Part 6 out of 10
his friend's shoulder and regarding him fixedly. "Well, I should
think you ought to know. Try to divine it!"
Mohammed slowly shook his head. "By Allah, I am ignorant what it is,
"Well," said the latter, smiling, "I wish to speak of our departure
with the troops."
"What do you mean by that?"
"What do I mean? The pacha, Cousrouf, has appointed me captain of
the three hundred soldiers, and you my lieutenant."
"He has done so, to be sure, but we of course decline the
appointment," said Mohammed, shrugging his shoulders.
"And why?" asked Osman, with an expression of profound astonishment.
"Why? Well, my Osman, you surely cannot think of--"
"I understand you," said Osman, nodding his head; "you mean I cannot
think of accepting any such position as it would beseem a man of my
rank to hold. But I feel myself in better health; it seems as though
the thought of such a possibility had given me new strength and
energy. Who knows, perhaps, the luxurious, effeminate life I have
always led is the great cause of my ill-health and weakness; a new
or adventurous life may do me good. It is often said that the
greater part of disease is mere imagination. If one shakes this off,
he shakes his disease off with it. Therefore, I have decided to try
this remedy myself. After full consideration, I have concluded to
accept the position of captain of our troops."
"You are really in earnest!" exclaimed Mohammed, springing to his
feet in alarm. "You will actually take this position of captain, go
to the war, and leave as!"
"Leave us? " repeated Osman. "No, we two, of course, remain
together, my friend. You go with me. You are selected as my
lieutenant. You know Cousrouf Pacha added words of praise and
acknowledgment for you, too."
Mohammed's eye glittered for a moment, but he looked down quickly.
"Yes, he did this, and his conduct is very noble and generous, for
he well knows that I do not love him, and that I was once his
"Once," repeated Osman, closely regarding his friend. "But that was
a long while ago, and we have done with the dreams of our youth long
since, have we not, Mohammed? What then was, has passed away. He no
longer thinks of the childlike defiance you displayed toward him,
the great pacha; and the sorrow and suffering he caused you are long
"Yes," replied Mohammed, in low tones, "yes, it is forgotten. All
sorrow and suffering are over. You are right. All things pass away,
and time heals all wounds-mine, too. They are healed. Cousrouf has
forgotten the boy's defiance, as you say, and you observe that what
I have suffered at his hands is also forgotten. But I shall not
leave this place-I may not."
"You may and you shall," said Osman, and there was a more earnest
and manly ring in his voice than Mohammed had ever before heard. "Do
you not suppose, my boy, my beloved, my second self--do you not
suppose that I read your soul, and know what is smouldering and
lamenting in your inmost heart? Mohammed, I believe you do not wish
to understand yourself. You have enveloped your heart in a veil
which you do not wish to rend asunder, even before your own vision.
But I, my Mohammed, can see through this covering, and know your
heart's most secret thoughts. Be still--say nothing yet. First
consider, and then give me a reply. Your Osman accepts the position,
and it seems to me it would become his friend Mohammed to go with
him where laurels, glory, and magnificence, are awaiting you. Look
at me, my friend; look at the poor, frail body for which you are so
necessary a support, and let us be silent about all the rest for the
present. Yet do not forget that Osman loves you, and is ready to
make any sacrifice for you. Say nothing now, Mohammed, but reflect
on what I have said. And if you love me, and think you owe me your
love, and wish to prove your friendship for me, accept the proffered
position, and go out with me into the world. Go, and reflect about
it, Mohammed, and, when you have decided, come to me with your
Mohammed left the garden as his friend had asked him, the words "you
must go with me where laurels, glory, and magnificence await you,"
resounding in his heart. He hears them everywhere, at home with his
wife, in the midst of his family. And then the voice of reason would
in its turn make itself heard: "You should not abandon the woman who
rescued you from death, and has given you comfort, wealth, and
position. You should not abandon the children, whom you are called
on to instruct and protect."
"No, I ought not to go," he repeated to himself, as he sat down
beside Ada, and called his children to him. "No, I must remain
And yet, again and again, Osman's words come back to him.
He could not bear to chat with his lips, while such voices were
speaking in his heart. He must leave the house, seek solitude, and
consult with his own thoughts. He made some pretence of pressing
business requiring his attention, and went out into the street. He
started to walk rapidly toward the spot on the rock, where he had so
often sought solitude and consolation. Suddenly he felt a hand laid
on his shoulder, he turned and saw the old Sheik of Praousta, the
successor of Masa's father, who gave him a kindly greeting.
Mohammed always found pleasure with the old man of whom the people
said that he had the gift of prophecy, and could read the future.
Mohammed did not believe in this, but he did believe in his wisdom
and experience of the world; and knew that much was to be learned
from the old man, who had been a great traveller, and had now
returned to his home to rest, to spend the evening of his days as
Sheik of Praousta.
"How fares it with you?" repeated the sheik, fixing his large dark
eyes on Mohammed in a kindly gaze.
"Well, my business affairs are prosperous."
The sheik shook his head. "It was not concerning such matters that I
inquired. Ah, Mohammed, it is frequently well with our business
affairs, and just the reverse with ourselves."
"Well, then, things go well with myself, also," replied Mohammed,
but with averted gaze.
The old man shook his head. "I can read a man's thoughts on his
forehead, Mohammed, and I tell you sad thoughts are inscribed on
yours." And with another shake of the head he continued: "The
governor has, as you know, raised a body of three hundred soldiers;
Osman has been appointed their captain, and yourself his
"Cousrouf Pacha is a generous man," said Mohammed, in a peculiar
tone. "He graciously forgets the days that have been."
"No, my son," said the sheik, "Cousrouf Pacha is a proud, cruel man,
and he now wishes to show himself to those who saw him in those days
when he was powerless, and an exile, in his grandeur and
magnificence. You must know, my son, that oftentimes that which
seems noble and generous, consists really only of vaingloriousness
and love of display."
"I thank you for these words, O sheik," cried Mohammed, with a
fierce gesture, "I thank you for having spoken from my soul. Young
as I then was, I believe I thoroughly understood this man, and I am
glad you interpret my thoughts so well."
"Mohammed," said the sheik, after a pause, "you must accompany your
young friend Osman."
"Osman! no, that is impossible; how can Osman fill such a position?"
"He can," said the sheik, "for you, Mohammed, will accompany him."
"No, sheik, I shall not accompany him; I shall remain here."
"You will remain here, and why?"
"I have a wife and children," replied Mohammed, quickly, as if
speaking to himself. "I cannot separate myself from them. I must not
think of it; I have a home, a family, a prosperous business, and I
live a peaceful life; why, therefore, O sheik, go out into the
troubled world to end my days, perhaps, in misery? Here, I know what
I am--a respected merchant, a favorite of the governor, the friend
of his son, and I may boast of your friendship, too, sheik. Tell me,
why should I subject myself to the tempest of life again, and go to
Egypt to fight the unbelievers? The distance is great, the future
beset with danger and difficulties; and here I have happiness, and
an assured future."
"You are right; the distance is great, and your future one of danger
and difficulties," replied the sheik. "Yes, therein you are right,
but you are wrong when you determine not to go."
"Wrong--wrong, you say?"
"Yes, Mohammed, you are wrong; for, though the way is long and the
future one of danger and difficulty, yet is the reward that awaits
you, laurels and renown, glorious."
"Sheik, do not speak thus to me," cried Mohammed, "do not tempt me
to do what I may repent; what may bring misfortune upon my wife and
children. No, rather tell me to silence these voices that are ever
resounding in my heart. Oh, do not tell me to make ambition the
pursuit of my life."
"And yet I must do so," replied the sheik. "I tell you, you would
act with great injustice if you should refuse to awaken the hero
that slumbers in you, if you should condemn the warrior to
inactivity, for the sake of the merchant. Allah himself would be
displeased, Mohammed, for he has given you the capacity to perform
great things, and implanted great thoughts and plans in your heart.
And now the way is open to you, and you can carry out these plans.
Therefore, when you see Osman again, tell him that you will go with
him. And now, farewell, Mohammed; consult with your thoughts, and be
Greeting Mohammed with a wave of his hand, the sheik turned and
walked away, leaving his friend gazing after him in amazement.
The people are right: the sheik is a prophet; else how could he know
what he had discussed with Osman that day, inducing him to consider
the matter and give his decision by the following morning? But,
then, if he is a prophet, he has also announced the truth and
foretold the future. Very great things are in store for him, and the
whole world of glory dreamed of in his youth lies open to him. This
may then still be realized. No, Mohammed, deny yourself and be
strong. Bow beneath the will of Allah; and it surely cannot be his
will that you should forsake wife and children, but, rather, that
you should remain patiently with them.
He returned to his house, but it was in vain that he endeavored to
silence the voices that whispered in his heart.
With earliest dawn he arose noiselessly from the couch on which he
had passed a restless night.
The sun has risen! Is it for the last time that he sees it mount
above these cliffs? Perhaps! He ascends the mountain-rock, higher
and higher. Now he stands still; he is approaching a consecrated
Why should he come to this place now? His heart had never before
permitted him to approach it since he had become Ada's husband. Why
does he now long again to mount to the spot on which he had never
stood after those days? Since then he has become a man and another
being. There he had exchanged vows of eternal love with his Masa!
There, all Nature heard him swear: "I love you alone, and no other
woman shall ever stand at my side!"
The youth which had uttered these words died in him long ago.
Mohammed Ali was now a man, had a wife, and children called him
father; and the man had hitherto avoided treading on this
consecrated ground. But now he is driven there by an irresistible
He walks rapidly on, and is soon there.
He stands where he had stood with Masa; where he had called down
imprecations on her head because he thought her faithless; where he
had also listened in pious devotion to the holy revelation of her
Ten years have passed since then. What has remained of those hopes,
and of that love?
His dreams have ended, and his illusions are dissipated.
"O Masa! and people call me a happy man. O Mother Khadra, look down
into your son's heart! The voices I long since thought silenced
forever, are again aroused--the voices of love and ambition. O
mother, it is as though I saw you before me again, and heard you
relate your dream! You saw your son standing upon the pinnacle of a
palace, a sword uplifted in his hand, a crown encircling his brow,
and you knew, mother, that this man with crown and sceptre, attired
in purple, was your son; and this man transformed himself into an
angel, and flew to you and kissed you. The man you beheld as a
prince and hero, has again transformed himself, and this time into a
miserable merchant. Nothing has remained to him of the prince, and
angel, and hero; he is nothing more than a poor worm of earth!"
