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This was not merely the defeat of an army, but was the rolling back of a nation, or confederacy, on the march like locusts to devour the land. The Libyans were the main part of the invaders, but a large number were of other races, allied with the Libyans in a confederacy which embraced both sides of the Mediterranean. From the names it appears that Cyprus and all the southern half of Asia Minor had furnished auxiliary troops of searoving people to support the Libyan invaders. Such was the great deliverance wrought by Merenptah, and there is no wonder that the Egyptians sang of him as the sun of Egypt: The sun comes out, clearing the storm from over Egypt,
Making the land see the beams of his shining: The heavy load has fallen from the neck of the people,
And he gives breath to the living who were stifled.
The tranquil condition of the country after this was a great contrast to the continual harassing by invading squatters and highwaymen to which the Egyptians had been subjected. They say, «The people babble, (Come and walk afar on the road, for there is no fear in the hearts of men. The garrisoned forts are abandoned; the walls are thrown open; the messengers leap over the battlements of the wall, and cool themselves from the sun until the guards awake; the police lie in slumbers on their beats.» The Bedouin gave up their raids, the sentinels did not challenge the traveler, there was no complaint of robbery.
So far there does not seem to be any trace of the kingdom being weakened by the troubles of the Exodus, nor is any sign of disruption shown in a report written three years later by an official on the eastern frontier. He states that he has received tribes from Edom, and passed them into Egypt at the fortress of Etham in the land of Succoth, in order to settle them at the lake of Pithom in the land of Succoth, where they will colonize and pasture their herds. Had a great trouble with a Semitic race in that region just passed over, it would not be at all likely that a fresh tribe from the east would be welcomed. It seems rather as if they were welcomed as useful allies, and no serious difficulty with the Hebrews can have been in view at that date in the eighth year of Merenptah. Of what
went on in the remaining years of his reign we have no record as yet. But any day a tablet or a papyrus may be turned up which will give us some further indications of the later years of this monarch.
And what are we to think of the man? He doubtless had the virtues and defects of his family. When we see how closely his face was inherited from his father and grandfather, Rameses II and Seti I, we cannot disconnect him from the family history. Pride, sumptuousness, and tenacity are written on all their doings; yet they were no cowards, and had many of the qualities of rulers. According to his own lights, Merenptah may well claim. a high position: he rescued his country from great danger, and restored its position for a while in its course of decline. «My country, right or wrong," was his principle, and a far better one than that of most ancient rulers, while he did not, any more than his contemporaries, potter about with any talk of «blood-guiltiness.» If he found it needful for the state to repress a tribe, he may well have done it without any fear of reports being prejudicial to him. The welfare of the state demanded his action, and that was enough.
The worst blot on his character was his ruthless destruction of the works of his predecessors. No doubt, in such a time of distress, it would be difficult to supply workmen for public monuments; but his utter disregard for everything that went before him outdoes even his orgulous father, and is painfully in contrast to the careful restoration made by his artistic grandfather, Seti I. He planted his funeral temple just behind the magnificent building of Amenhotep III, and proceeded to smash up every portable stone, whether statue or tablet, to throw in for his own foundations, and then reared his walls with the noble blocks of the great temple, and even stole the very bricks. Not content with taking what he wanted, he further defaced what he could not use; and all over Egypt the statues of the kings may be seen with his name rudely cut over their inscriptions, or battered with a hammer on the exquisitely polished surfaces of the other monarchs. With little of scruples, of taste, or of feeling, he was yet not devoid of ability and energy for a difficult position; and though we may not rank him with a Trajan, a Belisarius, or an Alfred, yet it would be hard to deny him the company of a Vespasian or a Claudius Gothicus, a George the Second or a Victor Emmanuel.
W. M. Flinders Petrie.
SIR GEORGE TRESSADY
•y. Mrs Humphry Ward
Author of "Robert Elsmere" "The History of David Grieve"
[BEGUN IN THE NOVEMBER NUMBER.]
casion serves the man of illustrious family almost as well as good feeling or education may HE door opened silently, and there came in serve another, had been for the time weak
THE door anent was hardly ened in him by the violences and exhaustion
recognized by either Maxwell or his wife. Shrunken, pale, and grief-stricken, Ancoats's poor mother entered, her eye seeking eagerly for Maxwell, perceiving nothing else. She was in black, her veil hurriedly thrown back, and the features beneath it were all blurred by distress and fatigue.
