She thrust the collar into her bosom with a sob and went on mechanically with her preparations. But during one of her movements the coins clinked musically. She clutched them, and they rang again, softly. They reproached her, and in that irresistible way,—gently. They made a sound even as she breathed. As she walked they chafed. They took weight and crushed her breast. And with every sound from them, she felt Kenkenes’ arm about her, her hand lost in his, the warmth of his young cheek against hers. Never so long as his gift were in her possession might she hope to put these memories from her, and she could not cherish them hopefully now. Desperate grief stirred her into action. She went quickly to the door of the tent and there met Deborah.
“This is not mine,” she said, holding up the necklace. “It belongs to the young nobleman who brought me back to camp that night.”
“Leave it with the tribe and it shall be given him.”
“Nay, he may not return to camp. I know where he comes and I can leave it there. It is not far—only a little way.”
Deborah stood in her path.
“Will he be there?” she demanded.
“Nay, that I can pledge thee.” She slipped past her guardian, out of the tent and sped up the valley, determined that Deborah’s prohibition, however just, should not stay her.
The old Israelite turned to look after her, and her eyes fell on Atsu, his face black with rage, his arms folded, talking with a fat, wildly gesticulating servitor. At that moment the courier caught sight of Rachel flying up the valley and, flinging a document at Atsu’s feet, started to pursue. Atsu halted him with an iron hand, and Deborah paused to see no more. With a prayer she ran up the valley the way Rachel had taken.
IN THE DESERT
In the early morning of the next day after the rout at Senci’s, Kenkenes wandered restlessly about the inner court of his father’s house. He had slept but little the preceding night, and now, dizzy and irritable, the freshness of the morning did not invigorate him and the haunting perplexities were with him still.
There was no need of haste to the Arabian hills and yet he could not wait patiently in Memphis for an appropriate hour to visit Masaarah. He paced hither and thither, flung himself on the benches in the shade, only to rise and resume his uneasy walk. Anubis was omnipresent and particularly ungovernable. If his young master were in motion he vibrated and oscillated like a shuttle. If Kenkenes sat, he paced the tessellated pavement slowly and with a foot-fall lighter than a birds. The sculptor eyed him understandingly, and finally arose.