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CLEOPATRA AND ANTONY.
Cleopatra espouses Antony's cause.--Her motives.--Antony's early
life.--His character.--Personal habits of Antony.--His dress and
manners.--Vicious indulgences of Antony.--Public condemnation.--Vices of
the great.--Candidates for office.--Antony's excesses.--His luxury and
extravagance.--Antony's energy.--His powers of endurance.--Antony's
vicissitudes.--He inveighs away the troops of Lepidus.--Antony's
marriage.--Fulvia's character.--Fulvia's influence over Antony.--The
sudden return.--Change in Antony's character.--His generosity.--Funeral
ceremonies of Brutus.--Antony's movements.--Antony's summons to
Cleopatra.--The messenger Dellius.--Cleopatra resolves to go to
Antony.--Her preparations.--Cleopatra enters the Cydnus.--Her splendid
barge.--A scene of enchantment.--Antony's invitation refused.
--Cleopatra's reception of Antony.--Antony outdone.--Murder of
ArsinoŽ.--Cleopatra's manner of life at Tarsus.--Cleopatra's
munificence.--Story of the pearls.--Position of Fulvia.--Her anxiety and
distress.--Antony proposes to go to Rome.--His plans frustrated by
Cleopatra.--Antony's infatuation.--Feasting and revelry.--Philotas.--The
story of the eight boats.--Antony's son.--The garrulous guest.--The
puzzle.--The gold and silver plate returned.--Debasing pleasures.
--Antony and Cleopatra in disguise.--Fishing excursions.--Stratagems.
--Fulvia's plans for compelling Antony to return.--Departure of
Antony.--Chagrin of Cleopatra.
How far Cleopatra was influenced, in her determination to espouse the
cause of Antony rather than that of Brutus and Cassius, in the civil war
described in the last chapter, by gratitude to Caesar, and how far, on
the other hand, by personal interest in Antony, the reader must judge.
Cleopatra had seen Antony, it will be recollected, some years before,
during his visit to Egypt, when she was a young girl. She was doubtless
well acquainted with his character. It was a character peculiarly
fitted, in some respects, to captivate the imagination of a woman so
ardent, and impulsive, and bold as Cleopatra was fast becoming.
Antony had, in fact, made himself an object of universal interest
throughout the world, by his wild and eccentric manners and reckless
conduct, and by the very extraordinary vicissitudes which had marked his
career. In moral character he was as utterly abandoned and depraved as
it was possible to be. In early life, as has already been stated, he
plunged into such a course of dissipation and extravagance that he
became utterly and hopelessly ruined; or, rather, he would have been so,
had he not, by the influence of that magic power of fascination which
such characters often possess, succeeded in gaining a great ascendency
over a young man of immense fortune, named Curio, who for a time upheld
him by becoming surety for his debts. This resource, however, soon
failed, and Antony was compelled to abandon Rome, and to live for some
years as a fugitive and exile, in dissolute wretchedness and want.
During all the subsequent vicissitudes through which he passed in the
course of his career, the same habits of lavish expenditure continued,
whenever he had funds at his command. This trait of character took the
form sometimes of a noble generosity. In his campaigns, the plunder
which he acquired he usually divided among his soldiers, reserving
nothing for himself. This made his men enthusiastically devoted to him,
and led them to consider his prodigality as a virtue, even when they did
not themselves derive any direct advantage from it. A thousand stories
were always in circulation in camp of acts on his part illustrating his
reckless disregard of the value of money, some ludicrous, and all
eccentric and strange.
In his personal habits, too, he was as different as possible from other
men. He prided himself on being descended from Hercules, and he affected
a style of dress and a general air and manner in accordance with the
savage character of this his pretended ancestor. His features were
sharp, his nose was arched and prominent, and he wore his hair and beard
very long--as long, in fact, as he could make them grow. These
peculiarities imparted to his countenance a very wild and ferocious
expression. He adopted a style of dress, too, which, judged of with
reference to the prevailing fashions of the time, gave to his whole
appearance a rough, savage, and reckless air. His manner and demeanor
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