Part 10 out of 10
Bardissi owes them.
And they do pay themselves. Bardissi possesses not only this but
other houses in Cairo, and the soldiers plunder them all, leaving
nothing behind but the bare walls.
They then fall upon Ismail Bey; but he, too, succeeds in cutting his
way through the enemy. With him escape almost all the Mameluke beys
with their followers. They flee far out of Cairo, into the open
At Gheezeh, on the verge of the desert, the Mamelukes lay encamped
on the following day, and there the beys were assembled around their
hero, Bardissi, in a sad consultation.
True, they are safe, yet they feel that their rule in Cairo is at an
end, to be restored no more.
"At an end is the rule of the Mamelukes!" cries the sarechsme,
Mohammed Ali, triumphantly. In the night he sends out messengers
requesting the cadis and sheiks to come to him, as he has important
intelligence to communicate, and a firman sent to him by the grand-
sultan to read to them. The cadis and sheiks hasten to obey his
In Mohammed's apartment they find Courschid Pacha'a chief secretary,
who reads the grand-sultan's firman to them in a loud voice.
The firman appointed Courschid Pacha Viceroy of Egypt and Governor
of Cairo, and commanded all the authorities to obey and serve with
humility and devotion the representative of their grand master, who
would arrive in Cairo on the following day, to take possession of
the fortress and receive the oaths of the officials.
The cadis and sheiks express themselves ready to obey the new
governor in all things, and express the hope that with his
highness's entrance into Cairo a new era of peace may dawn for their
They then withdraw to proclaim what has taken place to the people at
the mosque on the following morning, and to exhort them to be
peaceful and obedient.
Mohammed, however, repaired to the citadel, accompanied by a bim
bashi and two servants, who lead two asses that seemed to be
equipped for a journey. On arriving at the citadel, Mohammed left
the others in the court-yard, and ascended alone to the apartment
where Cousrouf was confined. He was asleep when Mohammed entered. He
stood still on the threshold for a moment, gazing at his prisoner.
"Wake up, Cousrouf! wake up, thou Viceroy of Egypt, wake up!"
Cousrouf starts and stares at him.
"What is it? Who calls me?"
"Your devoted servant, the sarechsme by your grace, Mohammed Ali,
"I know by your voice that you have come to kill me!" cried
Cousrouf, springing to his feet.
Mohammed slowly shook his head.
"Had I desired your death, you would long since have stood before
Allah's throne, to render an account of your crimes. No, Cousrouf, I
have not come to kill you, but to read to you a message from the
grand-sultan at Stamboul."
Cousrouf bowed his head.
"You mean my condemnation. Were it an acknowledgment of my right and
a restoration to authority, Mohammed Ali would not have come to
announce it. Read!"
The sarechsme unfolded the paper, and read in a loud voice the
firman which deposed Cousrouf from the office of viceroy.
"For he has performed its duties badly, and not proved worthy of our
favor. He has been vanquished by rebels, and has sought safety in
flight, instead of dying in the fulfilment of his duty. Humiliated
and disgraced, he has been brought a prisoner to the palace in which
he once ruled. Cousrouf is entirely unworthy of the honors conferred
on him, and is hereby deposed from his office and dignities, and
forbidden ever to present himself before the grand-sultan, or to
show himself at Stamboul in the holy empire of the grand-sultan. He
is banished and exiled from the empire, and his name must never be
mentioned in the hearing of the grand-sultan. He is to be conveyed
to the fort built on the island of Imbro, there to remain until he
dies. Such are the commands of the grand-sultan, his gracious
When Mohammed finishes reading, profound silence ensues. Cousrouf
utters no word in reply. He stands there, motionless, pale as a
corpse, staring at Mohammed. He seems to be still listening to the
words he has heard, to the fearful announcement of his fall and
"To Imbro you go," said Mohammed Ali, after a pause. "Do you
No word comes from Cousrouf's pale lips; he slowly shakes his head.
"Imbro is a little island, opposite Cavalla, and for the selection
of this place you are indebted to me, Cousrouf. Do you know why I
selected it? From the windows of your prison you can see Cavalla,
the bay, and the Ear of Bucephalus. From there you can see the sea
and the coast, can see the place where on that night the poor boy
lay on the shore, also the place where Masa sank beneath the waves.
You shall see this place, Cousrouf. I know your gaze will often turn
in that direction, and I know you will think of me when you look at
the coast, Cousrouf. Your life shall be an everlasting remorse. This
is my revenge, Cousrouf. Throughout the remainder of your life your
recollections shall torment you, and you shall gaze upon the place
where Masa died, and where you made of the innocent boy a hard-
hearted man. At Imbro you shall live, Cousrouf, and I shall take
care that you sometimes hear of me there, and learn what has become
of the boy who lay stretched out on the shore, his heart torn with
anguish, while you caused that which he held dearest on earth to be
sunk in the cold grave of the waves. This is our last meeting, yet
you shall often hear of me, and this I tell you in advance: Cousrouf
Pacha, where you stood in your power and magnificence, there shall
Mohammed Ali stand. He will, however, be more powerful than you
were, and no one shall deal with him as he has dealt with you. No
one shall depose him from his place, be assured of this, and
remember it in your solitude at Imbro. Bear my greeting to Cavalla,
to the yellow shore, and to Masa's deep, blue grave. And now I have
nothing more to say to you. I shall send up the bim bashi who is to
conduct you to Alexandria, and accompany you on the ship to your
home at Imbro. Farewell!"
He turns and hastily leaves the room, without looking again at
Cousrouf, who stands there motionless and deathly pale.
On ascending and unlocking the door of Cousrouf's prison, the bim
bashi sees him stretched out on the floor, pale and motionless. Is
he dead? Has the terrible blow destroyed him?
It were well for Cousrouf if he were dead! But no; he lives! He had
only for the moment found relief in insensibility from the
consciousness of humiliation and disgrace.
He returns to consciousness, is led down to the court-yard, mounted
on his ass, and conducted by the bim bashi and the slaves to
Alexandria. From there he is transported in the vessel, that lies in
readiness, across the sea to Imbro, to the citadel, from whose
windows he can see Cavalla, the water, and the place where he buried
Masa beneath the cold, blue waves.
LOVE UNTO DEATH.
ON the afternoon of this fearful day, all was again restored to
quiet in the streets of Cairo. The terror-stricken inhabitants had
again ventured forth from their houses, and were standing in groups,
discussing in subdued voices the events of the day. But they ceased
conversing when they now saw the cadi approaching on horseback, and
in advance of him the public crier. In the cadi's name he proclaimed
to the people a general amnesty for all past offences: "The new
viceroy is to enter the city on the morrow. Let the city put on
festive attire, and let a hearty welcome be extended him. Remove
from the streets and houses all traces of conflict and bloodshed.
Bury your dead, and care for your wounded, ye wives of the Mameluke
beys and the kachefs. Do your duty, ye women and ye servants."
These orders of the cadi were proclaimed throughout the entire city
by the crier.
But now the veiled women come out into the streets with their
servants, and, in obedience to the prophet's injunctions, seek the
wounded and suffering, take them to their houses, and care for them
Many of the dead and wounded lie in front of Bardissi's palace--men
who had stood faithfully by their master, and fallen bravely in the
discharge of duty.
A number of women approach this place. Veiled like the rest is she
who precedes the others; yet her royal bearing, and the deference
shown her by the servants and Mamelukes who accompany her, proclaim
her to be Sitta Nefysseh. She is performing her woman's duty of
seeking out and caring for the wounded. She stoops down over the
bodies that lie stretched out on the earth, and suddenly a cry
escapes her lips--a single cry; she then beckons to the servants,
who have followed them with stretchers, for the transport of the
unfortunate. She gazes in mute horror at the Mameluke bey who lies
there, weltering in his blood, a fearful wound on his forehead, that
almost renders his features irrecognizable. She, however,
distinguishes her lover, and commands her servants to place him on
the stretcher. With her own hands she binds up his wound, and covers
his countenance with the white cloths handed her by her women. She
then orders her servants to carry the Mameluke bey to her house, and
directs her women to continue their search for the wounded.
She walks beside the stretcher on which the wounded man lies. He
does not move; he lies there insensible, unconscious of what is
Perhaps Sitta Nefysseh is only conveying a corpse to her house!
