read the flying courser’s name
Upon his side in marks of flame;
And by their turban’d brows alone
The warriors of the East are known.
But in the lover’s glowing eyes,
The inlet to his bosom lies;
Through them we see the tiny mark,
Where Love has dropp’d his burning spark”
And thus, in work and amusement, jest, earnest, and mutual love, the weeks and months passed with Nitetis. Cambyses’ command that she was to be happy in his land had fulfilled itself, and by the time the Mesopotamian spring-tide (January, February and March), which succeeds the rainy month of December, was over, and the principal festival of the Asiatics, the New Year, had been solemnized at the equinox, and the May sun had begun to glow in the heavens, Nitetis felt quite at home in Babylon, and all the Persians knew that the young Egyptian princess had quite displaced Phaedime, the daughter of Otanes, in the king’s favor, and would certainly become his first and favorite wife.
Boges sank considerably in public estimation, for it was known that Cambyses had ceased to visit the harem, and the chief of the eunuchs had owed all his importance to the women, who were compelled to coax from Cambyses whatever Boges desired for himself or others. Not a day passed on which the mortified official did not consult with the supplanted favorite Phaedime, as to the best means of ruining Nitetis, but their most finely spun intrigues and artifices were baffled by the strength of king’s love and the blameless life of his royal bride.
Phaedime, impatient, mortified, and thirsting for vengeance, was perpetually urging Boges to some decided act; he, on the contrary, advised patience.
At last, however, after many weeks, he came to her full of joy, exclaiming: “I have devised a little plan which must ruin the Egyptian woman as surely as my name is Boges. When Bartja comes back, my treasure, our hour will have arrived.”
While saying this the creature rubbed his fat, soft hands, and, with his perpetual fulsome smile, looked as if he were feasting on some good deed performed. He did not, however, give Phaedime the faintest idea of the nature of his “little plan,” and only answered her pressing questions with the words: “Better lay your head in a lion’s jaws, than your secret in the ears of a woman. I fully acknowledge your courage, but at the same time advise you to remember that, though a man proves his courage in action, a woman’s is shown in obedience. Obey my words and await the issue in patience.” Nebenchari, the oculist, continued to attend the queen, but so carefully abstained from all intercourse with the Persians, that he became a proverb among them for his gloomy, silent ways. During the day he was to be found in the queen’s apartments, silently examining large rolls of papyri, which he called the book of Athotes and the sacred Ambres; at night, by permission of the king and the satraps of Babylon, he often ascended one of the high towers on the walls, called Tritantaechmes, in order to observe the stars.