The Sisters by Georg Ebers
King Euergetes was pacing restlessly up and down the lofty room which his brother had furnished with particular magnificence to be his reception-room. Hardly had the sun risen on the morning of his birthday when he had betaken himself to the temple of Ptah with a numerous suite--before his brother Philometor could set out--in order to sacrifice there, to win the good graces of the high-priest of the sanctuary, and to question of the oracle of Apis. All had fallen out well, for the sacred bull had eaten out of his hand; and yet he would have been more glad--though it should have disdained the cake he offered it, if only Eulaeus had brought him the news that the plot against the Roman's life had been successful.
Gift after gift, addresses of congratulation from every district of the country, priestly decrees drawn up in his honor and engraved on tablets of hard stone, lay on every table or leaned against the walls of the vast ball which the guests had just quitted. Only Hierax, the king's friend, remained with him, supporting himself, while he waited for some sign from his sovereign, on a high throne made of gold and ivory and richly decorated with gems, which had been sent to the king by the Jewish community of Alexandria.
The great commander knew his master well and knew too that it was not prudent to address him when he looked as he did now. But Euergetes himself was aware of the need for speech, and he began, without pausing in his walk or looking at his dignified friend:
"Even the Philobasilistes have proved corrupt; my soldiers in the citadel are more numerous and are better men too than those that have remained faithful to Philometor, and there ought to be nothing more for me to do but to stir up a brief clatter of swords on shields, to spring upon the throne, and to have myself proclaimed king; but I will never go into the field with the strongest division of the enemy in my rear. My brother's head is on my sister's shoulders, and so long as I am not certain of her--"
A chamberlain rushed into the room as the king spoke, and interrupted him by shouting out:
A smile of triumph flashed across the features of the young giant; he flung himself with an air of indifference on to a purple divan, and desired that a magnificent lyre made of ivory, and presented to him by his sister, should be brought to him; on it was carved with wonderful skill and delicacy a representation of the first marriage, that of Cadmus with Harmonia, at which all the gods had attended as guests.
Euergetes grasped the chords with wonderful vigor and mastery, and began to play a wedding march, in which eager triumph alternated with tender whisperings of love and longing.
The chamberlain, whose duty it was to introduce the queen to her brother's presence, wished to interrupt this performance of his sovereign's; but Cleopatra held him back, and stood listening at the door with her children till Euergetes had brought the air to a rapid conclusion with a petulant sweep of the strings, and a loud and ear-piercing discord; then he flung his lute on the couch and rose with well-feigned surprise, going forward to meet the queen as if, absorbed in playing, he had not heard her approach.
He greeted his sister affectionately, holding out both his hands to her, and spoke to the children--who were not afraid of him, for he knew how to play madcap games with them like a great frolicsome boy--welcoming them as tenderly as if he were their own father.
He could not weary of thanking Cleopatra for her thoughtful present--so appropriate to him, who like Cadmus longed to boast of having mastered Harmonia, and finally--she not having found a word to say--he took her by the hand to exhibit to her the presents sent him by her husband and from the provinces. But Cleopatra seemed to take little pleasure in all these things, and said:
"Yes, everything is admirable, just as it has always been every year for the last twenty years; but I did not come here to see but to listen."
Her brother was radiant with satisfaction; she on the contrary was pale and grave, and, could only now and then compel herself to a forced smile.
"I fancied," said Euergetes, "that your desire to wish me joy was the principal thing that had brought you here, and, indeed, my vanity requires me to believe it. Philometor was with me quite early, and fulfilled that duty with touching affection. When will he go into the banqueting-hall?"
"In half an hour; and till then tell me, I entreat you, what yesterday you--"
"The best events are those that are long in preparing," interrupted her brother. "May I ask you to let the children, with their attendants, retire for a few minutes into the inner rooms?"
"At once!" cried Cleopatra eagerly, and she pushed her eldest boy, who clamorously insisted on remaining with his uncle, violently out of the door without giving his attendant time to quiet him or take him in her arms.
While she was endeavoring, with angry scolding and cross words, to hasten the children's departure, Eulaeus came into the room. Euergetes, as soon as he saw him, set every limb with rigid resolve, and drew breath so deeply that his broad chest heaved high, and a strong respiration parted his lips as he went forward to meet the eunuch, slowly but with an enquiring look.
Eulaeus cast a significant glance at Hierax and Cleopatra, went quite close up to the king, whispered a few words into his ear, and answered his brief questions in a low voice.
