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Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 58 pages of information about An Egyptian Princess Volume 03.

“Quick, quick, our time is short,” interrupted Gyges.

“You are right.  I must be more brief.  By keeping for myself an ointment-box sparkling with jewels, taken from your father’s palace, I forfeited my life.  Croesus, however, pleaded for me with his conqueror Cyrus; my life and liberty were granted me, but I was declared a dishonored man.  Life in Persia became impossible with disgrace lying heavily on my soul; I took ship from Smyrna to Cyprus, entered the army there, fought against Amasis, and was brought hither by Phanes as a prisoner-of-war.  Having always served as a horse-soldier, I was placed among those slaves who had charge of the king’s horses, and in six years became an overseer.  Never have I forgotten the debt of gratitude I owe to your father; and now my turn has come to render him a service.”

“The matter concerns my father? then speak—­tell me, I beseech you!”

“Immediately.  Has Croesus offended the crown prince?”

“Not that I am aware of.”

“Your father is on a visit to Rhodopis this evening, at Naukratis?”

“How did you hear this?”

“From himself.  I followed him to the boat this morning and sought to cast myself at his feet.”

“And did you succeed?”

“Certainly.  He spoke a few gracious words with me, but could not wait to hear what I would say, as his companions were already on board when he arrived.  His slave Sandon, whom I know, told me that they were going to Naukratis, and would visit the Greek woman whom they call Rhodopis.”

“He spoke truly.”

“Then you must speed to the rescue.  At the time that the market-place was full.”

[The forenoon among the Greeks was regulated by the business of the market.  “When the market-place begins to fill, when it is full, when it becomes empty.”  It would be impossible to define this division of time exactly according to our modern methods of computation, but it seems certain that the market was over by the afternoon.  The busiest hours were probably from 10 till 1.  At the present day the streets of Athens are crowded during those hours; but in Summer from two to four o’clock are utterly deserted.]

“Ten carriages and two boats, full of Ethiopian soldiers under the command of an Egyptian captain, were sent off to Naukratis to surround the house of Rhodopis and make captives of her guests.”

“Ha, treachery!” exclaimed Gyges.

“But how can they wish to injure your father?” said Darius.  “They know that the vengeance of Cambyses—­”

“I only know,” repeated Bubares, “that this night the house of Rhodopis, in which your father is, will be surrounded by Ethiopian soldiers.  I myself saw to the horses which transport them thither and heard Pentaur, one of the crown-prince’s fan-bearers, call to them, ’Keep eyes and ears open, and let the house of Rhodopis be surrounded, lest he should escape by the back door.  If possible spare his life, and kill him only if he resist.  Bring him alive to Sais, and you shall receive twenty rings of gold.’”

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