“I thank you,” said Bent-Anat, towards whom the old man raised his hand in blessing.
Then she turned to Nebsecht, and ordered him to take anxious care of the sick girl; she bent over her, kissed her forehead, laid her gold bracelet by her side, and signing to Pentaur left the hut with him.
During the occurrence we have described, the king’s pioneer and the young wife of Mena were obliged to wait for the princess.
The sun stood in the meridian, when Bent-Anat had gone into the hovel of the paraschites.
The bare limestone rocks on each side of the valley and the sandy soil between, shone with a vivid whiteness that hurt the eyes; not a hand’s breadth of shade was anywhere to be seen, and the fan-beaters of the two, who were waiting there, had, by command of the princess, staid behind with the chariot and litters.
For a time they stood silently near each other, then the fair Nefert said, wearily closing her almond-shaped eyes:
“How long Bent-Anat stays in the but of the unclean! I am perishing here. What shall we do?”
“Stay!” said Paaker, turning his back on the lady; and mounting a block of stone by the side of the gorge, he cast a practised glance all round, and returned to Nefert: “I have found a shady spot,” he said, “out there.”
Mena’s wife followed with her eyes the indication of his hand, and shook her head. The gold ornaments on her head-dress rattled gently as she did so, and a cold shiver passed over her slim body in spite of the midday heat.
“Sechet is raging in the sky,” said Paaker.
[A goddess with the head of a lioness or a cat, over which the Sun- disk is usually found. She was the daughter of Ra, and in the form of the Uraeus on her father’s crown personified the murderous heat of the star of day. She incites man to the hot and wild passion of love, and as a cat or lioness tears burning wounds in the limbs of the guilty in the nether world; drunkenness and pleasure are her gifts She was also named Bast and Astarte after her sister-divinity among the Phoenicians.]
“Let us avail ourselves of the shady spot, small though it be. At this hour of the day many are struck with sickness.”
“I know it,” said Nefert, covering her neck with her hand. Then she went towards two blocks of stone which leaned against each other, and between them afforded the spot of shade, not many feet wide, which Paaker had pointed out as a shelter from the sun. Paaker preceded her, and rolled a flat piece of limestone, inlaid by nature with nodules of flint, under the stone pavilion, crushed a few scorpions which had taken refuge there, spread his head-cloth over the hard seat, and said, “Here you are sheltered.”
Nefert sank down on the stone and watched the Mohar, who slowly and silently paced backwards and forward in front of her. This incessant to and fro of her companion at last became unendurable to her sensitive and irritated nerves, and suddenly raising her head from her hand, on which she had rested it, she exclaimed