefully prepared speech had more than once turned the scale in the city
councils would probably have been disposed to take him for one of the
careless worldlings who had no lack of representatives among the gilded
youth of Alexandria; while the architect's whole exterior, from his keen
eye to the stouter leather of his sandals, revealed earnest purpose and
unassuming ability.

Their friendship had commenced when Gorgias built a new palace for Dion.
During long business association people become well acquainted, even
though their conversations relate solely to direction and execution.
But in this case, he who gave the orders had been only the inspirer and
adviser, the architect the warm-hearted friend, eager to do his utmost to
realize what hovered before the other's mind as the highest attainable
excellence.  So the two young men became first dear, and finally almost
indispensable to each other.  As the architect discovered in the wealthy
man of the world many qualities whose existence he had not suspected, the
latter was agreeably surprised to find in the artist, associated with his
solidity of character, a jovial companion, who--this first made him
really beloved by his friend--had no lack of weaknesses.

When the palace was completed to Dion's satisfaction and became one of
the most lauded ornaments of the city, the young men's friendship assumed
a new form, and it would have been difficult to say which received the
most benefit.

Dion had just been stopped by the zither-player to ask for confirmation
of the tidings that the united forces of Antony and Cleopatra had gained
a great victory on sea and land.

In the eating-house at Kanopus, where he had breakfasted, everyone was
full of the joyful news, and rivers of wine had been drunk to the health
of the victors and the destruction of the malicious foe.  "In these
days," cried Dion, "not only weak-brained fellows, like the zither-
player, believe me omniscient, but many sensible men also.  And why?
Because, forsooth, I am the nephew of Zeno, the Keeper of the Seal, who
is on the brink of despair because he himself knows nothing, not even the
veriest trifle."

"Yet he stands nearest to the Regent," observed Gorgias, "and must learn,
if any one does, how the fleet fares."

"You too!" sighed his friend.  "Had I been standing so far above the
ground as you, the architect--by the dog, I should not have failed to
note the quarter whence the wind blew!  It has been southerly a whole
fortnight, and keeps back the galleys coming from the north.  The Regent
knows nothing, absolutely nothing, and my uncle, of course, no more.  But
if they do learn anything they will be shrewd enough not to enrich me
with it."

"True, there are other rumours afloat," said the architect thoughtfully.
"If I were in Mardion's place--"

"Thank the Olympians that you are not," laughed his companion.  "He has
as many cares as a fish has scales.  And one, the greatest.  That pert
young Antyllus was over-ready with his tongue yesterday at Barine's.
Poor fellow!  He'll have to answer for it to his tutor at home."

"You mean the remark about the Queen's accompanying the fleet?"

"St!" said Dion, putting his finger on his lips, for many men and women
were now ascending the temple steps.  Several carried flowers and cakes,
and the features of most expressed joyful emotion.  The news of the
victory had reached their ears, and they wanted to offer sacrifices to
the goddess whom Cleopatra, "the new Isis," preferred to all others.

The first court-yard of the sanctuary was astir with life.  They could
hear the ringing of the sistrum bells and the murmuring chant of the
priests.  The quiet fore-court of the little temple of the goddess, which
here, in the Greek quarter of palaces, had as few visitors as the great
Temple of Isis in the Rhakotis was overcrowded, had now become the worst
possible rendezvous for men who stood so near the rulers of the
government.  The remark made about the Queen the evening before by
Antyllus, Antony's nineteen-year-old son, at the house of Barine, a
beautiful young woman who attracted all the prominent men in Alexandria,
was the more imprudent because it coincided with the opinion of all the
wisest heads.  The reckless youth enthusiastically reverenced his father,
but Cleopatra, the object of Antony's love, and--in the Egyptians' eyes--
his wife, was not Antyllus's mother.  He was the son of Fulvia, his
father's first wife, and feeling himself a Roman, would have preferred a
thousand times to live on the banks of the Tiber.  Besides, it was
certain--Antony's stanchest friends made no attempt to conceal the fact--
that the Queen's presence with the army exerted a disturbing influence,
and could not fail to curb the daring courage of the brave general.
Antyllus, with the reckless frankness inherited from his father, had
expressed this view in the presence of all Barine's guests, and in a form
which would be only too quickly spread throughout Alexandria, whose
inhabitants relished such speeches.

These remarks would be slow in reaching the plain people who were
attracted to the temple by the news of the victory, yet many doubtless
knew Caesarion, whom the architect was awaiting here.  It would be wiser
to meet the prince at the foot of the steps.  Both men, therefore, went
down to the square, though the crowds seeking the temple and thronging
the space before Didymus's house made it more and more difficult to pace
to and fro.

They were anxious to learn whether the rumour that Didymus's garden was
to be taken for the twin statues had already spread abroad, and their
first questions revealed that this was the case.  It was even stated that
the old sage's house was to be torn down, and within a few hours.  This
was vehemently contradicted; but a tall, scrawny man seemed to have
undertaken to defend the ruler's violence.

The friends knew him well.  It was the Syrian Philostratus, a clever
extempore speaker and agitator of the people, who placed his clever
tongue at the disposal of the highest bidder.

"The rascal is probably now in my uncle's employ," said Dion.  "The idea
of putting the piece of sculpture there originated with him, and it is
difficult to turn him from such plans.  There is some secret object to be
gained here.  That is why they have brought Philostratus.  I wonder if
the conspiracy is connected in any way with Barine, whose husband--
unfortunately for her--he was before he cast her off."

"Cast her off!" exclaimed Gorgias wrathfully.  "How that sounds!  True,
he did it, but to persuade him the poor woman sacrificed half the fortune
her father had earned by his brush.  You know as well as I that life with
that scoundrel would be unbearable."

"Very true," replied Dion quietly.  "But as all Alexandria melted into
admiration after her singing of the 'yalemos' at the Adonis festival, she
no longer needed her contemptible consort."

"How can you take pleasure, whenever it is possible, in casting such
slurs upon a woman, whom but yesterday you called blameless, charming,
peerless?"

"That the light she sheds may not dazzle your eyes.  I know how sensitive
they are."

"Then spare, instead of irritating them.  Besides, your suggestion gives
food for thought Barine is the granddaughter of the man whose garden they
want, and the advocate would probably be glad to injure both.  But I'll
spoil his game.  It is my business to choose the site for the statues."

"Yours?" replied Dion.  "Unless some on who is more powerful opposes you.
I would try to win my uncle, but there are others superior to him.  The
Queen has gone, it is true; but Iras, whose commands do not die away in
empty air, told me this morning that she had her own ideas about the
errection of the statue."

"Then you bring Philostratus here!" cried the architect.

"I?" asked the other in amazement.

"Ay, you," asserted Gorgias.  "Did not you say that Iras, with whom you
played when a boy is now becoming troublesome by watching your every
step?  And then--you visit Barine constantly and she so evidently prefers
you, that the fact might easily reach the ears of Iras."

"As Argus has a hundred, jealousy has a thousand eyes," interrupted Dion,
"yet I seek nothing from Barine, save two pleasant hours when the day is
drawing towards its close.  No matter; Iras, I suppose, heard that I was
favoured by this much-admired woman.  Iras herself has some little regard
for me, so she bought Philostratus.  She is willing to pay something for
the sake of injuring the woman who stands between us, or the old man who
has the good or evil fortune of being her rival's grandfather.  No, no;
that would be too base!  And believe me, if Iras desired to ruin Barine,
she need not make so long a circuit.  Besides, she is not really a wicked
woman.  Or is she?  All I know is that where any advantage is to be
gained for the Queen, she does not shrink even from doubtful means, and
also that the hours speed swiftly for any one in her society.  Yes, Iras,
Iras--I like to utter the name.  Yet I do not love her, and she--loves
only herself, and--a thing few can say--another still more.  What is the
world, what am I to her, compared with the Queen, the idol of her heart?
Since Cleopatra's departure, Iras seems like the forsaken Ariadne, or a
young roe which has strayed from its mother.  But stop; she may have a
hand in the game: the Queen trusted her as if she were her sister, her
daughter.  No one knows what she and Charmian are to her.  They are
called waiting-women, but are their sovereign's dearest friends.  When,
on the departure of the fleet, Cleopatra was compelled to leave Iras
here--she was ill with a fever--she gave her the charge of her children,
even those whose beards were beginning to grow, the 'King of kings'
Caesarion, whose tutor punishes him for every act of disobedience; and
the unruly lad Antyllus, who has forced his way the last few evenings
into our friend's house."

"Antony, his own father, introduced him to her."

"Very true, and Antyllus took Caesarion there.  This vexed Iras, like
everything which may disturb the Queen.  Barine is troublesome on account
of Cleopatra, whom she wishes to spare every, annoyance, and perhaps she
dislikes her a little for my sake.  Now she wants to inflict on the old
man, Barine's grandfather, whom she loves, some injury which the spoiled,
imprudent woman will scarcely accept quietly, and which will rouse her to
commit some folly that can be used against her.  Iras will hardly seek
her life, but she may have in mind exile or something of that kind.  She
knows people as well as I know her, my neighbour and playmate, whom many
a time I was obliged to lift down from some tree into which the child had
climbed as nimbly as a kitten."

