Part 2 out of 10
name was Hakem. To him it did not seem enough to be the descendant
of Mohammed, of our great prophet--he wished to be king and prophet
himself. He desired to found a new religion, and, because the
inhabitants of El-Kahera would not bow down before him in the dust,
and abandon their prophet, Mohammed, for his sake, he caused the one
half of the beautiful city of El-Kahera, the Victorious, to be laid
in ashes, and he allowed his wild hordes to plunder and rob the
other half. He rejoiced in this, and imagined Allah would be
contented. He said, too, that Allah conversed with him each day, and
gave him instructions with his own lips. It was for this purpose
that he went daily into the mountains of Mokatan, which rise on the
banks of the Nile, near the city; and there he, a second Moses,
communed, as he declared, with Allah.
"But one day he did not return from the mountains, and when his
janizaries sought him they found him lying dead on the ground,
pierced with daggers.
"The Fatimites had ruled over Egypt for two hundred years. Their
glory was now at an end, and Allah sent the unbelievers as a scourge
to punish those who had dared to set themselves above the prophet,
to punish the sons of Hakem who had declared himself to be the
"The unbelievers, who called themselves Christians, came, therefore,
with a cross on their arms, and a cross on their banners, conquered
El-Kahera, and levied a tribute of many millions of piasters. But
the Caliph Addad, a son of Hakem, called to his assistance
Noureddin, the ruler of the land of Alep, who sent him a powerful
army, and the army of the Christian dogs was scattered like dust
before the winds.
"Yet Addad reaped no blessing from the assistance thus called to his
side--the son was to be punished for the misdeeds and tyranny of his
father Hakem. A strong and mighty man had come with Noureddin's
army; he made himself Addad's vizier, their commander-in-chief, and
Addad died of mortification. Saladin the son of Ayoub, assumed his
place, and became the ruler of Egypt, and founded the dynasty of the
The scha-er paused a moment, and directed a glance of his wild black
eyes at the audience surrounding him. The men regarded him with
profound gravity, and nodded their heads in approval, and requested
him to proceed.
Rejoicing at his success, he continued in a loud voice: "But the
rule of the Ayoubites did not last long; it was even more brief than
that of the Fatimites.
"The reign of the ten sultans distinguished the short and glorious
history of their house, which, above all, loved show and splendor.
The palaces of these proud rulers of El-Kahera were crowded with
servants and slaves.
"It was at this time that the Mogul, Genghis Khan, assembled all the
Tartar hordes of his land under his banner. They followed him to the
banks of the Tigris, and nothing but terror and desolation, ashes
and bones, were found where they had passed. Burning and destroying,
they marched to the banks of the Caspian Sea. Lamentations,
followed, and numberless corpses encumbered the track of his army.
At last, weary of their bloody work, the Mongols stopped to rest in
"Here they purchased slaves for their masters. One Ayoubite alone
purchased twelve thousand young men: with them he repaired to Asia
Minor, where he dressed them in rich, glittering garments, and
called them his Mamelukes, that is, 'those he had acquired and paid
for.' And now, listen, ye men of Cavalla, in this manner there arose
in history a new tribe, a new race, and it gave itself the name of
Mamelukes. Even the sultan formed for his service a corps out of
their race; they became mighty and valiant, increased from
generation to generation, and before them rulers trembled. Yes, even
the Sultan at Stamboul feared their might.
"The Mamelukes, however, dethroned the last Ayoubite, the one who
had purchased them. The Mamelukes vanquished all the Christian dogs
who came to the holy land to fight for what they call the holy
grave. They murdered the last sultan. They then placed on the throne
one of their own race, a Mameluke. And observe, ye men of Cavalla,
with this begins a new era in the history of this land: the
Mamelukes mount the throne, and make themselves masters of Egypt.
"But upon this fearful deed, follow disorder, revolt, terror, blood,
and death! I could tell you much more of the atrocities done by the
Mamelukes, unheard of as yet by any of you, and such as the history
of no other land can exhibit. I could relate to you the histories of
all the other nations of the world, but if ye listened, ye men of
Cavalla, to the history of the Mamelukes of the last century, the
events of all the other lands of the world would sound to you,
compared with the deeds that have been done in the land of the
Egyptians since the year 620, after the birth of the great prophet
Mohammed, like nursery-tales. On the grave of the prophet sat, her
features shrouded in a bloody veil, the holy spirit of the history
of the world, sadly recording the atrocious deeds of the cruel,
implacable forty-seven tyrants who reigned on the bloody throne of
El-Kahera during two hundred and sixty-three years. Seventeen of
them were murdered, and eighteen of their successors dethroned. The
rule of each lasting but a few moons. The tyrant was always hurled
down by the tyrant.
"One would have supposed that the Mamelukes would have shown more
love and reverence for the princes of their own race than for
foreign rulers, but the reverse was the case. The Mamelukes believed
that they were under no obligation to respect a prince of their own
race more than themselves. They raised their hands threateningly
against every one who dared to consider himself something better
than they. They considered themselves the advisers of the princes of
their own race, and without their approval, these princes could
undertake nothing whatever. And worse than this ambition, were the
machinations and plundering of the intriguing men who surrounded the
throne of the Mamelukes. Even Allah's wrath was aroused by this
corruption, and the prophet grew angry. Allah punished them for
their horrid deeds, and sent down famine, pestilence, and misery,
upon the degraded land. The people lay in dust and ashes. In their
despair they wrung their hands, and implored Allah to rescue them
from this misery and torment.
"At last, after two and a half centuries, Allah sent them relief
through the Ottomans.
"They could not be worse than the Mamelukes; for nothing on earth
could be worse; the dagger was the only law of these slaves, who
called nothing their own, and had neither family ties, fatherland,
"Had they not come from Circassia? Had they not been purchased as
slaves and brought to Egypt? Had they not been Christians, and were
they not of Christian descent? But they had been forced, the slaves,
to assume the holy religion of Mohammed. The prophet, however, does
not incline his ear to enforced service. He who does not willingly
lay down his faith and fidelity upon the altar can expect no
blessing from Allah. The Mamelukes learned little, except to read
the Koran, to handle the sword, to ride, and to be pitiless against
everybody. They also learned to flatter the master who had purchased
them, to bow down in the dust before him, and to be nothing for him
but a mere tool that has ho honor, no thought, and no sensibility of
its own. When the Mamelukes were fully matured, had become expert in
using their swords, and managing their steeds, and when their chins
became covered with beard, the masters who bad bought them made them
freemen, and gave them the rank and title of a kachef, an officer
who was to lead and command the others. The, kachef was the
lieutenant of those who had not become free. They gave him a salary,
or made him a confidant or assistant. When he got thus far, had
become free, and been made a kachef, a career of ambition, but also
of intrigue, trickery, and treason, opened itself before him. His
shrewdness was irresistible, his strong arm acomplished all things.
"The kachef did homage to his first master only, but, if the latter
were dead, and the Mameluke had become a freeman, hey could attain
to the throne through blood and murder. All the vices, with their
interminable train, had made their entrance into El-Kahera. The new
ruler well understood how to acquire riches, power, and respect, by
force, and from a kachef he made himself bey. From the proceeds of
his booty he purchased a swarm of slaves, who were compelled to
follow him. He was only a military power. The Mameluke princes
measured his rank and influence by the number of followers in his
train when he passed through the streets of Alexandria. There were
kachefs who owned a thousand slaves, and beys who possessed two
thousand. By this you can judge the wealth of these Mameluke beys,
for each of these servants cost them two hundred patras. But this
expense was the smallest. There were, besides, the women, the
beautiful Arabian horses, the splendid weapons, the Damascene
blades, the glittering jewels, the costly cashmere shawls: all this
belonged to the household of a Mameluke bey. The means by which he
acquired all this were robbery, trickery, blood, and murder.
Whatever was bad and vicious, corrupt and shameful, this the
Mameluke practised without fear or hesitation. His virtue was that
intrepidity, that courage, that boldness, that recoils from nothing,
from no danger, from no abyss; that yields to nothing, and to which
nothing is sacred. But the slaves willingly submitted to a brave
master, and greeted him as a hero.
"They galloped through the streets on their proud steeds, despising
those who walked. When drawn up before the enemy on their war-
horses, they bore down upon them boldly, and scattered them to the
winds. But if the enemy were able to resist the force of their first
fierce attack, they turned their horses and galloped away in wild
"Such was the state of things when two hundred years ago the
Ottomans marched with large armies into Egypt, to combat and
vanquish the haughty Mamelukes.
"And now the time selected by Allah to punish the insolent race of
the Mamelukes and their rulers who were seated on the throne of
Egypt had come.
"The nations one by one submitted to the rule of these sons of
Mohammed. After protracted struggles they had established a united
empire on the banks of the Bosporus, and had built the proud city of
Stamboul. The son of Mohammed governed as an illustrious ruler,
until at last the Christian dogs came and conquered the magnificent
city, and took up their abode in the shining palaces built by the
last emperors of the house of the Comnenes. In the city of
Constantinople, as they have named our beautiful Stamboul, they
resided. A glittering throne was erected there; but the green flag
of the prophet no longer fluttered from the minarets of the mosque,
which they called the 'Church of the holy Sophia.'
"When the great Selim I. heard of the deeds of the Mamelukes, his
zeal and his love for the prophet impelled him to restore his holy
kingdom, and he marched with a mighty army into Egypt, to punish the
wicked who were in arms against the prophet. He marched through
Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Syria, into Egypt. Terror and lamentation
were in his train; before him nations bowed down in the dust. He
advanced victoriously, made himself master of Aleppo, and marched on
to storm the sacred El-Kahera, which they now call Cairo. The
Mamelukes defended themselves long and desperately, until they at
last succumbed to superior numbers.
"But tranquillity was not yet restored to Egypt; the Mameluke
prince, Tournan Bey, stole into the city at midnight, and with his
Mamelukes murdered the entire Turkish garrison. Filled with wrath
the great Selim returned and laid siege to the city. It held out for
thirteen days and nights, but after fierce struggles was at last
compelled to yield. Selim punished them terribly; they were all made
prisoners, and Tournan was hanged in the midst of the city. Selim
entered the city as its conqueror and ruler.
"You will suppose that Egypt now at last became tranquil and that
the Mamelukes bowed down submissively before the great sultan,
before the green flag of the prophet that floated in triumph from
the citadel. So it would have been, had not those Mamelukes who had
survived the fearful slaughter done among their ranks, brooded on
vengeance. But I tell you, so long as there shall be one Mameluke
left in the world, so long will he do battle with his sword; he is
not to be vanquished, unless indeed he be trodden under foot as a
venomous serpent, and destroyed forever.