He cries out loudly and fiercely. All the anguish of former days,
all the ungratified longings of the past, are again awakened, and,
long pent up, now break forth in a fiery flood, and sweep away and
burn to ashes all reason, all calm reflection, all the fruit of
these ten long, desolate years of tranquility and patient industry.
After a struggle with himself, he arose, and a deep sigh, like a
death-groan, escaped his breast.
It was his intention to go to Osman and say: "It is settled, I
remain! I have just committed a murder on myself; I have killed
Mohammed Ali, the eagle, as his mother called him, and there remains
only the merchant Mohammed! He will creep on, composedly, over the
surface of the earth, collecting tobacco, rolling it into great
balls, and rejoicing when he finds his profit in so doing."
But it seemed as though his footsteps were clogged, as though an
invisible hand held him back, and compelled him to remain a while
longer on this spot where he had stood with Masa. And now it seemed
to him that her form suddenly arose from her cold grave in the waves
over there beyond the cliffs. She was arrayed in purple, her
starlike eyes were fixed on him, and her long hair enveloped her
beloved form as with a golden veil, the water dripping from her like
glittering pearls. It gradually arose out of the waters. He had seen
such visions, such fata morgana, that appeared not unfrequently on
this coast, many a time, and had hitherto smiled at such illusions.
But today he forgot his knowledge and experience, and the illusion
was to him reality. He stretched out his arms, and gazed at the
heavenly picture that had risen out of the waves, and his lips
whispered in longing accents: "Masa, come to me; let the water that
drips from you fall on my burning heart, soothe my anguish; speak to
me of my future, and tell me what you desire me to do. Oh, speak to
Enraptured, he still gazed out into the air at the sweet vision that
rose higher and higher out of the waves. At last it stretched out
its arms over him, and a cold breath kissed his lips! After a long
pause, he opened his eyes again. Had he been dreaming? Was it
reality? He lay on the rock alone in the morning light of the sun.
The image had disappeared, and silence surrounded him, profound
And in this silence Mohammed formed his last, his decisive resolve.
As he lay there, he had entreated Allah to deliver him, by death,
from this tormenting struggle, this doubt. The hour of irresolution
had now passed, and he felt strengthened with renewed life. He
looked up at the heavens; and a hitherto undreamed of world seemed
to lie open before him. He looked out into the purple distance, and
he seemed to be hold the minarets, and temples, and mountains, and
plains of a new land. Was he never to reach this land? Were all the
dreams of his youth to come to naught, and the prophecies made by
the woman who had told his mother that he was to be a hero, to
remain unfulfilled? And was Masa to remain unavenged in her cold
grave? He has duties to fulfil toward wife and children. But revenge
is also a sacred duty, and he has sworn to himself a thousand times,
that he will perform this duty. Vengeance for Masa! Vengeance on
him! The hour has come! Grasp the occasion! He may fail in his
career, but, if successful, his success will be great, divine. It
will be heavenly, if he must die, to fall on the field of battle
amid the roar of artillery, and the clash of arms. Such a death were
far preferable to a life like that he now leads, protracted through
long, weary years. Who has brought about this struggle, and
implanted these aspirations in his breast? It is Allah's work! In
his early youth, his mother had told him of her dreams, and hope for
her boy! Who was it that arose from the waves and permitted him to
see in her dewy hand a sword and a crown! It was Masa, his Masa!
These three, Allah, his mother, and Masa, have spoken to him, and
Mohammed has heard and understood their words.
As he stands there on the verge of the cliff, gazing out into the
distance, and listening to the sea murmuring at his feet, he now
feels that he is the instrument chosen to do great deeds. He must
obey Destiny, he must respond to the appeal of revenge, of honor,
and of renown. And a threatening voice whispers in his soul:
"Cousrouf Pacha, beware! You have called your judge yourself.
Beware, the avenger will appear! You will not recognize him, for his
countenance will smile, and his bearing will be soft and composed.
You will not recognize him, but he will come. Beware, Cousrouf
Mohammed now turns to descend to Cavalla, and he feels himself a
changed, a new man.
He slowly descended, his head erect, his breast swelling with a
proud joyousness. The struggle is over, and the voice of anguish is
forever stilled. Mohammed cones among men again another and a better
man, and, before returning to his own house, he repairs to the
palace of the tschorbadji, to seek his friend Osman.
When Osman saw him coming he smiled, nodded to him, and held out his
"Well, my Mohammed, I see by your countenance that the struggle is
over, and that Mohammed knows what future is in store for him."
Mohammed grasped his friend's hand warmly in his own, a bright smile
lighting up his countenance.
"He at least knows, my Osman, what demands he intends to make of the
future, and, if they are not accorded, he will at least know how to
"Is it then really true, Osman?" asked the governor, with tears in
his eyes. "Have you resolved to leave me and assume command of the
"Yes, my dear father, I have. It is time I showed myself to be a
man! And do you not think the uniform of a bim bashi will become me
well; and that I, too, have some desire to parade in my finery
before beautiful women, and be honored with their gracious looks?"
"You are jesting, my son," said the tschorbadji, sadly. "With a
grave air your lips speak joyous words of which your heart knows
nothing. No, you cannot deceive your father. It is not the uniform
that charms you, nor has or can war have any thing attractive for
"You mean by that, father, that a sickly, weak man, like myself, can
take no pleasure in military service. Believe me, it will make me
healthier and stronger. I have been treated like an invalid long
enough, and have not benefited by such treatment. Let us now defy
fate and ill health. Moreover," he continued, after a short pause,
"moreover, I have chosen Mohammed to be my companion, my lieutenant,
in order that I might have a strong arm to lean on. With Mohammed at
my side, I shall have no fear in the conflict. His presence will
give me the needful strength. I tell you I feel stronger and better
already. But now let me go and put on my uniform. And do you not
think you will be proud of my soldierly appearance yourself when you
walk down to the ship with me, and hear people whisper to each
other: 'That is Osman! We would not have believed him to be so
stately and strong a man!' Tell me, would this not gladden your
He nodded to his father, and without awaiting his answer turned and
went hastily to his apartments, to put on his uniform.
The tschorbadji looked after him sadly.
"If I could only discover what secret purpose induces my son to play
the soldier! I will ask Mohammed, and also request him to watch over
He went down into the court-yard where Mohammed, dressed in the
uniform of the boulouk bashi again, was engaged in drawing up his
soldiers in rank and file, preparatory to marching them down to the
harbor, where they were to embark. He beckoned to Mohammed to come
into the hall, and laid his hand gently on his shoulder. "I can
count on you, my friend, can I not?"
"Tschorbadji, you can count on me at all times, while life lasts!"
"You will watch over my Osman? " said he, in low tones. "You will
not permit him to undertake that which his body is unable to bear,
though his spirit be well equal to the task?"
"I will care for him as though he were my better self, as I would
for the woman I love!" said Mohammed. "I well know that his spirit
is strong, but his body is delicate. And therefore when he goes into
danger, and I cannot prevent it, I will protect him unto death, with
my own body! This I swear to you by Allah, and by my love for my
"I thank you, Mohammed," said the tschorbadji, deeply moved. "My
Osman is my only joy in life. You are a father, too, Mohammed, and
you know how a father loves his child."
"I do, tschorbadji," replied he, "and as a father I beg you to look
after my children sometimes. You are related to them through their
mother; shield and protect them, and if the news should come that
destiny has been unfavorable to me, or favorable if you will, and I
shall have fallen on the field of battle, think of this moment, and
watch over my boys! They will be well provided for, as far as the
goods of this world are concerned. I have made over all I possess,
and all I have earned since I began my business, to my wife; from
this hour all that was mine is hers. I take nothing out into the
world with me; I will enter it as a new man. It all came from my
wife, and it is now restored to her. I am going out into the world a
new man, but the old love will remain here in Cavalla with my wife
and with you, and it will accompany me in the person of my beloved
Osman. You need have no fear on our account. While I live, Osman
shall be protected and watched over."
While they were conversing in the hall, Osman was put ting on the
uniform of the bim bashi. His faithful slaves were assisting him,
and rejoiced in his magnificence; and as he now stood before them in
his gold-embroidered uniform, his too slender waist encircled with a
broad leather girdle, from which dangled his sword with its golden
hilt, and to which his two pistols, with jewelled stocks, were
attached, his slaves cried out with delight, and fell on their knees
and kissed his feet.
He told them to rise and to get themselves ready, as these two
faithful servants were to accompany him.
When they had gone, Osman sank down upon his cushions exhausted.
"0 Allah, give me strength sufficient to walk down to the shore with
the appearance of health.-Be strong, poor, weak breast, suppress
your pain until I have reached the ship!--Make me strong, Allah,
until my aim is attained, until I have proved to my friend that I
Hearing footsteps approaching, he sprang to his feet and assumed a
cheerful and composed manner, as his father and Mohammed came in and
announced that all was in readiness for their departure, and that
the soldiers were only waiting for their bim bashi to march down to
"I, however, my bim bashi, have come with a request," said Mohammed,
quickly, "and I hope he will not refuse his boulouk bashi's first
request. I beg you, Osman, to go with your father in advance to the
shore, and take up your position there. I will then follow with the
soldiers, and pass with them in review before you. This is
appropriate, and you must al low the boulouk bashi and the soldiers
to show you these honors."
"If such is the custom, then let it be so," said Osman, smiling.--
"Let us now go, father, as Mohammed requests."
"But I also have a request to make, my son," said the tschorbadji.
"I have met with an accident: in crossing the court-yard I sprained
my ankle slightly, and I cannot walk, as it pains me. You must
therefore do me the kindness to al low yourself to be carried down
with me in the palanquin. It will excite no surprise; the soldiers
saw me when the accident occurred, and no one will suppose it is on
"It seems to me, father," replied Osman, gravely, "that the bim
bashi should walk down, and await his soldiers standing."
"And he shall," said his father, quickly. "Below he shall await his
soldiers, standing, while the poor tschorbadji must remain seated in
his palanquin.-Oh, the pain! Let me support myself on your arm,
Mohammed! You have no idea how my foot hurts!"
Osman averted his face, that they might not see the tears that stood
in his eyes. He discerned, only too well, that they both knew his
weakness and were tenderly caring for him!
But, in spirit at least, he must be a man, and he turns and looks at
them firmly and composedly.
"Then come, father. I will go down with you in the palanquin."
The slaves and servants saw the tschorbadji, supported by Mohammed,
limp to the palanquin; Osman followed them with firm footstep, his
head proudly erect. The people rejoiced in his stately appearance,
and in the glittering uniform that became him so well.
