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HANIT THE ENCHANTRESS***


E-text prepared by Mary Glenn Krause and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made
available by Internet Archive (https://archive.org)



Nore:



HANIT THE ENCHANTRESS

by

GARRETT CHATFIELD PIER

Author of “Inscriptions of the Nile Monuments,” etc.


[Illustration]


“_Provided thou art an equipped soul, knowing
the Secret Name of Thoth, thou shalt pass unharmed
though that abyss which hath no air, whose depths
are illimitable._”






New York
E. P. Dutton & Company
681 Fifth Avenue

Copyright 1921
by E. P. Dutton & Company

All Rights Reserved

Printed in the United States of America




FOREWORD


My reader. Perhaps you have had the good fortune to visit Egypt! If
such be the case, you have undoubtedly stood among the giant columns of
the Temple to the Sun-god Amen in the Northern Apt (Karnak). You have
marveled at the ever changing colors which light up the walls and columns
of the Temple of the Southern Apt (Luxor), so that at one moment they
seem to have been carved from blocks of amber, at another from coral,
jasper, amethyst or, as the last bright rays of the sinking sun fall full
upon them, from colossal bars of red Nubian gold.

You have gazed in awe and reverence at the mummy of King Amenhotep, lying
in his granite sarcophagus, peacefully asleep he seemed, deep down in the
very heart of the Theban Hills.

In an alcove nearby you may recall the three bodies lying, uncoffined,
upon the bare rock of the tomb chamber. You were informed that the
bodies had been removed from their own tombs to this secret chamber of a
dead Pharaoh, that they might be saved from the hands of tomb-robbers.

“The mummies of unknown royal personages,” your Arab guide informed you.

Perhaps the guide permitted you to touch the long black tresses of one
of the three. He pointed out what he called the mark of an arrow, which
caused the death of another. He told you that the boy had undoubtedly met
his death at the hands of a strangler. He hinted at foul murder!

If what he said of the three was true, he might well have attempted to
identify the bodies. They are, perhaps, those of Wazmes, Queen Hanit’s
murdered son, the beautiful slave girl Bhanar, and her one-time mistress,
the Princess Sesen, whose wavy black hair appears as soft to-day as when
Ramses and Menna wooed her, as when Renny the Syrian died for her.

All this, and more, you have doubtless seen.

Yet, it is safe to say, you have never so much as heard of the mystery
surrounding the tomb of Menna, son of Menna, that most baffling among the
many mysterious tombs in and about the great Theban cemeteries.

Undoubtedly, Menna, son of Menna, had in life an enemy, a most vindictive
enemy; one whose malignant hatred followed Menna into his very tomb.

Enter that tomb to-day, and you see at a glance that this enemy sought to
nullify and make ineffectual the entire series of engraved prayers and
magic formulæ which witness to Menna’s hopes for an eternity of bliss
upon the banks of the Celestial Nile. Yes, Menna’s implacable foe sought
to destroy him, both body and soul!

Menna’s body was not found when, recently, his tomb was discovered
and opened. We may thus infer that Menna’s arch-enemy accomplished
the destruction of Menna’s body as successfully, as fiendishly we may
suppose, as he did that of Menna’s soul.

Examine the sculptures upon the walls of his tomb. You will find that
Menna’s eyes have been cut out; that the lips of his servants and field
hands are missing; that the tips of his hunting arrows have been blunted;
that the knots in his “measuring-rope” have been destroyed. Yet, worse
than all, the plumb of the scales, upon which Menna’s heart will be
weighed at the Judgment, has vanished.

Let us suppose that Menna’s mummy _had_ been found, found intact; at the
opening of his tomb. That empty shell would have been of little use to
Menna. Since, following his enemy’s work of desecration upon the ordered
prayers, incantations and scenes painted or engraved upon the walls of
his tomb, Menna’s body was doomed to inevitable destruction, and with it,
that of his _ka_ or “double,” that other self which, from the day of his
birth, awaited him in the heavens.

Without eyes Menna could not find his way among the flint-strewn valleys
and precipitous heights of the Underworld. Without arrows Menna would
be unable to obtain food. Menna’s servants had all perished, as without
mouths they could neither eat nor drink. And Menna might never measure
off an allotted acreage among the ever fertile fields of Heaven if, in
spite of all, he somehow managed to win through to the Celestial Nile.

Alas! this success Menna could never hope to achieve. The breaking of the
plumb of the scales rendered it impossible that Menna’s trembling soul
could pass Osiris, Judge of the Dead, or the fierce hound Amemet, which,
with open mouth, awaited his victims beside that great god’s throne.