"I myself suggested this conjecture, yet I cannot credit her with such
unworthy intrigues," cried Gorgias.

"Credit her?" repeated Dion, shrugging his shoulders.  "I only transport
myself in imagination to the court and to the soul of the woman who helps
make rain and sunshine there.  You have columns rounded and beams hewed
that they may afterwards support the roof to which in due time you wish
to direct attention.  She and all who have a voice in the management of
court affairs look first at the roof and then seek anything to raise and
support it, though it should be corpses, ruined lives, and broken hearts.
The point is that the roof shall stand until the architect, the Queen,
sees and approves it.  As to the rest--But there is the carriage--It
doubtless brings--You were--"

He paused, laid his hand on his friend's arm, and whispered hastily:
"Iras is undoubtedly at the bottom of this, and it is not Antyllus, but
yonder dreaming lad, for whom she is moving.  When she spoke of the
statues just now, she asked in the same breath where I had seen him on
the evening of the day before yesterday, and that was the very time he
called on Barine.  The plot was made by her, and Iras is doing all the
work.  The mouse is not caught while the trap is closed, and she is just
raising her little hand to open it."

"If only she does not use some man's hand," replied the architect
wrathfully, and then turned towards the carriage and the elderly man who
had just left it, and was now approaching the two friends.



CHAPTER II.

When Caesarion's companion reached Dion and Gorgias, the former modestly
made a movement to retire.  But Archibius was acquainted with both, and
begged him to remain.  There was an air of precision and clearness in the
voice and quiet movements of this big, broad-shouldered man, with his
robust frame and well-developed limbs.  Though only a few years beyond
forty, not merely his grey hair but the calm, impressive dignity of his
whole manner indicated a more advanced age.

"The young King yonder," he began in a deep, musical voice, motioning
towards the equipage, "wished to speak to you here in person, Gorgias,
but by my advice he refrained from mingling with the crowd.  I have
brought him hither in a closed carriage.  If the plan suits you, enter it
and talk with him while I keep watch here.  Strange things seem to be
occurring, and yonder--or am I mistaken?  Has the monster dragged along
there any connection with the twin statues of the Queen and her friend?
Was it you who selected that place for them?"

"No," replied the architect.  "The order was issued over my head and
against my will."

"I thought so," replied the other.  "This is the very matter of which
Caesarion wishes to speak.  If you can prevent the erection of the
statues on Didymus's land, so much the better.  I will do everything in
my power to aid you, but in the Queen's absence that is little."

"Then what can be said of my influence?"  asked the architect.  "Who, in
these days, knows whether the sky will be blue or grey to-morrow?  I can
guarantee one thing only: I will do my best to prevent this injury of an
estimable citizen, interference with the laws of our city, and violation
of good taste."

"Say so to the young King, but express yourself cautiously," replied
Archibius as the architect turned towards the carriage.

As soon as Dion and the older man were alone, the latter inquired the
cause of the increasing uproar, and as, like every well-disposed
Alexandrian, he esteemed Archibius, and knew that he was intimately
acquainted with the owner of the imperilled garden, and therefore with
his granddaughter Barine, he confided his anxiety to him without reserve.

"Iras is your niece, it is true," he said in his open-hearted manner,
"but I know that you understand her character.  It suits her now to fling
a golden apple into the path of a person whom she dislikes and believes
incautious, that she may pick it up and thus afford her an opportunity to
bring a charge of theft."

Noting the inquiring glance Archibius fixed upon him as he made this
comparison, he changed his tone and continued more earnestly: "Zeus is
great, but destiny is superior even to him.  Zeus can accomplish much,
but when Iras and your sister Charmian, who unfortunately is now with the
Queen, wish to effect anything, he, like the Regent Mardion, must give
way.  The more lovable Cleopatra is, the more surely every one prizes a
position near her person above aught else, especially such trifles as law
and justice."

"These are harsh words," responded Archibius, and seem the more bitter in
proportion to the germ of truth which they contain.  Our court shares the
fate of every other in the East, and those to whom Rome formerly set the
example of holding law and justice sacred--"

"Can now go there," interrupted Dion, "to learn how rudely both are
trampled under foot.  The sovereigns here and there may smile at one
another like the augurs.  They are like brothers--"

"But with the difference," Archibius broke in, "that the head of our
public affairs is the very embodiment of affability and grace; while in
Rome, on the contrary, harsh severity and bloody arrogance, or even
repulsive servility, guide the reins."

Here Archibius interrupted himself to point to the shouting throng
advancing towards them.  "You are right," Dion answered.  "Let us defer
this discussion till we can pursue it in the house of the charming
Barine.  But I rarely meet you there, though by blood you are so nearly
allied to her father.  I am her friend--at my age that might easily mean
her lover.  But in our case the comparison would not suit.  Yet perhaps
you will believe me, for you have the right to call yourself the friend
of the most bewitching of women."

A sorrowful smile flitted over the grave, set features of the older man,
who, raising his hand as if in protest, answered carelessly: "I grew up
with Cleopatra, but a private citizen loves a queen only as a divinity.
I believe in your friendship for Barine, though I deem it dangerous."

"If you mean that it might injure the lovely woman," replied Dion,
raising his head more proudly as if to intimate that he required no
warning, even from him, "perhaps you are right.  Only I beg you not to
misunderstand me.  I am not vain enough to suppose that I could win her
heart, but unfortunately there are many who cannot forgive the power of
attraction which she exerts over me as well as upon all.  So many men
gladly visit Barine's house that there are an equal number of women who
would rejoice to close it.  Among them, of course, is Iras.  She dislikes
my friend; nay, I fear that what you witness yonder is the apple she
flung in order, if not to ruin, at least to drive her from the city, ere
the Queen--may the gods grant her victory!--ere Cleopatra returns.  You
know your niece Iras.  Like your sister Charmian, she will shrink from
nothing to remove an annoyance from her mistress's pathway, and it will
hardly please Cleopatra when she learns that the two youths whose welfare
lies nearest her heart--Antyllus and Caesarion--seek Barine's house, no
matter how stainless the latter's reputation may be."

"I have just heard of it," replied Archibius, "and I, too, am anxious.
Antony's son has inherited much of his father's insatiable love of
pleasure.  But Caesarion!  He has not yet ventured out of the dreamland
which surrounds him into actual life.  What others scarcely perceive
deals him a serious blow.  I fear Eros is sharpening arrows for him which
will pierce deep into his heart.  While talking with me he seemed
strangely changed.  His dreamy eyes glittered like a drunkard's when he
spoke of Barine.  I fear, I fear--"

"Impossible!" cried Dion, in surprise, nay, almost terror.  "If that is
the case, Iras is not wholly wrong, and we must deal with the matter
differently.  But it is of the first importance to conceal the fact that
Caesarion has any interest in the affairs of the old house-owner.  To
seek to maintain the old man's right to his own property is a matter of
course, and I will undertake to do this and try to get yonder orator home
Just see how the braggart is swinging his arms in Iras's service!  As for
Barine, it will be well to induce her to leave of her own free will a
city where it will be made unpleasant for her.  Try to persuade her to
pursue this course.  If I went to her with such a suggestion, I, who
yesterday--No, no!  Besides, she might hear that Iras and I--She would
imagine all sorts of absurdities.  You know what jealousy means.  To you,
whom she esteems, she would surely listen, and she need not go far from
the city.  If the heart of this enthusiastic boy--who might some day
desire to be 'King of kings' not only in name--should really be fired
with love for Barine, what serious misfortune might follow!  We must
secure her from him.  She could not go to my country house among the
papyrus plantations at Sebennys.  It would afford too much license for
evil tongues.  But you--your villa at Kanopus is too near--but, if I am
not mistaken, you have--"

"My estate in the lake region is remote enough, and will be at her
disposal," interrupted the other.  "The house is always kept ready for
my reception.  I will do my best to persuade her, for your advice is
prudent.  She must be withdrawn from the boy's eyes."

"I shall learn the result of your mission tomorrow," cried Dion eagerly--
"nay, this evening.  If she consents, I will tell Iras, as if by
accident, that Barine has gone to Upper Egypt to drink new milk, or
something of that kind.  Iras is a shrewd woman, and will be glad if she
can keep aloof from such trifles during the time which will decide the
fate of Cleopatra and of the world."

"My thoughts, too, are always with the army," said Archibius.  "How
trivial everything else seems compared with the result which will be
determined in the next few days!  But life is made up of trifles.  They
are food, drink, maintenance.  Should the Queen return triumphant, and
find Caesarion in wrong paths--"

"We must close them against him," exclaimed Dion.

"That the boy may not follow Barine?" asked Archibius, shaking his head.
"I think we need feel no anxiety on that score.  He will doubtless
eagerly desire to do so, but with him there is a wide gulf between the
wish and its fulfilment.  Antyllus is differently constituted.  He would
be quite capable of ordering a horse to be saddled, or the sails of a
boat to be spread in order to pursue her--beyond the Cataract if
necessary.  So we must maintain the utmost secrecy concerning the place
to which Barine voluntarily exiles herself."

