The prince stood in astonishment before Ameni, and did not take his offered hand. Then the priest went up to him, and said:
“You said you were ready to take the consequences of your folly, and a prince’s word must be kept. Before sunset we will conduct you to the gate of the temple.”
Ameni turned his back on the boys, and left the school-court.
Rameri looked after him. Utter whiteness had overspread his blooming face, and the blood had left even his lips. None of his companions approached him, for each felt that what was passing in his soul at this moment would brook no careless intrusion. No one spoke a word; they all looked at him.
He soon observed this, and tried to collect himself, and then he said in a low tone while he held out his hands to Anana and another friend:
“Am I then so bad that I must be driven out from among you all like this —that such a blow must be inflicted on my father?”
“You refused Ameni your hand!” answered Anana. “Go to him, offer him your hand, beg him to be less severe, and perhaps he will let you remain.”
Rameri answered only “No.” But that “No” was so decided that all who knew him understood that it was final.
Before the sun set he had left the school. Ameni gave him his blessing; he told him that if he himself ever had to command he would understand his severity, and allowed the other scholars to accompany him as far as the Nile. Pentaur parted from him tenderly at the gate.
When Rameri was alone in the cabin of his gilt bark with his tutor, he felt his eyes swimming in tears.
“Your highness is surely not weeping?” asked the official.
“Why?” asked the prince sharply.
“I thought I saw tears on your highness’ cheeks.”
“Tears of joy that I am out of the trap,” cried Rameri; he sprang on shore, and in a few minutes he was with his sister in the palace.
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
Ask for what is feasible
I know that I am of use
Like the cackle of hens, which is peculiar to Eastern women
Think of his wife, not with affection only, but with pride
Those whom we fear, says my uncle, we cannot love
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