Even this usage was grievous to Cleomenes, but his hopes for the future received a greater shock from the following incident. Ptolemy the son of Chrysermus, a friend of King Ptolemy, had all the while been on friendly terms with Cleomenes, and they were quite intimate and outspoken with one another.
This Ptolemy, then, now that Cleomenes begged a visit from him, came and conversed in a reasonable way with him, seeking to remove his suspicions and excusing the conduct of the king; but when he was leaving the house and did not perceive that Cleomenes was following on behind him as far as the doors, he bitterly reproached the guards for the careless and easy watch they kept upon a great wild beast that was so hard to keep.
Cleomenes heard this with his own ears, and without Ptolemy's being aware of his presence went back and told his friends. At once, then, they all abandoned the hopes they had been cherishing and wrathfully determined to avenge themselves on Ptolemy for his injustice and insolence, and die in a manner worthy of Sparta, instead of waiting like sacrificial victims to be first fattened and then smitten down.
For it was an intolerable thing that Cleomenes, after scorning to come to terms with Antigonus, a man who fought well and wrought much, should sit idly down and await the leisure of a begging-priest of a king, who, as soon as he could lay aside his timbrel and stop his dancing, would slay him.