She has him carried up into the second story of her house. There he
is laid on a mat, and with tender hands Sitta Nefysseh herself
adjusts the cushions and pillows. The servants bring to his couch,
in silver bowls, water and the healing ointment which Sitta Nefysseh
had prepared with her own hands. With gentle touch she wipes the
blood from his countenance, washes out the wound, and applies to it
She neither weeps nor laments. Her lips are mute, and her eyes shed
nq tsars. Is this a time to weep, when Youssouf Bey is suffering and
needs her care and attention? No, at such a time a woman must be
strong. She will have time enough for tears and lamentation in her
The fearful gash on his forehead bears silent evidence of this. She
has often seen similar wounds, and bound them up herself.
She well knows that Youssouf Bey is wounded unto death--that there
is no hope of recovery: Yet she does not weep. With Allah all is
possible, and he may be gracious. A miracle may occur; Youssouf's
youthful vigor and his heroic nature may yet vanquish Death. Perhaps
her love may preserve him. Grant, merciful Allah, that it be so!
Her women now come with other injured Mamelukes, who are placed on
the mats Sitta Nefysseh had caused to be spread out for them in the
Sitta Nefysseh forbids any one to enter the room where Youssouf
"He needs repose," said she, stepping into the adjoining room to see
that the other wounded were being well cared for. "Youssouf Bey
needs repose. Be still, move noiselessly, and do not disturb his
sleep! It may be the sleep of death. Be still, close the doors and
draw the curtains, that no noise may reach him!"
It is perfectly quiet in the room where Youssouf Bey lies. Sitta
Nefysseh kneels beside him. Her hands folded in silent prayer, her
eyes fastened on his countenance, she bends over him and breathes
her warm, glowing breath through his cold lips, to give him of her
life, and bathes his cold brow with her warm tears.
Sitta Nefysseh's prayerful, tearful entreaties are heard. Youssouf
Bey awakens from his death-like slumber. Love has recalled the
spirit to the body. Love opens his eyes and permits him to see and
recognize her who is bowed over him, regarding him with loving
"Is it you, Sitta Nefysseh? Am I already dead, and is it a divine
being that looks at me with your eyes?"
"No, my Youssouf, you live and are with me on earth!"
"Oh, it is impossible--impossible! Only a sweet illusion," whispers
he, with quivering lips; his eyes close, and he falls back heavily.
But she bends over him, strokes his brow and cheek with gentle
touch, and calls him loving names.
"You live," murmurs she, "oh, feel that you live, dear Youssouf,
Feel it in this kiss!"
A soft tremor courses through his entire being, and his eyes open.
Yes, he lives! He is not dead! This is Nefysseh's victory over
death, this is the result of the impassioned kiss impressed on the
lips of her beloved.
"And is it possible, Nefysseh, you are indeed with me, and my dreams
of love and bliss are realized? You with me! What can have happened?
Why this wondrous change?"
He raises his hand to his forehead and touches the wound, and then
he knows what has taken place; he feels it in the burning pain of
"Oh, we are lost--all lost! Tell me, Nefysseh, must I die?"
"No, you shall not die; you shall live, Youssouf, live for me."
"For thee? Oh, tell me, Nefysseh, do you, then, love me?"
She bends over him, clasps him in her arms, and lays her cheek
"You ask, Youssouf? Do you not know? I have long loved, perhaps I
loved you even while Mourad still lived! But I wished to know
nothing of it, and I knew nothing of it. I refused to listen to the
voices that whispered in my heart. And yet so blissful, so heavenly,
to look at you, Youssouf, and read in your eyes the secret of your
love. Yet my lips were silent, for, as Mourad's wife, I wished to
remain unblamable. You loved me, and I wished to remain free from
blame for your sake, too."
The tears that pour from her eyes fall upon his face--a heavenly dew
that gives him new strength, new happiness.
"Speak on, Sitta Nefysseh, oh, speak on! What I hear is music! Let
me hear this music and be happy! Oh, speak on, Nefysseh!"
"What shall I say, Youssouf? The whole meaning of my words is still,
I love you, and have long loved you! When Mourad, my husband, died,
I vowed over his dead body that I would remain true to him beyond
the grave. Do you know why I wished to raise this barrier between
us? I could not allow the youth to sacrifice his life for me in the
blossom of his age. And, moreover, oh, fool that I was, I fancied
the wide abyss that separated Mourad Bey's widow from his kachef
Youssouf could never be crossed! I was proud, Youssouf, and proud
for you, also! I did not wish to give any one occasion to say:
'Kachef Youssouf marries Mourad's widow for her possessions--for her
wealth. She is too old for him to love her. He can only have married
her for her wealth and her name.' Thus they might have spoken of the
youth, of the hero I loved and adored, and for whom I would gladly
have sacrificed my life."
"And to whom you were yet so cruel, Sitta Nefysseh; to whom you
caused so much suffering! For I have suffered, Sitta Nefysseh. It
was my heaven to be in your presence, to see you. I adored you, and
yet you refused to listen to me. But let me be silent. Speak on, oh,
speak on of my happiness! Tell me again that you love me, Nefysseh;
I cannot believe it--it cannot be!"
"And yet it is so, Youssouf, and long have I loved you. You know not
of the long, sleepless nights I have passed in my solitary chamber,
my hands folded in prayer to Allah for strength and firmness. You
know not how often, in the still night, I have stretched out my arms
toward you, and pronounced your name with passionate longing,
entreating the welis to bear you to me in their gentle arms. Yet,
with the day came cold, calm reason, exhorting Mourad's widow to be
firm and proud. And, alas! I was firm. You knew not what it cost me.
Then, Youssouf, a new period came. The beys Bardissi and L'Elfi
addressed me, covetous not only of the possession of the woman, but
also of her wealth. From that hour I knew that danger threatened
you, for the Mameluke beys are fierce and cruel; and, if they had
known of my affection for you, my beloved, you would have been lost.
This I knew, and therefore was I cold and indifferent in my manner
to you. You called me unfeeling and cruel when I sent you away to
battle. I was afraid it might excite suspicion if I kept you back at
such a time; and then, too, I was satisfied you would make for
yourself a name, which you have done, my beloved. You returned. You
came with a new declaration of love, which Nefysseh rejected,
because Bardissi had been with her in the self-same hour, and had
renewed his addresses, and because he would never forgive you if I
chose you instead of himself. And now this fearful disaster has
overtaken us all! Treachery has stained our streets with blood! The
Mameluke beys have left the city in wild flight! You, Youssouf Bey,
have, however, remained here, and now I may tell you all, avow all
that I feel and have endured and suffered in secret. I may tell you
that I love you, and Allah will be merciful and gracious, Youssouf.
We are united in love. The seal has fallen from my lips, and they
dare proclaim what I feel. Oh, my Youssouf, there is a bright future
in store for us; you will recover, and be strong and happy!"
"I am already well," murmured he. "All is well with me, Sitta
Nefysseh, for you love me, and in your love I shall regain health
His lips cease to speak, and a tremor courses through his whole
"Youssouf!" cries she, in tones of anguish--"Youssouf! Oh, stay with
me, do not leave me!"
In response to her call, he opens his eyes and gives her a tender
"Yes, Sitta Nefysseh, I shall remain with you throughout all time,
throughout eternity, for love is eternal."
His lips are hushed, but his eyes still gaze up at her, for a
moment, with the lustre of life; then they grow dim and cold, and
slowly the veil of death sinks down over his countenance. The lips
that but now spoke the words, "I love you," are hushed forever!
Bowed down over him, her eyes axed intently on the features from
which the last traces of life are vanishing, she sees the kiss that
Death has imprinted on his lips; and the last smile slowly fade from
And again she neither weeps nor laments; she only tears the veil
from her head with a wild, despairing movement, and lays it over the
countenance of her beloved dead.
"Sleep, Youssouf, sleep beneath my veil! You are dead, and my
happiness dies with you--I shall be a living monument to your
memory! I shall live in poverty and solitude, Youssouf, and the
treasures which you buried for me beneath the earth shall remain
there, a subterranean monument to my love. They shall never see the
light of day! You have buried my treasures, and I will bury my
greatest, holiest treasure--you, Youssouf Bey; and with you Sitta
Nefysseh buries her youth, her love, and her grandeur, to be
henceforth only a poor widow, who lives in solitary retirement, a
prey to sorrow. Sleep, Youssouf Bey! You will awake with me above,
to an eternal life--sleep, Youssouf!"
