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Author: Ebers, Georg, 1837-1898
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Title: Joshua, Volume 1.

Author: Georg Ebers

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JOSHUA

By Georg Ebers

Volume 1.


Translated from the German by Mary J. Safford




PREFACE.

Last winter I resolved to complete this book, and while giving it the
form in which it now goes forth into the world, I was constantly reminded
of the dear friend to whom I intended to dedicate it.  Now I am permitted
to offer it only to the manes of Gustav Baur; for a few months ago death
snatched him from us.

Every one who was allowed to be on terms of intimacy with this man feels
his departure from earth as an unspeakably heavy loss, not only because
his sunny, cheerful nature and brilliant intellect brightened the souls
of his friends; not only because he poured generously from the
overflowing cornucopia of his rich knowledge precious gifts to those with
whom he stood in intellectual relations, but above all because of the
loving heart which beamed through his clear eyes, and enabled him to
share the joys and sorrows of others, and enter into their thoughts and
feelings.

To my life's end I shall not forget that during the last few years,
himself physically disabled and overburdened by the duties imposed by the
office of professor and counsellor of the Consistory, he so often found
his way to me, a still greater invalid.  The hours he then permitted me
to spend in animated conversation with him are among those which,
according to old Horace, whom he know so thoroughly and loved so well,
must be numbered among the 'good ones'.  I have done so, and whenever I
gratefully recall them, in my ear rings my friend's question:

"What of the story of the Exodus?"

After I had told him that in the midst of the desert, while following the
traces of the departing Hebrews, the idea had occurred to me of treating
their wanderings in the form of a romance, he expressed his approval in
the eager, enthusiastic manner natural to him.  When I finally entered
farther into the details of the sketch outlined on the back of a camel,
he never ceased to encourage me, though he thoroughly understood my
scruples and fully appreciated the difficulties which attended the
fulfilment of my task.

So in a certain degree this book is his, and the inability to offer it
to the living man and hear his acute judgment is one of the griefs which
render it hard to reconcile oneself to the advancing years which in other
respects bring many a joy.

Himself one of the most renowned, acute and learned students and
interpreters of the Bible, he was perfectly familiar with the critical
works the last five years have brought to light in the domain of Old
Testament criticism.  He had taken a firm stand against the views of the
younger school, who seek to banish the Exodus of the Jews from the
province of history and represent it as a later production of the myth-
making popular mind; a theory we both believed untenable.  One of his
remarks on this subject has lingered in my memory and ran nearly as
follows:

"If the events recorded in the Second Book of Moses--which I believe are
true--really never occurred, then nowhere and at no period has a
historical event of equally momentous result taken place.  For thousands
of years the story of the Exodus has lived in the minds of numberless
people as something actual, and it still retains its vitality.  Therefore
it belongs to history no less certainty than the French Revolution and
its consequences."

Notwithstanding such encouragement, for a long series of years I lacked
courage to finish the story of the Exodus until last winter an unexpected
appeal from abroad induced me to resume it.  After this I worked
uninterruptedly with fresh zeal and I may say renewed pleasure at the
perilous yet fascinating task until its completion.

The locality of the romance, the scenery as we say of the drama, I have
copied as faithfully as possible from the landscapes I beheld in Goshen
and on the Sinai peninsula.  It will agree with the conception of many of
the readers of "Joshua."

The case will be different with those portions of the story which I have
interwoven upon the ground of ancient Egyptian records.  They will
surprise the laymen; for few have probably asked themselves how the
events related in the Bible from the standpoint of the Jews affected the
Egyptians, and what political conditions existed in the realm of Pharaoh
when the Hebrews left it.  I have endeavored to represent these relations
with the utmost fidelity to the testimony of the monuments.  For the
description of the Hebrews, which is mentioned in the Scriptures, the
Bible itself offers the best authority.  The character of the "Pharaoh of
the Exodus" I also copied from the Biblical narrative, and the portraits
of the weak King Menephtah, which have been preserved, harmonize
admirably with it.  What we have learned of later times induced me to
weave into the romance the conspiracy of Siptah, the accession to the
throne of Seti II., and the person of the Syrian Aarsu who, according to
the London Papyrus Harris I., after Siptah had become king, seized the
government.

The Naville excavations have fixed the location of Pithom-Succoth beyond
question, and have also brought to light the fortified store-house of
Pithom (Succoth) mentioned in the Bible; and as the scripture says the
Hebrews rested in this place and thence moved farther on, it must be
supposed that they overpowered the garrison of the strong building and
seized the contents of the spacious granaries, which are in existence at
the present day.

In my "Egypt and the Books of Moses" which appeared in 1868, I stated
that the Biblical Etham was the same as the Egyptian Chetam, that is, the
line of fortresses which protected the isthmus of Suez from the attacks
of the nations of the East, and my statement has long since found
universal acceptance.  Through it, the turning back of the Hebrews before
Etham is intelligible.

The mount where the laws were given I believe was the majestic Serbal,
not the Sinai of the monks; the reasons for which I explained fully in my
work "Through Goshen to Sinai."  I have also--in the same volume--
attempted to show that the halting-place of the tribes called in the
Bible "Dophkah" was the deserted mines of the modern Wadi Maghara.

By the aid of the mental and external experiences of the characters,
whose acts have in part been freely guided by the author's imagination,
he has endeavored to bring nearer to the sympathizing reader the human
side of the mighty destiny of the nation which it was incumbent on him to
describe.  If he has succeeded in doing so, without belittling the
magnificent Biblical narrative, he has accomplished his desire; if he has
failed, he must content himself with the remembrance of the pleasure and
mental exaltation he experienced during the creation of this work.

Tutzing on the Starnberger See,
September 20th, 1889.
                                   GEORG EBERS.



JOSHUA.

CHAPTER I.

"Go down, grandfather: I will watch."

But the old man to whom the entreaty was addressed shook his shaven head.

"Yet you can get no rest here......

"And the stars?  And the tumult below?  Who can think of rest in hours
like these?  Throw my cloak around me!  Rest--on such a night of horror!"

"You are shivering.  And how your hand and the instrument are shaking."

"Then support my arm."

The youth dutifully obeyed the request; but in a short time he exclaimed:
"Vain, all is vain; star after star is shrouded by the murky clouds.
Alas, hear the wailing from the city.  Ah, it rises from our own house
too.  I am so anxious, grandfather, feel how my head burns! Come down,
perhaps they need help."

"Their fate is in the hands of the gods--my place is here.

"But there--there!  Look northward across the lake.  No, farther to the
west.  They are coming from the city of the dead."

"Oh, grandfather!  Father--there!"  cried the youth, a grandson of the
astrologer of Amon-Ra, to whom he was lending his aid.  They were
standing in the observatory of the temple of this god in Tanis, the
Pharaoh's capital in the north of the land of Goshen.  He moved away,
depriving the old man of the support of his shoulder, as he continued:
"There, there!  Is the sea sweeping over the land?  Have the clouds
dropped on the earth to heave to and fro?  Oh, grandfather, look yonder!
May the Immortals have pity on us!  The under-world is yawning, and the
giant serpent Apep has come forth from the realm of the dead.  It is
moving past the temple.  I see, I hear it.  The great Hebrew's menace is
approaching fulfilment.  Our race will be effaced from the earth.  The
serpent!  Its head is turned toward the southeast.  It will devour the
sun when it rises in the morning."

The old man's eyes followed the youth's finger, and he, too, perceived a
huge, dark mass, whose outlines blended with the dusky night, come
surging through the gloom; he, too, heard, with a thrill of terror, the
monster's loud roar.

Both stood straining their eyes and ears to pierce the darkness; but
instead of gazing upward the star-reader's eye was bent upon the city,
the distant sea, and the level plain.  Deep silence, yet no peace reigned
above them: the high wind now piled the dark clouds into shapeless
masses, anon severed that grey veil and drove the torn fragments far
asunder.  The moon was invisible to mortal eyes, but the clouds were
toying with the bright Southern stars, sometimes hiding them, sometimes
affording a free course for their beams.  Sky and earth alike showed a
constant interchange of pallid light and intense darkness.  Sometimes the
sheen of the heavenly bodies flashed brightly from sea and bay, the
smooth granite surfaces of the obelisks in the precincts of the temple,
and the gilded copper roof of the airy royal palace, anon sea and river,
the sails in the harbor, the sanctuaries, the streets of the city, and
the palm-grown plain which surrounded it vanished in gloom.  Eye and ear
failed to retain the impression of the objects they sought to discern;
for sometimes the silence was so profound that all life, far and near,
seemed hushed and dead, then a shrill shriek of anguish pierced the
silence of the night, followed at longer or shorter intervals by the loud
roar the youthful priest had mistaken for the voice of the serpent of the
nether-world, and to which grandfather and grandson listened with
increasing suspense.

The dark shape, whose incessant motion could be clearly perceived
whenever the starlight broke through the clouds, appeared first near the
city of the dead and the strangers' quarter.  Both the youth and the old
man had been seized with terror, but the latter was the first to regain
his self-control, and his keen eye, trained to watch the stars, speedily
discovered that it was not a single giant form emerging from the city of
the dead upon the plain, but a multitude of moving shapes that seemed to
be swaying hither and thither over the meadow lands.  The bellowing and
bleating, too, did not proceed from one special place, but came now
nearer and now farther away.  Sometimes it seemed to issue from the
bowels of the earth, and at others to float from some airy height.

Fresh horror seized upon the old man.  Grasping his grandson's right hand
in his, he pointed with his left to the necropolis, exclaiming in
tremulous tones: "The dead are too great a multitude.  The under-world is
overflowing, as the river does when its bed is not wide enough for the
waters from the south.  How they swarm and surge and roll onward!  How
they scatter and sway to and fro.  They are the souls of the thousands
whom grim death has snatched away, laden with the curse of the Hebrew,
unburied, unshielded from corruption, to descend the rounds of the ladder
leading to the eternal world."

"Yes,  yes,  those  are  their  wandering  ghosts," shrieked the youth in
absolute faith, snatching his hand from the grey-beard's grasp and
striking his burning brow, exclaiming, almost incapable of speech in his
horror: "Ay, those are the souls of the damned.  The wind has swept them
into the sea, whose waters cast them forth again upon the land, but the
sacred earth spurns them and flings them into the air.  The pure ether of
Shu hurls  them  back to the ground and  now--oh look, listen--they are
seeking the way to the wilderness."

"To the fire!"  cried the old astrologer.  "Purify them, ye flames;
cleanse them, water."

The youth joined his grandfather's form of exorcism, and while still
chanting together, the trap-door leading to this observatory on the top
of the highest gate of the temple was opened, and a priest of inferior
rank called: "Cease thy toil.  Who cares to question the stars when the
light of life is departing from all the denizens of earth!"

The old man listened silently till the priest, in faltering accents,
added that the astrologer's wife had sent him, then he stammered:

"Hora?  Has my son, too, been stricken?"

The messenger bent his head, and the two listeners wept bitterly, for the
astrologer had lost his first-born son and the youth a beloved father.

But as the lad, shivering with the chill of fever, sank ill and powerless
on the old man's breast, the latter hastily released himself from his
embrace and hurried to the trap-door.  Though the priest had announced
himself to be the herald of death, a father's heart needs more than the
mere words of another ere resigning all hope of the life of his child.

Down the stone stairs, through the lofty halls and wide courts of the
temple he hurried, closely followed by the youth, though his trembling
limbs could scarcely support his fevered body.  The blow that had fallen
upon his own little circle had made the old man forget the awful vision
which perchance menaced the whole universe with destruction; but his
grandson could not banish the sight and, when he had passed the fore-
court and was approaching the outermost pylons his imagination, under the
tension of anxiety and grief, made the shadows of the obelisks appear to
be dancing, while the two stone statues of King Rameses, on the corner
pillars of the lofty gate, beat time with the crook they held in their
hands.

Then the fever struck the youth to the ground.  His face was distorted by
the convulsions which tossed his limbs to and fro, and the old man,
failing on his knees, strove to protect the beautiful head, covered with
clustering curls, from striking the stone flags, moaning under his breath
"Now fate has overtaken him too."

Then calming himself, he shouted again and again for help, but in vain.
At last, as he lowered his tones to seek comfort in prayer, he heard the
sound of voices in the avenue of sphinxes beyond the pylons, and fresh
hope animated his heart.

Who was coming at so late an hour?

Loud wails of grief blended with the songs of the priests, the clinking
and tinkling of the metal sistrums, shaken by the holy women in the
service of the god, and the measured tread of men praying as they marched
in the procession which was approaching the temple.

Faithful to the habits of a long life, the astrologer raised his eyes
and, after a glance at the double row of granite pillars, the colossal
statues and obelisks in the fore-court, fixed them on the starlit skies.
Even amid his grief a bitter smile hovered around his sunken lips; to-
night the gods themselves were deprived of the honors which were their
due.