No! Menna could never hope to feast at the Table of the Gods. Menna could
never enjoy that eternity of bliss among the Blessed Fields of Aaru which
a beneficent Sun-god had promised to the faithful.

But, Menna’s body was _not_ found at the time of the discovery of his
tomb, though his body had evidently been placed in the white sarcophagus
prepared for it by royal command.

Who so bitterly hated Menna, the King’s Overseer? Who so relentlessly
sought not alone the destruction of his mortal body but the very
annihilation of his soul?




CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE

FOREWORD v

I. TELLS OF HOW PROFESSOR RANNEY PURCHASED AN ANCIENT
MANUSCRIPT AND OF WHAT HE FOUND THEREIN 1

II. A FALL DOWN THIRTY CENTURIES 16

III. ENANA THE MAGICIAN, WOULD PROVE THAT A RESEMBLANCE BETWEEN
A QUEEN AND A PRIESTESS MAY BE TURNED TO HIS ADVANTAGE 33

IV. HOW BHANAR CAME TO THEBES 45

V. THE PLEASURE BARGE OF THI, THE QUEEN-MOTHER 53

VI. HOW BHANAR FOUND A HOME IN EGYPT 66

VII. HOW RENNY THE SYRIAN ESCAPED THE CROCODILES 83

VIII. NŌFERT-ĀRI DANCES BEFORE PHARAOH 91

IX. THE LUMINOUS BOOK 119

X. PHARAOH SEEKS TO EXALT A FOREIGN GOD 138

XI. THE STATUE OF AMEN DISAPPEARS 152

XII. ENANA CALLS TO HIS AID THE GODS JUSTICE AND VENGEANCE 165

XIII. RAMSES AND SESEN 172

XIV. A RASH PROMISE 187

XV. A STATUE OF HATHOR, GODDESS OF LOVE 200

XVI. THE CURSE OF HUY, GREAT HIGH PRIEST OF AMEN 208

XVII. WHY MENNA’S CHAIRBEARER STAKED HIS ALL 218

XVIII. WHAT HAPPENED WHEN MENNA, SON OF MENNA, WENT A-WOOING 228

XIX. THE HITTITES ADVANCE 239

XX. HOW BAR AND RENNY MEET FOR THE LAST TIME 247

XXI. OF THE CAPTURE OF BELUR, THE HITTITE 256

XXII. THE “DOUBLE” OF HANIT 266




HANIT THE ENCHANTRESS




CHAPTER I

TELLS OF HOW PROFESSOR RANNEY PURCHASED AN ANCIENT MANUSCRIPT AND OF WHAT
HE FOUND THEREIN.


The shop of Tanos the Greek, “Dealer in Genuine Antiques,” as the sign
above the door advised, might well have been named a museum of ancient
art and curiosities. Entered from the front of the Sharia Kamel, one of
the main thoroughfares of Cairo, the shop appeared at first glance to
consist of but two long narrow rooms, the one immediately behind the
other. Both rooms were filled to the very ceiling with curios of all
sorts, from little agate beads to vast and shapeless mummies of Sacred
Bulls. A half dozen bodies of Egyptian priests, unwrapped and black with
natron, stood propped against the walls of the upper room. The odor of
cinnamon, myrrh and other embalming essences filled the rooms and drifted
out through the open door to blend with the indefinable, but never
forgettable, odor of the Cairene streets.

A nearer view of the upper room disclosed the approach to what Tanos
called the “holy of holies.” This third, or innermost chamber, was
screened from the eyes of the ordinary souvenir hunter by an ivory-inlaid
door of ancient Coptic woodwork.

Connoisseurs generally knew that here were kept the treasures _par
excellence_. Here Tanos would display rare statuettes, bronzes, ivories
and richly glazed potteries for the archæologist; inscriptions on stone
or papyrus for the philologist; diadems or pendants in the precious
metals, necklaces, bracelets and bangles of varicolored gems,—all such
rich treasure from the seemingly inexhaustible storehouse of antiquity
as would be most likely to tempt the antiquarian, or dazzle the mere man
of millions seeking to enrich his curio cabinet or the shelves of his pet
museum or institution.

During the course of an unusually hot afternoon in late March three
Europeans paused at the threshold of Tanos’ shop.

Following their exit from the Ezbekiyeh Gardens their footsteps had
been dogged by that genial soul, Ali Nubi, whose efforts to dispose of
fly-whisks and sunshades were in no wise affected by the temperature. He
was soon joined by a troupe of exceedingly dirty Arab children. These
turned handsprings along the gutter in hopes of some small coin with
which to buy _loukum_.

