When, with a wave of his hand, he declined to sit down, she said:
“Yes—yes—be seated! then thou wilt not be seen from the valley, but be screened by the rocks close by. Why hast thou chosen this hour for thy visit?”
“Because the matter presses of which I wish to speak,” answered Ani; “and in the evening I might easily be challenged by the watch. My disguise is good. Under this robe I wear my usual dress. From this I shall go to the tomb of my father, where I shall take off this coarse thing, and these other disfigurements, and shall wait for my chariot, which is already ordered. I shall tell people I had made a vow to visit the grave humbly, and on foot, which I have now fulfilled.”
“Well planned,” muttered the old woman.
Ani pointed to the dwarf, and said politely: “Your pupil.”
Since her narrative the sorceress was no longer a mere witch in his eyes. The old woman understood this, and saluted him with a curtsey of such courtly formality, that a tame raven at her feet opened his black beak wide, and uttered a loud scream. She threw a bit of cheese within the cave, and the bird hopped after it, flapping his clipped wings, and was silent.
“I have to speak to you about Pentaur,” said Ani. The old woman’s eyes flashed, and she eagerly asked, “What of him?”
“I have reasons,” answered the Regent, “for regarding him as dangerous to me. He stands in my way. He has committed many crimes, even murder; but he is in favor at the House of Seti, and they would willingly let him go unpunished. They have the right of sitting in judgment on each other, and I cannot interfere with their decisions; the day before yesterday they pronounced their sentence. They would send him to the quarries of Chennu.
[Chennu is now Gebel Silsileh; the quarries there are of enormous extent, and almost all the sandstone used for building the temples of Upper Egypt was brought from thence. The Nile is narrower there than above, and large stela, were erected there by Rameses ii. his successor Mernephtah, on which were inscribed beautiful hymns to the Nile, and lists of the sacrifices to be offered at the Nile- festivals. These inscriptions can be restored by comparison, and my friend Stern and I had the satisfaction of doing this on the spot (Zeitschrift fur Agyptishe Sprache, 1873, p. 129.)]
“All my objections were disregarded, and now Nemu, go over to the grave of Anienophis, and wait there for me—I wish to speak to your mother alone.”
Nemu bowed, and then went down the slope, disappointed, it is true, but sure of learning later what the two had discussed together.
When the little man had disappeared, Ani asked:
“Have you still a heart true to the old royal house, to which your parents were so faithfully attached?” The old woman nodded.