The Bride of the Nile — Volume 06
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The Bride of the Nile — Volume 06

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The Project Gutenberg EBook The Bride of the Nile, by Georg Ebers, v6 #83 in our series by Georg EbersCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: The Bride of the Nile, Volume 6.Author: Georg EbersRelease Date: April, 2004 [EBook #5522] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first postedon July 4, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BRIDE OF THE NILE, BY EBERS, V6 ***This eBook was produced by David Widger [NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the file for those who may wish to sample the author'sideas before making an ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook The Bride of theNile, by Georg Ebers, v6 #83 in our series byGeorg EbersCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers*****Title: The Bride of the Nile, Volume 6.
Author: Georg EbersRelease Date: April, 2004 [EBook #5522] [Yes, weare more than one year ahead of schedule] [Thisfile was first posted on July 4, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG***EBOOK BRIDE OF THE NILE, BY EBERS, V6 This eBook was produced by David Widger<widger@cecomet.net>[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, orpointers, at the end of the file for those who maywish to sample the author's ideas before makingan entire meal of them. D.W.]
THE BRIDE OF THENILEBy Georg EbersVolume 6.CHAPTER XXII.Up to within a few days Katharina had still been adependent and docile child, who had made it apoint of honor to obey instantly, not only hermother's lightest word, but Dame Neforis, too; and,since her own Greek instructress had beendismissed, even the acid Eudoxia. She had neverconcealed from her mother, or the worthy teacherwhom she had truly loved, the smallest breach ofrules, the least naughtiness or wilful act of whichshe had been guilty; nay, she had never been ableto rest till she had poured out a confession, beforeevening prayer, of all that her little heart told herwas not perfectly right, to some one whom sheloved, and obtained full forgiveness. Night afternight the "Water- wagtail" had gone to sleep with aconscience as clear and as white as the breast ofher whitest dove, and the worst sin she had evercommitted during the day was some forbiddenscramble, some dainty or, more frequently, somerude and angry word.
But a change had first come over her after Orion'skiss in the intoxicating perfume of the floweringtrees; and almost every hour since had roused herto new hopes and new views. It had never beforeoccurred to her to criticise or judge her mother;now she was constantly doing so. The way in whichSusannah had cut herself off from her neighbors inthe governor's house, to her daughter seemedperverse and in bad taste; and the bitterlyvindictive attacks on her old friends, which wereconstantly on Susannah's lips, aggrieved the girl,and finally set her in opposition to her mother,whose judgment had hitherto seemed to herinfallible. Thus, when the governor's house wasclosed against her, there was no one in whom shecared to confide, for a barrier stood between herand Paula, and she was painfully conscious of itsheight each time the wish to pass it recurred to hermind. Paula was certainly "that other" of whomOrion had spoken; when she had stolen away tosee her in the evening after the funeral, she hadbeen prompted less by a burning wish to pour outher heart to a sympathizing hearer, than bytorturing curiosity mingled with jealousy. She hadcrept through the hedge with a strangely-mixedfeeling of tender longing and sullen hatred; whenthey had met in the garden she had at first givenherself up to the full delight of being free to speak,and of finding a listener in a woman so much hersuperior; but Paula's reserved replies to her boldquestioning had revived her feelings of envy andgrudge. Any one who did not hate Orion must, shewas convinced, love him.
Were they not perhaps already pledged to eachother! Very likely Paula had thought of her asmerely a credulous child, and so had concealed thefact!This "very likely" was torture to her, and she wasdetermined to try, at any rate, to settle the doubt.She had an ally at her command; this was herfoster-brother, the son of her deaf old nurse; sheknew that he would blindly obey all her wishes—nay, to please her, would throw himself to thecrocodiles in the Nile. Anubis had been hercomrade in all her childish sports, till at the age offourteen, after learning to read and write, hermother had obtained an appointment for him in thegovernor's household, as an assistant to be furthertrained by the treasurer Nilus. Dame Susannahintended to find him employment at a future dateon her estates, or at Memphis, the centre of theiradministration, as he might prove himself capable.The lad was still living with his mother under therich widow's roof, and only spent his working daysat the governor's house, he was industrious andclever during office hours, though between whileshe busied himself with things altogether foreign tohis future calling. At Katharina's request he hadopened a communication between the two housesby means of carrier-pigeons, and many missiveswere thus despatched with little gossip, invitations,excuses, and the like, from Katharina to Mary andback again. Anubis took great pleasure in thepretty creatures, and by the permission of hissuperiors a dovecote was erected on the roof ofthe treasurer's house. Mary was now lying ill, and
their intercourse was at an end; still, the well-trained messengers need not be idle, andKatharina had begun to use them for a verydifferent purpose.Orion's envoy had been detained a long time atRufinus' door the day before; and she had sincelearnt from Anubis, who was acquainted with allthat took place in Nilus' office, that Paula's moneyswere to be delivered over to her very shortly, andin all probability by Orion himself. They must thenhave an interview, and perhaps she might succeedin overhearing it. She knew well how this could bemanaged; the only thing was to be on the spot atthe right moment.On the morning after the full-moon, at two hoursand a half before noon, the little boy whose task itwas to feed the feathered messengers in theirdove-cote brought her a written scrap, on whichAnubis informed her that Orion was about to setout; but he was not very warmly welcomed, for thehour did not suit her at all. Early in the morningBishop Plotinus had come to inform Susannah thatBenjamin, Patriarch of Alexandria, was visitingAmru on the opposite shore, and would presentlyhonor Memphis with his presence. He proposed toremain one day; he had begged to have no formalreception, and had left it to the bishop to findsuitable quarters for himself and his escort, as hedid not wish to put up at the governor's house. Thevain widow had at once pressingly urged herreadiness to receive the illustrious guest under herroof: The prelate's presence must bring a blessing
