“Ah, Goddess,” he said to the idol in the vernacular. “I would be so glad to live, if you would give me my clue again.”

For her again he felt desperate, faced by the demand of life, and burdened still by his death.

“Let me anoint you!” the woman said to him softly. “Let me anoint the scars! Show me, and let me anoint them!”

He forgot his nakedness in this re-evoked old pain. He sat on the edge of the couch, and she poured a little ointment into the palm of his hand. And as she chafed his hand, it all came back, the nails, the holes, the cruelty, the unjust cruelty against him who had offered only kindness. The agony of injustice and cruelty came over him again, as in his death-hour. But she chafed the palm, murmuring: “What was torn becomes a new flesh, what was a wound is full of fresh life; this scar is the eye of the violet.”

And he could not help smiling at her, in her naïve priestess’s absorption. This was her dream, and he was only a dream-object to her. She would never know or understand what he was. Especially she would never know the death that was gone before in him. But what did it matter? She was different. She was woman: her life and her death were different from him. Only she was good to him.

When she chafed his feet with oil and tender, tender healing, he could not refrain from saying to her:

“Once a woman washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with her hair, and poured on precious ointment.”

The woman of Isis looked up at him from her earnest work, interrupted again.

“Were they hurt then?” she said. “Your feet?”

“No, no! It was while they were whole.”

“And did you love her?”

“Love had passed in her. She only warned to serve,” he replied. “She had been a prostitute.”

“And did you let her serve you?” she asked.