"The noble Selim had magnanimously omitted to do this. He allowed
the Mamelukes to take the oath of fidelity, supposing they would
keep it. He then made all Egypt a province of the Turkish Empire,
and returned to the banks of the Bosporus. He came home, a
victorious hero, covered with honor, and the whole empire received
him with exultation, and peace and happiness returned with him to
Stamboul. Over in Egypt, however, things were no longer looking so
peaceful, although the noble Selim had been so generous to the
Mamelukes that he had not only given them their lives, but also
accorded them a portion of their former power. He had desired to
have two powers in the government that should watch each other, and
therefore the great and wise ruler ordered that twenty-four Mameluke
officials should be appointed to share the government with his own
Turkish officials. In the same manner as the sultan appoints a
pacha, or governor, had the Mamelukes also appointed a chief. This
chief was called Sheik-el-Belad, and his power was equal to that of
the pacha. He had seven adjutants, the odjaklis, who commanded the
seven corps of which the Mameluke army consisted. And, I say to you,
the Mamelukes were more powerful in El-gahera than are the pachas in
Turkish cities. Their strifes and feuds were such, that those were
among the unhappiest of Egypt's days.
"And now, hearken to the dreadful conclusion. I will narrate to you
what has taken place in Egypt in this century. The Mamelukes
overthrew the rule of the Turkish grand-sultan, under the leadership
of the bloodthirsty Ali, the new bey who stood at the head of the
Mamelukes. He drove out the sultan's pacha, and announced through
him to Selim, 'that the Turkish rule was at an end, and that Egypt
was again free, he having driven out the Turks with the edge of the
sword.' And Egypt, the rebellious province, was for a time again
free; that is to say, enslaved by the Mameluke Bey Ali, who
attempted to extend his power further and further. He sought to form
alliances even with the enemies of Selim, even with those who did
not believe in the holy prophet. He even sought, with flattery and
entreaties, to prevail on the grandees of the republic of Venice to
furnish him with assistance against the aggressions of the Turks. He
drew his sword and drove our armies even unto Mecca in Arabia,
possessed himself of the holy city of Mecca, and even carried his
boldness so far that he caused himself to be proclaimed Grand-Sultan
of Arabia, and ruler of the two seas.
"Yet the eye of Allah beholds the unjust, and punishes the wicked;
and I will now give you the very latest intelligence I have received
from the holy city. May it fill your heart and soul with joyous
gratitude for the justice of Allah! Yes, Allah punishes the
insolent. And by the hand of his favorite, of Mohammed Abou-Dahab,
in whom the Grand-Sultan Ali confided, was he laid low. This slave
Mohammed murdered his master, and seated himself in his place. But
him, too, did Allah punish as a wrong-doer and criminal. Allah
punished the treason which Mohammed had practised on his master by
afflicting him with madness. Day and night he beheld before him
Ali's terrible bloody shade; in horrible dreams he saw the
countenance of his murdered master, and at last, amid fearful
torments, he slew himself.
"Do you suppose peace had now at last come? Do you suppose that
Egypt now submitted to her rightful ruler, the Grand-Sultan of
Stamboul? Ye men of Cavalla, hardly was Egypt released from the
tyrant Ali, when three other Mameluke beys advanced to seize the
"Mourad, Ibrahim, and Ismail, competed for the prize. Each of them
aspired to be the ruler of Egypt--each of them aspired to be called
"Mourad and Ibrahim united themselves to rule together in brotherly
love. They united their forces against Ismail, and they prevailed
against him--he was overthrown and murdered, extinguished like a
light that has shone but a brief day.
"And now, hearken to the end, ye men of Cavalla. The Mameluke begs,
Mourad and Ibrahim, have entered the golden city of El-Kahera, and
have become great and mighty. They have conquered the grand-sultan,
have possessed themselves of all the lands, brought all the
Mamelukes into subjection, and have not rested until all Egypt has
"And now you know, men of Cavalla, that the sons of the slaves, that
Mourad and Ibrahim, rule in the holy city El-Kahera, and in all
Egypt. Proudly do these Mameluke princes hold up their heads. From
slaves they have become heroes, and from heroes they have become
DREAMS OF THE FUTURE.
In breathless attention, utterly oblivious of all else, Mohammed had
listened to the words of the scha-er; and long after he had
concluded, and the audience begun to disperse, he still sat, his
eyes widely extended, and gazing fixedly at the cushion on which the
sha-er had sat, as though he were still there, relating the deeds
and wonders of the Mamelukes. Suddenly the silence that surrounded
him aroused him from his preoccupation. He arose and walked slowly
out, still hearing the voice that related such wondrous stories of
distant lands. Thoughtfully he wandered on toward the rocky pathway.
He had forgotten all else: the mother on whose account he had been
so anxious, the boys whom he was in the habit of regarding so
contemptuously when he met them, and whom he now scarcely sees as
they pass by; the cave, too, his paradise, is forgotten. He would no
longer desire to return to this dark, dreary solitude.
Upward, upward to the highest point of the rock, to which the name
"The Ear of Bucephalus" had been given! He climbs the rocky ascent
like a gazelle. Thither no one will follow him; there the eye of the
prophet alone will see, and the ear of Allah alone hear him. Up
there he will be alone with God and his dreams.
Now he is on the summit, gazing fax out into the sea, into the
infinite distance where heaven and sea unite and become one. He
stretches out his arms and utters a cry of exultation that resounds
through the mountains like the scream of the eagle:
"Thither will I, to the land of promise and of fortune!--to the land
where slaves become heroes, and heroes princes! Mother, your dream
shall be realized! There I shall find palaces on whose summit I
shall stand with uplifted sword, nations at my feet. To Egypt will I
go. To the land of grandeur and glory, where for thousands of years
the greatest and mightiest have made of themselves princes and
rulers. I will become mighty; I will cultivate my mind, that it may
help me to rule men. Then I will make of myself a prince before whom
all other princes shall fall in the dust!"
He shouts again exultingly, and the walls of the cliffs echo back
his cry. He feels so happy, so free from all earthly care. He seems
to float in upper air like the eagle, looking down upon the
lowliness of earth beneath.
As he looks out into the distance, he sees a little dark spot rise
on the horizon. His eagle-eye perceives that it is a ship. As it
comes nearer, it dances on the waves, and its white sails expand
like the wings of a giant swan. It is a beautiful, majestic object.
The young Mohammed rejoices at the spectacle, and says, in low
tones, to himself; "Some day I shall possess ships, too. Some day I
shall tread the deck of the great admiral's ship."
The ship glides over the glittering mirror of the deep, and comes
nearer and nearer, and the curious are now assembled on the shore to
gaze at it; for rarely do vessels seek the rocky promontory of
Bucephalus to land in the bay of Contessa. The peninsula is desolate
and barren, and there is nothing here for merchant-ships but the
tobacco for which this region is celebrated. A Turkish galleon comes
semi-annually for the taxes which the governor has levied, to bring
them to Stamboul to the coffers of the grand-sultan.
But the vessel now approaching is no Turkish galleon, but a
magnificent ship; and one can see on the deck, under the gold-
embroidered tent, a Turk reclining on cushions. Slaves in rich
attire are on their knees before him, others are behind him fanning
the flies away with fans made of peacock-feathers.
"Who can this great man, this stranger be?" ask the curious, who are
standing on the beach, gazing fixedly at the ship that has now
entered the little bay, and is steering toward the landing.
Mohammed has also hurried down to the beach. To-day, while his heart
and mind are filled with the narrative of the scha-er, to-day every
thing seems to him so strange, so wonderful; it seems to him that he
is about to receive intelligence from the world his whole being
longs for so intensely, the world that is one day to lie at his
The ship has entered the bay, and a boat containing three Turkish
gentlemen is coming from it to the shore: They haughtily step
ashore, and pass by, without saluting the crowd, to the pathway that
leads up to Cavalla. But the grand-looking Turk is still on deck,
reclining on his cushions; the slaves are still about, filling and
refilling his long chibouque, on whose golden mouth-piece brilliants
are seen glittering.
Mohammed's keen eyes observe all this, and he follows each movement
of the aristocratic Turk with breathless attention. Thus, he thinks,
will he also do some day; thus will he, too, recline on his silken
cushions, surrounded by his slaves he; the prince!
How would those who were standing around the boy have laughed if
they could have divined Mohammed's thoughts, if they had known that
he was dreaming of his future magnificence while standing there on
the beach in his wide cotton pants, tied at the bottom around his
ankles with strings, his felt thrust into a pair of peaked shoes of
doubtful color, a faded red shawl bound around his waist, on his
body a well-worn brown shirt, the whole crowned with the red
tarboosh that covered his dark hair, around which was wound a white
and riot particularly clean kufei!
Who could have imagined that this poor Turkish child was dreaming of
future glory, and saying to himself, as he regarded the grand
gentleman on the deck of the ship: "I will one day be as you are,
and even greater than you!"
The governor, accompanied by the strange Turks, and followed by
servants carrying palanquins, was now observed coming down the
pathway from Cavalla. Hastily he walks to the beach, and, with the
Turks, enters the boat and steers for the ship.
The governor has now reached the ship and climbed to the deck, but
the grand gentleman does not stir from his cushions, and only greets
him with a gracious nod. The people on the beach observe this with
astonishment, and ask each other: "Who can this be? Tschorbadji
Hassan is the greatest man on our peninsula, and every head bows
down before him. And this gentleman dares to salute him with a mere
nod. Truly he must be a very great man!"
Mohammed regards the people who are speaking contemptuously, and
murmurs to himself: "I shall be a greater man some day. He is no
prince, else his ship would show the admiral's flag, and the
governor would fall on his face before him. The scha-er told me that
such is the custom in the presence of princes. But the people shall
one day prostrate them selves on their faces before me!"
At last the grand gentleman arises slowly from his cushions, and
lays his arm on the shoulder of the governor, who walks at his side,
his head bowed down, and seemingly delighted at being permitted to
bear this burden on his shoulder.
They walk to the stairway; the governor busies himself in helping
the stranger to descend, jumps into the boat, and extends his band
to assist him to enter. He tranquilly receives these attentions; the
slaves follow, and lay gold-embroidered cushions on the bottom of
the boat, and the grand gentleman reclines on them in an easy
attitude. The governor stands before him, addressing him with an air
of profound reverence, and the slaves take up their position behind
him, and waft refreshing breezes to him with their fans. As the boat
reaches the beach, the governor turns and addresses the people in
"Bow down in the dust before the grand-vizier--before Cousrouf
Pacha! Salute his excellency!"
