“Will you eat and drink?” she said. “On the ashes are warm eggs. And I will go up to the meal at the villa. But in the second hour of the night I shall come down to the temple. 0, then, will you come too to Isis?” She looked at him, and a queer glow dilated her eyes. This was her dream, and it was greater than herself. He could not bear to thwart her or hurt her in the least thing now. She was in the full glow of her woman’s mystery.
“Shall I wait at the temple?” he said.
“0, wait at the second hour and I shall come.” He heard the humming supplication in her voice and his fibres quivered. “But the lady, your mother?” he said gently.
The woman looked at him, startled.
“She will not thwart me!” she said.
So he knew that the mother would thwart the daughter, for the daughter had left her goods in the hands of her mother, who would hold fast to this power.
But she went, and the man who had died lay reclining on his couch, and ate the eggs from the ashes, and dipped his bread in oil, and ate it, for his flesh was dry: and he mixed wine and water, and drank. And so he lay still, and the lamp made a small bud of light.
He was absorbed and enmeshed in new sensations. The woman of Isis was lovely to him, not so much in form as in the wonderful womanly glow of her. Suns beyond suns had dipped her in mysterious fire, the mysterious fire of a potent woman, and to touch her was like touching the sun. Best of all was her tender desire for him, like sunshine, so soft and still.
“She is like sunshine upon me,” he said to himself, stretching his limbs. “I have never before stretched my limbs in such sunshine, as her desire for me. The greatest of all gods granted me this.”
At the same time he was haunted by the fear of the outer world. “If they can, they will kill us,” he said to himself. “But there is a law of the sun which protects us.”