"It is well," said Euergetes at last, and with a decisive gesture of his hand he dismissed Eulaeus and his friend from the room.
Then he stood, as pale as death, his teeth set in his under-lip, and gazing blankly at the ground.
He had his will, Publius Cornelius Scipio lived no more; his ambition might reach without hindrance the utmost limits of his desires, and yet he could not rejoice; he could not escape from a deep horror of himself, and he struck his broad forehead with his clenched fists. He was face to face with his first dastardly murder.
"And what news does Eulaeus bring?" asked Cleopatra in anxious excitement, for she had never before seen her brother like this; but he did not hear these words, and it was not till she had repeated them with more insistence that he collected himself, stared at her from head to foot with a fixed, gloomy expression, and then, letting his hand fall on her shoulder so heavily that her knees bent under her and she gave a little cry, asked her in a low but meaning tone:
"Are you strong enough to bear to hear great news?"
"Speak," she said in a low voice, and her eyes were fixed on his lips while she pressed her hand on her heart. Her anxiety to hear fettered her to him, as with a tangible tie, and he, as if he must burst it by the force of his utterance, said with awful solemnity, in his deepest tones and emphasizing every syllable:
"Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica is dead."
At these words Cleopatra's pale cheeks were suddenly dyed with a crimson glow, and clenching her little hands she struck them together, and exclaimed with flashing eyes:
"I hoped so!"
Euergetes withdrew a step from his sister, and said: "You were right. It is not only among the race of gods that the most fearful of all are women!"
"What have you to say?" retorted Cleopatra. "And am I to believe that a toothache has kept the Roman away from the banquet yesterday, and again from coming to see me to-day? Am I to repeat, after you, that he died of it? Now, speak out, for it rejoices my heart to hear it; where and how did the insolent hypocrite meet his end?"
"A serpent stung him," replied Euergetes, turning from his sister. "It was in the desert, not far from the Apis-tombs."
"He had an assignation in the Necropolis at midnight--it would seem to have begun more pleasantly than it ended?"
Euergetes nodded assent to the question, and added gravely:
"His fate overtook him--but I cannot see anything very pleasing in the matter."
"No?" asked the queen. "And do you think that I do not know the asp that ended that life in its prime? Do you think that I do not know, who set the poisoned serpent on the Roman? You are the assassin, and Eulaeus and his accomplices have helped you! Only yesterday I would have given my heart's blood for Publius, and would rather have carried you to the grave than him; but to-day, now that I know the game that the wretch has been playing with me, I would even have taken on myself the bloody deed which, as it is, stains your hands. Not even a god should treat your sister with such contempt--should insult her as he has done--and go unpunished! Another has already met the same fate, as you know--Eustorgos, Hipparchon of Bithynia, who, while he seemed to be dying of love for me, was courting Kallistrata my lady in waiting; and the wild beasts and serpents exercised their dark arts on him too. Eulaeus' intelligence has fallen on you, who are powerful, like a cold hand on your heart; in me, the weak woman, it rouses unspeakable delight. I gave him the best of all a woman has to bestow, and he dared to trample it in the dust; and had I no right to require of him that he should pour out the best that he had, which was his life, in the same way as he had dared to serve mine, which is my love? I have a right to rejoice at his death. Aye! the heavy lids now close those bright eyes which could be falser than the stern lips that were so apt to praise truth. The faithless heart is forever still which could scorn the love of a queen--and for what? For whom? Oh, ye pitiful gods!"
With these words the queen sobbed aloud, hastily lifting her hands to cover her eyes, and ran to the door by which she had entered her brother's rooms.
But Euergetes stood in her way, and said sternly and positively:
"You are to stay here till I return. Collect yourself, for at the next event which this momentous day will bring forth it will be my turn to laugh while your blood shall run cold." And with a few swift steps he left the hall.
Cleopatra buried her face in the soft cushions of the couch, and wept without ceasing, till she was presently startled by loud cries and the clatter of arms. Her quick wit told her what was happening. In frantic haste she flew to the door but it was locked; no shaking, no screaming, no thumping seemed to reach the ears of the guard whom she heard monotonously walking up and down outside her prison.
