he swung his mighty figure ashore like a youth, while
his handsome, heroic face beamed with ardent love
for me! And then—you do not forget
it either—when he raised his deep voice
to shout the first greeting, why, it seemed as if
the very fish in the water must join in, and the palm-trees
on the shore wave their feathery tops in joyous sympathy.
And here! The dreams of my childhood, which I
made reality for him, received us, and our existence,
wreathed with love and roses, became a fairy tale.
Since the day he rode towards us at Kanopus and offered
me the first bouquet, with his sunny glance wooing
my love, his image has stood before my soul as the
embodiment of the virile strength which conquers everything,
and the bright, undimmed joy which renders the whole
world happy. And now—now? Do
you remember the dull dreamer whom we left ere he
set forth for Paraetonium? But no, no, a thousand
times no, he must not remain so! Not with bowed
head, but erect as in the days of happiness, must
he cross the threshold of Hades, hand in hand with
her whom he loved. And he does love me still.
Else would he have followed me hither, though no
magic goblet drew him after me? And I?
The heart which, in the breast of the child, gave
him its first young love, is still his, and will be
forever. Might I not go to the harbour and await
him there? Look me in the face, Charmian, and
answer me as fearlessly as a mirror: did Olympus
really succeed in effacing the wrinkles?”
“They were scarcely visible before,” was
the reply, “and even the keenest eye could no
longer discover them. I have brought the pomade,
too, and the prescription Olympus gave me for—”
“Hush, hush!” interrupted Cleopatra softly.
“There are many living creatures in this garden,
and they say that even the birds are good listeners.”
A roguish smile deepened the dimples in her cheeks
as she spoke, and delight in her bewitching grace
forced from Charmian’s lips the exclamation:
“If Mark Antony could only see you now!”
“Flatterer!” replied the Queen with a
grateful smile. But Charmian felt that the time
had now come to plead once more for Barine, and she
“No, I certainly do not flatter. No one
in Alexandria, no matter what name she bears, could
venture to vie even remotely with your charms.
So cease the persecution of the unfortunate woman
whom you confided to my care. It is an insult
But here an indignant “Again!” interrupted
Cleopatra’s face, which during the conversation
had mirrored every emotion of a woman’s soul,
from the deepest sorrow to the most mischievous mirth,
assumed an expression of repellent harshness, and,
with the curt remark, “You are forgetting what
I had good reason to forbid—I must go to
my work,” she turned her back upon the companion
of her youth.