Some of the amusements and pleasures which Antony and Cleopatra pursued
were innocent in themselves, though wholly unworthy to be made the
serious business of life by personages on whom such exalted duties
rightfully devolved. They made various excursions upon the Nile, and
arranged parties of pleasure to go out on the water in the harbor, and
to various rural retreats in the environs of the city. Once they went
out on a fishing-party, in boats, in the port. Antony was unsuccessful;
and feeling chagrined that Cleopatra should witness his ill-luck, he
made a secret arrangement with some of the fishermen to dive down, where
they could do so unobserved, and fasten fishes to his hook under the
water. By this plan he caught very large and fine fish very fast.
Cleopatra, however, was too wary to be easily deceived by such a
stratagem as this. She observed the maneuver, but pretended not to
observe it; she expressed, on the other hand, the greatest surprise and
delight at Antony's good luck, and the extraordinary skill which it
indicated.

The next day she wished to go a fishing again, and a party was
accordingly made as on the day before. She had, however, secretly
instructed another fisherman to procure a dried and salted fish from the
market, and, watching his opportunity, to get down into the water under
the boats and attach it to the hook, before Antony's divers could get
there. This plan succeeded, and Antony, in the midst of a large and gay
party that were looking on, pulled out an excellent fish, cured and
dried, such as was known to every one as an imported article, bought in
the market. It was a fish of a kind that was brought originally from
Asia Minor. The boats and the water all around them resounded with the
shouts of merriment and laughter which this incident occasioned.

In the mean time, while Antony was thus spending his time in low and
ignoble pursuits and in guilty pleasures at Alexandria, his wife Fulvia,
after exhausting all other means of inducing her husband to return to
her, became desperate, and took measures for fomenting an open war,
which she thought would compel him to return. The extraordinary energy,
influence, and talent which Fulvia possessed, enabled her to do this in
an effectual manner. She organized an army, formed a camp, placed
herself at the head of the troops, and sent such tidings to Antony of
the dangers which threatened his cause as greatly alarmed him. At the
same time news came of great disasters in Asia Minor, and of alarming
insurrections among the provinces which had been committed to his charge
there. Antony saw that he must arouse himself from the spell which had
enchanted him and break away from Cleopatra, or that he would be wholly
and irretrievably ruined. He made, accordingly, a desperate effort to
get free. He bade the queen farewell, embarked hastily in a fleet of
galleys, and sailed away to Tyre, leaving Cleopatra in her palace,
vexed, disappointed, and chagrined.

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