The Asiatics kissed the earth at his feet, only the king of the Danaids did no more than bow before him. Rameses looked wrathfully at him, and ordered the interpreter to ask him whether he considered himself conquered or no, and the answer was given that he had not come before the Pharaoh as a prisoner, and that the obeisance which Rameses required of him was regarded as a degradation according to the customs of his free-born people, who prostrated them selves only before the Gods. He hoped to become an ally of the king of Egypt, and he asked would he desire to call a degraded man his friend?
Rameses measured the proud and noble figure before him with a glance, and said severely:
“I am prepared to treat for peace only with such of my enemies as are willing to bow to the double crown that I wear. If you persist in your refusal, you and your people will have no part in the favorable conditions that I am prepared to grant to these, your allies.”
The captive prince preserved his dignified demeanor, which was nevertheless free from insolence, when these words of the king were interpreted to him, and replied that he had come intending to procure peace at any cost, but that he never could nor would grovel in the dust at any man’s feet nor before any crown. He would depart on the following day; one favor, however, he requested in his daughter’s name and his own—and he had heard that the Egyptians respected women. The king knew, of course, that his charioteer Mena had treated his daughter, not as a prisoner but as a sister, and Praxilla now felt a wish, which he himself shared, to bid farewell to the noble Mena, and his wife, and to thank him for his magnanimous generosity. Would Rameses permit him once more to cross the Nile before his departure, and with his daughter to visit Mena in his tent.
Rameses granted his prayer: the prince left the tent, and the negotiations began.
In a few hours they were brought to a close, for the Asiatic and Egyptian scribes had agreed, in the course of the long march southwards, on the stipulations to be signed; the treaty itself was to be drawn up after the articles had been carefully considered, and to be signed in the city of Rameses called Tanis—or, by the numerous settlers in its neighborhood, Zoan. The Asiatic princes were to dine as guests with the king; but they sat at a separate table, as the Egyptians would have been defiled by sitting at the same table with strangers.
Rameses was not perfectly satisfied. If the Danaids went away without concluding a treaty with him, it was to be expected that the peace which he was so earnestly striving for would before long be again disturbed; and he nevertheless felt that, out of regard for the other conquered princes, he could not forego any jot of the humiliation which he had required of their king, and which he believed to be due to himself—though he bad been greatly impressed by his dignified manliness and by the bravery of the troops that had followed him into the field.