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Title: Uarda : a Romance of Ancient Egypt — Volume 01
Author: Ebers, Georg
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Uarda : a Romance of Ancient Egypt — Volume 01" ***

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Volume 1.

By Georg Ebers




Translated from the German by Clara Bell


               Thou knowest well from what this book arose.
               When suffering seized and held me in its clasp
               Thy fostering hand released me from its grasp,
               And from amid the thorns there bloomed a rose.
               Air, dew, and sunshine were bestowed by Thee,
               And Thine it is; without these lines from me.


In the winter of 1873 I spent some weeks in one of the tombs of the
Necropolis of Thebes in order to study the monuments of that solemn city
of the dead; and during my long rides in the silent desert the germ was
developed whence this book has since grown.  The leisure of mind and body
required to write it was given me through a long but not disabling

In the first instance I intended to elucidate this story--like my
"Egyptian Princess"--with numerous and extensive notes placed at the end;
but I was led to give up this plan from finding that it would lead me to
the repetition of much that I had written in the notes to that earlier

The numerous notes to the former novel had a threefold purpose.  In the
first place they served to explain the text; in the second they were a
guarantee of the care with which I had striven to depict the
archaeological details in all their individuality from the records of the
monuments and of Classic Authors; and thirdly I hoped to supply the
reader who desired further knowledge of the period with some guide to his

In the present work I shall venture to content myself with the simple
statement that I have introduced nothing as proper to Egypt and to the
period of Rameses that cannot be proved by some authority; the numerous
monuments which have descended to us from the time of the Rameses, in
fact enable the enquirer to understand much of the aspect and arrangement
of Egyptian life, and to follow it step try step through the details of
religious, public, and private life, even of particular individuals.  The
same remark cannot be made in regard to their mental life, and here many
an anachronism will slip in, many things will appear modern, and show the
coloring of the Christian mode of thought.

Every part of this book is intelligible without the aid of notes; but,
for the reader who seeks for further enlightenment, I have added some
foot-notes, and have not neglected to mention such works as afford more
detailed information on the subjects mentioned in the narrative.

The reader who wishes to follow the mind of the author in this work
should not trouble himself with the notes as he reads, but merely at the
beginning of each chapter read over the notes which belong to the
foregoing one.  Every glance at the foot-notes must necessarily disturb
and injure the development of the tale as a work of art.  The story
stands here as it flowed from one fount, and was supplied with notes only
after its completion.

A narrative of Herodotus combined with the Epos of Pentaur, of which so
many copies have been handed down to us, forms the foundation of the

The treason of the Regent related by the Father of history is referable
perhaps to the reign of the third and not of the second Rameses.  But it
is by no means certain that the Halicarnassian writer was in this case
misinformed; and in this fiction no history will be inculcated, only as a
background shall I offer a sketch of the time of Sesostris, from a
picturesque point of view, but with the nearest possible approach to
truth.  It is true that to this end nothing has been neglected that could
be learnt from the monuments or the papyri; still the book is only a
romance, a poetic fiction, in which I wish all the facts derived from
history and all the costume drawn from the monuments to be regarded as
incidental, and the emotions of the actors in the story as what I attach
importance to.

But I must be allowed to make one observation.  From studying the
conventional mode of execution of ancient Egyptian art--which was
strictly subject to the hieratic laws of type and proportion--we have
accustomed ourselves to imagine the inhabitants of the Nile-valley in the
time of the Pharaohs as tall and haggard men with little distinction of
individual physiognomy, and recently a great painter has sought to
represent them under this aspect in a modern picture.  This is an error;
the Egyptians, in spite of their aversion to foreigners and their strong
attachment to their native soil, were one of the most intellectual and
active people of antiquity; and he who would represent them as they
lived, and to that end copies the forms which remain painted on the walls
of the temples and sepulchres, is the accomplice of those priestly
corrupters of art who compelled the painters and sculptors of the
Pharaonic era to abandon truth to nature in favor of their sacred laws of

He who desires to paint the ancient Egyptians with truth and fidelity,
must regard it in some sort as an act of enfranchisement; that is to say,
he must release the conventional forms from those fetters which were
peculiar to their art and altogether foreign to their real life.  Indeed,
works of sculpture remain to us of the time of the first pyramid, which
represent men with the truth of nature, unfettered by the sacred canon.
We can recall the so-called "Village Judge" of Bulaq, the "Scribe" now in
Paris, and a few figures in bronze in different museums, as well as the
noble and characteristic busts of all epochs, which amply prove how great
the variety of individual physiognomy, and, with that, of individual
character was among the Egyptians.  Alma Tadelna in London and Gustav
Richter in Berlin have, as painters, treated Egyptian subjects in a
manner which the poet recognizes and accepts with delight.

Many earlier witnesses than the late writer Flavius Vopiscus might be
referred to who show us the Egyptians as an industrious and peaceful
people, passionately devoted it is true to all that pertains to the other
world, but also enjoying the gifts of life to the fullest extent, nay
sometimes to excess.

Real men, such as we see around us in actual life, not silhouettes
constructed to the old priestly scale such as the monuments show us--real
living men dwelt by the old Nile-stream; and the poet who would represent
them must courageously seize on types out of the daily life of modern men
that surround him, without fear of deviating too far from reality, and,
placing them in their own long past time, color them only and clothe them
to correspond with it.

I have discussed the authorities for the conception of love which I have
ascribed to the ancients in the preface to the second edition of "An
Egyptian Princess."

With these lines I send Uarda into the world; and in them I add my thanks
to those dear friends in whose beautiful home, embowered in green, bird-
haunted woods, I have so often refreshed my spirit and recovered my
strength, where I now write the last words of this book.

               Rheinbollerhutte, September 22, 1876.
                                                  GEORG EBERS.



The earlier editions of "Uarda" were published in such rapid succession,
that no extensive changes in the stereotyped text could be made; but from
the first issue, I have not ceased to correct it, and can now present to
the public this new fifth edition as a "revised" one.

Having felt a constantly increasing affection for "Uarda" during the time
I was writing, the friendly and comprehensive attention bestowed upon it
by our greatest critics and the favorable reception it met with in the
various classes of society, afforded me the utmost pleasure.

I owe the most sincere gratitude to the honored gentlemen, who called my
attention to certain errors, and among them will name particularly
Professor Paul Ascherson of Berlin, and Dr. C. Rohrbach of Gotha.  Both
will find their remarks regarding mistakes in the geographical location
of plants, heeded in this new edition.

The notes, after mature deliberation, have been placed at the foot of the
pages instead of at the end of the book.

So many criticisms concerning the title "Uarda" have recently reached my
ears, that, rather by way of explanation than apology, I will here repeat
what I said in the preface to the third edition.

This title has its own history, and the more difficult it would be for me
to defend it, the more ready I am to allow an advocate to speak for me,
an advocate who bears a name no less distinguished than that of G. E.
Lessing, who says:

"Nanine?  (by Voltaire, 1749).  What sort of title is that?  What
thoughts does it awake?  Neither more nor less than a title should
arouse.  A title must not be a bill of fare.  The less it betrays of the
contents, the better it is.  Author and spectator are both satisfied, and
the ancients rarely gave their comedies anything but insignificant

This may be the case with "Uarda," whose character is less prominent than
some others, it is true, but whose sorrows direct the destinies of my
other heroes and heroines.

Why should I conceal the fact?  The character of "Uarda" and the present
story have grown out of the memory of a Fellah girl, half child, half
maiden, whom I saw suffer and die in a hut at Abu el Qurnah in the
Necropolis of Thebes.

I still persist in the conviction I have so frequently expressed, the
conviction that the fundamental traits of the life of the soul have
undergone very trivial modifications among civilized nations in all times
and ages, but will endeavor to explain the contrary opinion, held by my
opponents, by calling attention to the circumstance, that the expression
of these emotions show considerable variations among different peoples,
and at different epochs.  I believe that Juvenal, one of the ancient
writers who best understood human nature, was right in saying:

              "Nil erit ulterius, quod nostris moribus addat
               Posteritas: eadem cupient facientque minores."

Leipsic, October 15th, 1877.

U A R D A.


By the walls of Thebes--the old city of a hundred gates--the Nile spreads
to a broad river; the heights, which follow the stream on both sides,
here take a more decided outline; solitary, almost cone-shaped peaks
stand out sharply from the level background of the many-colored.
limestone hills, on which no palm-tree flourishes and in which no humble
desert-plant can strike root.  Rocky crevasses and gorges cut more or
less deeply into the mountain range, and up to its ridge extends the
desert, destructive of all life, with sand and stones, with rocky cliffs
and reef-like, desert hills.

Behind the eastern range the desert spreads to the Red Sea; behind the
western it stretches without limit, into infinity.  In the belief of the
Egyptians beyond it lay the region of the dead.

Between these two ranges of hills, which serve as walls or ramparts to
keep back the desert-sand, flows the fresh and bounteous Nile, bestowing
blessing and abundance; at once the father and the cradle of millions of
beings.  On each shore spreads the wide plain of black and fruitful soil,
and in the depths many-shaped creatures, in coats of mail or scales,
swarm and find subsistence.

The lotos floats on the mirror of the waters, and among the papyrus reeds
by the shore water-fowl innumerable build their nests.  Between the river
and the mountain-range lie fields, which after the seed-time are of a
shining blue-green, and towards the time of harvest glow like gold.  Near
the brooks and water-wheels here and there stands a shady sycamore; and
date-palms, carefully tended, group themselves in groves.  The fruitful
plain, watered and manured every year by the inundation, lies at the foot
of the sandy desert-hills behind it, and stands out like a garden flower-
bed from the gravel-path.

In the fourteenth century before Christ--for to so remote a date we must
direct the thoughts of the reader--impassable limits had been set by the
hand of man, in many places in Thebes, to the inroads of the water; high
dykes of stone and embankments protected the streets and squares, the
temples and the palaces, from the overflow.

Canals that could be tightly closed up led from the dykes to the land
within, and smaller branch-cuttings to the gardens of Thebes.

On the right, the eastern bank of the Nile, rose the buildings of the
far-famed residence of the Pharaohs.  Close by the river stood the
immense and gaudy Temples of the city of Amon; behind these and at a
short distance from the Eastern hills--indeed at their very foot and
partly even on the soil of the desert--were the palaces of the King and
nobles, and the shady streets in which the high narrow houses of the
citizens stood in close rows.

Life was gay and busy in the streets of the capital of the Pharaohs.

