The sun was sinking when Mena, who that day had leave of absence from the king, came in great excitement up to the table where the princes were sitting and craved the king’s permission to make an important communication. Rameses signed consent; the charioteer went close up to him, and they held a short but eager conversation in a low voice.
Presently the king stood up and said, speaking to his daughter:
“This day which began so horribly will end joyfully. The fair child who saved you to-day, but who so nearly fell a victim to the flames, is of noble origin.”
“She cones of a royal house,” said Rameri, disrespectfully interrupting his father. Rameses looked at him reprovingly. “My sons are silent,” he said, “till I ask them to speak.”
The prince colored and looked down; the king signed to Bent-Anat and Pentaur, begged his guests to excuse him for a short time, and was about to leave the tent; but Bent-Anat went up to him, and whispered a few words to him with reference to her brother. Not in vain: the king paused, and reflected for a few moments; then he looked at Rameri, who stood abashed, and as if rooted to the spot where he stood. The king called his name, and beckoned him to follow him.
Rameri had rushed off to summon the physicians, while Bent-Anat was endeavoring to restore the rescued Uarda to consciousness, and he followed them into his sister’s tent. He gazed with tender anxiety into the face of the half suffocated girl, who, though uninjured, still remained unconscious, and took her hand to press his lips to her slender fingers, but Bent-Anat pushed him gently away; then in low tones that trembled with emotion he implored her not to send him away, and told her how dear the girl whose life he had saved in the fight in the Necropolis had become to him—how, since his departure for Syria, he had never ceased to think of her night and day, and that he desired to make her his wife.
Bent-Anat was startled; she reminded her brother of the stain that lay on the child of the paraschites and through which she herself had suffered so much; but Rameri answered eagerly:
“In Egypt rank and birth are derived through the mother and Kaschta’s dead wife—”
“I know,” interrupted Bent-Anat. “Nebsecht has already told us that she was a dumb woman, a prisoner of war, and I myself believe that she was of no mean house, for Uarda is nobly formed in face and figure.”
“And her skin is as fine as the petal of a flower,” cried Rameri. “Her voice is like the ring of pure gold, and—Oh! look, she is moving. Uarda, open your eyes, Uarda! When the sun rises we praise the Gods. Open your eyes! how thankful, how joyful I shall be if those two suns only rise again.”