In her distress at this change Tachot confided her sorrows to Nitetis. The latter bade her take courage, and the two girls built many a castle in the air, picturing to themselves the happiness of being always together at one court, and married to two royal brothers. But as the days went by, the visits of the handsome prince became more and more rare, and when he did come, his behavior to Tachot was cold and distant. Yet the poor girl could not but confess that Bartja had grown handsomer and more manly during his stay in Egypt. An expression of proud and yet gentle consciousness lay beaming in his large eyes, and a strange dreamy air of rest often took the place of his former gay spirits. His cheeks had lost their brilliant color, but that added to his beauty, while it lessened hers, who, like him, became paler from day to day.
Melitta, the old slave, had taken the lovers under her protection. She had surprised them one morning, but the prince had given her such rich presents, and her darling had begged, flattered and coaxed so sweetly, that at last Melitta promised to keep their secret, and later, yielding to that natural impulse which moves all old women to favor lovers, had even given them every assistance in her power. She already saw her “sweet child” mistress of a hemisphere, often addressed her as “my Princess” and “my Queen” when none were by to hear, and in many a weak moment imagined a brilliant future for herself in some high office at the Persian court.
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A kind word hath far
more power than an angry one
Abuse not those who have outwitted thee
Cannot understand how trifles can make me so happy
Confess I would rather provoke a lioness than a woman
Curiosity is a woman’s vice
I cannot. . . . Say rather: I will not
In this immense temple man seemed a dwarf in his own eyes
Know how to honor beauty; and prove it by taking many wives
Mosquito-tower with which nearly every house was provided
Natural impulse which moves all old women to favor lovers
Sent for a second interpreter
Sing their libels on women (Greek Philosophers)
Those are not my real friends who tell me I am beautiful
Young Greek girls pass their sad childhood in close rooms
By Georg Ebers
Three days before the time fixed for the departure of Nitetis, Rhodopis had invited a large number of guests to her house at Naukratis, amongst whom Croesus and Gyges were included.
The two lovers had agreed to meet in the garden, protected by the darkness and the old slave, while the guests were occupied at the banquet. Melitta, therefore, having convinced herself that the guests were thoroughly absorbed in conversation, opened the garden-gate, admitted the prince, brought Sappho to him, and then retired, promising to warn them of any intruder by clapping her hands.