Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 841
The Evil God and the Secret Spy
When the children return to Egypt for the second time, they find that everything is exactly as they had left it. April and Melanie spontaneously begin clearing out the dead weeds in the yard, shoving them through the hole in the fence and...
(The entire section contains 841 words.)
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The Evil God and the Secret Spy
When the children return to Egypt for the second time, they find that everything is exactly as they had left it. April and Melanie spontaneously begin clearing out the dead weeds in the yard, shoving them through the hole in the fence and depositing them in a trash bin in the alley while Marshall stands guard. April then notices that, opposite the loose plank in the fence, there is a door to the storage yard which appears to be padlocked from the outside. Idly, she speculates about where it leads to, and Melanie, after thinking about it, suggests that perhaps it goes "to the rest of the Professor's backyard." This thought makes Melanie feel uncomfortable, and she wonders aloud what the Professor would do if he caught them on his property. April, however, does not think that the strange man would care, as long as they didn't "bother him or hurt anything." Just to reassure themselves, the girls creep to the window, and examine it carefully. To their relief, it seems to be covered on the inside by a heavy cloth, and the glass is so dirty, they conclude that no one would be able to see through it anyway.
While Marshall is digging a hole in the yard with a sharp stick, April and Melanie come up with the idea of having him play the part of a young pharaoh, Marshamosis, while they will be high priestesses who plan to offer him up as a human sacrifice to the evil god Set. This is the way the Egypt Game is played: ideas just "be[gin] and [grow] and afterwards it is hard to remember just how—it is what makes the game so much fun!" Melanie manages to convince her little brother to participate, but before they continue with the game, the girls decide that they need more equipment, so they go out to the alley to look for boards and boxes to use as props, "like thrones and altars." The materials they find are too large to fit back through the hole in the fence, so they throw them over the top, making a horrible racket. A short time later, the curtain covering the small window at the back of the Professor's store is pushed surreptitiously aside. April and Melanie are too busy to notice, but Marshall, observing silently, does.
Eyelashes and Ceremony
On the day before school starts, Melanie and April get together to read in the Halls' apartment, but both girls are too distracted to concentrate. April is too busy trying to convince herself that it does not matter whether the students at Wilson School like her or not, because Dorothea will be writing soon to ask her to come home, and Melanie is worried about getting April to just be herself at school so that the other kids will accept her. When it is time to leave, Melanie manages to sneak away with her friend's fake eyelashes, so April cannot wear them for a few days. Even without the lashes, however, April manages to alienate her classmates, wearing her hair in a makeshift up-sweep, putting on her bored Hollywood act, and getting "furiously angry" when she is teased.
Melanie tries hard to get the kids at Wilson School to accept April, and although things are bad for awhile, the students do begin to notice the "new kid's" good traits. April always offers unique and fascinating answers in class, and she is fearless on the playground's climbing bars, and always willing to engineer harmless but mischievous pranks on the grown-ups. Finally, by the third week in September, Toby Alvillar and Ken Kamata, the coolest boys in the class, give April a nickname, calling her February. Melanie is relieved, because though it is teasing, it is "not the kind you use on outsiders." April has been accepted.
In the afternoons and on weekends, the girls continue with the Egypt Game. The lean-to Temple has two altars now, one for Nefertiti, whom they have also begun to call Isis, and one for Set, the god of evil. April and Melanie spend many hours decorating each of the altars, until Marshall, who has been watching while all this has been going on, becomes impatient and demands to know when they are going to "play about the pharaoh." April explains that they are not ready for that yet, but when the little boy protests, she and Melanie allow him to be a sort of "junior high priest" in the ceremonies they are presently developing. Although he refuses to part with his stuffed octopus, aptly named Security, when playing this role, Marshall does extremely well "for a little kid," remembering all the words to the chant the girls assign him and sprinkling incense in all the right places. When April comments about the little boy's maturity, Melanie explains that Marshall has always been grown-up about things, except when it concerns Security. April responds ironically, "Yeah, I guess everybody has something they're not very grown-up about."