She lifts the veil once more, and kisses the forehead, now cold as
marble; she then replaces it softly, and leaves the room.
A new viceroy is enthroned in Cairo, the viceroy Courschid Pacha,
and it is again the old story of wars, want of money, and oppression
of the people.
Courschid Pacha! What is he but a continuation of all the other
viceroys, governors, and caimacans who have ruled in Cairo since
Egypt has belonged to the Turkish empire? New taxes, new extortion,
and new wars. For the Mameluke beys have assembled on the plain of
Gheezeh and formed new plans, recruited their ranks with Arabians
and Nubians, and prepared to take the field against the rulers in
Cairo, and above all against their most hated enemy, the pacha
Such was the dignity conferred upon Mohammed by Courschid Pacha,
upon his entrance into Cairo, in the name of the grand sultan.
It is not to war against Courschid Pacha that the Mamelukes are
assembling their forces. To destroy Mohammed Ali, the soldier-king,
the real ruler in Cairo, is their aim; and, in order to accomplish
this, they even humble themselves before the viceroy, who is already
involved in a conflict with Mohammed. They seek to treat with him,
and with the grand-admiral of the Turkish fleet, sent by the Sublime
Porte to Alexandria to restore peace to the distracted country. To
him, the grand-admiral, the Mameluke beys address a letter offering
"The undersigned, knowing that your highness has come to Egypt to
put an end to the anarchy that prevails, offer, in the name of all
the beys, to unite their forces with those of Courschid Pacha, and
to assist him and your highness in all you may do and undertake,
provided Mohammed Ali and the Albanians be driven from the country."
This proposition receives the approval of Courschid Pacha, who hates
Mohammed as heartily as the Mamelukes do! Mohammed is the people's
idol. To him they apply for relief from oppression, and, whenever
there is any thing to be demanded of the viceroy, it is Mohammed,
supported by the cadis and sheiks, who loudly demands that right and
justice be done. Merely this: "Right and justice!" But this it is
that Courschid cannot accord them. He cannot accord right and
justice, he who is always in want and danger, he who is suffering
with the disease that has so long cursed the viceroys of Egypt--want
of money. When money is needed, it must be had, even if extorted
from the inhabitants of Cairo and its vicinity. And Mohammed often
interposes and prevents Courschid from executing his money-raising
Courschid Pacha, incensed by this interference, complains to the
sultan at Stamboul, and requests that the sarecbsme, Mohammed Ali,
be relieved from duty at Cairo, and assigned to duty elsewhere. At
the same time, in order to make himself independent of the
Albanians, who are wholly under the influence of Mohammed Ali, he
causes a body of troops to be brought to Cairo for himself, a body
of Delis, wild, lawless troops, who carry terror and dismay wherever
they go. These Delis are now seen in Egypt for the first time; the
viceroy treats them tenderly, and Courschid, who has money for no
one else, has money for his Delis; and when he has none, he delivers
over to their mercy some village in the vicinity of Cairo, out of
which they pay themselves by pillage.
At last a day came when the people, so long bowed down in the dust,
arose like a lion, and refused to yield longer to such oppression.
"We will endure this no more; we will submit to this injustice and
oppression no longer!"
The cadis and sheiks repair to the citadel to announce the
determination of the people to the viceroy.
"The people refuse to submit further to this oppression. Neither
they nor we will endure it."
They say this to his face, proudly, fearlessly. He replies fiercely:
"I will hurl death into your midst if the people are not brought
back to humility and obedience, for I am your master--I alone!"
"You are our master while we recognize you as such, and no longer,"
replied the cadi, turning and leaving the room, followed by the
In the streets below he announces to the people: "Justice is not to
be obtained of Courschid Pacha, and we will submit to him no more!"
"No, we can and will not submit," say the cadi and sheiks, who,
accompanied by thousands of the people, have repaired to the palace
of the sarechsme.
"We announce to you, Mohammed Ali, in the name of the whole people,
we will recognize and obey Courschid Pacha no longer. This man's
cruelty and injustice are no longer to be endured."
"We declare him removed from his office; we declare him deposed from
the throne," cried the cadi, solemnly; and the sheiks repeat the
cry: "We declare him removed from his office; we declare him deposed
from the throne!"
And in the streets without, the people shout exultingly: "We declare
him deposed from the throne!"
Mohammed listens to these unusual outcries, and his countenance is
grave and solemn.
"You depose him from the throne, O cadi! But whom will you put in
He asks the question slowly and quietly, and no one knows how wildly
his heart throbs within him. He is aware that the crisis is at hand,
and that what he has dreamed of since his boyhood, and worked and
toiled for during four long years, is now about to be decided. "Whom
will you put in his place?"
"Yourself, Mohammed Ali!" cried the cadi, solemnly. "Yes; you must
rule in Courschid Pauha's stead, for we are convinced that your aim
will be the welfare of the people."
"Me!" said Mohammed Ali, recoiling a step as if startled, and the
pallor which overspread his face could have been caused by alarm as
well as by joy.
"No, it is impossible, you cannot select me; I am not worthy of so
great an honor."
"You are worthy of this honor, and the people invest you with it
through me," cried the cadi. "Come, Mohammed Ali, Caimacan of Cairo,
our governor and master! I proclaim you to be such, in the name of
While Mohammed silently shakes his head, the cadi hastily throws
open the wide doors that lead out upon the balcony of the house,
steps out and proclaims, in such loud tones that the assembled
thousands who fill the spacious square can hear him:
"Coursechid Pacha is deposed, and we elect Mohammed Ali Pacha to be
our governor! Is this your will?"
"It is our will!" shout the populace, exultingly. "Courschid is
deposed, and Mohammed Ali is our governor! Long live Mohammed Ali!"
His head bowed down on his breast, Mohammed stands listening to the
grateful words: "Long live Mohammed Ali!"
The cadi re-enters the apartment. "You have heard their voice! Now
show yourself to the people. They have chosen you. Step out upon the
balcony with us, that they may salute you."
"It shall be as you say," said he, after a pause. "The people call
me, and I will greet them. May Allah assist me in advancing their
The cadi takes his hand and leads him out. Without, the assembled
thousands shout exultingly: "Long live our new governor! Our
caimacan! Our viceroy! Long live Mohammed Ali Pacha!"
These strains resound so loudly through the city, that they reach
the citadel. Everywhere in the streets exulting voices cry:
"Courschid Pacba is deposed, and Mohammed Ali is our governor!"
"I am alone viceroy here in Cairo," is the burden of a missive
penned by Courschid in the citadel, and, sent down by him to the
cadi and sheiks. "I alone am viceroy. Upon me the grand-sultan at
Stamboul has conferred this dignity, and a message will soon come
from our master announcing to you his decision with regard to the
rebel, Mohammed Ali. Until then I will assert my authority, and I
appeal to all faithful subjects, and to all who do not wish to
hazard their future with the rebels, and to perish with them, to
rally to the support of their lawful ruler."
And large numbers did so, many fearing, no doubt, the decision
expected from Stamboul.
But Mohammed was undaunted, and besieged the citadel of Cairo with
his faithful Albanians.
The bloody struggle arose between the besiegers and the besieged.
The cannon thundered death and destruction into the city, and, when
vigorous sorties occurred, the conflict sometimes surged far down
into the streets. But finally, after four days of fierce fighting,
the expected message arrived from Stamboul, and an unexpected one it
proved to be, to the viceroy, Courschid Pacha.
The grand-vizier had sent one of his confidants with the capidgi
bashi, with instructions to investigate, and make himself thoroughly
acquainted with the state of things, and learn who was right, and
who wrong; and the capidgi, and his associate, had done so; and now,
upon their arrival in Cairo, they summoned the cadi and sheiks, and
announced to them, and to Mohammed Ali, the firman of the grand-
sultan: "Mohammed Ali is confirmed in his office of Governor of
Cairo and Viceroy of Egypt; and the deposed viceroy, Courschid
Pacha, is ordered to repair to Alexandria, there to await the
further orders of his master."
