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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 464 pages of information about The Yoke.

At the Libyan shore Kenkenes gave his bari into the hands of a river-man and by a liberal fee purchased its security from confiscation.  Then he turned his face toward the center of the western suburb of Thebes Diospolis.  He had the larger palace of Rameses II in view and he walked briskly, as one who goes forward to meet pleasure.  Only once, when he passed the palace and temple of the Incomparable Pharaoh, which stood at the mouth of the Valley of the Kings, he frowned in discontent.  Far up the tortuous windings of this gorge was the tomb of the great Rameses and there had the precious signet been lost.  As he looked at the high red ridge through which this crevice led, he remembered his father’s emphatic prohibition and bit his lip.  Thereafter, throughout a great part of his walk, he railed mentally against the useless loss of a most propitious opportunity.

To the first resplendent member of the retinue at Meneptah’s palace, who cast one glance at the fillet the sculptor wore, and bent suavely before him, Kenkenes stated his mission.  The retainer bowed again and called a rosy page hiding in the dusk of the corridor.

“Go thou to the apartments of my Lord Hotep and tell him a visitor awaits him in his chamber of guests.”

The lad slipped away and the retainer led Kenkenes into a long chamber near the end of the corridor.  The hall had been darkened to keep out the glare of the day, air being admitted only through a slatted blind against which a shrub in the court outside beat its waxen leaves.  Before his eyes had become accustomed to the dusk Kenkenes heard footsteps coming down the outer passage, with now and then the light and brisk scrape of the sandal toe on the polished floor.  The young sculptor smiled at the excited throb of his heart.  The new-comer entered the hall and drew up the shutter.  The brilliant flood of light revealed to him the tall figure of the sculptor rising from his chair—­to the sculptor the trim presence of the royal scribe.

The friends had not met in six years.

For a space long enough for recognition to dawn upon the scribe, he stood motionless and then with an exclamation of extravagant delight he seized his friend and embraced him with woman-like emotion.

[1] Undertakers—­embalmers, an unclean class.

[2] Punt—­Arabia.

[3] The oriental master calls his servants “children.”

CHAPTER V

THE HEIR TO THE THRONE

Loi was not present at the sunset prayers in Karnak.  An hour before he had summoned the trustiest priest in the brotherhood of ministers to Amen and bade him conduct the ceremonies of the evening.  Then he sent to the temple stores, put into service another boat and was ferried over to the Libyan suburb of Thebes.  He had himself borne in a litter to the greater palace of Rameses II, and asked an audience with Meneptah.

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