Part 4 out of 10
"This, dear sir, is the woman of whom I spoke," said the
tschorbadji, throwing open the door of the room, and stepping aside
respectfully to allow his distinguished guest, Cousrouf Pacha, to
pass in. "Salute this gentleman with reverence, daughter of my
sheik," said he, turning to Masa. "You stand in the presence of a
mighty man; he alone can help you."
"O master, if it is in your power, I pray you to help me," cried the
maiden, falling upon her knees before the pacha. "Be merciful!
Deliver my father from his prison; deliver us all from fear and
"What does all this mean?" asked Cousrouf, haughtily, turning to the
tschorbadji, who had respectfully stepped aside. "You bade me come
to decide an important question, and I find here only a young woman
who is weeping. What does this mean?"
"This young maiden is the daughter of Sheik Alepp, who is, as you
know, imprisoned in the court-yard. She loves her father dearly, and
has continually worked and pleaded for him since his imprisonment.
She now comes to say that the men of Praousta are really not able to
pay the double tax. You know that, although I would now gladly
abandon the collection of the tax, I have sworn to Mohammed Ali that
he alone should settle the matter. This tender-hearted maiden has
now thought of a means of solving this difficulty. She brings these
jewels, inherited from her mother, and asks me to give her their
value, a sum sufficient to pay the second tax. I, however, am a poor
man, and have not the hundred sequins to give her for her jewelry,
in order that she may take them to the people of Praousta, for from
them only will Mohammed accept payment of the tax. Therefore, pardon
my importunity. You are rich and mighty; when your purse is empty
you can easily refill it. You are noble and generous, and will
perhaps be disposed to take the jewelry, and let the loving daughter
have the money wherewith to obtain the deliverance of her father."
"Where are the jewels?" asked the pacha, gazing with impassioned
eyes upon the veiled figure of the maiden of whose countenance the
eyes alone were visible. But they were so beautiful, and rested upon
him with such an expression of tender entreaty, that he was moved to
the depths of his soul. "Where are the jewels?" repeated he,
slightly bending down over her.
She raised her hand and gave him the casket. "Here they are, noble
master. May Allah soften your heart, that I may not be deprived of
my beloved father!" He listened attentively to this voice. It seemed
to him he had never heard sweeter music than the tender, tremulous
tones of this maiden pleading for her father. His gaze still fixed
upon her, he opened the casket and glanced indifferently at its
precious contents. For a moment a strange smile played about his
lips, and he then turned with a mocking, contemptuous expression of
countenance, and addressed the tschorbadji:
"Tschorbadji, can you really so poorly distinguish between genuine
gold and precious stones and a worthless imitation? These are
playthings for children. These are not, pearls, and this is not
gold. A well-planned swindle, truly. No Jew would give you two
sequins for these things, not to speak of a hundred."
"Swindle!" she cried, springing to her feet, and her voice as now
clear and threatening. "You accuse me of planning a swindle! You are
wrong, sir; and if there be any one here who cannot distinguish true
gold and pearls from a base imitation, you are he! The gold and
pearls are genuine, and were inherited by me from my mother, who was
the daughter of a rich jeweler in Stamboul. She bequeathed them to
me, and the casket has not been opened before since her death. And
you accuse me of attempting to defraud you! You act ungenerously."
"Dear sir, forgive her, forgive her bold words!" said the
tschorbadji, addressing in earnest tones the pacha, whose eager gaze
was still fixed on the maiden. It seemed as though her anger had
power to excite his sympathy and admiration.
"It is of no moment," said he, haughtily: "I pray you, tschorbadji,
withdraw into the adjoining room. I wish to converse with her alone,
and if in my power I will assist her, notwithstanding her imitation
"O master, you are assuredly wrong," urged the maiden. "The pearls
are real, and the gold of the purest. I swear it by Allah! If you do
not intend to purchase my jewelry, and enable me to save my father,
tell me so at once, but you must not mock me."
"I am not mocking you I--Kindly withdraw into the next room,
tschorbadji, but leave the door open. You shall see all that passes
between us, but I beg that you will close your ear. I wish to deal
with the maiden alone, and it concerns no one to hear what we have
"I shall withdraw to the farther end of the adjoining room, where no
word of your conversation can reach me," said the tachorbadji,
respectfully. The pacha smiled condescendingly on the tschorbadji,
who walked into the next room, and seated himself at its farthest
"Now, daughter of Sheik Alepp, now we will consider this matter,"
said the pacha. "I am willing to assist you, but you must do your
"Master, what shall I do? I am anxious to do all I can."
"Do you love your father?"
"Yes, master! I love him with all my soul; he is the master given me
by Allah, and he is at the same time my friend. He is every thing to
me, mother, brother, sister. We two are alone together, and love
nothing in the world but each other!"
"Then I am sorry for you, poor child!" said the pacha. "Your father
is lost if the tax is not paid. You say yourself that the men of
Praousta cannot pay the double tax, and should they fail to do so
the heads of the four prisoners must fall."
"Be merciful! O master, be merciful," cried Masa. "You are rich and
mighty. You can save him. Oh, save him!"
"You are in error," said the pacha, "in this case I am powerless;
even the tschorbadji can do nothing. He pledged this word to
Mohammed Ali; he took the triple oath that he would allow him to act
as he should think best in this matter. Mohammed Ali has sworn that
the heads of the prisoners shall fall unless the people of Praousta
pay the tax, and that he will behead them himself if no other
executioner can be found."
"Horrible! and thus was his oath," cried Masa, shuddering.
"I pray you, master, tell me, were these his words; did he swear he
would himself execute my father?"
"He did. And, believe me, the youth will keep his word. He is blood-
thirsty and cruel, and it will gladden his heart to cool his wrath
in your father's blood."
"No! It is impossible!" cried Masa, in terror. "He cannot be so
cruel, and he is not!"
"Then you know him? " said the pacha, his eyes gleaming with hatred.
"I saw him this morning, and implored him to be merciful. I went
down on my knees before him, and besought him not to take my
"And yet he will do it! I tell you this Mohammed is a fierce youth.
Mercy is a word of which he knows nothing. You yourself have seen
that he is relentless."
"Yes," murmured she ; "he is relentless."
"There is, therefore, nothing to be hoped for from him," said the
pacha. "The tax must be paid, or the prisoners' heads fall."
She sighed profoundly, and covered her face with her hands. She
knows it is so; he told her so himself, in an agony of pain and
sorrow. The men must pay the tax, or all is lost; her father, or he
whom she loves, must die. She knows and feels this; and, therefore,
has she come to implore mercy of the stranger, whose gaze fills her
with anxiety and terror. She thinks of her father, and of the youth
whom she loves, and her tongue is eloquent, for she is pleading for
"I can help you," said the pacha, tranquilly and haughtily, "and I
will do so."
"You will?" cried she, joyously; and her eyes sparkled like the
stars of heaven, and filled the pacha, whose gaze was still fixed on
her; with delight. "You will help me, gracious master, sent by Allah
to my assistance, you will deliver my father from prison?"
"I will," replied the pacha. "That is, it depends on whether you
will grant a request of mine, and do what I wish."
"And what is it you desire, master?" asked the innocent, anxious
maiden in tremulous tones.
He gazed on her passionately, a smile lighting up his countenance.
"Lift your veil, and let me look upon your countenance."
She shuddered, and drew her veil so closely about her face, that it
concealed her eyes also.
"O master!" said she, in low tones of entreaty. "As you know, the
custom of our land forbids a girl to appear unveiled before a man."
"Unless he be the man who takes her into his harem," replied he,
"Yes, master, only before him whom she follows into the harem, and
then only when she has already followed him, may she unveil her face
before him. Therefore, be merciful, O master! Honor the custom of
our land, and do not demand of me what I could never confess to my
"Silly girl," answered he. "I do demand it, and, if it is denied me,
your father's head falls. You admit he is the only man you love, and
your only shield. When he is dead, you will be a beggar, and will
not even be able to purchase a veil, for the poor are everywhere
unveiled, and are, on that account, no worse than you who mask your
faces with veils. Therefore, daughter of the sheik, lift your veil!"
"Mercy! mercy!" she exclaimed, raising her hands entreatingly. "I
cannot do what you desire. I dare not. I have sworn an oath!"
"An oath?" said he, gazing at her piercingly. "To whom did you swear
She trembled, and did not reply. She felt that she must not confess
the truth, for that would be to invoke destruction upon the head of
"I swore it to myself," she whispered in low tones. "I swore to
remain pure and honest, as beseemed my mother's daughter, and never
to raise my veil in the presence of a strange man."
"Then keep your oath!" said he, stepping close to her. "You shall
not raise your veil, but I will; I will do it. I must see your face
before I fulfil my promise, before I deliver your father from
He raised his arm. She sought to defend herself, and prayed for
mercy. In vain! With a quick movement he lifted her veil, and
fastened his gaze on her countenance. At that moment a cry resounded
through the apartment, a cry of rage, and at the door of the
adjoining room appeared Mohammed Ali, pale and infuriated. He was
about to rush into the room, but with a bound the tachorbadji sprang
to his side, grasped him with all the strength which his anxiety
gave him, drew him back, closed the door, locked it, and drew the
key out of the lock.
"You ought not to enter, and, by Allah, you shall not!"
"I must enter!" cried Mohammed, gnashing his teeth, and looking like
an enraged lion, as he endeavored to wrest the key from the
tschorbadji. But the latter grasped the key firmly, and anxiously
called his son.
"What has happened?" asked Osman in anxious tones, as he entered the
room. Mohammed stood still, controlling his wrath with a gigantic
"You ask, Osman, what has happened. Within is Cousrouf Pacha with
the sheik Alepp's daughter, and he treats with her for her honor and
innocence, and she allows him to do so!" cried he, loudly and
"That is not true," said the governor. "You accuse him wrongly.
There is no reason why all the world should not see and hear what is
going on within. It is your fault alone that I found it necessary to
lock the door. What was your object in coming?"
"I came because the decisive hour has arrived, and I saw, in the
adjoining room, Cousrouf Pacha raising the girl's veil."