All fall on their knees, and remain there in mute reverence, while
the pacha, accompanied by the governor, and followed by his slaves,
ascends the pathway to Cavalla.
One person only had not fallen down on his knees, and that person
was Mohammed Ali.
He had secreted himself behind a rock, and there he stands,
regarding the pacha with eager eyes, and glancing contemptuously at
those who, at other times so noisy and arrogant, are now bowed down
in the dust, and who have as yet not even ventured to raise their
But now the scene on the shore becomes an animated one. The governor
has ordered that other boats be sent out to the ship, and a peculiar
and wondrous sight presents itself on board.
White female figures, closely enveloped in long white veils, appear
on deck. Tall men, with black faces and fat bodies, stand at their
side. The sailors have disappeared from the deck; no one is now
visible but the white female figures and the fat black men.
"That is the harem of the grand-vizier," the people now whisper to
each other, "and those men at their side are the eunuchs."
Two of these eunuchs now come to the shore, and, in threatening
tones, order the men to leave the beach at once, and to go up to
Cavalla to announce there that no one shall allow himself to be seen
in the streets.
The men hurriedly ascend the pathway to the city, without even
venturing to look back at the pacha's harem.
Mohammed Ali alone is nowhere to be seen. He has crouched down
behind the rocks, and no one sees the fiery eyes that peer out
cautiously from his hiding-place.
The women, looking like white swans, are now rowed to the shore.
The beach is bare--no one sees them. They can venture to open their
veils a little, and look about them on this strange shore.
Oh! what glowing eyes, what purple lips, are disclosed to the boy's
sight! For the first time, his heart beats stormily; for the first
time, he feels a strange delight in his soul. Yes--beautiful are
these women, as are the houris in paradise, and enviable is he to
whom they belong.
Two of the eunuchs walk before the women, four walk beside them, and
imperiously command them to draw their veils closer together. They
approach several of them with profound respect, and extend their
hands to assist them in entering the palanquins that stand ready to
receive them; the others must go on foot.
Loudly resounds the cry of the eunuchs who walk in advance: "The
harem--the harem of his excellency! Away, ye men! The harem!"
At this cry all flee to their houses in the city above, and none are
to be seen in the deserted streets but the ladies of the harem that
are being borne along in palanquins, and the train of veiled figures
The procession moves on to the governor's house, where a strange
scene presents itself. Servants are standing about in gold-
embroidered garments; all is confusion and motion. His excellency
the pacha condescends to take up his abode in the governor's palace,
and the upper saloons are being opened and prepared for the
distinguished guest. Adjoining the main building, a side building,
with barred windows, extends far out into the garden. Until now it
had stood empty, for the governor cares not for the society of
women; his heart is cold toward them; he loves nothing but his son.
The harem is empty, and is therefore ready to receive the women and
slaves of his excellency Cousrouf Pacha. The shutters of the windows
have long stood open--the eunuchs now come forward and fasten them
securely. The vast building has now become quite still.
Mohammed had watched the procession until the last white swan had
disappeared upon the plateau above. He now slipped out of his
hiding-place, and walked down to the beach to look at the ship. He
had not observed that other boats had put off from the ship to land
"I should like to know the destination of this proud and beautiful
ship. I should like to sail with it," murmured the boy.
"Then do so!" cried a loud voice behind him. "If you wish to, my
lad, come with us. One leads a splendid life on such a ship. You are
tall and strong, and will be gladly accepted."
His countenance beaming with joy, Mohammed turned and saw at his
side a boy of slender figure, in simple Turkish garments, but his
hair was closely cut, and not covered with the fez and kuffei.
Mohammed glanced fiercely at the boy.
"You are a slave!" said he.
The boy nodded and laughed.
"I am a slave. But I don't expect to remain one long; I have already
heard that the capitano intends to sell me over there, and there one
can make his fortune, that I know!"
"Over there?" said Mohammed, eagerly. "What do you call over there?"
"Well, the place we are going to!" exclaimed the boy, laughing. "To
Egypt we go, carrying rich goods, and I myself, so to speak, am a
piece of goods for the capitano."
"You go to Egypt?" asked Mohammed; "to the land of wonders, where
slaves become heroes, and heroes princes?"
"Ah! you have heard it spoken of, too!" said the boy, laughing.
"Yes, the sha-ers everywhere have something to relate about Egypt.
In Stamboul I have often heard them tell of the Mamelukes, too!"
"Of the Mamelukes? Of them, too, you have heard?"
"I have not only heard of them, but I intend to make a Mameluke of
myself. As you know, these Mamelukes are the slaves of the beys in
Egypt. I hope to have the good fortune to be purchased by a bey. I
know all that is necessary to become the servant of a Mameluke."
"And what is necessary?" asked Mohammed, eagerly. "What is it that
"I can ride as well as the best of the horsemen of the grand-vizier.
On a bare horse I can fly over the plains with the speed of a bird.
I know how to handle the sword and the spear, and in the fastest
gallop I can sever the head of a horse from his body. These are arts
that are useful over there, and in them I am a master. You may look
at me in astonishment if you will! I am not as tall and stout as you
are, but I can tell you I have the strength of a giant, and, in
spite of my fourteen years, I am a man. I expect to make my fortune
"And where have you been until now? From what place do you come?"
"I have been a slave from my youth; I was well brought up and had an
education; I know how to wait on fine gentlemen. I served a nobleman
as first valet for three years, but couldn't stand the dull,
effeminate life. I longed to be out in the world, and committed all
sorts of freaks in order that my master might drive me off. To be
sure, I received the bastinado daily, but I stood it like a man. I
determined to continue to annoy my gracious master until he should
sell me. Look at my feet!"
He took off his shoes and showed Mohammed the scarred soles of his
"These are the scars with which I have purchased my future. Yes; but
why do you look at me in such astonishment? By Allah! I should not
like to live on this rock here, like you! I must out into the world;
must go to Egypt, and make something great of myself."
"But how will you begin it?" asked Mohammed. "I should like to do
"I don't know yet," replied the boy, carelessly; "it will depend
upon how I succeed in recommending myself to a bey with my
horsemanship and sword. One thing I can tell you, if I once become a
Mameluke, I shall rise. In case you should hear of me some day, in
case my celebrity should reach even this desolate rock, I will tell
you my name. My name is Osman, and in mockery, because I served a
nobleman, they added bey to it. But I tell you, I will make of the
name given me in derision a real title! If you hear of me some day,
I shall be called Osman Bey in earnest."
"I will tell you my name, too," said Mohammed, proudly, "and if you
ever hear of me, you shall know that you once met me here upon the
beach. My name is Mohammed Ali, and I am Ibrahim Aga's son. I am a
freeman, you must know, and have never bowed my head beneath the
yoke of another! Remember my name, little Osman, and, if Allah wills
it, you shall hear of me someday. My name is Mohammed Ali."
He nodded to the boy contemptuously, and walked off.
Osman laughed, and cried after him:
"You will probably hear of me first, you bold boy, you beggar-
prince! I shall probably never hear of the beggar-prince, Mohammed
Ali, son of Ibrahim Aga, but of me you shall hear, you silly lad!
Don't forget my name: I am called Osman Bey."
If they both could now have known the future! If a prophet had
permitted the two boys who met here for the first time, in order
that they might angrily impress their names on each other's memory,
to look into the future, what would they have seen in its mirror?
Two heroes opposed to each other in ardent love, and in wild enmity.
Both equally great, equally ambitious, and equally greedy of glory.
They would have seen blood flowing in streams for their sake. They
would have seen how Osman Bey, called by the name of Bardissi,
dashed onward, flourishing his cimeter at the head of thousands of
devoted followers. They would have seen Mohammed Ali in a glittering
uniform, mounted on his proud steed, at the head of thousands
charging with uplifted sword against Bardissi.
Here on a rock in the bay of San Marmora, the boys met for the first
time, and instinct permitted them to feel the enmity that existed
between them throughout their entire lives, and which caused
thousands to fall, and blood to flow in streams.
They know nothing of this now. Osman whistles a merry air and jumps
into the boat that bears him back to the ship. Mohammed Ali ascends
the rock to a quiet and solitary spot. There he will rest and
meditate on what he has seen and heard to-day.
The ship sails out to sea. Like a giant swan, proudly, majestically,
it glides over the blue waves, until at last it rises up in the
distance with its masts and spars against the horizon, faintly, like
a mere vision of the air.
Above, on the Ear of Bucephalus, stands Mohammed Ali, leaning on his
gun, his eyes fixed on the ship. He sighs profoundly as it now
disappears without leaving the slightest trace behind, as though
engulfed by the waters.
"Gone," he murmured--"gone! What was the name of the boy, the slave
who so defiantly charged me to remember his name? I remember, it was
Osman. Yes, Osman Bey, he said. Well, he may depend upon it I shall
remember his name, and he may also count on remembering that my name
is Mohammed Ali, if we should ever meet again. Oh, I envy him," said
he, in low tones, looking longingly at the horizon. "Oh, I would so
gladly have gone with him to the wondrous land the scha-er told of,
where slaves become heroes, and heroes princes. He, the slave, goes
thither; and I, who am free, am bound to this rock by my poor
mother, and must remain!"
The ship sailed on farther and farther on the bright waves. It
glided onward over the deep-blue sea two days longer; on the third
day the sailors shouted with joy, for the water had become green,
and this announced to the experienced seamen that they should soon
When the waves of the Mediterranean Sea change from blue to green,
the yellow coast of Africa is near. Another day passed, and the ship
entered the harbor of Alexandria. The black and brown people came
out to the ship, howling and yelling in their little boats, and with
them came the slave-dealers to look for human wares, to bargain for
the living as well as for the dead freight.
The captain shows the slave-dealers his line piece of goods, the boy
Osman Bey, and offers him as a good article of merchandise. "He is a
splendid servant, and knows how to color the chibouque, and how to
wait on his master with soft words."
"He knows more than that!" exclaimed the boy Osman Bey, indignantly.
"He knows how to scour across the desert on his steed without saddle
or bridle, and loves to flourish the cimeter and lay the heads of
men and animals at his feet with a single blow."
The slave-dealer regards him with favorable glances. That is what he
needs. The great Mameluke prince Mourad needs many servants and
warriors, and he gave the dealer authority to purchase men for him,
young, strong, and healthy men. The ranks of his Mamelukes need
recruiting. He will make a fine Mameluke, this slender young man
with the keen, glittering eyes.
"What will you have for the boy?"
