The four thousand Gauls who had been obtained to fight against Cyrene were in the act of rushing rapaciously upon the richest city in the world. The most terrible danger hung like a black cloud over the capital founded by Alexander, whose growth had been so rapid. True, General Satvrus asserted that he was strong enough, with the troops at his disposal, to defeat the formidable hordes; but a second dove, sent by the epitropus who had remained in Alexandria, alluded to serious disaster which it would scarcely be possible to avert.
The doves now flew swiftly to and fro; but before the third arrived, Eumedes, the commander of the fleet just from Ethiopia, was already on the way to Alexandria with all the troops assembled on the frontier.
The King and Queen, with the corps of pages and the corps of youths, entered the boats waiting for them to return, drawn by teams of four swift horses, to Memphis, to await within the impregnable fortress of the White Castle the restoration of security in the capital.
The Greeks prized the most valiant fearlessness so highly that no shadow could be suffered to rest upon the King’s, and therefore the monarch’s hurried departure was made in a way which permitted no thought of flight, and merely resembled impatient yearning for new festivals and the earnest desire to fulfil grave duties in another portion of the kingdom.
Many of the companions of the royal pair, among them Erasistratus, accompanied them. Hermon bade him farewell with a troubled heart, and the leech, too, parted with regret from the artist to whom, a year before, he had refused his aid.
Hermon went, with Philippus and Thyone, on board the ship which was to convey them through the new canal to Pelusium, where the old commandant had to plan all sorts of measures. In the border fortress the artist was again obliged to exercise patience, for no ship bound to Pergamus or Lesbos could be found in the harbour. Philippus had as much work as he could do, but all his arrangements were made when carrier doves announced that the surprise intended by the Gauls had been completely thwarted, and his son Eumedes was empowered to punish them.
The admiral would take his fleet to the Sebennytic mouth of the Nile.
Another dove came from King Ptolemy, and summoned the old general at once to the capital. Philippus resolved to set off without delay and, as the way led past that mouth of the Nile, met his son on the voyage.
Hermon must accompany him and his wife to Alexandria, whence, without entering the city, he could sail for Pergamus; ships bound to all the ports in the Mediterranean were always in one of the harbours of the capital. A galley ready to weigh anchor was constantly at the disposal of the commandant of the fortress, and the next noon the noble pair, with Hermon and his faithful Bias, went on board the Galatea.