The Yoke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 582 pages of information about The Yoke.

“Even so,” the prince answered.

The Hebrew put back his kerchief and stood uncovered.

“Dost thou know me, my son?” he asked.

“Thou art that Aaron, of the able tongue, brother to Mesu.  Camest thou forth to meet me?”

The Hebrew readjusted the kerchief.

“Thou hast said.”

“Wast thou, then, so impatient?  Where is thy brother?”

“Nay.  The village of image-makers is not safe.  Moses hath departed for Zoan.” [1]

“And named thee in his stead.  But his mission to my father’s capital bodes no good.  He might have stayed until I could have persuaded him into friendship.”

“Not with all thy gold!” said Aaron gravely.

“Nay, I had not meant that,” Seti rejoined with some resentment.  “If Egypt’s plight can not win mercy from him by its own piteousness, the treasure I bring is not enough.”

The Hebrew waved his hand as if to dismiss the subject.

“Let us not dispute so old a quarrel,” he said.  “We have a new sorrow, thou and I.”

“Of Mesu’s sending?”

“Nay, of thine own misplaced trust.”

“What!” the prince exclaimed.  “Have I clothed thy kinsman with more grace than he owns?”

“Thou hast put faith in thine enemy.  A woman hath deceived thee.”

“What dost thou tell me?” Seti cried, leaping to the ground and angrily confronting Aaron.

“A truth,” the Hebrew answered calmly.  “The Princess Ta-user is a fugitive charged with treason.”

Seti turned cold and smote his forehead.  “Undone through me!” he groaned.

“Not so, my son.  Thou art undone through her.  She betrayed thee.”

Seti turned upon him with a fierce movement.

“Peace!” the Hebrew interrupted the furious speech on the prince’s lips.  “I bear thee no malice.”

“I will give ear to no tales against the princess,” Seti avowed with ire.

“Thy blind trust hath already wrought havoc with thee.  Let it not bring heavy punishment upon thy head.  Thou hast dealt kindly with me, and I am beholden to thee.  Give me leave to discharge my debt.”

The prince looked stubbornly at Aaron for a moment, but the doubt that had begun to assert itself in his mind clamored for proof or refutation.

“Say on,” he said.

“The story is long,” the Hebrew explained mildly, “and the sun is ardent.  There are friends in yonder house.  Let us ask the shelter of their roof for an hour.”

Gathering his robes about him with peculiar grace, he went through the grass toward a low, capacious tent, pitched by a trickling branch of the great canal.  Seti followed moodily.

A black-haired Israelitish woman, sitting on the earth before the lifted side of the tent, arose, and reverently kissed the hem of Aaron’s robes.  Her dark-eyed brood appeared at various angles of the tent, and at a sign and a word from the woman they did obeisance and hailed the ancient visitor in soft Hebrew.

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The Yoke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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