Cleopatra eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 305 pages of information about Cleopatra.

“What means Cleopatra?” said Antony, as the guards dragged the corpse away; “the man drank of my cup.  What is the purpose of this most sorry jest?”

“It serves a double end, noble Antony!  This very night that man would have fled to Octavianus, bearing of our treasure with him.  Well, I have lent him wings, for the dead fly fast!  Also this:  thou didst fear that I should poison thee, my Lord; nay, I know it.  See now, Antony, how easy it were that I should slay thee if I had the will.  That wreath of roses which thou didst steep within the cup is dewed with deadly bane.  Had I, then, a mind to make an end of thee, I had not stayed thy hand.  O Antony, henceforth trust me!  Sooner would I slay myself than harm one hair of thy beloved head!  See, here come my messengers!  Speak, what did ye find?”

“Royal Egypt, we found this.  All things in the chamber of Eudosius are made ready for flight, and in his baggage is much treasure.”

“Thou hearest?” she said, smiling darkly.  “Think ye, my loyal servants all, that Cleopatra is one with whom it is well to play the traitor?  Be warned by this Roman’s fate!”

Then a great silence of fear fell upon the company, and Antony sat also silent.

CHAPTER VI

OF THE WORKINGS OF THE LEARNED OLYMPUS AT MEMPHIS; OF THE POISONINGS OF CLEOPATRA; OF THE SPEECH OF ANTONY TO HIS CAPTAINS; AND OF THE PASSING OF ISIS FROM THE LAND OF KHEM

Now I, Harmachis, must make speed with my task, setting down that which is permitted as shortly as may be, and leaving much untold.  For of this I am warned, that Doom draws on and my days are wellnigh sped.  After the drawing forth of Antony from the Timonium came that time of heavy quiet which heralds the rising of the desert wind.  Antony and Cleopatra once again gave themselves up to luxury, and night by night feasted in splendour at the palace.  They sent ambassadors to Caesar; but Caesar would have none of them; and, this hope being gone, they turned their minds to the defence of Alexandria.  Men were gathered, ships were built, and a great force was made ready against the coming of Caesar.

And now, aided by Charmion, I began my last work of hate and vengeance.  I wormed myself deep into the secrets of the palace, counselling all things for evil.  I bade Cleopatra keep Antony gay, lest he should brood upon his sorrows:  and thus she sapped his strength and energy with luxury and wine.  I gave him of my draughts—­draughts that sank his soul in dreams of happiness and power, leaving him to wake to a heavier misery.  Soon, without my healing medicine he could not sleep, and thus, being ever at his side, I bound his weakened will to mine, till at last he would do little if I said not “It is well.”  Cleopatra, also grown very superstitious, leaned much upon me; for I prophesied falsely to her in secret.

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Cleopatra from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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