The guests listened with eager attention to this tale. At its close a mingled feeling of relief and anxiety was felt by all; relief that their favorite companion had escaped so fearful a danger, anxiety for the brave young Lydian who had risked his life to save him. They praised his generosity, congratulated Croesus on possessing such a son, and finally agreed in the conclusion, that, when the crown-prince discovered the error into which his emissaries had fallen, he must certainly release Gyges, and even make him compensation for what he had suffered at their hands.
The friendship already shown by Amasis, and the fear in which he evidently stood of the Persian power, were the thoughts which had power to calm Croesus, who soon left, in order to pass the night at the house of Theopompus, the Milesian merchant. At parting, Aristomachus said: “Salute Gyges in my name; tell him I ask his forgiveness, and hope one day either to enjoy his friendship, or, if that cannot be, to meet him as a fair foe on the field of battle.”
“Who knows what the future may bring?” answered Croesus giving his hand to the Spartan.
The sun of a new day had risen over Egypt, but was still low in the east; the copious dew, which, on the Nile, supplies the place of rain, lay sparkling like jewels on the leaves and blossoms, and the morning air, freshened by a north-west wind, invited those to enjoy it who could not bear the heat of mid-day.
Through the door of the country-house, now so well known to us, two female figures have just passed; Melitta, the old slave, and Sappho, the grandchild of Rhodopis.
The latter is not less lovely now, than when we saw her last, asleep. She moves through the garden with a light quick step, her white morning robe with its wide sleeves falling in graceful drapery over her lithe limbs, the thick brown hair straying from beneath the purple kerchief over her head, and a merry, roguish smile lurking round her rosy mouth and in the dimples of her cheeks and chin.
She stooped to pick a rose, dashed the dew from it into the face of her old nurse, laughing at her naughty trick till the clear bell-like tones rang through the garden; fixed the flower in her dress and began to sing in a wonderfully rich and sweet voice—