A copy of this firman is sent up to the citadel, and Courschid
commanded to surrender the fortress, and leave the city immediately.
He at first declined to surrender, and demanded an interview with
the capidgi bashi and his associate. This was, however, refused him,
and he was at last compelled to yield, and give up the citadel.
Through the little side-gate that leads down to the Nile, Courschid,
accompanied by a few faithful followers, left the citadel, and was
conveyed in boats, that lay in readiness, down the river to Boulak.
From there, after a brief sojourn, he continued his journey to
Alexandria, and then on to Stamboul.
While Courschid is descending the secret stairway to leave the
citadel, Mohammed All and his warriors are ascending the hill in
triumph, marching to the strains of stirring military music. The
garrison of the fortress lay down their arms, and all cry,
exultingly: "Long live Mohammed Ali, our new viceroy!" He still
hears it as he enters the grand apartment where Courschid has been
in the habit of receiving him. He still hears it as he steps out
upon the wall of the fortress, and looks down upon the wondrous
city, at the Nile, at the palm-trees on the green shore beyond, and
at the yellow desert, on whose verge the pyramids tower aloft.
"Long live our new viceroy, Mohammed Ali!"
This cry resounds from a thousand voices, and Mohammed gazes out
upon the beautiful, heavenly world that is now his own, and an
ecstasy that almost makes his heart stand still, possesses his soul.
"Long live the Viceroy of Egypt!"
"I have reached my goal. I am the viceroy. They greet me with shouts
of joy, and wish me a long life. I will endeavor to reward them.
Poor, bleeding Egypt, shall progress under my rule. I will endeavor
to bring prosperity and happiness to those who have suffered so
much. This I swear, by Allah! I will raise this poor land up out of
the dust. Yes, I swear it, by Allah!"
PEACE and tranquillity prevail at last.--For the present, at least,
the people enjoy blessings to which they have long been. strangers,
and it is to the new viceroy and his beneficent rule that they owe
these blessings. He has signalized the beginning of his rule by
compelling the lawless horde of Delis, called by Courschid his body-
guard, to return to the interior of Africa. He has also brought back
into subjection the Armenians and Albanians, who, carried away by
the war-fury, had, for a period, laughed at all order and
discipline. Though mild and gentle toward the devoted and obedient,
Mohammed is severe and cruel to the disobedient and defiant.
Many heads have fallen in these first days of his rule. The head of
many a wild soldier, who paid for his mutinous or riotous behavior
with his life, adorns the wall of the citadel, a warning to the
enemies of law and order.
This warning is not lost on the other soldiers, and on the secret
adherents of the Mamelukes; it teaches them to conform to
circumstances and bow their heads in submission. The Mamelukes
themselves are far distant from Cairo, and lie encamped near Minieh,
equipping and disciplining their forces, and preparing to renew the
The viceroy, however, has a strong arm, and his power increases
daily. He will bring them also into submission.
The people who pass the palace occupied by Mohammed as sarechsme,
stand still, and gaze with curiosity at the changes and alterations
being made there. Large numbers of laborers are engaged in repairing
the injuries sustained by the building in the recent conflicts; in
setting out trees and shrubbery in the garden, and in adorning it
with rare flowers. Great improvements are progressing in the wing of
the building whose windows open on the garden.
Artistically carved lattice-work and shutters are being affixed to
the lofty windows of the second story. And the curious, who observe
this, give each other a sly look, and smile. They understand the
significance of these shutters. These are the shutters of the
windows of a harem, and they proclaim that Mohammed is now also
occupied with, other than affairs of state. The people rejoice in
these harem windows, for they are a guarantee of peace. When the
warrior builds a harem, it proves that he himself believes in the
stability of peace, and the new order of things. And the new viceroy
In discussing these matters, the people who stand in front of the
palace of the Esbekieh tell each other that the viceroy has sent a
messenger to his distant home beyond the sea, where his first wife
and children live, and has sent them word to come to him. "They will
come by water!" relates one of them, "and that is why the dehabieh
is being built at Boulak. It is like a magnificent saloon, and is to
be beautifully adorned--the walls hung with velvet, and the floor
covered with costly Persian carpets. The viceroy's first wife and
his children will come up from Alexandria in this dehabieh."
"His first wife?" exclaims another. "You speak of his first. Has he
then other wives?"
The person addressed then assumes a mysterious air, as if to
intimate that he is in the viceroy's confidence, and quite
accurately informed as to the number of his wives. "It is not
known," says he, hesitatingly; "it is, however, well known that a
harem has been constructed at the citadel, and that here also the
apartments in the wing of the palace are to be arranged as a harem."
"One wife hardly requires two harems, I should fancy?" they all
laughingly repeat; "by Allah, one wife has no need of two harems,
and the viceroy must therefore have as the prophet allows, more than
But no one knows it; and Mohammed takes care to be silent concerning
his private life. He is reticent in such matters, and only talkative
when in conference with his ministers and government officials, and
most so when conversing with Hassan, his minister of finance, on
which occasions he is often compelled to hear that the treasury is
unfortunately almost empty, and that new means of replenishing it
must be devised.
Money is scarce, but none is spared in decorating the apartments at
the citadel, and below in the palace of the Esbekieh.
The apartments in the citadel destined to be the harem of the
viceroy's wife, as well as the other apartments of the palace, are
being splendidly furnished.
The upper apartments, now that they are completed, the viceroy
inspects alone; through the others he walks beside his faithful
friend Hassan, pointing out with complacency the beauties of the
long suite of elegantly-furnished apartments.
"And do you know who is to occupy these rooms, Hassan?" asked
Mohammed, his countenance assuming a more mild and kindly expression
than Hassan had ever before observed in the usually stern and severe
features of his master.
"It is said the viceroy has sent for his sons," replied Hassan, "and
I therefore suppose that they are to live here."
"And your supposition is right, my friend," replied the viceroy,
smiling. "Yes, here my dear sons will live, my three boys. Yet they
must be almost young men by this time. Let me see, five years have
passed since I saw them. They must have changed very much in this
time, Hassan, and I confess my heart yearns for them. Do you think
they will know me?"
"You are not changed, master," replied Hassan. "Just as you look
now, you looked on that day, you know, the day at Aboukir, when I
saw you for the first time."
"I know, we met there for the first time, and you are the only
friend that has stood beside me faithfully since that day. The only
one, too, Hassan, in whom I confide, and may Allah grant that you
stand beside me through life!"
"Yes, may Allah grant that my enemies may never succeed in making
you distrust me. For this I know, I shall remain faithful to you
until death; and malice and calumny alone can succeed in alienating
from me my master's confidence."
"Hassan," said the viceroy, looking at him earnestly, "I do not
listen to calumny, and, whatever I hear, I do not believe it unless
I recognize it as truth. You will be often calumniated, my friend;
that I well know. But this I promise you: whatever evil is said of
you I will repeat to you, to enable you to justify yourself, and
then woe to those who have the temerity to calumniate you!"
The viceroy has shown the beautiful apartments of the citadel to his
friend Hassan, but the apartments in the palace of the Esbekieh he
shows to no one; through them he wanders alone. The saloons and
chambers are not yet finished; he carefully observes them as he
walks along, noting whether his instructions are being complied
with. Now he has entered the immense saloon, situated at the end of
the apartments of the harem. He locks the door behind him; here no
one must see him; to this sanctuary no human eye must follow him.
At the entrance he stands still and looks around. A wondrous change
has come over him. He smiles, and his countenance is still more
radiant than when he spoke with Hassan of his sons. His eyes sparkle
like those of a youth who beholds again the countenance of his
The saloon is curiously furnished. Nothing splendid, nothing
beautiful is to be seen. Simple mats cover the floor, such mats,
woven of long straw by the fellahs, as adorn the harems of the
poorer class of people in Cairo. There are no divans, but only low
cushions covered with plain woolen cloth, no costly hangings, no
mirrors on the walls; they are hung with gray linen, as though they
were the sides of a gigantic tent, and in the middle of this immense
space there really stands a tent--a large one made of white cloth,
patched with colored rags of every description, such a tent as the
Bedouin chiefs of the desert dwell in.
Any one entering this immense space, after passing through the
glittering apartments of the harem, would have been strangely and
mysteriously affected by its appearance.