Osman was carried down to Praousta at his father's side. The
fishermen, who stood there awaiting him, greeted the young bim bashi
with loud huzzas. They wished him happiness and success in his
Osman thanked them in a loud, clear voice, and no one knew what pain
the effort cost him. Arrived at the shore, he stepped out of the
palanquin with an appearance of joyous haste, and took up his
position beside his father to receive from the soldiers, who were
now approaching, Mohammed at their head, the military honors. And
now the hour of leave taking had arrived. The admiral's boat had
come to convey the bim bashi to the ship. The tschorbadji insisted
on accompanying his son on board, and seated himself beside him in
the boat into which the slaves and servants who were to go with
Osman now also entered.
Mohammed had declined to go with them to the vessel. The soldiers
must first be embarked, and the boulouk bashi will be the last to
leave the shore, for this the military law requires.
The boats were soon filled with the soldiers, and the bay, covered
with all kinds of skiffs, boats, and barks, now presented a very
gay, lively spectacle. The entire population of Praousta and Cavalla
were assembled on the shore to witness the embarkation.
Ada and her boys had also come down, and were gathered around the
husband and father to take leave of him; beside them stood
Mohammed's old friend, the merchant Lion. As the boats now began to
put off from the shore, Mohammed took his wife's hand and led her
aside, away from the others.
"Ada, my wife," said he, "I bid you a last farewell!"
She sobbed beneath her veil, and tears poured in streams from her
"You weep on my account," said he; "that proves that I have at least
not made my wife unhappy, and that she is not glad to be alone."
"Ah, Mohammed," murmured she, "happy have you made me, and I owe you
thanks for many glad years!"
"And I thank you for these words," said he, gently. "I will take
them with me as an amulet to protect me without, in the world. Think
of me, and watch over my children. Care for them, and do not let
them become the drones or drudges of existence. Remember that their
father is a soldier, and that he remains one to the end! Raise my
children with reference to this! Have them instructed, Ada, for my
sons must not come as ignorant soldiers to my army!"
"To your army?" exclaimed Ada, regarding him in astonishment--"your
He started; his inmost thoughts had for a moment escaped his lips.
"The army in which I serve!" said he, quickly. "Have my boys taught
to read and write; this is necessary, believe me. And now, farewell,
and receive my thanks for all the beautiful days and years which you
have sought to bless me with!"
He did not say, "which you have blessed me with." He did not wish to
take leave of her with a falsehood on his lips, and his eye glanced
over toward the place where Masa had sunk beneath the waves. There
lay his happiness buried, and from that grave it had never risen.
Ada knew it not, he had never complained, and never seemed
discontented; she had thought him happy. His love and thirst for
revenge had hitherto slumbered, but now they were awakened to new
life. He would have vengeance on him who had murdered her he loved,
and heaped insult upon himself! He is now going out into the world,
where he must meet Cousrouf Pacha, and on him will he wreak
vengeance for all his wrongs and sufferings! Yes, his Masa, his
white dove, shall be avenged!
With such thoughts, Mohammed enters the boat that rapidly conveys
him to the ship where Osman stands on the deck awaiting him.
"Welcome, Mohammed! We are on the road to honor and renown!"
"Yes, my Osman, to honor and renown," responded Mohammed.
"And may Allah's blessing accompany you!" said the tschorbadji,
holding his son in his arms in a farewell embrace. He then enters
the boat that awaits him, and is rowed back to the shore.
Osman stands on the deck beside his friend; the soldiers stand
around, silent and respectful in the presence of their bim bashi,
and now the farewell gun is fired.
The governor, Ada, and the merchant, who stand in a group on the
shore, wave their handkerchiefs: "Farewell, farewell!"
Mohammed turns to Osman. "Be joyous, my friend! We have done with
the past, and a brilliant future awaits us! Look, there rests my
Masa, and, I tell you, a monument prouder and grander than was ever
erected to woman, shall rise over her grave! The whole sea shall be
her monument, and on the coast of Egypt will I erect one to my Masa,
to my love, and my revenge!"
THE CAMP AT ABOUKIR.
THE life of the Mameluke beys had for months been a continuous
festival. Nothing but pleasure and festivity; nothing but assurances
of love and friendship on the part of their former enemies, the
Since the hated Franks, after so many struggles, so many defeats and
fruitless shedding of blood, had embarked in their proud ships and
returned to Europe, the prospects for peace in the land that was
bleeding from a thousand wounds seemed to be bright. Friends and
enemies had made these wounds; friends and enemies had torn the once
fair form of the beautiful land of the Pharaohs, and converted it
into a hideous corpse.
The battle-fields of Aboukir, the Pyramids of Gheezeh, the blood-
soaked fields of Syria, the overthrown walls of St. Jean d'Acre, and
of the magnifient city of the caliphs, Cairo, tell of the French
general, Bonaparte, who, at the head of his army, had entered upon a
crusade in order to bless Egypt with civilization. This was his
pretext. He intended, with his sans culottes, to carry civilization
to the Orient, and, not being able to convert them to Christianity
by persuasion or, trickery, he determined to baptize them with
At first the Mameluke beys, who until then had ruled in Egypt, and
had, in protracted struggles, endeavored to cast off their
allegiance to the grand-sultan, had supposed it would be an easy
matter to drive back the French barbarians from the yellow shores of
Mourad Bey, the chief of all the Mameluke beys, was sitting at a
joyous banquet in Alexandria, when several of his officers rushed
into the hall to announce that a number of ships were entering the
harbor, and that a body of Franks had already landed. The Mameluke
chieftain laughed, and, without rising from his seat, said to the
messengers, "Give these French beggars a bakshish, and tell them to
clear out, or Mourad Bey will compel them to do so."
"But," observed the English consul, who had just entered the hall,
"excellency, these Franks have come to possess themselves of Egypt.
Hasten to make preparations for your defence."
Mourad Bey laughed again. "You take a gloomy view of things, my
friend.--Go and give these wretches something to eat, and, as I have
already ordered, a little money also, and then advise them to depart
with all speed, or I will have them driven off by my servants."
But the Franks were not to be driven off so easily. They were
bringing civilization, the glory of the French Republic, to Egypt,
and were determined to make them happy by force. The republic at
home had become too small for the great general. "Europe is a mere
mole-hill," he had said; "there never were great kingdoms and great
enterprises elsewhere than in the Orient, where six hundred million
And it was indeed a great enterprise that Bonaparte wished to
attempt in Egypt, and great things be really did accomplish there.
So great were they, that General Kleber, in secret his enemy and
rival, could nevertheless not refrain from saying, after one of the
"You are as great, Bonaparte, as the world, but the world is too
small for your glory!"
And yet a day had come when the man who was too great for the world
had to make himself small before the victorious Mameluke beys, when
he secretly, accompanied by a few faithful followers only, departed
from Egypt to return to the mole-hill Europe, to seek a crown for
himself there. Bonaparte had left behind, in want and misery, the
army that had suffered so much, not only from battle and disease,
but also from the cruelty of its leaders. Was it not at Jaffa that
Bonaparte caused the sick and wounded to be poisoned, in order to
shorten their sufferings? And one other deed of cruelty of the
general of civilization, who had gone to Egypt to confer happiness
upon the unbelievers, stands recorded in the books of history. Was
it not in Egypt that the French general caused the prisoners of war
who had surrendered to General Desaix to be led down to the seashore
and shot, contrary to the usages of warfare? Four thousand Arabian
soldiers were assassinated in this manner. This was one of the
monuments of civilization erected by the French general in the
Orient! And the revolt in Cairo, the massacre of so many French
soldiers, and the hatred of the whole people, was the harvest reaped
by Bonaparte for this bloody deed.
"Death to the Franks!" was the cry of every Egyptian--the cry that
was common to the Mameluke chieftain and the lowest fellah.
"Death to the Franks!" murmured the sheiks and ulemas with each
prayer. And when Bonaparte had secretly fled, this ominous cry
resounded through all Egypt--"Death to the Franks!"
General Kleber, Bonaparte's successor, was the first victim
sacrificed. At Cairo, on the grand square of the Esbekieh, under the
large sycamore at a corner of the harem of one of the Mameluke beys,
he was stricken down by the dagger of a fanatical Turk. And now
terror and dismay possessed itself of the whole army, and not only
were the Egyptians glad when the command came from Europe that the
French soldiers should embark, but the latter also esteemed
themselves happy when, from the decks of their ships, they saw the
yellow coast of Africa gradually disappear. Since then, bright,
happy days seemed to have come again for the proud Mameluke beys,
and happiness appeared to dawn again over the stricken land. The
English, who, off the coast of Egypt, had destroyed the French
ships, their armada, were now masters of the situation. They united
themselves with the Mameluke beys, and undertook to mediate between
them and the Turkish ruler.
"Egypt is to be blessed with peace, and they who have so long
contended with each other in bitter hostility are to extend their
hands to each other. Let recognition be accorded to the Mameluke
beys, and favorable conditions of peace offered them, and they will
submit." This Lord Balan had announced to the grand-sultan, and his
first servant, the grand-vizier, at Stamboul. And he had gone to and
fro, from Cairo to Stamboul, from Stamboul to Cairo, until peace was
at last, as it seemed, secured.
"The Mameluke beys," so read the last decision of the grand-sultan,
Selim II., "are to leave Cairo and to go to Upper Egypt, where large
tracts of land are to be assigned them, with their wives, their
treasures, and their servants, to rule there in freedom and
The Mamelukes took these propositions into favorable consideration;
they were weary of bloodshed and longed for the peaceful desert
plains and for the sunny tents, where they could rest from their
long struggles in quiet comfort, listen to the songs of the female
slaves, and gaze at the voluptuous dances of the almehs. Yes, they
will return home to the beloved south, to the cataracts of the Nile,
to the sunny shores where the temple ruins of by-gone magnificence
stand out against the deep blue sky.
Yes, they longed for peace, and for the sublime stillness of the
desert; they consented to Lord Balan's proposition, and declared
themselves ready to meet the servants of the sultan, and arrange
with them the boundaries of the tracts of land that were to be
assigned to them, and to conclude peace. They had, therefore, in
response to the invitation of the Turks, come out to the peninsula
of Aboukir. There, on the wide plain that had three years before
been drenched with the blood of the French and the Egyptians, now
stood the stately tents of the Turks and the Mamelukes.
