The company pledged the king, who warmly shook hands with the Regent, and then, escorted by his wandbearers and lords in waiting, quitted the hall, after he had signed to Mena, Ameni, and the ladies to follow him.
Nefert greeted her husband, but she immediately parted from the royal party, as she had yielded to the urgent entreaty of Katuti that she should for this night go to her mother, to whom she had so much to tell, instead of remaining with the princess. Her mother’s chariot soon took her to her tent.
Rameses dismissed his attendants in the ante-room of his apartments; when they were alone he turned to Bent-Anat and said affectionately.
“What was in your mind when you laid your wreath on the poet’s brow?”
“What is in every maiden’s mind when she does the like,” replied Bent-Anat with trustful frankness.
“And your father?” asked the king.
“My father knows that I will obey him even if he demands of me the hardest thing—the sacrifice of all my—happiness; but I believe that he —that you love me fondly, and I do not forget the hour in which you said to me that now my mother was dead you would be father and mother both to me, and you would try to understand me as she certainly would have understood me. But what need between us of so many words. I love Pentaur—with a love that is not of yesterday—with the first perfect love of my heart and he has proved himself worthy of that high honor. But were he ever so humble, the hand of your daughter has the power to raise him above every prince in the land.”
“It has such power, and you shall exercise it,” cried the king. “You have been true and faithful to yourself, while your father and protector left you to yourself. In you I love the image of your mother, and I learned from her that a true woman’s heart can find the right path better than a man’s wisdom. Now go to rest, and to-morrow morning put on a fresh wreath, for you will have need of it, my noble daughter.”
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
He who looks for faith must give faith
I have never deviated from the exact truth even in jest
Learn early to pass lightly over little things
Trustfulness is so dear, so essential to me
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