But Mohammed is not so affected. He steps in noiselessly, as if
fearing to disturb the repose of some one.
Is any one reposing there?
Not yet; but the time, it is to be hoped, will soon come when this
tent shall no longer be unoccupied as now.
Mohammed steps forward, draws back the curtain, and enters the first
apartment of the tent.
How plain it is, how desolate and bare! On the mat in the corner,
however, lie cushions, and spread over them a shawl adorned with
tassels, the cover for the person who is to sleep there; there
stands also a stool, and on it lies a tray, which contains various
articles of table-ware, such as dishes, plates, and pitchers. `
It all looks extremely plain, but, when viewed more closely, it is
observed that, beneath this simplicity, splendor is concealed. When
the shawl is raised, it is discovered that the other side is of
heavy crimson velvet, inworked with gold, and bordered with pearls.
When the tray that lies on the stool is examined, it is found to be
of solid silver, and of great value, though unpolished and rough;
and the cups, dishes, and other articles, prove to be of richly-
worked gold, set with precious stones, and placed as if in jest in
plain, wooden forms. Mohammed examines all these things with a smile
of satisfaction, and murmurs to himself: "Yes, yes, it was just so.
The first apartment presented just this appearance."
He now draws back the curtain that opens into the second apartment,
and it seems to him he hears now as then a sweet voice say: "The
second apartment is for the women, and no man is ever allowed to
enter it. I will conduct you into that apartment, and there I beg
you to remain."
The second apartment, where Butheita lived, was just like this.
There lay the cushions on which her lovely form reposed at night.
Just so was the woollen cover with its white and brown stripes, and
like these were the little red shoes that stood beside her couch
there. Only those were of leather and these were of red velvet, and
sparkled with precious stones. When raised, it was found that the
other side of this woollen cover, like that in the other apartment,
was also of splendid material, richly worked and adorned with gems.
There was nothing else here but a small chest that stood in a remote
corner, as in Butheita's tent. In that she kept the little
ornaments, purchased for her in Tantah by her father, articles of
jewelry found in the sand of the desert, and which had perhaps been
worn by a daughter of the Pharaohs, and gems that had been taken
from the grave of some mummy, where they had lain for thousands of
years. Outwardly the chest that stood in the corner looked like the
other, but it contained treasures of a different nature; a costly
necklace of pearls, buckles of enormous value, and a diadem, so
lustrous that it seemed as though Mohammed had stolen stars from
heaven with which to adorn his love.
As he stands there absorbed in the contemplation of these articles,
a feeling of unutterable bliss comes over him, of happiness unknown
to him for many long years.
Yes, unknown to him for long years, for very many have elapsed since
Masa died. Since the time when he prepared the subterranean grotto
for Masa, he has never until now experienced such ecstasy. He steps
out, closes the curtains, and surveys every thing once more, and
smiles his approval.
"Now I go for your mistress," murmured he, as he turns and walks
toward the door. But at the door he suddenly stands still. He feels
that this is not the countenance of the viceroy, of a ruler, but
that of a happy man. Such a countenance he must, however, not
exhibit to the world; no one must see that the ruler, perplexed and
weighed down with the cares of state, can sometimes forget that he
is a ruler, and become for a moment a happy man. When he steps out
his countenance wears its usual grave and severe expression.
On the evening of this day, the viceroy leaves the citadel for a
short time. He wishes to repose for a few days in his house on the
shore of the Nile, opposite Boulak, in the house he had caused to be
built when he was sarechsme, and to which he had given the name
A single servant, Achmed, accompanies the viceroy to Salam-lyk,
where he proposes to enjoy a little rest from the cares of state, as
he is in the habit of doing from time to time.
Upon his arrival at Salam-lyk, he calls Achmed to his apartment,
confers with him for a long time, and gives him instructions with
regard to something he wishes him to do. Achmed leaves him, mounts a
swift dromedary, and rides out into the night, and Mohammed retires
to rest. But he rises again with the earliest dawn, and gazes
impatiently out of the window, as if expecting some one; he smiles
at himself; he is as impatient as a young girl, or as a lover
awaiting the coming of his love.
But hour after hour passes, and still he sees no one coming up the
path that leads through the garden to the house. But finally, at
noon, Achmed is seen approaching
Mohammed hastens out into the garden to meet him.
"Well, did you find the tent?"
"Yes, master, the dromedary ran to it of its own accord."
"And whom did you meet at the tent?"
"The father, master--the chief Arnhyn."
Mohammed quickly averts his face--the servant must not see that his
lips quiver, that he grows pale.
"You met the chief, and he was alone?"
"Yes, master, alone in his tent, and I conversed with him."
"What was said? Did he speak of his daughter? Has she followed
another man to his tent?" asked Mohammed, in such quick, passionate
tones, that Achmed started and failed to understand his meaning.
"No, master, he spoke to me of his daughter, because I, as you
instructed me, asked about, her, yet so casually, that he could not
suspect that I particularly desired to speak of her. He told me his
daughter was much changed; she had become sad and delicate, and he
had therefore sent her to visit some friends at Petresin, in order
that she might be thrown together with other young girls for a time,
and learn to laugh and jest again. She had, however, sent her father
word yesterday that she could endure it no longer, and would return
home to-day. He stood at the door awaiting her, unwilling to leave
his tent to go out to meet her, for fear of the thieving Bedouins
that roam the desert, and who knew that his tent contained costly
"Then you suppose Butheita will return to her father's to-day?"
"I remained there until I saw her coming in the distance. The
sheik's eagle-eyes recognized her in the dim distance. 'There comes
my daughter, Butheita, with her friends!' he cried, joyously; 'in an
hour she will be here.' I remained some time longer, the sheik
gradually becoming more and more delighted as he recognized his
daughter more distinctly. 'Yes, it is Butheita!' he cried; 'she is
returning home.' Then I took my departure, master, to bring you the
"And how long," asked Mohammed, hastily, his countenance averted--
"how long do you suppose it will take to reach the sheik's tent?"
"I took, as you instructed me, master, the dromedary you recently
purchased from Sheik Arnhyn. It knew the road, and flew on its way
like the wind, without any guidance. I think it call be reached in
"In two hours!" repeated Mohammed. "An hour after sunset, this
evening, have the dromedary in readiness, and, for yourself, the
swiftest horse. At that hour we will depart."
Night has come. The Bedouin chief, Arnhyn, has retired to rest. He
is to start early in the morning with others of his tribe for
Tantah, to take to market the wool of their black sheep, the cloth
they have woven out of it, the goat-skins; and cheese.
Butheita, also, must rise early in the morning, for she is to
accompany her father, and has many little preparations to make. On
the evening before, she had already done up her hair in a hundred
small plaits, securing them with gold-headed pins, on some of which
precious stones sparkled. The pink silk dress, the white veil, and
the shoes, all lie ready for use: She has colored her finger-nails
and the palms of her hands with henna; but Butheita scorns to color
her face; moreover, no one is to see her face. Hitherto she had
cordially detested her veil, but now she hides her countenance
closely in the presence of all men.
Surprised at this, the sheik has often asked her how it happened
that such a change had come over her, and that she showed herself to
no one unveiled since the strangler had sojourned in their tent, as
though his eyes had hurt her, and made her afraid of the gaze of
Butheita had only smiled mysteriously in response to his questions;
she well knows, however, why she does so: she knows it is to keep
sacred from the gaze of other men the countenance consecrated by his
Night has come. The sheik is sleeping soundly on his mat in the
first apartment of the tent, and Butheita on her cushions in the
inner apartment. Deep silence prevails, interrupted only from time
to time by the desert-wind as it sweeps across the plain and shakes
the stakes of the tent, and makes the white canvas swe11 out.
Surely it was only the wind that now raised the curtain and made the
canvas rustle. But it does not awaken the sheik; he is accustomed to
such sounds, and sleeps so quietly that he does not see the shadow
that glides cautiously into the tent, and creeps to where he lies
sleeping. Without, stands another man, holding up the curtain to
enable the first to see his way.
The moon throws a ray of light into the tent, and with a quick bound
the man is beside the sheik, and binds his hands and feet. The sheik
is now aroused; he opens his lips to utter a cry, but a wooden gag,
is thrust into his mouth. He can neither cry out nor move; he lies
there perfectly helpless, looking up wrathfully at the enemy who is
treating him so shamefully.
