It is not probable that Antony felt any very strong affection for his
new wife, beautiful and gentle as she was. A man, in fact, who had led
such a life as his had been, must have become by this time incapable of
any strong and pure attachment. He, however, was pleased with the
novelty of his acquisition, and seemed to forget for a time the loss of
Cleopatra. He remained with Octavia a year. After that he went away on
certain military enterprises which kept him some time from her. He
returned again, and again he went away. All this time Octavia's
influence over him and over her brother was of the most salutary and
excellent character. She soothed their animosities, quieted their
suspicions and jealousies, and at one time, when they were on the brink
of open war, she effected a reconciliation between them by the most
courageous and energetic, and at the same time, gentle and unassuming
efforts. At the time of this danger she was with her husband in Greece;
but she persuaded him to send her to her brother at Rome, saying that
she was confident that she could arrange a settlement of the
difficulties impending. Antony allowed her to go. She proceeded to Rome,
and procured an interview with her brother in the presence of his two
principal officers of state. Here she pleaded her husband's cause with
tears in her eyes; she defended his conduct, explained what seemed to be
against him, and entreated her brother not to take such a course as
should cast her down from being the happiest of women to being the most
miserable. "Consider the circumstances of my case," said she. "The eyes
of the world are upon me. Of the two most powerful men in the world, I
am the wife of one and the sister of another. If you allow rash counsels
to go on and war to ensue, I am hopelessly ruined; for, whichever is
conquered, my husband or my brother, my own happiness will be for ever
gone."

Octavius sincerely loved his sister, and he was so far softened by her
entreaties that he consented to appoint an interview with Antony in
order to see if their difficulties could be settled. This interview was
accordingly held. The two generals came to a river, where, at the
opposite banks, each embarked in a boat, and, being rowed out toward
each other, they met in the middle of the stream. A conference ensued,
at which all the questions at issue were, for a time at least, very
happily arranged.

Antony, however, after a time, began to become tired of his wife, and to
sigh for Cleopatra once more. He left Octavia at Rome and proceeded to
the eastward, under pretense of attending to the affairs of that portion
of the empire; but, instead of doing this, he went to Alexandria, and
there renewed again his former intimacy with the Egyptian queen.

Octavius was very indignant at this. His former hostility to Antony,
which had been in a measure appeased by the kind influence of Octavia,
now broke forth anew, and was heightened by the feeling of resentment
naturally awakened by his sister's wrongs Public sentiment in Rome, too,
was setting very strongly against Antony. Lampoons were written, against
him to ridicule him and Cleopatra, and the most decided censures were
passed upon his conduct. Octavia was universally beloved, and the
sympathy which was every where felt for her increased and heightened
very much the popular indignation which was felt against the man who
could wrong so deeply such sweetness, and gentleness, and affectionate
fidelity as hers.

[...]
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