For on this, the first night after the new moon in the month of
Pharmuthi, the sanctuary in bygone years was always adorned with flowers.
As soon as the darkness of this moonless night passed away, the high
festival of the spring equinox and the harvest celebration would begin.

A grand procession in honor of the great goddess Neith, of Rennut, who
bestows the blessings of the fields, and of Horus at whose sign the seeds
begin to germinate, passed, in accordance with the rules prescribed by
the Book of the Divine Birth of the Sun, through the city to the river
and harbor; but to-day the silence of death reigned throughout the
sanctuary, whose courts at this hour were usually thronged with men,
women, and children, bringing offerings to lay on the very spot where
death's finger had now touched his grandson's heart.

A flood of light streamed into the vast space, hitherto but dimly
illumined by a few lamps.  Could the throng be so frenzied as to imagine
that the joyous festival might be celebrated, spite of the unspeakable
horrors of the night.

Yet, the evening before, the council of priests had resolved that, on
account of the rage of the merciless pestilence, the temple should not be
adorned nor the procession be marshalled.  In the afternoon many whose
houses had been visited by the plague had remained absent, and now while
he, the astrologer, had been watching the course of the stars, the pest
had made its way into this sanctuary, else why had it been forsaken by
the watchers and the other astrologers who had entered with him at
sunset, and whose duty it was to watch through the night?

He again turned with tender solicitude to the sufferer, but instantly
started to his feet, for the gates were flung wide open and the light of
torches and lanterns streamed into the court.  A swift glance at the sky
told him that it was a little after midnight, yet his fears seemed to
have been true--the priests were crowding into the temples to prepare for
the harvest festival to-morrow.

But he was wrong.  When had they ever entered the sanctuary for this
purpose in orderly procession, solemnly chanting hymns?  Nor was the
train composed only of servants of the deity.  The population had joined
them, for the shrill lamentations of women and wild cries of despair,
such as he had never heard before in all his long life within these
sacred walls, blended in the solemn litany.

Or were his senses playing him false?  Was the groaning throng of
restless spirits which his grandson had pointed out to him from the
observatory, pouring into the sanctuary of the gods?

New horror seized upon him; with arms flung upward to bid the specters
avaunt he muttered the exorcism against the wiles of evil spirits.  But
he soon let his hands fall again; for among the throng he noted some of
his friends who yesterday, at least, had still walked among living men.
First, the tall form of the second prophet of the god, then the women
consecrated to the service of Amon-Ra, the singers and the holy fathers
and, when he perceived behind the singers, astrologers, and pastophori
his own brother-in-law, whose house had yesterday been spared by the
plague, he summoned fresh courage and spoke to him.  But his voice was
smothered by the shouts of the advancing multitude.

The courtyard was now lighted, but each individual was so engrossed by
his own sorrows that no one noticed the old astrologer.  Tearing the
cloak from his shivering limbs to make a pillow for the lad's tossing
head, he heard, while tending him with fatherly affection, fierce
imprecations on the Hebrews who had brought this woe on Pharaoh and his
people, mingling with the chants and shouts of the approaching crowd and,
recurring again and again, the name of Prince Rameses, the heir to the
throne, while the tone in which it was uttered, the formulas of
lamentation associated with it, announced the tidings that the eyes of
the monarch's first-born son were closed in death.

The astrologer gazed at his grandson's wan features with increasing
anxiety, and even while the wailing for the prince rose louder and louder
a slight touch of gratification stirred his soul at the thought of the
impartial justice Death metes out alike to the sovereign on his throne
and the beggar by the roadside.  He now realized what had brought the
noisy multitude to the temple!

With as much swiftness as his aged limbs would permit, he hastened
forward to meet the mourners; but ere he reached them he saw the gate-
keeper and his wife come out of their house, carrying between them on a
mat the dead body of a boy.  The husband held one end, his fragile little
wife the other, and the gigantic warder was forced to stoop low to keep
the rigid form in a horizontal position and not let it slip toward the
woman.  Three children, preceded by a little girl carrying a lantern,
closed the mournful procession.

Perhaps no one would have noticed the group, had not the gate-keeper's
little wife shrieked so wildly and piteously that no one could help
hearing her lamentations.  The second prophet of Amon, and then his
companions, turned toward them.  The procession halted, and as some of
the priests approached the corpse the gate-keeper shouted loudly: "Away,
away from the plague!  It has stricken our first-born son."

The wife meantime had snatched the lantern from her little girl's hand
and casting its light full on the dead boy's rigid face, she screamed:

"The god hath suffered it to happen.  Ay, he permitted the horror to
enter beneath his own roof.  Not his will, but the curse of the stranger
rules us and our lives.  Look, this was our first-born son, and the
plague has also stricken two of the temple-servants.  One already lies
dead in our room, and there lies Kamus, grandson of the astrologer
Rameri.  We heard the old man call, and saw what was happening; but who
can prop another's house when his own is falling?  Take heed while there
is time; for the gods have opened their own sanctuaries to the horror.
If the whole world crumbles into ruin, I shall neither marvel nor grieve.
My lord priests, I am only a poor lowly woman, but am I not right when I
ask: Do our gods sleep, or has some one paralyzed them, or what are they
doing that they leave us and our children in the power of the base Hebrew
brood?"

"Overthrow them!  Down with the foreigners!  Death to the sorcerer Mesu,
--[Mesu is the Egyptian name of Moses]--hurl him into the sea."  Such
were the imprecations that followed the woman's curse, as an echo follows
a shout, and the aged astrologer's brother-in-law Hornecht, captain of
the archers, whose hot blood seethed in his veins at the sight of the
dying form of his beloved nephew, waved his short sword, crying
frantically: "Let all men who have hearts follow me.  Upon them!  A life
for a life!  Ten Hebrews for each Egyptian whom the sorcerer has slain!"

As a flock rushes into a fire when the ram leads the way, the warrior's
summons fired the throng.  Women forced themselves in front of the men,
pressing after him into the gateway, and when the servants of the temple
lingered to await the verdict of the prophet of Amon, the latter drew his
stately figure to its full height, and said calmly: "Let all who wear
priestly garments remain and pray with me.  The populace is heaven's
instrument to mete out vengeance.  We will remain here to pray for their
success."




CHAPTER II.

Bai, the second prophet of Amon, who acted as the representative of the
aged and feeble chief-prophet and high-priest Rui, went into the holy of
holies, the throng of inferior servants of the divinity pursued their
various duties, and the frenzied mob rushed through the streets of the
city towards the distant Hebrew quarter.

As the flood, pouring into the valley, sweeps everything before it, the
people, rushing to seek vengeance, forced every one they met to join
them.  No Egyptian from whom death had snatched a loved one failed to
follow the swelling torrent, which increased till hundreds became
thousands.  Men, women, and children, freedmen and slaves, winged by the
ardent longing to bring death and destruction on the hated Hebrews,
darted to the remote quarter where they dwelt.

How the workman had grasped a hatchet, the housewife an axe, they
themselves scarcely knew.  They were dashing forward to deal death and
ruin and had had no occasion to search for weapons--they had been close
at hand.

The first to feel the weight of their vengeance must be Nun, an aged
Hebrew, rich in herds, loved and esteemed by many an Egyptian whom he had
benefitted--but when hate and revenge speak, gratitude shrinks timidly
into the background.

His property, like the houses and hovels of his people, was in the
strangers' quarter, west of Tanis, and lay nearest to the streets
inhabited by the Egyptians themselves.

Usually at this hour herds of cattle and flocks of sheep were being
watered or driven to pasture and the great yard before his house was
filled with cattle, servants of both sexes, carts, and agricultural
implements.  The owner usually overlooked the departure of the flocks and
herds, and the mob had marked him and his family for the first victims of
their fury.

The swiftest of the avengers had now reached his extensive farm-
buildings, among them Hornecht, captain of the archers, brother-in-law of
the old astrologer.  House and barns were brightly illumined by the first
light of the young day.  A stalwart smith kicked violently on the stout
door; but the unbolted sides yielded so easily that he was forced to
cling to the door-post to save himself from falling.  Others, Hornecht
among them, pressed past him into the yard.  What did this mean?

Had some new spell been displayed to attest the power of the Hebrew
leader Mesu, who had brought such terrible plagues on the land,--and of
his God.

The yard was absolutely empty.  The stalls contained a few dead cattle
and sheep, killed because they had been crippled in some way, while a
lame lamb limped off at sight of the mob.  The carts and wagons, too, had
vanished.  The lowing, bleating throng which the priests had imagined to
be the souls of the damned was the Hebrew host, departing by night from
their old home with all their flocks under the guidance of Moses.

The captain of the archers dropped his sword, and a spectator might have
believed that the sight was a pleasant surprise to him; but his neighbor,
a clerk from the king's treasure-house, gazed around the empty space with
the disappointed air of a man who has been defrauded.

The flood of schemes and passions, which had surged so high during the
night, ebbed under the clear light of day.  Even the soldier's quickly
awakened wrath had long since subsided into composure.  The populace
might have wreaked their utmost fury on the other Hebrews, but not upon
Nun, whose son, Hosea, had been his comrade in arms, one of the most
distinguished leaders in the army, and an intimate family friend.  Had he
thought of him and foreseen that his father's dwelling would be first
attacked, he would never have headed the mob in their pursuit of
vengeance; nay, he bitterly repented having forgotten the deliberate
judgment which befitted his years.

While many of the throng began to plunder and destroy Nun's deserted
home, men and women came to report that not a soul was to be found in any
of the neighboring dwellings.  Others told of cats cowering on the
deserted hearthstones, of slaughtered cattle and shattered furniture; but
at last the furious avengers dragged out a Hebrew with his family and a
half-witted grey-haired woman found hidden among some straw.  The crone,
amid imbecile laughter, said her people had made themselves hoarse
calling her, but Meliela was too wise to walk on and on as they meant
to do; besides her feet were too tender, and she had not even a pair of
shoes.

The man, a frightfully ugly Jew, whom few of his own race would have
pitied, protested, sometimes with a humility akin to fawning, sometimes
with the insolence which was a trait of his character, that he had
nothing to do with the god of lies in whose name the seducer Moses had
led away his people to ruin; he himself, his wife, and his child had
always been on friendly terms with the Egyptians.  Indeed, many knew him,
he was a money-lender and when the rest of his nation had set forth on
their pilgrimage, be had concealed himself, hoping to pursue his
dishonest calling and sustain no loss.

Some of his debtors, however, were among the infuriated populace, though
even without their presence he was a doomed man; for he was the first
person on whom the excited mob could show that they were resolved upon
revenge.  Rushing upon him with savage yells, the lifeless bodies of the
luckless wretch and his family were soon strewn over the ground.  Nobody
knew who had done this first bloody deed; too many had dashed forward at
once.

Not a few others who had remained in the houses and huts also fell
victims to the people's thirst for vengeance, though many had time to
escape, and while streams of blood were flowing, axes were wielded, and
walls and doors were battered down with beams and posts to efface the
abodes of the detested race from the earth.

The burning embers brought by some frantic women were extinguished and
trampled out; the more prudent warned them of the peril that would menace
their own homes and the whole city of Tanis, if the strangers' quarter
should be fired.

So the Hebrews' dwellings escaped the flames; but as the sun mounted
higher dense clouds of white dust shrouded the abodes they had forsaken,
and where, only yesterday, thousands of people had possessed happy homes
and numerous herds had quenched their thirst in fresh waters, the glowing
soil was covered with rubbish and stone, shattered beams, and broken
woodwork.  Dogs and cats left behind by their owners wandered among the
ruins and were joined by women and children who lived in the beggars'
hovels on the edge of the necropolis close by, and now, holding their
hands over their mouths, searched amid the stifling dust and rubbish for
any household utensil or food which might have been left by the fugitives
and overlooked by the mob.

During the afternoon Fai, the second prophet of Amon, was carried past
the ruined quarter.  He did not come to gloat over the spectacle of
destruction, it was his nearest way from the necropolis to his home.
Yet a satisfied smile hovered around his stern mouth as he noticed how
thoroughly the people had performed their work.  His own purpose, it is
true, had not been fulfilled, the leader of the fugitives had escaped
their vengeance, but hate, though never sated, can yet be gratified.
Even the smallest pangs of an enemy are a satisfaction, and the priest
had just come from the grieving Pharaoh.  He had not succeeded in
releasing him entirely from the bonds of the Hebrew magician, but he had
loosened them.

The resolute, ambitious man, by no means wont to hold converse with
himself, had repeated over and over again, while sitting alone in the
sanctuary reflecting on what had occurred and what yet remained to be
done, these little words, and the words were: "Bless me too!"