"You came and rushed past me like a madman. How do the girl's
actions concern you. She came to seek deliverance for her father."
"How her actions concern me, you ask, tschorbadji?" he cried,
clinching his fists. "How Masa's actions concern me, you wish to
"Be still, Mohammed!" said Osman, whose keen vision had read the
youth's soul, in low, entreating tones. "I pray you do not betray
Mohammed shook convulsively, and covered his face with his hands.
"It is true," he murmured. "I must and will be silent. She is lost
to me. I will think of nothing but revenge, let all else be
forgotten. --Tschorbadji, you swore that I alone should decide the
fate of the prisoners, and you will keep your oath!"
"I will keep my oath, as beseems an honest man, yet I hope,
Mohammed, that you will not be relentless; if you had heard, as I
have, the poor young girl's lamentations, it would have softened
your heart, and it would not have become necessary to resort to the
"As if he could assist her," he murmured to himself. "As if all
assistance were not now out of the question."
"Be composed, Mohammed," said Osman, entreatingly, as he threw his
arms around his friend's neck. "Do not complain, do not accuse. Be
firm, and prove that you have a strong and noble heart."
He cried out in piercing tones, as the lion cries when it sees the
hyena rending his young, as the eagle cries when the storm-wind
sweeps away its nest with its young. Then in wild emotion he threw
his arms around his friend's neck, and groaned heavily. Within, in
the saloon, nothing could be heard of the loud talking in, the
adjoining room. The pacha still held the veil high uplifted and
gazed at Masa.
"What is your name?" asked he, in low, soft tones. She cast down her
eyes before his passionate glances, and a deep blush suffused itself
over her features, making her still, more beautiful.
"My name is Masa," replied the girl, in a low voice. "But I pray
you, sir, let my veil fall over my face again. I am afraid!"
"Let me gaze on you one short moment longer," whispered he,
ardently. "You are beautiful, Masa, as are the stars of heaven, as
are the blush-roses in my garden. No, you are still more beautiful,
for they soon fade, but you are in the rosy dawn of your loveliness,
and your youth is still radiant in the morning-dew of innocence. Oh,
you are surpassingly beautiful, and it seems to me the prophet has
graciously sent me one of his houris from Paradise."
"I entreat you, sir, let go my veil," said she, in dismay, while two
great tears trickled through her long black eyelashes and rolled
down her cheeks.
"These are pearls, more beautiful pearls, Masa, than are contained
in yonder casket," whispered the pacha. "They will be genuine pearls
if you let me kiss them from your cheeks."
She stepped back proudly, tore the veil from his hand, and drew it
down over her face again. "I have given no one the right to insult
me, and you insult me!"
"How musical this sounds! How sweet three words of indignant
At this moment Mohammed's voice, in loud, angry tones, was heard in
the adjoining room. The pacha smiled, and motioned with his head in
"You have seen Mohammed Ali, and you now hear him; he is a
desperado, and will kill your father!"
"Yes," she murmured to herself, "he will now be pitiless, he will
now kill him."
"But I," said the pacha, in gentle tones, "I have pity, and I will
save your father."
"You will save him?" she said, tremblingly.
"I will," said he. "But hear me, Masa, charming crimson rose, hear
"I am listening," said she, sobbing.
He did not heed this, but stepped nearer, and bent down over her.
"Masa, your jewelry I will not take, I want no such recompense; you
shall even have money, all you may desire, if I can purchase you
"Me, sir?" she cried, in horror. "You wish to purchase me?"
"Why are you so terrified? I have in my harem many women who are as
beautiful and young as you are, and of much nobler birth, and they
esteem themselves happy in belonging to me. But I tell you, Masa, I
will hold you higher than them all. You shall rule over them all,
and they shall all bow down before you, for Cousrouf Pacha will set
them the example. By Allah! I swear it to you with the triple oath:
not my slave, but my favorite, shall you be. Cousrouf Pacha will
honor you as the first, as the queen of his harem."
"It is impossible, sir," she cried, in terror. "My father's daughter
cannot sell herself. She is a free woman, and must remain so."
"Then remain so, and your father dies," said he, composedly. "Plume
yourself with your freedom, but say, too, in your proud arrogance,
that you are the murderess of your father. For, I say to you,
Mohammed swore the oath, and he will keep it. Your father will die,
and you will be his murderess."
"Allah be merciful! I cannot allow my father to die. No!" she
"He dies if you do not accept what I offer. I repeat it, wealth and
honors shall be yours. The daughter of the poor sheik of the
wretched village shall become the favorite of the pacha. I shall not
remain here long. The message will soon come that calls me to
Stamboul; and you, Masa, shall go with me. At the court of the
grand-vizier you shall be the first; I will honor you above all the
rest, and lay at your feet all that I possess, for you are
beautiful, and my heart is filled with love for you. I will make you
happy at my side. And now decide. Without in the iron cage stands
your father awaiting his deliverance, and here stands his daughter,
and beside her Cousrouf Pacha, who offers her money, all she may
desire, and lays every thing that he possesses at her feet. If you
accept this offer, Masa, your father walks out of his prison a free
man in spite of the blood-thirsty youth. Take the money and do not
think I am purchasing you; it shall only be an earnest of your
future. If you suppose you are to be, as you say, a slave, you are
mistaken. You will only become the slave of your love for me."
"No, sir! never can I love you," she cried, vehemently.
"You cannot? It is thus the heart of the wild-dove speaks! Masa, you
will, because you will be touched by my love. When you see me doing
every thing to make you happy it will touch your heart, and you will
At this moment loud cries and lamentations were heard from without.
"Those are the men of Praousta, who have come up and are lamenting.
Do you not hear the call from the mosque? The second hour of prayer
is at hand, the time has came. Decide, Masa!"
She sank down on her knees, groaning; and prayed to Allah for mercy.
"O Mass," said the pacha, raising her from her knees, "Cousrouf
prays to you, be merciful to your father; yield, be mine and save
Loud cries of grief again resounded without. Masa, shook with
terror. "I cannot allow my father to die, I cannot! I yield, I am
ready; give me the money, that I may bring it to these people."
"I will give it to you, and you shall rescue your father. And now
you are mine; not my slave, but my queen. Go up into my harem while
I take the money out to these people."
"No, not so," she cried, entreatingly. "Leave me my freedom for this
one day only; let me remain this one day with my father, and do not
let him have a suspicion of the price I have paid for his liberty."
"Then let it be so," said he, regarding her fixedly. "You swear, by
the memory of your mother, that you will voluntarily return to my
harem early to-morrow morning."
"I swear, by the memory of my mother, that I will return here early
"You will come to the back-gate of my garden, where my servants will
await you to conduct you to me. And now I am going after the money.
Go into the adjoining room, to the tachorbadji."
He opened the door, and beckoned to the governor. "Await me here a
moment; I am going after the money with which to release the
He turned to her once more: "You understand, until early to-morrow
morning. You have sworn by all you hold sacred--by Allah and by your
"Yes, I have so sworn," said she, in a low voice.
"You will keep your word, and henceforth you will belong to me; for
you are now mine: remember this. You are mine wherever you go, my
property, my slave. This evening, when the night sinks down, and
when your father has retired to rest, then you will come to my
garden, where I shall await you with my eunuchs."
"I shall come, master. Am I not your slave, and have you not paid
He nodded to her, and then turned and left the room.
Masa drew her veil closer about her face, that none might see that
it was wet with her tears.
The court-yard without now presents a busy appearance. The fishermen
of Praousta, becoming impatient and anxious, had hurried in a body
up the stairway in the rock. When the signal for the morning prayer
was sounded from the minarets they knew that nothing was to be hoped
for from the efforts of the sheik's daughter, and they agreed among
themselves that they would go up in a body and petition for mercy.
They hastily agreed upon what they should say to the governor, and
determined, of course, in their generosity of heart, that they would
yield, and promise the governor to pay the double tax if he would
only patiently wait a little while. This was their resolve. The
sheik and the ulemas must be rescued, cost what it might. With this
firm resolve they hastened up the stairway, entered the outer court-
yard of the palace, and loudly demanded to be conducted to the
But their clamors were in vain. At the gate of the palace stood the
eight soldiers of the body-guard, with drawn swords, prepared to
defend the entrance.
Enraged, the fishermen pressed forward with uplifted knives,
threatening destruction to all who should attempt to bar their
"Where is the governor? We must speak with him; we must have mercy."
"No, no mercy," cried a loud, sonorous voice; and, as they turned in
the direction from which the voice came, they saw a fearful object
standing in the middle of the court-yard--the block covered with
black cloth. Near by, proudly erect, his lips firmly compressed, as
if to repress words of imprecation or wrath that struggled for
utterance, stood Mohammed Ali, like an angry spirit, ready to judge
and to punish. Thus he stood there, and, behind, a slave holding in
his hands the glittering axe. "Behold this, ye men of Praousta, and
bow down in the dust; pay what the tschorbadji has demanded of you,
or the heads of my prisoners shall fall as I have sworn."
Horror, rage, and anger, were combined in the single cry that
resounded from the breasts of all.
"Mercy, mercy! you cruel boy! Do you intend to prevent the men of
Praousta from returning tranquilly to their homes? do you wish to
make slaves of them?"
"I have authority to act as I am acting, and I will grant no mercy
to the men of Praousta. Men must obey the laws, and humbly submit to
them; and this you have not done, ye rebels! Why have you followed
the sheik and the ulemas? You see they must bow down in the dust,
after all; and, unless you pay the tax demanded by the tschorbadji,
they shall die."
"Listen, ye men of Praousta, listen!" cried a loud voice from one of
the windows of the palace.
There stood Cousrouf Pacha, beckoning to the fishermen with his
"Come into the palace; I wish to speak with you.--Make free the
passage, ye soldiers! In the name of the tschorbadji, command you to
allow these men to enter!"
With a loud shout the men rushed toward the door, and the body-guard
stepped aside, and left the passage free.
