“Soon afterwards she died.
“You are a priest, but I tell you that when I am summoned before Osiris, if I am admitted amongst the blessed, I will ask whether I shall meet my wife, and if the doorkeeper says no, he may thrust me back, and I will go down cheerfully to the damned, if I find her again there.”
“And did no sign ever betray her origin?” asked the physician.
The soldier had hidden his face in his hand; he was weeping aloud, and did not hear the question. But, the paraschites answered:
“She was the child of some great personage, for in her clothes we found a golden jewel with a precious stone inscribed with strange characters. It is very costly, and my wife is keeping it for the little one.”
In the earliest glimmer of dawn the following clay, the physician Nebsecht having satisfied himself as to the state of the sick girl, left the paraschites’ hut and made his way in deepest thought to the ’Terrace Temple of Hatasu, to find his friend Pentaur and compose the writing which he had promised to the old man.
As the sun arose in radiance he reached the sanctuary. He expected to hear the morning song of the priests, but all was silent. He knocked and the porter, still half-asleep, opened the door.
Nebsecht enquired for the chief of the Temple. “He died in the night,” said the man yawning.
“What do you say?” cried the physician in sudden terror, “who is dead?”
“Our good old chief, Rui.”
Nebsecht breathed again, and asked for Pentaur.
“You belong to the House of Seti,” said the doorkeeper, “and you do not know that he is deposed from his office? The holy fathers have refused to celebrate the birth of Ra with him. He sings for himself now, alone up on the watch-tower. There you will find him.”
Nebsecht strode quickly up the stairs. Several of the priests placed themselves together in groups as soon as they saw him, and began singing. He paid no heed to them, however, but hastened on to the uppermost terrace, where he found his friend occupied in writing.
Soon he learnt all that had happened, and wrathfully he cried: “You are too honest for those wise gentlemen in the House of Seti, and too pure and zealous for the rabble here. I knew it, I knew what would come of it if they introduced you to the mysteries. For us initiated there remains only the choice between lying and silence.”
“The old error!” said Pentaur, “we know that the Godhead is One, we name it, ‘The All,’ ‘The Veil of the All,’ or simply ‘Ra.’ But under the name Ra we understand something different than is known to the common herd; for to us, the Universe is God, and in each of its parts we recognize a manifestation of that highest being without whom nothing is, in the heights above or in the depths below.”
“To me you can say everything, for I also am initiated,” interrupted Nebsecht.