The wall of cloud had disappeared, and in the clear light of the morning, we perceived that the deep waters of the Sea of Reeds had divided themselves, leaving a raised roadway that seemed to have been cleared by the wind, or perchance to have been thrown up by the earthquake. Who can say? Not I who never set foot upon that path of death. Along this wide road streamed the tens of thousands of the Israelites, passing between the water on the right hand, and the water on the left, and after them followed all the army of Pharaoh, save those who had deserted, and stood or lay around us, watching. We could even see the golden chariots that marked the presence of Pharaoh himself, and of his bodyguard, deep in the heart of the broken host that struggled forward without discipline or order.
“What now? Oh! what now?” murmured Seti, and as he spoke there was a second shock of earthquake. Then to the west on the sea there arose a mighty wave, whereof the crest seemed to be high as a pyramid. It rolled forward with a curved and foaming head, and in the hollow of it for a moment, no more, we saw the army of Egypt. Yet in that moment I seemed to see mighty shapes fleeing landwards along the crest of the wave, which shapes I took to be the gods of Egypt, pursued by a form of light and glory that drove them as with a scourge. They came, they went, accompanied by a sound of wailing, and the wave fell.
But beyond it, the hordes of Israel still marched—upon the further shore.
Dense gloom followed, and through the gloom I saw, or thought I saw, Merapi, Moon of Israel, standing before us with a troubled face and heard or thought I heard her cry:
“Oh! help me, my lord Seti! Help me, my lord Seti!”
Then she too was gone.
“Harness the chariots!” cried Seti, in a hollow voice.
THE CROWNING OF MERAPI
Fast as sped our horses, rumour, or rather the truth, carried by those who had gone before us, flew faster. Oh! that journey was as a dream begotten by the evil gods. On we galloped through the day and through the night and lo! at every town and village women rushed upon us crying:
“Is it true, O travellers, is it true that Pharaoh and his host are perished in the sea?”
Then old Bakenkhonsu would call in answer:
“It is true that he who was Pharaoh and his host are perished in the sea. But lo! here is he who is Pharaoh,” and he pointed to the Prince, who took no heed and said nothing, save:
Then forward we would plunge again till once more the sound of wailing died into silence.
It was sunset, and at length we drew near to the gates of Memphis. The Prince turned to me and spoke.
“Heretofore I have not dared to ask,” he said, “but tell me, Ana. In the gloom after the great cliff of water fell and the shapes of terror swept by, did you seem to see a woman stand before us and did you seem to hear her speak?”