Mohammed's glittering eyes followed them, and he suddenly turned
pale, for Masa's lovely form now appeared on the threshold of the
palace. A cry resounded from his lips. He stood helpless and
motionless with anger and humiliation. It was now clear to him. She,
who had sworn to love, who had sworn by her father's spirit that no
man but he should ever raise her veil, had proved unfaithful. She
had broken her sacred oath! She, whom he now loved with his whole
heart and soul, had blasted his hopes. The thought almost stopped
the beating of his heart. "Masa shall repent! Mohammed will wreak
vengeance upon humanity for her broken faith."
He trembled, and pressed his lips firmly together, when her white
figure appeared in the doorway. But Masa saw him not, nor thought of
him; her whole attention was occupied with her father. With a joyous
cry, and widely-extended arms, she flew to the enclosure. "O father,
O my father," cried she, in loud, exultant tones, "you are free!"
"Free?" exclaimed the sheik. "It is impossible! It cannot be!"
Mohammed sprang forward, and thrust Masa aside with such force that
she sank upon the ground. A cry of anguish escaped her lips. She
veiled herself, and gazed at him with anxious, imploring glance. He
could not endure it; he turned his eyes away from her; he would not
see her; he would be as strong in his hatred as he was in his love!
"There is no mercy for the traitoress!" murmured he. "I will punish
thee for thy unfaithfulness. I will revenge myself upon thee!"
The men of Praousta now issue from the house, and shout joyfully
before the cage in which the aged men are imprisoned.
"You are saved--you are free. A noble man was found who sent us
assistance. Long live Cousrouf Pacha, your deliverer!"
The pacha threw open the window. He stood there, his form proudly
erect. Upon his turban glittered the golden half-moon; above it
waved the eagle's wing; the sun fell upon his sword and richly-
chased poniard, playing gayly with the precious stones with which
his garments were adorned. His eyes sparkled, and a wondrous smile
hovered about his lips. And again they shouted: "Long live Cousrouf
Pacha, our deliverer in time of need, our savior!"
He bowed his haughty head, and his eyes rested passionately upon the
young maiden, kneeling upon the ground in her agony. From her his
glance passed over to Mohammed Ali. He saw the pain and anguish
imprinted upon the livid countenance of the youth, and smiled
He withdrew from the window, and hastened down to the court-yard,
followed by the tschorbadji. He approached Masa, and, bending over
her, said, softly: "Rise, daughter of thy father. Your sorrow and
trouble have passed away. Be gay and happy once more. That which
wicked men sought to do unto you has been frustrated. Your father is
free.--Tschorbadji," said he, "command your servant Mohammed--
command him to unlock the gate of this cage, and to release the
prisoners he has guarded so closely."
"No!" shouted Mohammed, in a voice of thunder. With my consent alone
can it be opened!--Guard the gates, ye officers; I go in quest of
the key; and not one shall be released until, kneeling at my feet,
with their heads in the dust, the rebels pay to me the double tax.
What I have sworn--what I have sworn by my honor, that must be
"We will not consent! We will never yield!" cried the men, rushing
about in confusion.
"Then the prisoners' heads shall fall!" cried he, exultingly waving
his sword in the air. "The hour until which I granted a respite has
come; the gold has not been paid; the law cannot be broken with
impunity. You pay, or the hour of vengeance is at hand!"
"We will not kneel; we will not humiliate ourselves before you, you
With his sword still threateningly raised, Mohammed gazed around
The tschorbadji and his son now approached the men, and pleaded with
them urgently. They explained to them that Mohammed was in the
right; that he could not act differently. As he had sworn by his
honor to force them to pay the double tax, he must therefore keep to
"Do as he tells you," said the tschorbadji, in an entreating tone;
"pay the tax he demands. Do it, ye men! I will reward you well, if
you do as I say. He who goes to Mohammed to pay the money, he can
ask at my hands a favor."
The men's anger became subdued by the soft, kind words of their
master. With bowed heads and gloomy aspect, they approached Mohammed
Ali, who still stood with threatening sword before the cage.
"We kneel before you in the dust; we have returned to our duty,"
said one of the men. "Here are the two sequins that I have to pay."
"Here are mine," "And mine," cried they all, with one accord. They
knelt and offered Mohammed the gold.
He did not take it; but, gazing steadfastly and bitterly at the
pacha, he thrust them aside with a movement of impatience. "Lay your
gold upon the block. What, through your obstinacy, has occurred,
cannot be obliterated by your gold. Lay your gold upon the block,
for to it you offer your gold."
Laughing wildly, he turned and bowed before the veiled maiden. "But
you pay for it with your honor, with your shame."
She fell forward, and a shriek of agony burst from her lips. But she
still gazed with tender eyes upon the youth who looked down upon her
"Traitoress! You have forgotten your oath!"
"No, Mohammed," whispered she. "Hear me!"
"Away from me! do you still wish to deceive me?" Again he thrust her
from him. Masa would have fallen, had not Osman hurried forward and
"Forgive him," whispered he, softly. "He is wild with anger and
"O Osman, is all known to you?" asked she, in trembling tones.
Osman bowed his head. Tears stood in his eyes. "Be quiet--we are
watched. In the evening I will send you word."
"Open now the gates, and let the prisoners out," said the
tschorbadji to Mohammed. "The law has been vindicated."
"It shall be as you command," said Mohammed, with the calmness
sometimes born of despair. He drew forth the key, and placed it in
the lock. Masa sprang forward. The gate opened, and now she stood
beside her father. She threw her arms about him, and kissed his
lips. Then she bowed her head upon his breast, and wept bitterly.
The old man held her close to his heart, and then, lifting her up,
bore her, trembling with emotion, from out the cage, in which he had
endured such torture for four-and-twenty hours.
The ulemas followed him. Joyfully the men greeted the released
prisoners, and prayed that they might escort them home in triumph.
"I see no cause for triumph," said the sheik, calmly. "You have done
what I cannot approve. It were better, I think, to have laid my gray
head upon the block, rather than you should place upon it your hard-
earned gold, becoming hereby the slaves of him who gave it to you,
and has thus lowered you by his gift.''
"No, sheik," said Cousrouf Pacha, advancing proudly. "He who gave
this gold gave it not with such intent. He gave it not to humiliate
these men. I gave it for your sake, and for your daughter's sake,"
continued he, in loud tones, and for an instant his eyes gleamed
passionately on Masa.
He well knew his words would enter Mohammed's heart like a knife.
Turning slowly, be glanced at him, and smiled at seeing him turn
"I am now about to leave you," said the pacha. "The grand-sultan
calls me from here. Fear not, therefore, O sheik, that my
countenance will longer humiliate you. I give you freedom. Return to
your friends; you are free!"
"Long live Cousrouf Pacha!" was the exultant cry of the men of
No one heard, amid the many voices, the one crying "Cursed be
Cousrouf Pacha! Cursed be my enemy unto death! I swear revenge upon
"Cease, Mohammed; be guarded, be silent! Dissemble your anger, your
pain, O friend of my heart! Believe me, all will soon be changed:
the sky that now seems so dark, will soon be clear with the light of
the sun and of love!"
"No, never, Osman, never," murmured Mohammed, gazing bitterly at
Masa, who, leaning upon her father's arm, and followed by the ulemas
and the jubilant fishermen, was now leaving the court-yard.
"Nevermore, Osman, nevermore, will the sun shine for me! Night and
impenetrable darkness envelop my fate! But I swear to revenge myself
upon those who have done me this wrong!"
"Silence, silence, Mohammed!" said Osman, entreatingly, to his
friend. "See, my father approaches, and with him Cousrouf Pacha. How
triumphant he seems! He knows he has pained you. Will you permit him
to see and rejoice in your pain?"
"No, no, you are right! He shall not rejoice in my pain! Bitter
heartache shall I prepare for him someday!" Laughing bitterly to
himself, he advanced toward the two approaching him.
"Mohammed Ali," said the governor, solemnly, "I thank you for your
good services. You have accomplished that which, by your honor, you
swore to fulfil. And I affirm that I also have kept my word. I
allowed you to do as you thought best, and did not restrain you when
I thought your acts cruel; but I must nevertheless admit that you
have acted with wisdom and with courage. Gladly will I reward you
for that which you obtained through your daring. It is fit that such
a man should have an office, and exercise the duties thereof from
now on. Mohammed Ali, I have good news to impart to you! The scenes
of yesterday have taught me that, to preserve peace and quiet, it is
necessary to have soldiers at hand. I have already dispatched a
courier to the neighboring town, and a garrison shall hereafter stay
here or at Cavalla. You, Mohammed Ali, I appoint boulouk bashi, or
captain of this company that is to enter Cavalla to-morrow."
A deep color overspread, like the morning sunlight, Mohammed's
countenance:--"Master, you well know how to reward generously him
who has done naught but his duty."
"And now, my Mohammed," whispered Osman, softly, "or rather boulouk
bashi, let me be the first to congratulate you. How proud and happy
I shall be when I see Mohammed Ali, in his glittering uniform,
marching at the head of his company. Proud and happy shall I account
myself when so handsome, so brave a soldier, considers me worthy of
"You make sport of me," murmured Mohammed, a soft smile illuminating
his countenance. In the spirit he saw himself in his handsome
uniform at the head of his company. Truth and justice are once more
acknowledged. The hour of humiliation and pain has gone by. The time
he had so long looked for had arrived. He listened calmly to the
tschorbadji's announcement that on the morrow his uniform would be
ready, as well as those of his soldiers, which were to be sent, at
once to Cavalla.
"There will be a number of uniforms, and the young boulouk bashi can
make his choice from among them."
"And the sword, my father, the sword, I will give to my friend
Mohammed Ali!" cried Osman, joyously. "Do you remember the gold-
handled sword given me by the grand-vizier on his last visit? I have
kept it jealously, though, alas! I can never wear it myself. And now
my friend shall wear it in my place, and, when I see him pass by
with the glittering weapon at his side, it will seem as if I carried
it myself in defence of my beloved country. Come with me, Mohammed,"
said he, taking his friend's arm. "You are in need of rest. You have
been deeply moved, and now let us retire. It is quiet within my
father's apartments; there we will betake ourselves and repose
"We will all follow you," said the governor.--"I pray Cousrouf Pacha
to accompany us. The day is bright and lovely, and I think we all
stand in need of rest and refreshment. There we will take our
coffee, and at the same time something more substantial together,
and, enveloped by the smoke from our pipes, we will discuss the
events of this day, which commenced so stormily, and now seems to
end so pleasantly to our general joy."