Finally, the nerves of the three Europeans had been set on edge by the
insistent whine of a deformed Egyptian, whose ceaseless cry for dole,
“_baksheesh, baksheesh, ya khawageh_,” finally caused one of the trio to
turn upon him with an impatient, _Allah yalik, kelb ibn kelb_. This, in
plain English, might be rendered, “May God give to thee, dog, son of a
dog,” at once a pious wish and a curse.

The sound of the guttural Arabic sufficed to scatter at one and the same
instant all three disturbing elements.

The ragged boys fled. Ali Nubi sauntered off to display his merchandise
and his famous smile elsewhere, whilst the cripple, with a frightened
glance up and down the street, made off as fast as his deformities would
allow. The white man was doubtless a _pasha_, a _bey_. Abut Talib felt
the sting of the bastinado upon his withered limbs!

With a laugh the “bey” turned to his companions:

“Enter, Mrs. Gardiner! After you, Clem! I want you to see my latest find.”

Professor Ranney followed his companions into the shop. In answer to his
call Tanos himself appeared at the door of the sanctum. His face lit up
with a smile of genuine pleasure when he recognized his visitors.

He crossed the room with that peculiar crooking of the spine which
appears to be an ineradicable heritage of the ages to Levantines of his
stamp wherever met. How well did the Egyptian sculptor of the late New
Empire catch that deferential abasement of self!

Professor Ranney shook hands with Tanos. Gardiner, too, greeted him,
and introduced the lady of the trio as his bride. For an instant Tanos
searched his fertile brains for a suitable congratulatory quotation from
the Arabian classics. Oriental etiquette demanded that he rise to the
emergency. Finally, bending over Mrs. Gardiner’s hand, Tanos murmured
those charming lines from Abu Selim’s poem on the love of Omar and Leila.

“Oh, Mr. Tanos! What exquisite verses. What a wonderful gift of
improvisation!”

Tanos bowed again. He made a deprecatory gesture, murmuring as he did so
something about the meter of the second line.

Mrs. Gardiner shot a covert glance in the direction of her husband.

The minx, thought he. He well knew that she had recognized the true
authorship of the verses. Mrs. Gardiner had been a former student of her
husband at the University of London, where he taught Semitics.

These small social amenities attended to, Tanos ushered his visitors into
the innermost room. In another moment all four were seated about a low
Turkish table. Upon this reposed two objects, a turquoise-blue goblet of
ancient Egyptian pottery and a linen roll, seemingly of great antiquity,
if one might judge by its condition.

Meeting the Gardiners in the tea-house of the Gardens, Professor Ranney
had urged them to walk over to the shop, in order that they might see the
contents of this linen roll, a papyrus scroll of greatest importance,
not alone on its own account, but, more especially, for the remarkable
document which it contained.

Professor Ranney carefully unrolled the frail, discolored linen in which,
three thousand years before, the scroll had been wrapped. At once the
air was filled with a strange, aromatic perfume.

At sight of the brightly painted vignettes which ornamented each and
every page of the closely written sheets, Mrs. Gardiner burst into
repeated exclamations of rapture. Even Dr. Gardiner, her husband, who may
be said to have lived in an atmosphere charged with the odor of ancient
parchments, could not repress his interest.

This interest was intensified when he read, on the front page of the
manuscript, the names of an ancient Egyptian monarch “_Nibmara Amenhotep,
King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Triumphant_.”

“This is indeed a treasure, Steven! A perfect copy of the Book of the
Dead. You did well to purchase it before I got wind of it. By Jove! It is
in better condition than the Papyrus of Ani in the British Museum!”

Without replying Steven Ranney turned to the last two pages of the
scroll. Inserted between them was a brown stained sheet of hieroglyphics
written in red ink.

“Read this, Clem. To me it appears to be a find of far more importance
than the Ritual itself.”