And now the tumult and clang of arms grew louder and louder, and the rattle of drums and blare of trumpets began to mingle with the sound. She rushed to the window in mortal fear, and looked down into the palace-yard; at that same instant the door of the great banqueting-hall was flung open, and a flying crowd streamed out in distracted confusion--then another, and a third--all troops in King Philometor's uniform. She ran to the door of the room into which she had thrust her children; that too was locked. In her desperation she once more sprang to the window, shouted to the flying Macedonians to halt and make a stand--threatening and entreating; but no one heard her, and their number constantly increased, till at length she saw her husband standing on the threshold of the great hall with a gaping wound on his forehead, and defending himself bravely and stoutly with buckler and sword against the body-guard of his own brother, who were pressing him sorely. In agonized excitement she shouted encouraging words to him, and he seemed to hear her, for with a strong sweep of his shield he struck his nearest antagonist to the earth, sprang with a mighty leap into the midst of his flying adherents, and vanished with them through the passage which led to the palace-stables.
The queen sank fainting on her knees by the window, and, through the gathering shades of her swoon her dulled senses still were conscious of the trampling of horses, of a shrill trumpet-blast, and at last of a swelling and echoing shout of triumph with cries of, "Hail: hail to the son of the Sun--Hail to the uniter of the two kingdoms; Hail to the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, to Euergetes the god."
But at the last words she recovered consciousness entirely and started up. She looked down into the court again, and there saw her brother borne along on her husband's throne-litter by dignitaries and nobles. Side by side with the traitor's body-guard marched her own and Philometor's Philobasilistes and Diadoches.
The magnificent train went out of the great court of the palace, and then--as she heard the chanting of priests--she realized that she had lost her crown, and knew whither her faithless brother was proceeding.
She ground her teeth as her fancy painted all that was now about to happen. Euergetes was being borne to the temple of Ptah, and proclaimed by its astonished chief-priests, as King of Upper and Lower Egypt, and successor to Philometor. Four pigeons would be let fly in his presence to announce to the four quarters of the heavens that a new sovereign had mounted the throne of his fathers, and amid prayer and sacrifice a golden sickle would be presented to him with which, according to ancient custom, he would cut an ear of corn.
Betrayed by her brother, abandoned by her husband, parted from her children, scorned by the man she had loved, dethroned and powerless, too weak and too utterly crushed to dream of revenge--she spent two interminably long hours in the keenest anguish of mind, shut up in her prison which was overloaded with splendor and with gifts. If poison had been within her reach, in that hour she would unhesitatingly have put an end to her ruined life. Now she walked restlessly up and down, asking herself what her fate would be, and now she flung herself on the couch and gave herself up to dull despair.
There lay the lyre she had given to her brother; her eye fell on the relievo of the marriage of Cadmus and Harmonia, and on the figure of a woman who was offering a jewel to the bride. The bearer of the gift was the goddess of love, and the ornament she gave--so ran the legend--brought misfortune on those who inherited it. All the darkest hours of her life revived in her memory, and the blackest of them all had come upon her as the outcome of Aphrodite's gifts. She thought with a shudder of the murdered Roman, and remembered the moment when Eulaeus had told her that her Bithynian lover had been killed by wild beasts. She rushed from one door to another--the victim of the avenging Eumenides--shrieked from the window for rescue and help, and in that one hour lived through a whole year of agonies and terrors.
At last--at last, the door of the room was opened, and Euergetes came towards her, clad in the purple, with the crown of the two countries on his grand head, radiant with triumph and delight.
"All hail to you, sister!" he exclaimed in a cheerful tone, and lifting the heavy crown from his curling hair. "You ought to be proud to-day, for your own brother has risen to high estate, and is now King of Upper and Lower Egypt."
Cleopatra turned from him, but he followed her and tried to take her hand. She however snatched it away, exclaiming:
"Fill up the measure of your deeds, and insult the woman whom you have robbed and made a widow. It was with a prophecy on your lips that you went forth just now to perpetrate your greatest crime; but it falls on your own head, for you laugh over our misfortune--and it cannot regard me, for my blood does not run cold; I am not overwhelmed nor hopeless, and I shall--"
"You," interrupted Euergetes, at first with a loud voice, which presently became as gentle as though he were revealing to her the prospect of a future replete with enjoyment, "You shall retire to your roof-tent with your children, and there you shall be read to as much as you like, eat as many dainties as you can, wear as many splendid dresses as you can desire, receive my visits and gossip with me as often as my society may seem agreeable to you--as yours is to me now and at all times. Besides all this you may display your sparkling wit before as many Greek and Jewish men of letters or learning as you can command, till each and all are dazzled to blindness. Perhaps even before that you may win back your freedom, and with it a full treasury, a stable full of noble horses, and a magnificent residence in the royal palace on the Bruchion in gay Alexandria. It depends only on how soon our brother Philometor--who fought like a lion this morning--perceives that he is more fit to be a commander of horse, a lute-player, an attentive host of word-splitting guests--than the ruler of a kingdom. Now, is it not worthy of note to those who, like you and me, sister, love to investigate the phenomena of our spiritual life, that this man--who in peace is as yielding as wax, as week as a reed--is as tough and as keen in battle as a finely tempered sword? We hacked bravely at each other's shields, and I owe this slash here on my shoulder to him. If Hierax--who is in pursuit of him with his horsemen--is lucky and catches him in time, he will no doubt give up the crown of his own free will."
