“Come, Anubis! Tit, tit, tit!” he called, backing toward the work-room. Anubis bounded after him, but as Kenkenes paused just over the threshold, the ape also halted. His master retreated to the rear of the room still calling, but to the ape there was something portentous familiar in this proceeding. It hinted of imprisonment. Turning as though pursued, he disappeared up an acacia tree from which he could not be dislodged. With a vexed exclamation, Kenkenes passed out of the court into the house, slamming the swinging door so sharply that it sprang open again after him. As the old portress put back the outer doors leading into the street, that her young master might go forth, a shadow quick as thought slipped out after him. The old portress clapped her hands with a shrill command but the shadow was gone.
Once more in his work-day dress, his wallet of tools and provisions across his shoulder, the young sculptor passed toward the Nile, moody and unhappy but determined. At the river-side he hired the shallow bari that had given him faithful service for so long, and receiving the oars from Sepet, the boatman, prepared to push away. At that moment, Anubis, tremulous but unrepentant, bounded in beside him.
“Anubis!” Kenkenes exclaimed. “Of a truth I believe thou art possessed of the arts of magic. Now, if thou art lost in the hills and devoured by a wolf, upon thine own head be it. Pull in that paw, before thou becomest a foolish sacrifice to the sacred crocodile. I wonder thy self-respect does not keep thee from coming when thou art unwelcome.” And subsiding into silence, the sculptor turned toward Masaarah.
He made a landing below the stone wharf, for there a two-oared bari was already drawn up, and the tangle of herbage was a safe hiding-place for his own boat. He looked toward the quarry and hesitated. He had no heart yet to face her, who had laid his cruelest sorrow on him. He would continue his work on Athor until he had gathered assurance from that unforbidding face.
His light foot made no sound and he entered the niche silently. Kneeling on the chipped stone at the base of the statue, her face against the drapings, her arms clasping its knees, was Rachel. In one hand was the collar of rings. She had not heard the sculptor’s approach.
For an instant his surprise transfixed him. Had she repented? A great wave of compassion and tenderness swept over him and he drew her face away between his palms. With a terrified start, the girl turned a swift glance upward. When she recognized Kenkenes her tearful face colored vividly. Her posture was such that she could not rise, and with infinite gentleness he lifted her to her feet.
“What is it, Rachel? Art thou in trouble?”
Joy and maidenly confusion took away her voice.
“Alas,” he went on sadly. “Am I so fallen from thy favor, shut out and denied thy confidence?”