“Thou wilt go with her, out of Egypt?” he demanded.
“I shall go with her, out of Egypt.”
Mentu gained his feet. “And dost thou remember that while I live my commands are yet law over thee?” he continued in a tone of increasing intensity. “Mine it is to say whether thou shall do this thing or do it not!”
He turned away and strode back to his post against the door-frame, his face toward the night. Kenkenes had slowly risen to his feet. Not for an instant did his father’s authority appear to him as an obstacle. He knew that the murket’s outburst was a final stand before capitulation. Kenkenes was troubled only for what might follow after his father had surrendered.
He followed the murket to the door and laid his arm across the broad shoulders.
“Father,” he said persuasively. Mentu did not move.
“Look at me, father,” Kenkenes insisted. Still no movement. The young man put his arm closer about the shoulders, and lifting his hand, would have turned the face toward him. But the palm touched a wet cheek.
The murket had consented.
* * * * * *
An hour later, when it was far into the second watch, Kenkenes changed his dress and made himself presentable. Then, without further counsel with the murket, he went silently and unseen to the portal of Senci’s house. After a long time, for her household had been asleep, he was admitted, and the Lady Senci, perplexed and surprised, joined him in the chamber of guests.
With few and simple words he told his story, pictured his father’s loneliness and, while she wept silently, begged her to become his father’s wife—on the morrow.
There was no long persuasion; the need of the occasion was sufficient eloquence for the murket’s noble love.
An hour after the next day’s sunrise Mentu and Senci repaired together to the temple, and when they returned Senci went not again into her own house.
In preparing for his departure, Kenkenes asked at the hands of his father, not his patrimony, for that would have been an embarrassment of wealth, but such portion of it as might be carried in small bulk. In mid-afternoon Senci brought him a belt of gazelle-hide and in this had been sewed a fortune in gems. The murket had given his son his full portion and more.
At the close of day, with his face set and colorless, Kenkenes stepped into the narrow passage before his father’s house. The great portal closed slowly and noiselessly behind him. He did not pause, but sprang into his chariot and was driven rapidly away.
At a landing near the northern limits of Memphis he took a punt, bade farewell to his sad-faced charioteer and pushed off.
The broken bluffs about Memphis, the temples, the obelisks, the Sphinx, the pyramids melted into night behind him. He kept his head down that he might not look his last on his native city.