"But she is not yet on her way," replied Dion with a faint sigh.  "She is
bound to this city by many ties."

"I know it," answered Archibius, confirming his companion's fear.  The
latter, pointing to the equipage, said in a rapid, earnest tone: "Gorgias
is beckoning.  But, before we part, let me beseech you to do everything
to persuade Barine to leave here.  She is in serious danger.  Conceal
nothing from her, and say that her friends will not leave her too long in
solitude."

Archibius, with a significant glance, shook his finger at the young man
in playful menace, and then went up to the carriage.

Caesarion's clear-cut but pallid face, whose every feature resembled that
of his father, the great Caesar, bent towards them from the opening above
the door, as he greeted both with a formal bend of the head and a
patronizing glance.  His eyes had sparkled with boyish glee when he first
caught sight of the friend from whom he had been separated several weeks,
but to the stranger he wished to assume the bearing which beseemed a
king.  He desired to make him feel his superior position, for he was ill-
disposed towards him.  He had seen him favoured by the woman whom he
imagined he loved, and whose possession he had been promised by the
secret science of the Egyptians, whose power to unveil the mysteries of
the future he firmly believed.  Antyllus, Antony's son, had taken him to
Barine, and she had received him with the consideration due his rank.
Spite of her bright graciousness, boyish timidity had hitherto prevented
any word of love to the young beauty whom he saw surrounded by so many
distinguished men of mature years.  Yet his beaming, expressive eyes must
have revealed his feelings to her.  Doubtless his glances had not been
unobserved, for only a few hours before an Egyptian woman had stopped him
at the temple of his father, Caesar, to which, according to the fixed
rules governing the routine of his life, he went daily at a certain hour
to pray, to offer sacrifices, to anoint the stone of the altar, or to
crown the statue of the departed emperor.

Caesarion had instantly recognized her as the female slave whom he had
seen in Barine's atrium, and ordered his train to fall back.

Fortunately his tutor, Rhodon, had not fulfilled his duty of accompanying
him.  So the youth had ventured to follow the slave woman, and in the
shadow of the mimosas, in the little grove beside the temple, he found
Barine's litter.  His heart throbbed violently as, full of anxious
expectation, he obeyed her signal to draw nearer.  Still, she had granted
him nothing save the favour of gratifying one of her wishes.  But his
heart had swelled almost to bursting when, resting her beautiful white
arm on the door of her litter, she had told him that unjust men were
striving to rob her grandfather Didymus of his garden, and she expected
him, who bore the title of the "King of kings" to do his best to prevent
such a crime.

It had been difficult for him to grasp her meaning while she was
speaking.  There was a roaring sound in his ears as if, instead of being
in the silent temple grove, he was standing on a stormy day upon the
surf-beaten promontory of Lochias.  He had not ventured to raise his eyes
and look into her face.  Not until she closed with the question whether
she might hope for his assistance did her gaze constrain him to glance
up.  Ah, what had he not fancied he read in her imploring blue eyes!
how unspeakably beautiful she had appeared!

He had stood before her as if bereft of his senses.  His sole knowledge
was that he had promised, with his hand on his heart, to do everything in
his power to prevent what threatened to cause her pain.  Then her little
hand, with its sparkling rings, was again stretched towards him, and he
had resolved to kiss it; but while he glanced around at his train, she
had already waved him a farewell, and the litter was borne away.

He stood motionless, like the figure of a man on one of his mother's
ancient vases, staring in bewilderment after the flying figure of
Happiness, whom he might easily have caught by her floating locks.  How
he raged over the miserable indecision which had defrauded him of so much
joy!  Yet nothing was really lost.  If he succeeded in fulfilling her
wishes, she could not fail to be grateful; and then--

He pondered over the person to whom he should apply--Mardion, the Regent,
or the Keeper of the Seal?  No, they had planned the erection of the
group of sculpture in the philosopher's garden.  To Iras, his mother's
confidante?  Nay, last of all to her.  The cunning woman would have
perceived his purpose and betrayed it to the Regent.  Ah, if Charmian,
his mother's other attendant, had been present!  but she was with the
fleet, which perhaps was even now engaged in battle with the enemy.

At this recollection his eyes again sought the ground--he had not been
permitted to take the place in the army to which his birth entitled him,
while his mother and Charmian--But he did not pursue this painful current
of thought; for a serious reproach had forced itself upon him and sent
the blood to his cheeks.  He wished to be considered a man, and yet, in
these fateful days, which would determine the destiny of his mother, his
native city, Egypt, and that Rome which he, the only son of Caesar, was
taught to consider his heritage, he was visiting a beautiful woman,
thinking of her, and of her alone.  His days and half the nights were
passed in forming plans for securing her love, forgetful of what should
have occupied his whole heart.

Only yesterday Iras had sharply admonished him that, in times like these,
it was the duty of every friend of Cleopatra, and every foe of her foes,
to be with the army at least in mind.

He had remembered this, but, instead of heeding the warning, the thought
of her had merely recalled her uncle, Archibius, who possessed great
influence, not merely on account of his wealth but because every one also
knew his high standing in the regard of the Queen.  Besides, the clever,
kindly man had always been friendly to him from childhood, and like a
revelation came the idea of applying to him, and to the architect
Gorgias, who had a voice in the matter, and by whom he had been strongly
attracted during the period while he was rebuilding the wing assigned to
the prince in the palace at Lochias.

So one of the attendants was instantly despatched with the little tablet
which invited Gorgias to the interview at the Temple of Isis.

Then, in the afternoon, Caesarion went secretly in a boat to the little
palace of Archibius, situated on the seashore at Kanopus, and now as the
latter, with his friend, stood beside the carriage door, he explained to
them that he was going with the architect to old Didymus to assure him of
his assistance.

This was unadvisable in every respect, but it required all the weight of
the older man's reasons to induce the prince to yield.  The consequences
which might ensue, should the populace discover that he was taking sides
against the Regent, would be incalculable.  But submission and withdrawal
were especially difficult to the young "King of kings."  He longed to
pose as a man in Dion's presence, and as this could not be, he strove
to maintain the semblance of independence by yielding his resolve
only on the plea of not desiring to injure the aged scholar and his
granddaughter.  Finally, he again entreated the architect to secure
Didymus in the possession of his property.  When at last he drove away
with Archibius, twilight was already gathering, torches were lighted in
front of the temple and the little mausoleum adjoining the cella, and
pitch-pans were blazing in the square.



CHAPTER III.

"The lad is in an evil plight," said Gorgias, shaking his head
thoughtfully as the equipage rolled over the stone pavement of the
Street of the King.

"And over yonder, added Dion," "the prospect is equally unpleasing.
Philostratus is setting the people crazy.  But the hired mischief-maker
will soon wish he had been less ready to seize Iras's gold coins."

"And to think," cried the architect, "that Barine was this scoundrel's
wife!  How could it--"

"She was but a child when they married her," interrupted Dion.  "Who
consults a girl of fifteen in the choice of a husband?  And Philostratus
--he was my classmate at Rhodus--at that time had the fairest prospects.
His brother Alexas, Antony's favourite, could easily advance him.
Barine's father was dead, her mother was accustomed to follow Didymus's
counsel, and the clever fellow had managed to strew dust in the old man's
eyes.  Long and lank as he is, he is not bad-looking even now.

"When he appeared as an orator he pleased his hearers.  This turned his
head, and a spendthrift's blood runs in his veins.  To bring his fair
young bride to a stately mansion, he undertook the bad cause of the
thievish tax-collector Pyrrhus, and cleared him."

"He bought a dozen false witnesses."

"There were sixteen.  Afterwards they became as numerous as the open
mouths you see shouting yonder.  It is time to silence them.  Go to the
old man's house and soothe him--Barine also, if she is there.  If you
find messengers from the Regent, raise objections to the unprecedented
decree.  You know the portions of the law which can be turned to
Didymus's advantage."

"Since the reign of Euergetes II, registered landed property has been
unassailable, and his was recorded."

"So much the better.  Tell the officials also, confidentially, that you
know of objections just discovered which may perhaps change the Regent's
views."

"And, above all, I shall insist upon my right to choose the place for the
twin statues.  The Queen herself directed the others to heed my opinion."

"That will cast the heaviest weight into the scale.  We shall meet later.
You will prefer to keep away from Barine to-night.  If you see her, tell
her that Archibius said he would visit her later--for an object I will
explain afterwards.  I shall probably go to Iras to bring her to reason.
It will be better not to mention Caesarion's wish."

"Certainly--and you will give nothing to yonder brawler."

"On the contrary.  I feel very generous.  If Peitho will aid me, the
insatiate fellow will get more than may be agreeable to him."

Then grasping the architect's hand, Dion forced his way through the
throng surrounding the high platform on wheels, upon which the closely
covered piece of sculpture had been rolled up.  The gate of the scholar's
house stood open, for an officer in the Regent's service had really
entered a short time before, but the Scythian guards sent by the exegetus
Demetrius, one of Barine's friends, were keeping back the throng of
curious spectators.