Pharaoh had uttered them, and the entreaty had been addressed neither to
old Rui, the chief priest, nor to himself, the only persons who could
possess the privilege of blessing the monarch, nay--but to the most
atrocious wretch that breathed, to the foreigner the Hebrew, Mesu, whom
he hated more than any other man on earth.

"Bless me too!"  The pious entreaty, which wells so trustingly from the
human heart in the hour of anguish, had pierced his soul like a dagger.
It had seemed as if such a petition, uttered by the royal lips to such a
man, had broken the crozier in the hand of the whole body of Egyptian
priests, stripped the panther-skin from their shoulders, and branded with
shame the whole people whom he loved.

He knew full well that Moses was one of the wisest sages who had ever
graduated from the Egyptian schools, knew that Pharaoh was completely
under the thrall of this man who had grown up in the royal household and
been a friend of his father Rameses the Great.  He had seen the monarch
pardon deeds committed by Moses which would have cost the life of any
other mortal, though he were the highest noble in the land--and what must
the Hebrew be to Pharaoh, the sun-god incarnate on the throne of the
world, when standing by the death-bed of his own son, he could yield to
the impulse to uplift his hands to him and cry "Bless me too!"

He had told himself all these things, maturely considered them, yet he
would not yield to the might of the strangers.  The destruction of this
man and all his race was in his eyes the holiest, most urgent duty--to
accomplish which he would not shrink even from assailing the throne.
Nay, in his eyes Pharaoh Menephtah's shameful entreaty: "Bless me too!"
had deprived him of all the rights of sovereignty.

Moses had murdered Pharaoh's first-born son, but he and the aged chief-
priest of Amon held the weal or woe of the dead prince's soul in their
hands,--a weapon sharp and strong, for he knew the monarch's weak and
vacillating heart.  If the high-priest of Amon--the only man whose
authority surpassed his own--did not thwart him by some of the
unaccountable whims of age, it would be the merest trifle to force
Pharaoh to yield; but any concession made to-day would be withdrawn
to-morrow, should the Hebrew succeed in coming between the irresolute
monarch and his Egyptian advisers.  This very day the unworthy son of the
great Rameses had covered his face and trembled like a timid fawn at the
bare mention of the sorcerer's name, and to-morrow he might curse him and
pronounce a death sentence upon him.  Perhaps he might be induced to do
this, and on the following one he would recall him and again sue for his
blessing.

Down with such monarchs!  Let the feeble reed on the throne be hurled
into the dust!  Already he had chosen a successor from among the princes
of the blood, and when the time was ripe--when Rui, the high-priest of
Amon, had passed the limits of life decreed by the gods to mortals and
closed his eyes in death, he, Bai, would occupy his place, a new life
for Egypt, and Moses and his race would commence would perish.

While the prophet was absorbed in these reflections a pair of ravens
fluttered around his head and, croaking loudly, alighted on the dusty
ruins of one of the shattered houses.  He involuntarily glanced around
him and noted that they had perched on the corpse of a murdered Hebrew,
lying half concealed amid the rubbish.  A smile which the priests of
lower rank who surrounded his litter knew not how to interpret, flitted
over his shrewd, defiant countenance.




CHAPTER III.

Hornecht, commander of the archers, was among the prophet's companions.
Indeed they were on terms of intimacy, for the soldier was a leader amid
the nobles who had conspired to dethrone Pharaoh.

As they approached Nun's ruined dwelling, the prophet pointed to the
wreck and said: "The former owner of this abode is the only Hebrew I
would gladly spare.  He was a man of genuine worth, and his son,
Hosea.  .  .  ."

"Will be one of us,"  the captain  interrupted.  "There are few better
men in Pharaoh's army, and," he added, lowering his voice, "I rely on him
when the decisive hour comes."

"We will discuss  that  before  fewer witnesses," replied Bai.  "But I am
greatly indebted to him.  During the Libyan war--you are aware of the
fact--I fell into the hands of the enemy, and Hosea, at the head of his
little troop, rescued me from the savage hordes."  Sinking his tones, he
went on in his most instructive manner, as though apologizing for the
mischief wrought: "Such is the course of earthly affairs!  Where a whole
body of men merit punishment, the innocent must suffer with the guilty.
Under such circumstances the gods themselves cannot separate the
individual from the multitude; nay, even the innocent animals share the
penalty.  Look at the flocks of doves fluttering around the ruins; they
are seeking their cotes in vain.  And the cat with her kittens yonder.
Go and take them, Beki; it is our duty to save the sacred animals from
starving to death."

And this man, who had just been planning the destruction of so many of
his fellow-mortals, was so warmly interested in kindly caring for the
senseless beasts, that he stopped his litter and watched his servants
catch the cats.

This was less quickly accomplished than he had hoped; for one had taken
refuge in the nearest cellar, whose opening was too narrow for the men to
follow.  The youngest, a slender Nubian, undertook the task; but he had
scarcely approached the hole when he started back, calling: "There is a
human being there who seems to be alive.  Yes, he is raising his hand.
It is a boy or a youth, and assuredly no slave; his head is covered with
long waving locks, and--a sunbeam is shining into the cellar--I can see a
broad gold circlet on his arm."

"Perhaps it is one of Nun's kindred, who has been forgotten," said
Hornecht, and Bai eagerly added:

"It is an interposition from the  gods!  Their sacred animals have
pointed out the way by which I can render a service to the man to whom I
am so much indebted.  Try to get in, Beki, and bring the youth out."

Meanwhile the Nubian had removed the stone whose fall had choked the
opening, and soon after he lifted toward his companions a motionless
young form which they brought into the open air and bore to a well whose
cool water speedily restored consciousness.

As he regained his senses, he rubbed his eyes, gazed around him
bewildered, as if uncertain where he was, then his head drooped as though
overwhelmed with grief and horror, revealing that the locks at the back
were matted together with black clots of dried blood.

The prophet had the deep wound, inflicted on the lad by a falling stone,
washed at the well and, after it had been bandaged, summoned him to his
own litter, which was protected from the sun.

The young Hebrew, bringing a message, had arrived at the house of his
grandfather Nun, before sunrise, after a long night walk from Pithom,
called by the Hebrews Succoth, but finding it deserted had lain down in
one of the rooms to rest a while.  Roused by the shouts of the infuriated
mob, he had heard the curses on his race which rang through the whole
quarter and fled to the cellar.  The roof, which had injured him in its
fall, proved his deliverance; for the clouds of dust which had concealed
everything as it came down hid him from the sight of the rioters.

The prophet looked at him intently and, though the youth was unwashed,
wan, and disfigured by the bloody bandage round his head, he saw that the
lad he had recalled to life was a handsome, well-grown boy just nearing
manhood.

His sympathy was roused, and his stern glance softened as he asked kindly
whence he came and what had brought him to Tanis; for the rescued youth's
features gave no clue to his race.  He might readily have declared
himself an Egyptian, but he frankly admitted that he was a grandson of
Nun.  He had just attained his eighteenth year, his name was Ephraim,
like that of his forefather, the son of Joseph, and he had come to visit
his grandfather.  The words expressed steadfast self-respect and pride in
his illustrious ancestry.

He delayed a short time ere answering the question whether he brought a
message; but soon collected his thoughts and, looking the prophet
fearlessly in the face, replied:

"Whoever you may be, I have been taught to speak the truth, so I will
tell you that I have another relative in Tanis, Hosea, the son of Nun, a
chief in Pharaoh's army, for whom I have a message."

"And I will tell you," the priest replied, "that it was for the sake of
this very Hosea I tarried here and ordered my servants to bring you out
of the ruined house.  I owe him a debt of gratitude, and though most of
your nation have committed deeds worthy of the harshest punishment, for
the sake of his worth you shall remain among us free and unharmed."

The boy raised his eyes to the priest with a proud, fiery glance, but ere
he could find words, Bai went on with encouraging kindness.

"I believe I can read in your face, my lad, that you have come to seek
admittance to Pharaoh's army under your uncle Hosea.  Your figure is
well-suited to the trade of war, and you surely are not wanting in
courage."

A smile of flattered vanity rested on Ephraim's lips, and toying with the
broad gold bracelet on his arm, perhaps unconsciously, he replied with
eagerness:

"Ay, my lord, I have often proved my courage in the hunting field; but at
home we have plenty of sheep and cattle, which even now I call my own,
and it seems to me a more enviable lot to wander freely and rule the
shepherds than to obey the commands of others."

"Aha!" said the priest.  "Perhaps  Hosea may instil different and better
views.  To rule--a lofty ambition for youth.  The misfortune is that we
who have attained it are but servants whose burdens grow heavier with the
increasing number of those who obey us.  You understand me, Hornecht, and
you, my lad, will comprehend my meaning later, when you become the palm-
tree the promise of your youth foretells.  But we are losing time.  Who
sent you to Hosea?"

The youth cast down his eyes irresolutely, but when the prophet broke the
silence with the query: "And what has become of the frankness you were
taught?"  he responded promptly and resolutely:

"I came for the sake of a woman whom you know not."

"A woman?"  the prophet repeated, casting an enquiring glance at
Hornecht.  "When a bold warrior and a fair woman seek each other, the
Hathors"--[The Egyptian goddesses of love, who are frequently represented
with cords in their hands,]--are apt to appear and use the binding cords;
but it does not befit a servant of the divinity to witness such goings
on, so I forbear farther questioning.  Take charge of the lad, captain,
and aid him to deliver his message to Hosea.  The only doubt is whether
he is in the city."

"No," the soldier answered, "but he is expected with thousands of his men
at the armory to-day."

"Then may the Hathors, who are partial to love messengers, bring these
two together to-morrow at latest," said the priest.

But the lad indignantly retorted: "I am the bearer of no love message."

The prophet, pleased with the bold rejoinder, answered pleasantly:
"I had forgotten that I was accosting a young shepherd-prince."  Then he
added in graver tones: "When you have found Hosea, greet him from me and
tell him that Bai, the second prophet of Amon sought to discharge a part
of the debt of gratitude he owed for his release from the hands of the
Libyans by extending his protection to you, his nephew.  Perhaps, my
brave boy, you do not know that you have escaped as if by a miracle a
double peril; the savage populace would no more have spared your life
than would the stifling dust of the falling houses.  Remember this, and
tell Hosea also from me, Bai, that I am sure when he beholds the woe
wrought by the magic arts of one of your race on the house of Pharaoh,
to which he vowed fealty, and with it on this city and the whole country,
he will tear himself with abhorrence from his kindred.  They have fled
like cowards, after dealing the sorest blows, robbing of their dearest
possessions those among whom they dwelt in peace, whose protection they
enjoyed, and who for long years have given them work and ample food.  All
this they have done and, if I know him aright, he will turn his back upon
men who have committed such crimes.  Tell him also that this has been
voluntarily done by the Hebrew officers and men under the command of the
Syrian Aarsu.  This very morning--Hosea will have heard the news from
other sources--they offered sacrifices not only to Baal and Seth, their
own gods, whom so many of you were ready to serve ere the accursed
sorcerer, Mesu, seduced you, but also to Father Amon and the sacred nine
of our eternal deities.  If he will do the same, we will rise hand in
hand to the highest place, of that he may be sure--and well he merits it.
The obligation still due him I shall gratefully discharge in other ways,
which must for the present remain secret.  But you may tell your uncle
now from me that I shall find means to protect Nun, his noble father,
when the vengeance of the gods and of Pharaoh falls upon the rest of your
race.  Already--tell him this also--the sword is whetted, and a pitiless
judgment is impending.  Bid him ask himself what fugitive shepherds can
do against the power of the army among whose ablest leaders he is
numbered.  Is your father still alive, my son?"

"No, he was borne to his last resting-place long ago," replied the youth
in a faltering voice.

Was the fever of his wound attacking him?  Or did the shame of belonging
to a race capable of acts so base overwhelm the young heart?  Or did the
lad cling to his kindred, and was it wrath and resentment at hearing them
so bitterly reviled which made his color vary from red to pale and roused
such a tumult in his soul that he was scarcely capable of speech?  No
matter!  This lad was certainly no suitable bearer of the message the
prophet desired to send to his uncle, and Bai beckoned to Hornecht to
come with him under the shadow of a broad-limbed sycamore-tree.

The point was to secure Hosea's services in the army at any cost, so he
laid his hand on his friend's shoulder, saying:

"You know that it was my wife who won you and others over to our cause.
She serves us better and more eagerly than many a man, and while I
appreciate your daughter's beauty, she never tires of lauding the winning
charm of her innocence."

"And Kasana is to take part in the plot?"  cried the soldier angrily.

"Not as an active worker, like my wife,--certainly not."