The captain shrugged his shoulders. "He is really beyond all price;
for, as I tell you, he is a splendid servant, and, as he tells you
himself, he is a fine horseman, and knows how to wield the cimeter.
He is priceless, and I hardly think we shall come to terms."
They now began to bargain for this human merchandise. They made a
great deal of noise, quarrelled, and shook their fists in each
other's faces, while young Osman Bey stood at their side, his arms
folded on his breast, calmly looking on and smiling at the uproar
created on his account. At last they came to terms. The dealer
received his living goods, young Osman Bey, and paid the captain the
price agreed upon.
If young Mohammed Ali could see this: if his dark brown eye could
send a glance with the speed of an arrow across the waves and
through the days and nights ; and if he could hear how the slave,
Osman Bey, is traded off for sugar and coffee; if he could see Osman
standing in the slave market awaiting a purchaser; if he could see
Mourad, the Mameluke bey, at last approach, smile approvingly on
young Osman, and finally purchase and place him among his followers;
if he could have seen this and the future, he would have felt proud
and happy in being a free man, although a poor one. His hands are
not fettered, he serves no master, and he cannot be bargained for
and sold like a bale of goods ! He is a free human being, conscious
of his own worth, and also conscious of the great future that awaits
He is thinking of it now as he stands on the rock leaning on his
gun, and staring out into the air after the vanished ship. He does
not see the future; he only dreams of it as he looks out into the
vacant air, oblivious of the present. Nor does he see the mother,
who, while he stands there, is hastening painfully and breathlessly,
her head bowed down, from her humble but to the proud, main street
of the city, to the store of the merchant Lion.
The merchant saw her coming, met her at the door, and held out his
hand to her.
"Is it you, Sitta Khadra?" he cried, as she reached the door. "I
must tell you I have expected you, esteemed lady, light of my eyes"
She tottered into the hall and seated herself in the chair which the
merchant had hastened to bring her.
"Why these fine phrases, sir? Talk to me in short and terse
language, as you Franks are accustomed to do, and pay no attention
to the flowery words which, with us, the men are in the habit of
mocking instead of flattering us poor creatures."
"I am not mocking you, Sitta Khadra," said the merchant, gravely. "
I esteem you, for you are a good woman, and therefore I addressed
you as I did. I know you well, and I know what you have there hidden
under your veil."
"What have I there, sir?"
"You have brought me back the gold-embroidered goods, and the veil
bordered with golden fringe, which your son Mohammed bought for
"Yes, sir; I have brought them back. They do not become me. I did
not like to tell the boy so, for it pleases him to think I will
array myself in them. I therefore accepted them, hoping you would
take them back."
"I expected you, and see, I have the money ready for you. When I saw
you coming, I took it quickly from my purse. Here, good Sitta
ghadra, are the six ducats which Mohammed gave me."
She shook her head gently.
"You are very kind, sir, and I thank you. Yet, I cannot accept them.
Mohammed would scold me when he learned it. He told me, himself,
that he had given you four ducats and not six. I divined that you
had given him the goods at a cheaper price, and that he could not
have paid for them at their real value. By this I perceived that the
sale was only a pretended one, and have hoped you would take back
the goods. But the money I will not receive."
"To whom shall I give it, then?" asked the astonished merchant. "I
dare not offer it to Mohammed; I believe it would make him so angry
that he would raise his hand against me. You must not tell him,
Sitta Khadra, that you have brought me back the goods."
"You are right, sir; I should not like to cause him this
unhappiness. I shall tell him I have taken the goods to the tailor
to have it made into a dress by the next Bairam's festival. But when
the festival comes, I shall no longer be here, and he will not see
that I have not put on the costly dress."
"You will not be here, Sitta Khadra? Then where will you be?" asked
She slowly raised her arm, and pointed upward.
"Up there, sir, with my beloved master, Ibrahim Aga; I shall see the
glory of Allah, and shall see the prophet, the great prophet to whom
my heart-felt prayers so often ascend."
"What is it you are saying, good Sitta? At the next Bairam's
festival, you will surely still be with us on earth."
She slowly shook her head.
"I am dying, sir. I have been dying for the last two days look at my
"They are red and fresh, and show that you are in health, Sitta
"Yea, my lips are red, because I have colored them with henna, that
Mohammed may not see how pale they are. For him I have colored my
cheeks, too. Good sir, one may deceive out of love, and Allah will
forgive me for having made my face a lie out of love for my son. I
tell you I am dying; therefore have I come to bring you the goods,
and to beg you to take the money and keep it. When he is in want
give it to him, and tell him Mother Khadra sends it with her best
blessing, and that he must accept it as a present from me, and make
a good use of it. I know, sir, that you will give it to him, and
that you will watch over him that you may know when he needs it.
"And one thing more I beg of you, whenever you see my beloved son,
say to him: --Mohammed Ali, your mother Khadra, loved you very
dearly, and sends you a greeting from Heaven, through me. She
dwells, above with your father, Ibrahim Aga, and both are looking
down upon you, and observing your actions. Therefore be thoughtful,
Mohammed, to walk pure and free in the sight of Allah and your
parents. Promise me, that you will often say this to my son."
"I promise, Sitta Khadra," said the merchant, solemnly. "I promise
you that I will watch over your dear son, and that, if it is in my
power, I will at all times be ready to lend him a helping hand. I
give you my hand to seal this promise, Sitta Khadra."
She took his hand, and the merchant knew by the heat of her thin,
wan fingers that a burning fever was in her blood, and that Death
had kissed her lips.
"Now, all is well," said she, as she rose to her feet with a painful
effort. "Now I will return home, that my darling, my Mohammed, may
find me when he comes. I have but a few more days to live, and I
would not lose a moment that I can spend with him. Farewell! Allah
be with you!"
In the house of the governor every thing was changed since the day
on which the grand-vizier had taken up his abode in the upper
saloons. Young Osman, the son of the tschorbadji, experienced this
change with great displeasure.
Since the stranger's harem had been installed in the side-building,
whose windows open on the garden, the governor's son can no longer
walk freely in all parts of the beautiful park and enjoy its
solitude without fear of interruption. By far the greater portion of
the park has been set apart for the use of the harem, and only a
small portion adjoining the courtyard is reserved for him.
"And yet fresh air and the sunshine are my only enjoyments," said
he, complainingly, to Mohammed Ali, who had come the next day,
according to promise, to repeat to young Osman what the scha-er had
spoken, to narrate to him the wondrous stories of the Mamelukes.
He lay reclining on a mat in front of young Osman's couch, and in
excited words, with glowing eyes, he told the heroic stories of the
proudest people of Egypt.
Osman's large eyes were fixed on his face in an earnest gaze, and a
slight color tinged his pale cheeks as he listened.
"Beautiful, is it not?" asked Mohammed, as he finished his
narrative. "Would not you, too, like to go to the land where, as the
scha-er says, slaves become heroes, and heroes princes?'
Osman shook his head gently.
"I do not know, Mohammed. I should be contented, I think, to remain
here, reclining on my cushions, the sun above me, and you at my
"But what I have related is beautiful, is it not?"
"I do not know," replied Osman, for the second time. "I regarded you
while you were speaking, and I rejoiced in you. It seems to me,
Mohammed, as though you were the better part of myself. I feel as
you feel, and think as you think, and rejoice when I hear you utter
in fresh and glowing words that which my lips can utter with
timidity and hesitation only. If I were healthy, Mohammed, I should
be, I think, as you are. Therefore, whenever I look at you, it seems
to me I see myself as I might be, but am not."
"You will be yourself, again," said Mohammed, tenderly. "When you
have become strong again, no one will be able to compete with you in
manly exercises, and like all the other boys I shall have to bow my
head humbly before you, and shall have to pay you the tribute as
they pay it to me."
In reply, Osman merely raised his pale, transparent hand and showed
it to Mohammed.
"Look at this pare, colorless hand. A poor, withered flower, good
for nothing except to press the hand of a friend, but a hand that
can never wield the sword or battle with the unruly waves as yours
can. No, Mohammed! I shall perhaps have health enough to live like
the flower or the blade of grass, but not to live like the eagle,
like the steed, like Mohammed Ali! But I will not complain. I am
contented; every one has his portion of happiness on earth; mine is,
to lie on the purple in the sunshine, and to hear my Mohammed tell
stories. But I entreat you to come very often," he continued, with a
sigh. "They have now curtailed my little earthly happiness; since
this Turk has come with his harem and his glittering suite, I am
very miserable. I know that my father feels it, too, and often
wishes his distinguished guest had taken his departure."
"Will he remain long, Osman?"
"That depends on whether his sun shines again in Stamboul," said
young Osman, shrugging his shoulders. "I must tell you, Mohammed,
there are peculiar circumstances connected with this gentleman. He
has fallen into disfavor, and is waiting here to see whether his sun
will shine again or not. He has been sent into exile, and it was
really intended that he should go to Egypt, where the Mamelukes of
whom you have just been relating such heroic stories, have again
risen in wild insurrection against the Turkish governor, and
Cousrouf Pacha is lying in wait here because he has good friends in
Stamboul who are working for him, and because he hopes to be able to
return to the beautiful capital where he can revel in luxury;
whereas, if he should go to Egypt, he would be compelled to draw the
sword and march out to bloody battle."
"I hate him--the coward!" exclaimed Mohammed. "I despise men who
prefer eating sugar with women in the harem, to mounting their
steeds and taking the field against the enemy, sword in hand."
"That will never be your preference," said Osman, regarding him
"No, never," protested the boy. "Women are good playthings for hours
of leisure, when a man has nothing better to do. But to revel, like
Cousrouf, in luxury--to hide himself while he might be attempting
deeds of heroism--to be dallying with women instead of mowing off
the heads of his enemies, that I cannot comprehend. It is repulsive
to me to think of a man's surrounding himself with women, and taking
delight in their caresses and soft words."
"It suits Cousrouf very well!" said Osman, smiling. "He spends the
greater part of his time in the harem. Singing, music, and
rejoicing, are the order of the day there. Black female slaves fan
him with fans made of peacock-feathers; others, on their knees, fill
his chibouque, while he reclines on his cushions, smoking and
dreamily gazing at the beautifully-attired female slaves who dance
"And he," said Mohammed, "he, the vain man, imagines that they dance
and remain in his harem out of love for him!
"I suppose they make him think so. They say a woman's lips make a
lie sweet, and that her face always wears a mask! And yet" he
continued, looking dreamily toward the harem, "I must tell you,
Mohammed, I sometimes think I should be happy, too, and less
tormented with ennui, if one of these houris of paradise sat at my
side, chastely veiled, regarding me lovingly and I could look
through the white veil at the smile on her lips. Ah, Mohammed, we,
who are not made to become heroes, feel an irresistible longing
after love, and the sweet delight of being loved. You, of course,
cannot understand this."
