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The Pharaoh and the Priest
An Historical Novel of Ancient Egypt

written by "Curtin, Jeremiah, 1835-1906"
...on—” He came to himself. One more torch had burnt out; it was high time to leave those underground chambers. He rose, took his basket and left the hall above the treasure. “I need no assistance,” thought he, laughing. “I have secured everything—I alone—I, the despised priest of Set!” He had passed a number of tens of chambers and corridors when he halted on a sudden. It seemed to him that on the pavement of the hall to which he was going he saw a small streak of light. In one moment such dreadful fear seized the man that he put out his torch. But the streak of light on the pavement had vanished. Samentu strained his hearing, but he heard only the throbbing of his own temples. “That only seemed to me!” said he. With a trembling hand he took out of the basket a small [Pg 652] vessel in which punk was burning slowly, and he lighted the torch again. “I am very drowsy,” thought he. Looking around the chamber he went to a wall in which a door was hidden. He pushed a nail; the door did not slip back. A second, a third pressure—no effect. “What does this mean?” thought Samentu in amazement. He forgot now the streak of light. It seemed to him that a new thing, unheard of, had met him. He had opened in his life so many hundreds of secret doors, he had opened so many in the labyrinth, that he could not understand simply the present resistance. Terror seized him a second time. He ran from wall to wall and tried secret doors everywhere. At last one opened. He found himself in an immense hall, filled as usual with columns. His torch lighted barely a part of the space, the remainder of it was lost in thick darkness. The darkness, the forest of columns, and above all the strangeness of the hall gave the priest confidence. At the bottom of his fear a spark of naive hope was roused then. It seemed to him that since he did not know the pl...

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