The western shore of the Nile showed a quite different scene.  Here too
there was no lack of stately buildings or thronging men; but while on the
farther side of the river there was a compact mass of houses, and the
citizens went cheerfully and openly about their day's work, on this side
there were solitary splendid structures, round which little houses and
huts seemed to cling as children cling to the protection of a mother.
And these buildings lay in detached groups.

Any one climbing the hill and looking down would form the notion that
there lay below him a number of neighboring villages, each with its
lordly manor house.  Looking from the plain up to the precipice of the
western hills, hundreds of closed portals could be seen, some solitary,
others closely ranged in rows; a great number of them towards the foot of
the slope, yet more half-way up, and a few at a considerable height.

And even more dissimilar were the slow-moving, solemn groups in the
roadways on this side, and the cheerful, confused throng yonder.  There,
on the eastern shore, all were in eager pursuit of labor or recreation,
stirred by pleasure or by grief, active in deed and speech; here, in the
west, little was spoken, a spell seemed to check the footstep of the
wanderer, a pale hand to sadden the bright glance of every eye, and to
banish the smile from every lip.

And yet many a gaily-dressed bark stopped at the shore, there was no lack
of minstrel bands, grand processions passed on to the western heights;
but the Nile boats bore the dead, the songs sung here were songs of
lamentation, and the processions consisted of mourners following the

We are standing on the soil of the City of the Dead of Thebes.

Nevertheless even here nothing is wanting for return and revival, for to
the Egyptian his dead died not.  He closed his eyes, he bore him to the
Necropolis, to the house of the embalmer, or Kolchytes, and then to the
grave; but he knew that the souls of the departed lived on; that the
justified absorbed into Osiris floated over the Heavens in the vessel of
the Sun; that they appeared on earth in the form they choose to take upon
them, and that they might exert influence on the current of the lives of
the survivors.  So he took care to give a worthy interment to his dead,
above all to have the body embalmed so as to endure long: and had fixed
times to bring fresh offerings for the dead of flesh and fowl, with
drink-offerings and sweet-smelling essences, and vegetables and flowers.

Neither at the obsequies nor at the offerings might the ministers of the
gods be absent, and the silent City of the Dead was regarded as a favored
sanctuary in which to establish schools and dwellings for the learned.

So it came to pass that in the temples and on the site Of the Necropolis,
large communities of priests dwelt together, and close to the extensive
embalming houses lived numerous Kolchytes, who handed down the secrets of
their art from father to son.

Besides these there were other manufactories and shops.  In the former,
sarcophagi of stone and of wood, linen bands for enveloping mummies, and
amulets for decorating them, were made; in the latter, merchants kept
spices and essences, flowers, fruits, vegetables and pastry for sale.
Calves, gazelles, goats, geese and other fowl, were fed on enclosed
meadow-plats, and the mourners betook themselves thither to select what
they needed from among the beasts pronounced by the priests to be clean
for sacrifice, and to have them sealed with the sacred seal.  Many bought
only part of a victim at the shambles--the poor could not even do this.
They bought only colored cakes in the shape of beasts, which symbolically
took the place of the calves and geese which their means were unable to
procure.  In the handsomest shops sat servants of the priests, who
received forms written on rolls of papyrus which were filled up in the
writing room of the temple with those sacred verses which the departed
spirit must know and repeat to ward off the evil genius of the deep, to
open the gate of the under world, and to be held righteous before Osiris
and the forty-two assessors of the subterranean court of justice.

What took place within the temples was concealed from view, for each was
surrounded by a high enclosing wall with lofty, carefully-closed portals,
which were only opened when a chorus of priests came out to sing a pious
hymn, in the morning to Horus the rising god, and in the evening to Tum
the descending god.

     [The course of the Sun was compared to that of the life of Man.
     He rose as the child Horns, grew by midday to the hero Ra, who
     conquered the Uraeus snake for his diadem, and by evening was an old
     Man, Tum.  Light had been born of darkness, hence Tum was regarded
     as older than Horns and the other gods of light.]

As soon as the evening hymn of the priests was heard, the Necropolis was
deserted, for the mourners and those who were visiting the graves were
required by this time to return to their boats and to quit the City of
the Dead.  Crowds of men who had marched in the processions of the west
bank hastened in disorder to the shore, driven on by the body of watchmen
who took it in turns to do this duty and to protect the graves against
robbers.  The merchants closed their booths, the embalmers and workmen
ended their day's work and retired to their houses, the priests returned
to the temples, and the inns were filled with guests, who had come hither
on long pilgrimages from a distance, and who preferred passing the night
in the vicinity of the dead whom they had come to visit, to going across
to the bustling noisy city farther shore.

The voices of the singers and of the wailing women were hushed, even the
song of the sailors on the numberless ferry boats from the western shore
to Thebes died away, its faint echo was now and then borne across on the
evening air, and at last all was still.

A cloudless sky spread over the silent City of the Dead, now and then
darkened for an instant by the swiftly passing shade of a bat returning
to its home in a cave or cleft of the rock after flying the whole evening
near the Nile to catch flies, to drink, and so prepare itself for the
next day's sleep.  From time to time black forms with long shadows
glided over the still illuminated plain--the jackals, who at this hour
frequented the shore to slake their thirst, and often fearlessly showed
themselves in troops in the vicinity of the pens of geese and goats.

It was forbidden to hunt these robbers, as they were accounted sacred to
the god Anubis, the tutelary of sepulchres; and indeed they did little
mischief, for they found abundant food in the tombs.

     [The jackal-headed god Anubis was the son of Osiris and Nephthys,
     and the jackal was sacred to him.  In the earliest ages even he is
     prominent in the nether world.  He conducts the mummifying process,
     preserves the corpse, guards the Necropolis, and, as Hermes
     Psychopompos (Hermanubis), opens the way for the souls.  According
     to Plutarch "He is the watch of the gods as the dog is the watch of

The remnants of the meat offerings from the altars were consumed by them;
to the perfect satisfaction of the devotees, who, when they found that by
the following day the meat had disappeared, believed that it had been
accepted and taken away by the spirits of the underworld.

They also did the duty of trusty watchers, for they were a dangerous foe
for any intruder who, under the shadow of the night, might attempt to
violate a grave.

Thus--on that summer evening of the year 1352 B.C., when we invite the
reader to accompany us to the Necropolis of Thebes--after the priests'
hymn had died away, all was still in the City of the Dead.

The soldiers on guard were already returning from their first round when
suddenly, on the north side of the Necropolis, a dog barked loudly; soon
a second took up the cry, a third, a fourth.  The captain of the watch
called to his men to halt, and, as the cry of the dogs spread and grew
louder every minute, commanded them to march towards the north.

The little troop had reached the high dyke which divided the west bank of
the Nile from a branch canal, and looked from thence over the plain as
far as the river and to the north of the Necropolis.  Once more the word
to "halt" was given, and as the guard perceived the glare of torches in
the direction where the dogs were barking loudest, they hurried forward
and came up with the author of the disturbance near the Pylon of the
temple erected by Seti I., the deceased father of the reigning King
Rameses II.

     [The two pyramidal towers joined by a gateway which formed the
     entrance to an Egyptian temple were called the Pylon.]

The moon was up, and her pale light flooded the stately structure, while
the walls glowed with the ruddy smoky light of the torches which flared
in the hands of black attendants.

A man of sturdy build, in sumptuous dress, was knocking at the brass-
covered temple door with the metal handle of a whip, so violently that
the blows rang far and loud through the night.  Near him stood a litter,
and a chariot, to which were harnessed two fine horses.  In the litter
sat a young woman, and in the carriage, next to the driver, was the tall
figure of a lady.  Several men of the upper classes and many servants
stood around the litter and the chariot.  Few words were exchanged; the
whole attention of the strangely lighted groups seemed concentrated on
the temple-gate.  The darkness concealed the features of individuals, but
the mingled light of the moon and the torches was enough to reveal to the
gate-keeper, who looked down on the party from a tower of the Pylon, that
it was composed of persons of the highest rank; nay, perhaps of the royal

He called aloud to the one who knocked, and asked him what was his will.

He looked up, and in a voice so rough and imperious, that the lady in the
litter shrank in horror as its tones suddenly violated the place of the
dead, he cried out--"How long are we to wait here for you--you dirty
hound?  Come down and open the door and then ask questions.  If the
torch-light is not bright enough to show you who is waiting, I will score
our name on your shoulders with my whip, and teach you how to receive
princely visitors."

While the porter muttered an unintelligible answer and came down the
steps within to open the door, the lady in the chariot turned to her
impatient companion and said in a pleasant but yet decided voice, "You
forget, Paaker, that you are back again in Egypt, and that here you have
to deal not with the wild Schasu,--[A Semitic race of robbers in the cast
of Egypt.]--but with friendly priests of whom we have to solicit a favor.
We have always had to lament your roughness, which seems to me very ill-
suited to the unusual circumstances under which we approach this

Although these words were spoken in a tone rather of regret than of
blame, they wounded the sensibilities of the person addressed; his wide
nostrils began to twitch ominously, he clenched his right hand over the
handle of his whip, and, while he seemed to be bowing humbly, he struck
such a heavy blow on the bare leg of a slave who was standing near to
him, an old Ethiopian, that he shuddered as if from sudden cold, though-
knowing his lord only too well--he let no cry of pain escape him.
Meanwhile the gate-keeper had opened the door, and with him a tall young
priest stepped out into the open air to ask the will of the intruders.

Paaker would have seized the opportunity of speaking, but the lady in the
chariot interposed and said:

"I am Bent-Anat, the daughter of the King, and this lady in the litter is
Nefert, the wife of the noble Mena, the charioteer of my father.  We were
going in company with these gentlemen to the north-west valley of the
Necropolis to see the new works there.  You know the narrow pass in the
rocks which leads up the gorge.  On the way home I myself held the reins
and I had the misfortune to drive over a girl who sat by the road with a
basket full of flowers, and to hurt her--to hurt her very badly I am
afraid.  The wife of Mena with her own hands bound up the child, and then
she carried her to her father's house--he is a paraschites--[One who
opened the bodies of the dead to prepare them for being embalmed.]--
Pinem is his name.  I know not whether he is known to you."

"Thou hast been into his house, Princess?"

"Indeed, I was obliged, holy father," she replied, "I know of course that
I have defiled myself by crossing the threshold of these people, but--"

"But," cried the wife of Mena, raising herself in her litter, "Bent-Anat
can in a day be purified by thee or by her house-priest, while she can
hardly--or perhaps never--restore the child whole and sound again to the
unhappy father."

