Kenkenes seized his pen and wrote:
“This from thy subject, Kenkenes, the son of Mentu, thy murket.
“I give thee a true story, O Defender of Women.
“There is a maiden whose kinsmen died of hard labor in the service of Egypt. Not one was left to care for her. Of all her house, she alone remains. They died in ignominy. Shall the last remnant of the unhappy family be stamped out in dishonor?
“If one came before thee seeking to insult innocence, and another begging leave to protect it, thou wouldst choose for him who would keep pure the undefiled. Have I not said, O my King?
“Before thee, even now is such a choice.
“Already thou hast given over the mastership of Rachel, daughter of Maai the Israelite, to thy fan-bearer, Har-hat. By the lips of his own servants, I am informed that he would have put her in his harem.
“She fled from him and I hid her away, for I could not bear to deliver her up to the despoiler.
“I love her—she loveth me. Wilt thou not give her to me to wife?
“Thine illustrious sire bespeaketh thy favor, out of Amenti. Behold his signet and its injunction.
“Furthermore, I confess to sacrilege against Athor, in carving a statue which ignored the sculptor’s ritual. For this, and for hiding the Israelite, am I imprisoned in the city stronghold of Tape.
“I would be free to return to my love and comfort her, but if it shall overtax thy generosity to release me, I pray thee announce my sentence and let me begin to count the hours till I shall come forth again.
“The Israelite hath a nurse, a feeble and sick old woman, Deborah by name, whom the minions of Har-hat abused. She can be of no further use in servitude, and I would have thee set her free to bear company to her love, the white-souled Rachel.
“But if these last prayers imperil the first by strain upon thy indulgence, O Beloved of Ptah, do thou set them aside, and grant only the safety of the oppressed maiden.
“These to thy hand, by the hand of the scribe, Hotep.
The letter complete, he summoned the messenger.
“How swift art thou?” he asked.
“So swift that my service is desired beyond mine opportunities to accept,” was the answer.
“How is it that thou art ready to serve me? Thou seest my plight.”
“The jailer spoke of thee as petitioning the Pharaoh. The king is in the north where I have not been in all the reign of Meneptah. Thou offerest me a pleasure and the fee shall be in proportion to the length of the journey.”
“Nay, but thou art a genius. Thou dost move me to imitate the Hathors, since they add fortune to the already fortunate. Mark me. I will give thee thy fee now. If thou dost return me a letter showing that thou hast carried the message with all faith and speed, I shall give thee another fee on thy home-coming. What thinkest thou?”