The robber's face is masked, and he can not recognize him. But a
robber he assuredly is; yes, a robber who is searching for treasure,
and who well knows that the sheik possesses several little chests
filled with gold-pieces, jewelry, and precious stones, and who also
knows that they are kept within in Butheita's apartment. Yes, the
robber knows this, for he is cautiously creeping into the second
apartment. But this is not the one who bound him; it is another.
There are therefore more of them. The first, the tall man who bound
him, is now waiting at the door of the tent; the other, the smaller
one, is entering the inner apartment. The sheik, powerless to
prevent, sees all this as he lies bound on his mat.
Butheita still sleeps soundly. He who glides to her side regards her
for a moment with an ardent, passionate glance, and then bends down
and quickly binds her feet, and her hands, that lie crossed on her
breast, with silken cloths. As she awakens and attempts to cry out,
he quickly throws a gold-embroidered cuffei over her head, ties it
securely around her neck, and then lifts Butheita in his arms. But,
as he does so, he whispers in her ear, "Fear nothing, Butheita, no
harm will be done you!"
A sudden tremor seizes her; she thinks she recognizes this voice.
But no, it is impossible. He would not come to her as a robber. No,
she is mistaken. Yet she offers no resistance. And what resistance
can she offer? Her hands and feet are bound, and now she is borne
out, and lifted high, and then laid down.
She does not see that she is on her own dromedary. She lies on the
same cushion in the same palanquin in which she had once held the
sarechsme Mohammed Ali a prisoner, and he it is who seats himself
beside her. "And now onward, onward, my Alpha!"
The Nubian mounts his horse, and the swift dromedary speeds his way
through the desert.
The night is clear, and the moon is shedding a golden lustre over
the sand, through which the ship of the desert is flying with its
rich prize, and behind it the Nubian, his hand on his pistol, ready
to shoot down any one who may dare to attack his master.
Now the rider draws rein and stops the dromedary; the sublime image
of the desert-queen, silvered over with the moonlight, towers before
them in majestic proportions.
"This is the desert-queen, the goddess of all the Bedouins!" cries
Mohammed. "Do you wish to see her, Butheita? I am sorry for you, and
would gladly remove the cloth from your head and eyes in order that
you may see. But if you are cruel, you might tear my arms with your
teeth. Will you do that, Butheita?"
She starts and shakes her head, inwardly rejoicing, for she
recognizes these words, and remembers that she spoke them when he
lay a prisoner on the cushion before her. And he now continues to
speak just as she spoke then
"You shake your head, and I will trust you and loosen your bonds."
He quickly unties the cuffei and removes it from her head. She looks
up at him who is bowed down over her, and the kind moon sheds her
soft light upon them, and enables them to see each other.
Oh, happy moment! Forgotten is all, forgotten the long separation--
forgotten, also, that her father will be angry and will grieve for
her! She looks only at him, sees only him, and yet, as he now bends
down closer, she turns her face aside.
Mohammed smiles and points to the sphinx. "Only look at the shadow
the moon throws from the dromedary to the mouth of the sphinx! Look
at the two heads there, they are our shadows, and they are kissing
each other, Butheita!"
She utters a cry of delight. These were her very words, and, as
then, he says, bending over her:
"Why should our shadows only kiss each other? Why not our lips,
But she shakes her head and says, as she then said:
"I have promised my father to kiss only that man whom I shall follow
to his tent for love. At the door of the tent he may give me the
"And you are still resolved to keep this promise?" said he, smiling.
"I am," says she, also smiling. "And you, Mohammed, shall never kiss
me!" she continues, the smile vanishing from her lips, and her
countenance assuming an angry expression. "No, you shall never kiss
me, for you shall never lead me to your tent as your wife! Oh, I see
it all plainly. You have stolen me from my father to make me a
"Yes," said Mohammed, "I intend you to be a slave, the slave of your
love! For I know you love me, Butheita!"
"No!" she exclaims: "No, I do not love you! And you have no right to
make me a slave. I am the Bedouin queen; my whole tribe call me so,
and the daughters of the Bedouins have never been sold into slavery.
No, I will not be a slave!"
"And yet you shall be the slave of your love!"
"I do not love you, I hate you!" replies she, crying with anger.
"Yes, Mohammed Ali, I hate you, and you shall never kiss me, for I
hate the robber who takes me from my father's house in order to make
me a slave!"
"Butheita," says he, gently, "I removed the cloth from your lips,
but you are not keeping your word; you tear my heart with your lips,
and I must cover them again if you continue to wound me so cruelly."
"Do so; close my lips! They shall say nothing else to you!" cries
she, angrily. "Do so, close my lips and eyes again!"
"Well, then, I shall do so," he says, taking the gold-embroidered
cloth and throwing it over her face. "I do so, Butheita, because I
am not willing the rude wind should kiss the cheek of my beloved;
unwilling the stars should gaze down on you in your loveliness,
unwilling the moon should adorn your countenance with its lustre. I,
alone, will adorn you; I, alone, will gaze on your loveliness; and
my sighs, alone, shall kiss your cheeks! Yes, Butheita, you belong
to me alone, and shall be my slave, as I am your slave, and yet your
master. Shake your head if you will. I am your master, for you love
me. You shake your head again? You mean to say you hate me! I don't
believe it.--Onward, my dromedary, speed through the desert! Onward,
The dromedary moves on still more rapidly over the desert; its
shadow dances beside them on the sand, and behind them the shadow of
the Nubian's steed.
The moon grows pale, the stars vanish; day is beginning to dawn. As
the sun rises, they reach their destination.
The dromedary stops at the little gate at the end of the park.
Achmed dismounts, and opens the gate. Mohammed has lifted Butheita
from the palanquin, and now carries his precious burden into the
All are asleep in the palace. The two glide softly through the park
to the door of the harem. Achmed unlocks it, and Mohammed ascends
the stairway with noiseless footsteps. No one hears or sees him.
Achmed hastens back to care for the horse and the dromedary.
Mohammed carries the precious burden, that lies quietly in his arms,
through the suite of glittering apartments. Butheita sees nothing of
the splendor through which they pass, and, if she saw it, would not
What cares she for gilded rooms! the desert puts on more glorious
attire with each day's dawn, and nothing can be more sublime than
the sphinx near the great pyramids. He who has seen that is
astonished at nothing else; to him all things in the houses of men
Mohammed is aware of this, and he understands the heart of the girl
he bears in his arms; he now enters the large room at the end of the
apartments of the harem. Here he gently lays her down, and locks the
door. The sun has risen and gilds with its light the lattice-work of
the windows, throwing little crimson circles on the mat that covers
the floor. Mohammed unties the silken scarf that binds Butheita's
feet, and assists her to stand up.
He also unties the scarf that binds her hands, and she now stands
before him with her face veiled. He gently removes the cuffei from
her head. Her large black eyes glance around the wide space, and she
sees the tent that looks exactly like her father's. She turns her
eyes on Mohammed with a loving glance. He draws her to his heart.
"Are you still resolved, Butheita, that he only shall kiss you who
leads you to his tent as his wife. And will you only allow him to
kiss you at the door of the tent?"
"I am still so resolved!" she exclaims, but in joyous tones. "I am
still so resolved!"
Mohammed lifts her in his arms and carries her to the tent.
"Butheita, this is my tent! I lead you into it as my wife. Butheita,
may I now kiss you?"
She makes no answer, but, with a loud cry, throws herself upon his
breast, and kisses him passionately. Mohammed encircles Butheita
with his arms, and bears her into his tent.
THE citadel presents a scene of great animation; its apartments,
especially those in which the viceroy's eons are to reside, are
richly adorned and hung with flowers. All the doors are thrown open,
and a number of richly-attired female slaves are standing in the
hall at the head of the grand stairway which is covered with costly
carpets from Damascus.
The citadel has put on festive attire in honor of the wife and sons
of the viceroy Mohammed Ali, who are expected to arrive to-day.