It was a splendid spectacle, the wide plain with its array of gayly-
decorated tents, with its great squares, on which the Mamelukes
mounted on their proud steeds, displayed their skill with the spear
and the gun, exciting the admiration of the Turks by their skill and
All was festivity, and life was enjoyed as though it were an
uninterrupted chain of pleasures. Yet there were some who felt less
contented than these Mameluke beys, some who had learned from the
French that promises and assurances of friendship were not always to
be relied on.
Many of the beys had brought their wives with them, for the wives of
the beys enjoyed greater liberty than those of the Turks, and they
could move about among the tents, with as little constraint as in
the streets of Cairo. The Mameluke honors his bey's wife, and bows
down in the dust before her, when she passes by with head erect and
veiled countenance, followed by her slaves.
On this, the fourteenth day of their sojourn at Aboukir, the
Mamelukes also bow profoundly before a woman who, followed by two
servants, is passing down between the double row of tents, and
whisper to each other: "This is the wife of our greatest chieftain,
the deceased Mourad Bey! How does it happen that she has left her
beautiful palace in Cairo? For what purpose has Sitta Nefysseh come
And when she had passed, the Mamelukes raised their heads and
followed with their eyes the white form as it swept on between the
tents, and observed with astonishment that Mourad Bey's widow had
stopped at the tent of the bey who was now their first chief, at the
tent of Osman Bey Bardissi. Mourad's widow, and those who
accompanied her, entered this tent.
He lay on the divan, smoking his chibouque. But upon her appearance
at the entrance to the tent, he sprang to his feet.
"You here, Sitta-you in the camp at Aboukir?"
"I have come to speak with you," she replied, earnestly.--"Let the
rest leave the tent. Mourad's widow can be alone with the man whom
her deceased husband called his dear friend."
He waved his hand imperiously, and all the servants with drew from
the tent, closing the gold-embroidered curtains behind them.
"Speak!" said the bey, in deferential tones. "Your servant hears,
and is ready to obey your commands."
"I have not come to command," replied she; "I have come to warn you,
"To warn me, Sitta?"
"Yes, Osman. You have allowed yourselves to be deceived by the
flattering words of those who call themselves your friends, but can
never be other than your enemies. Do you suppose that the sultan
will ever give you, his hated enemies--you, the haughty Mameluke
beys-your rights and your freedom? I, who gazed in my dying Mourad's
eyes and read his last thoughts, I say to you, that the sultan will
not rest until death has closed your lips forever, or until you have
closed his! I tell you they are planning your destruction. Do not
ask from what source my information comes. The wise man will listen
and take the advice of the woman who was his friend's wife. Demand
this very day, that, after these long-continued festivities, the
grave matters that call you here be immediately proceeded with;
demand that the conditions on which the sultan is to make you free
and independent in Upper Egypt be plainly stated. And if they will
not name them, then embark in your boats before the sun sets, and
return to Cairo; for, believe me, there alone will you be safe! I
come to you in the name of Destiny, by whom I have been warned! My
lord and master appeared to me last night in a dream, showed me his
bleeding wounds, and said to me: 'Go and save my friends. Say to
them that the last battle has not yet been fought at Aboukir, and
tell them that, if they do not hasten to depart, the waves that
encircle Aboukir will soon be reddened with their blood, as was the
said of Aboukir a few years ago!' And therefore have I come, O
Osman, to warn you! Put away from you your confidence in these
treacherous Turks. Do not hearken to the whisperings of the English
men, do not rely on the promises of your enemies. Require a decision
this very day, and if it is not given, depart at once, before the
setting of the sun. Danger threatens you all, great, fearful
"Impossible, Sitta!" replied Osman Bey, composedly. "Impossible! We
cannot depart to-day, and the decision cannot be made now. But I
have already demanded it, and they have promised that these matters
shall be arranged in the course of a few days."
"In the course of a few days!" repeated Sitta. "You have warned your
enemies yourself, Osman! They have observed that distrust has begun
to bud in your hitherto trusting heart, and with their swords and
daggers they will destroy the tender plant in its first growth. By
Allah, I conjure you, and by your love for my husband, be on your
guard; leave the peninsula, and return to Cairo!"
"If it were possible, Sitta, I would do it out of reverence for you.
But on the morrow, I promise you, I will return to the continent.
To-morrow, a festival takes place in Alexandria; Lord Balan, the
English general, is to receive his troops there, and the capitan
pacha, who is encamped here with his warriors, has invited us to
participate in the festivities at Alexandria."
"Beware, oh beware, Osman!" cried Sitta Nefysseh, extending her arms
toward heaven. "By Allah and the prophets, I conjure you, go not to
sea with the Turks to-morrow! Listen to my words, Osman! I have
devoted servants with those whom you call your friends, but who can
only be your enemies. One of them has informed me of their purpose.
Before the harbor of Alexandria lies a Turkish fleet; it lies in
wait for you, and your boats will not be allowed to land unless
freighted with your dead bodies!"
"This is not possible," cried the bey, recoiling a step in dismay.
"They cannot have planned so fearful a deception! They cannot be so
faithless! Are they not of our religion; were the prophet's words
not spoken for them as for us? Do they not know that it is written
in the Koran: 'Let a man hold his word sacred! Curses and shame upon
him who bears a lie on his lips, and yet seals it with the name of
Allah and the prophet!' No, Sitta, I tell you the capitan pacha
sealed his vow of friendship with the name of Allah and the prophet,
and the settlement of the details only was wanting to establish this
bond of friendship forever. No, Sitta, it is impossible that they
should contemplate such fearful treachery, and rather will I die a
victim of such treachery than cowardly flee, than consider men
cowards, and warriors scoundrels!"
"Then you and yours are going to your death, Osman Bey Bardissi!"
cried Nefysseh in tones of anguish. "I conjure you once more, be
warned, and, if you will not depart today, at least do not follow
the capitan pacha to the festival, but employ the time while he is
absent in preparing to defend yourselves. And, when they return,
refuse to allow them to land until they consent to come to you
Osman Bey shook his head proudly; and his countenance, before
troubled, was now radiant with courage and joy. "Sitta Nefysseh,
your noble heart is concerned for your friends, and I thank you in
the name of all of us. But what your womanly sensitiveness fears,
Osman Bey may not fear, and he must not show the Turks that he
distrusts them! Allah watches over us all, and his will must be
fulfilled! Why should we fear?"
"Yet Allah often warns us in our dreams, and woe to us if we do not
interpret them aright!" said Sitta Nefysseh, in tones of entreaty.
"You insist, then, on going to Alexandria to-morrow?"
"It is so determined, Sitta, and a man keeps his word!" His arms
folded on his breast, he bowed down profoundly before her, and
kissed the hem of her flowing gold-embroidered dress.
"Then may Allah accompany you! " said she, with a profound sigh.
"But let me say one thing more. When you behold my husband Mourad,
up there, among the blessed, standing under the green flag of the
prophet, say to him: `Your wife has done her duty, she gave Osman
the warning! She is innocent of our death!' and say to him also that
his wife remains faithful to him in all things, and that she will
love him alone throughout life. And now, farewell, Osman Bey
Bardissi, and think of me in your death-hour!"
She raised her hands as if in a blessing, and then turned slowly
away, drew aside the curtain, and stepped out of the tent to where
her slaves and eunuchs awaited her.
Slowly she walked down the pathway between the tents, towing to the
right and to the left to the Mamelukes, who threw themselves down
before her in profound reverence. But when she passed by the tents
of the Turks she veiled her countenance more closely, and her eyes
glanced angrily through the delicate fabric.
"Traitors are they all!" murmured she, as she entered the tent where
she dwelt with the women of Cousrouf, the second Mameluke chieftain.
"Yes, traitors, and our Mamelukes will be their victims! Yet I will
endeavor to save as many of them as possible!"
While Sitta Nefysseh sat sorrowing on her cushion, paying but little
attention to the songs which the slaves sang, and to the dances with
which they sought to entertain their mistress, the joyous
festivities of the Mamelukes and Turks were still going on. Osman
Bey had promised to show his horsemanship to-day; and it was a
beautiful spectacle to see him coursing along on his splendidly-
caparisoned black charger, his sword uplifted in his hand. His eyes
sparkled even more lustrously than the gems in the agraffe of the
crescent on the sultan's turban. In the sash that encircled his
waist glittered a pair of pistols and the jewelled hilt of a dagger,
and whoever beheld Osman Bey said to himself:" This is a man! a hero
who recoils from nothing!" Lightly bounding, his nostrils expanded,
his eyes glowing, he now rode his steed around the wide circle of
Mamelukes and Turks. With uplifted sword he then approached the
horse that stood tied to a stake in the middle of the circle.
Trembling, and neighing anxiously, it saw the hero bearing down upon
it at a full gallop; then Osman's sword glittered in the air, and
the horse's head fell to the ground, severed from the body by a
single blow. Loud and exulting shouts rewarded the bold rider for
this proof of his wonderful skill and strength, and Osman bowed
smilingly to the right and to the left, and then again drew in his
reins, and made his steed bound as lightly and coquettishly as
though it had learned its arts from the bayaderes.
Yes, Osman Bey is a great hero, and they all regard him with
astonishment, the Mamelukes with joyous smiles, the Turks with
serious countenances. While Osman Bey Bardissi lives, peace with the
Turks is not to be thought of; while life lasts, he will aspire to
greater eminence and power.
"How can peace be made with this powerful, haughty chieftain?" This
is also murmured by the capitan pacha, who stands on the deck of the
admiral's ship, and he orders that the Turkish ships weigh anchor,
and sail out of the harbor of Alexandria. Yes, Sitta Nefysseh was
right: the enemy lies in wait there. Three large Turkish ships have
been lying at anchor there ever since the Mameluke beys have been
holding fetes with the Turks at Aboukir. But to-day a fourth ship
has arrived from Stamboul--a ship manned with three hundred well-
equipped soldiers; and her captain's name is Osman, and his
lieutenant is called Mohammed Ali.
The capitan pacha had himself come over in his admiral's ship to
greet the newly arrived soldiers, and to review the fleet of stately
vessels-of-war. He graciously caused Osman, the bim bashi, and
Mohammed Ali, the boulouk bashi, to be presented to him.
"You have employed the time well during your passage," said he,
slightly inclining his proud head. "You have converted rude peasants
into disciplined soldiers."
"It is not my work," replied Osman, who stood attired in his full
uniform before the capitan pacha. "No, excellency, I suffered from
the unaccustomed sea-voyage, and could hardly leave my cabin.
Mohammed Ali deserves all the credit; he drilled the soldiers on the
deck incessantly, day and night."
"Well done, well done!" said the pacha. "His services will be
recognized and rewarded."
