Delight in the secret bower –
My lover’s hair is the vine,
her mouth the sycomore fig,
her breasts the flowering lilies,
her body the feast that delights.
Senenptah’s everlasting house was complete. Today he had come over to the west side and carried out a thorough inspection, front to back. It was the only time he had seen the work. He had examined every scene, from the outer court down the main corridor, along each of the transverse arms, and all around the walls of the final resting chamber.
Makty-Rasut well knew that there were several imperfections – the wrong colour for a person’s hand here, a person facing the wrong way there, a wrong sign in a few places hastily and imperfectly changed – but it was a very good piece of work. Senenptah graciously overlooked the minor flaws that he noticed, and seemed genuinely delighted.
After being shown everything, he sent all of the men out into the courtyard and stayed inside for quite a long time, at the far end of the corridor among the quiet scenes. Makty had glanced back just before stepping into the sunlight. Senenptah was standing with his back to the wall between the pair of stelae as if he was already a statue, and was contemplating how the view would look as the years rolled past.
Makty knew that from where he stood, on one side he would be looking at the scene of hunting among the flowering reeds. Makty had successfully incorporated a small flock of birds taking flight here, in conscious imitation of the much older tomb he had visited all those months ago.
On the other side was the time when the Lady of the Beautiful West opened up the doors of eternity to Senenptah and Tutuia. Both scenes pictured the long dead wife alongside the priest himself, and Makty wondered, not for the first time, what she must have been like to have exerted such a lasting influence. After her death Senenptah had never remarried, though Makty had gathered from chatter around his house that he was no celibate. Allegedly he called a woman to his bed when it suited him, but had never formed another permanent partnership. None of the numerous children that ran about and learned to help in the house were his.
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