"Then he is not yet in your power, and he had time to mount a horse!" cried Cleopatra, her eyes sparkling with satisfaction; "then all is not yet lost for us. If Philometor can but reach Rome, and lay our case before the Senate--"
"Then he might certainly have some prospect of help from the Republic, for Rome does not love to see a strong king on the throne of Egypt," said Euergetes. "But you have lost your mainstay by the Tiber, and I am about to make all the Scipios and the whole gens Cornelia my stanch allies, for I mean to have the deceased Roman burnt with the finest cedar-wood and Arabian spices; sacrifices shall be slaughtered at the same time as if he had been a reigning king, and his ashes shall be sent to Ostia and Rome in the costliest specimen of Vasa murrina that graces my treasure-house, and on a ship specially fitted, and escorted by the noblest of my friends. The road to the rampart of a hostile city lies over corpses, and I, as general and king--"
Euergetes suddenly broke off in his sentence, for a loud noise and vehement talking were heard outside the door. Cleopatra too had not failed to observe it, and listened with alert attention; for on such a day and in these apartments every dialogue, every noise in the king's antechamber might be of grave purport.
Euergetes did not deceive himself in this matter any more than his sister, and he went towards the door holding the sacrificial sickle, which formed part of his regalia, in his right hand. But he had not crossed the room when Eulaeus rushed in, as pale as death, and calling out to his sovereign:
"The murderers have betrayed us; Publius Scipio is alive, and insists on being admitted to speak with you."
The king's armed hand fell by his side, and for a moment he gazed blankly into vacancy, but the next instant he had recovered himself, and roared in a voice which filled the room like rolling thunder:
"Who dares to hinder the entrance of my friend Publius Cornelius Scipio? And are you still here, Eulaeus--you scoundrel and you villain! The first case that I, as King of Upper and Lower Egypt, shall open for trial will be that which this man--who is your foe and my friend--proposes to bring against you. Welcome! most welcome on my birthday, my noble friend!"
The last words were addressed to Publius, who now entered the room with stately dignity, and clad in the ample folds of the white toga worn by Romans of high birth. He held a sealed roll or despatch in his right hand, and, while he bowed respectfully to Cleopatra, he seemed entirely to overlook the hands King Euergetes held out in welcome. After his first greeting had been disdained by the Roman, Euergetes would not have offered him a second if his life had depended on it. He crossed his arms with royal dignity, and said:
"I am grieved to receive your good wishes the last of all that have been offered me on this happy day."
"Then you must have changed your mind," replied Publius, drawing up his slight figure, which was taller than the king's, "You have no lack of docile instruments, and last night you were fully determined to receive my first congratulations in the realm of shades."
"My sister," answered Euergetes, shrugging his shoulders, "was only yesterday singing the praises of your uncultured plainness of speech; but to-day it is your pleasure to speak in riddles like an Egyptian oracle."
"They cannot, however, be difficult to solve by you and your minions," replied Publius coldly, as he pointed to Eulaeus. "The serpents which you command have powerful poisons and sharp fangs at their disposal; this time, however, they mistook their victim, and have sent a poor recluse of Serapis to Hades instead of one of their king's guests."
"Your enigma is harder than ever," cried the king. "My intelligence at least is unequal to solve it, and I must request you to speak in less dark language or else to explain your meaning."
"Later, I will," said Publius emphatically, "but these things concern myself alone, and I stand here now commissioned by the State of Rome which I serve. To-day Juventius Thalna will arrive here as ambassador from the Republic, and this document from the Senate accredits me as its representative until his arrival."