Their commander knew Gorgias, and he was soon standing in the impluvium
of the scholar's house, an oblong, rootless space, with a fountain in the
centre, whose spray moistened the circular bed of flowers around it.  The
old slave had just lighted some three-branched lamps which burned on tall
stands.  The officers sent by the Regent to inform Didymus that his
garden would be converted into a public square had just arrived.

When Gorgias entered, these magistrates, their clerks, and the witnesses
accompanying them--a group of twenty men, at whose head was Apollonius,
a distinguished officer of the royal treasury--were in the house.  The
slave who admitted the architect informed him of it.

In the atrium a young girl, doubtless a member of the household, stopped
him.  He was not mistaken in supposing that she was Helena, Didymus's
younger granddaughter, of whom Barine had spoken.  True, she resembled
her sister neither in face nor figure, for while the young matron's hair
was fair and waving, the young girl's thick black tresses were wound
around her head in a smooth braid.  Very unlike Barine's voice, too, were
the deep, earnest tones trembling with emotion, in which she confronted
him with the brief question, concealing a faint reproach, "Another
demand?"

After first ascertaining that he was really speaking to Helena, his
friend's sister, he hastily told her his name, adding that, on the
contrary, he had come to protect her grandfather from a serious
misfortune.

When his glance first rested upon her in the dimly lighted room, the
impression she made upon him was by no means favourable.  The pure brow,
which seemed to him too high for a woman's face, wore an indignant frown;
and though her mouth was beautiful in form, its outlines were often
marred by a passionate tremor that lent the exquisitely chiselled
features a harsh, nay, bitter expression.  But she had scarcely heard the
motive of his presence ere, pressing her hand upon her bosom with a sigh
of relief, she eagerly exclaimed:

"Oh, do what you can to avert this terrible deed!  No one knows how the
old man loves this house.  And my grandmother!  They will die if it is
taken from them."

Her large eyes rested upon him with a warm, imploring light; and the
stern, almost repellent voice thrilled with love for her relatives.  He
must lend his aid here, and how gladly he would do so!  He assured her of
this; and Helena, who had heard him mentioned as a man of ability, saw in
him a helper in need, and begged him, with touching fervour, to show her
grandfather, when he came before the officers, that all was not lost.

The astonished architect asked if Didymus did not know what was
impending, and Helena hastily replied:

"He is working in the summer-house by the sea.  Apollonius is a kind-
hearted man, and will wait until I have prepared my grandfather.  I must
go to him.  He has already sent Philotas--his pupil, who finds and
unrolls his books--a dozen times to inquire the cause of the tumult
outside; but I replied that the crowds were flocking to the harbour on
account of the Queen.  There is often a mob shouting madly; but nothing
disturbs my grandfather when he is absorbed in his work; and his pupil
--a young student from Amphissa--loves him and does what I bid him.  My
grandmother, too, knows nothing yet.  She is deaf, and the female slaves
dare not tell her.  After her recent attack of giddiness, the doctor said
that any sudden shock might injure her.  If only I can find the right
words, that my grandfather may not be too sorely hurt!"

"Shall  I  accompany you?" asked Gorgias kindly.

"No," she answered hurriedly.  "He needs time ere he will trust
strangers.  Only, if Apollonius discloses the terrible truth, and his
grief threatens to overpower him, comfort him, and show him that we still
have friends who are ready to protect us from such disaster."

She waved her hand in token of gratitude, and hurried through the little
side gate into the garden.  Gorgias looked after her with sparkling eyes,
and drew a long breath.  How good this girl must be, how wisely she cared
for her relatives!  How energetically the young creature behaved!  He had
seen his new acquaintance only in the dim light, but she must be
beautiful.  Her eyes, lips, and hair certainly were.  How his heart
throbbed as he asked himself the question whether this young girl,
who was endowed with every gift which constituted the true worth of
womanhood, was not preferable to her more attractive sister Barine!--
when the thought darted through his mind that he had cause to be grateful
to the beard which covered his chin and cheeks, for he felt that he, a
sedate, mature man, must have blushed.  And he knew why.  Only half an
hour before he had felt and admitted to Dion that he considered Barine
the most desirable of women, and now another's image cast a deep shadow
over hers and filled his heart with new, perhaps stronger emotions.

He had had similar experiences only too often, and his friends, Dion at
their head, had perceived his weakness and spoiled many an hour for him
by their biting jests.  The series of tall and short, fair and dark
beauties who had fired his fancy was indeed of considerable length, and
every one on whom he had bestowed his quickly kindled affections had
seemed to him the one woman he must make his own, if he would be a happy
man.  But ere he had reached the point of offering his hand, the question
had arisen in his mind whether he might not love another still more
ardently.  So he had begun to persuade himself that his heart yearned for
no individual, but the whole sex--at least the portion which was young
and could feel love--and therefore he would scarcely be wise to bind
himself to any one.  True, he knew that he was capable of fidelity, for
he clung to his friends with changeless loyalty, and was ready to make
any sacrifice in their behalf.  With women, however, he dealt
differently.  Was Helena's image, which now floated before him so
bewitchingly, destined to fade as swiftly?  The contrary would have been
remarkable.  Yet he firmly believed that this time Eros meant honestly by
him.  The laughing loves who twined their rose garlands around him and
Helena's predecessors had nothing to do with this grave maiden.

These reflections darted through his brain with the speed of lightning,
and still stirred his heart when he was ushered into the impluvium, where
the magistrates were impatiently awaiting the owner of the house.  With
the lucidity peculiar to him, he explained his reasons for hoping that
their errand would be vain, and Apollonius replied that no one would
rejoice more than he himself if the Regent should authorize him, on the
morrow, to countermand his mission.  He would gladly wait there longer to
afford the old man's granddaughter an opportunity to soften the tidings
of the impending misfortune.

The kind-hearted man's patience, however, was not tested too long; for
when Helena entered the summer-house Didymus had already been informed
of the disaster which threatened him and his family.  The philosopher
Euphranor, an elderly member of the Museum, had reached him through the
garden gate, and, spite of Philotas's warning sign, told him what was
occurring.  But Didymus knew the old philosopher, who, a recluse from the
world like himself, was devoting the remainder of his life and strength
to the pursuit of science.  So he only shook his head incredulously,
pushed back the thin locks of grey hair which hung down on his cheeks
over the barest part of his skull, and exclaimed reproachfully, though as
if the matter under discussion was of the most trivial importance: "What
have you been hearing?  We'll see about it!"

He had risen as he spoke, and too abruptly surprised by the news to
remember the sandals on the mat and the upper robe which lay on a chest
of drawers at the end of the room, he was in the act of quitting it, when
his friend, who had silently watched his movements, stopped him, and
Helena entered.

The grey-haired sage turned to her, and, vexed by his friend's doubts,
begged her to convince her grandfather that even matters which do not
please us may nevertheless be of some importance.  She did so as
considerately as possible, thinking meanwhile of the architect and his
hopes.

Didymus, with his eyes bent on the ground, shook his grey head again and
again.  Then, suddenly raising it, he rushed to the door, and without
heeding the upper garment which Helena still held in her hand, tore it
open, shouting, "But things must and shall be changed!"

Euphranor and his granddaughter followed.  Though his head was bowed, he
crossed the little garden with a swift, firm tread, and, without noticing
the questions and warnings of his companions, walked at once to the
impluvium.  The bright light dazzled his weakened eyes, and his habit of
gazing into vacancy or on the ground compelled him to glance from side to
side for some time, ere he could accustom himself to it.  Apollonius
approached, greeted him respectfully, and assured him that he deeply
regretted having interrupted him in the work for which the whole world
was waiting, but he had come on important business.

"I know, I know," the old scholar answered with a smile of superiority.
"What is all this ado about?"

As he spoke he looked around the group of spectators, among whom he knew
no one except Apollonius, who had charge of the museum accounts, and the
architect, for whom he had composed the inscription on the Odeum, which
he had recently built.  But when his eyes met only unfamiliar faces, the
confidence which hitherto had sustained him began to waver, though still
convinced that a demand such as the philosopher suggested could not
possibly be made upon him, he continued: "It is stated that there is a
plan for turning my garden into a public square.  And for what purpose?
To erect a piece of sculpture.  But there can be nothing serious in the
rumour, for my property is recorded in the land register, and the law--"

"Pardon me," Apollonius broke in, "if I interrupt you.  We know the
ordinance to which you refer, but this case is an exceptional one.
The Regent desires to take nothing from you.  On the contrary, he offers,
in the name of the Queen, any compensation you yourself may fix for the
piece of land which is to be honoured by the statues of the highest
personages in the country--Cleopatra and Antony, hand in hand.  The piece
of sculpture has already been brought here.  A work by the admirable
artist Lysander, who passed too early to the nether world, certainly will
not disfigure your house.  The little summer-house by the sea must be
removed to-morrow, it is true; you know that our gracious Queen may
return any day-victorious if the immortals are just.  This piece of
sculpture, which is created in her honour, to afford her pleasure, must
greet her on her arrival, so the Regent send me to-day to communicate his
wish, which, as he represents the Queen--"

"Yet," interrupted the architect, who had again warmly assured the old
man's granddaughter of his aid" yet your friends will endeavour to
persuade the Regent to find another place for the statues."

