This exclamation was followed by order after order, and the promise that, if necessary, she would show herself to the people.
The Exegetus was filled with admiration as he received the clear, sagacious directions. After he had retired with his companions, the Queen again turned to the Regent, saying: “We did wisely to make the people happy at first with tidings of victory. The unexpected news of terrible disaster might have led them to some unprecedented deed of madness. Disappointment is a more common pain, for which less powerful remedies will suffice. Besides, many things could be arranged ere they knew that I was here. How much we have accomplished already, Mardion! But I have not even granted myself the joy of seeing my children. I was forced to defer the pleasure of the companionship of my oldest friends, even Archibius. When he comes again he will be admitted. I have given the order. He knows Rome thoroughly. I must hear his opinion of pending negotiations.”
She shivered as she spoke, and pressing her hand upon her brow, exclaimed: “Octavianus victor, Cleopatra vanquished! I, who was everything to Caesar, beseeching mercy from his heir. I, a petitioner to Octavia’s brother! Yet, no, no! There are still a hundred chances of avoiding the horrible doom. But whoever wishes to compel the field to bear fruits must dig sturdily, draw the buckets from the well, plough, and sow the seed. To work, then, to work! When Antony returns he must find all things ready. The first success will restore his lost energy. I glanced through yonder letter while talking with the Exegetus; now I will dictate the answer.”
So she sat reading, writing, and dictating, listening, answering, and giving orders, until the east brightened with the approach of dawn, the morning star grew pale, and the Regent, utterly exhausted, entreated her to consider her own health and his years, and permit him a few hours’ rest.
Then she, too, allowed herself to be led into her darkened chamber, and this time a friendly, dreamless slumber closed her weary eyes and held her captive until roused by the loud shouts of the multitude, who had heard of the Queen’s return and flocked to Lochias.
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
Without heeding the opinion of mortals
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