"Who knows, tschorbadji, that it brings joy to all?" said Cousrouf
Pacha, sneeringly. "I, of course, have cause to rejoice and be
thankful, this day. But it strikes me, Mohammed Ali is by nature
little inclined to be thankful. Instead of joyfully receiving his
honors, he seems to gaze wrathfully upon us all."
"I think I have cause to do so," said Mohammed, impetuously turning
"And wherefore?" said Cousrouf Pacha. "Wherefore? Speak on."
"Well," said Mohammed, "many, I think, receive honors which they
have not deserved, and have done naught to earn, as if they were to
be bought, and they knew how to purchase them. I say that honor,
power, and consideration, often spring from hypocrisy and slavish
submission; and that through cunning, deceit, and shame, many a free
human soul becomes abject and lost. I hope I am understood by
"I regret that I can neither understand nor explain these strange
words. But you must feel, tachorbadji, that I have to deny myself
the pleasure of remaining longer with you in the company of this
wild young man, whose mind seems bewildered by the honors conferred
on him. Enjoy yourselves in quiet repose, and be happy at your
"Do as it suits you," cried Mohammed. "I shall not share it. I am
exhausted, and shall retire to rest and refresh myself. Farewell!"
He bowed his head, and carried his hand in greeting both to lip and
brow. He then turned, and hastened rapidly away.
The pacha followed him with an evil glance. "The forward youth is
forever in my path," said he, threateningly. "It was well for him he
withdrew, for it might have come to bitter enmity between us. Should
he dare again what he this day ventured upon, his life would no
longer be secure. Being a guest in your house, and meeting him
there, made me considerate to-day. But woe unto him should he cross
my path, when no such considerations restrain me! Bitterly shall he
repent of his words."
Joy and merriment prevailed throughout the day in the village of
Praousta; a continuous firing of guns was kept up, which delighted
the boys, and terrified the sick, and the timid little girls. Joyous
songs were sung, and, on the grand square before the mosque, men and
women assembled for a dance.
The tambourine rang out merrily, and cymbals and flutes filled the
air with sweet sounds.
A sail on the water was arranged for the afternoon, and the boats
were gayly decked with flags for the occasion.
In the first large boat the sheik, the ulemas, and the leading men
of the village, were reposing on carpets. Two boats containing the
musicians followed; and then came, in four gayly-adorned ones, the
women of the village, enveloped in their white veils, and greeting
the men in the other boats with their bright eyes only. It was a
beautiful spectacle. The sea itself seemed to rejoice over it; it
murmured softly, and curled its waves caressingly upon the beach.
The governor, accompanied by his distinguished guest, Cousrouf
Pacha, had come down to Praousta. Both were saluted from the boats
with shouts of applause; handkerchiefs and caps were waved, and the
blessing of Allah and of the prophet invoked upon their heads. But
curses also resounded from time to time from their midst.
"These two gentlemen are kind-hearted. They saved us, and Mohammed
Ali alone was the cause of all our trouble and anxiety. Woe to the
traitor! He wished to make himself a name, to mount to honor and
power upon our shoulders, though we should be ground down in the
dust. Woe to him! woe to him ! The governor is kind, we have nothing
to fear from him. Mohammed Ali alone is our foe--woe to him!"
This was the cry from one to the other; all joined in it; they all
raised their fists menacingly against Mohammed Ali. "May he hear our
curses, and see our threatening hands! We will be avenged on him for
what he has done to us. He shall be repaid for all the evil he has
done to the sheik; of this he can rest assured. We have loved and
been kind to him; we have treated him as if he were our child; he is
indebted to us for all he is, and for all he can do. From us he
learned to manage a boat, to use a gun--and thus has he rewarded us.
Woe to him!" This cry resounded again and again from boat to boat:
"Woe to him! Woe to Mohammed Ali, the son of Sitta Khadra!"
But he heard nothing of all this; neither the curses, nor the
laughter and shouts of joy. He had gone to his solitary resort on
the rock above. There he was alone, without fear of being observed
by the eyes of men. There no one could hear his wails of anguish.
There he was alone with wind and waves. Alas, how short a time had
elapsed since he had stood there in joy and exultation! His soul had
revelled in all the delights of the world, in all the glories of
Paradise. Only a few hours had passed, and yet it seemed to him that
he was entirely transformed, that he had became another man since
With what pious thoughts, with what ecstasy had he, that morning,
greeted the rising sun! His heart had been filled with ineffable
bliss; tears of delight had stood in his eyes. Now the evening is
sinking down, the first evening after that blissful sunrise, and
vanished is all he had gloried in; lost, all he believed he had won.
A white dove had fluttered down from heaven, he had seen a fair swan
full of innocence and loveliness at his side; and now, the white
dove had transformed itself into a monster, and the fair swan had
become an evil spirit. Yes, an evil spirit had assumed the form of a
swan, and cast a wicked spell over his heart, and now--O Mohammed,
learn to suffer! Rend yourself with your agony; press your hands
convulsively to your breast till the blood trickles out from your
finger-nails; cry out in your anguish, till the eagle, aroused in
his nest, looks out with greedy eyes after the poor creature that
has dared to disturb the king of the air! Let curses resound from
the quivering lips that are as pale as those of the dead! Curse the
swan for having become a ghin; the white swan for having transformed
herself into a cat, and then awake from your despair. Behold her
standing before you with the sweet expression on her delicate
features, with the blushing cheeks as you raise the veil, with the
crimson lips that grow more crimson still as yours touch them.
Behold her, in all her loveliness, and kneel down on the place where
she stood, and passionately kiss the earth her feet have touched.
Bless her in your love, and curse her in the anger of your hatred!
First love is passionate in its bliss, burning its agony, and agony
and bliss, fury and delight, are all pouring through your soul, and
giving you the baptism of pain, making of the youth a man.
"Tear love from my soul, and enable me to tread it under foot!" he
cries out fiercely, as he now rises from the place he had just
touched with his lips. "Root out these memories from my breast,
spirit of my mother! She to whom I here prayed, and swore fidelity,
has proved untrue. Strike blind the eyes of my soul, that they may
no longer see this horror! Make deaf my ears, that I may no longer
hear the sweet voice that sounds like heavenly music! What was it
she said, what were her words?
"'I will be thine, and love no other but thee!' she said. 'By my
mother's spirit, I swear to you that no other man shall lift this
veil from my face; I will be thine, alone!'
"It was music when she said it. It filled my heart with heavenly
joyousness. And now it proves to have been evil spirits only, who
had come up from the deep to deceive a poor heart! Oh, these
memories, they will follow me like a black shadow throughout life.
In wild merriment and conflict, I shall be able to hush them in the
noisy day; but, in the stillness of the night, they will come back
to charm--no, to tear my heart! O Masa, Masa, what have you done!"
Overwhelmed with his agony, he sank to the ground, and kissed again
and again the place where she had stood, and wept aloud.
"Mohammed!" suddenly exclaimed a voice behind him. "Mohammed Ali!
The man who weeps has no manly courage, and it would be vain to call
on him for assistance!"
Is another evil spirit beside him? What woman is this who suddenly
appears at his side, closely shrouded in a black veil? Is it another
ghin come up from the deep?
"You are right," murmured he, "no one need longer hope for
assistance from me; I will give vengeance and destruction to those
who call on me for help!"
He springs to his feet and stares fiercely at the woman. "Away from
me! Allah is Allah, the only one in heaven, and Mohammed is his
prophet. Away from me, evil spirit!"
He exorcises this creature with the oath with which evil spirits are
driven out. But it seems this spirit is not to be exorcised. The
veiled woman remains quietly standing, regarding him sorrowfully.
"Mohammed, there are many who suffer, and yet do not break out into
loud lamentations. Many a woman wails in the silence of her chamber;
the lamentation of many a young girl resounds, unheard and unheeded,
through the harem. I know a girl, Mohammed Ali, who weeps and
laments, because she well knows that one whom she looked upon and
greeted in the holy stillness of the morning as though he were her
lord, entering the harem for the first time--that this one
wrongfully accuses her, calls her faithless; yes, perhaps at this
very moment, appeals to Allah for vengeance for a crime which she
has not committed; for a wrong that does not burden her soul!"
"You know such a girl?" he cries, with loud, mocking laughter. "You
are fortunate in knowing her. I do not know such a girl; I only know
that they are all deceitful and traitorous."
"Then you assuredly do not know this one! She is as pure as an
angel, and her name is Masa."
"Masa!" he exclaims, in loud and joyous tones. Then his countenance
darkens, and, raising his clinched fists threateningly, he cries:
"Masa! you deceive yourself. Of all deceitful women she is the
worst. Do not say that I deceive myself with regard to her; I saw,
with my own eyes, that which gives me death; that which will forever
gnaw at my heart. Away from me, and announce to her who sent you
that no woman shall ever deceive Mohammed again."
He turns to descend from the rock, but the woman holds him fast,
regarding him with an anxious, entreating look.
"Do you wish to kill my darling, the beloved child of my mistress?
Listen, Mohammed! On her death-bed the mother confided to me her
only child. Grasping her cold hand, I swore by Allah that I would
hold her as my own, that I would watch over and guard her from all
evil. This morning I found my darling in an agony of grief. She did
not go out with the joyous crowd, but remained at home in her own
little room. I saw her wringing her hands, and heard her entreating
Allah to take her life. I entered her room and said to her: 'O Masa,
you know that your Djumeila is true to you. Confide in her. Tell me
all that grieves you. What is it that gives you pain?' After I had
thus appealed to her for a long time, she arose from her knees, fell
on my neck, and whispered in my ear a wondrous tale of the starry
sky, of sunrise, and heavenly delight, of the bliss and pain of
love. And I swore by Allah and the prophet, by the spirit of her
mother, that I would never speak to another a word of what she had
told me! But, because I love the child of my mistress, the child
that is to me as my own, so dearly, I promised that I would go to
the man she loves and tell him everything in her name."