on the house, and she thought, too, that she mightturn it to advantage for several ends she just nowhappened to have in view.A handsome reception must be prepared; therewere but a few hours to spare, and even beforethe bishop had left her, she had begun to call theservants together and give them orders. The wholehouse must be turned upside down; some of thekitchen staff were hurried off into the town to makepurchases, others bustled round the fire; thegardeners plundered the beds and bushes toweave wreaths and nosegays for decorations; fromcellar to roof half a hundred of slaves, white, brownand black, were toiling with all their might, for eachbelieved that, by rendering a service to thePatriarch, he might count on the special favor ofHeaven, while their unresting mistress neverceased screaming out her orders as to what shewished done.Susannah, who as a girl had been the eldest of anumerous and not wealthy family, and had beenobliged to put her own hand to things, quite forgotnow that she was a woman of position and fortunewhom it ill-beseemed to do her own householdwork; she was here, there, and everywhere, andhad an eye on all—excepting indeed her owndaughter; but she was the petted darling of thehouse, brought up to Greek refinement, whosehelp in such arduous labors was not to be thoughtof; indeed, she would only have been in the way.When the bishop had taken his leave Katharina
was merely desired to be ready in her best attire,with a nosegay in her hand, to receive thePatriarch under the awning spread outside theentrance. More than this the widow did not requireof her, and as the girl flew up the stairs to herroom she was thinking: "Orion will be comingdirectly: it still wants fully two hours of noon, and ifhe stays there half an hour that will be more thanenough. I shall have time then to change my dress,but I will put my new sandals on at once as aprecaution; nurse and the maid must wait for me inmy room. They must have everything ready for myreturn— perhaps he and Paula may have much tosay to each other. He will not get off without alecture, unless she has already found anopportunity elsewhere of expressing herindignation."A few minutes later she had sprung to the top of amound of earth covered with turf, which she hadsome time since ordered to be thrown up closebehind the hedge through which she had yesterdaymade her way. Her little feet were shod withhandsome gold sandals set with sapphires, andshe seated herself on a low bench with a satisfiedsmile, as though to assist at a theatricalperformance. Some broad-leaved shrubs, placedbehind this place of ambush, screened her to someextent from the heat of the sun, and as she satwatching and listening in this lurking place, whichshe was not using for the first time, her heartbegan to beat more quickly; indeed, in herexcitement she quite forgot some sweetmeatswhich she had brought to wile away the time and
had poured into a large leaf in her lap.Happily she had not long to wait; Orion arrived inhis mother's four- wheeled covered chariot. By theside of the driver sat a servant, and a slave wasperched on the step to the door on each side ofthe vehicle. It was followed by a few idlers, menand women, and a crowd of half-naked children.But they got nothing by their curiosity, for thecarruca did not draw up in the road, but was driveninto Rufinus' garden, and the trees and shrubs hidit from the gaze of the expectant mob, whichpresently dispersed.Orion got out at the principal door of the house,followed by the treasurer; and while the old manwelcomed the son of the Mukaukas, Nilussuperintended the transfer of a considerablenumber of heavy sacks to their host's privateroom.Nothing of all this had seemed noteworthy toKatharina but the quantity and size of the bags—full, no doubt, of gold—and the man, whom aloneshe cared to see. Never had she thought Orion sohandsome; the long, flowing mourning robe, whichhe had flung over his shoulder in rich folds, addedto the height of his stately form; his abundant hair,not curled but waving naturally, set off his facewhich, pale and grave as it was, both touched andattracted her ir resistibly. The thought that thissplendid creature had once courted her, loved her,kissed her—that he had once been hers, and thatshe had lost him to another, was a pang like
physical agony, mounting from her heart to herbrain.After Orion had vanished indoors, she still seemedto see him; and when she thrust his image fromher fancy, forced to remind herself that he wasnow standing face to face with that other, and waslooking at Paula as, a few days since, he hadlooked at her, the anguish of her soul was doubled.And was Paula only half as happy as she had beenin that hour of supreme bliss? Ah! how her heartached! She longed to leap over the hedge—shecould have rushed into the house and flung herselfbetween Paula and Orion.Still, there she sat; restless but without moving;wholly under the dominion of evil thoughts, amongwhich a good one rarely and timidly intruded, withher eyes fixed on Rufinus' dwelling. It stood in thebroad sunshine as silent as death, as if all weresleeping. In the garden, too, all was motionless butthe thin jet of water, which danced up from themarble tank with a soft and fitful, but monotonoustinkle, while butterflies, dragonflies, bees, andbeetles, whose hum she could not hear, seemed tocircle round the flowers without a sound. The birdsmust be asleep, for not one was to be seen orbroke the oppressive stillness by a chirp or atwitter. The chariot at the door might have beenspellbound; the driver had dismounted, and he,with the other slaves, had stretched himself in thenarrow strips of shade cast by the pillars of theverandah; their chins buried in their breasts, theyspoke not a word. The horses alone were stirring-