Marcella hurried to her. Mrs. Allison took her hand in both her own with the soft, appealing motion habitual to her; then said hastily, still looking at Maxwell:
«Maxwell, the boy has gone. He left me three days ago. This morning, in my trouble, I sent for Lord Fontenoy, my kind, kind friend; and he persuaded me to come to you at once. I begged him to come too->>
She glanced timidly from one to the other, implying many things.
of the political struggle, and he did not feel certain that he could trust himself. He was smarting still through every nerve, and the greeting especially that Maxwell's tall wife extended to him was gall and bitterness. Meanwhile, as she advanced toward him, she was mostly struck with the perfection of his morning dress. Of any Dizzy-like fantasies, indeed, Fontenoy was incapable; but the ultra-correctness and strict fashion he affected were generally a surprise to those who knew him. only by reputation.
After five minutes' question and answer the Maxwells understood something of the situation. A servant of Ancoats's had been induced to disclose what he knew. There could be no question that the young fellow had gone off to Normandy, where he possessed a chalet close to Trouville, in the expectation that his fair lady would immediately join him there. She had not yet started. So much Fontenoy had already ascertained. But she had thrown up a recent engagement within the last few days, and before Ancoats's flight all Fontenoy's information had pointed to the likelihood of a coup of some sort. As for the boy himself, he had left his mother at Castle Luton three days before on the pretext of a Scotch. visit, and had instead taken the evening train to Paris, leaving a letter for his mother, in which the influence of certain modern French novels of the psychological kind could perhaps be detected. «The call of the heart that drives me from you,» wrote this incredible young man, «is something independent of myCopyright, 1895, by Mrs. HUMPHRY WARD. All rights reserved.
But even with this preface, Maxwell's greeting of his defeated antagonist was ceremony itself. The natural instinct of such a man is to mask victory in courtesy; but a paragraph that morning in Fontenoy's paper-a paragraph that he happened to see in Lord Ardagh's room-had appealed to another natural instinct, stronger and more primitive. It amazed him that even this emergency and Mrs. Allison's persuasions could have brought the owner of the paper within his doors on this particular morning.
Fontenoy himself showed a haughty and embarrassed bearing. He was there under a compulsion he did not know how to resist-a compulsion of tears and grief; but the instinct for manners, which so often upon oc
self. I wring my hands, but I follow where it leads. Love has its crimes,-that I admit, but they are the only road to experience. And experience is all I care to live for! At any rate, I cannot accept the limits that you, mother, would impose upon me. Each of us must be content to recognize the other's personality. I have tried to reconcile you to an affection that must be content to be irregular. You repel it and me, under the influence of a bigotry in which I have ceased to believe. Suffer me, then, to act for myself in this respect. At any time that you like to call upon me I will be your dutiful son so long as this matter is not mentioned between us. And let me implore you not to bring in third persons; they have already done mischief enough. Against them I should know how to protect myself.>>
Maxwell returned the letter with a disgust he could hardly repress. Everything in it seemed to him as pinchbeck as the passion itself. Mrs. Allison took it with the same miserable look, which had in it, Marcella noticed, a certain strange sternness, as of some frail creature nerving itself to desperate things.
«Now what shall we do?» said Maxwell, abruptly.
Fontenoy moved forward. «I presume you still command the same persons you set in motion before? Can you get at them to-day?»>
Maxwell pondered. «Yes; the clergyman. The solicitor-brother is too far away. Your idea is to stop the girl from crossing?»
«If it were still possible.» Fontenoy dropped his voice, and his gesture induced Maxwell to follow him to the recess of a distant window. << The chief difficulty, perhaps,» said Fontenoy, resuming, «concerns the lad himself. His mother, you will understand, cannot run any risk of being brought in contact with that woman, nor is she physically fit for the voyage; but some one must go, if only to content her. There has been some wild talk of suicide, apparently-mere bombast, of course, like so much of it, but she has been alarmed.»>
«Do you propose, then, to go yourself? » "I am of no use,» said Fontenoy, decisively. Maxwell had cause to know that the statement was true, and did not press him. They fell into a rapid consultation.
Meanwhile Marcella had drawn Mrs. Allison to the sofa beside her, and was attempting a futile task of comfort. Mrs. Allison answered in monosyllables, glancing hither and thither. At last she said in a low, swift voice, as though addressing herself rather than her companion, «If all fails, I have made up my
mind. I shall leave his house. I can take nothing more from him.>>
Marcella started. «But that would deprive you of all chance, all hope of influencing him,» she said, her eager, tender eyes searching the other woman's face.
«No; it would be my duty,» said Mrs. Allison, simply, crossing her hands upon her lap. Her delicate blue eyes, swollen with weeping; the white hair, of which a lock had escaped from its usual quiet braids, and hung over her blanched cheeks; her look at once saintly and indomitable-every detail of her changed aspect made a chill and penetrating impression. Marcella began to understand what the Christian might do though the mother should die of it.