"No, I cannot," cried Mohammed, with a contemptuous smile. "I shall
never bow my head beneath the yoke of female slaves, with their
beautiful almond-shaped eyes and purple lips. I shall consider all
women as playthings, with the exception of my mother," said he,
bowing his head with profound reverence. "Allah forgive me for
speaking ill of women, for our mothers are women, Osman! Forgive me
my pride and folly. I speak only of the light-footed slaves, with
the deceiving smile and the false eyes."
"And who knows,' said Osman, smiling, "but that my Mohammed, who
speaks of these fetters so derisively, may not some day be
vanquished? Do not set your face against it, Mohammed. Remember that
even the heart of the great prophet glowed with love, and that it
was he who peopled paradise with houris, and promised it, as the
highest bliss, that beautiful women should there kneel down before
the blessed spirits, gently stroke their feet, and look at them
lovingly with their lustrous, gazelle-like eyes. Therefore, do not
say, Mohammed, that your heart shall never be accessible to love!
Yours is a true, manly heart, and a manly heart must love. You see,
Mohammed, I am hardly a man, and shall probably never become one,
and therefore I do not believe that love will ever hold me in its
golden net; I shall love nothing but my best, my only friend."
"And will you tell me his name, Osman? " asked Mohammed, bending
down closely to him. Passionately, almost threateningly, he
repeated: "Will you tell me the name of this, your beloved, your
Osman, smiled, took from a cushion an oval mirror, framed in mother-
of-pearl, with a golden handle, and held it before Mohammed. "Look
at yourself, and you will know his name."
Looking, not at the mirror, but earnestly into his friend's eyes,
Mohammed stooped down and kissed Osman's lips.
"Listen, Osman, to what I say! I am almost ashamed to confess it,
and yet it is true, next to my mother I love you best on earth, and
I believe I could sacrifice my life for you."
"And I mine for you," said Osman, gently.
"Let us swear to be true friends forever," continued Mohammed.
"Here is my hand! Eternal friendship! If you need me, Osman, call
me, and, were I ever so distant, I would come to you. When in want,
or when cast down by sorrow and suffering, I will complain to no one
but you. What my lips will confess to no one else, they shall
confess to Osman. Shall it be so? Friendship for life?"
"Yes, life-long friendship!' said Osman. "Men need not know it. We
will preserve as our secret the bond of friendship we have formed,
and I only entreat of Allah that he may some day permit me to prove
to you that I am your friend."
"And this I entreat of Allah, too," said Mohammed, warmly pressing
his friend's wan hand. "But now let me go; the scha-er relates again
to-day, and I will go and hear him, and come to-morrow to repeat to
you what I have heard, if you wish it."
"I shall await you, Mohammed, and count the hours until you come."
They shook hands once more, and Mohammed hurried down the garden-
walks. Osman's eyes followed him lovingly.
"I love him, and may Allah enable me to prove it some day!"
Mohammed hurries on, heedless of the direction he has taken, and
forgetting that the use of the main avenue was forbidden since the
harem had taken possession of the park. He walks on, carelessly,
heedlessly. He wishes to pass out at the back gate of the garden, as
he often did. Hastening on, with flushed cheeks, he hardly perceives
a veiled figure, accompanied by two eunuchs, that has just stepped
out into the walk from a side-path. The eunuchs cry out, and
imperiously command him to depart instantly. Mohammed stands still,
shrugs his shoulders, and regards them derisively.
"Are you the masters here in the park of the tschorbadji of
Cavalla?" he asks, proudly. "I shall depart when I choose, and
because I choose, and not because the strange servants of the
stranger have the insolence to order me to do so."
He said this in haughty, angry tones, and with sparkling eyes,
inclined his head slightly to the veiled female figure, and passed
slowly by her without even a curious glance.
But she stands still, and her black eyes burn like flames as her
gaze follows him, and her purple lips murmur, in low tones:
"Beautiful is he, as the young day; beautiful as the rosy dawn of
heaven! Oh, that it shone over me! Oh, that this sun were mine!"
He heeded her not; he did not hear the sweet whispering of her lips.
A SOUL IN THE AGONIES OF DEATH.
THE narratives of the scha-er continued to resound in Mohammed's
soul, and occupied him day and night. His existence seemed useless
and empty, and every thing that surrounded him colorless and
desolate. What cared he now for cliffs and caves, for the surging
sea, for the blue sky? How little it seemed to him to be the best
rifleman and oarsman of the island, to be renowned down in Praousta
as the best fisherman!
What does he care for all this? Who hears of what takes place in
Cavalla, or in the miserable village of Praousta? Nobody comes here
except the merchants who sometimes land to purchase the celebrated
tobacco, and the sultan's collectors who come twice a year for the
Who knows of these insignificant places? Who observes Mohammed Ali
when he strikes the bird in its flight, or steers his boat over the
waves in the wildest storm? All is tame and paltry! With his mind's
eye he sees before him the cities the scha-er had told of. Over
there in Egypt, stretched out on the yellow shore of the green sea,
lies a great and magnificent city with towers, minarets, and
temples, a city such as he has never seen, the, city of Alexandria.
Before this city, in the spacious harbor that has existed for
thousands of years, lie long rows of ships with masts, and
fluttering flags, and golden images at their bows.
Little boats dance about the ship, and all is activity and bustle.
In the interior of the land shines El-gahera, the new city, with the
palaces of the caliphs and its hundreds of minarets and temples. The
streets are alive with men of all nations; there are Turks and
Arabians, Egyptians and Europeans. The blacks of Nubia and Abyssinia
mingle with the white men of France and Germany, and the languages
of all nations are heard.
He lay on the rock, on the Ear of Bucephalus, gazing out into the
distance toward the horizon, imagining he could see these wondrous
cities. He dreamed of the glories of the world, and his fancy beheld
boats and ships, palaces and minarets.
The sea lies beneath like a blue mirror. The waves murmur in low
tones as they caress the shore. The stillness is profound, the
solitude of the first day of creation surrounds him. Suddenly a cry
resounds, a loud, piercing one, such as the eagle utters when his
young are in danger. It aroused Mohammed from his meditation.
"Strange! I heard the cry, yet I can nowhere see the eagle that
For the second time it resounds, louder and more piercing than
before. Mohammed shudders in his whole being.
The cry is not that of an eagle. It is a human voice. Toussoun has
uttered it, and it announces that his mother is in danger. He
springs with horror to his feet, and bounds from rock to rock, down
the steep-he has just heard the cry for the third time.
"Await me, mother! O my mother, I am coming!"
Like an arrow he speeds through the suburb to his mother's hut. Pale
and terrified, Toussoun meets him at the door. He had risen from his
bed of sickness in response to Khadra's call. With weak, trembling
lips he had entreated her to allow him to call her son, and he did
call him, breathing out his last remnant of strength in summoning
Mohammed to his mother. Pale, weak, and ill, he now returns to his
own hut, supported on the arm of a neighbor, and returns to die.
Mohammed has not noticed him. He springs to the door, tears it open,
and sees the women who have come to Sitta Khadra's assistance. Now
that he has come they walk out noiselessly, and wait at the door.
How long will it be before she is dead, before they can assume the
role of mourning-women, and begin their lamentations? True, Sitta
Khadra is poor, but then the community will, out of self-respect,
pay the mourning charges. Consoling themselves with this thought,
the women crouch down at the door.
Mohammed kneels beside the mat on which his mother lies, takes her
hands--now almost cold-in his own, bends over her and looks into the
widely-distended eyes that stare vacantly up at him, and sobs in
loud, heart-rending tones "Mother, Mother, Do you hear me? Here I
am, your son, Mohammed. You cannot die, for I am with you!"
The words of her son reach the mother's soul, that was already on
the point of fluttering to heaven. It returns to its poor frail
habitation. Life returns to her eyes, and a faint smile plays about
her pale lips. The mother heard her child's voice, and her soul
returned to the already stiffening body.
With a faint smile she raised her head a little to kiss his lips.
"I recognize you, my son, and I awaken once more to bid you
"No, mother, it is impossible, you cannot leave me!" said he, in
such loud and piercing tones that the mourning-women at the door
heard it and whispered to each other: "That was a good cry; we could
do no better ourselves."
"Son of my heart," whispered Khadra, and the mother employed her
last strength to force her cold lips to speak and to recall the
thoughts already struggling to take wing--" son of my Ibrahim, do
not grieve for me! I have been dying these many days, I have long
struggled with Death. He stood at the door ready to take me, but I
thrust him back that I might see my son, my darling, once more."
"O mother, mother! you are breaking my heart," cried Mohammed, and
his head sank heavily upon his mother's shoulder.
"Be brave, my son, I entreat you with my last breath! Be brave, be a
man, and consider my dream with the eye of your soul. Make it
reality! Make of the poor, disconsolate boy who stands here the hero
of the future, as I saw you in my visions in the nights before you
were born! I saw a crown on your head and a sword glittered in your
hand. And I see the future now, too; and I will tell you what I see,
my son: I see you, your son, and your grandson! They shall all wear
crowns, shall sit on one throne, and the nations shall lie in the
dust before them! My soul has returned to announce this to you."
"If your soul has returned," said he, in tones of earnest entreaty,
"then command it to remain with you! Life will be solitary and
desolate without you. You are the only woman I love. If you go, take
me with you, and tell the prophet, if he be angry, that I could be
of no use here on earth without you. Take me to my father and say to
him, the family shall be united in heaven as it never was on earth."
"No, you shall not go with me," said she, raising herself with a
last effort from the mat. "I command you to live! I shall go to your
father and bear him the greeting of our only son, and say to him,
'We shall not die, we shall live on in our son; he will make our
name great and glorious before the world!' But you I command to make
true what I shall tell him."
She sank back. Her head fell heavily on her pillow of dry leaves;
her breathing became short and painful, and her eyes again assumed
the vacant expression that had struck such terror to Mohammed's
"Mother, I entreat you, answer me once more! Do you hear me? Do you
"I hear you," murmured the stiffening lips. "And do I love you? Your
mother's love struggled with Death for a whole year. He tried to
drag me hence, and I struggled with him day after day, and night
after night. Love helped me to deceive you, or you would have seen
your mother dying day by day. Now, I am going hence, and the
agathodaemon will give me new garments, and a new countenance full
of youth and beauty, that your father may see me as I looked in the
days of our youthful love. O my son, may the woman you are to love
be not far distant; may she soon wing her flight to you, the dove of
innocence, with the countenance of love and the fragrance of the
rose? May she open heaven unto you with her star-like eyes? This is
my last blessing, my son. Allah watch over you! Farewell!"