"Still, the den of a paraschites is above every thing unclean," said the
chamberlain Penbesa, master of the ceremonies to the princess,
interrupting the wife of Mena, "and I did not conceal my opinion when
Bent-Anat announced her intention of visiting the accursed hole in
person.  I suggested," he continued, turning to the priest, "that she
should let the girl be taken home, and send a royal present to the

"And the princess?"  asked the priest.

"She acted, as she always does, on her own judgment," replied the master
of the ceremonies.

"And that always hits on the right course," cried the wife of Mena.

"Would to God it were so!"  said the princess in a subdued voice.  Then
she continued, addressing the priest, "Thou knowest the will of the Gods
and the hearts of men, holy father, and I myself know that I give alms
willingly and help the poor even when there is none to plead for them but
their poverty.  But after what has occurred here, and to these unhappy
people, it is I who come as a suppliant."

"Thou?"  said the chamberlain.

"I," answered the princess with decision.  The priest who up to this
moment had remained a silent witness of the scene raised his right hand
as in blessing and  spoke.

"Thou hast done well.  The Hathors fashioned thy heart and the Lady of
Truth guides it.  Thou hast broken in on our night-prayers to request us
to send a doctor to the injured girl?"

     [Hathor was Isis under a substantial form.  She is the goddess of
     the pure, light heaven, and bears the Sun-disk between cow-horns on
     a cow's head or on a human head with cow's ears.  She was named the
     Fair, and all the pure joys of life are in her gift.  Later she was
     regarded as a Muse who beautifies life with enjoyment, love, song,
     and the dance.  She appears as a good fairy by the cradle of
     children and decides their lot in life.  She bears many names: and
     several, generally seven, Hathors were represented, who personified
     the attributes and influence of the goddess.]

"Thou hast said."

"I will ask the high-priest to send the best leech for outward wounds
immediately to the child.  But where is the house of the paraschites
Pinem?  I do not know it."

"Northwards from the terrace of Hatasu,--[A great queen of the 18th
dynasty and guardian of two Pharaohs]--close to--; but I will charge one
of my attendants to conduct the leech.  Besides, I want to know early in
the morning how the child is doing.--Paaker."

The rough visitor, whom we already know, thus called upon, bowed to the
earth, his arms hanging by his sides, and asked:

"What dost thou command?"

"I appoint you guide to the physician," said the princess.  "It will be
easy to the king's pioneer to find the little half-hidden house again--

     [The title here rendered pioneer was that of an officer whose duties
     were those at once of a scout and of a Quarter-Master General.  In
     unknown and comparatively savage countries it was an onerous post.

besides, you share my guilt, for," she added, turning to the priest,
"I confess that the misfortune happened because I would try with my
horses to overtake Paaker's Syrian racers, which he declared to be
swifter than the Egyptian horses.  It was a mad race."

"And Amon be praised that it ended as it did," exclaimed the master of
the ceremonies.  "Packer's chariot lies dashed in pieces in the valley,
and his best horse is badly hurt."

"He will see to him when he has taken the physician to the house of the
paraschites," said the princess.  "Dost thou know, Penbesa--thou anxious
guardian of a thoughtless girl--that to-day for the first time I am glad
that my father is at the war in distant Satiland?"--[Asia].

"He would not have welcomed us kindly!"  said the master of the
ceremonies, laughing.

"But the leech, the leech!"  cried Bent-Anat.  "Packer, it is settled
then.  You will conduct him, and bring us to-morrow morning news of the
wounded girl."

Paaker bowed; the princess bowed her head; the priest and his companions,
who meanwhile had come out of the temple and joined him, raised their
hands in blessing, and the belated procession moved towards the Nile.

Paaker remained alone with his two slaves; the commission with which the
princess had charged him greatly displeased him.  So long as the
moonlight enabled him to distinguish the litter of Mena's wife, he gazed
after it;  then he endeavored to recollect the position of the hut of the
paraschites.  The captain of the watch still stood with the guard at the
gate of the temple.

"Do you know the dwelling of Pinem the paraschites?"  asked Paaker.

"What do you want with him?"

"That is no concern of yours," retorted Paaker.

"Lout!"  exclaimed the captain, "left face and forwards, my men."

"Halt!"  cried Paaker in a rage.  "I am the king's chief pioneer."

"Then you will all the more easily find the way back by which you came.

The words were followed by a peal of many-voiced laughter: the re-echoing
insult so confounded Paaker that he dropped his whip on the ground.  The
slave, whom a short time since he had struck with it, humbly picked it up
and then followed his lord into the fore court of the temple.  Both
attributed the titter, which they still could hear without being able to
detect its origin, to wandering spirits.  But the mocking tones had been
heard too by the old gate-keeper, and the laughers were better known to
him than to the king's pioneer; he strode with heavy steps to the door of
the temple through the black shadow of the pylon, and striking blindly
before him called out--

"Ah! you good-for-nothing brood of Seth.

     [The Typhon of the Greeks.  The enemy  of Osiris, of truth,  good
     and purity.  Discord and strife in nature.  Horns who fights against
     him for his father Osiris, can throw him and stun him, but never
     annihilate him.]

"You gallows-birds and brood of hell--I am coming."

The giggling ceased; a few youthful figures appeared in the moonlight,
the old man pursued them panting, and, after a short chase, a troop of
youths fled back through the temple gate.

The door-keeper had succeeded in catching one miscreant, a boy of
thirteen, and held him so tight by the ear that his pretty head seemed to
have grown in a horizontal direction from his shoulders.

"I will take you before the school-master, you plague-of-locusts, you
swarm of bats!"  cried the old man out of breath.  But the dozen of
school-boys, who had availed themselves of the opportunity to break out
of bounds, gathered coaxing round him, with words of repentance, though
every eye sparkled with delight at the fun they had had, and of which no
one could deprive them; and when the biggest of them took the old man's
chin, and promised to give him the wine which his mother was to send him
next day for the week's use, the porter let go his prisoner--who tried to
rub the pain out of his burning ear--and cried out in harsher tones than

"You will pay me, will you, to let you off!  Do you think I will let your
tricks pass?  You little know this old man.  I will complain to the Gods,
not to the school-master; and as for your wine, youngster, I will offer
it as a libation, that heaven may forgive you."


The temple where, in the fore-court, Paaker was waiting, and where the
priest had disappeared to call the leech, was called the "House of Seti"
--[It is still standing and known as the temple of Qurnah.]--and was one
of the largest in the City of the Dead.  Only that magnificent building
of the time of the deposed royal race of the reigning king's grandfather
--that temple which had been founded by Thotmes III., and whose gate-way
Amenophis III.  had adorned with immense colossal statues--[That which
stands to the north is the famous musical statue, or Pillar of Memmon]--
exceeded it in the extent of its plan; in every other respect it held the
pre-eminence among the sanctuaries of the Necropolis.  Rameses I. had
founded it shortly after he succeeded in seizing the Egyptian throne; and
his yet greater son Seti carried on the erection, in which the service of
the dead for the Manes of the members of the new royal family was
conducted, and the high festivals held in honor of the Gods of the under-
world.  Great sums had been expended for its establishment, for the
maintenance of the priesthood of its sanctuary, and the support of the
institutions connected with it.  These were intended to be equal to the
great original foundations of priestly learning at Heliopolis and
Memphis; they were regulated on the same pattern, and with the object of
raising the new royal residence of Upper Egypt, namely Thebes, above the
capitals of Lower Egypt in regard to philosophical distinction.

One of the most important of these foundations was a very celebrated
school of learning.

     [Every detail of this description of an Egyptian school is derived
     from sources dating from the reign of Rameses II.  and his
     successor, Merneptah.]

First there was the high-school, in which priests, physicians, judges,
mathematicians, astronomers, grammarians, and other learned men, not only
had the benefit of instruction, but, subsequently, when they had won
admission to the highest ranks of learning, and attained the dignity of
"Scribes," were maintained at the cost of the king, and enabled to pursue
their philosophical speculations and researches, in freedom from all
care, and in the society of fellow-workers of equal birth and identical

An extensive library, in which thousands of papyrus-rolls were preserved,
and to which a manufactory of papyrus was attached, was at the disposal
of the learned; and some of them were intrusted with the education of the
younger disciples, who had been prepared in the elementary school, which
was also dependent on the House--or university--of Seti.  The lower
school was open to every son of a free citizen, and was often frequented
by several hundred boys, who also found night-quarters there.  The
parents were of course required either to pay for their maintenance, or
to send due supplies of provisions for the keep of their children at

In a separate building lived the temple-boarders, a few sons of the
noblest families, who were brought up by the priests at a great expense
to their parents.

Seti I., the founder of this establishment, had had his own sons, not
excepting Rameses, his successor, educated here.

The elementary schools were strictly ruled, and the rod played so large a
part in them, that a pedagogue could record this saying: "The scholar's
ears are at his back: when he is flogged then he hears."

Those youths who wished to pass up from the lower to the high-school had
to undergo an examination.  The student, when he had passed it, could
choose a master from among the learned of the higher grades, who
undertook to be his philosophical guide, and to whom he remained attached
all his life through, as a client to his patron.  He could obtain the
degree of "Scribe" and qualify for public office by a second examination.

Near to these schools of learning there stood also a school of art, in
which instruction was given to students who desired to devote themselves
to architecture, sculpture, or painting; in these also the learner might
choose his master.

Every teacher in these institutions belonged to the priesthood of the
House of Seti.  It consisted of more than eight hundred members, divided
into five classes, and conducted by three so-called Prophets.

The first prophet was the high-priest of the House of Seti, and at the
same time the superior of all the thousands of upper and under servants
of the divinities which belonged to the City of the Dead of Thebes.

The temple of Seti proper was a massive structure of limestone.  A row of
Sphinxes led from the Nile to the surrounding wall, and to the first vast
pro-pylon, which formed the entrance to a broad fore-court, enclosed on
the two sides by colonnades, and beyond which stood a second gate-way.
When he had passed through this door, which stood between two towers, in
shape like truncated pyramids, the stranger came to a second court
resembling the first, closed at the farther end by a noble row of
pillars, which formed part of the central temple itself.

The innermost and last was dimly lighted by a few lamps.

Behind the temple of Seti stood large square structures of brick of the
Nile mud, which however had a handsome and decorative effect, as the
humble material of which they were constructed was plastered with lime,
and that again was painted with colored pictures and hieroglyphic

The internal arrangement of all these houses was the same.  In the midst
was an open court, on to which opened the doors of the rooms of the
priests and philosophers.  On each side of the court was a shady, covered
colonnade of wood, and in the midst a tank with ornamental plants.  In
the upper story were the apartments for the scholars, and instruction was
usually given in the paved courtyard strewn with mats.

