“Both the hour and need of my proof are past. Already art thou convicted.” Kenkenes indicated the king and the ministers behind him. The fan-bearer followed the motion of the arm and for the first time met the gaze of the angry group.
Kenkenes had not ventured blindly, nor dared without deep and shrewd thought. When the artist-soul can feel the fiercer passions it has the capacity to work them out in action. Kenkenes, having been wronged, grew vengeful, and therefore had it within him to aspire to vengeance. He knew his handicap, but had estimated well his strength. With calmness and deliberation he had studied conditions, assembled all contingencies and fortified himself against them, gathered hypotheses, summarized his evidence and brought about that which he had planned to accomplish—the destruction of Har-hat’s rule over Meneptah.
Har-hat was alone. Before him were all the powers of the land arrayed against him. Behind him in Tanis was Seti, the heir, who hated him, and the queen who had turned her back upon him. He had not seen the need of friends during the days of his supremacy over Meneptah. Now, not all his denials, eloquence, subtleties could establish him again in the faith of the frightened king. His ministership had crumbled beyond reconstruction. What would avail him, then, to defend himself? What proof had he to offer against this impeachment? The young man’s argument met him at every avenue toward which he might turn for escape. At best his future in Egypt would be mere toleration; the worst, condign punishment.
A flame of feeling surged into his face. With a wide sweep of his arm, as though to thrust away pretense, he faced the ministers, all the defiance and audacity of his nature faithfully manifested in his manner.
“Why wait ye? Would ye see me cringe? Would ye hear me deny, protest, deprecate? Go to! ye glowering churls, I disappoint you! Flock to the king; dandle the royal babe a while! Endure the stress a little, for ye will not serve him long. And thou,” whirling upon Kenkenes, “dreamest thou I fear this bloody God of Israel, or all the gibbering, incense-sniffing, pedestal-cumbering gods of earth? I will show thee, thou ranting rabble spawn! See which of us hath the yellow-haired wanton when I return. For I go to wrest spoil and fighting men from Israel. Then, by all the demons of Amenti! then, I say! look to thy crown, thou puny, puling King!”
With a bound he broke through the cordon of royal guards, leaped into his chariot, and putting his horses to a gallop, drove at full speed to his place at the head of the army. There, in an instant, clear and long-drawn, his command to mount rang over the desert. Front and rear, wing and wing, the trumpets took up the call, “To horse!” A second command in the strong voice, a second winding of the many trumpets, and with a rush of air and jar of earth the great army of the Pharaoh swept like the wind toward the sea.