In the street before the house she entered her litter and with Pepi walking beside her went to the Nile. And there they were joined by Anubis. He had been absent for days, so his greeting was extravagant, his loyalty inalienable. He entered the bari Pepi had loaded with Rachel’s belongings, and would not be coaxed or menaced into disembarking.
“Nay, let him come,” Rachel said at last. “Thou canst set him on the shore opposite the tomb. He will leave us willingly there.”
So they pushed away.
Rachel wrapped her wimple about her face and removed it once only to gaze at the quarries of Masaarah. They were deserted. Months before, directly after the affliction of the Nile, the Israelites had been returned to Goshen.
After the bari had passed below the stone wharf, Rachel covered herself and neither spoke nor moved. Her heart was heavy beyond words.
Pepi broke the silence once.
“Shall we drop the ape first, my Lady?”
Rachel shook her head. Anubis was her last hold on Kenkenes.
At the Marsh of the Discontented Soul, the bari nosed among the reeds and grounded gently. Rachel stood for a moment gazing sadly across the stretch of sand toward the abrupt wall against which it terminated inland. Pepi, already on shore, reached a patient hand toward her and awaited her awakening. Anubis landed with a bound and made in a series of wide circles for the cliff. His escape aroused Rachel and she stepped out of the boat. After a moment’s thought, she bade Pepi pull away from the shore and await her at a safe distance.
“I shall stay no longer than to write my whereabouts on the tomb, but thy boat here may attract the attention of others on the river, and hereafter they might ask what thou didst in this place. And I am not afraid.”
The slow Egyptian obeyed reluctantly, shaking his head as he stood away from shore.
With a sigh that was almost a sob, Rachel walked back over the sand toward the cave that had been her only shelter once.
She did not fear it. Kenkenes had crossed this gray level of sand in the night and its wet border at the river had borne the print of his sandal. He had made the tomb a home for her, he had knelt on its rock pavement and kissed her hands in its dusk and had passed its threshold, like a shadow, to return no more. And here, too, was the other faithful suggestion of her lost love—the pet ape. How his fitful fidelities had directed themselves to her! She caught him up as he passed her. He struggled, turned in her arms, and then became passive, breathing loudly.
She climbed the rough steps and sat down on the topmost one to think.
She was surrounded with old evidences of her sorrow. Nor was there any cheer before her. Escape was in prospect, but it was liberty without light or peace—a gray freedom without hope, purpose or fruit. Her retrospect gradually brightened, never to brilliance but to a soft luminance, brightest at the farthermost point and sad like the dying daylight. She summarized her griefs—danger, death, suspense, shame and long hopelessness. The lonely girl’s stock of unhappiness took her breath away and she pushed back the wimple as if to clear away the oppression.