Whatever of simplicity of character, and of gentleness and kindness of
spirit she might have possessed in her earlier years, of course
gradually disappeared under the influences of such a course of life as
she now was leading. She was beautiful and fascinating still, but she
began to grow selfish, heartless, and designing. Her little brother,--he
was but eleven years of age, it will be recollected, when Caesar arranged
the marriage between them,--was an object of jealousy to her. He was
now, of course, too young to take any actual share in the exercise of
the royal power, or to interfere at all in his sister's plans or
pleasures. But then he was growing older. In a few years he would be
fifteen,--which was the period of life fixed upon by Caesar's
arrangements, and, in fact, by the laws and usages of the Egyptian
kingdom,--when he was to come into possession of power as king, and as
the husband of Cleopatra. Cleopatra was extremely unwilling that the
change in her relations to him and to the government, which this period
was to bring, should take place. Accordingly, just before the time
arrived, she caused him to be poisoned. His death released her, as she
had intended, from all restraints, and thereafter she continued to reign
alone. During the remainder of her life, so far as the enjoyment of
wealth and power, and of all other elements of external prosperity could
go, Cleopatra's career was one of uninterrupted success. She had no
conscientious scruples to interfere with the most full and unrestrained
indulgence of every propensity of her heart, and the means of indulgence
were before her in the most unlimited profusion. The only bar to her
happiness was the impossibility of satisfying the impulses and passions
of the human soul, when they once break over the bounds which the laws
both of God and of nature ordain for restraining them.

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