Amasis embraced his wife and daughter in the eyes of all his people; and held up his little grandson, Prince Necho, to their gaze, the sight eliciting cries of joy on all sides. But Psamtik, the child’s own father, stood by the while, tearless and motionless. The king appeared not to observe him, until Neithotep approached, and leading him to his father, joined their hands and called down the blessing of the gods upon the royal house.
At this the Egyptians fell on their knees with uplifted hands. Amasis clasped his son to his heart, and when the high-priest had concluded his prayer, the following colloquy between the latter and Amasis took place in low tones:
“Let peace be between us for our own and Egypt’s sake!”
“Hast thou received Nebenchari’s letter?”
“A Samian pirate-vessel is in pursuit of Phanes’ trireme.”
“Behold the child of thy predecessor Hophra, the rightful heiress of the Egyptian throne, departing unhindered to a distant land!”
“The works of the Greek temple now building in Memphis shall be discontinued.”
“May Isis grant us peace, and may prosperity and happiness increase in our land!”
The Greek colonists in Naukratis had prepared a feast to celebrate the departure of their protector’s daughter.
Numerous animals had been slaughtered in sacrifice on the altars of the Greek divinities, and the Nile-boats were greeted with a loud cry of “Ailinos” on their arrival in the harbor.
A bridal wreath, composed of a hoop of gold wound round with scented violets, was presented to Nitetis by a troop of young girls in holiday dresses, the act of presentation being performed by Sappho, as the most beautiful among the maidens of Naukratis.
On accepting the gift Nitetis kissed her forehead in token of gratitude. The triremes were already waiting; she went on board, the rowers took their oars and began the Keleusma.
[The measure of the Keleusma was generally given by a flute-player, the Trieraules. AEschylus, Persians 403. Laert. Diog. IV. 22. In the Frogs of Aristophanes the inhabitants of the marshes are made to sing the Keleusma, v. 205. The melody, to the measure of which the Greek boatmen usually timed their strokes.]
Ailinos rang across the water from a thousand voices. Bartja stood on the deck, and waved a last loving farewell to his betrothed; while Sappho prayed in silence to Aphrodite Euploia, the protectress of those who go down to the sea in ships. A tear rolled down her cheek, but around her lips played a smile of love and hope, though her old slave Melitta, who accompanied her to carry her parasol, was weeping as if her heart would break. On seeing, however, a few leaves fall from her darling’s wreath, she forgot her tears for a moment and whispered softly: “Yes, dear heart, it is easy to see that you are in love; when the leaves fall from a maiden’s wreath, ’tis a sure sign that her heart has been touched by Eros.