Euergetes took the sealed roll which Publius offered to him. While he tore it open, and hastily looked through its contents, the door was again thrown open and Hierax, the king's trusted friend, appeared on the threshold with a flushed face and hair in disorder.
"We have him!" he cried before he came in. "He fell from his horse near Heliopolis."
"Philometor?" screamed Cleopatra, flinging herself upon Hierax. "He fell from his horse--you have murdered him?"
The tone in which the words were said, so full of grief and horror that the general said compassionately:
"Calm yourself, noble lady; your husband's wound in the forehead is not dangerous. The physicians in the great hall of the temple of the Sun bound it up, and allowed me to bring him hither on a litter."
Without hearing Hierax to the end Cleopatra flew towards the door, but Euergetes barred her way and gave his orders with that decision which characterized him, and which forbade all contradiction:
"You will remain here till I myself conduct you to him. I wish to have you both near me."
"So that you may force us by every torment to resign the throne!" cried Cleopatra. "You are in luck to-day, and we are your prisoners."
"You are free, noble queen," said the Roman to the poor woman, who was trembling in every limb. "And on the strength of my plenipotentiary powers I here demand the liberty of King Philometor, in the name of the Senate of Rome."
At these words the blood mounted to King Euergetes' face and eyes, and, hardly master of himself, he stammered out rather than said:
"Popilius Laenas drew a circle round my uncle Antiochus, and threatened him with the enmity of Rome if he dared to overstep it. You might excel the example set you by your bold countryman--whose family indeed was far less illustrious than yours--but I--I--"
"You are at liberty to oppose the will of Rome," interrupted Publius with dry formality, "but, if you venture on it, Rome, by me, will withdraw her friendship. I stand here in the name of the Senate, whose purpose it is to uphold the treaty which snatched this country from the Syrians, and by which you and your brother pledged yourselves to divide the realm of Egypt between you. It is not in my power to alter what has happened here; but it is incumbent on me so to act as to enable Rome to distribute to each of you that which is your due, according to the treaty ratified by the Republic.
"In all questions which bear upon that compact Rome alone must decide, and it is my duty to take care that the plaintiff is not prevented from appearing alive and free before his protectors. So, in the name of the Senate, King Euergetes, I require you to permit King Philometor your brother, and Queen Cleopatra your sister, to proceed hence, whithersoever they will." Euergetes, breathing hard in impotent fury, alternately doubling his fists, and extending his quivering fingers, stood opposite the Roman who looked enquiringly in his face with cool composure; for a short space both were silent. Then Euergetes, pushing his hands through his hair, shook his head violently from side to side, and exclaimed:
"Thank the Senate from me, and say that I know what we owe to it, and admire the wisdom which prefers to see Egypt divided rather than united in one strong hand--Philometor is free, and you also Cleopatra."
For a moment he was again silent, then he laughed loudly, and cried to the queen:
"As for you sister--your tender heart will of course bear you on the wings of love to the side of your wounded husband."
Cleopatra's pale cheeks had flushed scarlet at the Roman's speech; she vouchsafed no answer to her brother's ironical address, but advanced proudly to the door. As she passed Publius she said with a farewell wave of her pretty hand.
"We are much indebted to the Senate."
Publius bowed low, and she, turning away from him, quitted the room.
"You have forgotten your fan, and your children!" the king called after her; but Cleopatra did not hear his words, for, once outside her brother's apartment, all her forced and assumed composure flew to the winds; she clasped her hands on her temples, and rushed down the broad stairs of the palace as if she were pursued by fiends.
When the sound of her steps had died away, Euergetes turned to the Roman and said:
"Now, as you have fulfilled what you deem to be your duty, I beg of you to explain the meaning of your dark speeches just now, for they were addressed to Euergetes the man, and not the king. If I understood you rightly you meant to imply that your life had been attempted, and that one of those extraordinary old men devoted to Serapis had been murdered instead of you."
"By your orders and those of your accomplice Eulaeus," answered Publius coolly.
"Eulaeus, come here!" thundered the king to the trembling courtier, with a fearful and threatening glare in his eyes. "Have you hired murderers to kill my friend--this noble guest of our royal house--because he threatened to bring your crimes to light?"
"Mercy!" whimpered Eulaeus sinking on his knees before the king.
"He confesses his crime!" cried Euergetes; he laid his hand on the girdle of his weeping subordinate, and commanded Hierax to hand him over without delay to the watch, and to have him hanged before all beholders by the great gate of the citadel. Eulaeus tried to pray for mercy and to speak, but the powerful officer, who hated the contemptible wretch, dragged him up, and out of the room.
