Cleopatra eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Cleopatra.

Philotas adds, in his account of this affair, that he sent the gold and silver plate back to young Antony again, being afraid to keep them.  Antony said that perhaps it was as well that this should be done, since many of the vessels were of great value on account of their rare and antique workmanship, and his father might possibly miss them and wish to know what had become of them.

As there were no limits, on the one hand, to the loftiness and grandeur of the pleasures to which Antony and Cleopatra addicted themselves, so there were none to the low and debasing tendencies which characterized them on the other.  Sometimes, at midnight, after having been spending many hours in mirth and revelry in the palace, Antony would disguise himself in the dress of a slave, and sally forth into the streets, excited with wine, in search of adventures.  In many cases, Cleopatra herself, similarly disguised, would go out with him.  On these excursions Antony would take pleasure in involving himself in all sorts of difficulties and dangers—­in street riots, drunken brawls, and desperate quarrels with the populace—­all for Cleopatra’s amusement and his own.  Stories of these adventures would circulate afterward among the people, some of whom would admire the free and jovial character of their eccentric visitor, and others would despise him as a prince degrading himself to the level of a brute.

Some of the amusements and pleasures which Antony and Cleopatra pursued were innocent in themselves, though wholly unworthy to be made the serious business of life by personages on whom such exalted duties rightfully devolved.  They made various excursions upon the Nile, and arranged parties of pleasure to go out on the water in the harbor, and to various rural retreats in the environs of the city.  Once they went out on a fishing-party, in boats, in the port.  Antony was unsuccessful; and feeling chagrined that Cleopatra should witness his ill-luck, he made a secret arrangement with some of the fishermen to dive down, where they could do so unobserved, and fasten fishes to his hook under the water.  By this plan he caught very large and fine fish very fast.  Cleopatra, however, was too wary to be easily deceived by such a stratagem as this.  She observed the maneuver, but pretended not to observe it; she expressed, on the other hand, the greatest surprise and delight at Antony’s good luck, and the extraordinary skill which it indicated.

The next day she wished to go a fishing again, and a party was accordingly made as on the day before.  She had, however, secretly instructed another fisherman to procure a dried and salted fish from the market, and, watching his opportunity, to get down into the water under the boats and attach it to the hook, before Antony’s divers could get there.  This plan succeeded, and Antony, in the midst of a large and gay party that were looking on, pulled out an excellent fish, cured and dried, such as was known to every one as an imported article, bought in the market.  It was a fish of a kind that was brought originally from Asia Minor.  The boats and the water all around them resounded with the shouts of merriment and laughter which this incident occasioned.

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Cleopatra from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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