The Yoke eBook

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

“May the same favoring god that brought thee hither, grant thee a safe journey home, my friend.  The court comes to Memphis shortly.  Till then, farewell,” said Hotep.

“All Memphis will hail her illustrious son, O Hotep.  Farewell.”

It was not long until the sculptor was drifting down toward Memphis under a starry sky—­the shadowy temples of Thebes hidden by the sudden closing-in of the river-hills about her.

[1] Set—­the war-god.

[2] Athor—­the Egyptian Venus; the feminine love-deity.

CHAPTER VII

ATHOR, THE GOLDEN

At sunrise the morning after his return from On, Kenkenes appeared at the Nile, attended by a burden-bearing slave.

The first lean, brown boatman who touched his knee and offered his bari for hire, Kenkenes patronized.  The slave had eased his load into the boat and Kenkenes was on the point of embarking when a four-oared bari, which had passed them like the wind a moment before, put about several rods above them and returned to the group on shore.

A bent and withered servitor was standing in the bow of the boat, wildly gesticulating, as if he feared Kenkenes would insist on pulling away despite his efforts.  The young man recognized the servant of Snofru, old Ranas.

The large bari was beached and the servitor alighted with agility and, beckoning to Kenkenes, took him aside.

“There has been an error—­a grave error, concerning the message,” the old man began in excitement; “but thou art in no wise at fault.  Yet mayhap thou canst aid us in unraveling the tangle.  See!”

He displayed the linen-wrapped roll, the covering split where Snofru had opened it, but the wavering hieratic characters of the address in Loi’s hand, still intact.

When the young sculptor had gazed, the old servant nervously undid the roll, and showed within a letter to the commander over Pa-Ramesu, written in the strong epistolary symbols of the royal scribe.

Kenkenes frowned with vexation.  Innocent and efficient though he had been, the miscarriage of his mission stung him nevertheless.  The blunder was not long a mystery to him.

Summoning all the patience at his command, he recounted the events in the apartments of the ancient hierarch of Amen.

“There were two Scrolls,” he explained; “one to the Servant of Ra at On, the other to Atsu.  The holy father sealed them both before he addressed them and confused the directions.  The one which I should have brought to thine august master, hath gone to the taskmaster over Pa-Ramesu.”

“Thou madest all speed?” the servant demanded, trembling with eagerness.

“A half-day’s journey less than the usual time I made in returning.  I doubt much, if the messenger with the other scroll hath passed Memphis yet, since he may not have been despatched in such hot haste.  Furthermore, because of the festivities in Tape, it would have been well-nigh impossible for him to hire a boat until the next day.”

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The Yoke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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