"I beg your excellency to see that they are," said Osman, quickly.
"Truly my boulouk bashi deserves to be rewarded. I should like to
take the liberty of suggesting how he can be rewarded."
With a haughty and astonished expression, the capitan pacha regarded
the young man that stood blushing before him, his eyes sparkling
with unaccustomed lustre. He considered it somewhat presumptuous to
advise him, the capitan pacha. Yet this is not a time to be
ungracious. The newly-arrived soldiers are to be used this very day,
and should be kindly and cordially treated.
"Then tell me, bim bashi, how can I reward your lieutenant? I will
gladly do so, if it is in my power."
"You have the power, if you have the will. I beg you to give the
boulouk bashi my position."
"Give him your position! And what is to become of you?"
"Of me?" said Osman, smiling sadly. "Only what I have always been--a
poor, weak invalid. Cousrouf Pacha, our distinguished guest, wished
to show me a kindness, and, with this intention, appointed me him
bashi. Yet I at once feared that my poor body would not be able to
bear the fatigues of the service. I am weary and exhausted, and my
weak arm falls to my side when I attempt to raise the sword. I beg
that your excellency will graciously permit me to return home with
the ship to Cavalla, after the soldiers shall have been disembarked.
I also entreat of your excellency that my boulouk bashi be made
captain in my stead."
The capitan pacha turned and looked at young Mohammed Ali. Perhaps
his tall, well-knit frame, and his earnest countenance, with its
sparkling eyes, and his determined bearing, impressed him favorably.
"Bim bashi, we will see what can be done. It will depend chiefly on
the events of this day, and I will observe your boulouk bashi
closely. If he proves capable of doing well what I shall require of
him, I give you my word he shall be made bim bashi, and you shall
then be permitted to return to your home. I will, however, first
observe your boulouk bashi, and see of what stuff he is made.--I
have orders for you, boulouk bashi. But first tell me your name."
"I am called Mohammed Ali, son of Ibrahim Aga," replied Mohammed,
inclining his head with an expression of such profound reverence
that the proud capitan pacha was well pleased, and smiled
"Mohammed Ali, son of Ibrahim Aga, step aside with me; I have
something to say to you."
The pacha walked to the end of the deck, motioning to the two slaves
who accompanied him to withdraw; he then turned to Mohammed, who
stood before him, his head bowed down in humility; his ear all
attention to the words spoken by the pacha, in low, impressive
Important words, of great and dangerous import, must they have been,
that fell slowly one after the other, like drops of blood from the
pacha's lips, for, from time to time, a deathly pallor overspread
Mohammed Ali's cheeks, and a slight shudder coursed through his
whole being. The pacha looked at him keenly, and said in a low
voice, "One can see that you are a novice."
"Yes, a novice," replied Mohammed, "but I shall soon become
accustomed to blood, and cease to recoil from dead bodies."
"Then you will achieve success in Egypt," said the pacha. "The air
here is freighted with the scent of corpses, and the sea and the
Nile have often been reddened with blood. We will see, boulouk
bashi, if the waves at our feet are not once more made red with
blood, and not with the rays of the setting sun. And now, boulouk
bashi, it will be shown whether you have understood what I have
said, and whether you are the man to execute my orders."
"I am your servant, excellency," replied Mohammed, quietly. "The
soldier has no will of his own. I am an instrument in your hands,
and I will faithfully carry out your orders."
"Then you will awaken to-morrow as bim bashi. And I believe that
will only be the first step toward the fame that awaits you. I like
you, boulouk bashi, and I wish you a brilliant career. And when you
shall have reached the summit of renown, then remember, boulouk
bashi, that it was I who gave you the key to the gates of honor.
Remember the day and the hour, for I have read a great future in
He then inclined his head to Mohammed Ali, and returned to where
Osman was standing, leaning against a mast, in utter exhaustion.
The pacha also spoke a few kindly words to him, and afterward
entered his boat to return to the shore of Aboukir. Mohammed then
walked up to his friend, took him in his arms like a child, and
carried him down into his cabin. He laid him on the divan, knelt
down beside him, and whispered in his ear: "Osman, no matter what
you may see or hear, do not leave your cabin to-day. Stay here, my
friend, and do not be anxious; if you hear a tumultuous noise, and
outcries, do not be alarmed, even if death-groans should resound
from the deck. The world is a hard thing, and he whose hands are not
of iron should hold himself aloof from its rude contact. You, my
Osman, are too good to play an active role in this miserable earthly
existence; and I am, therefore, almost glad that you are to return
to Cavalla; I repeat it, you are too good for this world."
"If it depended on goodness, Mohammed," said Osman, smiling, "you
should not serve the world either, for you have a better heart than
any of us."
Mohammed shook his head. "You are mistaken, you look at me with your
kindly eyes, and give me credit for your noble thoughts. I am not
good, no, do not believe that of me! Now that we are about to
separate, I do not wish you to be deceived in your Mohammed Ali; I
am only good when with you, and under the influence of your gentle
nature; I fear I have the stuff in me of which hard and cruel men
are made. But let us drop this subject. Duty calls me away. And let
me repeat this, Osman, whatever outcries you may hear, whatever
fearful noises may resound through your cabin, remain quietly here;
remain here in peace, my Osman. The pack will soon be let loose, and
your Mohammed, whom you call good, has been chosen by Fate to howl
with it, and make common cause with the bloodhounds. Do not speak,
Osman. Through blood must I march onward to my goal! There is no
other road. Farewell, and remain here."
He ascended hastily to the deck, called the soldiers together, spoke
to them for a long time in low, impressive tones, and issued his
orders. They listened attentively to his words, and then hastily
began to carry out his orders. They load their guns, try the locks,
and then repair to the port-holes on the lower deck, and hold
themselves in readiness to fire at the word of command.
There is to be a merry chase to-day. But after what game? Who has
seen it? No one knows as yet.
The boulouk bashi will give the signal, and when he says "Fire!"
they will fire, no matter at what or at whom. The command will be
given, and they will obey. It will be their first deed of arms,
their baptism of fire.
The hour has not yet come. Mohammed is standing on the deck above,
leaning against the mast, his arms crossed on his breast, looking
over toward the shores of Aboukir.
There all is gayety; the decorated boats dance merrily and rapidly
over the waves; the Mameluke beys are going by sea to Alexandria, to
take part in the festival of the newly-arrived admiral. There will
be warlike games and races; a grand banquet is prepared for the
guests; there will be music, dancing, and singing; altogether it
will be a most brilliant festival. The Mameluke beys esteem
themselves happy in having been invited by the capitan pacha to take
part in this glorious festival. To-morrow peace will be concluded
between them and the grand-sultan. To-morrow their lands will be
given them and the boundaries determined, but let to-day be a fete
day, a day of rejoicing.
Mourad's widow, Sitta Nefysseh, is standing at the entrance of her
tent, her countenance closely veiled, looking at the Mamelukes who
are going down to the shore to their boats. She sees that the Turks
stand aside, and that only the Mamelukes enter the boats.
"You are not going with us?" ask the astonished beys of their
Turkish friends. They shake their heads, and only step farther back
from the shore.
"No, ye proud beys, this honor is for you alone, you alone go with
the capitan, you alone are invited to attend the grand festival of
the English admiral, Lord Hutchinson. We remain here to await
longingly your return, in order that you may tell us of the
brilliant festival. We remain here!"
"They remain," repeated Sitta Nefysseh ; "they remain because death
goes with the others in their boats. O Osman Bardissi! why would you
not hearken to my words? I shall remain also, to await our dead."
In the large, richly-decorated boat, stood the capitan pacha, and
beside him the chief Mameluke beys; among them are Osman Bardissi,
the hero, the favorite of all the women, and Osman Tamboubji, now
one of the most distinguished of all the beys. These two,
especially, have been invited by the capitan to sail with him in his
boat, and while with him what have they to fear?
Sitta Nefysseh murmurs to herself:
"He takes them into his boat in order to deceive them. This is
surely to conceal some trickery, and when the boat lands at
Alexandria, the capitan pacha will not be with the Mameluke beys."
The Mamelukes have entered the boats joyously, and joyously they
sail out over the waves, toward the shores of Alexandria.
The day is beautiful, and the sunshine glitters upon the water;
laughter and jesting resound from every boat; but now, when Osman
Bardissi begins to sing a warlike song, all are silent and listen
attentively. He sings words with which he has often led his hosts
out to battle. And the rest, at the end of each verse of the
glorious old song, shout exultingly from boat to boat, and unite in
the joyous chorus:
"The bey lifts high his sword, and down it sweeps upon his proud
foe's head! Down swoops the bey, and raises high in air the severed
head, and, when he homeward rides, the head hangs dangling at his
"A beautiful, a glorious song!" exclaims the capitan, as it is
ended, and its last accords resound over the waters.
But what is this? A strong boat is approaching, the admiral's boat
of some strange vessel that has probably only just arrived in the
harbor. Signals are given in the boat, and a flag is waved. The flag
proclaims what the capitan expected. The young boulouk bashi, who
stands in the admiral's boat, holds up a folded paper. It is an
official letter, the large red seals that hang from it by silken
strings show it to be such. The capitan pacha calls the attention of
the Mameluke beys to the boat now rapidly approaching.
"Alas, the service leaves one no time, not even a short hour, for
recreation and merrymaking. See, here comes another messenger! What
can he want? The capitan pacha is, after all, a mere servant. See!
The messenger holds the paper higher and beckons to me. No, he shall
not break in upon the joy of our festival with his presence! This
beautiful boat shall not be desecrated with business matters! Come
closer, and I will get into your boat and read the letter."
"But after you have read it, capitan Pacha," says Osman Bardissi, in
a frank, kindly voice, "after you have read it and have disposed of
this annoying business matter, you will come back to our boat, will
you not? we will wait for you."
"Yes, wait for me! But it may, after all, be necessary for me to
return, to attend to some important affairs with my officials,
instead of enjoying myself with you. Therefore you had best go on,
my friends, and, if Allah permits me to join you in your festivities
to-day, I will hoist a signal, and you can stop for me and take me
in again." The capitan then steps into the strange boat. The two
proud bays see him take the paper from the hands of the stranger
boulouk bashi, break the seals, and read it.
With his eagle glance, Osman Bey Bardissi observes that the capitan
pacha's countenance becomes gradually clouded as he reads.
"He will not have time to return to us," says Tamboudji Bey, who
stands at his side. "It seems that grave intelligence has reached
him. Yes, it is so," the boat being rapidly rowed toward the
admiral's ship. "But look, Osman Bey! he cries, in alarm, as he
raises his arm and points to the departing boat, "look, there are
swords in the boat!"