Gardiner translated aloud the lines of somewhat tremblingly written
hieroglyphics:

“_A Contract which the Hereditary Prince, the Count, Sole
Companion of the King, Instructor of the Royal Princess,
and Chief Royal Architect, Amenhotep, son of Hap, made with
Hotepra, Great High Priest of Amen._

“_It is ordained that there be given to the statue of Amenhotep
which is in his tomb on the western shore, 1,000 loaves of
bread, 1,000 fatted geese, 1,000 jars of wine and 100 bulls,
upon the 1st day of the 1st month of the year, what time the
servants bring presents to their lord, and lights are lit in
house, in tomb and in temple!_

“_In payment of this endowment of his tomb, Amenhotep, son of
Hap, engages to reveal to Hotepa, Great High Priest of Amen,
the secret hiding-place of the Luminous Book of Thoth, Scribe
of the Gods!_

“_Behold! Amenhotep, son of Hap, he saith: ‘By the magic
incantation contained within this book the Gods are compelled!
By its hekau-charms the Boat of the Sun is stopped, the Moon is
darkened!_

“_Lo, he that reciteth the formulæ contained therein, may
descend into the Underworld and return to mingle again with
mortal men._

“_Lo, the possessor of this Book becomes as the Scribe of the
Gods, Thoth himself! For Ra hath breathed upon it; Shu hath
entered it!_

“_Saith Amenhotep, son of Hap: ‘Behold, as Ra the Sun-god
liveth, the Magic Book may be found in a box behind the wall
of the false door built within the western end of my tomb
chamber!’_

“_Now, Hotepra heard the oath of Amenhotep and the saying which
he said._

“_Lo, Hotepra, Great High Priest of Amen, believed the words of
the son of Hapi._

“_Hotepra, Great High Priest of Amen, signed the contract,
taking the Great Gods, Osiris, Ptah and Ra as witnesses._”

“There, Clem! In all your years of research among ancient documents
have you ever run across the Luminous Book, the Book of Thoth? Could
it, by any chance, be that mysterious book made use of long ago by the
sorcerers and magician attached to the great Temple of Amen at Thebes?
If such be the case, it is an undoubted reference to the book from which
Moses studied, the source of Aaron’s successful attempt to confound the
magicians of Pharaoh. At any rate, Clem, you will agree with me that
this faded sheet, this last will and testament of the old architect, may
turn out to be of far greater interest than even this splendid copy of
the Ritual. I wonder if the will was placed in the Ritual on purpose or
through the carelessness of someone. Hotepra himself it may have been,
three thousand years ago!”

Dr. Gardiner smiled at his friend’s enthusiasm: “One thing at a time,
Steven! Yes, I have met with the Book of Thoth before. And in each and
every case it was referred to as a book containing magical incantations
of great power. In one case an unknown architect states that he ‘_raised
this monument whose pylons reach the dome of heaven by means of the
magic Book of Thoth_.’ Your man, Amenhotep, son of Hap, has left an
inscription, now in the Leiden Museum, in which he affirms that he
‘_possessed the Eye of Horus_’—whatever that may mean—and further that he
was ‘_one who knew all the Wisdom contained in the Book of Thoth, scribe
of the Gods_.’ That this was no empty boast we may sight the stupendous
temples raised by him at Thebes, not forgetting ‘the Colossi,’ which
alone would have assured him undying fame, if indeed he erected them. The
tomb to which he refers in this testament is thought to be beneath the
Temple of Der el-Medinet. Possibly it is included in your concession,
Steven. Your men may stumble upon the mummy of Amenhotep, Magic Book and
all!”

Dr. Gardiner turned to his wife: “Well, Dear! We must be off, to help
Ali with the packing. I hope you have a successful winding up of the
diggings, Steven!”

“And Steven,” broke in his wife, “do let those abominable old brick ruins
alone and hunt for the Book instead. By the way, do you suppose Hotepra
had a wife? The name is similar to that of Potiphar?”

“My dear,” interposed Gardiner, as he assumed an expression of shocked
delicacy, “the subject is hardly one for a bride to discuss, especially
as Great High Priests of Amen, by the uninitiated at least, are
_presumed_ to have had no wives.”

He turned to Ranney: “Steven, we both hope that you can stop over at
‘Sevenoaks’ as usual, for a few days at least, on your way through to
Liverpool. Whew! It is difficult to realize that we shall be enjoying the
Mediterranean breezes to-morrow. Which reminds me. Tanos, don’t forget
to have the Museum authorities place their _visé_ on that statue of Isis.
Bénédict has his eagle eye upon it, and what Bénédict wishes he usually
obtains. A little _baksheesh_ in the clammy palm of Pintsch Pasha will
help to get it through!”

Dr. Gardiner turned again to his wife: “Now, Miriam, don’t drop that
goblet! We could never pay for it, though I read manuscripts until the
crack of doom!”

With exaggerated care Mrs. Gardiner restored the beautiful goblet to its
place. She then shook hands with Tanos, reiterated her husband’s wish
that Professor Ranney visit them in their new home, and left on the arm
of Dr. Gardiner.