"Then go seek him she loves! You will find him in the governor's
palace; there he sits enthroned in the midst of his grand and
brilliant harem. She longs to see the doors of this harem thrown
open to her. Go to him and tell what you have to say. You will be
"I knew to whom I was to go, and I have already reached my
destination. The heart of a woman who loves can see the absent like
that of a sorceress. Masa said to me: 'Go up the rock to the highest
point; there we vowed eternal fidelity to each other. I know he will
be there! He will seek to wipe out the traces of our morning
communion with his curses, perhaps, too, with his tears.' Now I am
at the place to which Masa sent me, and here, too, is he to whom she
sent me. Mohammed Ali, do not turn from me, do not shake your head.
Rather let us sit down, and listen to what Djumeila has to say."
He did not reply. He only made a motion as if to shake off the hand
she had laid on his arm, in order to draw him down to her side. But
now against his will he permits her to draw him down to a seat on
the stone beside her.
"Listen, Mohammed! Masa is at home, locked in her room. She weeps
and laments, and has sworn to me by her mother's spirit that she
would die to-night. The waves are to close over her if Mohammed does
not rescue her from disgrace and misery. Listen, Mohammed, and take
what I say to heart. Will you do so, Mohammed!"
"Well, then, I will!" said he, after a short pause. "May Allah judge
you if you are about to deceive me again!"
"Then incline your ear closer to me, that the ghins may not hear
what I say and carry it further. What Masa confided to me is
intended for you only."
He inclines his head close to hers. For a long time she whispers and
speaks to him in impressive tones; and he listens at first against
his will, but gradually a new life courses through his being, a
delicate color suffuses itself over his pale cheeks, and his brow
quivers with emotions of mingled joy and pain.
The woman continues to speak in low, earnest tones.
When she has finished, Mohammed bounds to his feet. Suddenly he is
completely changed. His eyes sparkle, his lips smile and part to
give utterance to a cry, to a loud, piercing, joyous cry, such as
the eagle utters when he returns after a long journey and sees his
young looking up and opening their beaks to greet him. He felt that
he must cry out to relieve his breast. He extends his arms into the
air, as though he saw before him the white dove, and wished to clasp
it to his heart; as though he saw on the murmuring sea at his feet
the swan approaching, singing to him the song of holy virgin purity
and of chaste maidenly love.
"O how beautiful is the world!" he exclaims, exultingly. "How
heavenly to live in it! But then this is not earthly delight, but
the bliss of Paradise. I shall enter Paradise to-day, and be one of
the blessed; I shall revel in heavenly joys already here on earth as
man never did before. Come, Djumeila, and listen to my words. Come
to this spot. See, here she stood this morning; here she exchanged
with me vows of eternal fidelity, and this holy place I have
consecrated with my tears and my despair. I was a fool; oh, forgive,
Masa, forgive me, and I will repay you with life-long devotion. So
long as a drop of blood flows in my veins will I love you and belong
to you alone. Come, seat yourself beside me, Djumeila, and listen
attentively to each word I shall speak to you."
The inhabitants of Praousta had insisted on making the release of
the sheik and the ulemas the occasion of general rejoicing, and the
latter were compelled to yield to the general desire and take part
in the festivities.
But it is well that evening is now come, and that the night is
spreading her rest-bringing mantle over the earth. It is well that
the opportunity has at last come to breathe freely in the stillness
of one's chamber, and to thank Allah, with earnest prayer, for
having given them a happy issue out of the cares and dangers of the
The sheik has finished his prayer in the silence of his chamber. He
now lightly ascends the stairway to the harem where his beloved
child, his Masa, sojourns. Before the door of her chamber sits
Djumeila, the faithful servant, and with upraised hand she motions
to the sheik to step softly and make no noise, that Masa may not be
"You know, master, that she has been complaining the whole day.
Anxiety and care for you, and the pain and exposure she has endured,
have made my dove ill, and she has gone to her room to rest and
restore her strength. She therefore requests you, through me, to
allow her to remain undisturbed until tomorrow morning. She has not
been able to sleep at all during the day, and has continually wept
and complained; but at last, toward evening she partook of some food
and fell asleep. Yesterday she was so courageous and strong, but
today she has been weak and dejected. Before going to sleep she
called me to her bedside and told me to bear her greeting to her
father; and to say to him that she hoped to be entirely recovered by
tomorrow morning, and would come down to breakfast to hand you, my
master, your coffee and chibouque."
"It is well," said the sheik, softly. "Let my child rest, let my
Masa sleep; tread lightly, and be careful that you do not disturb
her. I, too, feel that I need sleep. Let the whole house repose, and
avoid making any noise before tomorrow morning. Then I will come to
her room to see her."
The old man took off his shoes and noiselessly descended the
stairway to his bed-chamber. It was now still in the house. All
Praousta was silent. The people were resting from the pleasures of
today, and the anxiety and care of yesterday.
In Cavalla, also, all was now quiet. The windows of the
tschorbadji's palace were dark, and silence prevailed everywhere.
The governor and his son Osman had retired to rest.
In the apartments occupied by Cousrouf Pacha darkness also prevails,
and in the harem the blinds have been let down behind the latticed
windows. One room alone is dimly lighted. On the table stands a
silver lamp, which sheds a faint light through the spacious room,
upon the gold-embroidered caftan of the pacba, and upon his proud,
gloomy countenance. He rises from his seat, and walks hastily
through the room. He then suddenly stands still. The pacha waits the
arrival of the girl he has purchased with the blood-money given for
All is quiet in the tschorbadji's palace, and also in the sheik's
house. The windows are dark, the gate is locked. Now she will come:
she has given her word; she has sworn by Allah; she has sworn by the
spirit of her mother; she has sworn by all she holds sacred. She
will come for the daughter of Alepp knows that one who breaks a
treble oath is doomed to inevitable destruction, and walks a welcome
prey to the evil spirits, to the ghins. Surely, she will not dare to
do this! She will come--she must come.
Something rustles in the garden. The pacha steps hastily to the
window, throws it open, and looks out eagerly into the darkness. It
is well that the moon is at this moment concealed by clouds; he
might otherwise now see her coming up the walk from the end of the
avenue. No, nothing approaches. It is not the beautiful virgin, with
the eyes of the gazelle, with the light, airy step. How beautiful
she is, how fair, how lovely! Is she not yet coming? Does he not
hear approaching footsteps? No, neither of the eunuchs is stealthily
approaching to announce to his mighty master that the virgin has
entered the harem.
He stands and waits, his face quivering with anger and impatience.
He is angry with the girl for daring to come so late. But come she
will, and come she must; for whoever breaks the treble oath is lost
before Allah and the prophet. He remains at the window, looking out
into the quiet garden and dark night for a long time. The wind
extinguishes the lamp that stands on the table. Now all is profound
darkness. It is dark in the garden, and in the room. It is dark,
too, in Cousrouf Pacha's breast.
"Woe to her, if she dares to break her oath! In that case, I will
go, with my servants, in the broad light of day, to-morrow, to the
sheik's house, and demand my property--my slave. Mine is she, for I
purchased her with money which she accepted. Then, however, she
shall not be my queen, but my slave--my servant. Come she shall, by
Allah! I must possess her, for I love her with all the passion of my
He bends forward, and listens attentively again. He hardly dares to
breathe, and his heart throbs loudly as he anxiously gazes out into
the garden. He does not notice that the hours are rapidly passing;
to him it seems an eternity of waiting.
Without, at the garden-gate, the two watchful eunuchs are still
standing. They, like their master, have been looking out into the
darkness, and listening throughout the entire night.
"No sign of her yet," said one of the eunuchs to the other. "Woe to
the girl if she dares to deceive our mighty master! She thinks,
perhaps, he will abandon his claim. There will be a nice piece of
work to be done tomorrow. Cousrouf Pacha, our mighty master, is not
in the habit of being trifled with. He will send us down after his
property, and there will be no lack of bloody heads in Praousta,
tomorrow; for we shall certainly have to regain possession of this
slave. He says she accepted the purchase-money, and she therefore
belongs to the master who bought her. Will she come, or shall we
have to get possession of her by force tomorrow?"
"I hope she will come of her own word," said the other. "These
fishermen are so brave, and have such hard fists."
"And I hope she will not," said the first, laughing. "We must take
her by force. I should relish just such a row. If they have hard
fists, we have sharp, glittering weapons. And then, as you know, the
soldiers are coming to take up their quarters here tomorrow; the
tschorbadji will send a part of them to help us when the company
The pacha is still standing at the window, looking out into the
night. He raises his hands threateningly, and his eyes glitter like
those of the panther, lying in wait for his prey.
"Woe to her if she breaks the triple oath! Cousrouf Pacha will know
how to avenge himself. She must become mine--she is mine already. I
have bought this slave, and, by Allah, what I have bought I will
At last, day dawns. The sun sends out into the heavens its purple
heralds, and it begins to grow lighter in the garden. The pacha now
sees a figure coming up the walk. It is one of the eunuchs. He goes
noiselessly into the house, to his master.
"Has she come?" asks he, with quivering lips.
"No, master, she has not come. The path that leads up from the
village is still empty. Shall we wait longer, master?"
" No," he gruffly replies. "Lock the gate and retire to the harem.
It must be a misunderstanding; she supposed I meant the following
The eunuch prostrates himself to the earth, and takes his departure,
gliding stealthily out into the garden. When he feels assured that
no one can see or hear him, be stands still, and laughs mockingly:
"It is a great pleasure to see a grand gentleman now and then
humiliated like the rest of us. He was terribly annoyed; I could
tell it by his voice. Serves him right! I am delighted to see that
grand gentlemen have to put up with disagreeable things sometimes,
With a sorrowful expression of countenance he now walks on down to
the garden-gate, where the other eunuch is waiting, and tells him
his gracious master has made his reckoning without his host, and
that his purchased slave's failure to come has grieved him deeply.