The words were soft and low, like the whispering of a departing
spirit. Mohammed had listened eagerly, his ear held close to her
lips, and he still listened when the light of his mother's eyes was
extinguished, and the hand of Death had swept over her countenance,
imparting to the white brow a yellow, and to the lips a blue tint.
Suddenly he shuddered, raised his head and looked at his mother. He
then uttered a shriek, a loud, fearful shriek, that caused the
mourning-women outside to bound to their feet, for they knew that it
was thus that survivors shriek when Death seizes his prey.
They now commence their mournings, and farther off other cries and
lamentations are heard. The latter are uttered by the friends of
Ibrahim Aga. They have placed themselves near the but to begin,
according to a religious custom, the service of the dead, as soon as
the soul shall have left the body.
They form a circle near the open door. Their arms crossed over their
breasts, they stand there, moving their heads continually from one
side to the other. "Allah il Allah!" they cry, and within stand the
women shrieking, yelling, and lamenting, over the deceased. They at
last arouse Mohammed, who had swooned away beside the body. He
springs to his feet, pushes back the women, and bounds into the
middle of the circle of men, who whirl around faster and faster;
they suppose he has come to join in their ceremony, but he pushes
them aside and rushes forth. He rushes so rapidly up the pathway
that no one can follow him, and no one attempts to do so.
His grief must exhaust itself, they say to each other.
"When it has done so, and evening comes, he will return." The
evening came, but Mohammed had not returned to perform the sacred
duty of watching over the dead through the night, as it became an
only son to do. The mourning women had departed to rest after their
exertions. They now returned, the sheik having ordered that they
should perform the night-watch in the absence of the son, in order
that the ghins might not enter and pronounce their curse over the
house, condemning the future generations, descending from the dead,
The mourning-women remained the entire night, sometimes interrupting
their prayers, to say to each other that Mohammed, the only son, was
really a very unnatural child, and respected his mother very little,
or he would not be wandering about among the rocks, while his
mother's body was still unburied. Then they console themselves with
the thought that he will come in the morning, when the tomtom
resounds, which calls the people to the funeral.
The signal is heard on the following morning, and the men come
carrying in their crossed arms the Koran.
The sheik himself condescends to appear at Sitta Khadra's funeral.
She was an honest, virtuous woman, and is to be buried with honor
beside the grave of her husband, Ibrahim.
The mourners slowly assemble. The tomtom is still vainly summoning
the only son.
The body has been laid on two boards covered with woollen cloths,
and is borne out on the shoulders of four men. The mourning-women
yell and shriek, the men murmur prayers, and the drum resounds,
while the procession is slowly moving toward the place of burial.
Mohammed hears nothing of all this. He has fled to the cave, once
his paradise, now his hell. There he lies on his mat, looking up
through the opening in the rock at the heavens, and cursing the
ghins who have robbed him of his mother. But his agathodaemon will
intercede with Allah for his forgiveness for the despair which
causes his lips to utter curses of which his heart knows nothing.
The good spirits will intercede for the poor boy.
Driven out into the world alone. Poorer than the eagle's brood in
their nest overhead, that have tender parents to care for them. No
one cares for me.
The echo mournfully repeats the piercing cry that had resounded
throughout the cave, and says sadly: "No one, no one." He then sinks
down on his mat, and lies there motionless and insensible with grief
Without, the sea murmurs gently, as if to sing a song of
consolation. He hears it not. All is now so still that the little
snakes and green lizards with their sparkling eyes venture forth
again from the hiding places to which they had fled when his
despairing voice reverberated through the cave. They creep up to the
dark, motionless mass that lies there on the ground. The sun sends
its rays through the opening in the rock, and throws a streak of
golden light across the prostrate body, and the little animals crawl
and rustle about to enjoy the sunshine.
A large rock-serpent has crawled from its lair and coiled itself
beside Mohammed; its eyes glitter in the sunlight like precious
"I will die--die " he suddenly cries out, and springs to his feet so
quickly that the serpents and lizards barely escape being trodden on
as they escape to their holes behind the rocks. "Here I will remain.
How often, in the past, have I longed to be in my cave, my only
secret, my only possession." Once, to gratify this longing, I came
here, and then turned back, and said to myself. He who cannot
practice self-denial, cannot enjoy! And now I have practiced it, and
yet I have not enjoyed. But now I will enjoy, will enjoy death, at
least. Yes, I am resolved," said he, with trembling lips." I will
remain here and enjoy death. What does this struggling from day to
day avail this dreaming of future glory? Each succeeding day is in
poverty and misery the same. I was a fool to dream of future glory.
Now I will die. Let others be happy! Let the slave, Osman Bey,
attain what the free Mohammed cannot attain. He is welcome to his
reward death is at the end of it all, for him, too!"
He looks, through the opening in the rock, at the heavens above him,
and then rises higher to look down at the sea also, as though he
wished to take leave of it in a last glance. He then lies down on
his mat again. "Yes, let the slave Osman achieve glory, the free
Mohammed prefers death."
And yet, against his will, he must still think of the slave who has
gone out into the world over the sea to the wondrous land of Egypt,
where the caliphs were once enthroned, where their tombs still
stand, and where the Mamelukes now rule in their stead. He still
dreams of this wondrous land, with its ancient cities, and thinks
that these may be the death dreams that are to lull him to his
He is suddenly awakened from his dreams by a horrible sensation. It
is hunger, the hunger that rages within him. It is thirst that
parches his lips. The soul wishes to die, but the body calls the man
back to life, and appeals to him so loudly, so vehemently, that he
cannot but listen to its voice.
He resists with all his might. He will conquer. This miserable
hunger, this despicable thirst; he will not heed the pains that rend
his body, he will be strong, and a hero, in death at least.
Convulsively he clings to the rock as if to a support against the
allurements that strive to draw him out into life. But the voice of
the world appeals to him, in louder and louder tones, and fearful
are the torments he is undergoing.
The spirit must at last succumb to the demands of Nature. He rises
to give to the body what of right belongs to the body, nourishment,
drink and food.
He creeps to the entrance, and is so weak that he can hardly pass
through the opening, which he had formerly made still narrower, that
no one might discover it. He is so weak that he can scarcely stand
upright; his swollen lips are bleeding; his brain is burning, and he
sinks down upon a rock. A kindly voice now calls him. He hears it,
but lacks the strength to answer.
"Mohammed! Mohammed!" is heard again, and now the merchant, Lion,
approaches from behind a projecting rock. He had seen the boy, but
knowing his proud heart, and fearing to put him to shame by showing
himself, and saying that he came to his assistance, he had lingered
behind the rock.
He now kneels down beside the boy, bends over him, kisses his lips,
and whispers loving words in his ear.
"Poor child, Your mother, who loved you so tenderly, would weep
bitterly if she could see you in this condition. Poor boy, you must
strengthen yourself. I know you have eaten nothing, and I have
brought you food."
He drew a bottle from his pocket, and poured a little wine on his
lips. Mohammed tried to resist, but the body was stronger than the
will. He greedily swallows the wine, and, without knowing it, asks
for more. The merchant smiles approvingly, and pours a little more
on his lips, and then gives him a small piece of white bread that he
had brought with him, and rejoices when he sees Mohammed breathing
with renewed life.
"What are you doing?" he murmured. "I must die, that I may go to my
The merchant stooped down lower over the boy, and kissed him. "Your
mother, who loves you so dearly, sends you this kiss, through me.
She confided to me that she must die, and I promised her that I
would bring you a kiss from her whenever I saw you. With this kiss
she commands you to be brave and happy throughout life."
And, as he ceased speaking, he inclined his head and kissed him a
Now, as he receives this kiss from his mother, the tears suddenly
burst from his eyes and pour down his cheeks, hot tears, and yet
they cool and alleviate the burning pains of his soul.
"You weep," said the merchant, whose own cheeks were wet with grief.
"Weep on, pain must have its relief in tears, and even a man need
not be ashamed of them."
He sat down beside Mohammed, drew him close to his side, supporting
the boy's head on his bosom, and spoke to him of his dear mother.
"Nor are you poor, Mohammed. Your mother returned to me your love-
offering, together with other sums she had saved. I have fifty gold-
pieces for you. Yes, fifty glittering gold-pieces! You can now dress
better than formerly, until provision is made for your future; and,
if you should need advice or assistance, come to me. You know that I
am your friend. And now, be happy and courageous; remember that poor
Sitta Khadra has suffered much, and let her be at rest now. Another
friend is awaiting you above on the rock; will you go up to him?"
"It is Osman, is it not?" asked Mohammed, as be dried his eyes. "Am
I not right?"
The merchant inclined his head. "He could not come down the steep
path, or he would be here now."
"I will go to him; I know he loves me. He will not laugh when he
sees that I have been weeping."
No, Osman did not laugh. When he saw his friend coming, he advanced
to meet him with extended arms, and they embraced each other
tenderly, tears standing in the eyes of both.
All was still; nothing could be heard but the murmur of the sea, and
the rustling of the wind.
The merchant, who had at first stood in silence beside the two, now
walked noiselessly away.
They love each other, and what they have to say, no one else should
Mohammed stands up and dries his eyes; he wishes to be composed.
Osman holds out his hand:
"Your mother is dead, but she survives in your friends, and your
mother and your friend now extend the hand to you. Mohammed, come
with me to my house, for my house is yours, too. I will not have you
remain alone; you must come with me."
Mohammed shook his head gravely. "It cannot be--I will not become a
"Come, out of love for me. Not as my slave, but as my friend. Oh, I
am so lonely, and you are the only one who loves, and can console,
poor, sickly Osman."
"I will come to you!" exclaimed Mohammed, drawing his friend to his
bosom. "Even as a slave would I come, for I should be my friend's
slave. I will come to you."
THE days had passed quietly and monotonously for Mohammed since the
death of his mother.
To climb among the rocks with his gun in stormy weather, to cross
over in his boat to Imbra, after the fishermen's nets and fish, and
to tame the young Arabian steeds of the tschorbadji that had as yet
known no bridle, these were now Mohammed's chief pursuits and
pleasures, and in them he engaged with passionate ardor when at
leisure, that is, when not with his friend Osman Bey.
