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- The Sisters, v2 - 10/10 -


who had charge of the foreign envoys. This was an officer of very high rank, whose duty it was to provide for the representatives of foreign powers, and he was now near at hand, for he had long been waiting for an opportunity to offer to the queen a message of leave-taking from Publius Cornelius Scipio, and to tell her from him, that he had retired to his tent because a letter had come to him from Rome.

"Is that true?" asked the queen letting her feather fan droop, and looking her interlocutor severely in the face.

"The trireme Proteus, coming from Brundisium, entered the harbor of Eunostus only yesterday," he replied; "and an hour ago a mounted messenger brought the letter. Nor was it an ordinary letter but a despatch from the Senate--I know the form and seal."

"And Lysias, the Corinthian?"

"He accompanied the Roman."

"Has the Senate written to him too?" asked the queen annoyed, and ironically. She turned her back on the officer without any kind of courtesy, and turning again to the chamberlain she went on, in incisive tones, as if she were presiding at a trial:

"King Euergetes sits there among the Egyptians near the envoys from the temples of the Upper Country. He looks as it he were giving them a discourse, and they hang on his lips. What is he saying, and what does all this mean?"

"Before you came in, he was sitting with the Syrians and Jews, and telling them what the merchants and scribes, whom he sent to the South, have reported of the lands lying near the lakes through which the Nile is said to flow. He thinks that new sources of wealth have revealed themselves not far from the head of the sacred river which can hardly flow in from the ocean, as the ancients supposed."

"And now?" asked Cleopatra. "What information is he giving to the Egyptians?"

The chamberlain hastened towards Euergetes' couch, and soon returned to the queen--who meanwhile had exchanged a few friendly words with Onias, the Hebrew commander--and informed her in a low tone that the king was interpreting a passage from the Timaeus of Plato, in which Solon celebrates the lofty wisdom of the priests of Sais; he was speaking with much spirit, and the Egyptians received it with loud applause.

Cleopatra's countenance darkened more and more, but she concealed it behind her fan, signed to Philometor to approach, and whispered to him:

"Keep near Euergetes; he has a great deal too much to say to the Egyptians. He is extremely anxious to stand well with them, and those whom he really desires to please are completely entrapped by his portentous amiability. He has spoiled my evening, and I shall leave you to yourselves."

"Till to-morrow, then."

"I shall hear the Roman's complaint up on my roof-terrace; there is always a fresh air up there. If you wish to be present I will send for you, but first I would speak to him alone, for he has received letters from the Senate which may contain something of importance. So, till to-morrow."

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

And what is great--and what is small Behold, the puny Child of Man Evolution and annihilation Flattery is a key to the heart Hold pleasure to be the highest good Man is the measure of all things Museum of Alexandria and the Library One hand washes the other Prefer deeds to words What are we all but puny children?


The Sisters, v2 - 10/10

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