“Anubis returneth,” Rachel said, sitting up.
Masanath raised herself and looked.
“Imhotep plagues mine eyes, or that is the murket following him,” she exclaimed.
Immediately Rachel began to tremble and, sinking back on her cushions, hid her face. Masanath continued to watch the approaching man.
“If he comes shall I send for thee?” she asked in a half-whisper.
The Israelite shook her head. “Only if he asks for me,” she answered.
“A pest on the creature!” Masanath exclaimed impatiently after a little silence. “He is torturing the man! Hath he forgot the place?”
She leaned over the parapet and called the ape. The murket looked up.
“Anubis is my guest, noble Mentu,” she replied. “Wilt thou not come up with him?”
The murket looked at her a moment before he answered.
“Nay, I thank thee, my Lady. I left the noonday meal that I might be led at the creature’s will. He is restless since my son is gone.”
Every word of the murket’s fell plainly on Rachel’s ears. The tones were those of Kenkenes, grown older. The statement came to her as a call upon her knowledge of the young artist’s whereabouts.
“Tell him—tell him—” she whispered desperately.
“What?” asked Masanath, turning about.
“Tell him where Kenkenes went!”
The Egyptian leaned over the parapet. “Fie! he is gone!” she said. “Nay, but I shall catch him;” and flying down through the house, out into the narrow passage, she overtook the murket.
This is what she told Rachel when she returned:
“I said to him: ‘My Lord, I know where Kenkenes went.’ And he said: ‘Of a truth?’ in the calmest way. ‘Aye,’ said I. ’It hath come to mine ears that he went to Tape,’ ‘That have I known for long,’ he answered, after he had looked at me till I wished I were away. ’That have I known for long, and why he went and why he came not back,’ and having said, he smoothed my hair and told me I was not much like my father, and departed without another word. To my mind he hath conducted himself most strangely. I doubt not he knows more than you or I, Rachel.”
To Masanath’s dismay the Israelite flung herself face down on the rugs and wept. “He is not dead; he is not dead,” she cried.
The collapse of a composure so strong and bridled filled Masanath with consternation. Had Rachel’s spirit been of weaker fiber the Egyptian’s own forceful individuality would have longed to sustain it, but when it broke in its strength she knew that here was a stress of emotion too deep for her to soothe.
“Then if he is not dead,” she said, searching for something to say, “why weepest thou?”
“Alas! seest thou not, Masanath? He hath not returned to me; his father knows his story, and if he be not dead how shall I explain his absence save that he hath forgotten or repented?”