The woman of Isis heard, and threw incense on the brazier. Then she looked at the man.
“Is it well with thee here?” she asked him. “Has Isis brought thee home to herself?”
He looked at the priestess in wonder and trouble. “I know not,” he said.
But the woman was pondering that this was the lost Osiris. She felt it in the quick of her soul. And her agitation was intense.
He would not stay in the close, dark, perfumed shrine. He went out again to the morning, to the cold air. He felt something approaching to touch him, and all his flesh was still woven with pain and the wild commandment: Noli me tangere! Touch me not! Oh, don’t touch me!
The woman followed into the open with timid eagerness. He was moving away.
“Oh, stranger, do not go! Oh, stay a while with Isis!”
He looked at her, at her face open like a flower, as if a sun had risen in her soul. And again his loins stirred.
“Would you detain me, girl of Isis?” he said.
“Stay! I am sure you are Osiris!” she said.
He laughed suddenly. “Not yet!” he said. Then he looked at her wistful face. “But I will sleep another night in the cave of the goats, if Isis wills it,” he added.
She put her hands together with a priestess’s childish happiness.
“Ah! Isis will be glad!” she said.
So he went down to the shore in great trouble, saying to himself: “Shall I give myself into this touch? Shall I give myself into this touch Men have tortured me to death with their touch. Yet this girl of Isis is a tender flame of healing. I am a physician, yet I have no healing like the flame of this tender girl. The flame of this tender girl! Like the first pale crocus of the spring. How could I have been blind to the healing and the bliss in the crocus-like body of a tender woman! Ah, tenderness! More terrible and lovely than the death I died–“