The most imposing was the house of the chief prophets; it was
distinguished by its waving standards and stood about a hundred paces
behind the temple of Seti, between a well kept grove and a clear lake--
the sacred tank of the temple; but they only occupied it while fulfilling
their office, while the splendid houses which they lived in with their
wives and children, lay on the other side of the river, in Thebes proper.

The untimely visit to the temple could not remain unobserved by the
colony of sages.  Just as ants when a hand breaks in on their dwelling,
hurry restlessly hither and thither, so an unwonted stir had agitated,
not the school-boys only, but the teachers and the priests.  They
collected in groups near the outer walls, asking questions and hazarding
guesses.  A messenger from the king had arrived--the princess Bent-Anat
had been attacked by the Kolchytes--and a wag among the school-boys who
had got out, declared that Paaker, the king's pioneer, had been brought
into the temple by force to be made to learn to write better.  As the
subject of the joke had formerly been a pupil of the House of Seti, and
many delectable stories of his errors in penmanship still survived in the
memory of the later generation of scholars, this information was received
with joyful applause; and it seemed to have a glimmer of probability, in
spite of the apparent contradiction that Paaker filled one of the highest
offices near the king, when a grave young priest declared that he had
seen the pioneer in the forecourt of the temple.

The lively discussion, the laughter and shouting of the boys at such an
unwonted hour, was not unobserved by the chief priest.

This remarkable prelate, Ameni the son of Nebket, a scion of an old and
noble family, was far more than merely the independent head of the
temple-brotherhood, among whom he was prominent for his power and wisdom;
for all the priesthood in the length and breadth of the land acknowledged
his supremacy, asked his advice in difficult cases, and never resisted
the decisions in spiritual matters which emanated from the House of Seti
--that is to say, from Ameni.  He was the embodiment of the priestly
idea; and if at times he made heavy--nay extraordinary--demands on
individual fraternities, they were submitted to, for it was known by
experience that the indirect roads which he ordered them to follow all
converged on one goal, namely the exaltation of the power and dignity of
the hierarchy.  The king appreciated this remarkable man, and had long
endeavored to attach him to the court, as keeper of the royal seal; but
Ameni was not to be induced to give up his apparently modest position;
for he contemned all outward show and ostentatious titles; he ventured
sometimes to oppose a decided resistance to the measures of the Pharaoh,

     [Pharaoh is the Hebrew form of the Egyptian Peraa--or Phrah.  "The
     great house," "sublime house," or "high gate" is the literal

and was not minded to give up his unlimited control of the priests for
the sake of a limited dominion over what seemed to him petty external
concerns, in the service of a king who was only too independent and hard
to influence.

He regularly arranged his mode and habits of life in an exceptional way.

Eight days out of ten he remained in the temple entrusted to his charge;
two he devoted to his family, who lived on the other bank of the Nile;
but he let no one, not even those nearest to him, know what portion of
the ten days he gave up to recreation.  He required only four hours of
sleep.  This he usually took in a dark room which no sound could reach,
and in the middle of the day; never at night, when the coolness and quiet
seemed to add to his powers of work, and when from time to time he could
give himself up to the study of the starry heavens.

All the ceremonials that his position required of him, the cleansing,
purification, shaving, and fasting he fulfilled with painful exactitude,
and the outer bespoke the inner man.

Ameni was entering on his fiftieth year; his figure was tall, and had
escaped altogether the stoutness to which at that age the Oriental is
liable.  The shape of his smoothly-shaven head was symmetrical and of a
long oval; his forehead was neither broad nor high, but his profile was
unusually delicate, and his face striking; his lips were thin and dry,
and his large and piercing eyes, though neither fiery nor brilliant, and
usually cast down to the ground under his thick eyebrows, were raised
with a full, clear, dispassionate gaze when it was necessary to see and
to examine.

The poet of the House of Seti, the young Pentaur, who knew these eyes,
had celebrated them in song, and had likened them to a well-disciplined
army which the general allows to rest before and after the battle, so
that they may march in full strength to victory in the fight.

The refined deliberateness of his nature had in it much that was royal as
well as priestly; it was partly intrinsic and born with him, partly the
result of his own mental self-control.  He had many enemies, but calumny
seldom dared to attack the high character of Amemi.

The high-priest looked up in astonishment, as the disturbance in the
court of the temple broke in on his studies.

The room in which he was sitting was spacious and cool; the lower part of
the walls was lined with earthenware tiles, the upper half plastered and
painted.  But little was visible of the masterpieces of the artists of
the establishment, for almost everywhere they were concealed by wooden
closets and shelves, in which were papyrus-rolls and wax-tablets.  A
large table, a couch covered with a panther's skin, a footstool in front
of it, and on it a crescent-shaped support for the head, made of ivory,

     [A support of crescent form on which the Egyptians rested their
     heads.  Many specimens were found in the catacombs, and similar
     objects are still used in Nubia]

several seats, a stand with beakers and jugs, and another with flasks of
all sizes, saucers, and boxes, composed the furniture of the room, which
was lighted by three lamps, shaped like birds and filled with kiki oil.--
[Castor oil, which was used in the lamps.]

Ameni wore a fine pleated robe of snow-white linen, which reached to his
ankles, round his hips was a scarf adorned with fringes, which in front
formed an apron, with broad, stiffened ends which fell to his knees; a
wide belt of white and silver brocade confined the drapery of his robe.
Round his throat and far down on his bare breast hung a necklace more
than a span deep, composed of pearls and agates, and his upper arm was
covered with broad gold bracelets.  He rose from the ebony seat with
lion's feet, on which he sat, and beckoned to a servant who squatted by
one of the walls of the sitting-room.  He rose and without any word of
command from his master, he silently and carefully placed on the high-
priest's bare head a long and thick curled wig,

     [Egyptians belonging to the higher classes wore wigs on their shaven
     heads.  Several are preserved in museums.]

and threw a leopard-skin, with its head and claws overlaid with gold-
leaf, over his shoulders.  A second servant held a metal mirror before
Ameni, in which he cast a look as he settled the panther-skin and head-

A third servant was handing him the crosier, the insignia of his dignity
as a prelate, when a priest entered and announced the scribe Pentaur.

Ameni nodded, and the young priest who had talked with the princess Bent-
Anat at the temple-gate came into the room.

Pentaur knelt and kissed the hand of the prelate, who gave him his
blessing, and in a clear sweet voice, and rather formal and unfamiliar
language--as if he were reading rather than speaking, said:

"Rise, my son; your visit will save me a walk at this untimely hour,
since you can inform me of what disturbs the disciples in our temple.

"Little of consequence has occurred, holy father," replied Pentaur.  "Nor
would I have disturbed thee at this hour, but that a quite unnecessary
tumult has been raised by the youths; and that the princess Bent-Anat
appeared in person to request the aid of a physician.  The unusual hour
and the retinue that followed her--"

"Is the daughter of Pharaoh sick?"  asked the prelate.

"No, father.  She is well--even to wantonness, since--wishing to prove
the swiftness of her horses--she ran over the daughter of the paraschites
Pinem.  Noble-hearted as she is, she herself carried the sorely-wounded
girl to her house."

"She entered the dwelling of the unclean."

"Thou hast said."

"And she now asks to be purified?"

"I thought I might venture to absolve her, father, for the purest
humanity led her to the act, which was no doubt a breach of discipline,

"But," asked the high-priest in a grave voice and he raised his eyes
which he had hitherto on the ground.

"But," said the young priest, and now his eyes fell, "which can surely be
no crime.  When Ra--[The Egyptian Sun-god.]--in his golden bark sails
across the heavens, his light falls as freely and as bountifully on the
hut of the despised poor as on the Palace of the Pharaohs; and shall the
tender human heart withhold its pure light--which is benevolence--from
the wretched, only because they are base?"

"It is the  poet  Pentaur that speaks," said the prelate, "and not the
priest to whom the privilege was given to be initiated into the highest
grade of the sages, and whom I call my brother and my equal.  I have no
advantage over you, young man, but perishable learning, which the past
has won for you as much as for me--nothing but certain perceptions and
experiences that offer nothing new, to the world, but teach us, indeed,
that it is our part to maintain all that is ancient in living efficacy
and practice.  That which you promised a few weeks since, I many years
ago vowed to the Gods; to guard knowledge as the exclusive possession of
the initiated.  Like fire, it serves those who know its uses to the
noblest ends, but in the hands of children--and the people, the mob, can
never ripen into manhood--it is a destroying brand, raging and
unextinguishable, devouring all around it, and destroying all that has
been built and beautified by the past.  And how can we remain the Sages
and continue to develop and absorb all learning within the shelter of our
temples, not only without endangering the weak, but for their benefit?
You know and have sworn to act after that knowledge.  To bind the crowd
to the faith and the institutions of the fathers is your duty--is the
duty of every priest.  Times have changed, my son; under the old kings
the fire, of which I spoke figuratively to you--the poet--was enclosed in
brazen walls which the people passed stupidly by.  Now I see breaches in
the old fortifications; the eyes of the uninitiated have been sharpened,
and one tells the other what he fancies he has spied, though half-
blinded, through the glowing rifts."

A slight emotion had given energy to the tones of the speaker, and while
he held the poet spell-bound with his piercing glance he continued:

"We curse and expel any one of the initiated who enlarges these breaches;
we punish even the friend who idly neglects to repair and close them with
beaten brass!"

"My father!"  cried Pentaur, raising his head in astonishment while the
blood mounted to his cheeks.  The high-priest went up to him and laid
both hands on his shoulders.

They were of equal height and of equally symmetrical build;  even the
outline of their features was similar.  Nevertheless no one would have
taken them to be even distantly related; their countenances were so
infinitely unlike in expression.

On the face of one were stamped a strong will and the power of firmly
guiding his life and commanding himself; on the other, an amiable desire
to overlook the faults and defects of the world, and to contemplate life
as it painted itself in the transfiguring magic-mirror of his poet's
soul.  Frankness and enjoyment spoke in his sparkling eye, but the subtle
smile on his lips when he was engaged in a discussion, or when his soul
was stirred, betrayed that Pentaur, far from childlike carelessness, had
fought many a severe mental battle, and had tasted the dark waters of

At this moment mingled feelings were struggling in his soul.  He felt as
if he must withstand the speaker; and yet the powerful presence of the
other exercised so strong an influence over his mind, long trained to
submission, that he was silent, and a pious thrill passed through him
when Ameni's hands were laid on his shoulders.

