With this he had turned away and knocked at the door of an architect who was known to them both; and Alexander, tortured with painful feelings, had gone on, and for the first time the idea had taken possession of him that he had indeed descended to the part of spy when he had betrayed to Caesar what Alexandrian wit had to say about him. He could, of course, tell himself that he would rather have faced death or imprisonment than have betrayed to Caracalla the name of one of the gibers; still, he had to admit to himself that, but for the hope of saving his father and brother from death and imprisonment, he would hardly have done Caesar such service. The mercy shown to them was certainly too like payment, and his own part in the matter struck him as hateful and base. His fellow-townsmen had a right to bear him a grudge, and his friends to keep out of his way. A feeling came over him of bitter self-contempt, hitherto strange to him; and he understood for the first time how Philip could regard life as a burden and call it a malicious Danaus-gift of the gods. When, finally, in the Kanopic way, close in front of Seleukus’s house, a youth unknown to him cried, scornfully, as the chariot was slowly making its way through the throng, “The brother-in-law of Tarautas!” he had great difficulty in restraining himself from leaping down and letting the rascal feel the weight of his fists. He knew, too, that Tarautas was the name of a hateful and bloodthirsty gladiator which had been given as a nickname to Caesar in Rome; and when he heard the insolent fellow’s cry taken up by the mob, who shouted after him, “Tarautas’s brother-in-law!” wherever he went, he felt as though he were being pelted with mire and stones.
It would have been a real comfort to him if the earth would have opened to swallow him with the chariot, to hide him from the sight of men. He could have burst out crying like a child that has been beaten. When at last he was safe inside Seleukus’s house, he was easier; for here he was known; here he would be understood. Berenike must know what he thought of Caesar’s suit, and seeing her wholesome and honest hatred, he had sworn to himself that he would snatch his sister from the hands of the tyrant, if it were to lead him to the most agonizing death.
While she was engaged in selecting a dress for her protegee, he related to the lady Euryale what had happened to him in the street and in the house of Seleukus. He had been conducted past the soldiers in the vestibule and impluvium to the lady’s private rooms, and there he had been witness to a violent matrimonial dispute. Seleukus had previously delivered to his wife Caesar’s command that she should appear in the Amphitheater with the other noble dames of the city. Her answer was a bitter laugh, and a declaration that she would mingle with the spectators in none but mourning robes. Thereupon her husband, pointing out to her the danger to which such conduct