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obvious, as it appeared to him, that Cleopatra had ceased to desire to 

die; that she now, on the contrary, wished to live, and that he should 

accordingly succeed in his desire of taking her him to grace his triumph 

at Rome. He accordingly made his arrangements for departure, and 

Cleopatra was notified that in three days she was to set out, together 

with her children, to go into Syria. Octavius said Syria, as he did not 

wish to alarm Cleopatra by speaking of Rome. She, however, understood 

well where the journey, if once commenced, would necessarily end, and 

she was fully determined in her own mind that she would never go there. 


She asked to be allowed to pay one parting visit to Antony's tomb. This 

request was granted; and she went to the tomb with a few attendants, 

carrying with her chaplets and garlands of flowers. At the tomb her 

grief broke forth anew, and was as violent as ever. She bewailed her 

lover's death with loud cries and lamentations, uttered while she was 

placing the garlands upon the tomb, and offering the oblations and 

incense, which were customary in those days, as expressions of grief. 

"These," said she, as she made the offerings, "are the last tributes of 

affection that I can ever pay thee, my dearest, dearest lord. I can not 

join thee, for I am a captive and a prisoner, and they will not let me 

die. They watch me every hour, and are going to bear me far away, to 

exhibit me to thine enemies, as a badge and trophy of their triumph over 

thee. Oh intercede, dearest Antony, with the gods where thou art now, 

since those that reign here on earth have utterly forsaken me; implore 

them to save me from this fate, and let me die here in my native land, 

and be buried by thy side in this tomb." 


When Cleopatra returned to her apartment again after this melancholy 

ceremony, she seemed to be more composed than she had been before. She 

went to the bath, and then she attired herself handsomely for supper. 

She had ordered supper that night to be very sumptuously served. She was 

at liberty to make these arrangements, for the restrictions upon her 

movements, which had been imposed at first, were now removed, her 

appearance and demeanor having been for some time such as to lead 

Octavius to suppose that there was no longer any danger that she would 

attempt self-destruction. Her entertainment was arranged, therefore, 

according to her directions, in a manner corresponding with the customs 

of her court when she had been a queen. She had many attendants, and 

among them were two of her own women. These women were long-tried and 

faithful servants and friends. 


While she was at supper, a man tame to the door with a basket, and 

wished to enter. The guards asked him what he had in his basket. He 

opened it to let them see; and, lifting up some green leaves which were 

laid over the top, he showed the soldiers that the basket was filled 

with figs. He said that they were for Cleopatra's supper. The soldiers 

admired the appearance of the figs, saying that they were very fine and 

beautiful. The man asked the soldiers to take some of them. This they 

declined, but allowed the man to pass in. When the supper was ended, 

Cleopatra sent all of her attendants away except the two women. They 

remained. After a little time, one of these women came out with a letter 

for Octavius, which Cleopatra had written, and which she wished to have 

immediately delivered. One of the soldiers from the guard stationed at 

the gates was accordingly dispatched to carry the letter. Octavius, when 

it was given to him, opened the envelope at once and read the letter, 

which was written, as was customary in those days, on a small tablet of 

metal. He found that it was a brief but urgent petition from Cleopatra, 

written evidently in agitation and excitement, praying that he would 

overlook her offense, and allow her to be buried with Antony. Octavius 

immediately inferred that she had destroyed herself. He sent off some 

messengers at once, with orders to go directly to her place of 

confinement and ascertain the truth, intending to follow them himself 



The messengers, on their arrival at the gates, found the sentinels and 

soldiers quietly on guard before the door, as if all were well. On 

entering Cleopatra's room, however, they beheld a shocking spectacle. 

Cleopatra was lying dead upon a couch. One of her women was upon the 

floor, dead too. The other, whose name was Charmian, was sitting over 

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