He ceased, and pressed his hand on his wound. Cambyses gazed at him in astonishment, stepped forward, and was just going to touch his girdle—an action which would have been equivalent to the signing of a death-warrant when his eye caught sight of the chain, which he himself had hung round the Athenian’s neck as a reward for the clever way in which he had proved the innocence of Nitetis.
[The same sign was used by the last Darius to denote that his able Greek general Memnon, who had offended him by his plainness of speech, was doomed to death. As he was being led away, Memnon exclaimed, in allusion to Alexander, who was then fast drawing near: “Thy remorse will soon prove my worth; my avenger is not far off.” Droysen, Alex. d. Grosse, Diod. XVII. 30. Curtius III. 2.]
The sudden recollection of the woman he loved, and of the countless services rendered him by Phanes, calmed his wrath his hand dropped. One minute the severe ruler stood gazing lingeringly at his disobedient friend; the next, moved by a sudden impulse, he raised his right hand again, and pointed imperiously to the gate leading from the court.
Phanes bowed in silence, kissed the king’s robe, and descended slowly into the court. Psamtik watched him, quivering with excitement, sprang towards the veranda, but before his lips could utter the curse which his heart had prepared, he sank powerless on to the ground.
Cambyses beckoned to his followers to make immediate preparations for a lion-hunt in the Libyan mountains.
ETEXT editor’s bookmarks:
Between two stools a
man falls to the ground
Human beings hate the man who shows kindness to their enemies
Misfortune too great for tears
Nothing is more dangerous to love, than a comfortable assurance
Ordered his feet to be washed and his head anointed
Rules of life given by one man to another are useless
By Georg Ebers
The waters of the Nile had begun to rise again. Two months had passed away since Phanes’ disappearance, and much had happened.