The people are repairing in vast numbers to Boulak on the shore of
the Nile, where the viceroy is to receive his family, and it is
whispered among them that she who has resided in the palace of the
Esbekieh is not his first, but a second wife. No one has seen her,
but very beautiful she must be, else her husband would not guard her
so closely. No one has seen her, but a woman certainly dwells there
in the harem; its windows are lighted up at night, and eunuchs stand
guard outside; veiled slaves have also been seen going in and out of
the palace. Yes, the harem has an occupant, but it is only the
second wife who lives there; the first is to arrive to-day with her
sons from Alexandria!
The people repair in vast numbers to Boulak, to be present at the
reunion of the family of their viceroy, who has already made himself
beloved by his subjects. He throws money among the poor when he
drives through Cairo. He is just, and punishes the guilty with
perfect impartiality, the fellah and courtier alike.
Mohammed, accompanied by his officers, has ridden down to Boulak,
where two landings have been prepared, and richly adorned with
carpets, flowers, and overhanging silken awnings. Here, at the
landing where the viceroy and his generals are waiting, will the
sons, and at the other, where the women stand, will the wife arrive.
The viceroy, erect in his stirrups, looks down the river, and he is
the first to discover the red flags that appear above the horizon.
The sight of the father is keener than that of the curious. A smile
lights up his countenance, and he turns to Hassan, who stands beside
him. "They are coming, Hassan; my sons are coming!"
"Yes, they are coming! The princes are coming!" cry the people. The
splendid vessel approaches nearer and nearer; the flags flutter
gayly in the sunshine; and now Mohammed sees the three figures,
standing on the deck, waving white handkerchiefs in their
outstretched hands. These are his sons. How changed the three boys
seem to the father! These are no longer boys, they are now youths.
It is, however, not strange that they have altered in appearance;
great changes take place in five years.
The vessel lands, and his sons spring quickly to the shore. The
viceroy, Mohammed Ali, had determined to make the meeting a
theatrical spectacle for the people. The people love such
spectacles, and they were to be permitted to look into the sanctuary
of his domestic life as through a glass door. Such had been his
purpose. But at the moment, all this is forgotten, and it is not the
viceroy, dismounting in a stately manner from his horse to receive
his sons, his first servants; it is only the father who springs with
a single bound from his saddle, encircles his three sons in one
embrace, presses them to his heart, and kisses them tenderly.
The people shout with delight, "Long live our viceroy and the
princes!" The guns of the citadel thunder forth a greeting, and
announce to the people that the viceroy no longer rules alone, but
that his sons now rule with him. The welfare of the land is assured,
for the existence of the ruling house is assured.
The young princes mount the horses held in readiness for them, and
ride into the city bide their father. The thunder of the cannon
resounds continuously, shout after shout rends the air, the band of
the regiment of soldiers that had been drawn up at the landing to
receive the princes, joins in the acclaim with merry strains of
music, and the regiment falls into line, and marches behind the
viceroy and his suite. Dense masses of people, Turks and Armenians,
Copts and Jews, Arabs and fellahs, throng the streets through which
they pass. On the imposing procession moves toward the citadel.
At the same time a splendid debahieh has landed at the second place;
it is the wife of Mohammed Ali, who stands on the deck. No soldiers,
and in fact no men, await her on the shore. A wide space about the
landing is kept free by the eunuchs, who drive the curious back with
threatening gestures. Hundreds of women stand on either side of the
landing-place in long rows, their heads enveloped in long white
veils that fall down over the splendid dresses glittering with
Mohammed has commanded that all the women of Cairo should go down to
Boulak to meet his wife Ada, and obey they must, they well know, for
he is certain to punish disobedience to his commands. They were also
to tender her presents upon their arrival at the palace.
She stands on the deck, gazing around with indifference at the
spectacle before her. She is looking for him only--for her husband.
But he is nowhere to be seen. He does not receive her. It would
probably not become the great ruler to welcome his wife before the
world. No one must perceive that the viceroy is also a husband, a
Yes, she has already heard of this: the heart must not be laid bare
to the world, for the world ridicules it.
This is why Mohammed is not there. She draws her veil more closely
about her, and, conducted by the eunuchs, descends slowly the
stairway, strewed with flowers, to the landing-place, where the
women press forward to greet her.
"Welcome, Sitta Ada! Blessed be your coming! Allah's blessings upon
you, Sitta Ada!"
Hundreds of voices repeat the words. She is glad to escape these
noisy greetings by entering the gilded coach that now drives up to
the landing-place. The equipage moves on slowly, followed by the
procession of women who are to accompany her to the citadel.
It is well that the curtains are drawn over the windows of the
carriage, and that no one can see the tears that burst from Sitta
Ada's eyes, or hear the sighs that escape her breast.
"Oh that I had remained in Cavalla! This cold splendor alarms me!
Would that Mohammed had received me quietly, pressed me to his heart
and said, `Welcome, Ada--welcome to my heart and home!"
Is she welcome? He rejoices in his sons, now growing up to manhood
and soon to accompany him to battle and become heroes. In his joy
over his sons, he has forgotten the wife who is now approaching the
citadel with her brilliant suite. He is first reminded of her
presence by the thunder of the guns that announce her arrival at the
citadel. The reception must, however, be completed. He has arranged
every thing with the master of ceremonies, who is to conduct his
queen into the grand audience-chamber to the throne that stands on a
scaffold under a purple canopy.
Ada's heart trembles as she approaches it, and her thoughts are with
the house in Cavalla. Oh that Mohammed Ali had returned to live with
her there! "Departed are all the sweets of domestic happiness for
poor Ada!" a voice whispers in her heart.
The women now come forward, four at a time, and with loud
congratulations lay the presents at her feet, the golden dishes, the
jewelled buckles, the gold-inworked cloths, and every thing that
delights the heart of woman. With kindly words Ada thanks them for
their gifts, hardly realizing what they are. She thanks Allah when
the affair is concluded, and the master of ceremonies approaches,
and with a deferential bearing requests her to descend from the
throne, and walk to the door that leads to the inner apartments. It
alarms her to walk between the long rows of women who bow low as she
passes. But behind the door are the private apartments, and there
she will be alone. This thought cheers her as she walks on
unconscious that a number of female slaves are following her to the
private apartments. Those who fill such exalted stations as that of
the wife of the Viceroy of Egypt, know no solitude, not even in
their private apartments. The slaves now gather around her, fall on
their knees, and swear to serve her faithfully, and her first maid
asks if her gracious mistress will now retire to the toilet-chamber
to change her dress. She dares not refuse, and allows herself to be
conducted thither, where the most splendid garments lie in readiness
for her. She makes no selection, but permits her women to dress her
as they think proper. This is at last concluded, and one of them now
announces that she may enter the private apartments, where his
highness the viceroy is to receive her.
Her heart throbs wildly, like the heart of a young girl, as she
enters the apartment. At the entrance she stands still, timidly.
Alas! he is not yet there--the room is empty. The viceroy makes no
haste to greet his wife.
The door now opens, and Mohammed Ali enters.
Ah! she would hardly have recognized him; to her he seems quite
changed. His countenance is so radiant, his bearing so proud, so
splendid his gold-embroidered uniform, so gracious the smile with
which he advances to meet her, so gracious the manner in which he
extends his hand and smiles on her.--Ada is conscious that it is the
viceroy, the good friend, who stands before her; but the husband it
"Welcome, dear Ada!" he says, in kindly tones. Ah! she is familiar
with these loveless tones. "Welcome, dear Ada; I rejoice heartily to
see you again after this long separation."
She takes his hand, presses it in her own, and looks at him
"Yes, after so long a separation; do you know how long we have been
separated? Do you feel it in your heart?"
"I well know bow long, Ada. We have been separated five years," he
replies, with a kindly smile. "You see five years have effected
"Yes," murmurs she, releasing his hand. "They have brought about
great changes. I see it, Mohammed."
"But, dear Ada, my heart and my affection for you are unchanged," he
says, gently. "I shall ever honor you, Ada, as my first wife, as the
mother of my first-born sons. Yes, as my first wife."
She bows her head. She understands the tone with which Mohammed had
pronounced that fearful word. Yes, she understands it, and bows her
head in humility. And what would opposition avail her? The law of
the prophet allows the man to have several wives. Love is fleeting,
and its ardor soon passes away after marriage. Friendship is the
successor of love, and men say this is happiness.
The women sigh, and bow their heads in silence.