"She would be ill-suited to such a task," replied the other in a calmer
tone, "she is scarcely more than a child."

"Yet through her aid we might bring to our cause a man whose good-will
seems to me priceless."

"You mean Hosea?"  asked the captain, his brow darkening again, but the
prophet added:

"And if I do?  Is he still a real Hebrew?  Can you deem it unworthy the
daughter of a distinguished warrior to bestow her band on a man who, if
our plans prosper, will be commander-in-chief of all the troops in the
land?"

"No, my lord!"  cried Hornecht.  "But one of my motives for rebelling
against Pharaoh and upholding Siptah is that the king's mother was a
foreigner, while our own blood courses through Siptah's veins.
The mother decides the race to which a man belongs, and Hosea's
mother was a Hebrew woman.  He is my friend, I value his talents;
Kasana likes him.  .  .  ."

"Yet you desire a more distinguished son-in-law?"  interrupted his
companion.  "How is our arduous enterprise to prosper, if those who are
to peril their lives for its success consider the first sacrifice too
great?  You say that your daughter favors Hosea?"

"Yes, she did care for him," the soldier answered; "yes, he was her
heart's desire.  But I compelled her to obey me, and now that she is a
widow, am I to give her to the man whom--the gods alone know with how
much difficulty--I forced her to resign?  When was such an act heard of
in Egypt?"

"Ever since the men and women who dwell by the Nile have submitted, for
the sake of a great cause, to demands opposed to their wishes," replied
the priest.

"Consider all this, and remember that Hosea's ancestress--he boasted of
it in your own presence--was an Egyptian, the daughter of a man of my own
class."

"How many generations have passed to the tomb since?"

"No matter!  It brings us into closer relations with him.  That must
suffice.  Farewell until this evening.  Meanwhile, will you extend your
hospitality to Hosea's nephew and commend him to your fair daughter's
nursing; he seems in sore need of care."




CHAPTER IV.

The house of Hornecht, like nearly every other dwelling in the city, was
the scene of the deepest mourning.  The men had shaved their hair, and
the women had put dust on their foreheads.  The archer's wife had died
long before, but his daughter and her women received him with waving
veils and loud lamentations; for the astrologer, his brother-in-law, had
lost both his first-born son and his grandson, and the plague had
snatched its victims from the homes of many a friend.

But the senseless youth soon demanded all the care the women could
bestow, and after bathing him and binding a healing ointment on the
dangerous wound in his head, strong wine and food were placed before him,
after which, refreshed and strengthened, he obeyed the summons of the
daughter of his host.

The dust-covered, worn-out fellow was transformed into a handsome youth.
His perfumed hair fell in long curling locks from beneath the fresh white
bandage, and gold-bordered Egyptian robes from the wardrobe of Kasana's
dead husband covered his pliant bronzed limbs.  He seemed pleased with
the finery of his garments, which exhaled a subtle odor of spikenard new
to his senses;  for the eyes in his  handsome face sparkled brilliantly.

It was many a day since the captain's daughter, herself a woman of
unusual beauty and charm, had seen a handsomer youth.  Within the year
she had married a man she did not love Kasana had returned a widow to her
father's house, which lacked a mistress, and the great wealth bequeathed
to her, at her husband's death, made it possible for her to bring into
the soldier's unpretending home the luxury and ease which to her had now
become a second nature.

Her father, a stern man prone to sudden fits of passion, now yielded
absolutely to her will.  Formerly he had pitilessly enforced his own,
compelling the girl of fifteen to wed a man many years her senior.  This
had been done because he perceived that Kasana had given her young heart
to Hosea, the soldier, and he deemed it beneath his dignity to receive
the Hebrew, who at that time held no prominent position in the army, as
his son-in-law.  An Egyptian girl had no choice save to accept the
husband chosen by her father and Kasana submitted, though she shed so
many bitter tears that the archer rejoiced when, in obedience to his
will, she had wedded an unloved husband.

But even as a widow Kasana's heart clung to the Hebrew.  When the army
was in the field her anxiety was ceaseless; day and night were spent in
restlessness and watching.  When news came from the troops she asked only
about Hosea, and her father with deep annoyance attributed to her love
for the Hebrew her rejection of suitor after suitor.  As a widow she had
a right to the bestowal of her own hand, and the tender, gentle-natured
woman astonished Hornecht by the resolute decision displayed, not alone
to him and lovers of her own rank, but to Prince Siptah, whose cause the
captain had espoused as his own.

To-day Kasana expressed her delight at the Hebrew's return with such
entire frankness and absence of reserve that the quick-tempered man
rushed out of the house lest he might be tempted into some thoughtless
act or word.  His young guest was left to the care of his daughter and
her nurse.

How deeply the lad's sensitive nature was impressed by the airy rooms,
the open verandas supported by many pillars, the brilliant hues of the
painting, the artistic household utensils, the soft cushions, and the
sweet perfume everywhere!  All these things were novel and strange to the
son of a herdsman who had always lived within the grey walls of a
spacious, but absolutely plain abode, and spent months together in canvas
tents among shepherds and flocks, nay was more accustomed to be in the
open air than under any shelter!  He felt as though some wizard had borne
him into a higher and more beautiful world, where he was entirely at home
in his magnificent garb, with his perfumed curls and limbs fresh from the
bath.  True, the whole earth was fair, even out in the pastures among the
flocks or round the fire in front of the tent in the cool of the evening,
when the shepherds sang, the hunters told tales of daring exploits, and
the stars sparkled brightly overhead.

But all these pleasures were preceded by weary, hateful labor; here it
was a delight merely to see and to breathe and, when the curtains parted
and the young widow, giving him a friendly greeting, made him sit down
opposite to her, sometimes questioning him and sometimes listening with
earnest sympathy to his replies, he almost imagined his senses had failed
him as they had done under the ruins of the fallen house, and he was
enjoying the sweetest of dreams.  The feeling that threatened to stifle
him and frequently interrupted the flow of words was the rapture bestowed
upon him by great Aschera, the companion of Baal, of whom the Phoenician
traders who supplied the shepherds with many good things had told him
such marvels, and whom the stern Miriam forbade him ever to name at home.

His family had instilled into his young heart hatred of the Egyptians as
the oppressors of his race, but could they be so wicked, could he detest
a people among whom were creatures like this lovely, gentle woman, who
gazed into his eyes so softly, so tenderly, whose voice fell on his ear
like harmonious music, and whose glance made his blood course so swiftly
that he could scarce endure it and pressed his hand upon his heart to
quiet its wild pulsation.

Kasana sat opposite to him on a seat covered with a panther-skin, drawing
the fine wool from the distaff.  He had pleased her and she had received
him kindly because he was related to the man whom she had loved from
childhood.  She imagined that she could trace a resemblance between him
and Hosea, though the youth lacked the grave earnestness of the man to
whom she had yielded her young heart, she knew not why nor when, though
he had never sought her love.

A lotus blossom rested among her dark waving curls, and its stem fell in
a graceful curve on her bent neck, round which clustered a mass of soft
locks.  When she lifted her eyes to his, he felt as though two springs
had opened to pour floods of bliss into his young breast, and he had
already clasped in greeting the dainty hand which held the yarn.

She now questioned him about Hosea and the woman who had sent the
message, whether she was young and fair and whether any tie of love bound
her to his uncle.

Ephraim laughed merrily.  She who had sent him was so grave and earnest
that the bare thought of her being capable of any tender emotion wakened
his mirth.  As to her beauty, he had never asked himself the question.

The young widow interpreted the laugh as the reply she most desired and,
much relieved, laid aside the spindle and invited Ephraim to go into the
garden.

How fragrant and full of bloom it was, how well-kept were the beds, the
paths, the arbors, and the pond.

His unpretending home adjoined a dreary yard, wholly unadorned and filled
with pens for sheep and cattle.  Yet he knew that at some future day he
would be owner of great possessions, for he was the sole child and heir
of a wealthy father and his mother was the daughter of the rich Nun.  The
men servants had told him this more than once, and it angered him to see
that his own home was scarcely better than Hornecht's slave-quarters, to
which Kasana had called his attention.

During their stroll through the garden Ephraim was asked to help her cull
the flowers and, when the basket he carried was filled, she invited him
to sit with her in a bower and aid her to twine the wreaths.  These were
intended for the dear departed.  Her uncle and a beloved cousin--who bore
some resemblance to Ephraim--had been snatched away the night before by
the plague which his people had brought upon Tanis.

From the street which adjoined the garden-wall they heard the wails of
women lamenting the dead or bearing a corpse to the tomb.  Once, when the
cries of woe rose more loudly and clearly than ever, Kasana gently
reproached him for all that the people of Tanis had suffered through the
Hebrews, and asked if he could deny that the Egyptians had good reason to
hate a race which had brought such anguish upon them.

It was hard for Ephraim to find a fitting answer; he had been told that
the God of his race had punished the Egyptians to rescue his own people
from shame and bondage, and he could neither condemn nor scorn the men of
his own blood.  So he kept silence that he might neither speak falsely
nor blaspheme; but Kasana allowed him no peace, and he at last replied
that aught which caused her sorrow was grief to him, but his people had
no power over life and health, and when a Hebrew was ill, he often sent
for an Egyptian physician.  What had occurred was doubtless the will of
the great God of his fathers, whose power far surpassed the might of any
other deity.  He himself was a Hebrew, yet she would surely believe his
assurance that he was guiltless of the plague and would gladly recall her
uncle and cousin to life, had he the power to do so.  For her sake he
would undertake the most difficult enterprise.

She smiled kindly and replied:

"My poor boy!  If I see any guilt in you, it is only that you are one of
a race which knows no ruth, no patience.  Our beloved, hapless dead!
They must even lose the lamentations of their kindred; for the house
where they rest is plague-stricken and no one is permitted to enter."

She silently wiped her eyes and went on arranging her garlands, but tear
after tear coursed down her cheeks.

Ephraim knew not what to say, and mutely handed her the leaves and
blossoms.  Whenever his hand touched hers a thrill ran through his veins.
His head and the wound began to ache, and he sometimes felt a slight
chill.  He knew that the fever was increasing, as it had done once before
when he nearly lost his life in the red disease; but he was ashamed to
own it and battled bravely against his pain.

When the sun was nearing the horizon Hornecht entered the garden.  He had
already seen Hosea, and though heartily glad to greet his old friend once
more, it had vexed him that the soldier's first enquiry was for his
daughter.  He did not withhold this from the young widow, but his
flashing eyes betrayed the displeasure with which he delivered the
Hebrew's message.  Then, turning to Ephraim, he told him that Hosea and
his men would encamp outside of the city, pitching their tents, on
account of the pestilence, between Tanis and the sea.  They would soon
march by.  His uncle sent Ephraim word that he must seek him in his tent.

When he noticed that the youth was aiding his daughter to weave the
garlands, he smiled, and said:

"Only this morning this young fellow declared his intention of remaining
free and a ruler all his life.  Now he has taken service with you,
Kasana.  You need not blush, young friend.  If either your mistress or
your uncle can persuade you to join us and embrace the noblest trade--
that of the soldier--so much the better for you.  Look at me!  I've
wielded the bow more than forty years and still rejoice in my profession.
I must obey, it is true, but it is also my privilege to command, and the
thousands who obey me are not sheep and cattle, but brave men.  Consider
the matter again.  He would make a splendid leader of the archers.  What
say you, Kasana?"

"Certainly," replied the young widow.  And she was about to say more, but
the regular tramp of approaching troops was heard on the other side of
the garden-wall.  A slight flush crimsoned Kasana's cheeks, her eyes
sparkled with a light that startled Ephraim and, regardless of her father
or her guest, she darted past the pond, across paths and flower-beds, to
a grassy bank beside the wall, whence she gazed eagerly toward the road
and the armed host which soon marched by.

Hosea, in full armor, headed his men.  As he passed Hornecht's garden he
turned his grave head, and seeing Kasana lowered his battle-axe in
friendly salutation.

Ephraim had followed the captain of the archers, who pointed out the
youth's uncle, saying: "Shining armor would become you also, and when
drums are beating, pipes squeaking shrilly, and banners waving, a man
marches as lightly as if he had wings.  To-day the martial music is
hushed by the terrible woe brought upon us by that Hebrew villain.  True,
Hosea is one of his race yet, though I cannot forget that fact, I must
admit that he is a genuine soldier, a model for the rising generation.
Tell him what I think of him on this score.  Now bid farewell to Kasana
quickly and follow the men; the little side-door in the wall is open."
He turned towards the house as he spoke, and Ephraim held out his hand to
bid the young widow farewell.

She clasped it, but hurriedly withdrew her own, exclaiming anxiously:
"How burning hot your hand is!  You have a fever!"