Meanwhile she watched the two men at the other side of the room with a manifest eagerness for their return. Presently, indeed, she half rose and called:
« Aldous! >>
Lord Maxwell turned.
« Are you thinking of some one who might go to Trouville?» she asked him.
«Yes; but we can hit on no one,» he replied in perplexity.
She moved toward him, bearing herself with a peculiar erectness and dignity.
« Would it be possible to ask Sir George Tressady to go?» she said quietly.
Maxwell looked at her open-mouthed for an instant. Fontenoy, behind him, threw a sudden searching glance at the beautiful figure in gray.
«We all know," she said, turning back to the mother, «that Ancoats likes Sir George.»
Mrs. Allison shrunk a little from the clear look. Fontenoy's rage of defeat, however modified in her presence, had nevertheless expressed itself to her in phrases and allusions that had both perplexed and troubled her. Had Marcella indeed made use of her beauty to decoy a weak youth from his allegiance? And now she spoke his name so simply. But the momentary wonder died from the poor mother's mind.
«I remember," she said sadly-«I remember he once spoke to me very kindly about my son.»>
«And he thought kindly," said Marcella, rapidly; he is kind at heart. Aldous, if Cousin Charlotte consents, why not at least put the case to him? He knows everything. He might undertake what we want for her sake-for all our sakes-and it might succeed.»
The swift yet calm decision of her manner completed Maxwell's bewilderment.
His eyes sought hers, while the others waited, aware somehow of a dramatic moment. Fontenoy's flash of malicious curiosity made him even forget, while it lasted, the little tragic figure on the sofa.
<< What do you say, Cousin Charlotte?» said Maxwell, at last.
His voice was dry and businesslike. Only the wife who watched him perceived the silent dignity with which he had accepted her appeal.
He went to sit beside Mrs. Allison, stooping over her, while they talked in a low key. Very soon she had caught at Marcella's suggestion with an energy of despair.
<< But how can we find him?» she said at last, looking helplessly about the room, at the very chair, among others, where Tressady had just been sitting.
inn parlor. Fontenoy himself, in his reckless youth, had simply avoided the whole sex, so far as its reputable members were concerned, till one woman, by sympathy, by flattery, perhaps, by the strange mingling in herself of iron and gentleness, had tamed him. But there were brutal instincts in his blood, and he became aware of them as he sat beside Marcella Maxwell.
Suddenly he broke out, bending forward, one hand on his knee, the other nervously adjusting the eye-glass without which he was practically blind:
<< I imagine your side had foreseen last night better than we had.»>
She drew herself together instantly.
«One can hardly say. It was evident, was n't it, that the House as a whole was surprised? Certainly no one could have fore
Maxwell felt the humor of the situation seen the numbers.>> without relishing it.
<< Either at his own house," he said shortly, «or the House of Commons.>>
«He may have left town this morning. Lord Fontenoy thought »—she looked timidly at her companion- «that he would be sure to go and explain himself to his constituents at
« Well, we can find out. If you give me instructions-if you are sure this is what you want we will find out at once. Are you sure?»
<< I can think of nothing better,» she said, with a piteous gesture. «And if he goes I have only one message to give him. Ancoats knows that I have exhausted every argument, every entreaty. Now let him tell my son»-her voice grew firm in spite of her look of anguish that if he insists on surrendering himself to a life of sin I can bear him company no more. I shall leave his house, and go somewhere by myself to pray for him.»>
Maxwell tried to soothe her, and there was some half-whispered talk between them, she quietly wiping away her tears from time to time.
Meanwhile Marcella and Fontenoy sat together a little way off, he at first watching Mrs. Allison, she silent, and making no attempt to play the hostess. Gradually, however, the sense of her presence beside him, the memory of Tressady's speech, of the scene in the House of the night before, began to work in his veins with a pricking, exciting power. His family was famous for a certain drastic way with women; his father, the now old and half-insane Marquis, had parted from his mother while Fontenoy was still a child, after scenes that would have disgraced an
She met his look straight, her white hand playing with Mrs. Allison's card.
«Oh, a slide of that kind, once begun, goes like the wind,» said Fontenoy. «Well, and are you pleased with your bill-not afraid of your promises-of all the Edens you have held out?»
The smile that he attempted roused such ogreish associations in Marcella, she was obliged to say something to give color to the half-desperate laugh that caught her.
«Did you suppose we should be already en pénitence?» she asked him.
The man's wrath overcame him. So England—all the serious forces of the countrywere to be more and more henceforward at the mercy of this kind of thing! He had begun the struggle with a scornful disbelief in current gossip. He-politically and morally the creation of a woman-had yet not been able to bring himself to fear a woman. And now he sat there, fiercely saying to himself that this woman, playing the old game under new names, had undone him.
