“Nay, Hur, you have a right to ask the cause of my refusal, and because I honor you, I owe you the truth. Another man of our race reigns in my heart. He met me for the first time when I was still a child. Like your son and grandson, he has lived among the Egyptians, but the summons of our God and of his father reached him as did the message to your sons, and like Uri and Bezaleel, he showed himself obedient. If he still desires to wed me, I shall become his wife, if it is the will of the God whom I serve, and who shows me the favor of suffering me to hear his voice. But I shall think of you with gratitude forever.”
Her large eyes had been glittering through tears as she uttered the words, and there was a tremor in the grey-haired lover’s voice as he asked in hesitating, embarrassed tones:
“And if the man for whom you are waiting—I do not ask his name—shuts his ears to the call that has reached him, if he declines to share the uncertain destiny of his people?”
“That will never happen!” Miriam interrupted, a chill creeping through her veins, but Hur exclaimed:
“There is no ‘never,’ no ‘surely,’ save with God. If, spite of your firm faith, the result should be different from your expectations, will you resign to the Lord the wish which began to stir in your heart, when you were still a foolish child?”
“He who has guided me until now will show me the right way.”
“Well then,” replied Hur, “put your trust in Him, and if the man of your choice is worthy of you, and becomes your lord, my soul will rejoice without envy when the Most High blesses your union. But if God wills otherwise, and you need a strong arm for your support, I am here. The tent and the heart of Hur will ever be open to you.”
With these words he turned away; but Miriam gazed thoughtfully after him as long as the old chief’s stately figure was visible.
At last, still pondering, she moved toward her host’s house, but at the road leading to Tanis, she paused and gazed northward. The dust had subsided, and she could see a long distance, but the one person whom it was to lead back to her and to his people did not appear. Sighing sadly, she moved onward with drooping head, and started violently when her brother Moses’ deep voice called to her from the old sycamore.
Aaron and Eleasar, with fiery eloquence, had reminded the murmuring, disheartened people of the power and promises of their God. Whoever had stretched his limbs undisturbed to comfortable rest, whoever had been strengthened by food and drink regained the confidence that had been lost. The liberated bondmen were told of the hard labor and dishonoring blows which they had escaped and admonished that they must recognize as God’s dispensation, among other things, that Pharaoh had not pursued them; but the rich booty still found in the plundered storehouse