"You were quite right to lay your complaint before me," said Euergetes while Eulaeus cries and howls were still audible on the stairs. "And you see that I know how to punish those who dare to offend a guest."
"He has only met with the portion he has deserved for years," replied Publius. "But now that we stand face to face, man to man, I must close my account with you too. In your service and by your orders Eulaeus set two assassins to lie in wait for me--"
"Publius Cornelius Scipio!" cried the king, interrupting his enemy in an ominous tone; but the Roman went on, calmly and quietly:
"I am saying nothing that I cannot support by witnesses; and I have truly set forth, in two letters, that king Euergetes during the past night has attempted the life of an ambassador from Rome. One of these despatches is addressed to my father, the other to Popilius Lamas, and both are already on their way to Rome. I have given instructions that they are to be opened if, in the course of three months reckoned from the present date, I have not demanded them back. You see you must needs make it convenient to protect my life, and to carry out whatever I may require of you. If you obey my will in everything I may demand, all that has happened this night shall remain a secret between you and me and a third person, for whose silence I will be answerable; this I promise you, and I never broke my word."
"Speak," said the king flinging himself on the couch, and plucking the feathers from the fan Cleopatra had forgotten, while Publius went on speaking.
"First I demand a free pardon for Philotas of Syracuse, 'relative of the king,' and president of the body of the Chrematistes, his immediate release, with his wife, from their forced labor, and their return from the mines."
"They both are dead," said Euergetes, "my brother can vouch for it."
"Then I require you to have it declared by special decree that Philotas was condemned unjustly, and that he is reinstated in all the dignities he was deprived of. I farther demand that you permit me and my friend Lysias of Corinth, as well as Apollodorus the sculptor, to quit Egypt without let or hindrance, and with us Klea and Irene, the daughters of Philotas, who serve as water-bearers in the temple of Serapis.--Do you hesitate as to your reply?"
"No," answered the king, and he tossed up his hand. "For this once I have lost the game."
"The daughters of Philotas, Klea and Irene," continued Publius with imperturbable coolness, "are to have the confiscated estates of their parents restored to them."
"Then your sweetheart's beauty does not satisfy you!" interposed Euergetes satirically.
"It amply satisfies me. My last demand is that half of this wealth shall be assigned to the temple of Serapis, so that the god may give up his serving-maidens willingly, and without raising any objections. The other half shall be handed over to Dicearchus, my agent in Alexandria, because it is my will that Klea and Irene shall not enter my own house or that of Lysias in Corinth as wives, without the dowry that beseems their rank. Now, within one hour, I must have both the decree and the act of restitution in my hands, for as soon as Juventius Thalna arrives here--and I expect him, as I told you this very day--we propose to leave Memphis, and to take ship at Alexandria."
"A strange conjuncture!" cried Euergetes. "You deprive me alike of my revenge and my love, and yet I see myself compelled to wish you a pleasant journey. I must offer a sacrifice to Poseidon, to the Cyprian goddess, and to the Dioscurides that they may vouchsafe your ship a favorable voyage, although it will carry the man who in the future, can do us more injury at Rome by his bitter hostility, than any other."
"I shall always take the part of which ever of you has justice on his side."
Publius quitted the room with a proud wave of his hand, and Euergetes, as soon as the door had closed behind the Roman, sprang from his couch, shook his clenched fist in angry threat, and cried:
You, you obstinate fellow and your haughty patrician clan may do me mischief enough by the Tiber; and yet perhaps I may win the game in spite of you!
"You cross my path in the name of the Roman Senate. If Philometor waits in the antechambers of consuls and senators we certainly may chance to meet there, but I shall also try my luck with the people and the tribunes.
"It is very strange! This head of mine hits upon more good ideas in an hour than a cool fellow like that has in a year, and yet I am beaten by him--and if I am honest I can not but confess that it was not his luck alone, but his shrewdness that gained the victory. He may be off as soon as he likes with his proud Hera--I can find a dozen Aphrodites in Alexandria in her place!
"I resemble Hellas and he Rome, such as they are at present. We flutter in the sunshine, and seize on all that satisfies our intellect or gratifies our senses: they gaze at the earth, but walk on with a firm step to seek power and profit. And thus they get ahead of us, and yet--I would not change with them."