After a little he answered, sighing.
“Thou dost not love me, Rachel.”
“Aye, I have said. Thou wouldst send me away from thee, back into Egypt.”
“O, seest thou not? I would have thee know thy heart; I would not have thee choose blindly; I do but sacrifice myself,” she cried, panic-stricken.
“And yet, thou wouldst deny me that same delight of sacrifice. Can I not surrender for thee as well?”
She drooped her head and did not answer.
“Ah! thou speakest of the benefits of Egypt,” he continued. “What were Egypt without thee, save a great darkness haunted and vacant? Besides, there is no Egypt beyond this sea. She hath risen and crossed with Israel—all her beauty and her glory and her beneficence. For thou art Egypt and shalt be to me all that I loved in Egypt.”
He took her hands.
“Why may I not as justly doubt thy knowledge of thy heart?” he asked softly.
Seeing that she surrendered, he persisted no further in his protest.
“When wilt thou wed me, my love?”
She drew back from him a little, though she willingly left her hands where they were, and Kenkenes, noting the flush on her cheeks, the pretty gravity of her brow, and the well-known air she assumed when she discoursed, smiled and said fondly to himself:
“By the signs, I am to be taught something more.”
“Thou knowest, my Kenkenes,” she began, “the Hebrews are married simply. There is feasting and dancing and the bride is taken to the house of her father-in-law. Thereafter there is still much feasting, but the wedding ceremony is done at the home-bringing of the bride.”
“I hear,” said Kenkenes when she paused.
“I am without kindred; thou art here without house. There can be no wedding feast for us, nor dancing nor singing, for Israel is on the march.”
“Of a truth,” Kenkenes assented.
“So there is only the essential portion of the ceremony left to us—the home-bringing of the bride.”
“It is enough,” said Kenkenes.
“Hur and Miriam brought me to thy tent last night.”
With his face lighting, Kenkenes drew her to him and put his arm about her.
“So if thou wilt, we shall say—that—from—that moment—”
Her voice grew lower, her words more unready and failed altogether.
“From that moment,” he said eagerly, reassuring her. “From that moment—”
“From that moment, I have been thy wife!”
THE PROMISED LAND
One sunset, shortly after his marriage, word came to the tent of Kenkenes that an Amalekite chieftain on his way to Egypt had paused for the night just without the encampment of Israel.
“Here may be an opportunity to speak with thy father,” Rachel suggested. The prospect of talking once again to those he had left behind was one too full of pleasure for the young Egyptian to receive calmly. Hurriedly he despatched one of his serving men to the Amalekite to bid him await a message. But Rachel called the messenger back.