« Ah! I see," he said; «you are of the mind of the Oxford don-Never regret, never retract, never apologize.>>>
The small, reddish eyes, like needle-points, fixed the face before him. She looked up, her beautiful lips parting. She felt the insult, marveled at it-on such an errand, in her own house! Scorn was almost lost in astonishment.
«A quotation which nobody gets rightis n't it so?» she said calmly. «If a wise man said it, I suppose he meant, Don't apologize to the wrong people, which is good advice, don't you think?»
She rose as she spoke, and moved away
from him that she might listen to what her husband was saying. Fontenoy was left to reflect on the folly of a man who, being driven to ask a kindness of his enemy, cannot keep his temper in the enemy's house. Yet his temper had been freshly tried since he entered it. The whole suggestion of Tressady's embassy was to himself galling in the extreme. «There is a meaning in it,» he thought; << she desires to save appearances.» For during the excitement of the last few days anger and foolish scandal had so gained upon his cooler judgment that he was ready to believe any extravagance, any calumny.
Nevertheless, as he threw himself back in his chair, and his eye caught Mrs. Allison's bent figure on the other side of the room, he knew that he must needs submit-he did submit to anything that could give that torn heart ease. Of his two passions, one, the passion for politics, seemed for the moment to have lost itself in disgust and disappointment; to the other he clung only the more strongly. Once or twice in her talk with Maxwell Mrs. Allison raised her gentle eyes and looked across to Fontenoy. «Are you there, my friend?» the glance seemed to say, and a thrill spread itself through the man's rugged being. Ah, well! the follies of this young scapegrace must wear themselves out in time, and either he would marry and so free his mother, or he would so outrage her conscience that she would separate herself from him. Then would come other people's rewards.
Presently, indeed, Mrs. Allison rose from her seat, and advanced to him with hurried steps.
« We have settled it, I think; Maxwell will do all he can. It seems hard to trust so much to a stranger like Sir George Tressady; but if he will go-if Ancoats likes him-we must do the best, must n't we?»
She raised to him her small, delicate face in a most winning dependence. Fontenoy did not even attempt resistance.
«Certainly; it is not a chance to lose. May I suggest also»-he looked at Maxwell-«that there is no time to lose?»
«Give me ten minutes and I am off,» said Maxwell, hurriedly carrying a bundle of unopened letters to a distance. He looked through them to see if anything especially urgent required him to give instructions to his secretary before leaving the house.
«Shall I take you home?» said Fontenoy to Mrs. Allison.
She drew her thick veil round her head and face, and said some tremulous words which unconsciously deepened the gloom on Fonte
noy's face. Apparently they were to the effect that before going home she wished to see the Anglican priest in whom she specially confided, a certain Father White, who was to all intents and purposes her director. For in his courtship of this woman of fifty, with her curious distinction and her ethereal charm, which years seemed only to increase, Fontenoy had not one rival, but two: her son and her religion.
Fontenoy's fingers barely touched those of Maxwell and his wife. As he closed the door behind Mrs. Allison, leaving the two together, he said to himself that he felt a contemptuous pity for the husband.
When the latch had settled, Maxwell threw down his letters and crossed the room to his wife.
<<I only half understood you,» he said, a flush rising in his face. «You really mean that we, on this day of all days-that I-am personally to ask this kindness of George Tressady?»
<<I do!»> she cried, but without attempting any caress. «If I could only go and ask it myself!»
«That would be impossible!» he said quickly.
<< Then you, dear husband-dear love-go and ask it for me! Must we not-oh! do see it as I do-must we not somehow make it possible to be friends again-to wipe out thatthat half-hour once for all?» She threw out her hand in an impetuous gesture. «If you go he will feel that is what we mean-he will understand us at once. There is nothing vile in him—nothing! Dear, he never said a word to me I could resent till this morning. And, alack! alack! was it somehow my fault?» She dropped her face a moment on the back of the chair she held. «How I am to play my own. part-well! I must think. But I cannot have such a thing on my heart, Aldous-I cannot! >> He was silent a moment; then he said:
"Let me understand, at least, what it is precisely that we are doing. Is the idea that it should be made possible for us all to meet again as though nothing had happened? >>
She shrank a moment from the man's common sense; then replied, controlling herself:
<<< Only not to leave the open sore-to help him to forget. He must know-he does know»-she held herself proudly-«that I have no secrets from you. So that when the time comes for remembering, for thinking it over, he will shrink from you or hate you. Whereas what I want»- her eyes filled with tears-«is that he should know you-only that! I ought to have brought it about long ago.»>