Demetrius Plans His Escape
When the shipmaster had everything ready, and nothing
Preparations for the flight.
remained except for Demetrius to do his part, he
sent Diodorus to Syria to gather information, and
to watch the disposition of the people there.
His foster-brother Apollonius took part in this expedition;
and Demetrius also confided his secret to the two brothers
of Apollonius, Meleager and Menestheus, but to no one else
of all his suite, though that was numerous. These three
brothers were the sons of the Apollonius who occupied so
important a position at the court of Seleucus, but who had
removed to Miletus at the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes.
As the day agreed upon with the sailors approached, it was
arranged that one of his friends should give an entertainment
to serve as an excuse for Demetrius going out. For it was
impossible that he should sup at home; as it was his constant
habit, when he did so, to invite all his suite.
Polybius sends a warning to Demetrius.
Those who were in
the secret were to leave the house after supper and go to the
ship, taking one slave each with them; the rest they had sent
on to Anagnia, saying that they would follow next
day. It happened that at this time Polybius was
ill and confined to his bed; but he was kept acquainted with all that was going on by constant communications
from Menyllus. He was therefore exceedingly anxious, knowing Demetrius to be fond of conviviality and full of youthful
wilfulness, lest, by the entertainment being unduly prolonged,
some difficulty should arise from over-indulgence in wine to
prevent his getting away. He therefore wrote and sealed a
small tablet; and just as it was getting dusk sent a servant of
his own, with orders to ask for Demetrius's cupbearer and give
him the tablet, without saying who he was or from whom he
came, and to bid the cupbearer to give it to Demetrius to read
at once. His orders were carried out, and Demetrius read
the tablet, which contained the following apophthegms1
“"The ready hand bears off the sluggard's prize."
“"Night favours all, but more the daring heart."
“"Be bold: front danger: strike! then lose or win,
Care not, so you be true unto yourself."
“"Cool head and wise distrust are wisdom's sinews."