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CLEOPATRA AND Caesar.
Cleopatra's perplexity.--She resolves To go to Alexandria.--Cleopatra's
message to Caesar.--Caesar's reply.--Apollodorus's stratagem.--Cleopatra
and Caesar--First impressions.--Caesar's attachment.--Caesar's wife.--His
fondness for Cleopatra.--Cleopatra's foes.--She commits her cause to
Caesar.--Caesar's pretensions.--He sends for Ptolemy.--Ptolemy's
indignation.--His complaints against Caesar.--Great tumult in the
city.--Excitement of the populace.--Caesar's forces--Ptolemy made
prisoner.--Caesar's address to the people.--Its effects.--The mob
dispersed.--Caesar convenes an assembly.--Caesar's decision.
--Satisfaction of the assembly.--Festivals and rejoicings.
--Pothinus and Achillas.--Plot of Pothinus and Achillas.--Escape
of Achillas.--March of the Egyptian army.--Measures of Caesar.
--Murder of the messengers.--Intentions of Achillas--Cold-blooded
assassination.--Advance of Achillas--Caesar's arrangements for
defense.--Cleopatra and Ptolemy.--Double dealing of Pothinus.--He is
detected.--Pothinus beheaded--ArsinoŽ and Ganymede--Flight of
ArsinoŽ--She is proclaimed queen by the army.--Perplexity of the young
In the mean time, while the events related in the last chapter were
taking place at Alexandria, Cleopatra remained anxious and uneasy in her
camp, quite uncertain, for a time, what it was best for her to do. She
wished to be at Alexandria. She knew very well that Caesar's power in
controlling the course of affairs in Egypt would necessarily be supreme.
She was, of course, very earnest in her desire to be able to present her
cause before him. As it was, Ptolemy and Pothinus were in communication
with the arbiter, and, for aught she knew, assiduously cultivating his
favor, while she was far away, her cause unheard, her wrongs unknown,
and perhaps even her existence forgotten. Of course, under such
circumstances, she was very earnest to get to Alexandria.
But how to accomplish this purpose was a source of great perplexity. She
could not march thither at the head of an army, for the army of the king
was strongly intrenched at Pelusium, and effectually barred the way. She
could not attempt to pass alone, or with few attendants, through the
country, for every town and village was occupied with garrisons and
officers under the orders of Pothinus, and she would be certainly
intercepted. She had no fleet, and could not, therefore, make the
passage by sea. Besides, even if she could by any means reach the gates
of Alexandria, how was she to pass safely through the streets of the
city to the palace where Caesar resided, since the city, except in
Caesar's quarters, was wholly in the hands of Pothinus's government? The
difficulties in the way of accomplishing her object seemed thus almost
She was, however, resolved to make the attempt. She sent a message to
Caesar, asking permission to appear before him and plead her own cause.
Caesar replied, urging her by all means to come. She took a single boat,
and with the smallest number of attendants possible, made her way along
the coast to Alexandria. The man on whom she principally relied in this
hazardous expedition was a domestic named Apollodorus. She had, however,
some other attendants besides. When the party reached Alexandria, they
waited until night, and then advanced to the foot of the walls of the
citadel. Here Apollodorus rolled the queen up in a piece of carpeting,
and, covering the whole package with a cloth, he tied it with a thong,
so as to give it the appearance of a bale of ordinary merchandise, and
then throwing the load across his shoulder, he advanced into the city.
Cleopatra was at this time about twenty-one years of age, but she was of
a slender and graceful form, and the burden was, consequently, not very
heavy. Apollodorus came to the gates of the palace where Caesar was
residing. The guards at the gates asked him what it was that he was
carrying. He said that it was a present for Caesar. So they allowed him
to pass, and the pretended porter carried his package safely in.
When it was unrolled, and Cleopatra came out to view, Caesar was
perfectly charmed with the spectacle. In fact, the various conflicting
emotions which she could not but feel under such circumstances as these,
imparted a double interest to her beautiful and expressive face, and to
her naturally bewitching manners. She was excited by the adventure
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