"They are at liberty to do so," said the officer.  "What will happen
later the future will show.  My office merely requires me to induce the
worthy owner of this house and garden to submit to-day to the Queen's
command, which the Regent and my own heart bid me clothe in the form of a
request."

During this conversation the old man had at first listened silently to
the magistrate's words, gazing intently into his face.  So it was true.
The demand to yield up his garden, and even the little house, for fifty
years the scene of his study and creative work, for the sake of a statue,
would be made.  Since this had become a certainty, he had stood with his
eyes fixed upon the ground.  Grief had paralyzed his tongue, and Helena,
who felt this, for the aged head seemed as if it were bending under a
heavy burden, had drawn close to his side.

The shouts and howls of the throng outside echoed through the open roof
of the impluvium, but the old man did not seem to hear them, and did not
even notice his granddaughter.  Yet, no sooner did he feel her touch than
he hurriedly shrank away, flung back his drooping head, and gazed around
the circle of intruders.

The dull, questioning eyes of the old commentator and writer of many
books now blazed with the hot fire of youthful passion and, like a
wrestler who seeks the right grip, he measured Apollonius and his
companions with wrathful glances.  The fragile recluse seemed transformed
into a warrior ready for battle.  His lips and the nostrils of his
delicate nose quivered, and when Apollonius began to say that it would be
wise to remove the contents of the summer-house that day, as it would be
torn down early the next morning, Didymus raised his arms, exclaiming:

"That will not be done.  Not a single roll shall be removed!  They will
find me at work as usual early to-morrow morning, and if it is still your
wish to rob me of my property you must use violence to attain your
purpose."

Calm yourself," replied Apollonius.  "Every one beneath the moon must
submit to a higher power; the gods bow to destiny, we mortals to the
sovereign.  You are a sage; I, merely mindful of the behests of duty,
administer my office.  But I know life, and if I may offer my counsel,
you will accept what cannot be averted, and I will wager ten to one that
you will have the best of it; that the Queen will place in your hands
means--"

"Sufficient to build a palace on the site of the little house of which I
was robbed," Didymus interrupted bitterly.  Then rage burst forth afresh
"What do I care for your money?  I want my rights, my good, guaranteed
rights.  I insist upon them, and whoever assails the ground which my
grandfather and father bequeathed to me--"

He hesitated, for the throng outside had burst into a loud shout of joy;
and when it died away, and the old man began once more defiantly to claim
his rights, he was interrupted by a woman's clear tones, addressing him
with the Greek greeting, "Rejoice!"--a voice so gay and musical that it
seemed to dispel the depression which rested like a grey fog on the whole
company.

While Didymus was listening to the excited populace, and the new-comer
was gazing at the old man whose rigid obstinacy could scarcely be
conquered by kindness, the younger men were looking at the beautiful
woman who joined them.  Her haste had flushed her cheeks, and from
beneath the turquoise-blue kerchief that covered her fair locks a
bewitching face smiled at her sister, the architect, and her grandfather.

Apollonius and many of his companions felt as if happiness in person had
entered this imperilled house, and many an eye brightened when the
infuriated old man exclaimed in an altered tone, "You here, Barine?" and
she, without heeding the presence of the others, kissed his cheek with
tender affection.

Helena, Gorgias, and the old philosopher Euphranor, had approached her,
and when the latter asked with  loving reproach, "Why, Barine, how did
you get  through the howling mob?" she answered gaily: "That a learned
member of the Museum may receive me with the query whether I am here,
though from childhood a kind or--what do you think, grandfather?--a
malign fate has preserved me from being overlooked, and some one else
reprovingly asks how I passed through the shouting mob, as if it were a
crime to wade into the water to hold out a helping hand to those we love
best when it is up to their chins!  But, oh! dear, this howling is too
hideous!"

While speaking, she pressed her little hands on the part of the kerchief
which concealed her ears, and said no more until the noise subsided,
although she declared that she was in a hurry, and had only come to learn
how matters were.  Meanwhile it seemed as if she was so full of quick,
pulsing life, that it was impossible to leave even a moment unused,
if it were merely to bestow or answer a friendly glance.

The architect and her sister were obliged to return hurried answers to
hasty questions; and as soon as she ascertained what had brought the
strangers there she thanked Apollonius, and said that old friends would
do their best to spare her grandfather such a sorrow.

In reply to repeated inquiries from the two old men in regard to her
arrival there, she answered: "Nobody will believe it, because in this
hurry I could not keep my mouth shut; but I acted like a mute fish and
reached the water."  Then, drawing her grandfather aside, she whispered
to him that, when she left her boat at the harbour, Archibius had seen
her from his carriage, and instantly stopped it to inform her of his
intended visit that evening.  He was coming to discuss an important
matter.  Therefore she must receive the worthy man, whom she sincerely
liked, so she could not stay.  Then turning to the others still with her
kerchief on her head ready for departure--she asked what the people
meant by their outcries.  The architect replied that Philostratus had
endeavoured to make the crowd believe that the only appropriate site for
the statues of which she had heard was her grandfather's garden, and he
thought he knew in whose behalf the fellow was acting.

"Certainly not in the Regent's," said Apollonius, in a tone of sincere
conviction; but Barine, over whose sunny brow a shadow had flitted when
Gorgias uttered the orator's name, assented with a slight bend of the
head, and then whispered hurriedly, yet earnestly, that she would answer
for the old man's allowing himself to be persuaded, if he had only time
to collect his thoughts.

The next morning, when the market was crowded, the officer might commence
his negotiations afresh, if the Regent insisted on his plan.  Meanwhile
she would do her best to persuade her grandfather to yield, though he was
not exactly one of the class who are easily guided.  Apollonius might
remind the Regent that it would be advisable at this time to avoid a
public scandal, to remember Didymus's age, and the validity of his claim.

While Apollonius was talking with his companions, Barine beckoned to the
architect, and hastily took leave of the others, protesting that she was
in no danger, since she would slip away again like a fish, only this time
she would use her tongue, and hoped by its means to win to the support of
Didymus's just cause a man who would already have ended all the trouble
had the Queen only been in Alexandria.

Until now the eyes and ears of the whole company had been fixed upon
Barine.  No one had desired anything better than to gaze at and listen to
her.

Not until she had quitted the room with Gorgias did the officials
discuss the matter together, and soon after Apollonius went away with
his companions, to hold another conference with the Regent about this
unpleasant business.  This time the architect had followed the young
beauty with very mingled feelings.  Only an hour before he would have
rejoiced to be permitted to accompany and protect Barine; now he would
have  gladly remained with her sister, who had returned his farewell
greeting so gratefully and yet with such maidenly modesty.  But even the
most vacillating man cannot change one fancy for another as he would
replace a black piece on the draughtboard with a white one, and he still
found it delightful to be so near Barine.  Only the thought that Helena
might believe that he stood on very intimate terms with her sister had
darted with a disquieting influence through his brain when the latter
invited him to accompany her.

In the garden Barine begged him, before they went to the landing-place
where the boat was moored, to help her ascend the narrow flight of steps
leading to the flat roof of the gatekeeper's little house.

Here they could watch unseen the tumult in the square below, for it was
surrounded by dense laurel bushes.  Bright flames were blazing in the
pitch-pans before the two temples at the side of the Corner of the Muses,
and their light was increased by the torches held in the hands of
Scythians.  Yet no individuals could be distinguished in the throng.  The
marble walls of the temples shimmered, the statues at Didymus's gate, and
the hermae along the street of the King which passed the threatened house
and connected the north of the Corner of the Muses with the sea-shore,
loomed from the darkness in the brilliancy of the reflected light, but
the smoke of the torches darkened the sky and dimmed the starlight.

The only persons distinctly visible were Dion, who had stationed himself
on the lofty framework of the platform on which the muffled statues had
been drawn hither, and the attorney Philostratus, who stood on the
pedestal of one of the dolphins which surrounded the fountain between the
Temple of Isis and the street.  The space, a dozen paces wide, which
divided them, permitted the antagonists to understand each other, and the
attention of the whole throng was fixed upon the wranglers.

These verbal battles were one of the greatest pleasures of the
Alexandrians, and they greeted every clever turn of speech with shouts
of applause, every word which displeased them with groans, hisses, and
cat-calls.

Barine could see and hear what was passing below.  She had pushed aside
the foliage of the laurel bushes which concealed her, and, with her hand
raised to her ear, stood listening to the two disputants.  When the
scoundrel whom she had called husband, and for whom her contempt had
become too deep for hate, sneeringly assailed her family as having been
fed from generation to generation from the corn-bin of the Museum, she
bit her lips.  But they soon curled, as if what she heard aroused her
disgust, for the speaker now turned to Dion and accused him of preventing
the kindly disposed Regent from increasing the renown of the great Queen
and affording her noble heart a pleasure.