Steven Ranney turned to the Greek: “Tanos, put the scroll in your safe
until I return. The will of Amenhotep I will take with me. I want to show
it to Todros Pasha. He’s pretty familiar with the tombs of the western
bank. I’ll see you in about three weeks’ time. Meanwhile, if you manage
to get that statue of Hathor from Nahman, I’ll take it.”

With a friendly nod the young American again braved the heat of the
unprotected sidewalk.

Ranney took his way northward, along the Sharia Kamel, in the direction
of Doctor Braintree’s tree-embowered villa.

During his three days’ relaxation from the strain of acting as
chief-of-excavations amid the heat and dust of work in Upper Egypt,
Ranney had contrived to see more of Susan Braintree than usually fell to
his lot. Ranney had loved her from the very first moment he had seen her,
and that was as far back as February, nearly two months!

It is unnecessary to describe Susan. Ranney did that in every letter he
wrote home to his mother and sister in beautiful Greenwich, Connecticut.
Susan was there described as a paragon of beauty and sweetness. Yet,
there seemed to be a fly in the ointment. A tall and “not a bad looking
sort of chap,” so Ranney described him, a lieutenant of the Seaforth
Highlanders, apparently caused Steven not a little worry. It seemed that
back in their Highland home he lived in the same Scottish village as the
Braintrees, brother and sister.

“By George, I’ll take old Amenhotep’s will to Braintree’s dinner
to-night. I’m sure Susan will be interested; at any rate, she’ll pretend
to be, bless her. Perhaps she’ll find it more to her taste than that
Egyptian flint knife I showed her yesterday. Yet, I am surprised that a
surgeon’s sister, and a head-nurse at that, should evince such horror of
a knife, even though that ancient instrument had served the embalmer to
make the last great incision.”

Late that evening, after a few short but blissful hours spent by Susan’s
side—Lieutenant Angus Hector McPherson being then on duty at the
Garrison—Ranney threw his kitbag into a sleeper of the night train to
Upper Egypt.

After some ten hours of fitful sleep amidst the choking dust and fine
sand which would persist in floating into the compartment, Steven Ranney
found himself once again upon the very modern station platform of Thebes,
the world’s most ancient city.




CHAPTER II

A FALL DOWN THIRTY CENTURIES


The research work conducted by Professor Ranney, as chief of the Yale
expedition to Egypt, had lain in and about the site of the Mortuary
Temple of King Amenhotep the Third, well-named “Magnificent.” The low
depression which to-day marks the site of this once gorgeous edifice lies
well down upon the broad Theban Plain, and immediately fronts that long
line of rocky mounds, refuse heaps and ruined tombs which rises, tier
upon tier, along the lower slopes of the towering Libyan Hills.

It had been a site of rare possibilities from an Egyptologist’s point of
view. On this account excavation privileges hereabouts had been sought by
representatives of every great museum or seat-of-learning both in the Old
World and the New.

When, finally, the news was telegraphed from Cairo that this most coveted
concession had fallen to the Yale Expedition, and that together with a
substantial area of the unexplored mounds to the north and south of the
temple site, great had been Professor Ranney’s joy.

The recent unearthing of the body and rich treasure of Pharaoh
Akhten-aton, son to that Pharaoh by whom the temple was built, and the
discovery of the rich and comprehensive tomb-equipment of Akhten-aton’s
father and mother-in-law, together with the marvelously preserved
mummies of those ancient worthies, had fired the dampened ardor both of
the workers in the field, and, more important still, perhaps, of those
holders of the purse-strings, the sponsors for the expedition at home.

As I have said above, the site of King Amenhotep’s Mortuary Temple had
been freely acknowledged to be a very promising one, and so far these
hopes had been entirely justified.

Many and rare had been the finds during the season’s work now drawing to
a close. And it was not improbable that some other find of the first
importance might still fall to the spades of the excavators during the
next few weeks of work upon the site.

Think what the nearby Temple of Medinet might at this very moment hold
for Professor Ranney! The tomb of Amenhotep, son of Hap; the Magic Book
of the Sorcerers of Pharaoh, the Luminous Book of Thoth!

Had they had the least suspicion of Professor Ranney’s secret it is safe
to say that many of his brother scientists would gladly have bartered
five years of their lives for a chance at the site. And yet, could any
one of those enthusiasts have foreseen the disaster that would here
befall him, not a man among them would have approached it.

But let us take up the tale, as long as we may, in Professor Ranney’s own


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