That which they had vowed to each other after the death of
Mohammed's mother, they had kept-true and firm friendship, brotherly
and confidential intercourse. With one wish only of young Osman, had
Mohammed not complied: he had not gone to live with him in the
proud, governmental building-had refused to share his friend's
luxury and magnificence, and to allow his poverty to be put to shame
by the benefits which he would have been compelled to accept.
The hut, inherited from his parents, he retained as his own
dwelling. In it nothing had been changed; the mat on which his
mother had died was now his bed. In the pitcher out of which she had
drunk, he each morning brought fresh water from the spring, and all
the articles she had used, poor and miserable as they were, now
constituted the furniture of his hut.
In vain had Osman continually renewed his entreaties: "Come to me.
Live with me; not for your own sake, Mohammed. I know that you
despise luxury, and that the splendor that surrounds us is offensive
to you. Not for your own, but for my sake, Mohammed, come to me and
live with us. My father is so anxious to have you do so, for he
knows that your presence is the best medicine for me. I feel so well
and strong when I look at you, Mohammed; and, when you sometimes
yield to my entreaties and spend the night with me in my room, it
seems to me I sleep better, for I know that my friend is watching
over me. Stay with me, Mohammed!"
These soft entreaties, accompanied by tender looks, touched
Mohammed, but they could not shake his resolution.
"I cannot and dare not accept, Osman. It would make me unhappy; I
should feel myself under too much restraint; I must, above all,
preserve the consciousness of being perfectly free and independent.
I must feel that I can leave when I choose, and for this very reason
is it so sweet to remain--to be with you, unfettered for your sake
only, Osman. If I should come and live with you in the palace of the
tschorbadji, do you not think I should be an object of dislike to
your slaves and servants; that they would point at me when I passed,
and whisper: 'How proud and insolent he is, and yet he is less than
I! We are the slaves of our master, and repay with our work the
money he spends on our account. But what is he? A proud beggar
supported by charity, who has the impudence to give himself the airs
of a gentleman.' Your slaves would say this of me, and mock me with
my beggar pride. But, as it is, I am free, and my clothing is my
own. It is certainly not as handsome as yours, the caftan not
embroidered, the shawl not of Persian make, and the kuffei around my
fez not inworked with gold. But yet it is my own, and it pleases me
to be thus plainly dressed, as it becomes the son of Ibrahim Aga. I
live as it becomes me; my hut is dark and poor--but it is mine, and
in it I am a free man. I do not sleep on soft cushions; a plain mat
is my bed, but on this mat my mother reposed, and on it she died. To
me it is sacred. I pray to my mother each night, Osman, and I greet
her each morning when I drink out of the wooden cup so often touched
by her lips. I should have to give up all this, and come here to
repose in splendid apartments, sleep on silken mattresses, and allow
myself to be waited on by slaves who do not belong to me. No, Osman,
do not demand this; let me come to you each day, of my own free-will
He extended his hand to his friend, who, as usual, lay reclining on
his couch, and Osman pressed it warmly in his own.
"You are a proud boy," said he, in low tones, "and though your
refusal gives me pain, I can still understand that in your sense you
are right, Mohammed. In short, you do not wish to be grateful to
"And yet I am grateful to you, Osman," said Mohammed, regarding him
tenderly; "all my heart is full of gratitude and love for you; but
how much do I owe to you! Is it not for your sake that your father,
the proud tschorbadji, is so kind and friendly to me? Does he not
allow me, the lowly born, to sit with him at his table, and treat me
as his equal?"
"Because he well knows that you would otherwise never come to me
again," said Osman, with a sad smile. "He is careful not to hurt or
offend you in any way, for, as you know, my father loves me very
dearly, and it would give him pain to deprive me of the only friend
I possess. My father knows that you are my benefactor, and that I
live from your life, Mohammed. Look at me wonderingly, if you will;
I am a sick child, and shall remain one, although years have made me
a youth. And let me tell you, Mohammed, I shall never become a
strong, healthy man. I have very weak lungs, inherited from my
mother, and if it were not for you, if I had not been sustained by
your healthy and vigorous mind and disposition, I should have died
long since. Therefore, do not say that you have cause to be grateful
to me. My father and I both have cause to be grateful to you, for my
father loves me and rejoices in my life; and I, too, am very glad to
live. The sun is so beautiful, it is so delightful to look at the
deep-blue sky, the flowers are so fragrant, and finally it is such a
pleasure to see you and to rejoice in your vigorous mind. I
therefore owe every thing to you, Mohammed, and father and I know
this, and are very thankful."
"Those are sweet words, Osman," said Mohammed, bestowing an
affectionate look on his friend. "You are so noble and generous,
that you wish to make it appear that all the benefits I have
received from you were bestowed by me. But Allah knows that I am
profoundly grateful, and I am aware, too, that I have cause to be.
Only consider, that to you and your father I owe all that I know.
Have I not been allowed to share the instruction given you? Has not
the scha-er, whom your father, as his narratives pleased us so much,
kept here at a heavy expense, instructed me, too, and taught us both
the history of our own and of all other countries? Have I not had
the same opportunities as yourself of learning of all that is going
on out in the world? Did I not share your instruction in all other
branches? Have not the poems of our land been read to us, and have
we not learned to understand the Koran, and receive into our souls
the wise teachings of the prophet Mahommed? Have we not also learned
the difficult science of algebra, and are we not familiar with the
laws of justice? Do I not owe it entirely to the instruction which I
have shared with you that I can also read the Koran and the books of
the prophets and poets? Ah, Osman, I still remember with shame how I
was sorrowfully compelled to confess to our teacher in our first
lessons, that I knew and understood nothing; that I could not read,
and did not even know the letters and figures."
"And how rapidly you learned all this!" said Osman. "It surprised
everybody, and I assure you the scha-rer is always charmed when he
speaks of you, and he listens admiringly to what you say after the
lessons are over. Yes, the scha-rer says, if you only would you
could become one of the greatest of scholars, so rapid has been your
"But one thing I have not learned", said Mohammed, interrupting him
with a smile". You were about to begin the old story, were you not,
Osman? 'But you never would learn to write,' you were about to say."
"Yes, that is what I intended to say, my friend, and this one thing
you must still learn: to use the pen and write down your thoughts on
"I cannot", cried Mohammed, impatiently; "my hands are too rough.
The oar and the gun have made my fingers so stiff that I cannot use
"Then let it be so. I will torment you about it no longer." said
Osman, with a sigh. "You are my head and I am your hand. You think
for me, and I shall write for you. So shall it be throughout our
entire lives, for together we two must remain, and nothing can
separate us. Is it not so, my friend? Say it, and say it often, that
nothing can separate us. For you must know that if fate should tear
you from me it would kill me, and that you cannot intend: therefore,
we shall ever remain together, shall we not?"
"We shall ever remain together," said Mohammed. "That is Osman,
consider well what you are saying, for you are nearly eighteen years
"As you are," responded Osman, smiling.
"Only with this difference, that your father will give you with your
eighteenth year, a beautiful aristocratic lady to wife, and
establish a harem for you; while Mohammed Ali will never have either
a sweetheart or a harem, but will always remain alone and unwedded."
"Who knows?" replied Osman, laughing. "Those who assure us they will
never love, says the poet, are the one's that fall in love soonest.
One is easily surprised by the enemy who is not feared, and against
whose snares the heart is not on its guard . . . This will be your
fate, Mohammed. Your heart is not on its guard, and does not fear
the enemy, love . . . But my poor heart has no cause to fear and be
on its guard; let me repeat it, Mohammed; look at me. Can the poor,
pale youth, with his wan countenance, his sunken breast, and his
weak breath can he think of marrying? Or do you suppose I would care
to become a subject of jest in the harem to the female slaves and
servants, who would have to wait on the sick man? True, the
tschorbadji, my father, has sometimes spoken of giving me an
establishment of my own with my eighteenth year. I remained silent,
for fortunately it is at present impossible. My establishment was to
have been above in the upper saloons, and fortunately Cousrouf Pacha
with his harem is still in possession of that part of our house. May
he long remain there! I do not wish it on his account, or because I
love him, but solely because my father must now delay the execution
of this plan. May Cousrouf Pacha, therefore, long remain!"
"I do not wish it," said Mohammed, gloomily; "he is a hard, proud
man, better in his own estimation than anybody here in Cavalla,
better even than the tschorbadji. I never saw a prouder man. And
what right has he to be so? Has he not fallen into disgrace with the
sultan? Did he not come here because he was banished from Stamboul?
And do you know why he was banished? I will tell you: because--so
have strangers who have come here reported, because he sought the
death of his benefactor and master, the grand admiral, Hussein
Pacha, in order that he might put himself in his place. Isn't this
horrible, Osman? The grand-admiral had bought him as a slave, and
then, because he loved him; made him free, and a wealthy man; he had
him instructed, and persuaded the sultan to appoint him bey and
pasha; and in return for all this, Cousrouf Pacha attempted to
poison his faithful master and benefactor, and calumniated him to
the grand sultan. Isn't this horrible?"
"It certainly would be if it were true," said Osman; "yet I do not
believe it. Much is told and said of the great and mighty, and they
are often calumniated and accused of evil deeds which they have not
committed. If it were so, do you not suppose the grand-admiral,
Hussein Pacha, the mighty man, and the grand-sultan, would have
punished him as he deserved? No, my father says differently, and has
received from Stamboul other and more reliable information. Cousrouf
Pasha has fallen into disgrace--that is a fixed fact--and the sultan
has sent him into exile. Yet he did so against the wish of the
Grand-Admiral Hussein. Do you know why? Consrouf has fallen into
disgrace? Because he refused to go to Egypt as pacha, declaring that
was equivalent to sending him into an open grave, as he should never
return home from that land of rebels and Mamelukes. The sultan
wished to send him to Egypt because he suspected him of having a
secret amorous intrigue with one of the sultanas. The sultan had
been told that Cousrouf Pacha was in the habit of being secretly
conducted to the sultana's chamber at night by a female slave. As
the sultan stealthily approached and opened the door of the chamber,
he heard a rustling and whispering, but was so dark in the room that
he could see nothing. He called slaves with torches to his
assistance. They searched the room, but found nothing. The sultana
stood on the balcony looking out into the starlit night. She met her
husband with a smiling countenance, saying the night was so
beautiful, she had gone out to gaze at the stars. The sultan, it is
said, gnashed his teeth with rage, but kept silence, as it would
have been unworthy of his dignity to threaten where he could not
also punish. On the following morning he sent Cousrouf Pacha into
exile to this place, my father tells me. But it is thought the
sultan's anger will soon expend itself, and that his friend the
grand-admiral, Hussein Pacha, will succeed in restoring his favorite
to honor. Cousrouf Pacha, my father says, is already heartily tired
of his tedious sojourn here, and has written to Hussein Pacha that
he is now ready to go to Egypt as pacha."