"I blame you," said the high-priest, while he firmly held the young man,
"nay, to my sorrow I must chastise you; and yet," he said, stepping back
and taking his right hand, "I rejoice in the necessity, for I love you
and honor you, as one whom the Unnameable has blessed with high gifts and
destined to great things.  Man leaves a weed to grow unheeded or roots it
up but you are a noble tree, and I am like the gardener who has forgotten
to provide it with a prop, and who is now thankful to have detected a
bend that reminds him of his neglect.  You look at me enquiringly, and I
can see in your eyes that I seem to you a severe judge.  Of what are you
accused?  You have suffered an institution of the past to be set aside.
It does not matter--so the short-sighted and heedless think; but I say to
you, you have doubly transgressed, because the wrong-doer was the king's
daughter, whom all look up to, great and small, and whose actions may
serve as an example to the people.  On whom then must a breach of the
ancient institutions lie with the darkest stain if not on the highest in
rank?  In a few days it will be said the paraschites are men even as we
are, and the old law to avoid them as unclean is folly.  And will the
reflections of the people, think you, end there, when it is so easy for
them to say that he who errs in one point may as well fail in all?  In
questions of faith, my son, nothing is insignificant.  If we open one
tower to the enemy he is master of the whole fortress.  In these
unsettled times our sacred lore is like a chariot on the declivity of a
precipice, and under the wheels thereof a stone.  A child takes away the
stone, and the chariot rolls down into the abyss and is dashed to pieces.
Imagine the princess to be that child, and the stone a loaf that she
would fain give to feed a beggar.  Would you then give it to her if your
father and your mother and all that is dear and precious to you were in
the chariot?  Answer not! the princess will visit the paraschites again
to-morrow.  You must await her in the man's hut, and there inform her
that she has transgressed and must crave to be purified by us.  For this
time you are excused from any further punishment.

"Heaven has bestowed on you a gifted soul.  Strive for that which is
wanting to you--the strength to subdue, to crush for One--and you know
that One--all things else--even the misguiding voice of your heart, the
treacherous voice of your judgment.--But stay! send leeches to the house
of the paraschites, and desire them to treat the injured girl as though
she were the queen herself.  Who knows where the man dwells?"

"The princess," replied Pentaur, "has left Paaker, the king's pioneer,
behind in the temple to conduct the leeches to the house of Pinem."

The grave high-priest smiled and said.  "Paaker! to attend the daughter
of a paraschites."

Pentaur half beseechingly and half in fun raised his eyes which he had
kept cast down.  "And Pentaur," he murmured, "the gardener's son! who is
to refuse absolution to the king's daughter!"

"Pentaur, the minister of the Gods--Pentaur, the priest--has not to do
with the daughter of the king, but with the transgressor of the sacred
institutions," replied Ameni gravely.  "Let Paaker know I wish to speak
with him."

The poet bowed low and quitted the room, the high priest muttered to
himself: "He is not yet what he should be, and speech is of no effect
with him."

For a while lie was silent, walking to and fro in meditation; then he
said half aloud, "And the boy is destined to great things.  What gifts of
the Gods doth he lack?  He has the faculty of learning--of thinking--of
feeling--of winning all hearts, even mine.  He keeps himself undefiled
and separate--"suddenly the prelate paused and struck his hand on the
back of a chair that stood by him.  "I have it; he has not yet felt the
fire of ambition.  We will light it for his profit and our own."


Pentauer hastened to execute the commands of the high-priest.  He sent a
servant to escort Paaker, who was waiting in the forecourt, into the
presence of Ameni while he himself repaired to the physicians to impress
on them the most watchful care of the unfortunate girl.

Many proficients in the healing arts were brought up in the house of
Seti, but few used to remain after passing the examination for the degree
of Scribe.

     [What is here stated with regard to the medical schools is
     principally derived from the medical writings of the Egyptians
     themselves, among which the "Ebers Papyrus" holds the first place,
     "Medical Papyrus I." of Berlin the second, and a hieratic MS. in
     London which, like the first mentioned, has come down to us from the
     18th dynasty, takes the third.  Also see Herodotus II. 84.  Diodorus
     I. 82.]

The most gifted were sent to Heliopolis, where flourished, in the great
"Hall of the Ancients," the most celebrated medical faculty of the whole
country, whence they returned to Thebes, endowed with the highest honors
in surgery, in ocular treatment, or in any other branch of their
profession, and became physicians to the king or made a living by
imparting their learning and by being called in to consult on serious

Naturally most of the doctors lived on the east bank of the Nile, in
Thebes proper, and even in private houses with their families; but each
was attached to a priestly college.

Whoever required a physician sent for him, not to his own house, but to a
temple.  There a statement was required of the complaint from which the
sick was suffering, and it was left to the principal medical staff of the
sanctuary to select that of the healing art whose special knowledge
appeared to him to be suited for the treatment of the case.

Like all priests, the physicians lived on the income which came to them
from their landed property, from the gifts of the king, the contributions
of the laity, and the share which was given them of the state-revenues;
they expected no honorarium from their patients, but the restored sick
seldom neglected making a present to the sanctuary whence a physician had
come to them, and it was not unusual for the priestly leech to make the
recovery of the sufferer conditional on certain gifts to be offered to
the temple.

The medical knowledge of the Egyptians was, according to every
indication, very considerable; but it was natural that physicians, who
stood by the bed of sickness as "ordained servants of the Divinity,"
should not be satisfied with a rational treatment of the sufferer, and
should rather think that they could not dispense with the mystical
effects of prayers and vows.

Among the professors of medicine in the House of Seti there were men of
the most different gifts and bent of mind; but Pentaur was not for a
moment in doubt as to which should be entrusted with the treatment of the
girl who had been run over, and for whom he felt the greatest sympathy.

The one he chose was the grandson of a celebrated leech, long since dead,
whose name of Nebsecht he had inherited, and a beloved school-friend and
old comrade of Pentaur.

This young man had from his earliest years shown high and hereditary
talent for the profession to which he had devoted himself; he had
selected surgery

     [Among the six hermetic books of medicine mentioned by Clement of
     Alexandria, was one devoted to surgical instruments: otherwise the
     very badly-set fractures found in some of the mummies do little
     honor to the Egyptian surgeons.]

for his special province at Heliopolis, and would certainly have attained
the dignity of teacher there if an impediment in his speech had not
debarred him from the viva voce recitation of formulas and prayers.

This circumstance, which was deeply lamented by his parents and tutors,
was in fact, in the best opinions, an advantage to him; for it often
happens that apparent superiority does us damage, and that from apparent
defect springs the saving of our life.

Thus, while the companions of Nebsecht were employed in declaiming or
in singing, he, thanks to his fettered tongue, could give himself up to
his inherited and almost passionate love of observing organic life; and
his teachers indulged up to a certain point his innate spirit of
investigation, and derived benefit from his knowledge of the human
and animal structures, and from the dexterity of his handling.

His deep aversion for the magical part of his profession would have
brought him heavy punishment, nay very likely would have cost him
expulsion from the craft, if he had ever given it expression in any form.
But Nebsecht's was the silent and reserved nature of the learned man, who
free from all desire of external recognition, finds a rich satisfaction
in the delights of investigation; and he regarded every demand on him to
give proof of his capacity, as a vexatious but unavoidable intrusion on
his unassuming but laborious and fruitful investigations.

Nebsecht was dearer and nearer to Pentaur than any other of his

He admired his learning and skill; and when the slightly-built surgeon,
who was indefatigable in his wanderings, roved through the thickets by
the Nile, the desert, or the mountain range, the young poet-priest
accompanied him with pleasure and with great benefit to himself, for his
companion observed a thousand things to which without him he would have
remained for ever blind; and the objects around him, which were known to
him only by their shapes, derived connection and significance from the
explanations of the naturalist, whose intractable tongue moved freely
when it was required to expound to his friend the peculiarities of
organic beings whose development he had been the first to detect.

The poet was dear in the sight of Nebsecht, and he loved Pentaur, who
possessed all the gifts he lacked; manly beauty, childlike lightness of
heart, the frankest openness, artistic power, and the gift of expressing
in word and song every emotion that stirred his soul.  The poet was as a
novice in the order in which Nebsecht was master, but quite capable of
understanding its most difficult points; so it happened that Nebsecht
attached greater value to his judgment than to that of his own
colleagues, who showed themselves fettered by prejudice, while
Pentaur's decision always was free and unbiassed.

The naturalist's room lay on the ground floor, and had no living-rooms
above it, being under one of the granaries attached to the temple.  It
was as large as a public hall, and yet Pentaur, making his way towards
the silent owner of the room, found it everywhere strewed with thick
bundles of every variety of plant, with cages of palm-twigs piled four or
five high, and a number of jars, large and small, covered with perforated
paper.  Within these prisons moved all sorts of living creatures, from
the jerboa, the lizard of the Nile, and a light-colored species of owl,
to numerous specimens of frogs, snakes, scorpions and beetles.

On the solitary table in the middle of the room, near to a writing-stand,
lay bones of animals, with various sharp flints and bronze knives.

In a corner of this room lay a mat, on which stood a wooden head-prop,
indicating that the naturalist was in the habit of sleeping on it.

When Pentaur's step was heard on the threshold of this strange abode, its
owner pushed a rather large object under the table, threw a cover over
it, and hid a sharp flint scalpel

     [The Egyptians seem to have preferred to use flint instruments for
     surgical purposes, at any rate for the opening of bodies and for
     circumcision.  Many flint instruments have been found and preserved
     in museums.]

fixed into a wooden handle, which he had just been using, in the folds of
his robe-as a school-boy might hide some forbidden game from his master.
Then he crossed his arms, to give himself the aspect of a man who is
dreaming in harmless idleness.

The solitary lamp, which was fixed on a high stand near his chair, shed a
scanty light, which, however, sufficed to show him his trusted friend
Pentaur, who had disturbed Nebsecht in his prohibited occupations.
Nebsecht nodded to him as he entered, and, when he had seen who it was,

"You need not have frightened me so!"  Then he drew out from under the
table the object he had hidden--a living rabbit fastened down to a board-
and continued his interrupted observations on the body, which he had
opened and fastened back with wooden pins while the heart continued to

He took no further notice of Pentaur, who for some time silently watched
the investigator; then he laid his hand on his shoulder and said:

"Lock your door more carefully, when you are busy with forbidden things."

"They took--they took away the bar of the door lately," stammered the
naturalist, "when they caught me dissecting the hand of the forger
Ptahmes."--[The law sentenced forgers to lose a hand.]

"The mummy of the poor man will find its right hand wanting," answered
the poet.

"He will not want it out there."

"Did you bury the least bit of an image in his grave?"