"Yes, I see! Swords, Turkish swords! What are they in there for?"
"That is what I should like to know," replies the other, nervously
grasping the pistol in his girdle. "See, a ship is rapidly
approaching, and the capitan is steering toward it! But that is not
his ship! Where does it come from? What is it doing here?"
The countenance of the Mameluke chieftains is now threatening. They
observe the ship, rapidly approaching, with an eagle's glance. They
see the capitan ascend its side; they see the portholes filled with
"Treachery! This is treachery!" cries Bardissi.
And he turns toward the other boats, and cries out to them: "Grasp
your swords and prepare to defend yourselves. We are betrayed. The
capitan pacha has deceived us, and "--a ball whistling close by his
ear at this moment--" to your swords and pistols, my friends; the
enemy and treachery are upon us!"
The Turks are rowing rapidly down upon them in their boats, while
volleys of musketry are being discharged at them from the ship that
is approaching nearer and nearer, following the Turkish troops that
man the boats.
"Onward," cries Bardissi to his followers. "Onward! We may escape.
We may, if we make every effort, succeed in reaching Alexandria."
With the speed of the wind the boats sweep onward, and now turn into
the bay of Aboukir.
The Mamelukes all cry, "Treachery! treachery!" and every one sees
the three Turkish ships bearing down upon them from the front, while
the boats and the strange vessel are coming upon them from the rear.
From that direction comes the order, "Fire! fire!"
Death-shrieks resound everywhere among the boats. But the proud
Mamelukes are at least resolved to sell their lives dearly. They
reply from their boats to the shots. Now the enemy's boats are among
them, and a murderous but unequal conflict rages. The three men-of-
war send whole volleys into the boats of the Mamelukes.
Of what use to fire their pistols, how can they reload them? Of what
avail to draw their swords against the overwhelming foe?
They can only die, and die they must. The flower of the hero-beys
was gathered together in these boats, and is now being stamped under
foot--is perishing, the victim of infamous treachery.
Sitta Nefysseh looks on in horror from where she lies on the shore
of Aboukir. With outstretched arms she implores Allah for mercy, for
revenge; and now, as the volleys of artillery resound over the
waters, she cries in earnest, piercing tones:
"O Mourad, my husband! thou who art at Allah's side; thou who seest
this treachery, implore vengeance upon the enemy!"
Yes, she prays to Allah and the prophet for vengeance. But while she
prays, the blood of the Mamelukes is flowing in streams, saturating
the costly carpets in the boats, and beginning to color the
A cry of rage resounds from Bardissi's lips. His friend Osman
Tamboudji has just been stretched out at his feet by a ball. He has
thrown away his pistol, and now grasps the hilt of his dagger, when
he is suddenly stricken down by a blow upon the head, dealt from
behind. The vessels have completely surrounded the Mamelukes; the
Turks on the ships jump down into the boats to assist the others,
and the work of slaughter is soon ended. All is now still. Those who
are not dead lie severely wounded in the boats. The Turks return to
their vessels, and the boulouk bashi orders the wounded to be
brought on board.
The order is executed; the dead are left in the boats, and the
wounded are carried on board.
They now lift up the wounded man who lies beside the dead bey, in
the large boat in which they had first seen the capitan standing
with the two beys.
"Bring him up the ladder," cries the boulouk bashi.
He is unconscious, and is bleeding from three wounds. But even in
this condition he still grasps his dagger so firmly that it cannot
be torn from his band, and as the soldiers attempt it he awakens and
opens his eyes.
"You are treacherous scoundrels, all of you! Osman Bey Bardissi
declares you to be such."
The boulouk bashi starts as he hears this name, steps forward and
gazes long and earnestly at the bey, whom he had once seen as a boy.
Must he meet him now in this condition? His gaze is fixed on him,
and he tries to recognize in his features the boy of former days.
"You are scoundrels!" cries, for the second time, the proud
chieftain. "Ye slaves of bloody tyranny--ye murderous, treacherous
villains--shame and disgrace upon you all! Before Allah's throne
will I accuse you, ye treacherous, slavish Turks."
With cries of rage they throw themselves upon him to strangle him.
But an arm burls them back with a giant's strength.
"Do you wish to murder those who can no longer defend themselves?
Back! The life of the wounded, of the vanquished enemy, is sacred."
Bardissi, who has again fallen back exhausted, looks up in
astonishment at the stranger who protected him, and was even angry
with his own soldiers on his account. How comes it that this
traitor's heart is touched?
Mohammed kneels down beside him.
"What is your name?" asks he, in low tones.
"Osman Bey Bardissi," replied the wounded man, and now, exhausted as
he was from loss of blood, a proud smile flittered over his handsome
countenance. "Not knowing me, you must be a stranger in Egypt,"
"Yes, I am a stranger in Egypt, and this accounts for my not knowing
you. Yet, it seems to me that we once met; were you not once on the
shores of the bay of Sta. Marmora?"
"Yes, I was once there!"
"Do you recollect meeting a boy there? You spoke to him of your
"I remember," murmured the bey.
"And you spoke proud, contemptuous words to this boy. Do you still
remember his name?"
"I do; he was called Mohammed Ali, and I told him my name, Osman
Bey. Were you the boy?"
"I was, and there we first met, and now we meet again. I regret,
Osman Bey, that we meet as enemies."
Osman Bey Bardissi shook his head slowly. "We were enemies, Mohammed
Ali; yet, if Allah permits me to live, you shall soon learn that you
have found a friend. I well know that I owe you my life, and I shall
be grateful while life lasts."
He ceased speaking, and again lost consciousness.
Mohammed beckoned to one of the soldiers to approach. "Carry this
man to my cabin, and let no one dare to touch him with a rude hand.
He is my prisoner."
"Our Mamelukes have been treacherously slaughtered, murdered! They
have been lured out upon the water near Aboukir in their boats, and
then fired upon by murderous huntsmen as though they were a flock of
pigeons. If you are an honest and brave man, general, proved by
mercifully espousing the cause of those who were lured to
destruction in your name--yes, in your name, General Hutchinson--
yes, it devolves upon you, and your honor requires that you compel
them, to yield up the wounded and the dead."
Thus lamented Sitta Nefysseh as she knelt before General Hutchinson,
her arms extended in wild entreaty. She had come over to Alexandria
from Aboukir, and she it was who first brought the intelligence of
the fearful event that had occurred, who first announced to the
English general that the beys had fallen victims to infamous
The general, incensed at this shameful abuse of confidence,
immediately dispatched two of his adjutants to the capitan pacha, to
demand an explanation and call him to account for the outrage.
The pacha was, however, not to be found. "They did not know where he
had gone;" was the reply; "but Lord Hutchinson's message should be
conveyed to him as soon as possible, and he would certainly send
some one to the general who would give satisfactory explanations of
Soon afterward a boat came to shore, and the boulouk bashi, Mohammed
Ali, demanded, in the name of the capitan pacha, to be conducted to
the presence of the English general. With an air of profound
deference and humility, he delivered the message of the capitan
pacha, and expressed his own regret of the fearful event that had
"It was a misunderstanding. I myself was to blame for it, and bow in
humility before your just anger! The capitan pacha had commanded me
to arrest the rebellious Mameluke beys, and bring them on board the
admiral's ship, in order that they might be conveyed to Stamboul.
His orders were, that no resistance should be tolerated, and that
severe measures should be adopted at the first manifestation of
violence on their part. Sir, such manifestations were not wanting,
and I had no sooner come near the boats which contained the
rebellious Mameluke beys, when they grasped their arms, and
threatened us with wild gestures. We fought for life, general, not
knowing that our lives were, in your estimation, as nothing to those
mighty, renowned Mameluke beys. We fought for our lives, as they did
theirs; and, if the Mamelukes were vanquished in this conflict, it
was, it seems to me, Allah's will. Yet, I beg pardon for what has
happened, and repeat, in the name of the capitan pacha, it was a
misunderstanding--oh, sir, a deplorable misunderstanding!"
The general shrugged his shoulders, and glanced angrily at the
quiet, defiant countenance of the young officer.
"A very welcome misunderstanding it seems to have been to all of
you. A misunderstanding you call it; and did you not know that I,
Lord Hutchinson, had pledged my word to the Mameluke beys that their
lives should not be endangered? Did you not know that they had come
tome to inquire whether they could safely trust the Turks, and that
I, in my blindness, had said to them: 'You can safely trust them;
they are men of honor, and they have solemnly pledged their word for
your security?' You have broken the holy law of your prophet, of
hospitality, and have betrayed those to whom you had extended the
hand of friendship."
"Not so, general, by Allah! Of such a crime I could not be guilty,"
replied Mohammed, quietly. "I broke no bread, and exchanged no vows
of friendship, with the Mamelukes. I have only just arrived from a
distant land, and know nothing of your enmities or friendships. My
orders were, to arrest the Mamelukes, and bring them fettered to the
admiral's ship. If I misunderstood the order, I was wrong, but no
such crime burdens my soul, and I cannot be justly accused of broken
faith or treachery. I have nothing more to say. I submit humbly to
your displeasure, and can only repeat that I deplore the
"Your quiet, defiant bearing is, it seems to me, inconsistent with
your words. I deplore this treachery, and deplore it doubly, because
my assurances lulled the beys into a sense of security. But I tell
you I will have justice, satisfaction for this outrage; I will call
you all to account. Go to your master and say to him, in my name,
that his treatment of the Mameluke beys has been treacherous."
"Pardon me," replied the boulouk bashi, composedly, "but perhaps
your excellency does not know what commands respecting these
Mameluke beys were given the capitan pacha by his master, by the
"I read in your countenance what the sultan's intentions and
commands were, and see it in what has occurred. It is his purpose to
destroy the Mamelukes, whom he has entrapped with flattering words
and loving promises. But it shall not be done while I am here. I
demand justice and satisfaction for myself. Let the world pronounce
you Turks liars and traitors, but the same shall not be said of me
and my people! I have pledged my word and the honor of England for
the safety of the Mamelukes; and, though I cannot recall the dead to
life, I will at least care for the living. Go to your master and
tell him this: `Lord Hutchinson demands that all the captured
Mameluke beys be immediately brought to the shore and placed under
his protection. Lord Hutchinson insists that they be at once set at
liberty, and that they shall not be regarded as prisoners of the
"Excellency, it will be very difficult to comply with your demands,"
replied Mohammed. "An alternative has just been offered the
prisoners. I was present, and can vouch for it--they were to choose
between death by the sword and submission. Not one of the beys,
however, chose to die rather than submit. They swore on the holy
Koran than they would remain the prisoners of the Turks, and make no
effort to have themselves demanded back by the English, and, as they
have nevertheless done so, and sent to you, they have broken their
"They have not done so," replied Lord Hutchinson. "I heard of this
infamous treachery by other means; others informed me of what has
occurred. I am, therefore, entirely justified in making my demand;
moreover, the oath obtained from them by the threat of death is
valueless. I insist that the Mamelukes who are still alive be
delivered over to me, and the dead also, in order that I may count
them and assure myself that none have been kept back as prisoners.
