“Do not be uneasy,” he said. “I will give the ladies a trustworthy escort, who will keep them at the Sanctuary of the ‘Emerald-Hathor’ till all is settled. There you can deliver Nefert to Paaker, if you still like to have him for a son-in-law after hearing several things that I have learned. As for me, in the end I may induce my haughty niece to look up instead of down; I may be her second love, though for that matter she certainly is not my first.”
On the following day the princess set out.
Ani took leave of her with kindly formality, which she returned with coolness. The priesthood of the temple of Amon, with old Bek en Chunsu at their head, escorted her to the harbor. The people on the banks shouted Bent-Anat’s name with a thousand blessings, but many insulting words were to be heard also.
The pilgrim’s Nile-boat was followed by two others, full of soldiers, who accompanied the ladies “to protect them.”
The south-wind filled the sails, and carried the little procession swiftly down the stream. The princess looked now towards the palace of her fathers, now towards the tombs and temples of the Necropolis. At last even the colossus of Anienophis disappeared, and the last houses of Thebes. The brave maiden sighed deeply, and tears rolled down her checks. She felt as if she were flying after a lost battle, and yet not wholly discouraged, but hoping for future victory. As she turned to go to the cabin, a veiled girl stepped up to her, took the veil from her face, and said: “Pardon me, princess; I am Uarda, whom thou didst run over, and to whom thou hast since been so good. My grandmother is dead, and I am quite alone. I slipped in among thy maid-servants, for I wish to follow thee, and to obey all thy commands. Only do not send me away.”
“Stay, dear child,” said the princess, laying her hand on her hair.
Then, struck by its wonderful beauty, she remembered her brother, and his wish to place a rose in Uarda’s shining tresses.
Two months had past since Bent-Anat’s departure from Thebes, and the imprisonment of Pentaur. Ant-Baba is the name of the valley, in the western half of the peninsula of Sinai,
[I have described in detail the peninsula of Sinai, its history, and the sacred places on it, in my book “Durch Gosen zum Sinai,” published in 1872. In depicting this scenery in the present romance, I have endeavored to reproduce the reality as closely as possible. He who has wandered through this wonderful mountain wilderness can never forget it. The valley now called “Laba,” bore the same name in the time of the Pharaohs.]
through which a long procession of human beings, and of beasts of burden, wended their way.