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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 305 pages of information about Cleopatra.

And he struggled faintly in my arms and was dead.

Thus, then, did I and my holy father, the Prince Amenemhat, meet together for the last time in the flesh, and for the last time part.

CHAPTER II

OF THE LAST MISERY OF HARMACHIS; OF THE CALLING DOWN OF THE HOLY ISIS BY THE WORD OF FEAR; OF THE PROMISE OF ISIS; OF THE COMING OF ATOUA, AND OF THE WORDS OF ATOUA

I crouched upon the floor gazing at the dead body of my father, who had lived to curse me, the utterly accursed, while the darkness crept and gathered round us, till at length the dead and I were alone in the black silence.  Oh, how tell the misery of that hour!  Imagination cannot dream it, nor words paint it forth.  Once more in my wretchedness I bethought me of death.  A knife was at my girdle, with which I might cut the thread of sorrow and set my spirit free.  Free? ay, free to fly and face the last vengeance of the Holy Gods!  Alas! and alas!  I did not dare to die.  Better the earth with all its woes than the quick approach of those unimagined terrors that, hovering in dim Amenti, wait the advent of the fallen.

I grovelled on the ground and wept tears of agony for the lost unchanging past—­wept till I could weep no more; but no answer came from the silence—­no answer but the echoes of my grief.  Not a ray of hope!  My soul wandered in a darkness more utter than that which was about me—­I was forsaken of the Gods and cast out of men.  Terror took hold upon me crouching in that lonely place hard by the majesty of the awful Dead.  I rose to fly.  How could I fly in this gloom?—­And where should I fly who had no place of refuge?  Once more I crouched down, and the great fear grew on me till the cold sweat ran from my brow and my soul was faint within me.  Then, in my last despair, I prayed aloud to Isis, to whom I had not dared to pray for many days.

“O Isis!  Holy Mother!” I cried; “put away Thy wrath, and of Thine infinite pity, O Thou all-pitiful, hearken to the voice of the anguish of him who was Thy son and servant, but who by sin hath fallen from the vision of Thy love.  O throned Glory, who, being in all things, hast of all things understanding and of all griefs knowledge, cast the weight of Thy mercy against the scale of my evil-doing, and make the balance equal.  Look down upon my woe, and measure it; count up the sum of my repentance and take Thou note of the flood of sorrow that sweeps my soul away.  O Thou Holy, whom it was given to me to look upon face to face, by that dread hour of commune I summon Thee; I summon Thee by the mystic word.  Come, then, in mercy, to save me; or, in anger, to make an end of that which can no more be borne.”

And, rising from my knees, I stretched out my arms and dared to cry aloud the Word of Fear, to use which unworthily is death.

Swiftly the answer came.  For in the silence I heard the sound of the shaken sistra heralding the coming of the Glory.  Then, at the far end of the chamber, grew the semblance of the horned moon, gleaming faintly in the darkness, and betwixt the golden horns rested a small dark cloud, in and out of which the fiery serpent climbed.

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