"My tongue," he cried, "is the tool which supports me.  Why am I using it
here till it is weary and almost paralyzed?  In honour of Cleopatra, our
illustrious Queen, and her generous friend, to whom we all owe a debt of
gratitude.  Let all who love her and the divine Antony, the new Herakles
and Dionysus--both will soon make their entry among us crowned with the
laurels of victory--join the Regent and every well-disposed person in
seizing yonder bit of land so meanly withheld by base avarice and a
sentiment--a sentiment, do you hear?--which I do not name more plainly,
simply because wickedness is repulsive to me, and I do not stand here as
an accuser.  Whoever upholds the word-monger who spouts forth books as
the dolphin at my side does water, may do so.  I shall not envy him.  But
first look at Didymus's ally and panegyrist.  There he stands opposite to
me.  It would have been better for him had the dolphin at his feet taught
him silence.  Then he might have remained in the obscurity which befits
him.

"But whether willing or not, I must drag him forth, and I will show you
Dion, fellow-citizens, though I would far rather have you see things
which arouse less ire.  The dim light prevents your distinguishing the
colour of his robe, but I know it, for I saw it in the glare of day.  It
is hyacinthine purple.  You know what that costs.  It would support the
wives and children of many among you for ten long years.  'How heavy must
be the purse which can expose such a treasure to sun and rain!' is the
thought of every one who sees him strutting about as proudly as a
peacock.  And his purse is loaded with many talents.  Only it is a pity
that, day after day, most of you must give your children a little less
bread and deprive yourselves of many a draught of wine to deck him out so
bravely.  His father, Eumenes, was a tax-collector, and what the leech
extorted from you and your children, the son now uses to drive, clad in
hyacinthine purple, a four-horse chariot, which splashes the mire from
the street into your faces as it rolls onward.  By the dog! the gentleman
does  not weigh  so  very much, yet he needs four horses to drag him.
And, fellow-citizens, do you know why?  I'll tell you.  He's afraid of
sticking fast everywhere, even in his speech."

Here Philostratus lowered his voice, for the phrase "sticking fast" had
drawn a laugh from some of his hearers; but Dion, whose father had really
amassed, in the high position of a receiver of taxes, the handsome
fortune which his son possessed, did not delay his reply.

"Yes, yes," he retorted scornfully, "yonder Syrian babbler hit the mark
this time.  He stands before me, and who does not easily stick fast when
marsh and mire are so near?  As for the hyacinthine purple cloak, I wear
it because I like it.  His crocus-yellow one is less to my taste, though
he certainly looks fine enough in it in the sunlight.  It shines like a
buttercup in the grass.  You know the plant.  When it fades--and I ask
whether you think Philostratus looks like a bud--when it fades, it leaves
a hollow spiral ball which a child's breath could blow away.  Suppose in
future we should call the round buttercup seed-vessels 'Philostratus
heads'?  You like the suggestion?  I am glad, fellow-citizens, and I
thank you.  It proves your good taste.  Then we will stick to the
comparison.  Every head contains a tongue, and Philostratus says that his
is the tool which supports him."

"Hear the money-bag, the despiser of the people!"  interrupted
Philostratus furiously.  "The honest toil by which a citizen earns a
livelihood is a disgrace in his eyes."

"Honest toil, my good friend," replied Dion, "is scarcely in question
here.  I spoke only of your tongue.--You understand me, fellow-citizens.
Or, if any of you are not yet acquainted with this worthy man, I will
show him to you, for I know him well.  He is my foe, yet I can sincerely
recommend him to many of you.  If any one has a very bad, shamefully
corrupt cause to bring before the courts, I most earnestly counsel him
to apply to the buttercup man perched on yonder fountain.  He will thank
me for it.  Believe me, Didymus's cause is just, precisely because this
advocate so eagerly assails it.  I told you just now the matter under
discussion.  Which of you who owns a garden can say in future, 'It is
mine,' if, during the absence of the Queen, it is allowable to take it
away to be used for any other purpose?  But this is what threatens
Didymus.  If this is to be the custom here, let every one beware of
sowing a radish or planting a bush or a tree, for should the wife of
some great noble desire to dry her linen there, he may be deprived
of it ere the former can ripen or the latter give shade."

Loud applause followed this sentence, but Philostratus shouted in a voice
that echoed far and wide: "Hear me, fellow-citizens; do not allow your
selves to be deceived!  No one is to be robbed here.  The project is to
purchase, at a high price, the spot which the city needs for her
adornment, and to honour and please the Queen.  Are the Regent and the
citizens to lose this opportunity of expressing the gratitude of years,
and the rejoicing over the greatest of victories, of which we shall soon
hear, because an evil-disposed person--the word must be uttered--a foe
to his country, opposes it?"

"Now the mire is coming too near me," Dion angrily responded, "and I
might really stick fast, as I was warned; for I do not envy the ready
presence of mind of any person whose tongue would not falter when the
basest slander scattered its venom over him.  You all know, fellow-
citizens, through how many generations the Didymus family has lived to
the honour of this city, doing praiseworthy work in yonder house.  You
know that the good old man who dwells there was one of the teachers of
the royal children."

"And yet," cried Philostratus, "only the day before yesterday he walked
arm in arm in the Paneum garden with Arius, the tutor of Octavianus, our
own and our Queen's most hated foe.  In my presence, and before I know
not how many others, Didymus distinguished this Arius as his most beloved
pupil."

"To give you that title," retorted Dion, "would certainly fill any
teacher with shame and anger, no matter how far you had surpassed him in
wisdom and knowledge.  Nay, had you been committed to the care of the
herring dealers, instead of the rhetoricians, every honest man among them
would disown you, for they sell only good wares for good money, while you
give the poorest in exchange for glittering gold.  This time you trample
under foot the fair name of an honourable man.  But I will not suffer it;
and you hear, fellow-citizens, I now challenge this Syrian to prove that
Didymus ever betrayed his native land, or I will brand him in your
presence a base slanderer, an infamous, venal destroyer of character!"

"An insult from such lips is easily borne," replied Philostratus in a
tone of scornful superiority; but there was a pause ere he again turned
to the listening throng, and with all the warmth he could throw into his
voice continued: "What do I desire, then, fellow-citizens?  What is the
sole object of my words?  I stand here with clean hands, impelled solely
by the impulse of my heart, to plead for the Queen.  In order to secure
the only suitable site for the statues to be erected to Cleopatra's
honour and fame, I enter into judgment with her foes, expose myself to
the insult with which boastful insolence is permitted to vent its wrath
upon me.  But I am not dismayed, though, in pursuing this course, I am
acting against the law of Nature; for the infamous man against whom I
raise my voice was my teacher, too, and ere he turned from the path of
right and virtue--under influences which I will not mention here--he
numbered me also, in the presence of many witnesses, among his best
pupils.  I was certainly one of the most grateful--I chose his
granddaughter--the truth must be spoken--for my wife.  The possession--"

"Possession!" interrupted Dion in a loud, excited tone.  "The corpse cast
ashore by the waves might as well boast possession of the sea!"

The dim torchlight was sufficient to reveal Philostratus's pallor to the
bystanders.  For a moment the orator seemed to lose his self-control, but
he quickly recovered himself, and shouted: "Fellow-citizens, dear
friends!  I was about to make you witnesses of the misery which a woman,
whose wickedness is even greater than her beauty, brought upon an
inexperienced--"

But he went no further; for his hearers--many of whom knew the brilliant,
generous Dion, and Barine, the fair singer at the last Adonis festival--
gave the orator tokens of their indignation, which were all the more
pitiless because of the pleasure they felt in seeing an expert vanquished
by an untrained foe.  The wordy war would not have ended so quickly,
however, had not restlessness and alarm taken possession of the crowd.
The shout, "Back! disperse!" ran through the multitude, and directly
after the trampling of hoofs and the commands of the leader of a troop of
Libyan cavalry were heard.  The matter at stake was not sufficiently
important to induce the populace to offer an armed force resistance which
might have entailed serious danger.  Besides, the blustering war of
tongues had reached a merry close, and loud laughter blended with the
shouts of fear and warning; for the surging throng had swept with
unexpected speed towards the fountain and plunged Philostratus into the
basin.  Whether this was due to the wrath of some enemy, or to mere
accident, could not be learned; the vain efforts of the luckless man to
crawl out of the water up the smooth marble were so comical, and his
gestures, after helping hands had dragged him dripping upon the pavement
of the square, were so irresistibly funny, that more laughing than angry
voices were heard, especially when some one cried, "His hands were soiled
by blackening Didymus, so the washing will do him good."  "Some wise
physicians flung him into the water," retorted an other;  "he needed the
cold application after the blows Dion dealt him."

The Regent, who had sent the troop of horsemen to drive the crowd away
from Didymus's house, might well be pleased that the violent measure
encountered so little resistance.

The throng quickly scattered, and was speedily attracted by something new
at the Theatre of Dionysus--the zither-player Anaxenor had just announced
from its steps that Cleopatra and Antony had won the most brilliant
victory, and had sung to the accompaniment of his lute a hymn which had
deeply stirred all hearts.  He had composed it long before, and seized
the first opportunity--the report had reached his ears while breakfasting
in Kanopus--to try its effect.

As soon as the square began to empty, Barine left her post of
observation.  It was long since her heart had throbbed so violently.
Not one of the many suitors for her favour had been so dear to her as
Dion; but she now felt that she loved him.

