“‘Love is always the same,’ interrupted the poet; ’women loved centuries ago, and will love thousands of years to come, just as Sappho loved fifty years back.’
“The sick girl smiled in assent, and from that time I often heard her humming the little song as she sat at her wheel. But we carefully avoided every question, that could remind her of him she loved. In the delirium of fever, however, Bartja’s name was always on her burning lips. When she recovered consciousness we told her what she had said in her delirium; then she opened her heart to me, and raising her eyes to heaven like a prophetess, exclaimed solemnly: ’I know, that I shall not die till I have seen him again.’
“A short time ago we had her carried into the temple, as she longed to worship there again. When the service was over and we were crossing the temple-court, we passed some children at play, and Tachot noticed a little girl telling something very eagerly to her companions. She told the bearers to put down the litter and call the child to her.
“‘What were you saying?’ she asked the little one.
“I was telling the others something about my eldest sister.’
“‘May I hear it too?’ said Tachot so kindly, that the little girl began at once without fear: “Batau, who is betrothed to my sister, came back from Thebes quite unexpectedly yesterday evening. Just as the Isis-star was rising, he came suddenly on to our roof where Kerimama was playing at draughts with my father; and he brought her such a beutiful goldeng bridal wreath.’
[Among the Egyptians the planet Venus bore the name of the goddess Isis. Pliny II. 6. Arist De mundo II. 7. Early monuments prove that they were acquainted with the identity of the morning and evening star. Lepsius, Chronologie p. 94.]
“Tachot kissed the child and gave her her own costly fan. When we were at home again she smiled archly at me and said: ’You know, mother dear, that the words children say in the temple-courts are believed to be oracles.’ So, if the little one spoke the truth, he must come; and did not you hear that he is to bring the bridal-wreath? O mother, I am sure, quite sure, that I shall see him again.’
“I asked her yesterday if she had any message for you, and she begged me to say that she sent you thousands of kisses, and messages of love, and that when she was stronger she meant to write, as she had a great deal to tell you. She has just brought me the little note which I enclose; it is for you alone, and has cost her much fatigue to write.
“But now I must finish my letter, as the messenger has been waiting for it some time.
“I wish I could give you some joyful news, but sadness and sorrow meet me whichever way I turn. Your brother yields more and more to the priests’ tyranny, and manages the affairs of state for your poor blind father under Neithotep’s guidance.
“Amasis does not interfere, and says it matters little whether his place be filled a few days sooner or later by his successor.