“Old Bakenkhonsu told me, Prince, that he had been present at many royal betrothals, I think he said eleven, and had never seen one conducted with more grace. He added that the way in which you kissed the brow of her Highness was perfect, as was all your demeanour after the first argument.”
“And so it would remain, Ana, if I were never called upon to do more than kiss her brow, to which I have been accustomed from boyhood. Oh! Ana, Ana,” he added in a kind of cry, “already you are becoming a courtier like the rest of them, a courtier who cannot speak the truth. Well, nor can I, so why should I blame you? Tell me again all about your marriage, Ana, of how it began and how it ended.”
Whether or no the Prince Seti saw Userti again before the hour of his marriage with her I cannot say, because he never told me. Indeed I was not present at the marriage, for the reason that I had been granted leave to return to Memphis, there to settle my affairs and sell my house on entering upon my appointment as private scribe to his Highness. Thus it came about that fourteen full days went by from that of the holding of the Court of Betrothal before I found myself standing once more at the gate of the Prince’s palace, attended by a servant who led an ass on which were laden all my manuscripts and certain possessions that had descended to me from my ancestors with the title-deeds of their tombs. Different indeed was my reception on this my second coming. Even as I reached the steps the old chamberlain Pambasa appeared, running down them so fast that his white robes and beard streamed upon the air.
“Greeting, most learned scribe, most honourable Ana,” he panted. “Glad indeed am I to see you, since very hour his Highness asks if you have returned, and blames me because you have not come. Verily I believe that if you had stayed upon the road another day I should have been sent to look for you, who have had sharp words said to me because I did not arrange that you should be accompanied by a guard, as though the Vizier Nehesi would have paid the costs of a guard without the direct order of Pharaoh. O most excellent Ana, give me of the charm which you have doubtless used to win the love of our royal master, and I will pay you well for it who find it easier to earn his wrath.”
“I will, Pambasa. Here it is—write better stories than I do instead of telling them, and he will love you more than he does me. But say—how went the marriage? I have heard upon the way that it was very splendid.”