The anchors fell rattling on to the deck, the wind filled the sails, the Trieraules—[Flute-player to a trireme]—took his flute and set the measure of the monotonous Keleusma or rowing-song, which echoed again from the hold of the vessel. The beak of the ship bearing the statue of Hygieia, carved in wood, began to move. Bartja and Sappho stood at the helm and gazed towards Naukratis, until the shores of the Nile vanished and the green waves of the Hellenic sea splashed their foam over the deck of the trireme.
Our young bride and bridegroom had not travelled farther than Ephesus, when the news reached them that Amasis was dead. From Ephesus they went to Babylon, and thence to Pasargadae, which Kassandane, Atossa and Croesus had made their temporary residence. Kassandane was to accompany the army to Egypt, and wished, now that Nebenchari had restored her sight, to see the monument which had lately been built to her great husband’s memory after Croesus’ design, before leaving for so long a journey. She rejoiced in finding it worthy of the great Cyrus, and spent hours every day in the beautiful gardens which had been laid out round the mausoleum.
It consisted of a gigantic sarcophagus made of solid marble blocks, and resting like a house on a substructure composed of six high marble steps. The interior was fitted up like a room, and contained, beside the golden coffin in which were preserved such few remains of Cyrus as had been spared by the dogs, vultures, and elements, a silver bed and a table of the same metal, on which were golden drinking-cups and numerous garments ornamented with the rarest and most costly jewels.
The building was forty feet high. The shady paradises—[Persian pleasure-gardens]—and colonnades by which it was surrounded had been planned by Croesus, and in the midst of the sacred grove was a dwelling-house for the Magi appointed to watch over the tomb.
The palace of Cyrus could be seen in the distance—a palace in which he had appointed that the future kings of Persia should pass at least some months of every year. It was a splendid building in the style of a fortress, and so inaccessibly placed that it had been fixed on as the royal treasure-house.
Here, in the fresh mountain air of a place dedicated to the memory of the husband she had loved so much, Kassandane felt well and at peace; she was glad too to see that Atossa was recovering the old cheerfulness, which she had so sadly lost since the death of Nitetis and the departure of Darius. Sappho soon became the friend of her new mother and sister, and all three felt very loath to leave the lovely Pasargadm.
Darius and Zopyrus had remained with the army which was assembling in the plains of the Euphrates, and Bartja too had to return thither before the march began.
Cambyses went out to meet his family on their return; he was much impressed with Sappho’s great beauty, but she confessed to her husband that his brother only inspired her with fear.