What would it avail Ada to rise in arms against Mohammed's words,
"My first wife"?
"Yes, Ada, you will ever remain my first wife, the honored mother of
my sons. You will ever remain my friend."
Yes, that was the word. She closes her eyes and shudders.
"'Tis well. Your friend, Mohammed! I will not, however, honor you as
my friend, but as my lord, and as the man I have loved alone and
best on earth!"
He gently encircles her neck with his arm, and impresses a kiss on
her forehead. Such a kiss as makes the heart of the woman who loves
writhe in anguish.
Now he begins to speak to her, in gay tones, of his handsome, manly
"They shall come to greet their mother; they are waiting in the next
He walks hastily to the door, opens it, and the three boys enter,
each holding a small package wrapped in paper in his hand.
"What do you bring me, boys!" asks Mohammed, seating himself on a
divan, and calling them to his side.
"What do we bring you, father?" says the eldest, Ibrahim. "We have
brought you keepsakes from Cavalla, and with them we wish to show
you that we have learned something, and have endeavored to imitate
you. The merchant, Lion, has often told me how daring a boatman you
were, and I determined to learn to manage a boat and defy the
treacherous waves, also."
The viceroy regards his son with a radiant smile. The boy's
sparkling eyes gladden his heart and inspires it with high hopes.
"I rejoice in you, Ibrahim, and expect you to become a hero," cries
Mohammed. "Continue. You were resolved to defy the waves--"
"Yes, father, and I did learn to make the waves obey me, and I
became the best boatman in Praousta. I also learned to dive, and no
diver could surpass me. To prove what I say, I have brought you this
keepsake. I brought it up from the depths of the sea; it was tied up
in a bag. I dragged it to the shore and opened it. And what do you
suppose it contained, father? Only think, a skeleton! As these were
the first things I had taken out of the deep as a diver I have
brought you something out of the bag as a keepsake. Here it is, I--
lay it at your feet."
"From the depths of the sea? " repeated the viceroy, with pallid
cheeks. "Tell me, Ibrahim, were you diving off the shore of
"Yes, father. You know the shore is steep, and the sea deep, close
in to the beach. There I dived and found the bag, with which I swam
to the shore. The bag contained bones, and also that which I have
"A bag that contained a skeleton?" repeated Mohammed, with quivering
lips. "And what is it you have brought me?"
"A tress of hair--a tress of long, black hair. It must have been a
woman that was cast into the sea in the bag."
Mohammed does not take the package from his son's hand, and Ibrahim
lays it at his feet and looks at him with astonishment. He is
completely changed; his cheeks are pallid and his eyes dim. Ada also
observes this change with dismay, and calls her sons to her side.
Aroused by her voice, Mohammed awakens from his stupor, and waves
his hand as if to ward off some spectre.
"And what have you brought me, Ismail?--and you, Toussoun?"
"We have also brought you keepsakes from Cavalla," they reply. "We
endeavored to make of ourselves what you were when a boy. We were
told that you had been a famous climber, that no rock was too high,
and the entrance to no cave too narrow, for you. And we discovered a
large cave down by the shore, near Praousta. It was necessary to
creep through a long, narrow passage to get into it, and what do you
think we found there? It seemed as if people had lived there--there
were cushions and all sorts of things scattered around on the floor.
Oh, we often enjoyed ourselves in the cave, singing songs, and
eating fruit we had taken there with us. However, when we visited
the cave for the last time, we determined, each of us, to bring you
a keepsake from it, and here are the things we have brought. I bring
you a beautiful little cup I found there."
"And I bring you a piece of cloth--a beautiful gold-embroidered
cuffei which I found in the cave. It is very handsome, only there
are a few spots, as though blood had dropped on it."
And, like Ibrahim, the two boys also lay the packages they had
brought at their father's feet. He sits there for a moment as
motionless and pale as a marble statue, and then motions with his
hand toward the door. He cannot speak, he only motions to them to
leave the room, and the boys hasten to their mother's side in alarm.
Ada takes them by the hand and leaves the room with them.
Mohammed is now alone with his sons' offerings.
He stares down at them for a while, and then takes up the package
Ibrahim had laid at his feet.
He tears it open, and there lies Masa's long, black hair. A cry
escapes his lips! It is not the viceroy, not the man, who cries out.
It is the death-cry of his first love!
He presses the hair to his lips, and two tears trickle slowly down
his cheeks. His gaze fastens on his Masa's hair in a long, painful
He had often kissed these tresses while they clung to her beloved
head. He now kisses them for the last time, and then conceals them
in his bosom.
He bends down again and takes up the presents of his other sons.
He remembers the cup well. Masa had often drunk out of it.
He kisses the rim of the cup, the place where Masa's crimson lips
had touched; he then carefully places it on the cushion beside him.
He now takes up the third present--the gold-embroidered cuffei he
had purchased for Masa from the merchant, Lion.
She wore it around her neck for the last time when he pressed her to
his heart and took leave of her for a short time, as he thought. She
wore it when he left her that night, and when he returned she was
gone, and he did not see her again until her death-hour.
He holds the cloth up before him, and sees the dark-red spots-her
blood! She had struggled with her captor, and he had injured her
shoulder, where the cloth rested, with the point of his dagger! He
can tell this by the incision in the cloth where the spots of blood
This is Masa's blood, shed for him! He kisses the spot, and binds
the cloth around his neck--the cloth she has worn, the cloth
inscribed with her blood! A holy remembrance of her, he will never
part with it. It shall protect him from the rude wind of the world.
He lays his hand on Masa's tresses again; he looks at the cup, and
sits there motionless, absorbed in thought, for a long time.
His whole past rises up before him. He is once more at home, on the
rude rock where he spent his youth.
He sees every thing once more; sees, also, the pale face of his
Osman, of his dear friend.
He is dead--his sons have told him that Osman is dead.
"It is well for him that he is, he suffered much," he murmurs, in
low tones. "I, also, have suffered much. And yet I have also
experienced much happiness, and shall probably do so in the future,
also," he continues, in louder tones. "Sink down behind me, past!
the future is mine. And now be strong, Mohammed; arise and be a man!
The past is at an end! Masa, you have to-day sent me a greeting
through my sons. Farewell! Now I belong to the present and to the
He rises, walks with firm footstep through the apartment, and enters
the room where Ada and his sons are awaiting him.
"Come, my sons, I will show you my capital, the most beautiful of
all cities--I will show you Cairo. Come!"
He takes his sons by the hand, and, alas! he forgets the poor woman
who is regarding him tenderly, and down whose cheeks two tears
slowly trickle as the door closes behind him.
Mohammed leads his sons through the long suite of splendid
apartments, which they regard with wonder, into the grand reception-
chamber, and steps out with them upon the balcony. The beautiful
city of Cairo now lies spread out before them. Over there glitters
the Nile, like a silver ribbon, and beyond tower aloft the wondrous
forms of the great Pyramids of Gheezeh.
A cry of delight escapes the lips of the boys. "Oh, how beautiful,
how glorious, father!"
"Yes, beautiful is Cairo; beautiful is Egypt, my sons. All that you
see spread out before you is mine. I am the ruler of Egypt; you
shall be its rulers after me, and our house shall become great and
glorious. This I swear, by Allah! I will not, like my predecessors,
be deposed from my throne and descend the hill on which stands the
proud citadel of Cairo. I swear, by Allah, that my house shall
continue to rule over Egypt, and it shall be inscribed in the books
of history: 'Mohammed Ali was the first free viceroy of Egypt, and
his sons succeeded him on the throne.' Swear to me, my sons, that
you will one day become good and just rulers over Egypt!"
"We swear that we will, father! We will one day become good and just
rulers over Egypt!" the three boys reply, as with one voice, their
eyes sparkling, their countenances radiant with the light of high
"You have heard it, Allah!" cries the father, in solemn tones, his
head bowed down, his right hand uplifted. "I will firmly establish
the rule of my house, and my sons have sworn to become good and just
rulers. Then be thou, also, our gracious ruler, and with thy great
prophet, Mohammed, look down with favor upon the four human beings
who stand humbly in thy presence! Not the vassal of the grand-sultan
at Stamboul, but the free, independent viceroy, will I be, and after
me shall my sons rule--this I swear! Seal thou my resolve with thy
blessing, O Allah!"