She gazed wildly upon my face—she stretched out her arms as though to clasp me; then, in the agony of her despair, she cast herself at length and grovelled upon the ground.
I took up the sack of clothing and the staff and gained the door, and, as I passed it, I threw one last glance upon her. There she lay, with arms outstretched—more white than her white robes—her dark hair streaming about her, and her fair brows hidden in the dust.
And thus I left her, nor did I again set my eyes upon her till nine long years had come and gone.
[Here ends the second and largest roll of papyrus.]
BOOK III—THE VENGEANCE OF HARMACHIS
OF THE ESCAPE OF HARMACHIS FROM TARSUS; OF HIS BEING CAST FORTH AS AN OFFERING TO THE GODS OF THE SEA; OF HIS SOJOURN IN THE ISLE OF CYPRUS; OF HIS RETURN TO ABOUTHIS; AND OF THE DEATH OF AMENEMHAT
I made my way down the stair in safety, and presently stood in the courtyard of that great house. It was but an hour from dawn, and none were stirring. The last reveller had drunk his fill, the dancing-girls had ceased their dancing, and silence lay upon the city. I drew near the gate, and was challenged by an officer who stood on guard, wrapped in a heavy cloak.
“Who passes,” said the voice of Brennus.
“A merchant, may it please you, Sir, who, having brought gifts from Alexandria to a lady of the Queen’s household, and, having been entertained of the lady, now departs to his galley,” I answered in a feigned voice.
“Umph!” he growled. “The ladies of the Queen’s household keep their guests late. Well; it is a time of festival. The pass-word, Sir Shopkeeper? Without the pass-word you must needs return and crave the lady’s further hospitality.”
“‘Antony,’ Sir; and a right good word, too. Ah! I’ve wandered far, and never saw I so goodly a man or so great a general. And, mark you, Sir! I’ve travelled far, and seen many generals.”
“Ay; ’Antony’’s the word! And Antony is a good general in his way—when it is a sober way, and when he cannot find a skirt to follow. I’ve served with Antony—and against him, too; and know his points. Well, well; he’s got an armful now!”
And all this while that he was holding me in talk, the sentry had been pacing to and fro before the gate. But now he moved a little way to the right, leaving the entrance clear.
“Fare thee well, Harmachis, and begone!” whispered Brennus, leaning forward and speaking quickly. “Linger not. But at times bethink thee of Brennus who risked his neck to save thine. Farewell, lad, I would that we were sailing North together,” and he turned his back upon me and began to hum a tune.