They looked at each other, and the dawning light showed that they
nodded triumphantly, with a malicious, mocking grin. They understood
each other well, without telling in words what they were laughing
about and rejoicing over.
The morning had come in its full splendor, and the town and village
had again awakened to life and activity. The sheik, too, had arisen;
had already turned to the east, and finished his prayers, and
repaired to his daughter's room. She had told him, through her
servant, the evening before, that she would come to him early in the
morning, to hand him his coffee and chibouque. But Masa, did not
come, and the father's heart is filled with an inexplicable feeling
of anxiety. He hastily ascends the stairway. Djumeila no longer
watches before the door; she has gone, and is perhaps busied with
her morning occupations.
The sheik opens the door of his daughter's sitting-room.
"Masa" he cries, "it is time to come down to breakfast." He supposes
she is within, in her bedchamber, and has not heard him. "Masa," he
cries again, "come out, my child, come to your father."
All is still as before. He calls for the third time; no one replies.
"Masa, where are you, my child?" The sheik anxiously walks through
the sitting-room to the little chamber where his daughter's bed
stands: no one there either. " Masa, my child, my darling, where are
He stands still, listening for an answer; he breathes heavily when
as yet no answer comes, but consoles himself with the thought that
she has already gone down, and is awaiting him below, while he is
seeking her in her rooms above.
Hastily, with the quick step of youth, the sheik descends the
stairway again, but Masa was not there. The father's calls grow
louder and more anxious.
"Masa, where are you? My beloved child, come to your father."
All remains still. No answer comes to the father's anxious calls.
The sheik now hurries to the kitchen, where breakfast is being
prepared; Djumeila is standing there at the hearth, perfectly
composed, attending to her cooking. She salutes her master with a
"Where is Masa, my daughter? " cries the sheik.
"I do not know, master," she quietly replies; "I have not yet seen
her today. Early in the morning, before sunrise, I went out to the
meadow to milk the goats, that my child, my darling Masa, might have
fresh sweet milk for her breakfast; since then I have been occupied
with getting breakfast ready, and now you ask me 'Where is Masa?'"
"Spare your words and listen: Masa has vanished; Masa is not in her
Djumeila cries out loudly: "Where is Masa? where is my white dove?"
She rushes out and runs to her mistress's room; and, not finding her
there, falls to weeping and wringing her hands in despair.
"Where is my beloved child? she is not with her father, she is not
in her room." She then hastens to the other maid-servant. "Where is
Masa? has no one seen my master's daughter? has no one seen my
The sheik stood in the hall and listened to Djumeila's cries and the
answer of the other servant. He then walked rapidly all over the
house again, called his daughter's name loudly once more, and stood
still to listen for an answer.
"But it is foolish to be so anxious. Masa is fond of going out to
the sea to listen to the murmuring and whispering of the waves. My
child is pious, and may have gone to the mosque to pray and to thank
Allah. That is it--she has gone to the mosque."
The sheik rushes out into the street. It is well that the mosque is
not far from his dwelling. The doors are open; Masa is surely there,
probably on her knees in one of the recesses, addressing herself to
her prayers. No, she is not there; the recesses are empty, and she
is not up in the choir with the women either.
"She is nowhere in the mosque; but she may be down on the beach."
The sheik no longer felt the weight of his years, he no longer felt
exhausted by the fatigues of the preceding day.
He is young again, and his blood is coursing through his veins. With
head erect and firm footstep he walks down to the beach.
"Masa, my child, come to me; hasten to your father's arms!" he
cries; so loudly that his voice drowns the noise of the rushing
waves. But no one replies. Masa is not there.
A wild cry of terror resounds from his lips, he sinks down upon the
shore exhausted, and stares out at the waves as though he would ask,
"Have you seen my child; has she gone to you; has she sought a
resting-place in your cold bosom?" Yet why should she do so? Masa is
happy and loves her father, why does she then torment him thus? Masa
must have gone to some of her neighbors. She has many friends; every
woman and girl that Masa knows loves her on account of her happy
disposition, her innocence, and her loveliness. She will have
returned home long since. Djumeila cannot know that her master has
gone out, or she would have called him.
"Masa is surely at home!"
The old man returns to his dwelling with the quick step of a youth.
Djumeila is standing in the door-way, weeping and lamenting loudly
"Master, my child, my Masa, is gone! Allah be merciful, and take me
from this earth, now that my Masa is no longer here!"
The sheik says not a word. He neither speaks nor weeps, but only
beckons to the men who have been drawn to the spot by Djumeila's
loud lamentations. When they have come near, he bends down close to
them, as if to prevent even the wind from hearing him, and whispers
in their ears: "My child is gone. Masa is not in the mosque. Masa is
not on the beach, and is not with the neighbors!"
The men regarded him with dismay; and, supposing they must have
misunderstood his words, ask each other, "What did the sheik say?"
He then shrieks, as if to make himself heard by the heavens and the
earth, by the mountains and the sea: "My child is gone! Masa is not
in her father's house, Masa is not at the mosque, and not on the
beach! Where is my child?"
He then swoons away. Djumeila now rushes down the street, and her
cries of anguish resound through all Praousta.
"Masa, the sheik's daughter, has disappeared! Where is Masa? Up, ye
men and women, let us search for her. Let us search everywhere--
among the rocks and cliffs, in the hills and in the valleys. Masa,
the sheik's daughter, is gone!"
From every house, men, women, and children, rush out and gaze at
each other in sorrow and dismay. "Masa, our sheik's daughter, has
vanished! let us search for her." And now they begin the search.
People are to be seen running in every direction--to the rocks
above, down to the shore. The air everywhere resounds with their
"Masa, daughter of the sheik, where are you?"
Suddenly the music of the trumpet, cymbal and fife, and the roll of
the drum, breaks in upon and mingles with these tumultuous cries.
With warlike music the company of soldiers from the nearest city
marches into Praousta, in accordance with the command given by the
governor to his captain.
The men have been on the march all night, and now enter the village
in the broad light of day, with their band playing.
The military music rings out so loud and clear that the cries of
lamentation are no longer heard. The crowd stand still and gaze at
the gaudily-attired men who are marching into Cavalla. The
tschorbadji is standing with his distinguished guest, Cousrouf
Pacha, in the court-yard of the palace. He has requested him to be
present at the reception of the soldiers. The pacha's countenance
and bearing are unchanged--all haughtiness and dignity--only his
cheeks are paler and his glance more threatening than usual. As he
now turns toward the gate of the court-yard, Mohammed Ali, the
boulouk bashi, appears for the first time, attired in his handsome,
glittering uniform, advancing with his company toward the palace. On
the governor's left stands his son Osman, who has risen from his
couch, overcoming for the moment his weakness and ill-health in
order to participate in the triumph of witnessing Mohammed Ali lead
his company, as boulouk bashi, for the first time.
Yes, there comes Mohammed Ali, marching at the head of his company,
to the sound of the martial music. He holds his sword uplifted in
his right hand, and salutes the governor as he approaches by
lowering its point to the ground with a deferential glance. He
recognizes his friend, and Osman joyously returns the greeting.
Mohammed seems to him entirely changed at this moment, his figure
taller and more powerful. His countenance is manly and joyous, his
eyes sparkle with a mysterious fire, a smile plays about his lips,
and his whole bearing is firm and commanding.
It is not Osman alone who sees this change. Cousrouf Pacha has also
observed it. His countenance darkens. He compresses his lips as if
to repress a curse that is struggling for utterance. Yet he retains
his air of indifference and grave countenance, though his cheeks
grow a shade paler, and his brow somewhat darker.
The band plays a lively air. Mohammed conducts his soldiers before
the eyes of the governor and his guest through a series of movements
and evolutions which he has long since practiced in secret. As they
now advance toward him, "Right about, halt!" resounds Mohammed's
word of command; and his soldiers stand there like a wall.
"Well done," said Cousrouf Pacha, with a gracious inclination of the
head. He then added in a loud voice, in order that Mohammed should
hear him: "You see, governor, street boys can watch soldiers
exercising to some purpose. Mohammed has not stared at them on the
street in vain."
He turns and leaves the court-yard, repairs to his private
apartments, and calls the two eunuchs who had held the fruitless
watch at the gate the previous night.
"When the soldiers have left the court-yard, twelve of their number
will be placed at your disposal. Let them load their muskets and
unsheath their swords. Then go to Praousta, to the sheik's house,
and demand the restoration of my slave. Demand it in my name. If her
father refuses, search the house and every place connected with it.
Break open the doors if he refuses to unlock them. If you do not
find her there, search the other houses of the village. I must have
her! If you do not find her to-day, then find her to-morrow or the
next day. I will allow you a week's time in which to get possession
of this runaway slave. If you do not return her, your heads shall
fall! Remember that! Stop, one thing more: observe and watch the new
boulouk bashi. Select some of my servants to follow him day and
night, and to observe every thing he does, yet without letting him
become aware of it, for he is a shrewd lad and a daring one, too.
Now, you can go."
While the company is still standing drawn up in the court-yard, the
tschorbadji beckons Mohammed Ali to his side, and enters the palace
"Mohammed, it is evident that you will become a brave and efficient
soldier. You have courage; now learn to control your anger, to
govern yourself, and then you will know how to command others. See,
this purse filled with gold-pieces is the captain's salary for three
months, which I pay in advance, as the young boulouk bashi will have
to incur some necessary expenses, and will therefore be glad to
accept a payment in advance."
Mohammed thanked the governor, and received the first salary of his
new dignity with perfect composure, though a sudden sparkling in his
eyes indicated how much he rejoiced over it.
Osman, however, can read his friend's countenance well. As the
governor turns away, Osman throws his arms around Mohammed's neck
and whispers in his ear: "You stand there radiant like a hero, and
all the bliss of the world and of love, too, is reflected in your
countenance. O Mohammed, father says you should learn to control
yourself, and I am satisfied you can. When my friend is harassed
with sorrow and care his countenance bears no evidence of it, but
happiness is not to be repressed and driven back to the heart in
this way. It illumines the face of man like the sun. But I warn you,
Mohammed, it is sometimes dangerous to let one's countenance shine
so. It easily awakens suspicion in the breast of an enemy, and he
meditates revenge. Beware! Beware!