"No, no," faltered the youth, but even while speaking he fell upon his
knees and the veil of unconsciousness descended upon the sufferer's soul,
which had been the prey of so many conflicting emotions.

Kasana was alarmed, but speedily regained her composure and began to cool
his brow and head by bathing them with water from the neighboring pond.
Yes, in his boyhood the man she loved must have resembled this youth.
Her heart throbbed more quickly and, while supporting his head in her
hands, she gently kissed him.

She supposed him to be unconscious, but the refreshing water had already
dispelled the brief swoon, and he felt the caress with a thrill of
rapture.  But he kept his eyes closed, and would gladly have lain for a
life-time with his head pillowed on her breast in the hope that her lips
might once more meet his.  But instead of kissing him a second time she
called loudly for aid.  He raised himself, gave one wild, ardent look
into her face and, ere she could stay him, rushed like a strong man to
the garden gate, flung it open, and followed the troops.  He soon
overtook the rear ranks, passed on in advance of the others, and at last
reached their leader's side and, calling his uncle by name, gave his own.
Hosea, in his joy and astonishment, held out his arms, but ere Ephraim
could fall upon his breast, he again lost consciousness, and stalwart
soldiers bore the senseless lad into the tent the quartermaster had
already pitched on a dune by the sea.




CHAPTER V.

It was midnight.  A fire was blazing in front of Hosea's tent, and he sat
alone before it, gazing mournfully now into the flames and anon over the
distant country.  Inside the canvas walls Ephraim was lying on his
uncle's camp-bed.

The surgeon who attended the soldiers had bandaged the youth's wounds,
given him an invigorating cordial, and commanded him to keep still; for
the violence with which the fever had attacked the lad alarmed him.

But in spite of the leech's prescription Ephraim continued restless.
Sometimes Kasana's image rose before his eyes, increasing the fever of
his over-heated blood, sometimes he recalled the counsel to become a
warrior like his uncle.  The advice seemed wise--at least he tried to
persuade himself that it was--because it promised honor and fame, but in
reality he wished to follow it because it would bring her for whom his
soul yearned nearer to him.

Then his pride rose as he remembered the insults which she and her father
had heaped on those to whom by every tie of blood and affection, he
belonged.  His hand clenched as he thought of the ruined home of his
grandfather, whom he had ever regarded one of the noblest of men.  Nor
was his message forgotten.  Miriam had repeated it again and again, and
his clear memory retained every syllable, for he had unweariedly iterated
it to himself during his solitary walk to Tanis.  He was striving to do
the same thing now but, ere he could finish, his mind always reverted to
thoughts of Kasana.  The leech had told Hosea to forbid the sufferer to
talk and, when the youth attempted to deliver his message, the uncle
ordered him to keep silence.  Then the soldier arranged his pillow with a
mother's tenderness, gave him his medicine, and kissed him on the
forehead.  At last he took his seat by the fire before the tent and only
rose to give Ephraim a drink when he saw by the stars that an hour had
passed.

The flames illumined Hosea's bronzed features, revealing the countenance
of a man who had confronted many a peril and vanquished all by steadfast
perseverance and wise consideration.  His black eyes had an imperious
look, and his full, firmly-compressed lips suggested a quick temper and,
still more, the iron will of a resolute man.  His broad-shouldered form
leaned against some lances thrust crosswise into the earth, and when he
passed his strong hand through his thick black locks or smoothed his dark
beard, and his eyes sparkled with ire, it was evident that his soul was
stirred by conflicting emotions and that he stood on the threshold of a
great resolve.  The lion was resting, but when he starts up, let his foes
beware!

His soldiers had often compared their fearless, resolute leader, with his
luxuriant hair, to the king of beasts, and as he now shook his fist,
while the muscles of his bronzed arm swelled as though they would burst
the gold armlet that encircled them, and his eyes flashed fire, his awe-
inspiring mien did not invite approach.

Westward, the direction toward which his eyes were turned, lay the
necropolis and the ruined strangers' quarter.  But a few hours ago he had
led his troops through the ruins around which the ravens were circling
and past his father's devastated home.

Silently, as duty required, he marched on.  Not until he halted to seek
quarters for the soldiers did he hear from Hornecht, the captain of the
archers, what had happened during the night.  He listened silently,
without the quiver of an eye-lash, or a word of questioning, until his
men had pitched their tents.  He had but just gone to rest when a Hebrew
maiden, spite of the menaces of the guard, made her way in to implore
him, in the name of Eliab, one of the oldest slaves of his family, to go
with her to the old man, her grandfather.  The latter, whose weakness
prevented journeying, had been left behind, and directly after the
departure of the Hebrews he and his wife had been carried on an ass to
the little but near the harbor, which generous Nun, his master, had
bestowed on the faithful slave.

The grand-daughter had been left to care for the feeble pair, and now the
old servant's heart yearned for one more sight of his lord's first-born
son whom, when a child, he had carried in his arms.  He had charged the
girl to tell Hosea that Nun had promised his people that his son would
abandon the Egyptians and cleave to his own race.  The tribe of Ephraim,
nay the whole Hebrew nation had hailed these tidings with the utmost joy.
Eliab would give him fuller details; she herself had been well nigh dazed
with weeping and anxiety.  He would earn the richest blessings if he
would only follow her.

The soldier realized at once that he must fulfil this desire, but he was
obliged to defer his visit to the old slave until the nest morning.  The
messenger, however, even in her haste, had told him many incidents she
had seen herself or heard from others.

At last she left him.  He rekindled the fire and, so long as the flames
burned brightly, his gaze was bent with a gloomy, thoughtful expression
upon the west.  Not till they had devoured the fuel and merely flickered
with a faint bluish light around the charred embers did he fix his eyes
on the whirling sparks.  And the longer he did so, the deeper, the more
unconquerable became the conflict in his soul, whose every energy, but
yesterday, had been bent upon a single glorious goal.

The war against the Libyan rebels had detained him eighteen months from
his home, and he had seen ten crescent moons grow full since any news had
reached him of his kindred.  A few weeks before he had been ordered to
return, and when to-day he approached nearer and nearer to the obelisks
towering above Tanis, the city of Rameses, his heart had pulsed with as
much joy and hopefulness as if the man of thirty were once more a boy.

Within a few short hours he should again see his beloved, noble father,
who had needed great deliberation and much persuasion from Hosea's
mother--long since dead--ere he would permit his son to follow the bent
of his inclinations and enter upon a military life in Pharaoh's army.
He had anticipated that very day surprising him with the news that he had
been promoted above men many years his seniors and of Egyptian lineage.
Instead of the slights Nun had dreaded, Hosea's gallant bearing, courage
and, as he modestly added, good-fortune had gained him promotion, yet he
had remained a Hebrew.  When he felt the necessity of offering to some
god sacrifices and prayer, he had bowed before Seth, to whose temple Nun
had led him when a child, and whom in those days all the people in Goshen
in whose veins flowed Semitic blood had worshipped.  But he also owed
allegiance to another god, not the God of his fathers, but the deity
revered by all the Egyptians who had been initiated.  He remained unknown
to the masses, who could not have understood him; yet he was adored not
only by the adepts but by the majority of those who had obtained high
positions in civil or military life-whether they were servants of the
divinity or not--and Hosea, the initiated and the stranger, knew him
also.  Everybody understood when allusion was made to "the God," the "Sum
of All," the "Creator of Himself," and the "Great One."  Hymns extolled
him, inscriptions on the monuments, which all could read, spoke of him,
the one God, who manifested himself to the world, pervaded the universe,
and existed throughout creation not alone as the vital spark animates the
human organism, but as himself the sum of creation, the world with its
perpetual growth, decay, and renewal, obeying the laws he had himself
ordained.  His spirit, existing in every form of nature, dwelt also in
man, and wherever a mortal gazed he could discern the rule of the "One."
Nothing could be imagined without him, therefore he was one like the God
of Israel.  Nothing could be created nor happen on earth apart from him,
therefore, like Jehovah, he was omnipotent.  Hosea had long regarded both
as alike in spirit, varying only in name.  Whoever adored one was a
servant of the other, so the warrior could have entered his father's
presence with a clear conscience, and told him that although in the
service of the king he had remained loyal to the God of his nation.

Another thought had made his heart pulse faster and more joyously as he
saw in the distance the pylons and obelisks of Tanis; for on countless
marches through the silent wilderness and in many a lonely camp he had
beheld in imagination a virgin of his own race, whom he had known as a
singular child, stirred by marvellous thoughts, and whom, just before
leading his troops to the Libyan war, he had again met, now a dignified
maiden of stern and unapproachable beauty.  She had journeyed from
Succoth to Tanis to attend his mother's funeral, and her image had been
deeply imprinted on his heart, as his--he ventured to hope--on hers.  She
had since become a prophetess, who heard the voice of her God.  While the
other maidens of his people were kept in strict seclusion, she was free
to come and go at will, even among men, and spite of her hate of the
Egyptians and of Hosea's rank among them, she did not deny that it was
grief to part and that she would never cease thinking of him.  His future
wife must be as strong, as earnest, as himself.  Miriam was both, and
quite eclipsed a younger and brighter vision which he had once conjured
before his memory with joy.

He loved children, and a lovelier girl than Kasana he had never met,
either in Egypt or in alien lands.  The interest with which the fair
daughter of his companion-in-arms watched his deeds and his destiny, the
modest yet ardent devotion afterwards displayed by the much sought-after
young widow, who coldly repelled all other suitors, had been a delight to
him in times of peace.  Prior to her marriage he had thought of her as
the future mistress of his home, but her wedding another, and Hornecht's
oft-repeated declaration that he would never give his child to a
foreigner, had hurt his pride and cooled his passion.  Then he met Miriam
and was fired with an ardent desire to make her his wife.  Still, on the
homeward march the thought of seeing Kasana again had been a pleasant
one.  It was fortunate he no longer wished to wed Hornecht's daughter;
it could have led to naught save trouble.  Both Hebrews and Egyptians
held it to be an abomination to eat at the same board, or use the same
seats or knives.  Though he himself was treated by his comrades as one of
themselves, and had often heard Kasana's father speak kindly of his
kindred, yet "strangers" were hateful in the eyes of the captain of the
archers, and of all free Egyptians.

He had found in Miriam the noblest of women.  He hoped that Kasana might
make another happy.  To him she would ever be the charming child from
whom we expect nothing save the delight of her presence.

He had come to ask from her, as a tried friend ever ready for leal
service, a joyous glance.  From Miriam he would ask herself, with all her
majesty and beauty, for he had borne the solitude of the camp long
enough, and now that on his return no mother's arms opened to welcome
him, he felt for the first time the desolation of a single life.  He
longed to enjoy the time of peace when, after dangers and privations of
every kind, he could lay aside his weapons.  It was his duty to lead a
wife home to his father's hearth and to provide against the extinction of
the noble race of which he was the sole representative.  Ephraim was the
son of his sister.

Filled with the happiest thoughts, he had advanced toward Tannis and, on
reaching the goal of all his hopes and wishes, found it lying before him
like a ripening grain-field devastated by hail and swarms of locusts.

As if in derision, fate led him first to the Hebrew quarter.  A heap
of dusty ruins marked the site of the house where he had spent his
childhood, and for which his heart had longed; and where his loved ones
had watched his departure, beggars were now greedily searching for
plunder among the debris.

The first man to greet him in Tanis was Kasana's father.  Instead of a
friendly glance from her eyes, he had received from him tidings that
pierced his inmost heart.  He had expected to bring home a wife, and the
house where she was to reign as mistress was razed to the ground.  The
father, for whose blessing he longed, and who was to have been gladdened
by his advancement, had journeyed far away and must henceforward be the
foe of the sovereign to whom he owed his prosperity.

He had been proud of rising, despite his origin, to place and power.  Now
he would be able, as leader of a great host, to show the prowess of which
he was capable.  His inventive brain had never lacked schemes which, if
executed by his superiors, would have had good results; now he could
fulfil them according to his own will, and instead of the tool become the
guiding power.

These reflections had awakened a keen sense of exultation in his breast
and winged his steps on his homeward march and, now that he had reached
the goal, so long desired, must he turn back to join the shepherds and
builders to whom--it now seemed a sore misfortune--he belonged by the
accident of birth and ancestry, though, denial was futile, he felt as
utterly alien to the Hebrews as he was to the Libyans whom he had
confronted on the battle-field.  In almost every pursuit he valued, he
had nothing in common with his people.  He had believed he might
truthfully answer yes to his father's enquiry whether he had returned a
Hebrew, yet he now felt it would be only a reluctant and half-hearted
assent.

He clung with his whole soul to the standards beneath which he had gone
to battle and might now himself lead to victory.  Was it possible to
wrench his heart from them, renounce what his own deeds had won?  Yet
Eliab's granddaughter had told him that the Hebrews expected him to leave
the army and join them.  A message from his father must soon reach him--
and among the Hebrews a son never opposed a parent's command.

