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Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 416 pages of information about Cleopatra Complete.
fight when all is at stake-fame, honour, sovereignty, hate, and love!  Away with this fear, based on mere rumour!  After Dyrrachium Caesar’s cause was deemed lost, and how soon Pharsalus made him master of the world!  Is it worthy of a sensible person to suffer courage to be depressed by a sailor’s gossip?  And yet—­yet!  It began while I was ill.  And then the swallows on the Antonias, the admiral’s ship.  We have already spoken of it.  Mardiou and your uncle Zeno saw with their own eyes the strange swallows drive away those which had built their nest on the helm of the Antonias, and kill the young ones with their cruel beaks.  An evil omen!

“I cannot forget it.  And my dream, while I lay ill with fever far away from my mistress!  But I have already lingered here too long.  No, Dion, no.  I am grateful for the rest here—­I can now feel at ease about Caesarion.  Place the monument where you choose.  The people shall see and hear that we respect their opposition, that we are just and friendly.  Help me to turn this matter to the advantage of the Queen, and if Archibius succeeds in getting Barine away and keeping her in the country, then—­if I had aught that seemed to you desirable it should be yours.  But what does the petted Dion care for his fading playfellow?”

“Fading?” he repeated in a tone of indignant reproach.  “Say rather the fully developed flower has learned from her royal friend the secret of eternal youth.”

With a swift impulse of gratitude Iras bent her face towards him in the dusk, extending the slender white hand—­next to Cleopatra’s famed as the most beautiful at court—­for him to kiss, but when he merely pressed his lips lightly on it with no shadow of tenderness, she hastily withdrew it, exclaiming as if overwhelmed by sudden repentance:  “This idle, hollow dalliance at such a time, with such a burden of anxiety oppressing the heart!  It is un worthy, shameful!  If Barine goes with Archibius, her time will scarcely hang heavy on his estates.  I think I know some one who will speedily follow to bear her company.—­Here, Sasis! the bearers!  To the Tower of Nilus, before the Gate of the Sun!”

Dion gazed after her litter a short time, then passed his hand through his waving brown hair, walked swiftly to the shore and, without pausing long to choose, sprang into one of the boats which were rented for pleasure voyages.  Ordering the sailors who were preparing to accompany him to remain on shore, he stretched the sail with a practised hand, and ran out towards the mouth of the harbour.  He needed some strong excitement, and wished to go himself in search of news.

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CLEOPATRA

By Georg Ebers

Volume 2.

CHAPTER IV.

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