Mohammed regards his friend as though he did not understand him.
"What do you mean, Osman?"
"Nothing, nothing at all, Mohammed, except that it is sometimes
dangerous to allow one's happiness to be observed. Bear this in
mind, my friend, and draw a veil over your radiant countenance."
WHERE IS SHE?
In Praousta, all was again uproar and confusion. Eight eunuchs of
the mighty pacha, Cousrouf, accompanied by a detachment of twelve
soldiers, came down from Cavalla at noon. They went directly to the
house of the sheik, and demanded to see him.
Djumeila, her eyes red with weeping, came to the door and told them
her master was ill with grief and anxiety on account of the
disappearance of his daughter.
The eunuchs pushed her aside, and penetrated, in spite of her cries
and attempts to bar their passage, into the room where the sheik lay
on his divan, with pallid face and staring gaze. His lamentations
were heartrending. His quivering lips continually cried: "Where is
my daughter, where is my child?"
They roughly forced him to his feet, and with savage threats
demanded of the old man that he should deliver over to them their
master's slave, his daughter Masa. Aroused from his torpor, he
stares at them in amazement:
"Slave!" cried he. "And you call her Masa, and my daughter; and you
say it is she? Who calls Masa, daughter of the sheik, his slave?"
"Our master does," said they--"our master, Cousrouf Pacha."
"How can the stranger dare to call the daughter of a free man, a
free girl, his slave?"
"He dares do it because it is so," replied the eunuchs, shrugging
their shoulders; "Masa sold herself to his excellency, our gracious
master, to Cousrouf Pacha, when she procured your release by paying
the second tax. You thought it was done out of kindness. No, Masa
sold herself to our gracious master, Cousrouf Pacha, for one hundred
"That is false; you lie, you wretches! You lie in all you say! You
lie!" cried the sheik. He now stood erect, regarding them
threateningly. "Do not dare to speak to me thus again! Justice and
law still live! No one can say that Masa, my daughter, is a slave;
and may he who says it stand accursed before Allah and the
The two eunuchs threw themselves upon him and held him fast. They
then called two of the soldiers to their assistance, and bound him
hand and foot. This done, they threw the old man contemptuously down
upon his divan, and proceeded to ransack every part of the house in
search of Masa, their master's runaway slave.
There lay the sheik, bound and helpless, groaning and lamenting: "I
am mad! I hear that which is not. I hear voices say that which
cannot be. No, I am mad! It is impossible that Masa, the daughter of
the Sheik of Praousta, is the slave of the stranger Turk! Impossible
that I can have heard such a thing! Death or even madness is
approaching me. It creeps stealthily toward me and stares at me
wildly. O Masa, my daughter, come save your father!"
About him all was still, but in the rooms above was an uproar. He
heard the heavy footsteps in the upper apartments, into which, until
now, no man save the father had ever entered. They are going from
room to room, throwing the daughter's things about, ransacking her
bedchamber, overthrowing furniture, and looking under carpets and
mattresses, searching everywhere for the only daughter of the poor
sheik. Then they go to the yard, to the stables. Masa is sought
everywhere. But, Allah be praised, she cannot be found!
Without, before the door, stand the men and women of the village in
a wide circle, gazing with dismay upon the eunuchs and the twelve
soldiers, who now come out of the door, fall in line before the
house, and demand of the people to tell them where Masa, the sheik's
"We know not. We have not seen her. How can we tell you what has
become of Masa, the sheik's only daughter? She was as pure and good
as ever girl was. No one looked at her. Who can tell where she is?"
"This is all pretence. Enough! we will go from house to house and
search for Masa!"
With cries of rage the men attempt to oppose them, but the strange
soldiers who have just arrived know no pity. They use their swords
vigorously upon those who oppose them; the sight of blood terrifies
the others, and the cries of the wounded silence them. The eunuchs'
soldiers are allowed to enter each house, for the men of Praousta
are too poor to be able to provide for more than one wife, and the
poor man's wife has no separate, secluded apartments. She goes about
in the house unveiled, and attends to her domestic occupations while
her husband is out hunting or fishing. The search of the eunuchs and
soldiers for the girl is therefore easily conducted; in each house
there is but one wife and she is unveiled, as are also the children;
the maidens, however, timidly shrink back and draw their veils more
closely about them. The strange soldiers, however, do not go so far
in their boldness as to raise the veils of the girls. And what would
it avail them to do so? Neither they nor the eunuchs have ever seen
the face of the sheik's daughter.
"It is useless to search farther," murmured the eunuchs, after
having looked through the last house in the village, without finding
Masa. "It is useless. It was useless to look for her elsewhere than
in the sheik's house, and there we did not find her. The law forbids
our doing more, and the tschorbadji, when he placed the soldiers at
the disposal of our gracious master, and ordered them to accompany
us, expressly commanded that we should not enrage the men of
Praousta to desperation, or to any thing contrary to law."
"But remember, brother," said the other eunuch, "what our master
said. We must bring him back this runaway slave or we lose our
heads! And truly I would much rather keep my head on my shoulders
than have it rolled to the ground."
"And so would I mine," said the first. "Therefore we will do all we
can to get possession of this slave. A week is a long time, and I
hardly think we shall have to wait so long."
"There is one other matter we must not lose sight of," murmured the
first eunuch, as they ascended the stairway to Cavalla, followed by
the soldiers. "We are to watch the crazy young captain, the boulouk
bashi, and report all he does, to our master. It seems to me there
may be some connection between the young boulouk bashi and the
flight of the slave. Let us keep our eyes open, for our heads are at
And with gloomy looks they presented themselves to their master on
their return to the palace, to inform him that they had made
thorough search for Masa in the sheik's house, and had not found
"And have you nothing to report concerning the young man, Mohammed
Ali?" asked the pasha.
The eunuchs informed him that they had not yet seen him, having as
yet been wholly occupied with their search for the escaped slave;
they would, however, have something to report to his excellency
concerning the boulouk bashi on the following morning, or that very
"Who knows where Mohammed Ali now is?"
"He has not been seen at the palace since the reception of the
soldiers in the court-yard."
"He must have gone to the hut his mother once occupied, as he often
does when he wishes to be alone."
Of late he had been absent less than usual, having promised his
friend Osman to live and stay with him. But now that he is captain
of a company, it would perhaps not become him to remain at the
palace as the tschorbadji's guest; for this reason he would probably
go to his own hut to take up his abode there. Yes, he has passed the
night in his own little house, and he has just quitted it and walked
into the main street of the city, on his way to the store of the
The merchant saw him coming, and hastened forward to congratulate
him on the high honor conferred upon him, and to rejoice over the
stately appearance of the young man, who pleased him well in his
uniform, with his sword at his side.
"Truly a beautiful uniform, Mohammed Ali, and I have but one regret,
and that is that your mother, Sitta Khadra, is not here to see you
in your magnificence. How she would rejoice to see her son, her
heart's darling, her Mohammed Ali, in all his glory!"
"I, too, wish my dear mother, Sitta Khadra, were here now," said
Mohammed, with a sigh. "I have never before missed and needed her as
much as now; and you are right, too, in thinking she would rejoice
could she see me now. Yes, with all her heart, Mr. Lion. Ah life,
were beautiful indeed, if Death were not always standing
threateningly before us! He takes from us what we love most, and
esteem highest; we must ever be on our guard against him, and keep
our door barred that he may not steal into our midst and rob us of
some fair life."
The merchant regards him with amazement. He has never heard the
young boulouk bashi talk in this sentimental manner before, and it
surprises him too, to see his countenance so changed--so radiant,
serene, and cloudless, the chaste, thoughtful brows--so bright, the
flash of his large brown eyes.
"Mohammed, my young friend, what bliss has Fortune bestowed on you?
Tell your friend the secret; for, truly all that concerns and
pleases you, gladdens my own heart. Tell me what has worked this
change in you?"
"And you still ask? You see me in my uniform--in my glory, as you
call it--it is this that has worked the change!"
The merchant shook his head. "No, it is not that, Mohammed Ali; that
which sparkles in your eyes, and resounds from your lips in such
joyous words, has nothing to do with your uniform or with your new
dignity. It must be something entirely different; yet, if you do not
wish to tell me, I will ask you no further. May Allah be with you in
all things, and I will entreat the same of my God. I think and trust
both will hear the prayer, for they are one and the same, after all.
Now, my young friend, come into my store with me and let us chat
with each other while we smoke the nargile, and refresh ourselves
with a cup of coffee.--Ho! ye lads; Admeh, bring us coffee and the
nargile, with some of the finest tobacco--some of that intended for
the sultana at Stamboul, that is to be sent off to-morrow. There is
great joy in my house to-day, for Mohammed Ali, the young boulouk
bashi, is here."
He seats himself on a cushion covered with Persian carpet, and
requests Mohammed to seat himself on another at his side. He does as
requested, but it does not escape the merchant's observant eye that
he conforms to this hospitable usage with impatience, and does not
wish to remain long. He therefore does not urge him to remain when
he, after a short time, rises and asks the merchant to go with him
to the store.
He wishes to buy all sorts of things. He has received his first
salary from the tschorbadji to-day, and desires to spend a portion
of it for some of the pretty things of which there are such
quantities and varieties in the merchant's store.
"It depends on what you wish, Mohammed. Is it carpets or cushions?
or is it female attire or jewelry? Do you want mirrors, embroidered
veils, or silken shawls? What is it you want?"
Somewhat confused and embarrassed, Mohammed looks at the merchant
and hardly knows what to say.
"Then let me have a carpet; I wish to spread it out in my room. I
have, until now, changed nothing in my hut, but have left it just as
it was when Sitta Khadra lived in it. Now, however, it seems to me
that it would not perhaps become the boulouk bashi to continue to
live so wretchedly."