There was still another to whom implicit obedience was due, Pharaoh, to
whom he had solemnly vowed loyal service, sworn to follow his summons
without hesitation or demur, through fire and water, by day and night.

How often he had branded the soldier who deserted to the foe or rebelled
against the orders of his commander as a base scoundrel and villain, and
by his orders many a renegade from his standard had died a shameful death
on the gallows under his own eyes.  Was he now to commit the deed for
which he had despised and killed others?  His prompt decision was known
throughout the army, how quickly in the most difficult situations he
could resolve upon the right course and carry it into action; but during
this dark and lonely hour of the night he seemed to himself a mere
swaying reed, and felt as helpless as a forsaken orphan.

Wrath against himself preyed upon him, and when he thrust a spear into
the flames, scattering the embers and sending a shower of bright sparks
upward, it was rage at his own wavering will that guided his hand.

Had recent events imposed upon him the virile duty of vengeance, doubt
and hesitation would have vanished and his father's summons would have
spurred him on to action; but who had been the heaviest sufferers here?
Surely it was the Egyptians whom Moses' curse had robbed of thousands of
beloved lives, while the Hebrews had escaped their revenge by flight.
His wrath had been kindled by the destruction of the Hebrews' houses, but
he saw no sufficient cause for a bloody revenge, when he remembered the
unspeakable anguish inflicted upon Pharaoh and his subjects by the men of
his own race.

Nay; he had nothing to avenge; he seemed to himself like a man who
beholds his father and mother in mortal peril, owns that he cannot save
both, yet knows that while staking his life to rescue one he must leave
the other to perish.  If he obeyed the summons of his people, he would
lose his honor, which he had kept as untarnished as his brazen helm, and
with it the highest goal of his life; if he remained loyal to Pharaoh and
his oath, he must betray his own race, have all his future days darkened
by his father's curse, and resign the brightest dream he cherished; for
Miriam was a true child of her people and he would be blest indeed if her
lofty soul could be as ardent in love as it was bitter in hate.

Stately and beautiful, but with gloomy eyes and hand upraised in warning,
her image rose before his mental vision as he sat gazing over the
smouldering fire out into the darkness.  And now the pride of his manhood
rebelled, and it seemed base cowardice to cast aside, from dread of a
woman's wrath and censure, all that a warrior held most dear.

"Nay, nay," he murmured, and the scale containing duty, love, and filial
obedience suddenly kicked the beam.  He was what he was--the leader of
ten thousand men in Pharaoh's army.  He had vowed fealty to him--and to
none other.  Let his people fly from the Egyptian yoke, if they desired.
He, Hosea, scorned flight.  Bondage had sorely oppressed them, but the
highest in the land had received him as an equal and held him worthy of
the loftiest honor.  To repay them with treachery and desertion was
foreign to his nature and, drawing a long breath, he sprang to his feet
with the conviction that he had chosen aright.  A fair woman and the weak
yearning of a loving heart should not make him a recreant to grave duties
and the loftiest purposes of his life.

"I will stay!"  cried a loud voice in his breast.  "Father is wise and
kind, and when he learns the reasons for my choice he will approve them
and bless, instead of cursing me.  I will write to him, and the boy
Miriam sent me shall be the messenger."

A call from the tent startled him and when, springing up, he glanced at
the stars, he found that he had forgotten his duty to the suffering lad
and hurried to his couch.

Ephraim was sitting up in his bed, watching for him, and exclaimed: "I
have been waiting a long, long time to see you.  So many thoughts crowd
my brain and, above all, Miriam's message.  I can get no rest until I
have delivered it--so listen now."

Hosea nodded assent and, after drinking the healing potion handed to him,
Ephraim began:

"Miriam the daughter of Amram and Jochebed greets the son of Nun the
Ephraimite.  Thy name is Hosea, 'the Help,' and the Lord our God hath
chosen thee to be the helper of His people.  But henceforward, by His
command, thou shalt be called Joshua,--[Jehoshua, he who helps Jehova]--
the help of Jehovah; for through Miriam's lips the God of her fathers,
who is the God of thy fathers likewise, bids thee be the sword and
buckler of thy people.  In Him dwells all power, and he promises to steel
thine arm that He may smite the foe."

Ephraim had begun in a low voice, but gradually his tones grew more
resonant and the last words rang loudly and solemnly through the
stillness of the night.

Thus had Miriam uttered them, laying her hands on the lad's head and
gazing earnestly into his face with eyes deep and dark as night, and
while repeating them he had felt as though some secret power were
constraining him to shout them aloud to Hosea, just as he had heard them
from the lips of the prophetess.  Then, with a sigh of relief, he turned
his face toward the canvas wall of the tent, saying quietly:

"Now I will go to sleep."

But Hosea laid his hand on his shoulder, exclaiming imperiously: "Say it
again."

The youth obeyed, but this time he repeated the words in a low, careless
tone, then saying beseechingly:

"Let me rest now," put his hand under his cheek and closed his eyes.

Hosea let him have his way, carefully applied a fresh bandage to his
burning head, extinguished the light, and flung more fuel on the
smouldering fire outside; but the alert, resolute man performed every act
as if in a dream.  At last he sat down, and propping his elbows on his
knees and his head in his hands, stared alternately, now into vacancy,
and anon into the flames.

Who was this God who summoned him through Miriam's lips to be, under His
guidance, the sword and shield of His people?

He was to be known by a new name, and in the minds of the Egyptians the
name was everything "Honor to the name of Pharaoh," not "Honor to
Tharaoh" was spoken and written.  And if henceforward he was to be called
Joshua, the behest involved casting aside his former self, and becoming a
new man.

The will of the God of his fathers announced to him by Miriam meant no
less a thing than the command to transform himself from the Egyptian his
life had made him, into the Hebrew he had been when a lad.  He must learn
to act and feel like an Israelite!  Miriam's summons called him back to
his people.  The God of his race, through her, commanded him to fulfil
his father's expectations.  Instead of the Egyptian troops whom he must
forsake, he was in future to lead the men of his own blood forth to
battle!  This was the meaning of her bidding, and when the noble virgin
and prophetess who addressed him, asserted that God Himself spoke through
her lips, it was no idle boast, she was really obeying the will of the
Most High.  And now the image of the woman whom he had ventured to love,
rose in unapproachable majesty before him.  Many things which he had
heard in his childhood concerning the God of Abraham, and His promises
returned to his mind, and the scale which hitherto had been the heavier,
rose higher and higher.  The resolve just matured, now seemed uncertain,
and he again confronted the terrible conflict he had believed was
overpast.

How loud, how potent was the call he heard!  Ringing in his ears, it
disturbed the clearness and serenity of his mind, and instead of calmly
reflecting on the matter, memories of his boyhood, which he had imagined
were buried long ago, raised their voices, and incoherent flashes of
thought darted through his brain.

Sometimes he felt impelled to turn in prayer to the God who summoned him,
but whenever he attempted to calm himself and uplift his heart and eyes
to Him, he remembered the oath he must break, the soldiers he must
abandon to lead, instead of well-disciplined, brave, obedient bands of
brothers-in-arms, a wretched rabble of cowardly slaves, and rude,
obstinate shepherds, accustomed to the heavy yoke of bondage.

The third hour after midnight had come, the guards had been relieved, and
Hosea thought he might now permit himself a few hours repose.  He would
think all these things over again by daylight with his usual clear
judgment, which he strove in vain to obtain now.  But when he entered the
tent and heard Ephraim's regular breathing, he fancied that the boy's
solemn message was again echoing in his ears.  Startled, he was in the
act of repeating it himself, when loud voices in violent altercation
among the sentinels disturbed the stillness of the night.

The interruption was welcome, and he hurried to the outposts.




CHAPTER VI.

Hogla, the old slave's granddaughter, had come to beseech Hosea to go
with her at once to her grandfather, who had suddenly broken down, and
who feeling the approach of death could not perish without having once
more seen and blessed him.

The warrior told her to wait and, after assuring himself that Ephraim was
sleeping quietly, ordered a trusty man to watch beside his bed and went
away with Hogla.

The girl walked before him, carrying a small lantern, and as its light
fell on her face and figure, he saw how unlovely she was, for the hard
toil of slavery had bowed the poor thing's back before its time.  Her
voice had the harsh accents frequently heard in the tones of women whose
strength has been pitilessly tasked; but her words were kind and tender,
and Hosea forgot her appearance when she told him that her lover had gone
with the departing tribes, yet she had remained with her grandparents
because she could not bring herself to leave the old couple alone.
Because she had no beauty no man had sought her for his wife till Assir
came, who did not care for her looks because he toiled industriously,
like herself, and expected her to add to his savings.  He would gladly
have stayed with her, but his father had commanded him to go forth, so
there was no choice for them save to obey and part forever.

The words were simple and the accents harsh, yet they pierced the heart
of the man who was preparing to follow his own path in opposition to his
father's will.

As they approached the harbor and Hosea saw the embankments, and the vast
fortified storehouses built by his own people, he remembered the ragged
laborers whom he had so often beheld crouching before the Egyptian
overseers or fighting savagely among themselves.  He had heard, too,
that they shrunk from no lies, no fraud to escape their toil, and how
difficult was the task of compelling them to obey and fulfil their duty.

The most repulsive forms among these luckless hordes rose distinctly
before his vision, and the thought that it might henceforward be his
destiny to command such a wretched rabble seemed to him ignominy which
the lowest of his brave officers, the leader of but fifty men, would seek
to avoid.  True, Pharaoh's armies contained many a Hebrew mercenary who
had won renown for bravery and endurance; but these men were the sons of
owners of herds or people who had once been shepherds.  The toiling
slaves, whose clay huts could be upset by a kick, formed the majority of
those to whom he was required to return.

Resolute in his purpose to remain loyal to the oath which bound him to
the Egyptian standard, yet moved to the very depths of his heart, he
entered the slave's little hut, and his anger rose when he saw old Eliab
sitting up, mixing some wine and water with his own hands.  So he had
been summoned from his nephew's sick-bed, and robbed of his night's rest,
on a false pretence, in order that a slave, in his eyes scarcely entitled
to rank as a man, might have his way.  Here he himself experienced a
specimen of the selfish craft of which the Egyptians accused his people,
and which certainly did not attract him, Hosea, to them.  But the anger
of the just, keen sighted-man quickly subsided at the sight of the girl's
unfeigned joy in her grandfather's speedy recovery.  Besides he soon
learned from the old man's aged wife that, shortly after Hogla's
departure, she remembered the wine they had, and as soon as he swallowed
the first draught her husband, whom she had believed had one foot in the
grave, grew better and better.  Now he was mixing some more of God's gift
to strengthen himself occasionally by a sip.

Here Eliab interrupted her to say that they owed this and many more
valuable things to the goodness of Nun, Hosea's father, who had given
them, besides their little hut, wine, meal for bread, a milch cow, and
also an ass, so that he could often ride out into the fresh air.  He had
likewise left them their granddaughter and some pieces of silver, so that
they could look forward without fear to the end of their days, especially
as they had behind the house a bit of ground, where Hogla meant to raise
radishes, onions, and leeks for their own table.  But the best gift of
all was the written document making them and the girl free forever.  Ay,
Nun was a true master and father to his people, and the blessing of
Jehovah had followed his gifts; for soon after the departure of the
Hebrews, he and his wife had been brought hither unmolested by the aid of
Assir, Hogla's lover.

"We old people shall die here," Eliab's wife added.  But Assir promised
Hogla that he would come back for her when she had discharged her filial
duties to the end.

Then, turning to her granddaughter, she said encouragingly: "And we
cannot live much longer now."

Hogla raised her blue gown to wipe the tears from her eyes, exclaiming

"May it be a long, long time yet.  I am young and can wait."

Hosea heard the words, and again it seemed as though the poor, forsaken,
unlovely girl was giving him a lesson.

He had listened patiently to the freed slaves' talk, but his time was
limited and he now asked whether Eliab had summoned him for any special
purpose.

"Ay," he replied; "I was obliged to send, not only to still the yearning
of my old heart, but because my lord Nun commanded me to do so."

"Thou hast attained a grand and noble manhood, and hast now become the
hope of Israel.  Thy father promised the slaves and freedmen of his
household that after his death, thou wouldst be heir, lord and master.
His words were full of thy praise, and great rejoicing hailed his
statement that thou wouldst follow the departing Hebrews.  And my lord
deigned to command me to tell thee, if thou should'st return ere his
messenger arrived, that Nun, thy father, expected his son.  Whithersoever
thy nation may wander, thou art to follow.  Toward sunrise, or at latest
by the noon-tide hour, the tribes will tarry to rest at Succoth.  He will
conceal in the hollow sycamore that stands in front of Amminadab's house
a letter which will inform thee whither they will next turn their steps.
His blessing and that of our God will attend thy every step."