Go, and tell your master this, and say to him that a refusal on his
part will be equivalent to a declaration of war by England. My ships
lie at anchor in the harbor of Alexandria awaiting his decision, and
they are ready for war. Tell this to the capitan pacha."
With a respectful inclination of the head Mohammed withdrew, and,
returning to his boat, was rapidly conveyed on board the admiral's
ship, where the capitan pacha awaited him.
The latter listened attentively to the report of the boulouk bashi,
and inclined his head graciously when told that he had taken the
sole responsibility upon himself, and had attributed the much-to-be-
regretted-occurrence to a misunderstanding.
"You did well," said the capitan pacha. "Why should we not appear to
regret this deed of bloodshed, now that it is accomplished? Why not
deplore that which is irrevocable? Death holds fast to its victims.
The living, we must, however, deliver over to the stormy Englishman,
as I have no desire to take upon myself the responsibility of a war
with England. Moreover, I shall be well pleased to leave this place.
My work is done. Let the newly appointed viceroy see what he can do
with these Mamelukes. Egypt is dripping with blood, and the
atmosphere of this land is freighted with the scent of corpses. I
can no longer endure it, and am about to return to beautiful, sunny
Stamboul. Let my last deed be to comply with the demand of this
haughty Englishman. Have the wounded put into the boats, Bim Bashi
Mohammed Ali; you understand me--I call you bim bashi. You may
inform your friend, Bim Bashi Osman, that his request is granted;
you will take his place, and it rests with you to make it the
stepping-stone to future greatness. I believe such will be the case,
for I can read your soul in your eyes; and this one thing, it seems
to me, you still have to learn: to keep your eyes from betraying
your thoughts, Remember that this is essential to success. And now,
you may have the prisoners conveyed to the shore. Lord Hutchinson
shall count the living, and the dead, too; not one of his favorites
shall be withheld! When this is done, bim bashi, return to the ship
on which you came. Are the soldiers disembarked?"
"Yes, excellency, and already, I believe, on the march to Cairo."
"It is well," said the pacha; "let them figure at the grand entrance
of the viceroy into Cairo. I will intrust you with a message to his
highness, and will recommend you to him as a useful man. Cousrouf
Pacha has need of such men."
Mohammed started at the mention of this name, but quickly recovered
his composure, and bowed his head in gratitude.
"You make me happy, indeed! You will send me to Cousrouf Pacha. I
thank you, for it has long been my most ardent wish to be in his
"It has long been your wish!" said the capitan pacha, in surprise.
"I thought you had only been here a short time?"
"True, excellency, yet I have heard much of the great Cousrouf Pacha
in my distant home, and to serve him was my most ardent wish. I
swear, capitan pacha, that I will serve him as my heart prompts."
"But then it depends on what your heart prompts," said the pacha,
casting a long, searching glance at the pale countenance of the
young bim bashi. "The tone in which you say this has a strange ring,
and sounds almost like a threat! Yet, deal with his highness,
Cousrouf Pacha, as you think proper, and serve him as your heart
prompts. I will recommend you to him. We are good friends, the
viceroy and I, very good friends, and I have no doubt it will sadden
him to see me escape out of this confusion, which will require bold
and fearless management at his hands. I go to Stamboul, you go to
Cousrouf Pacha to serve him--to serve him as your heart prompts, you
"Yes, excellency, as my heart prompts, in humility and devotion."
"Now you may go; I will furnish you with a written testimonial, and
warmly recommend you to the viceroy, as I have promised."
He dismissed the young bim bashi with a gracious inclination of the
head, and the latter returned to his ship to see that the prisoners
were conveyed to the shore. He walked beside Osman Bey Bardissi as
he was being carried down on a stretcher to a boat, by four
soldiers, speaking kind, consoling words to the wounded man, and
expressing the hope that Allah, in his mercy, would soon restore him
to health, as his injuries were light.
Bardissi gazed at him fixedly with his dark, glittering eyes. "And
is it then really true, Mohammed Ali--are we to be conveyed to the
shore, and set at liberty? Are we not to die?"
"It is true. Lord Hutchinson demands that you be set at liberty. The
capitan has consented, and you are now to be conveyed to the shore."
"Is it not a new trap set for us? Will the bottom of our boats not
open, and let us sink down into the sea?"
"You are to be delivered up to the Englishman," replied Mohammed
"I do not trust the word of the capitan pacha," said Bardissi,
shaking his head. "Give me your word, Mohammed Ali, that we shall be
safely conveyed to the shore--I will believe you. Tell me, truly,
shall we not be cast into the sea, or assassinated before we reach
"No, Osman Bey Bardissi, no! You will land safely, and if it be
Allah's will, a day will come when Mohammed Ali will extend his hand
to you and call you his friend. Who knows? Allah's sun shines
everywhere. Men call themselves friends to-day, who but yesterday
were enemies; and the friends of to-day may to-morrow be enemies.
Allah's will alone decides our destiny!"
"To-day you call yourself my enemy," said Bardissi, "but I already
call you my friend! You have preserved my life, and, by Allah,
Bardissi swears that you are henceforth his friend! If you should
ever need a friend, call Bardissi, the Mameluke bey, and he will
hear your call wherever he may be, if not above with Allah. And now,
"Farewell, and may Allah restore you to health!" said Mohammed, in a
low voice. "I am thinking of the hour when we two foolish boys first
met, and tried to outdo each other in vain and frivolous words. Men
speak little, but think much, and prepare for the future. Allah's
blessing attend you!"
Mohammed returned to the deck of the ship, and looked down at the
boats that were now steering with their bleeding, groaning burden
toward the shore. Lord Hutchinson, who had ordered everything to be
held in readiness for immediate conflict should his demand not be
complied with, stood on the shore with his staff, awaiting the
arrival of the boats. His eyes filled with tears as he saw them
approach. "Forgive me, poor, bleeding victims of treachery, for
having allowed myself to be deceived by flatteries and promises!"
The wounded bowed their heads, and looked at him almost
"It is well that there are men who can still be deceived, who still
have faith in the word and honor of men. We will trust them no more,
and will have vengeance for this deed of treachery, bloody vengeance
on him who is about to enter our holy city as king. Our curse
accompany him to the holy mosque, and, wherever he may go, may it
rest beside him on his couch in the citadel! Cairo, the holy, the
beloved, is ours. We will fight him who calls himself viceroy, and
contend with him for every inch of land. And you, brave Englishmen,
will help us in our struggle, will you not?"
Lord Hutchinson shook his head.
"No, Osman Bey Bardissi! God be praised, we are about to leave here!
my king and my duty call me away, and I am pleased that it is so.
Continue your conflict with the Turks, and I confess I wish you
success in your struggle. I am glad that I shall no longer be
compelled to breathe this air, polluted with treachery! Your rescue
is my last act here. Now, let us go and see whether any of you are
missing. They shall bring you all here; I swear it by my king; I
will have you all, and not one shall be withheld!"
Three of the number who had gone out in the boats in the morning
"These three must be brought here!"
This was the import of Lord Hutchinson's message to the capitan
pacha; and the latter, all complacency and obedience, now that the
bloody work was done, sent out divers to look for the dead in the
sea. They were recovered, and humbly deposited at the feet of the
While Lord Hutchinson and Sitta Nefysseh returned with the wounded
to Alexandria, where the wives of the disabled and dead Mamelukes
were weeping and lamenting, Mohammed Ali returned to the ship. The
soldiers were nearly all disembarked; silence reigned in the ship,
and its blood-stained deck alone bore evidence of the murderous deed
that had been done.
Mohammed caused these stains to be hastily removed; he well knew
that these traces of bloody treachery would be viewed by the
delicate and sensitive Osman with horror.
He then went down into the cabin to his friend. Osman received him
with outstretched arms, gazing at him sadly but tenderly.
"I have done as you requested, Mohammed, and have not left my cabin,
though alarmed by the cries and tumult above me. I knew my Mohammed
had bloody work to do. I was sorry for you, and yet I knew that you
could not prevent it."
"No, I could not prevent it," said Mohammed, gloomily; "and yet,
Osman, my soul shudders when I think of it. I have received to-day
the baptism of my new existence, and it is no longer the Mohammed
you loved who stands before you. I have to-day been compelled to
lend a helping hand to treachery, but it was Allah's will, and the
soldier must obey his superior's commands. I obeyed, Osman, nothing
more. The curse of this evil deed does not fall on me. Though my
hand is blood-stained, it is yet innocent."
"You have undergone a fearful baptism," murmured Osman, shuddering.
"I read it in your pale countenance, my Mohammed--a fearful baptism.
You must, however, march on boldly in your career. Do you now
understand why Osman was so anxious to accept the position of
captain of the troops? Do you now understand why I took this step,
and do you now comprehend my love and friendship, Mohammed?"
"I understand it all, and I bless you, my Osman, creator of my new
existence! I thank you, Osman; and when after long years the fame of
your Mohammed's deeds shall reach your ear, when my mother's dream
is fulfilled, and I am crowned and seated on a throne that stands on
the summit of a palace, then remember, my Osman, that you are the
creator of my fortune, and that Mohammed Ali blesses his friend with
every breath. I swear eternal love and friendship for you, my Osman,
and I swear, too, that the thought of you shall make me mild and
humane toward my enemies."
"Even when you stand before your enemy, Cousrouf Pacha, Mohammed?"
"Why do you name him at such a time? " murmured Mohammed, with a
slight shudder. "Do you know that I am to be sent to him? The
capitan pacha perhaps observed, by my manner and voice, that I also
do not love Cousrouf Pacha, whom he hates; he warmly recommends me
to him, and I am to go to him to serve him."
"And will you enter his service?" asked Osman.
"I will do so," replied Mohammed; "and I have sworn that I will
serve the Viceroy of Egypt as my heart prompts."
Both were still for a while, and seemed disinclined to break the
"You will serve him as your heart prompts," said Osman, in a low
voice. "In this case, do you think Cousrouf Pacha will long remain
great and mighty in Cairo?"