"Ready to revel in the glories of the world! Truly this great
Cousrouf Pacha is very condescending, "cried Mohammed, in derisive
tones. "He acts as though he were conferring a favor in accepting
that for which another would give his heart's blood."
"Would you, Mohammed? " asked Osman, smiling.
"I would give my blood, drop by drop, only retaining enough to
sustain life. Oh, to live there, to go to Egypt as the grand-
sultan's pacha, to rule in that beautiful land, to make the rebels,
the Mamelukes, and the beys, bow down in the dust. To vanquish them
all, Osman, this is my dream of bliss, this is but no, I am still
the same foolish boy, dreaming of impossibilities. See, there come
those of whom we have been speaking," raising his hand and pointing
to the hallway. "There comes the tschorbadji with Cousrouf Pacha.
Let me go now, Osman, it is unpleasant to be in the vicinity of this
haughty man; my heart always fiercely resents his insolence. Let me
Osman held him back. "See, they are looking at us, Mohammed. If you
should go now, it would look as though you desired to avoid my
father also, and that you assuredly do not wish. Moreover, the
haughty gentleman might think that respect for him made you run
away, as the lizard flees before the footstep of man. Stay!"
"You are right," said Mohammed, "I shall stay."
He straightened himself up, threw his head back proudly, folded his
arms on his breast, and stood beside his friend's couch, gazing
composedly at the two gentlemen who were advancing toward them,
followed by a number of slaves.
As they came nearer, the tschorbadji stepped hastily forward to
greet his son with loving, tender words. Mohammed inclined his head
with profound reverence before the father of his beloved friend. He
then raised his head again, and firmly met the glance of the haughty
Cousrouf Pacha, without any manifestation of deference whatever. The
latter stepped forward, and greeted Osman with friendly words; he
then turned, and fixed his dark-gray eyes on the young man who stood
beside him, awaiting his deferential salutation.
But Mohammed did not salute him. He still stood erect, his arms
folded on his breast, beside his friend's couch.
The pacha slowly turned to the governor. "Tell me, tschorbadji, who
is this person? Your slave, is he not?"
"No," cried Osman, rising partially from his couch, and anticipating
his father's reply. "No, your excellency, he is not our slave, but
my friend, my beloved friend, Mohammed Ali."
"Your friend! A great honor for such a lad, too great an honor, I
should think," said Cousrouf Pacha, directing a fierce glance at
Mohammed, who still stood erect beside him.
"Why should your excellency think so?" asked he in sharp, almost
threatening tones. "Why is it too great an honor that the son of the
tschorbadji calls me his friend? Has it not occurred that
aristocratic gentlemen have elevated to an equality with themselves,
and made friends even of, slaves, and purchased boys? I remember
hearing the scha-er tell of a Circassian slave whom the grand-
admiral, at Stamboul, purchased, and subsequently called his friend.
He was not ashamed of him, although the lad called Cousrouf was,
after all, only a slave."
"In the name of Allah, I pray you, be still!" cried the tschorbadji,
looking anxiously at Mohammed.
"And why should he be still?" asked Cousrouf, in cold, cutting
tones. "He is merely telling a story learned from the scha-er. You
know, tschorbadji, it is customary to pay story-tellers, and give
them a piaster.--Here, take your pay, you little scha-er."
The pacha drew from his silken purse, filled with gold-pieces, a
ducat, and threw it at the boy's feet.
Mohammed uttered a cry of rage, and took up the gold-piece as though
he intended to throw it in the pacha's face. But Osman held his
hand, and begged him in a low voice to be composed.
Mohammed struggled to compose himself. His face was pale, his lips
trembled, and his eyes gleamed with wrath and hatred, as he glanced
at the pacha; then his countenance became firm and composed. He
beckoned to a slave who stood at a distance, to approach, and threw
him the gold-piece. "The slave gives the slave his reward. Take it,
A moment of silence and anxious suspense intervened, and then
Mohammed's and the pacha's eyes met again in a fierce, piercing
glance. The pacha then turned, and addressed the tschorbadji:
"If he were my servant," said he, "I should have him taken out to
the court-yard for his insolence. If he there received, as he richly
deserves, the bastinado, I think he would soon become humble and
quiet. The viper bites no longer when its fangs are extracted.--I
tell you, tschorbadji, if he were my servant, he should now receive
"And if you were my servant," exclaimed Mohammed, haughtily, "I
should treat you in precisely the same manner, sir. The bastinado is
very painful, I am told, and you probably know it by personal
experience. But this you should know, too, sir, that here on the
peninsula of Contessa, slaves only are chastised, and slaves only
receive the bastinado. I, however, have never been a slave, but
always a free man; and what I am and shall be, I am, I am proud to
say, through myself alone. I have not been bought and bargained for,
and I sleep better in my dark little but than others who were once
slaves, and who, having risen through the favor of their masters,
now repose on silken couches."
"Tschorbadji Hassan!" cried Cousrouf, pale with anger, and hardly
capable of restraining himself from striking the bold youth in the
face with his own fist--"Tschorbadji Hassan, you shall punish the
insolence of this servant who dares to insult me, Cousrouf Pacha. I
demand of you punishment for this insolence."
"I have broken no law, and there is no law that condemns me to
punishment," said Mohammed, firmly and composedly. "Your excellency
does me the honor to dispute with me, that is all. With us
punishment is meted out according to the law only, and not at the
pleasure of every grand gentleman."
The tschorbadji stepped up to Cousrouf Pacha, and earnestly conjured
him to show mercy to his son's friend, for his sake.
"Consider that Osman is my only child, and my only happiness.
Consider that he loves Mohammed as if he were a brother. The
physicians say he would die if separated from Mohammed. Be merciful,
and forgive the insolence provoked by your own overbearing words. I
entreat you to be merciful, and to come away with me."
He took Cousrouf's arm in his own, and drew him away, almost
forcibly entreating him, with all the anxiety of a father's heart,
to forgive the uncultured youth, who knew nothing of becoming
deportment and polished manners. He was an untamed lion, unfamiliar
with the gentle ways of the domestic animals.
"And yet I wish I had this young lion in my power," said Cousrouf,
gnashing his teeth with rage, as he followed the governor. "I should
extract his teeth, and prove to the monster that he was not a lion,
but only a miserable cat, to be trodden under my feet!"
The tschorbadji drew him away more rapidly, that Mohammed might not
hear him. He had looked back and perceived that Mohammed was
standing still, gazing at them with a threatening eye, and, in
reality with the bearing of a lion prepared for the deadly spring.
When they had disappeared, Osman rose from his cushions, stood up,
threw his arms around his friend's neck, and kissed his quivering
"I thank you, my hero, my king, my lion! You stood there like David
before Goliath, and overthrew him in the dust. You made the insolent
giant small, you hero. I thank you, my Mohammed!"
The great square which lay in the centre of the village of Praousta
resounded with wild outcries and clamorings. All the men of the
place had assembled by the sea shore; they were generally honest,
peaceful sailors, but today they were raging rebels roused to revolt
against those in authority, and refusing obedience to the
Two pale, trembling men stood in the midst of the revolting crowd.
They were evidently Turks, by their closely-fitting uniforms, and
the scarlet fez on their heads; the short arms which hung at their
sides showed them to be the kavassen, or the collectors of the
These collectors were always an abomination to the people of
Praousta; they greeted them constantly with murmuring when they came
to collect the taxes, and often, before now, the appeasing,
tranquillizing words of the sheik had alone secured the payment of
the sums demanded. Today, however, their long-restrained indignation
had broken forth. Today, although the sea was so still and peaceful,
no one had gone out to fish, for it had been fully determined that
on this day they would refuse the demands of the governor's
collectors. The collectors had gone to the village, suspecting
nothing. The assessment had been brought by one of them several days
before to the sheik, who had received it with a very troubled
"A double tax? " he had said; "that will be most unwelcome to the
men of Praousta."
The messenger of the tschorbadji merely shrugged his shoulders.
"They will pay it, nevertheless, as the men in Cavalla and other
places have done. The money must be collected." Then, with the
haughty bearing which, the officials of the tschorbadji always
assumed, he retired.
The sheik called together a council of the oldest men of the village
and the ulemas, and informed them that the tschorbadji was compelled
to lay a double tax on them at this time because, although his own
expenses had been greater, he was obliged to forward the usual
amount to Stamboul. New roads had been built; besides that, the
tobacco-crop had failed, and new public buildings had been erected.
All these expenses must be met, as well as the full amount for
Stamboul, which must on no account be lessened.
The men had declared at once, with angry words, that they would
never pay the tax. On the morning of the day when the two collectors
came from Cavalla, the men of the village assembled in the square as
they had determined to do, and greeted them with loud and angry
"We will pay no double tax," cried Abdallah, the leader of the
fishermen. "It is quite enough that we are obliged to pay any tax.
What do the grand-sultan and his ministers do for us? Not one of
them aids us when our crops fail or when we suffer from other
misfortunes. When we have double crops, must we not always pay a
double tax? But this year we have not even good crops. Our tobacco-
crops have failed; our fishing-nets, with all the fish we had taken,
have been lost in the storms. Tell us, then, for what reasons we
must pay a double tax?"
"The reasons, my dear fishermen," said the collectors--"the reasons
are, that the tschorbadji commands it, and his commands must be
obeyed, because the grand-sultan has made him your governor."
"If those were reasons," shrieked the fishermen, "the tschorbadji
could drive us from our huts, and take from us all that is ours.
Those are no reasons; no, we will not pay the tax!"
"You must, and you will!" cried the second officer.
That was the signal for all the men to draw their knives with
lightning-speed from their belts. They brandished them in their
fists, pressing from all sides upon the two officers, and swearing
to kill them if they did not go at once to Cavalla and announce what
had occurred here.
Some of the men rushed off to the dwelling of the sheik, while
others hastened to bring the ulemas to the square.
"Are we to pay the double tax, sheik? Speak for us; tell the
officers what answer they must take to the tschorbadji."
The sheik bowed kindly on every side as he made his way through the
circle of armed men. All was profound silence as he came before the
two officers, and all present listened in breathless silence to his
"Lo, ye servants of justice!" exclaimed the sheik in a solemn voice,
"I say, go up to the city, and inform the tschorbadji that he has
demanded more than is just of the men of Praousta."
An overwhelming, thundering huzza interrupted the sheik.
"Speak on," was then the cry. "Let us hear what the good sheik has
to say to us!"