As Eliab uttered the last words, Hosea bowed his head as if inviting
invisible hands to be laid upon it.  Then he thanked the old man and
asked, in subdued tones, whether all the Hebrews had willingly obeyed the
summons to leave house and lands.

His aged wife clasped her hands, exclaiming: "Oh no, my lord, certainly
not.  What wailing and weeping filled the air before their departure!
Many refused to go, others fled, or sought some hiding-place.  But all
resistance was futile.  In the house of our neighbor Deuel--you know him
--his young wife had just given birth to their first son.  How was she to
fare on the journey?  She wept bitterly and her husband uttered fierce
curses, but it was all in vain.  She was put in a cart with her babe, and
as the arrangements went on, both submitted like all the rest--even
Phineas who crept into a pigeon-house with his wife and five children,
and crooked grave-haunting Kusaja.  Do you remember her?  Adonai!  She
had seen father, mother, husband, and three noble sons, all that the Lord
had given her to love, borne to the tomb.  They lay side by side in our
burying ground, and every morning and evening she went there and, sitting
on a log of wood which she had rolled close to the gravestones, moved her
lips constantly, not in prayer--no, I have listened often when she did
not know I was near--no; she talked to the dead, as though they could
hear her in the sepulchre, and understand her words like those who walk
alive beneath the sun.  She is near seventy, and for thrice seven years
she has gone by the name of grave-haunting Kusaja.  It was in sooth a
foolish thing to do; yet perhaps that was why she found it all the harder
to give it up, and go she would not, but hid herself among the bushes.
When Ahieser, the overseer, dragged her out, her wailing made one's heart
sore, yet when the time for departure came, the longing to go seized upon
her also, and she found it as hard to resist as the others."

"What had happened to the poor creatures, what possessed them?"  asked
Hosea, interrupting the old wife's speech; for in imagination he again
beheld the people he must lead, if he valued his father's blessing as the
most priceless boon the world could offer, and beheld them in all their
wretchedness.

The startled dame, fearing that she had offended her master's first-born
son, the great and powerful chieftain, stammered:

"What possessed them, my lord?  Ah, well--I am but a poor lowly slave-
woman; yet, my lord, had you but seen it...."

"Well, even then?"  interrupted the warrior in harsh, impatient tones,
for this was the first time he had ever found himself compelled to act
against his desires and belief.

Eliab tried to come to the assistance of the terrified woman, saying
timidly

"Ah, my lord, no tongue can relate, no human mind can picture it.  It
came from the Almighty and, if I could describe how great was its
influence on the souls of the people......"

"Try," Hosea broke in, "but my time is brief.  So they were compelled to
depart, and set forth reluctantly on their wanderings.  Even the
Egyptians have long known that they obeyed the bidding of Moses and Aaron
as the sheep follow the shepherd.  Have those who brought the terrible
pestilence on so many guiltless human beings also wrought the miracle of
blinding the minds of you and of your wife?"

The old man stretched out his hands to the soldier, and answered in a
troubled voice and a tone of the most humble entreaty:

"Oh, my lord, you are my master's first-born son, the greatest and
loftiest of your race, if it is your pleasure you can trample me into the
dust like a beetle, yet I must lift up my voice and say: 'You have heard
false tales!'  You were away in foreign lands when mighty things were
done in our midst, and far from Zoan,--[The Hebrew name for Tanis]--as I
hear, when the exodus took place.  Any son of our people who witnessed it
would rather his tongue should wither than mock at the marvels the Lord
permitted him to behold.  Ah, if you had patience to suffer me to tell
the tale.  .  .  ."

"Speak on!" cried Hosea, astonished at the old man's solemn fervor.
Eliab thanked him with an ardent glance, exclaiming:

"Oh, would that Aaron, or Eleasar, or my lord your father were here in my
stead, or would that Jehovah would bestow on me the might of their
eloquence!  But be it as it is!  True, I imagine I can again see and hear
everything as though it were happening once more before my eyes, but how
am I to describe it?  How can such things be given in words?  Yet, with
God's assistance, I will try."

Here he paused and Hosea, noticing that the old man's hands and lips were
trembling, gave him the cup of wine, and Eliab gratefully quaffed it to
the dregs.  Then, half-closing his eyes, he began his story and his
wrinkled features grew sharper as he went on:

"My wife has already told you what occurred after the people learned the
command that had been issued.  We, too, were among those who lost courage
and murmured.  But last night, all who belonged to the household of Nun--
and also the shepherds, the slaves, and the poor--were summoned to a
feast, and there was abundance of roast lamb, fresh, unleavened bread,
and wine, more than usual at the harvest festival, which began that
night, and which you, my lord, have often attended in your boyhood.  We
sat rejoicing, and our lord, your father, comforted us, and told us of
the God of our fathers and the wonders He had wrought for them.  It was
now His will that we should go forth from this land where we had suffered
contempt and bondage.  This was no sacrifice like that of Abraham when,
at the command of the Most High, he had whetted his knife to shed the
blood of his son Isaac, though it would be hard for many of us to quit a
home that had grown dear to us and forego many a familiar custom.  But it
will be a great happiness for us all.  For, he said, we were not to
journey forth to an unknown country, but to a beautiful region which God
Himself had set apart for us.  He had promised us, instead of this place
of bondage, a new and delightful home where we should dwell free men,
amid fruitful fields and rich pastures, which would supply food to every
man and his family and make all hearts rejoice.  Just as laborers must
work hard to earn high wages, we must endure a brief period of want and
suffering to gain for ourselves and for our children the beautiful new
home which the Lord had promised.  God's own land it must be, for it was
a gift of the Most High.

"Having spoken thus, he blessed us all and promised that thou, too,
wouldst shake the dust from off thy feet, and join us to fight for our
cause with a strong arm as a trained soldier and a dutiful son.

"Shouts of joy rang forth and, when we assembled in the market-place and
found that all the bondmen had escaped from the overseers, many gained
fresh courage.  Then Aaron stepped into our midst, stood upon the
auctioneer's bench, and told us with his own lips all that we had heard
from my master Nun at the festival.  The words he uttered sounded
sometimes like pealing thunder, and anon like the sweet melody of lutes,
and every one felt that the Lord our God Himself was speaking through
him; for even the most rebellious were so deeply moved that they no
longer complained and murmured.  And when he finally announced to the
throng that no erring mortal, but the Lord our God Himself would be our
leader, and described the wonders of the land whose gates He would open
unto us, and where we might live, trammelled by no bondage, as free and
happy men, owing no obedience to any ruler save the God of our fathers
and those whom we ourselves chose for our leaders, every man present felt
as though he were drunk with sweet wine, and, instead of faring forth
across a barren wilderness to an unknown goal, was on the way to a great
festal banquet, prepared by the Most High Himself.  Even those who had
not heard Aaron's words were inspired with wondrous faith; men and women
behaved even more joyously and noisily than usual at the harvest
festival, for every heart was overflowing with genuine gratitude.

"The old people caught the universal spirit!  Your grandfather Elishama,
bowed by the weight of his hundred years, who, as you know, has long sat
bent and silent in his corner, straightened his drooping form, and with
sparkling eyes poured forth a flood of eloquent words.  The spirit of the
Lord had descended upon him and upon us all.  I myself felt as though the
vigor of youth had returned to mind and body, and when I passed the
throngs who were preparing to set forth, I saw the young mother Elisheba
in her litter.  Her face was as radiant as on her marriage morn, and she
was pressing her nursling to her breast, and rejoicing over his happy
fate in growing up in freedom in the Promised Land.  Her spouse, Deuel,
who had poured forth such bitter imprecations, now waved his staff,
kissed his wife and child with tears of joy, and shouted with delight
like a vintager at the harvest season, when jars and wine skins are too
few to hold the blessing.  Old grave-haunting Kusaja, who had been
dragged away from the sepulchre of her kindred, was sitting in a cart
with other infirm folk, waving her veil and joining in the hymn of praise
Elkanah and Abiasaph, the sons of Korah, had begun.  So they went forth;
we who were left behind fell into each other's arms, uncertain whether
the tears we shed streamed from our eyes for grief or for sheer joy at
seeing the throng of our loved ones so full of hope and gladness.

"So it came to pass.

"As soon as the pitch torches borne at the head of the procession, which
seemed to me to shine more brightly than the lamps lighted by the
Egyptians on the gates of the temple of the great goddess Neith, had
vanished in the darkness, we set out, that we might not delay Assir too
long, and while passing through the streets, which resounded with the
wailing of the citizens, we softly sang the hymn of the sons of Korah,
and great joy and peace filled our hearts, for we knew that the Lord our
God would defend and guide His people."

The old man paused, but his wife and Hogla, who had listened with
sparkling eyes, leaned one on the other and, without any prompting, began
the hymn of praise of the sons of Korah, the old woman's faint voice
mingling with touching fervor with the tones of the girl, whose harsh
notes thrilled with the loftiest enthusiasm.

Hosea felt that it would be criminal to interrupt the outpouring of these
earnest hearts, but Eliab soon stopped them and gazed with evident
anxiety into the stern face of his lord's first-born son.

Had Hosea understood him?

Did this warrior, who served under Pharaoh's banner, realize how entirely
the Lord God Himself had ruled the souls of his people at their
departure.

Had the life among the Egyptians so estranged him from his people and his
God, rendered him so degenerate, that he would bid defiance to the wishes
and commands of his own father?

Was the man on whom the Hebrews' highest hopes were fixed a renegade,
forever lost to his people?

He received no verbal answer to these mute questions, but when Hosea
grasped his callous right hand in both his own and pressed it as he would
have clasped a friend's, when he bade him farewell with tearful eyes,
murmuring: "You shall hear from me!" he felt that he knew enough and,
overwhelmed with passionate delight, he pressed kiss after kiss upon the
warrior's arms and clothing.




CHAPTER VII.

Hosea returned to the camp with drooping head.  The conflict in his soul
was at an end.  He now knew what duty required.  He must obey his
father's summons.

And the God of his race!

The old man's tale had given new life to the memories of his childhood,
and he now knew that He was not the same God as the Seth of the Asiatics
in Lower Egypt, nor the "One" and the "Sum of All" of the adepts.

The prayers he had uttered ere he fell asleep, the history of the
creation of the world, which he could never hear sufficiently often,
because it showed so clearly the gradual development of everything on
earth and in heaven until man came to possess and enjoy all, the story of
Abraham and Isaac, of Jacob, Esau, and his own ancestor, Joseph--how
gladly he had listened to these tales as they fell from the lips of the
gentle woman who had given him life, and from those of his nurse, and his
grandfather Elishama.  Yet he imagined that they had faded from his
memory long ago.

But in old Eliab's hovel he could have repeated the stories word for
word, and he now knew that there was indeed one invisible, omnipotent
God, who had preferred his race above all others, and had promised to
make them a mighty people.

The truths concealed by the Egyptians under the greatest mystery were the
common property of his race.  Every beggar, every slave might raise his
hands in supplication to the one invisible God who had revealed Himself
unto Abraham.

Shrewd Egyptians, who had divined His existence and shrouded His image
with monstrous shapes, born of their own thoughts and imaginations, had
drawn a thick veil over Him, hidden Him from the masses.  Among the
Hebrews alone did He really live and display His power in all its mighty,
heart-stirring grandeur.

He was not nature, with whom the initiated in the temples confounded Him.
No, the God of his fathers was far above all created things and the whole
visible universe, far above man, His last, most perfect work, whom He had
formed in His own image; and every living creature was subject to His
will.  The Mightiest of Kings, He ruled the universe with stern justice,
and though He withdrew Himself from the sight and understanding of man,
His image, He was nevertheless a living, thinking, moving Being, though
His span of existence was eternity, His mind omniscience, His sphere of
sovereignty infinitude.

And this God had made Himself the leader of His people!  There was no
warrior who could venture to cope with His might.  If the spirit of
prophecy had not deceived Miriam, and the Lord had indeed commanded
Hosea to wield His sword, how dared he resist, what higher position
could earth offer?  And his people?  The rabble of whom he had thought
so scornfully, what a transformation seemed to have been wrought in them
by the power of the Most High, since he had listened to old Eliab's tale!
Now he longed to be their leader, and midway to the camp he paused on
a sand-hill, whence he could see the limitless expanse of the sea
shimmering under the sheen of the twinkling stars of heaven, and for the
first time in many a long, long year, he raised his arms and eyes to the
God whom he had found once more.