Mohammed smiled faintly.
"Osman, I am almost disposed to be afraid of you. Your question
tells me that you read my most secret thoughts. Let your question
remain unanswered for the present. I will communicate with you from
time to time, Osman, and send you loving messages, you may rest
assured. I have one request to make still: when you return home to
Cavalla, greet the wife that you gave me, and also greet and kiss my
children. And then, Osman, if you are able, go down to the cliffs,
take up a stone from the shore and throw it into the sea, and when
the circles form around the place where it went down, and the waves
curl upon the shore, say this: 'Mohammed greets you, Masa, and he
begins the work of holy vengeance! Rest quietly in your grave, Masa;
Mohammed Ali is keeping watch for you and for himself; the work of
vengeance is begun!'"
THE VICEROY OF EGYPT.
To-day all Cairo is in a state of joyous excitement. The days of
want and care have passed--who now remembers the terrors of
yesterday? Who still remembers the days when the Frank ruled here,
when the terrible general made the people bow their heads beneath
the yoke? Yes, on this same square of the Esbekieh, have they lain
in the dust before the mighty general who stood before them a giant,
though small in stature. Who still thinks of the misery and disgrace
of those days? Forgotten! all forgotten! Two years are a long period
for the remembrance of a people; and two years have passed since
Bonaparte departed, and more than a year has elapsed since the last
of the Franks withdrew from Egypt.
"All hail the new viceroy sent us by our master in Stamboul! he will
make us happy, and relieve us of the unending struggles of the
Mameluke beys! Long live Cousrouf Pacha, our new viceroy!"
These cries rend the air as the surging crowds make their way toward
Boulak, from which place Cousrouf Pacha is to make his grand
entrance into the holy city. All the authorities have assembled
there to participate in the celebration; there are the ulemas in
their long caftans, and the sheiks in their green robes, the
crescent embroidered on their turbans in token of their dignity;
there are also the generals of the Turkish and English regiments,
the latter only remaining in Cairo to take part in the festivities
of the viceroy's entrance. And now the new ruler approaches in his
splendor. The Nile, broad as it is at Boulak, is nevertheless
covered with boats, in which the viceroy is approaching with his
numerous and glittering suite. He stands on the deck of a large
boat, surrounded by a group of distinguished Turks and Englishmen;
all the consuls of the friendly powers are with him, and this seems
to the shouting populace a guarantee of returning peace.
The boat is brought alongside the bridge of boats that connects
Boulak with the opposite shore. As Cousrouf Pacha now steps out upon
the bridge covered with costly carpets and strewed with flowers,
thousands of voices from both shores hail the viceroy as their
deliverer with shouts of joy. The pacha bows a kindly greeting in
every direction, and then casts a glance toward the horizon, where,
in the purple distance, the pyramids stand out, sharply defined
against the sky. He bows his head still more profoundly, and
remembers that he is now the successor of the great Pharaohs who
erected these monuments to themselves.
"I, too, will erect such a monument. After thousands of years the
world shall still speak of me--of the Viceroy, perhaps of the King,
Such are his thoughts as be walks across the bridge to the carriage
of state in which he is to make his entrance. The ulemas receive
him. "Long live the ambassador of the prophet! Long live the blessed
of Allah!" resound from the lips of the thousands assembled upon the
shore and in the streets of the city.
How radiant is Cousrouf Pacha's countenance! How little the viceroy
of to-day resembles the exiled pacha of the past, during his weary
sojourn in Cavalla, with nothing to enliven him but his little
struggle with the boy Mohammed and his harem! A land is now at his
feet. Onward the procession moves through the crowds that throng the
streets; they have now turned into the Muskj Street--the beautiful
street, the pride of the inhabitants, with its old-fashioned, lofty
houses. Onward the procession moves toward the citadel. There, in
the beautiful palace, will the viceroy be enthroned. "Long live our
new ruler! Long live our viceroy!" These are the cries that greet
him throughout his entire march to the citadel; and these cries
still rend the air long after Cousrouf Pacha has entered the palace,
at whose gates he had been received by the grand dignitaries of the
land. He greeted them all in brief but kindly terms, and then
retired to the private apartments of his palace.
He now reclines on his cushions, thinking of his past and of his
future. A glad smile lights up his countenance. The way was long and
weary, but its obstacles have now been overcome. Once he was a
slave, but he had sworn to struggle for a great aim. He has kept his
oath. Here he is the first, the ruler. Who knows but he may yet
completely cast off the burden of dependence, and become absolutely
free? Every thing rests on the acquisition of good and faithful
friends and servants, and he will acquire such. It is so easy for
the great to acquire friends! Is not the capitan pacha his friend?
Does he not owe all that he is to him? He has elevated him from the
dust, and made him commander of the army with which he has come over
from Turkey. Yes, he is a true and devoted friend, and he will
easily find others. His power will become great--great as all Egypt.
He rises, calls one of the Nubian slaves, and bids him show him the
way to the walls of the citadel.
The slave opens a secret door that leads into a narrow passage and
upon the outer wall of the citadel. Motioning to the slave to remain
in the passage, Cousrouf steps out, and then stands still,
astonished at the splendid spectacle that lies before him. Spread
out at his feet lies the holy Mazr, with all its minarets and
towers. Farther on lies a whole city of cupolas--these are the
graves of the caliphs; they rear their heads proudly aloft in the
sunlight, congratulating the new ruler on his magnificence; but also
reminding him of the perishable nature of all earthly glory--the
saying of a certain wise man "Thou first and mightiest of mortals,
be thankful that thou art alive!"
"I thank thee, Allah, that I am alive, and I bow down in humility
before thee!" murmurs Cousrouf, reverently. He then again looks out
with delight upon the landscape that lies before him. There, in a
wide curve, winds the river Nile like a silver ribbon, innumerable
decorated boats and barks dancing upon its surface. Here all is life
and animation, beyond the Nile reigns a solemn stillness; for a
certain distance from the river bank stand stately palm-trees, and
then suddenly, sharply defined beside the green fields, begins the
yellow sand. That is the desert--that is the mysterious theatre of
so many adventures throughout the ages, the receptacle of so much
hidden wealth, the great burying-ground of the unknown dead. There,
on the horizon, where the yellow sand and the blue sky meet, stand
the pyramids of Gheezeh, and farther on, in the purple distance, the
pyramids of Sakkara.
"A world lies at my feet, and I am the ruler of this world. I have
attained my aim," says he to himself. "All is fulfilled; but one
thing is left to wish for. O Allah, grant me still many years in
which to enjoy this magnificence!"
Once more he glances around at the beautiful landscape before him,
and then, conducted by the slave, returns to his private apartments.
He lies on his cushions, listening to the shouts of the delighted
Suddenly the curtain that covers the doorway is noiselessly
withdrawn, and a slave announces that a messenger from the capitan
pacha, accompanied by a bim bashi, stands in the antechamber,
awaiting his pleasure.
"What is the messenger's name?" asks Cousrouf, wearily.
"Hassan Aga, master, bim bashi of the capitan pacha."
"And his favorite," murmurs Cousrouf to himself. "Let Hassan Aga
At the slave's call the messenger enters, bows his head to the
ground, and hands his master's letter to the viceroy.
"Do you know its contents?" asks Cousrouf, slowly opening the
"Yes, highness. It is a farewell letter from my master, who leaves
to-morrow for Stamboul."
For an instant a smile glides over Cousrouf's countenance; but then
it assumes a sad expression. "The capitan pacha is about to depart--
to leave me."
"He wishes to leave to you alone the honor of having laid subjugated
Egypt at the feet of his master the grand-sultan, in Stamboul. He
has done what lay in his power. The most dangerous Mamelukes have
fallen beneath his blows. Shall I narrate to your highness how it
Cousrouf signifies his assent. Hassan hastily relates the bloody
story of the assassination of the Mamelukes in the roadstead of
Aboukir, Cousrouf listening with the greatest attention. "The
capitan pacha has erected a bloody but a great monument to himself,"
says be, when Hassan has finished his narrative. "Yet it is
questionable whether I shall be benefited by it. It would, perhaps,
have been wiser to reconcile ourselves with the Mamelukes, than to
excite them to new anger."
"Highness, reconciliation with the Mamelukes is impossible," replies
Hassan. "The capitan pacha, who has ever been faithful in your
service, wishes to give you a final proof of his friendship."
"And in what does this proof consist?" asks Cousrouf.
"He sends your highness a hero who has the determination to do all
things, and the capacity to do all he determines. He gave evidence
of his courage and address at Aboukir. The capitan pacha can leave
you no better token of his friendship than this young hero, who is
entirely devoted to you. May I present this last best gift of the
capitan pacha; may I present to your highness the young bim bashi?"
The pacha nods his assent, and Hassan noiselessly withdraws,
returning in a few moments, accompanied by the young bim bashi, so
warmly recommended to the viceroy. Cousrouf Pacha wearily raises his
head and casts a glance of indifference at the tall figure of the
bim bashi; but as his glance falls on the young man's countenance,
he starts. It seems, to him that he has seen those eagle eyes
before. He hastily casts his eyes down, and then looks up again at
the bim bashi, who holds his head proudly erect, awaiting the
"What is your name, bim bashi? Where do you come from?" asks
Cousrouf, after along pause.
The bim bashi advances a step, and, looking steadily in the
viceroy's countenance, bows profoundly. "My name is Mohammed Ali,
and I come from Cavalla."
"Cavalla!" repeats Cousrouf, with a start. Now he remembers that he
has sometimes seen these eyes before him in sleepless nights. They
have impressed themselves deeply into his heart with their fearful
glances. The haughty pacha had never reproached himself for killing
the slave Masa--that was his right; he acted according to law when
he punished the runaway slave by death--but it was cruel to compel
the man who loved her to witness her death. Cousrouf had felt this
at the time, and that was why these eyes had penetrated his heart
like daggers' points. But that was long ago, and these eyes are now
very different. They no longer glitter with curses; they now sparkle
with animation, energy, and courage, only.
"You come from Cavalla," says he, after a pause, "and your name is
Mohammed Ali? It seems to me that once, when I sojourned for a time
at Cavalla, I also knew a Mohammed Ali, a daring young lad, the
friend of Osman, with whose father I resided; I had appointed Osman
bim bashi of the soldiers he was to bring over to me, and I also
permitted him to select young Mohammed Ali as his boulouk bashi. Yet
Osman has not come, nor do you appear to be the Mohammed Ali I then