An Egyptian Princess — Complete eBook

Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 688 pages of information about An Egyptian Princess — Complete.

“The king will soon be here,” called out the head-steward of the table, of the great court-lords, to the king’s cup-bearer, who was a member of the royal family.  “Are all the wine-jugs full, has the wine been tasted, are the goblets ranged in order, and the skins sent by Polykrates, have they been emptied?”

“Yes,” answered the cup-bearer, “everything is ready, and that Chian wine is better than any I ever tasted; indeed, in my opinion, even the Syrian is not to be compared to it.  Only taste it.”

So saying he took a graceful little golden goblet from the table in one hand, raised a wine-pitcher of the same costly metal with the other, swung the latter high into the air and poured the wine so cleverly into the narrow neck of the little vessel that not a drop was lost, though the liquid formed a wide curve in its descent.  He then presented the goblet to the head-steward with the tips of his fingers, bowing gracefully as he did so.

The latter sipped the delicious wine, testing its flavor with great deliberation, and said, on returning the cup:  “I agree with you, it is indeed a noble wine, and tastes twice as well when presented with such inimitable grace.  Strangers are quite right in saying that there are no cupbearers like the Persian.”

“Thanks for this praise,” replied the other, kissing his friend’s forehead.  “Yes, I am proud of my office, and it is one which the king only gives to his friends.  Still it is a great plague to have to stay so long in this hot, suffocating Babylon.  Shall we ever be off for the summer, to Ecbatana or Pasargada?”

“I was talking to the king about it to-day.  He had intended not to leave before the Massagetan war, and to go straight from Babylon into the field, but to-day’s embassy has changed matters; it is probable that there may be no war, and then we shall go to Susa three days after the king’s marriage—­that is, in one week from the present time.”

“To Susa?” cried the cup-bearer.  “It’s very little cooler there than here, and besides, the old Memnon’s castle is being rebuilt.”

“The satrap of Susa has just brought word that the new palace is finished, and that nothing so brilliant has ever been seen.  Directly Cambyses heard, it he said:  Then we will start for Susa three days after our marriage.  I should like to show the Egyptian Princess that we understand the art of building as well as her own ancestors.  She is accustomed to hot weather on the Nile, and will not find our beautiful Susa too warm.’  The king seems wonderfully fond of this woman.”

“He does indeed!  All other women have become perfectly indifferent to him, and he means soon to make her his queen.”

“That is unjust; Phaedime, as daughter of the Achaemenidae, has an older and better right.”

“No doubt, but whatever the king wishes, must be right.”

“The ruler’s will is the will of God.”

“Well said!  A true Persian will kiss his king’s hand, even when dripping with the blood of his own child.”

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An Egyptian Princess — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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