     [Small statuettes, placed in graves to help the dead in the work
     performed in the under-world.  They have axes and ploughs in their
     hands, and seed-bags on their backs.  The sixth chapter of the Book
     of the Dead is inscribed on nearly all.]


"You go very far, Nebsecht, and are not foreseeing, 'He who needlessly
hurts an innocent animal shall be served in the same way by the spirits
of the netherworld,' says the law; but I see what you will say.  You hold
it lawful to put a beast to pain, when you can thereby increase that
knowledge by which you alleviate the sufferings of man, and enrich--"

"And do not you?"

A gentle smile passed over Pentaur's face; leaned over the animal and

"How curious! the little beast still lives and breathes; a man would have
long been dead under such treatment.  His organism is perhaps of a more
precious, subtle, and so more fragile nature?"

Nebsecht shrugged his shoulders.

"Perhaps!"  he said.

"I thought you must know."

"I--how should I?"  asked the leech.  "I have told you--they would not
even let me try to find out how the hand of a forger moves."

"Consider, the scripture tells us the passage of the soul depends on the
preservation of the body."

Nebsecht looked up with his cunning little eyes and shrugging his
shoulders, said:

"Then no doubt it is so: however these things do not concern me.  Do what
you like with the souls of men; I seek to know something of their bodies,
and patch them when they are damaged as well as may be."

"Nay-Toth be praised, at least you need not deny that you are master in
that art."

     [Toth is the god of the learned and of physicians.  The Ibis was
     sacred to him, and he was usually represented as Ibis-headed.  Ra
     created him "a beautiful light to show the name of his evil enemy."
     Originally the Dfoon-god, he became the lord of time and measure.
     He is the weigher, the philosopher among the gods, the lord of
     writing, of art and of learning.  The Greeks called him Hermes
     Trismegistus, i.e. threefold or "very great" which was, in fact, in
     imitation of the Egyptians, whose name Toth or Techud signified
     twofold, in the same way "very great"]

"Who is master," asked Nebsecht, "excepting God?  I can do nothing,
nothing at all, and guide my instruments with hardly more certainty than
a sculptor condemned to work in the dark."

"Something like the blind Resu then," said Pentaur smiling, "who
understood painting better than all the painters who could see."

"In my operations there is a 'better' and a 'worse;'" said Nebsecht, "but
there is nothing 'good.'"

"Then we must be satisfied with the 'better,' and I have come to claim
it," said Pentaur.

"Are you ill?"

"Isis be praised, I feel so well that I could uproot a palm-tree, but I
would ask you to visit a sick girl.  The princess Bent-Anat--"

"The royal family has its own physicians."

"Let me speak! the princess Bent-Anat has run over a young girl, and the
poor child is seriously hurt."

"Indeed," said the student reflectively.  "Is she over there in the city,
or here in the Necropolis?"

"Here.  She is in fact the daughter of a paraschites."

"Of a paraschites?"  exclaimed Nebsecht, once more slipping the rabbit
under the table, then I will go."

"You curious fellow.  I believe you expect to find something strange
among the unclean folk."

"That is my affair; but I will go.  What is the man's name?"


"There will be nothing to be done with him," muttered the student,
"however--who knows?"

With these words he rose, and opening a tightly closed flask he dropped
some strychnine on the nose and in the mouth of the rabbit, which
immediately ceased to breathe.  Then he laid it in a box and said, "I am

"But you cannot go out of doors in this stained dress."

The physician nodded assent, and took from a chest a clean robe, which he
was about to throw on over the other!  but Pentaur hindered him.  "First
take off your working dress," he said laughing.  "I will help you.  But,
by Besa, you have as many coats as an onion."

     [Besa, the god of the toilet of the Egyptians.  He was represented
     as a deformed pigmy.  He led the women to conquest in love, and the
     men in war.  He was probably of Arab origin.]

Pentaur was known as a mighty laugher among his companions, and his loud
voice rung in the quiet room, when he discovered that his friend was
about to put a third clean robe over two dirty ones, and wear no less
than three dresses at once.

Nebsecht laughed too, and said, "Now I know why my clothes were so heavy,
and felt so intolerably hot at noon.  While I get rid of my superfluous
clothing, will you go and ask the high-priest if I have leave to quit the

"He commissioned me to send a leech to the paraschites, and added that
the girl was to be treated like a queen."

"Ameni? and did he know that we have to do with a paraschites?"


"Then I shall begin to believe that broken limbs may be set with vows-
aye, vows!  You know I cannot go alone to the sick, because my leather
tongue is unable to recite the sentences or to wring rich offerings for
the temple from the dying.  Go, while I undress, to the prophet Gagabu
and beg him to send the pastophorus Teta, who usually accompanies me."

"I would seek a young assistant rather than that blind old man."

"Not at all.  I should be glad if he would stay at home, and only let his
tongue creep after me like an eel or a slug.  Head and heart have nothing
to do with his wordy operations, and they go on like an ox treading out

     [In Egypt, as in Palestine, beasts trod out the corn, as we learn
     from many pictures m the catacombs, even in the remotest ages;
     often with the addition of a weighted sledge, to the runners of
     which rollers are attached.  It is now called noreg.]

"It is true," said Pentaur; "just lately I saw the old man singing out
his litanies by a sick-bed, and all the time quietly counting the dates,
of which they had given him a whole sack-full."

"He will be unwilling to go to the paraschites, who is poor, and he would
sooner seize the whole brood of scorpions yonder than take a piece of
bread from the hand of the unclean.  Tell him to come and fetch me, and
drink some wine.  There stands three days' allowance; in this hot weather
it dims my sight.

"Does the paraschites live to the north or south of the Necropolis?"

"I think to the north.  Paaker, the king's pioneer, will show you the

"He!" exclaimed the student, laughing.  "What day in the calendar is
this, then?

     [Calendars have been preserved, the completest is the papyrus
     Sallier IV., which has been admirably treated by F. Chabas.  Many
     days are noted as lucky, unlucky, etc.  In the temples many
     Calendars of feasts have been found, the most perfect at Medinet
     Abu, deciphered by Dumich.]

The child of a paraschites is to be tended like a princess, and a leech
have a noble to guide him, like the Pharaoh himself!  I ought to have
kept on my three robes!"

"The night is warm," said Pentaur.

"But Paaker has strange ways with him.  Only the day before yesterday I
was called to a poor boy whose collar bone he had simply smashed with his
stick.  If I had been the princess's horse I would rather have trodden
him down than a poor little girl."

"So would I," said Pentaur laughing, and left the room to request The
second prophet Gagabu, who was also the head of the medical staff of the
House of Seti, to send the blind pastophorus

     [The Pastophori were an order of priests to which the physicians

Teta, with his friend as singer of the litany.


Pentaur knew where to seek Gagabu, for he himself had been invited to the
banquet which the prophet had prepared in honor of two sages who had
lately come to the House of Seti from the university of Chennu.

     [Chennu was situated on a bend of the Nile, not far from the Nubian
     frontier; it is now called Gebel Silsilch; it was in very ancient
     times the seat of a celebrated seminary.]

In an open court, surrounded by gaily-painted wooden pillars, and lighted
by many lamps, sat the feasting priests in two long rows on comfortable
armchairs.  Before each stood a little table, and servants were occupied
in supplying them with the dishes and drinks, which were laid out on a
splendid table in the middle of the court.  Joints of gazelle,

     [Gazelles were tamed for domestic animals: we find them in the
     representations of the herds of the wealthy Egyptians and as
     slaughtered for food.  The banquet is described from the pictures of
     feasts which have been found in the tombs.]

roast geese and ducks, meat pasties, artichokes, asparagus and other
vegetables, and various cakes and sweetmeats were carried to the guests,
and their beakers well-filled with the choice wines of which there was
never any lack in the lofts of the House of Seti.

     [Cellars maintain the mean temperature of the climate, and in Egypt
     are hot  Wine was best preserved in shady and airy lofts.]

In the spaces between the guests stood servants with metal bowls, in
which they might wash their hands, and towels of fine linen.

When their hunger was appeased, the wine flowed more freely, and each
guest was decked with sweetly-smelling flowers, whose odor was supposed
to add to the vivacity of the conversation.

Many of the sharers in this feast wore long, snowwhite garments, and were
of the class of the Initiated into the mysteries of the faith, as well as
chiefs of the different orders of priests of the House of Seti.

The second prophet, Gagabu, who was to-day charged with the conduct of
the feast by Ameni--who on such occasions only showed himself for a few
minutes--was a short, stout man with a bald and almost spherical head.
His features were those of a man of advancing years, but well-formed, and
his smoothly-shaven, plump cheeks were well-rounded.  His grey eyes
looked out cheerfully and observantly, but had a vivid sparkle when he
was excited and began to twitch his thick, sensual mouth.

Close by him stood the vacant, highly-ornamented chair of the high-
priest, and next to him sat the priests arrived from Chennu, two tall,
dark-colored old men.  The remainder of the company was arranged in the
order of precedency, which they held in the priests' colleges, and which
bore no relation to their respective ages.

But strictly as the guests were divided with reference to their rank,
they mixed without distinction in the conversation.

"We know how to value our call to Thebes," said the elder of the
strangers from Chennu, Tuauf, whose essays were frequently used in the
schools,--[Some of them are still in existence]--"for while, on one hand,
it brings us into the neighborhood of the Pharaoh, where life, happiness,
and safety flourish, on the other it procures us the honor of counting
ourselves among your number; for, though the university of Chennu in
former times was so happy as to bring up many great men, whom she could
call her own, she can no longer compare with the House of Seti.  Even
Heliopolis and Memphis are behind you; and if I, my humble self,
nevertheless venture boldly among you, it is because I ascribe your
success as much to the active influence of the Divinity in your temple,
which may promote my acquirements and achievements, as to your great
gifts and your industry, in which I will not be behind you.  I have
already seen your high-priest Ameni--what a man!  And who does not know
thy name, Gagabu, or thine, Meriapu?"

"And which of you," asked the other new-comer, may we greet as the author
of the most beautiful hymn to Amon, which was ever sung in the land of
the Sycamore?  Which of you is Pentaur?"

"The empty chair yonder," answered Gagabu, pointing to a seat at the
lower end of the table, "is his.  He is the youngest of us all, but a
great future awaits him."

