The Yoke eBook

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

He talked of redemption and Canaan.

CHAPTER XI

HEBREW CRAFT

When Mentu returned from On a light had kindled in his eyes and his stately step had grown elastic.  The man that withdraws from a busy life while in full vigor has beckoned to Death.  Inactivity preys upon him like a disease.  The great artist, forced into idleness by the succession of an incapable king, had been renewed by the prospect of labor which his exaltation into the high office had afforded.  With pleasure in his heart, Kenkenes watched his father grow young again.

“Who was thy good friend in this?” the young man asked one evening after a number of contented remarks concerning the market’s appointment.  “Who said the word in the Pharaoh’s ear?”

“So to raise me to this office it is needful that something more than my deserts must have urged the king?” Mentu retorted.

“Nay! that was not my meaning,” Kenkenes made haste to say.  “But thou knowest, my father, that Meneptah must be for ever directed.  Who, then, offered him this wise counsel?  Rameses?”

“It was never Har-hat,” Mentu replied, but half placated.

“If he had, thou and I must no longer call him a poor counselor.”

“Bribe—­” the murket began, ruffled once more.

“Nay,” Kenkenes interrupted smiling.  “He had but proved himself worthy and wise.”

Mentu shook his head, but there was no more temper evident in his face.

“Now is a propitious hour for a good counselor,” Kenkenes pursued.

“What knowest thou?” Mentu asked with interest.

“Tape,” the young man replied briefly.

“Nay, the sedition in Tape is old and vitiated.”

“And the Hak-heb.”

“That breach may be healed.  But we have sedition to fear among the bond-people—­”

“The bond-people!”

“Even so.  Open and organized sedition.”

“The Israelites?” Kenkenes exclaimed with an incredulous note in his voice.

“The Israelites.”

“I would sooner fear a rebellion among the draft-oxen and the mules of Nehapehu.” [1]

“The elder Seti’s fears and the fears of the great Rameses were other than yours.”

“O, aye, they had cause for fear then, but since Seti yoked the creatures—­”

“The Pharaohs did not begin in time,” the elder man interrupted.  “Had that royal fiat, the decimation of Hebrew children, continued, we should not have had the Israelite to-day, but gods!” he shuddered with horror.  “I hope that is a horrid slander—­tradition, not fact.  I like not to lay the slaughter or babes at the door of any Egyptian dynasty.  But had an early Pharaoh of the house of Tothmes enforced the absorption of the Hebrew by his same rank among the Egyptian, we should not have the menace of a hostile alien within our borders to-day.  The heavy hand of oppression has made a wondrous race of them for strength.  Theirs is no mean intellect; great men have come from among them, and they will be a hardy foe arrayed against us.”

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The Yoke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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