“Well then,” cried Pentaur, “follow your new and godlike emotion, be good to Uarda and do not sacrifice her to your vain wishes. My poor friend! With your—enquiries into the secrets of life, you have never looked round upon itself, which spreads open and inviting before our eyes. Do you imagine that the maiden who can thus inflame the calmest thinker in Thebes, will not be coveted by a hundred of the common herd when her protector fails her? Need I tell you that amongst the dancers in the foreign quarter nine out of ten are the daughters of outlawed parents? Can you endure the thought that by your hand innocence may be consigned to vice, the rose trodden under foot in the mud? Is the human heart that you desire, worth an Uarda? Now go, and to-morrow come again to me your friend who understands how to sympathize with all you feel, and to whom you have approached so much the nearer to-day that you have learned to share his purest happiness.”
Pentaur held out his hand to the physician, who held it some time, then went thoughtfully and lingeringly, unmindful of the burning glow of the mid-day sun, over the mountain into the valley of the king’s graves towards the hut of the paraschites.
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: