In the midst of this scene of festivity and pleasure, it was announced
to the queen that a large box had arrived for her. The box was brought
into the apartment. It had the appearance of containing some magnificent
present, sent in at that time by some friend in honor of the occasion.
The curiosity of the queen was excited to know what the mysterious
coffer might contain. She ordered it to be opened; and the guests
gathered around, each eager to obtain the first glimpse of the contents.
The lid was removed, and a cloth beneath it was raised, when, to the
unutterable horror of all who witnessed the spectacle, there was seen
the head and hands of Cleopatra's beautiful boy, lying among masses of
human flesh, which consisted of the rest of his body cut into pieces.
The head had been left entire, that the wretched mother might recognize
in the pale and lifeless features the countenance of her son. Physcon
had sent the box to Alexandria, with orders that it should be retained
until the evening of the birth-day, and then presented publicly to
Cleopatra in the midst of the festivities of the scene. The shrieks and
cries with which she filled the apartments of the palace at the first
sight of the dreadful spectacle, and the agony of long-continued and
inconsolable grief which followed, showed how well the cruel contrivance
of the tyrant was fitted to accomplish its end.

It gives us no pleasure to write, and we are sure it can give our
readers no pleasure to peruse, such shocking stories of bloody cruelty
as these. It is necessary, however, to a just appreciation of the
character of the great subject of this history, that we should
understand the nature of the domestic influences that reigned in the
family from which she sprung. In fact, it is due, as a matter of simple
justice to her, that we should know what these influences were, and what
were the examples set before her in her early life; since the privileges
and advantages which the young enjoy in their early years, and, on the
other hand, the evil influences under which they suffer, are to be taken
very seriously into the account when we are passing judgment upon the
follies and sins into which they subsequently fall.

[...]
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