"And his songs," added the elder of the strangers.  "Without doubt,"
replied the chief of the haruspices,--[One of the orders of priests in
the Egyptian hierarchy]--an old man with a large grey curly head, that
seemed too heavy for his thin neck, which stretched forward--perhaps from
the habit of constantly watching for signs--while his prominent eyes
glowed with a fanatical gleam.  "Without doubt the Gods have granted
great gifts to our young friend, but it remains to be proved how he will
use them.  I perceive a certain freedom of thought in the youth, which
pains me deeply.  Although in his poems his flexible style certainly
follows the prescribed forms, his ideas transcend all tradition; and even
in the hymns intended for the ears of the people I find turns of thought,
which might well be called treason to the mysteries which only a few
months ago he swore to keep secret.  For instance he says--and we sing--
and the laity hear--

              "One only art Thou, Thou Creator of beings;
               And Thou only makest all that is created.

And again--

               He is one only, Alone, without equal;
               Dwelling alone in the holiest of holies."

     [Hymn to Amon preserved in a papyrus roll at Bulaq, and deciphered
     by Grehaut and L. Stern.]

Such passages as these ought not to be sung in public, at least in times
like ours, when new ideas come in upon us from abroad, like the swarms of
locusts from the East."

"Spoken to my very soul!"  cried the treasurer of the temple, "Ameni
initiated this boy too early into the mysteries."

"In my opinion, and I am his teacher," said Gagabu, "our brotherhood may
be proud of a member who adds so brilliantly to the fame of our temple.
The people hear the hymns without looking closely at the meaning of the
words.  I never saw the congregation more devout, than when the beautiful
and deeply-felt song of praise was sung at the feast of the stairs."

     [A particularly solemn festival in honor of Amon-Chem, held in the
     temple of Medinet-Abu.]

"Pentaur was always thy favorite," said the former speaker.  "Thou
wouldst not permit in any one else many things that are allowed to
him.  His hymns are nevertheless to me and to many others a dangerous
performance; and canst thou dispute the fact that we have grounds for
grave anxiety, and that things happen and circumstances grow up around
us which hinder us, and at last may perhaps crush us, if we do not,
while there is yet time, inflexibly oppose them?"

"Thou bringest sand to the desert, and sugar to sprinkle over honey,"
exclaimed Gagabu, and his lips began to twitch.  "Nothing is now as it
ought to be, and there will be a hard battle to fight; not with the
sword, but with this--and this."  And the impatient man touched his
forehead and his lips.  "And who is there more competent than my
disciple?  There is the champion of our cause, a second cap of Hor, that
overthrew the evil one with winged sunbeams, and you come and would clip
his wings and blunt his claws!  Alas, alas, my lords! will you never
understand that a lion roars louder than a cat, and the sun shines
brighter than an oil-lamp?  Let Pentuar alone, I say; or you will do as
the man did, who, for fear of the toothache, had his sound teeth drawn.
Alas, alas, in the years to come we shall have to bite deep into the
flesh, till the blood flows, if we wish to escape being eaten up

"The enemy is not unknown to us also," said the elder priest from Chennu,
"although we, on the remote southern frontier of the kingdom, have
escaped many evils that in the north have eaten into our body like a
cancer.  Here foreigners are now hardly looked upon at all as unclean and
devilish."--["Typhonisch," belonging to Typhon or Seth.--Translator.]

"Hardly?"  exclaimed the chief of the haruspices; "they are invited,
caressed, and honored.  Like dust, when the simoon blows through the
chinks of a wooden house, they crowd into the houses and temples, taint
our manners and language;

     [At no period Egyptian writers use more Semitic words than during
     the reigns of Rameses II. and his son Mernephtah.]

nay, on the throne of the successors of Ra sits a descendant--"

"Presumptuous man!"  cried the voice of the high-priest, who at this
instant entered the hall, "Hold your tongue, and be not so bold as to wag
it against him who is our king, and wields the sceptre in this kingdom as
the Vicar of Ra."

The speaker bowed and was silent, then he and all the company rose to
greet Ameni, who bowed to them all with polite dignity, took his seat,
and turning to Gagabu asked him carelessly:

"I find you all in most unpriestly excitement; what has disturbed your

"We were discussing the overwhelming influx of foreigners into Egypt, and
the necessity of opposing some resistance to them."

"You will find me one of the foremost in the attempt," replied Ameni.
"We have endured much already, and news has arrived from the north, which
grieves me deeply."

"Have our troops sustained a defeat?"

"They continue to be victorious, but thousands of our countrymen have
fallen victims in the fight or on the march.  Rameses demands fresh
reinforcements.  The pioneer, Paaker, has brought me a letter from our
brethren who accompany the king, and delivered a document from him to the
Regent, which contains the order to send to him fifty thousand fighting
men: and as the whole of the soldier-caste and all the auxiliaries are
already under arms, the bondmen of the temple, who till our acres, are to
be levied, and sent into Asia."

A murmur of disapproval arose at these words.  The chief of the
haruspices stamped his foot, and Gagabu asked:

"What do you mean to do?"

"To prepare to obey the commands of the king," answered Ameni, "and to
call the heads of the temples of the city of Anion here without delay to
hold a council.  Each must first in his holy of holies seek good counsel
of the Celestials.  When we have come to a conclusion, we must next win
the Viceroy over to our side.  Who yesterday assisted at his prayers?"

"It was my turn," said the chief of the haruspices.

"Follow me to my abode, when the meal is over."  commanded Ameni.  "But
why is our poet missing from our circle?"

At this moment Pentaur came into the hall, and while he bowed easily and
with dignity to the company and low before Ameni, he prayed him to grant
that the pastophorus Teta should accompany the leech Nebsecht to visit
the daughter of the paraschites.

Ameni nodded consent and exclaimed: "They must make haste.  Paaker waits
for them at the great gate, and will accompany them in my chariot."

As soon as Pentaur had left the party of feasters, the old priest from
Chennu exclaimed, as he turned to Ameni:

"Indeed, holy father, just such a one and no other had I pictured your
poet.  He is like the Sun-god, and his demeanor is that of a prince.
He is no doubt of noble birth."

"His father is a homely gardener," said the highpriest, "who indeed tills
the land apportioned to him with industry and prudence, but is of humble
birth and rough exterior.  He sent Pentaur to the school at an early
age, and we have brought up the wonderfully gifted boy to be what he now

"What office does he fill here in the temple?"

"He instructs the elder pupils of the high-school in grammar and
eloquence; he is also an excellent observer of the starry heavens, and a
most skilled interpreter of dreams," replied Gagabu.  "But here he is
again.  To whom is Paaker conducting our stammering physician and his

"To the daughter of the paraschites, who has been run over," answered
Pentaur.  "But what a rough fellow this pioneer is.  His voice hurts my
ears, and he spoke to our leeches as if they had been his slaves."

"He was vexed with the commission the princess had devolved on him," said
the high-priest benevolently, "and his unamiable disposition is hardly
mitigated by his real piety."

"And yet," said an old priest, "his brother, who left us some years ago,
and who had chosen me for his guide and teacher, was a particularly
loveable and docile youth."

"And his father," said Ameni, was one of the most superior energetic, and
withal subtle-minded of men."

"Then he has derived his bad peculiarities from his mother?"

"By no means.  She is a timid, amiable, soft-hearted woman."

"But must the child always resemble its parents?" asked Pentaur.  "Among
the sons of the sacred bull, sometimes not one bears the distinguishing
mark of his father."

"And if Paaker's father were indeed an Apis," Gagabu laughing, "according
to your view the pioneer himself belongs, alas! to the peasant's stable."

Pentaur did not contradict him, but said with a smile:

"Since he left the school bench, where his school-fellows called him the
wild ass on account of his unruliness, he has remained always the same.
He was stronger than most of them, and yet they knew no greater pleasure
than putting him in a rage."

"Children are so cruel!"  said Ameni.  "They judge only by appearances,
and never enquire into the causes of them.  The deficient are as guilty
in their eyes as the idle, and Paaker could put forward small claims to
their indulgence.  I encourage freedom and merriment," he continued
turning to the priests from Cheraw, "among our disciples, for in
fettering the fresh enjoyment of youth we lame our best assistant.  The
excrescences on the natural growth of boys cannot be more surely or
painlessly extirpated than in their wild games.  The school-boy is the
school-boy's best tutor."

"But Paaker," said the priest Meriapu, "was not improved by the
provocations of his companions.  Constant contests with them increased
that roughness which now makes him the terror of his subordinates and
alienates all affection."

"He is the most unhappy of all the many youths, who were intrusted to my
care," said Ameni, "and I believe I know why,--he never had a childlike
disposition, even when in years he was still a child, and the Gods had
denied him the heavenly gift of good humor.  Youth should be modest, and
he was assertive from his childhood.  He took the sport of his companions
for earnest, and his father, who was unwise only as a tutor, encouraged
him to resistance instead of to forbearance, in the idea that he thus
would be steeled to the hard life of a Mohar."

     [The severe duties of the Mohar are well known from the papyrus of
     Anastasi I. in the Brit. Mus., which has been ably treated by F.
     Chabas, Voyage d'un Egyptien.]

"I have often heard the deeds of the Mohar spoken of," said the old
priest from Chennu, "yet I do not exactly know what his office requires
of him."

"He has to wander among the ignorant and insolent people of hostile
provinces, and to inform himself of the kind and number of the
population, to investigate the direction of the mountains, valleys, and
rivers, to set forth his observations, and to deliver them to the house
of war,

     [Corresponding to our minister of war.  A person of the highest
     importance even in the earliest times.]

so that the march of the troops may be guided by them."

"The Mohar then must be equally skilled as a warrior and as a Scribe."

"As thou sayest; and Paaker's father was not a hero only, but at the same
time a writer, whose close and clear information depicted the country
through which he had travelled as plainly as if it were seen from a
mountain height.  He was the first who took the title of Mohar.  The king
held him in such high esteem, that he was inferior to no one but the king
himself, and the minister of the house of war."

"Was he of noble race?"

"Of one of the oldest and noblest in the country.  His father was the
noble warrior Assa," answered the haruspex, "and he therefore, after he
himself had attained the highest consideration and vast wealth, escorted
home the niece of the King Hor-em-lieb, who would have had a claim to the
throne, as well as the Regent, if the grandfather of the present Rameses
had not seized it from the old family by violence."

"Be careful of your words," said Ameni, interrupting the rash old man.
"Rameses I. was and is the grandfather of our sovereign, and in the
king's veins, from his mother's side, flows the blood of the legitimate
descendants of the Sun-god."

"But fuller and purer in those of the Regent the haruspex ventured to

"But Rameses wears the crown," cried Ameni, "and will continue to wear it
so long as it pleases the Gods.  Reflect--your hairs are grey, and
seditious words are like sparks, which are borne by the wind, but which,
if they fall, may set our home in a blaze.  Continue your feasting, my
lords; but I would request you to speak no more this evening of the king
and his new decree.  You, Pentaur, fulfil my orders to-morrow morning
with energy and prudence."

