The news of the end of the sacred ram of Anion, and of the death of the bull Apis of Memphis, had reached the House of Seti, and was received there with loud lamentation, in which all its inhabitants joined, from the chief haruspex down to the smallest boy in the school-courts.
The superior of the institution, Ameni, had been for three days in Thebes, and was expected to return to-day. His arrival was looked for with anxiety and excitement by many. The chief of the haruspices was eager for it that he might hand over the imprisoned scholars to condign punishment, and complain to him of Pentaur and Bent-Anat; the initiated knew that important transactions must have been concluded on the farther side of the Nile; and the rebellious disciples knew that now stern justice would be dealt to them.
The insurrectionary troop were locked into an open court upon bread and water, and as the usual room of detention of the establishment was too small for them all, for two nights they had had to sleep in a loft on thin straw mats. The young spirits were excited to the highest pitch, but each expressed his feelings in quite a different manner.
Bent-Anat’s brother, Rameses’ son, Rameri, had experienced the same treatment as his fellows, whom yesterday he had led into every sort of mischief, with even more audacity than usual, but to-day he hung his head.
In a corner of the court sat Anana, Pentaur’s favorite scholar, hiding his face in his hands which rested on his knees. Rameri went up to him, touched his shoulders and said:
“We have played the game, and now must bear the consequences for good and for evil. Are you not ashamed of yourself, old boy? Your eyes are wet, and the drops here on your hands have not fallen from the clouds. You who are seventeen, and in a few months will be a scribe and a grown man!”
Anana looked at the prince, dried his eyes quickly; and said:
“I was the ring-leader. Ameni will turn me out of the place, and I must return disgraced to my poor mother, who has no one in the world but me.”
“Poor fellow!” said Rameri kindly. “It was striking at random! If only our attempt had done Pentaur any good!”
“We have done him harm, on the contrary,” said Anana vehemently, “and have behaved like fools!” Rameri nodded in full assent, looked thoughtful for a moment, and then said:
“Do you know, Anana, that you were not the ringleader? The trick was planned in this crazy brain; I take the whole blame on my own shoulders. I am the son of Rameses, and Ameni will be less hard on me than on you.”
“He will examine us all,” replied Anana, “and I will be punished sooner than tell a lie.”