Cleopatra — Volume 07 eBook

Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 84 pages of information about Cleopatra — Volume 07.
and frequently broods mournfully over his own thoughts.  But this never lasts long when we are alone.  If I come in with a very funny story, and he doesn’t silence me at once, you can rely on his surpassing it with a still more comical one.  A short time ago I reminded him of the fishing party when your Majesty had a diver fasten a salted herring on his hook.  You ought to have heard him laugh, and exclaim what happy days those were.  The lady Charmian need only remind him of them, and Aisopion spice the allusion with a jest.  I’ll give my nose—­true, it’s only a small one, but everybody values that feature most—­if they don’t persuade him to leave that horrible crow’s nest in the middle of the sea.  They must remind him of the twins and little Alexander; for when he permits me to talk about them his brow smooths most speedily.  He still speaks very often to Lucilius and his other friends of his great plans of forming a powerful empire in the East, with Alexandria as its principal city.  His warrior blood is not yet calm.  A short time ago I was even ordered to sharpen the curved Persian scimitar he likes to wield.  One could not know what service it might be, he said.  Then he swung his mighty arm.  By the dog!  The grey-haired giant still has the strength of three youths.  When he is once more with you, among warriors and battle chargers, all will be well.”

“Let us hope so.” replied Cleopatra kindly, and promised to follow his advice.

When Iras, who had taken Charmian’s place, accompanied the Queen to her chamber after several hours of toil, she found her silent and sad.  Lost in thought, she accepted her attendant’s aid, breaking her silence only after she had gone to her couch.  “This has been a hard day, Iras,” she said; “it brought nothing save the confirmation of an old saying, perhaps the most ancient in the world:  ’Every one wilt reap only what he sows.  The plant which grows from the seed you place in the earth may be crushed, but no power in the world will compel the seed to develop differently or produce fruit unlike what Nature has assigned to it.’  My seed was evil.  This now appears in the time of harvest.  But we will yet bring a handful of good wheat to the storehouses.  We will provide for that while there is time.  I will talk with Gorgias early to-morrow morning.  While we were building, you showed good taste and often suggested new ideas.  When Gorgias brings the plans for the mausoleum you shall examine them with me.  You have a right to do so, for, if I am not mistaken, few will visit the finished structure more frequently than my Iras.”

The girl started up and, raising her hand as if taking a vow, exclaimed:  “Your tomb will vainly wait my visit; your end will be mine also.”

“May the gods preserve your youth from it!” replied the Queen in a tone of grave remonstrance.  “We still live and will do battle.”


Project Gutenberg
Cleopatra — Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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