What he had just done for her and her grandfather was worthy of the
deepest gratitude; it proved that he did not come to her house, like most
of her guests, merely to while away the evening hours.

It had been no small matter for the young aristocrat, in the presence of
the whole multitude, to enter into a debate with the infamous
Philostratus, and how well he had succeeded in silencing the dreaded
orator!  Besides, Dion had even taken her part against his own powerful
uncle, and perhaps by his deed drawn upon himself the hostility of his
enemy's brother, Alexas, Antony's powerful favourite.  Barine might
assure herself that he, who was the peer of any Macedonian noble in the
city, would have done this for no one else.

She felt as if the act had ransomed her.

When, after an unhappy marriage and many desolate days, she had regained
her former bright cheerfulness and saw her house become the centre of the
intellectual life of the city, she had striven until now to extend the
same welcome to all her guests.  She had perceived that she ought not to
give any one the power over her which is possessed by the man who knows
that he is beloved, and even to Dion she had granted little more than to
the others.  But now she saw plainly that she would resign the pleasure
of being a universally admired woman, whose modest home attracted the
most distinguished men in the city, for the far greater happiness which
would be hers as Dion's beloved wife.

With him, cherished by his love, she believed that she could find far
greater joy in solitude than in the gay course of her present life.

She knew now what she must do if Dion sought her, and the architect,
for the first time, found her a silent companion.  He had willingly
accompanied her back to her grandfather's house, where he had again met
her sister Helena, while she had quitted it disappointed, because her
brave defender had not returned there.

After the interruption of the debate Dion had been in a very cheerful
mood.  The pleasant sensation of having championed a good cause, and the
delightful consciousness of success were not new to him, but he had
rarely felt so uplifted as now.  He most ardently longed for his next
meeting with Barine, and imagined how he would describe what had happened
and claim her gratitude for his friendly service.  The scene had risen
clearly before his mind, but scarcely had the radiant vision of the
future faded when the unusually bright expression of his manly face was
clouded by a grave and troubled one.

The darkness of the night, illumined only by the flare of the pitch-pans,
had surrounded him, yet it had seemed as if he were standing with Barine
in the full light of noon in the blossoming garden of his own palace,
and, after asking a reward for his sturdy championship, she had clung
to him with deep emotion, and he had passionately kissed her tearful
face.

The face had quickly vanished, yet it had been as distinct as the most
vivid picture in a dream.  Was Barine more to him than he supposed?  Had
he not been drawn to her, during the past few months, by the mere charm
of her pliant intellect and her bright beauty?  Had a new, strong passion
awakened within him?  Was he in danger of seeing the will which urged him
to preserve his freedom conquered?  Had he cause to fear that some day,
constrained by a mysterious, invincible power, in defiance of the
opposition of calm reason, he might perhaps bind himself for life to this
Barine, the woman who had once been the wife of a Philostratus, and who
bestowed her smiles on all who found admittance to her house seeking a
feast for the eye, a banquet for the ear, a pleasant entertainment?

Though her honor was as stainless as the breast of a swan--and he had no
reason to doubt it--she would still be classed with Aspasia and other
women whose guests sought more than songs and agreeable conversations.
The gifts with which the gods had so lavishly endowed her had already
been shared with too many to permit him, the last scion of a noble
Macedonian house, to think of leading her, as mistress, to the palace
whose erection he had so carefully and successfully planned with Gorgias.

Surely it lacked nothing save the gracious rule of a mistress.

But if she should consent to become his without the blessing of Hymen?
No.

He could not thus dishonor the granddaughter of Didymus, the man who had
been his father's revered teacher, a woman whom he had always rejoiced
that, spite of the gay freedom with which she received so many admirers,
he could still esteem.  He would not do so, though his friends would have
greeted such scruples with a smile of superiority.  Who revered the
sacredness of marriage in a city whose queen was openly living for the
second time with the husband of another?  Dion himself had formed many a
brief connection, but for that very reason he could not place a woman
like Barine on the same footing with those whose love he had perhaps owed
solely to his wealth.  He had never lacked courage and resolution, but he
felt that this time he would have to resist a power with which he had
never coped.

That accursed face!  Again and again it rose before his mental vision,
smiling and beckoning so sweetly that the day must come when the yearning
to realize the dream would conquer all opposition.  If he remained near
her he would inevitably do what he might afterwards regret, and therefore
he would fain have offered a sacrifice to Peitho to induce her to enhance
Archibius's powers of persuasion and induce Barine to leave Alexandria.
It would be hard for him to part from her, yet much would be gained if
she went into the country.  Between the present and the distant period of
a second meeting lay respite from peril, and perhaps the possibility of
victory.  Dion did not recognize himself.  He seemed as unstable as a
swaying reed, because he had conquered his wish to re-enter old Didymus's
house and encourage him, and passed on to his own home.  But he would
probably have found Barine still with her grandfather, and he would not
meet her, though every fibre of his being longed for her face, her voice,
and a word of gratitude from her beloved lips.  Instead of joy, he was
filled with the sense of dissatisfaction which overpowers a man standing
at a crossing in the roads, who sees before him three goals, yet can be
fully content with neither.

The Street of the King, along which he suffered himself to be carried by
the excited throng, ran between the sea and the Theatre of Dionysus.  The
thought darted through his mind that his friend the architect desired to
erect the luckless statues of the royal lovers in front of this stately
building.  He would divert his thoughts by examining the site which
Gorgias had chosen.

The zither-player finished his hymn just as Dion approached the theatre,
and the crowd began to disperse.  Every one was full of the joyful
tidings of victory, and one shouted to another what Anaxenor, the
favourite of the great Antony, who must surely know, had just recited in
thrilling verse.  Many a joyous Io and loud Evoe to Cleopatra, the new
Isis, and Antony, the new Dionysus, resounded through the air, while
bearded and smooth, delicate Greek and thick Egyptian lips joined in the
shout, "To the Sebasteum!"  This was the royal palace, which faced the
government building containing the Regent's residence.  The populace
desired to have the delightful news confirmed, and to express, by a
public demonstration, the grateful joy which filled every heart.

Dion, too, was eager to obtain certainty, and, though usually averse to
mingling with the populace during such noisy outbursts of feeling, he was
preparing to follow the crowd thronging towards the Sebasteum, when the
shouts of runners clearing a passage for a closed litter fell upon his
ear.

It was occupied by Iras, the Queen's trusted attendant.  If any one could
give accurate information, it was she; yet it would hardly be possible to
gain an opportunity of conversing with her in this throng.  But Iras must
have had a different opinion; she had seen Dion, and now called him to
her side.  There were hoarse tones in her voice, usually so clear and
musical, which betrayed the emotion raging in her breast as she assailed
the young Macedonian noble with a flood of questions.  Without giving him
the usual greeting, she hastily desired to know what was exciting the
people, who had brought the tidings of victory, and whither the multitude
was flocking?

Dion had found it difficult not to be forced from the litter while
answering.  Iris perceived this, and as they were just passing the
Maeander, the labyrinth, which was closed after sunset, she ordered her
bearers to carry the litter to the entrance, made herself known to the
watchman, ordered the outer court to be opened, the litter to be placed
there, and the bearers and runners to wait outside for her summons, which
would soon be given.

This unusual haste and excitement filled Dion with just solicitude.  She
refused his invitation to alight and walk up and down, declaring that
life offered so many labyrinths that one need not seek them.  He, too,
seemed to be following paths which were scarcely straight ones.  "Why,"
she concluded, thrusting her head far out of the opening in the litter,
"are you rendering it so difficult for the Regent and your own uncle to
execute their plans, making common cause with the populace, like a paid
agitator?"

"Like Philostratus, you mean, on whom I bestowed a few blows in addition
to the golden guerdon received from your hand?"

"Ay, like him, for aught I care.  Probably it was you, too, who had him
flung into the water, after you had vented your wrath on him?  You
managed your cause well.  What we do for love's sake is usually
successful.  No matter, if only his brother Alexas does not rouse Antony
against you.  For my part, I merely desire to know why and for whom all
this was done."

"For whom save the good old man who was my father's preceptor, and his
just claim?" replied Dion frankly.  "Moreover--for no site more
unsuitable could be found than his garden-in behalf of good taste."

Iras laughed a shrill, short laugh, and her narrow, regularly formed
face, which might have been called beautiful, had not the bridge of the
straight delicate nose been too long and the chin too small, darkened
slightly, as she exclaimed, "That is frank at least."

"You ought to be accustomed to that from me," replied Dion calmly.
"In this case, however, the expert, Gorgias, fully shares my opinion."

"I heard that too.  You are both the most constant visitors of--what is
the woman's name?--the bewitching Barine."

"Barine?"  repeated Dion, as if the mention of the name surprised him.
"You take care, my friend, that our conversation does honour to its
scene, the labyrinth.  I speak of works of the sculptor's art, and you
pretend that I am referring to what is most certainly a very successful
living work from the creative hands of the gods.  I was very far from
thinking of the granddaughter of the old scholar for whom I interceded."

