“The lad is in an evil plight,” said Gorgias, shaking his head thoughtfully as the equipage rolled over the stone pavement of the Street of the King.
“And over yonder, added Dion,” “the prospect is equally unpleasing. Philostratus is setting the people crazy. But the hired mischief-maker will soon wish he had been less ready to seize Iras’s gold coins.”
“And to think,” cried the architect, “that Barine was this scoundrel’s wife! How could it—”
“She was but a child when they married her,” interrupted Dion. “Who consults a girl of fifteen in the choice of a husband? And Philostratus—he was my classmate at Rhodus—at that time had the fairest prospects. His brother Alexas, Antony’s favourite, could easily advance him. Barine’s father was dead, her mother was accustomed to follow Didymus’s counsel, and the clever fellow had managed to strew dust in the old man’s eyes. Long and lank as he is, he is not bad-looking even now.
“When he appeared as an orator he pleased his hearers. This turned his head, and a spendthrift’s blood runs in his veins. To bring his fair young bride to a stately mansion, he undertook the bad cause of the thievish tax-collector Pyrrhus, and cleared him.”
“He bought a dozen false witnesses.”
“There were sixteen. Afterwards they became as numerous as the open mouths you see shouting yonder. It is time to silence them. Go to the old man’s house and soothe him—Barine also, if she is there. If you find messengers from the Regent, raise objections to the unprecedented decree. You know the portions of the law which can be turned to Didymus’s advantage.”
“Since the reign of Euergetes II, registered landed property has been unassailable, and his was recorded.”
“So much the better. Tell the officials also, confidentially, that you know of objections just discovered which may perhaps change the Regent’s views.”
“And, above all, I shall insist upon my right to choose the place for the twin statues. The Queen herself directed the others to heed my opinion.”
“That will cast the heaviest weight into the scale. We shall meet later. You will prefer to keep away from Barine to-night. If you see her, tell her that Archibius said he would visit her later—for an object I will explain afterwards. I shall probably go to Iras to bring her to reason. It will be better not to mention Caesarion’s wish.”