The high-priest bowed and left the feast.

As soon as the door was shut behind him, the old priest from Chennu

"What we have learned concerning the pioneer of the king, a man who holds
so high an office, surprises me.  Does he distinguish himself by a
special acuteness?"

"He was a steady learner, but of moderate ability."

"Is the rank of Mohar then as high as that of a prince of the empire?"

"By no means."

"How then is it--?"

"It is, as it is," interrupted Gagabu.  "The son of the vine-dresser has
his mouth full of grapes, and the child of the door-keeper opens the lock
with words."

"Never mind," said an old priest who had hitherto kept silence.  "Paaker
earned for himself the post of Mohar, and possesses many praiseworthy
qualities.  He is indefatigable and faithful, quails before no danger,
and has always been earnestly devout from his boyhood.  When the other
scholars carried their pocket-money to the fruit-sellers and
confectioners at the temple-gates, he would buy geese, and, when his
mother sent him a handsome sum, young gazelles, to offer to the Gods on
the altars.  No noble in the land owns a greater treasure of charms and
images of the Gods than he.  To the present time he is the most pious of
men, and the offerings for the dead, which he brings in the name of his
late father, may be said to be positively kingly."

"We owe him gratitude for these gifts," said the treasurer, "and the high
honor he pays his father, even after his death, is exceptional and far-

"He  emulates him in every  respect," sneered Gagabu; "and though he does
not resemble him in any feature, grows more and more like him.  But
unfortunately, it is as the goose resembles the swan, or the owl
resembles the eagle.  For his father's noble pride he has overbearing
haughtiness; for kindly severity, rude harshness; for dignity, conceit;
for perseverance, obstinacy.  Devout he is, and we profit by his gifts.
The treasurer may rejoice over them, and the dates off a crooked tree
taste as well as those off a straight one.  But if I were the Divinity I
should prize them no higher than a hoopoe's crest; for He, who sees into
the heart of the giver-alas! what does he see!  Storms and darkness are
of the dominion of Seth, and in there--in there--" and the old man struck
his broad breast "all is wrath and tumult, and there is not a gleam of
the calm blue heaven of Ra, that shines soft and pure in the soul of the
pious; no, not a spot as large as this wheaten-cake."

"Hast thou then sounded to the depths of his soul?"  asked the haruspex.

"As this beaker!" exclaimed Gagabu, and he touched the rim of an empty
drinking-vessel.  "For fifteen years without ceasing.  The man has been
of service to us, is so still, and will continue to be.  Our leeches
extract salves from bitter gall and deadly poisons; and folks like

"Hatred speaks in thee," said the haruspex, interrupting the indignant
old man.

"Hatred!"  he retorted, and his lips quivered.  "Hatred?"  and he struck
his breast with his clenched hand.  "It is true, it is no stranger to
this old heart.  But open thine ears, O haruspex, and all you others too
shall hear.  I recognize two sorts of hatred.  The one is between man and
man; that I have gagged, smothered, killed, annihilated--with what
efforts, the Gods know.  In past years I have certainly tasted its
bitterness, and served it like a wasp, which, though it knows that in
stinging it must die, yet uses its sting.  But now I am old in years,
that is in knowledge, and I know that of all the powerful impulses which
stir our hearts, one only comes solely from Seth, one only belongs wholly
to the Evil one and that is hatred between man and man.  Covetousness may
lead to industry, sensual appetites may beget noble fruit, but hatred is
a devastator, and in the soul that it occupies all that is noble grows
not upwards and towards the light, but downwards to the earth and to
darkness.  Everything may be forgiven by the Gods, save only hatred
between man and man.  But there is another sort of hatred that is
pleasing to the Gods, and which you must cherish if you would not miss
their presence in your souls; that is, hatred for all that hinders the
growth of light and goodness and purity--the hatred of Horus for Seth.
The Gods would punish me if I hated Paaker whose father was dear to me;
but the spirits of darkness would possess the old heart in my breast if
it were devoid of horror for the covetous and sordid devotee, who would
fain buy earthly joys of the Gods with gifts of beasts and wine, as men
exchange an ass for a robe, in whose soul seethe dark promptings.
Paaker's gifts can no more be pleasing to the Celestials than a cask of
attar of roses would please thee, haruspex, in which scorpions,
centipedes, and venomous snakes were swimming.  I have long led this
man's prayers, and never have I heard him crave for noble gifts, but a
thousand times for the injury of the men he hates."

"In the holiest prayers that come down to us from the past," said the
haruspex, "the Gods are entreated to throw our enemies under our feet;
and, besides, I have often heard Paaker pray fervently for the bliss of
his parents."

"You are a priest and one of the initiated," cried Gagabu, "and you know
not--or will not seem to know--that by the enemies for whose overthrow we
pray, are meant only the demons of darkness and the outlandish peoples by
whom Egypt is endangered!  Paaker prayed for his parents?  Ay, and so
will he for his children, for they will be his future as his fore fathers
are his past.  If he had a wife, his offerings would be for her too, for
she would be the half of his own present."

"In spite of all this," said the haruspex Septah, "you are too hard in
your judgment of Paaker, for although lie was born under a lucky sign,
the Hathors denied him all that makes youth happy.  The enemy for whose
destruction he prays is Mena, the king's charioteer, and, indeed, he must
have been of superhuman magnanimity or of unmanly feebleness, if he could
have wished well to the man who robbed him of the beautiful wife who was
destined for him."

"How could that happen?"  asked the priest from Chennu.  "A betrothal is

     [In the demotic papyrus preserved at Bulaq (novel by Setnau) first
     treated by H. Brugsch, the following words occur: "Is it not the
     law, which unites one to another?"  Betrothed brides are mentioned,
     for instance on the sarcophagus of Unnefer at Bulaq.]

"Paaker," replied Septah, "was attached with all the strength of his
ungoverned but passionate and faithful heart to his cousin Nefert, the
sweetest maid in Thebes, the daughter of Katuti, his mother's sister; and
she was promised to him to wife.  Then his father, whom he accompanied on
his marches, was mortally wounded in Syria.  The king stood by his death-
bed, and granting his last request, invested his son with his rank and
office: Paaker brought the mummy of his father home to Thebes, gave him
princely interment, and then before the time of mourning was over,
hastened back to Syria, where, while the king returned to Egypt, it was
his duty to reconnoitre the new possessions.  At last he could quit the
scene of war with the hope of marrying Nefert.  He rode his horse to
death the sooner to reach the goal of his desires; but when he reached
Tanis, the city of Rameses, the news met him that his affianced cousin
had been given to another, the handsomest and bravest man in Thebes--the
noble Mena.  The more precious a thing is that we hope to possess, the
more we are justified in complaining of him who contests our claim, and
can win it from us.  Paaker's blood must have been as cold as a frog's if
he could have forgiven Mena instead of hating him, and the cattle he has
offered to the Gods to bring down their wrath on the head of the traitor
may be counted by hundreds."

"And if you accept them, knowing why they are offered, you do unwisely
and wrongly," exclaimed Gagabu.  "If I were a layman, I would take good
care not to worship a Divinity who condescends to serve the foulest human
fiends for a reward.  But the omniscient Spirit, that rules the world in
accordance with eternal laws, knows nothing of these sacrifices, which
only tickle the nostrils of the evil one.  The treasurer rejoices when a
beautiful spotless heifer is driven in among our herds.  But Seth rubs
his red hands

     [Red was the color of Seth and Typhon.  The evil one is named the
     Red, as for instance in the papyrus of fibers.  Red-haired men were

with delight that he accepts it.  My friends, I have heard the vows which
Paaker has poured out over our pure altars, like hogwash that men set
before swine.  Pestilence and boils has he called down on Mena, and
barrenness and heartache on the poor sweet woman; and I really cannot
blame her for preferring a battle-horse to a hippopotamus--a Mena to a

"Yet the Immortals must have thought his remonstrances less
unjustifiable, and have stricter views as to the inviolable nature of a
betrothal than you," said the treasurer, "for Nefert, during four years
of married life, has passed only a few weeks with her wandering husband,
and remains childless.  It is hard to me to understand how you, Gagabu,
who so often absolve where we condemn, can so relentlessly judge so great
a benefactor to our temple."

"And I fail to comprehend," exclaimed the old man, "how you--you who so
willingly condemn, can so weakly excuse this--this--call him what you

"He is indispensable to us at this time," said the haruspex.

"Granted," said Gagabu, lowering his tone.  "And I think still to make
use of him, as the high-priest has done in past years with the best
effect when dangers have threatened us; and a dirty road serves when it
makes for the goal.  The Gods themselves often permit safety to come from
what is evil, but shall we therefore call evil good--or say the hideous
is beautiful?  Make use of the king's pioneer as you will, but do not,
because you are indebted to him for gifts, neglect to judge him according
to his imaginings and deeds if you would deserve your title of the
Initiated and the Enlightened.  Let him bring his cattle into our temple
and pour his gold into our treasury, but do not defile your souls with
the thought that the offerings of such a heart and such a hand are
pleasing to the Divinity.  Above all," and the voice of the old man had a
heart-felt impressiveness, "Above all, do not flatter the erring man--and
this is what you do, with the idea that he is walking in the right way;
for your, for our first duty, O my friends, is always this--to guide the
souls of those who trust in us to goodness and truth."

"Oh, my master!"  cried Pentaur, "how tender is thy severity."

"I have shown the hideous sores of this man's soul," said the old man, as
he rose to quit the hall.  "Your praise will aggravate them, your blame
will tend to heal them.  Nay, if you are not content to do your duty, old
Gagabu will come some day with his knife, and will throw the sick man
down and cut out the canker."

During this speech the haruspex had frequently shrugged his shoulders.
Now he said, turning to the priests from Chennu--

"Gagabu is a foolish, hot-headed old man, and you have heard from his
lips just such a sermon as the young scribes keep by them when they enter
on the duties of the care of souls.  His sentiments are excellent, but he
easily overlooks small things for the sake of great ones.  Ameni would
tell you that ten souls, no, nor a hundred, do not matter when the safety
of the whole is in question."


A dirty road serves when it makes for the goal
Colored cakes in the shape of beasts
Deficient are as guilty in their eyes as the idle
For fear of the toothache, had his sound teeth drawn
Hatred between man and man
Hatred for all that hinders the growth of light
How tender is thy severity
Judge only by appearances, and never enquire into the causes
Often happens that apparent superiority does us damage
Seditious words are like sparks, which are borne by the wind
The scholar's ears are at his back: when he is flogged
Title must not be a bill of fare
Youth should be modest, and he was assertive

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