The woman came into the dark inner doorway of the temple from the shrine, and stood there, hesitating. She could see the dark figure of the man, sitting in that terrible stillness that was portentous to her, had something almost menacing in its patience.
She advanced across the outer chamber of the temple, and the man, becoming aware of her, stood up. She addressed him in Greek, but he said:
“Madam, my Greek is limited. Allow me to speak vulgar Syrian.”
“Whence come you? Whither go you?” she asked, with a hurried preoccupation of a priestess.
“From the east beyond Damascus–and I go west as the road goes,” he replied slowly.
She glanced at him with sudden anxiety and shyness.
“But why do you have the marks of a malefactor?” she asked abruptly.
“Did the Lady of Isis spy upon me in my sleep?” he asked, with a grey weariness.
“The slave warned me–your hands and feet–” she said. He looked at her. Then he said:
“Will the Lady of Isis allow me to bid her farewell, and go up to the road?”
The wind came in a sudden puff, lifting his mantle and his hat. He put up his hand to hold the brim, and she saw again the thin brown hand with its scar.
“See! The scar!” she said, pointing.
“Even so!” he said. “But farewell, and to Isis my homage and my thanks for sleep.”
He was going. But she looked up at him with her wondering blue eyes.
“Will you not look at Isis?” she said, with sudden impulse. And something stirred in him, like pain.
“Where then?” he said.
He followed her into the inner shrine, into the almost-darkness. When his eyes got used to the faint glow of the lamp, he saw the goddess striding like a ship, eager in the swirl of her gown, and he made his obeisance.
“Great is Isis!” he said. “In her search she is greater than death. Wonderful is such walking in a woman, wonderful the goal. All men praise thee, Isis, thou greater than the mother unto man.”