Here he found the soldier with his daughter. “Where is the old man?” he asked anxiously.
“He has gone to his work in the house of the embalmer,” was the answer. “If anything should happen to him he bade me tell you not to forget the writing and the book. He was as though out of his mind when he left us, and put the ram’s heart in his bag and took it with him. Do you remain with the little one; my mother is at work, and I must go with the prisoners of war to Harmontis.”
While the two friends from the House of Seti were engaged in conversation, Katuti restlessly paced the large open hall of her son-in-law’s house, in which we have already seen her. A snow-white cat followed her steps, now playing with the hem of her long plain dress, and now turning to a large stand on which the dwarf Nemu sat in a heap; where formerly a silver statue had stood, which a few months previously had been sold.
He liked this place, for it put him in a position to look into the eyes of his mistress and other frill-grown people. “If you have betrayed me! If you have deceived me!” said Katuti with a threatening gesture as she passed his perch.
“Put me on a hook to angle for a crocodile if I have. But I am curious to know how he will offer you the money.”
“You swore to me,” interrupted his mistress with feverish agitation, that you had not used my name in asking Paaker to save us?”
“A thousand times I swear it,” said the little man.
“Shall I repeat all our conversation? I tell thee he will sacrifice his land, and his house-great gate and all, for one friendly glance from Nefert’s eyes.”
“If only Mena loved her as he does!” sighed the widow, and then again she walked up and down the hall in silence, while the dwarf looked out at the garden entrance. Suddenly she paused in front of Nemu, and said so hoarsely that Nemu shuddered:
“I wish she were a widow.” “The little man made a gesture as if to protect himself from the evil eye, but at the same instant he slipped down from his pedestal, and exclaimed:
“There is a chariot, and I hear his big dog barking. It is he. Shall I call Nefert?”
“No!” said Katuti in a low voice, and she clutched at the back of a chair as if for support.
The dwarf shrugged his shoulders, and slunk behind a clump of ornamental plants, and a few minutes later Paaker stood in the presence of Katuti, who greeted him, with quiet dignity and self-possession.
Not a feature of her finely-cut face betrayed her inward agitation, and after the Mohar had greeted her she said with rather patronizing friendliness:
“I thought that you would come. Take a seat. Your heart is like your father’s; now that you are friends with us again it is not by halves.”
Paaker had come to offer his aunt the sum which was necessary for the redemption of her husband’s mummy. He had doubted for a long time whether he should not leave this to his mother, but reserve partly and partly vanity had kept him from doing so. He liked to display his wealth, and Katuti should learn what he could do, what a son-in-law she had rejected.