[It is no longer a matter of question, that before the time of the Persians, and therefore at this point of our history, no money had been coined in Egypt. The precious metals were weighed out and used as money in the shape of rings, animals, etc. On many of the monuments we see people purchasing goods and weighing out the gold in payment; while others are paying their tribute in gold rings. These rings were in use as a medium of payment up to the time of the Ptolemies. Pliny XXXIII. I. Balances with weights in the form of animals may be seen in Wilkinson. During the reigns of the Ptolemies many coins were struck.]
“But could that allude to my father?”
“Certainly not,” cried Darius.
“It is impossible to say,” murmured Bubares. “In this country one can never know what may happen.”
“How long does it take for a good horse to reach Naukratis?”
“Three hours, if he can go so long, and the Nile has not overflowed the road too much.”
“I will be there in two.”
“I shall ride with you,” said Darius.
“No, you must remain here with Zopyrus for Bartja’s protection. Tell the servants to get ready.”
“Yes, you will stay here and excuse me to Amasis. Say I could not come to the evening revel on account of headache, toothache, sickness, anything you like.”
“I shall ride Bartja’s Nicaean horse; and you, Bubares, will follow me on Darius’s. You will lend him, my brother?”
“If I had ten thousand, you should have them all.”
“Do you know the way to Naukratis, Bubares?”
“Then go, Darius, and tell them to get your
horse and Bartja’s ready!
To linger would be sin. Farewell Darius, perhaps forever! Protect
Bartja! Once more, farewell!”
It wanted two hours of midnight. Bright light was streaming through the open windows of Rhodopis’ house, and sounds of mirth and gaiety fell on the ear. Her table had been adorned with special care in Croesus’ honor.
On the cushions around it lay the guests with whom we are already acquainted: Theodorus, Ibykus, Phanes, Aristomachus, the merchant Theopompus of Miletus, Croesus and others, crowned with chaplets of poplar and roses.
Theodorus the sculptor was speaking: “Egypt seems to me,” he said, “like a girl who persists in wearing a tight and painful shoe only because it is of gold, while within her reach he beautiful and well-fitting slippers in which she could move at ease, if she only would.”
“You refer to the Egyptians’ pertinacity in retaining traditional forms and customs?” asked Croesus.