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Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 561 pages of information about An Egyptian Princess Complete.

“Three days after I had taken leave of Atossa I had to marry Artystone, the daughter of Gobryas.  She is beautiful, and would make any other man happy.  The day after the wedding the Angare reached Babylon with the news of your illness.  My mind was made up at once; I begged the king to let me go to you, nurse you, and warn you of the danger which threatens your life in Egypt—­took leave of my bride, in spite of all my father-in-law’s protestations, and went off at full speed with Prexaspes, never resting till I reached your side, my dear Bartja.  Now I shall go with you and Zopyrus to Egypt, for Gyges must accompany the ambassador to Samos, as interpreter.  This is the king’s command; he has been in better spirits the last few days; the inspection of the masses of troops coming up to Babylon diverts him, besides which, the Chaldaeans have assured him that the planet Adar, which belongs to their war-god Chanon, promises a great victory to the Persian arms.  When do you think you shall be able to travel, Bartja?”

“To-morrow, if you like,” was the answer.  “The doctors say the sea-voyage will do me good, and the journey by land to Smyrna is very short.”

“And I can assure you,” added Zopyrus, “that Sappho will cure you sooner than all the doctors in the world.”

“Then we will start in three days;” said Darius after some consideration, “we have plenty to do before starting.  Remember we are going into what may almost be called an enemy’s country.  I have been thinking the matter over, and it seems to me that Bartja must pass for a Babylonian carpet-merchant, I for his brother, and Zopyrus for a dealer in Sardian red.”

“Couldn’t we be soldiers?” asked Zopyrus.  “It’s such an ignominious thing to be taken for cheating peddlers.  How would it be, for instance, if we passed ourselves off for Lydian soldiers, escaped from punishment, and seeking service in the Egyptian army?”

“That’s not a bad idea,” said Bartja, “and I think too that we look more like soldiers than traders.”

“Looks and manner are no guide,” said Gyges.  “Those great Greek merchants and ship-owners go about as proudly as if the world belonged to them.  But I don’t find Zopyrus’ proposal a bad one.”

“Then so let it be,” said Darius, yielding.  “In that case Oroetes must provide us with the uniform of Lydian Taxiarchs.”

“You’d better take the splendid dress of the Chiliarchs at once, I think,” cried Gyges.

“Why, on such young men, that would excite suspicion directly.”

“But we can’t appear as common soldiers.”

“No, but as Hekatontarchs.”

“All right,” said Zopyrus laughing.  “Anything you like except a shop-keeper.—­So in three days we are off.  I am glad I shall just have time to make sure of the satrap’s little daughter, and to visit the grove of Cybele at last.  Now, goodnight, Bartja; don’t get up too early.  What will Sappho say, if you come to her with pale cheeks?”

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