"Yes, the old story--with office comes pride," said the merchant,
laughing. "The boulouk bashi, of course, needs carpets and all sorts
of furniture. Here is an arm-chair inlaid with mother-of-pearl; does
it suit? Here are Persian carpets; the colors are a little faded,
and you can have them at a low price."
"No, nothing with faded colors. Let me have your most beautiful
carpet! Let the ground be white and covered with flowers, with roses
and violets; and I wish, too, they could have life and fragrance!"
"Oho, Mr. Boulouk Bashi!" cried the merchant, laughing, and raising
his finger threateningly. "Now the secret is out; you are in, love!
This carpet is not for yourself, but for some beautiful woman. Ah,
yes, I have heard something about this affair before, and now I know
it is true."
"What have you heard, sir? What is it that is said of me?" asked
Mohammed, gravely, his countenance suddenly darkening.
"Well, people ask why it is that Osman, the tschorbadji's son, is so
very affectionate to you, and why the governor himself has always so
distinguished you, and now made you boulouk bashi?"
"I had supposed it was because I deserved it," said Mohammed,
hastily, "and I thought Osman showed his affection because he loved
the friend who had grown up with him."
"He assuredly does love you, and the tschorbadji also rewards you on
account of your merit, or he would not have done so at all, and
would not have chosen you for what he desires of you."
"And what does he desire of me? For what has he chosen me?"
"It is said he wishes you to become the husband of the beautiful
Marina, his niece."
"I do not even know this lady," said Mohammed, shrugging his
"You do not know her, but she perhaps knows you," said the merchant,
smiling. "She is very beautiful, it is said. She is married, as you
are aware, to my rival, the merchant across the street, I have
observed that this fair lady opens her shutters, to peep out at
Mohammed, whenever he passes by. The neighbors say this is why her
husband has become jealous, and threatens to drive her away, if she
continues to look after the young men. You now perceive, Mohammed,
that Marina, the tschorbadji's niece, has an eye on you, and perhaps
even two, and that her husband knows it. The peace of the house has
thus been broken on your account, and the people say the tschorbadji
will now take his niece home again, and that you are to marry her
afterward. It is a good match, Mohammed, a very good match. I shall
be disappointed if you do not marry this lady. She is rich, very
rich; and are you aware that, with your epaulets, your uniform, and
your handsome sword, you must have money. Moreover, my son, he who
intends to rise in the world must have a great deal of money! It is
not through his own merit that a man is advanced. If he is poor, he
remains in the dust. You know I have offered to assist you, but you
refused me because you did not wish to accept benefits, and you were
right. My advice you can, however, accept; and my advice is, marry
the beautiful, the rich Marina, when her husband divorces her, and
sufficient time has elapsed. She is very young, younger than you; my
young friend Mohammed numbers eighteen years, and the tschorbadji's
young niece only fifteen. Take my advice, and preserve your heart
until it is time to let its wings grow, and then stretch out your
hand after the fair Marina."
"Thanks for your advice," cried Mohammed, laughing.
Never before had the merchant heard him laugh so heartily; never
before had he seen him make such a display of his white teeth. Until
to-day, Mohammed had been a remarkably grave youth. What can it be
that makes him look so joyous and laugh so heartily all of a sudden?
"Let us, however, hear no more about this fair Marina. I do not know
her, and have never seen her. That is to say, I may have seen her
once or twice, with Osman, when we happened to pass the veiled woman
and her husband on the street, and I believe she did stand still and
look after us. I thought, at the time, it was on Osman's account,
and probably it was. How could the rich lady have turned to look at
the poor lad Mohammed Ali? And now to other matters. Show me goods,
show me carpets, and I want the best and the handsomest. The carpet
is to lie where my mother's mat once lay, and on which she died; and
this spot cannot be too handsomely adorned. Therefore, give me a
"Let it be just as you say," said the merchant, smiling. He then
called his servants, and ordered them to bring down his handsomest
carpets, and spread them out before the young captain, in order that
he might select one.
"You want nothing else, only a carpet?"
Mohammed turned his head a little to one side, and avoided meeting
the merchant's keen gaze. " O yes, a number of other things. I want
some table-ware, cups, glasses, and the like. I also want," he
continued talking rapidly, and with forced indifference, "I also
want a warm woollen cloak, such as women wear. I promised a cloak to
an old friend of my mother. Give me a warm woollen cloak."
The merchant made no reply. He only smiled significantly, and
brought out the goods; dark, plain goods, such as became an old
woman, and a friend of poor Sitta Khadra.
But Mohammed promptly rejected it. That would not be nice enough for
a present. He wanted better, finer material, and in lighter colors.
The merchant expressed no astonishment, but silently brought out
finer goods. Mohammed selected the very handsomest cloak for the old
friend of his deceased mother. Finally, he timidly asked for finger-
rings and bracelets.
"Also for the old friend of your good mother Khadra?" inquired the
merchant, with an air of mock gravity.
Mohammed did not reply; he had probably not heard him. He quietly
selected, from the box handed him, a beautiful ring set with a
precious stone, then four beautiful cups and saucers of the finest
Chinese porcelain, and a variety of other articles necessary for
housekeeping. He concluded by demanding a pair of pillows and
Mr. Lion asks no more questions; he now knows that Mohammed intends
to marry, and is furnishing his house. He is satisfied, and lets his
young friend have all he has selected at half the price he would
have charged other purchasers.
Mohammed joyfully paid the price, and gazed at the beautiful
articles he had purchased, with sparkling eyes.
"If you wish it, Mohammed," said the merchant, "I will send a
servant with you."
"Thank you; I am going to my house, and he can accompany me with the
Mohammed took leave of the merchant, and left the store, the servant
following heavily laden.
After a few moments Mohammed, however, turned, and came back to the
merchant, who was standing on the threshold looking after him.
"One thing more, dear sir. You are my friend, and, as I well know,
mean well by me," said he, in low, hasty tones.
"Certainly, Mohammed Ali, and gladly would I prove to you my
"You can do so; tell no one of my purchases--no one," replied
Mohammed with a look of entreaty.
The merchant promised to be silent on the subject.
"Thank you, kind friend. I am happy; yet all depends on Allah's
He pressed the merchant's hand once more, and walked out, hastily
beckoning to the servant, who had remained standing in the street,
to follow him. He then walked on to the little hut of his mother
He pushes open the door, and the servant follows him into the room.
The bundle is laid on the floor, on the place where his mother died,
and Mohammed generously and proudly, like a man of rank, hands the
servant a gratuity, and bids him return. He walks off well pleased,
and Mohammed is now left alone in his mother's hut.
An old woman is sitting just opposite the hut. She was there when he
entered, smoking a short pipe, her arms crossed on her knees. She
looked about carelessly, only now and then casting a glance at the
house of the young boulouk bashi, who had locked himself in.
Mohammed had thought nothing of her presence. What cared he for the
old woman there on the stone, smoking her pipe?
When, after a short time, he steps out of his hut, she stretches out
her hand and begs for alms.
Hardly looking at her, he draws a copper coin from his pocket, gives
it to her and walks on.
The old woman keeps her seat, and mutters a few words to herself.
Mohammed walks on rapidly.
A boy is skipping along on the other side of the street, whistling a
What does this concern Mohammed? He walks on down the street on the
one side, the boy follows him on the other.
Mohammed heeds the boy as little as he had heeded the old woman.
What does he care for the boy, who seems wholly absorbed in his
He entered the store of the merchant, who dealt in all kinds of
provisions; in olives, meats, chocolate, sugar, and eggs. Mohammed
purchases some of all these articles, and it amuses and astonishes
the merchant to see the young officer become, of a sudden, his own
housewife. But he does not venture to say so, or ask any questions;
Mohammed's grave looks and bearing forbid any attempt at raillery.
A servant is ordered to put the things in a basket, and take them to
As he walks out of the store again, he hears the boy's shrill
whistling in the distance. He pays no attention to this, and walks
on quietly. The whistling suddenly ceases, and the boy, who had
posted himself in the vicinity, so that Mohammed could not see him
on coming out, now runs after him, stepping close to the basket in
passing; he casts a quick, searching glance at the articles it
contained, as if taking note in expectation of being called on to
give an account of its contents.
The old woman is still sitting opposite Mohammed's house, reposing
there, apparently, after smoking her pipe. Her head is thrown back,
resting against the door, and her eyes are closed; she seems to be
A new and great event occupied the attention of the inhabitants of
Cavalla and Praousta on the following morning. A large and
magnificent ship had entered the harbor during the night, a vessel
of the Turkish navy: its dark-red flag, with the grand-sultan's
crown on its dark field, showed it to be such. The sailors were
attired in glittering uniforms, and on the deck stood a tent
embroidered with gold, beneath it a luxurious couch of swelling
cushions. The ship was still handsomer than the one on which
Cousrouf Pacha had arrived three years before. But then he had come
to Cavalla as an exile, and had not been sent away with the same
ceremony with which they were now prepared to welcome him back. For
it is already known, and the intelligence has rapidly spread, that
this ship has come from Stamboul to convey Cousrouf Pacha back to
his home; and, therefore, was it so festively decorated with flags,
and carpets, and garlands of flowers.
His friend the grand-admiral, Hussein Pacha, has been working in his
interest, and the sunlight of his master's favor is once more shed
upon the head of the exile.
With great dignity Cousrouf received the captain, who bowed
profoundly before him, while those who accompanied him threw
themselves upon the ground, touching the earth with their foreheads.
He received the imperial missive with perfect composure, opened it,
and inclined his head with a gracious expression of countenance, as
though he were dispensing and not receiving a favor.
"'Tis well, captain--I am ready! Our most gracious emperor and
master has written to me, and as he WISHES"--(he emphasized this
word; the sultan only expresses a wish, he does not command Cousrouf
Pacha)--"as he wishes me to return to Stamboul with all convenient
speed, keep every thing in readiness to sail."
"Will your excellency sail to-day?" asked the captain.
Cousrouf Pacha slowly shook his head. "I do not know. It may be to-
day, and yet it may not be possible to depart for a week. It depends
on circumstances which I cannot entirely control; but keep
everything in readiness, as I may, should matters take a favorable
turn, be enabled to depart at any hour."