He began with a little prayer his mother had taught him; then he cried
out to the Almighty as to a powerful counselor, imploring him with
fervent zeal to point out the way in which he should walk without being
disobedient to Him or to his father, or breaking the oath he had sworn to
Pharaoh and becoming a dishonored man in the eyes of those to whom he
owed so great a debt of gratitude.

"Thy chosen people praise Thee as the God of Truth, Who dost punish those
who forswear their oaths," he prayed.  "How canst Thou command me to be
faithless and break the vow that I have made.  Whatever I am, whatever I
may accomplish, belongs to Thee, Oh Mighty Lord, and I am ready to devote
my blood, my life to my people.  But rather than render me a dishonored
and perjured man, take me away from earth and commit the work which Thou
hast chosen Thy servant to perform, to the hands of one who is bound by
no solemn oath."

So he prayed, and it seemed as if he clasped in his embrace a long-lost
friend.  Then he walked on in silence through the vanishing dusk, and
when the first grey light of morning dawned, the flood of feeling ebbed,
and the clear-headed warrior regained his calmness of thought.

He had vowed to do nothing against the will of his father or his God, but
he was no less firmly resolved to be neither perjurer nor renegade.  His
duty was clear and plain.  He must leave Pharaoh's service, first telling
his superiors that, as a dutiful son, he must obey his father's commands,
and share his fate and that of his people.

Yet he did not conceal from himself that his request might be refused,
that he might be detained by force, nay, perchance, if he insisted on
carrying out his purpose with unshaken will, he might be menaced with
death, or if the worst should come, even delivered over to the
executioner.  But if this should be his doom, if his purpose cost him his
life, he would still have done what was right, and his comrades, whose
esteem he valued, could still think of him as a brave brother-in-arms.
Nor would his father and Miriam be angry with him, nay, they would mourn
the faithful son, the upright man, who chose death rather than dishonor.

Calm and resolute, he gave the pass-word with haughty bearing to the
sentinel and entered his tent.  Ephraim was still lying on his couch,
smiling as if under the thrall of pleasant dreams.  Hosea threw himself
on a mat beside him to seek strength for the hard duties of the coming
day.  Soon his eyes closed, too, and, after an hour's sound sleep, he
woke without being roused and called for his holiday attire, his helmet,
and the gilt coat-of-mail he wore at great festivals or in the presence
of Egypt's king.

Meantime Ephraim, too, awoke, looked with mingled curiosity and delight
at his uncle, who stood before him in all the splendor of his manhood and
glittering panoply of war, and exclaimed:

"It must be a proud feeling to wear such garments and lead thousands to
battle."

Hosea shrugged his shoulders and replied:

"Obey thy God, give no man, from the loftiest to the lowliest, a right to
regard you save with respect, and you can hold your head as high as the
proudest warrior who ever wore purple robe and golden armor."

"But you have done great deeds among the Egyptians," Ephraim continued.
"They hold you in high regard; even captain Homecht and his daughter,
Kasana."

"Do they?"  asked the soldier smiling, and then bid his nephew keep
quiet; for his brow, though less fevered than the night before, was still
burning.

"Don't go into the open air until the leech has seen you," Hosea added,
"and wait here till my return."

"Shall you be absent long?"  asked the lad.

Hosea paused for a moment, lost in thought then, with a kindly glance at
him answered, gravely "Whoever serves a master knows not how long he may
be detained."  Then, changing his tone, he continued less earnestly.
"To-day--this morning--perchance I may finish my business speedily and
return in a few hours.  If not, if I do not come back to you this evening
or early to-morrow morning, then......"  he laid his hand on the lad's
shoulder as he spoke "then go home at your utmost speed.  When you reach
Succoth, if the people have gone before your coming, you will find in the
hollow sycamore before Amminadab's house a letter which will tell you
whither they have turned their steps.  When you overtake them, give my
greetings to my father, to my grandfather Elishama, and to Miriam.  Tell
them that Hosea will be mindful of the commands of his God and of his
father.  In future he will call himself Joshua--Joshua, do you hear?
Tell this to  Miriam first.  Finally, tell them that if I remain behind
and am not suffered to follow them, as I would like to, that the Most
High has made a different disposal of His servant and has broken the
sword which He had chosen, ere He used it.  Do you understand me, boy?"

Ephraim nodded, and answered:

"You mean that death alone can stay you from obeying the summons of God,
and your father's command."

"Ay, that  was  my meaning," replied the chief.  "If they ask why I did
not slip away from Pharaoh and escape his power, say that Hosea desired
to enter on his new office as a true man, unstained by perjury or, if it
is the will of God, to die one.  Now repeat the message."

Ephraim obeyed; his uncle's remarks must have sunk deep into his soul;
for he neither forgot nor altered a single word.  But scarcely had he
performed the task of repetition when, with impetuous earnestness, he
grasped Hosea's hand and besought him to tell him whether he had any
cause to fear for his life.

The warrior clasped him affectionately in his arms and answered that he
hoped he had entrusted this message to him only to have it forgotten.
"Perhaps," he added, "they will strive to keep me by force, but by God's
help I shall soon be with you again, and we will ride to Succoth
together."

With these words he hurried out, unheeding the questions his nephew
called after him; for he had heard the rattle of wheels outside.  Two
chariots, drawn by mettled steeds, rapidly approached the tent and
stopped directly before the entrance.




CHAPTER VIII.

The men who stepped from the chariots were old acquaintances of Hosea.
They were the head chamberlain and one of the king's chief scribes, come
to summon him to the Sublime Porte.

     [Palace of the king.  The name of Pharaoh means "the Sublime
     Porte."]

No hesitation nor escape was possible, and Hosea, feeling more surprise
than anxiety, entered the second chariot with the chief scribe.  Both
officials wore mourning robes, and instead of the white ostrich plume,
the insignia of office, black ones waved over the temples of both.  The
horses and runners of the two-wheeled chariots were also decked with all
the emblems of the deepest woe.  And yet the monarch's messengers seemed
cheerful rather than depressed; for the eagle they were to bear to
Pharaoh was ready to obey his behest, and they had feared that they would
find his eyrie abandoned.

Swift as the wind the long-limbed bays of royal breed bore the light
vehicles over the uneven sandy road and the smooth highway toward the
palace.

Ephraim, with the curiosity of youth, had gone out of the tent to view a
scene so novel to his eyes.  The soldiers were pleased by the Pharaoh's
sending his own carriage for their commander, and the lad's vanity was
flattered to see his uncle drive away in such state.  But he was not
permitted the pleasure of watching him long; dense clouds of dust soon
hid the vehicles.

The scorching desert wind which, during the Spring months, so often blows
through the valley of the Nile, had risen, and though the bright blue sky
which had been visible by night and day was still cloudless, it was
veiled by a whitish mist.

The sun, a motionless ball, glared down on the heads of men like a blind
man's eye.  The burning heat it diffused seemed to have consumed its
rays, which to-day were invisible.  The eye protected by the mist could
gaze at it undazzled, yet its scorching power was undiminished.  The
light breeze, which usually fanned the brow in the morning, touched it
now like the hot breath of a ravening beast of prey.  Loaded with the
fine scorching sand borne from the desert, it transformed the pleasure of
breathing into a painful torture.  The air of an Egyptian March morning,
which was wont to be so balmy, now oppressed both man and beast, choking
their lungs and seeming to weigh upon them like a burden destroying all
joy in life.

The higher the pale rayless globe mounted into the sky, the greyer became
the fog, the more densely and swiftly blew the sand-clouds from the
desert.

Ephraim was still standing in front of the tent, gazing at the spot where
Pharaoh's chariots had disappeared.  His knees trembled, but he
attributed it to the wind sent by Seth-Typhon, at whose blowing even the
strongest felt an invisible burden clinging to their feet.

Hosea had gone, but he might come back in a few hours, then he, Ephraim,
would be obliged to go with him to Succoth, and the bright dreams and
hopes which yesterday had bestowed and whose magical charms were
heightened by his fevered brain, would be lost to him forever.

During the night he had firmly resolved to enter Pharaoh's army, that he
might remain near Tanis and Kasana; but though he had only half
comprehended Hosea's message, he could plainly discern that he intended
to turn his back upon Egypt and his high position and meant to take
Ephraim with him, should he make his escape.  So he must renounce his
longing to see Kasana once more.  But this thought was unbearable and
an inward voice whispered that, having neither father nor mother, he was
free to act according to his own will.  His guardian, his dead father's
brother, in whose household he had grown up, had died not long before,
and no new guardian had been named because the lad was now past
childhood.  He was destined at some future day to be one of the chiefs of
his proud tribe and until yesterday he had desired no better fate.

He had obeyed the impulse of his heart when, with the pride of a shepherd
prince, he had refused the priest's suggestion that he should become one
of Pharaoh's soldiers, but he now told himself that he had been childish
and foolish to reject a thing of which he was ignorant, nay, which had
ever been intentionally represented to him in a false and hateful light
in order to bind him more firmly to his own people.

The Egyptians had always been described as detestable enemies and
oppressors, yet how enchanting everything seemed in the house of the
first Egyptian warrior he had entered.

And Kasana!

What must she think of him, if he left Tanis without a word of greeting,
of farewell.  Must it not grieve and wound him to remain in her memory a
clumsy peasant shepherd?  Nay, it would be positively dishonest not to
return the costly raiment she had lent him.  Gratitude was reckoned among
the Hebrews also as the first duty of noble hearts.  He would be worthy
of hate his whole life long, if he did not seek her once more!

But there was need of haste.  When Hosea returned, he must find him ready
for departure.

He at once began to bind his sandals on his feet, but he did it slowly,
and could not understand why the task seemed so hard to-day.

He passed through the camp unmolested.  The pylons and obelisks before
the temples, which appeared to quiver in the heated air, marked the
direction he was to pursue, and he soon reached the broad road which led
to the market-place--a panting merchant whose ass was bearing skins of
wine to the troops, told him the way.

Dense clouds of dust lay on the road and whirled around him, the sun beat
fiercely down on his bare head, his wound began to ache again, the fine
sand which filled the air entered his eyes and mouth and stung his face
and bare limbs like burning needles.  He was tortured by thirst and was
often compelled to stop, his feet grew so heavy.  At last he reached a
well dug for travelers by a pious Egyptian, and though it was adorned
with the image of a god and Miriam had taught him that this was an
abomination from which he should turn aside, he drank again and again,
thinking he had never tasted aught so refreshing.

The fear of losing consciousness, as he had done the day before, passed
away and, though his feet were still heavy, he walked rapidly toward the
alluring goal.  But soon his strength again deserted him, the sweat
poured from his brow, his wound began to throb and beat, and he felt as
though his skull was compressed by an iron circle.  His keen eyes, too,
failed, for the objects he tried to see blended with the dust of the
road, the horizon reeled up and down before his eyes, and he felt as
though the hard pavement had turned to a yielding bog under his feet.

Yet he took little heed of all these things, for never before had such
bright visions filled his mind.  His thoughts grew marvellously vivid,
and image after image rose before the wide eyes of his soul, not at his
own behest, but as if summoned by a secret will outside of his
consciousness.  Now he fancied that he was lying at Kasana's feet,
resting his head on her lap while he gazed upward into her lovely face--
anon he saw Hosea standing before him in his glittering armor, as he had
beheld him a short time ago, only his garb was still more gorgeous and,
instead of the dim light in the tent, a ruddy glow like that of fire
surrounded him.  Then the finest oxen and rams in his herds passed before
him and sentences from the messages he had learned darted through his
mind; nay he sometimes imagined that they were being shouted to him
aloud.  But ere he could grasp their import, some new dazzling vision or
loud rushing noise seemed to fill his mental eye and ear.

He pressed onward, staggering like a drunken man, with drops of sweat
standing on his brow and with parched mouth.  Sometimes he unconsciously
raised his hand to wipe the dust from his burning eyes, but he cared
little that he saw very indistinctly what was passing around him, for
there could be nothing more beautiful than what he beheld with his inward
vision.

True, he was often aware that he was suffering intensely, and he longed
to throw himself exhausted on the ground, but a strange sense of
happiness sustained him.  At last he was seized with the delusion that
his head was swelling and growing till it attained the size of the head
of the colossus he had seen the day before in front of a temple gate,
then it rose to the height of the palm-trees by the road-side, and
finally it reached the mist shrouding the firmament, then far above it.
Then it suddenly seemed as though this head of his was as large as the
whole world, and he pressed his hands on his temples to clasp his brow;
for his neck and shoulders were too weak to support the weight of so
enormous a head and, mastered by this strange delusion, he shrieked
aloud, his shaking knees gave way, and he fell unconscious in the dust.




ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Hate, though never sated, can yet be gratified
Omnipotent God, who had preferred his race above all others
When hate and revenge speak, gratitude shrinks timidly
Who can prop another's house when his own is falling





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