"Ay," she scornfully retorted, "young gentlemen in your position, and
with your habits of life, always think of their fathers estimable
teachers rather than of the women who, ever since Pandora opened her box,
have brought all sorts of misfortunes into the world.  But," she added,
pushing back her dark locks from her high forehead, "I don't understand
myself, how, with the mountain of care that now burdens my soul, I can
waste even a single word upon such trifles.  I care as little for the
aged scholar as I do for his legion of commentaries and books, though
they are not wholly unfamiliar to me.  For any concern of mine he might
have as many grandchildren as there are evil tongues in Alexandria, were
it not that just at this time it is of the utmost importance to remove
everything which might cast a shadow on the Queen's pathway.  I have just
come from the palace of the royal children at Lochias, and what I learned
there.  But that--I will not, I cannot believe it. It fairly stifles me!"

"Have you received bad news from the fleet?"  questioned Dion, with
sincere anxiety; but she only bent her head in assent, laying her fan of
ostrich-plumes on her lips to enjoin silence, at the same time shivering
so violently that he perceived it, even in the dusk.  It was evident that
speech was difficult, as she added in a muffled tone: "It must be kept
secret--Rhodian sailors--thank the gods, it is still very doubtful--it
cannot, must not be true--and yet-the prattle of that zither-player,
which has filled the multitude with joyous anticipation, is abominable--
the great ones of the earth are often most sorely injured by those who
owe them the most gratitude.  I know you can be silent, Dion.  You could
as a boy, if anything was to be hidden from our parents.  Would you still
be ready to plunge into the water for me, as in those days?  Scarcely.
Yet you may be trusted, and, even in this labyrinth, I will do so.  My
heart is heavy.  But not one word to any person.  I need no confidant and
could maintain silence even towards you, but I am anxious that you should
understand me, you who have just taken such a stand.  Before I entered my
litter at Lochias, the boy returned, and I talked with him."

"Young Caesarion loves Barine," replied Dion with grave earnestness.

"Then this horrible folly is known?" asked Iras excitedly.  "A passion
far deeper than I should ever have expected this dreamer to feel has
taken possession of him.  And if the Queen should now return--perhaps
less successful than we desire--if she looks to those from whom she still
expects pleasure, satisfaction, lofty deeds, and learns what has befallen
the boy--for what does not that sun-bright intellect learn and perceive?
He is dear to her, dearer than any of you imagine.  How it will increase
her anxiety, perhaps her suffering!  With what good reason she will be
angered against those whom duty and love should have commanded to guard
the boy!"

"And therefore," added Dion, "the stone of offence must be removed.
Your first step to secure this object was the attack on Didymus."

He had judged correctly and perceived that, in her assault upon the old
scholar, she had at first intended to play into the hands of the rulers,
work against the old philosopher and his relatives, among whose number
was Barine; for the Egyptian law permitted the relatives of those who
were convicted of any crime against the sovereign or the government to be
banished with the criminal.  This attack upon an innocent person was
disgraceful, yet every word Iras uttered made Dion feel, every feature of
her face betrayed, that it was not merely base jealousy, but a nobler
emotion, that caused her to assail the guiltless sage--love for her
mistress, the desire which dominated her whole being to guard Cleopatra
from grief and trouble in these trying times.  He knew Iras's iron will
and the want of consideration with which she had learned to pursue her
purpose at the court.  His first object was to protect Barine from the
danger which threatened her; but he also wished to relieve the anxiety of
Iras, the daughter of Krates, his father's neighbour, with whom he had
played in boyhood and for whom he had never ceased to feel a tender
interest.

His remark surprised her.  She saw that her plot was detected by the man
whose esteem she most valued, and a loving woman is glad to recognize the
superiority of her lover.  Besides, from her earliest childhood--and she
was only two years younger than Dion--she had belonged to circles where
no quality was more highly prized than mental pliancy and keenness.  Her
dark eyes, which at first had glittered distrustfully and questioningly
and afterwards glowed with a gloomy light, now gained a new expression.
Her gaze sought her friend's with a tender, pleading look as, admitting
his charge, she began: "Yes! Dion, the philosopher's granddaughter must
not stay here.  Or do you see any other way to protect the unhappy boy
from incalculable misfortune?  You know me well enough to be aware that,
like you, I am reluctant to infringe another's rights, that except in
case of necessity I am not cruel.  I value your esteem.  No one is more
truthful, and yesterday you averred that Eros had no part in your visits
to the much-admired young woman, that you joined her guests merely
because the society you found at her house afforded a pleasant stimulus
to the mind.  I have ceased to believe in many things, but not in you and
your words, and if hearing that you had taken sides with the grandfather,
I fancied that you were secretly seeking the thanks and gratitude of the
granddaughter, why--surely the atrocious maxim that Zeus does not hear
the vows of lovers comes from you men--why, suspicion again reared its
head.  Now you seem to share my opinion--"

"Like you," Dion interrupted, "I believe that Barine ought to be
withdrawn from the boy's pursuit, which cannot be more unpleasant to you
than to her.  As Caesarion neither can nor ought to leave Alexandria
while affairs are so threatening, nothing is left except to remove the
young woman--but, of course, in all kindness."

"In a golden chariot, garlanded with roses, if you so desire," cried Iras
eagerly.

"That might attract attention," answered Dion, smiling and raising his
hand as if to enjoin moderation.  "Your mode of action does not please
me, even now that I know its purpose, but I will gladly aid you to attain
your object.  Your crooked paths also lead to the goal, and perhaps one
is less likely to stumble in them; but straight ways suit me better, and
I think I have already found the right one.  A friend will invite Barine
to an estate far away from here, perhaps in the lake regions."

"You?" cried Iras, her narrow eyebrows suddenly contracting.

"Do you imagine that she would go with me?" he asked, in a faintly
reproachful tone.  "No.  Fortunately, we have older friends, and at their
head is one who happens to be your uncle and at the same time is wax in
the hands of the Queen."

"Archibius?"  exclaimed  Iras.  "Ah!  if he could persuade her to do so!"

"He will try.  He, too, is anxious about the lad.  While we are talking
here, he is inviting Barine to his estate.  The country air will benefit
her."

"May she bloom there like a young shepherdess!"

"You are right to wish her the best fortune; for if the Queen does not
return victorious, the irritability of our Alexandrians will be doubled.
When you laid hands on Didymus's garden, you were so busily engaged in
building the triumphal arch that you forgot--"

"Who would have doubted the successful issue of this war?" cried Iras.
"And they will, they will conquer.  The Rhodian said that the fleet was
scattered.  The disaster happened on the Acharnanian coast.  How positive
it sounded!  But he had it only at second and third hand.  And what are
mere rumours?  The source of the false tidings is discovered later.
Besides, even if the naval battle were really lost, the powerful army,
which is far superior to Octavianus's forces, still remains.  Which of
the enemy's generals could cope with Antony on the land?  How he will
fight when all is at stake-fame, honour, sovereignty, hate, and love!
Away with this fear, based on mere rumour!  After Dyrrachium Caesar's
cause was deemed lost, and how soon Pharsalus made him master of the
world!  Is it worthy of a sensible person to suffer courage to be
depressed by a sailor's gossip?  And yet--yet!  It began while I was ill.
And then the swallows on the Antonias, the admiral's ship.  We have
already spoken of it.  Mardiou and your uncle Zeno saw with their own
eyes the strange swallows drive away those which had built their nest on
the helm of the Antonias, and kill the young ones with their cruel beaks.
An evil omen!

"I cannot forget it.  And my dream, while I lay ill with fever far away
from my mistress!  But I have already lingered here too long.  No, Dion,
no.  I am grateful for the rest here--I can now feel at ease about
Caesarion.  Place the monument where you choose.  The people shall see
and hear that we respect their opposition, that we are just and friendly.
Help me to turn this matter to the advantage of the Queen, and if
Archibius succeeds in getting Barine away and keeping her in the country,
then--if I had aught that seemed to you desirable it should be yours.
But what does the petted Dion care for his fading playfellow?"

"Fading?" he repeated in a tone of indignant reproach.  "Say rather the
fully developed flower has learned from her royal friend the secret of
eternal youth."

With a swift impulse of gratitude Iras bent her face towards him in the
dusk, extending the slender white hand--next to Cleopatra's famed as the
most beautiful at court--for him to kiss, but when he merely pressed his
lips lightly on it with no shadow of tenderness, she hastily withdrew it,
exclaiming as if overwhelmed by sudden repentance: "This idle, hollow
dalliance at such a time, with such a burden of anxiety oppressing the
heart!  It is un worthy, shameful!  If Barine goes with Archibius, her
time will scarcely hang heavy on his estates.  I think I know some one
who will speedily follow to bear her company.--Here, Sasis! the bearers!
To the Tower of Nilus, before the Gate of the Sun!"

Dion gazed after her litter a short time, then passed his hand through
his waving brown hair, walked swiftly to the shore and, without pausing
long to choose, sprang into one of the boats which were rented for
pleasure voyages.  Ordering the sailors who were preparing to accompany
him to remain on shore, he stretched the sail with a practised hand, and
ran out towards the mouth of the harbour.  He needed some strong
excitement, and wished to go himself in search of news.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Contempt had become too deep for hate
Jealousy has a thousand eyes
Zeus does not hear the vows of lovers





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