After a moment’s pause Rhodopis went on: “The youth who has not received such an education, whose roughness has never been checked even in childhood, who has been allowed to vent his temper on every one, receiving flattery in return and never hearing reproof; who has been allowed to command before he has learnt to obey, and who has been brought up in the belief that splendor, power and riches are the highest good, can never possibly attain to the perfect manhood, which we beseech the gods to grant our boys. And if this unfortunate being happens to have been born with an impetuous disposition, ungovernable and eager passions, these will be only nourished and increased by bodily exercise unaccompanied by the softening influence of music, so that at last a child, who possibly came into the world with good qualities, will, merely through the defects in his education, degenerate into a destructive animal, a sensual self-destroyer, and a mad and furious tyrant.”
Rhodopis had become animated with her subject. She ceased, saw tears in the eyes of the queen, and felt that she had gone too far and had wounded a mother’s heart,—a heart full of noble feeling. She touched her robe, kissed its border, and said softly: “Forgive me.”
Kassandane looked her forgiveness, courteously saluted Rhodopis and prepared to leave the room. On the threshold, however, she stopped and said: “I am not angry. Your reproaches are just; but you too must endeavor to forgive, for I can assure you that he who has murdered the happiness of your child and of mine, though the most powerful, is of all mortals the most to be pitied. Farewell! Should you ever stand in need of ought, remember Cyrus’ widow, and how she wished to teach you, that the virtues the Persians desire most in their children are magnanimity and liberality.”
After saying this she left the apartment.
On the same day Rhodopis heard that Phanes was dead. He had retired to Crotona in the neighborhood of Pythagoras and there passed his time in reflection, dying with the tranquillity of a philosopher.
She was deeply affected at this news and said to Croesus: “Greece has lost one of her ablest men, but there are many, who will grow up to be his equals. The increasing power of Persia causes me no fear; indeed, I believe that when the barbarous lust of conquest stretches out its hand towards us, our many-headed Greece will rise as a giant with one head of divine power, before which mere barbaric strength must bow as surely as body before spirit.”
Three days after this, Sappho said farewell for the last time to her grandmother, and followed the queens to Persia. Notwithstanding the events which afterwards took place, she continued to believe that Bartja would return, and full of love, fidelity and tender remembrance, devoted herself entirely to the education of her child and the care of her aged mother-in-law, Kassandane.
Little Parmys became very beautiful, and learnt to love the memory of her vanished father next to the gods of her native land, for her mother’s tales had brought him as vividly before her as if he had been still alive and present with them.