Part 9 out of 10
He received them in his apartment, advancing to meet them with a
"What do you desire, friends? You know I am always glad to hear the
wishes of the people as pronounced by you, their representatives."
"Then listen to these wishes, highness!" said one of the sheiks.
"The people, and we with them, desire that Sitta Nefysseh, who was
yesterday forcibly taken from her house, be permitted to return to
the same. Her house has been shamefully ill-used, Cousrouf Pacha!
Your police have treated it like the house of an enemy. Nothing has
remained in its place; every thing is overturned and thrown about.
They were looking for treasure, highness, and they found nothing.
Sitta Nefysseh was considered rich, and that was perhaps her crime;
or will your highness be kind enough to inform us if Sitta Nefysseh
is accused of any other crime!"
"She is," replied Cousrouf. "She is accused of the most shameful of
all crimes. Her kachef attempted to corrupt one of my soldiers,
offering him double pay if he would desert to the army of the
"Is that proven, highness ?" asked the sheik.
"It is proven! I possess written proof of the fact. Here it is; read
it for yourselves. This attempt has excited the just wrath of my
good soldiers. Believe it was in order to protect Sitta Nefysseh
from the fury of my soldiers that I called her here. I repeat it,
Sitta Nefysseh, Mourad Bey's widow, has endeavored to corrupt, and
has offered my soldiers double pay. She is now in my power, and I
will punish her; yet, I will be merciful on your account. Let her do
as she offered--let her give my soldiers their pay, and her offence
shall be overlooked this time."
"That would be a punishment not prescribed by law," replied the
sheik, quietly. "If Sitta Nefysseh is really guilty of the crime of
which you accuse her, she is indeed very culpable, highness; but she
can not atone for it with money. Her guilt must, however, be proven;
and it devolves upon us, the representatives of public justice, to
consider and determine whether Sitta Nefysseh is guilty or not."
"Does not my word suffice?" cried Cousrouf, passionately. "I tell
you that she is guilty, that I have proof of her guilt, and I
declare that this suffices. I repeat what I have said, if she pays
my soldiers she is free."
"That does not suffice!" replied the sheik. "We must first know
whether Sitta Nefysseh confesses herself guilty. In accordance with
the law and with your permission, highness, let two of the sheiks go
to Sitta Nefysseh and ask her if she confesses herself guilty; and,
further, what she has to say in her defence. This is just, and this
must be done."
"Do as you say. Go to her. But her own declaration of her innocence
will not suffice for me. She must have as much proof of her
innocence as I have of her guilt. Go to Sitta Nefysseh. You will
find her in the house of Sheik Hesseyni."
With a profound bow the sheiks withdrew from the viceroy's apartment
and repaired to the house of Sheik Hesseyni.
Sitta Nefysseh greeted the cadis and sheiks with profound deference
and perfect composure.
"I see," said she, gently, "you believe in my innocence, and know
that Sitta Nefysseh is guilty of no crime, and has been unjustly
covered with shame."
"We well know that you have committed no crime," said the sheik.
"The viceroy, however, accuses you of having attempted to corrupt
his soldiers through your kachef; tell us, is this true?"
"You well know that it is not true! Why should I do it, and how
could I be so foolish as to attempt such a thing? I give you my
word, I swear by the memory of Mourad Bey, I am innocent of the
crime of which I am accused. I have not attempted to corrupt the
soldiers of Cousrouf Pacha, nor have I authorized my kachef to do
so. Believe me, I speak the truth. But, tell me, was that all the
viceroy said? I think I see through his plans, and understand this
accusation. Did he not name the punishment he intended to inflict on
"He did. You are to he set at liberty as soon as you pay his
soldiers--what he maintains you promised--their double pay."
"Is it not as I said?" cried she, in derisive tones. "Cousrouf Pacha
wants money! He has heard stories of my wealth, and believes me
rich; and now, relying on a woman's timidity, he endeavors to extort
money from me. He wants money, and therefore makes this shameful
charge. Go, I beg you, to the viceroy, and tell him Mourad's widow
is poor, and has nothing with which to appease his rapacity. Let him
take my life if he will. I am innocent, and if be causes me to be
put to death, I shall charge him with murder at Allah's footstool! I
have nothing else to give him. Let him deal with me as he thinks
"We will tell him all you say, for you are in the right, Sitta
Nefysseh," replied the sheik. " And if you possessed all the wealth
of Egypt, with the millions that lie buried in its deserts, you
would be justified in secreting them from the tyranny and fraud that
seek to extort from you your property. We will therefore defend you
to the best of our ability.--Come, sheiks, let us return to the
They repaired to the citadel, and told the viceroy what had passed.
"She is really poor, highness," said the cadi. "She declares her
innocence. She does not possess the treasure you speak of, and
therefore she can not comply with your demands. Her house has been
searched through, and, as you are aware, nothing has been found."
"No, nothing has been found," said the viceroy to himself, stepping,
back and walking thoughtfully to and fro. "A fearful thought occurs
to me! Mohammed Ali may have advised me to take this step with an
evil purpose, seeking my destruction. He hates me in his heart! I
was a fool to allow myself to be persuaded to stretch out my hand
after this woman's wealth. But I will be avenged on Mohammed!
However, having once embarked in this undertaking, I will at least
endeavor to withdraw from it creditably. I must give myself the
appearance of still believing in Sitta Nefysseh's guilt."
He turned to the sheiks, who were awaiting his decision in
respectful silence. In haughty terms he declined to admit that he
had been deceived, and that Sitta Nefysseh was innocent.
"The accused must be punished! " cried Cousrouf, in loud and
The cadi drew himself up and gazed firmly at the viceroy.
"Highness, our patience is now at an end. We have sought to obtain
justice by peaceful entreaties. You refuse it, and your refusal is
an insult to us, the servants of our holy religion, and the
representatives of the people. Here, we have therefore nothing more
to say or to do. Nothing is left us but to depart and repair to the
mosque of El-Azar, where the head of the martyr Sel-Kosyn is buried.
There we will gather the people about us and decide as justice shall
require.--Come, ye sheiks, let us go to the mosque!"
"Do so!" cried Cousrouf, haughtily. "But, let me tell you this: if
you excite the people to revolt, my cannon shall thunder among you!
You will be responsible for the consequences."
They made no reply, but turned and left the apartment.
Without in the vestibule they met Mustapha, the guardian of the
revenues of the holy temple of Mecca. Beside him stood several of
the leading citizens of Cairo. They had come to settle amicably, if
possible, the grave difficulty between the viceroy and the sheiks.
"Do not let it come to extremes, cadi," said the oualy, in warning
tones. "You know the viceroy is very powerful, and his fierce
soldiers take delight in slaughter."
"No, do not let it come to extremes," said the others, joining in
his entreaty. "Consider that they are strong, and we are weak."
"No we are strong, for we are in the right," said the cadi. "We
cannot allow justice to be set at defiance, and the noblest of the
women of Cairo to be shamefully insulted. The people look to us,
their representatives, to protect them, and woe to us if we fail to
discharge our duty! Come, let us to the mosque, and there render to
the people an account of what we have done."
"Do this at your peril!" cried Mustapha. "O cadi, the viceroy is
resolute and defies us with his troops. Let me at least make an
attempt to settle the matter peaceably."
"Let him do so," cried the others. At last, the cadi consented to
wait until the oualy should have seen the viceroy.
"If he liberates Sitta Nefysseh, and allows you to conduct her
through the streets, will you be satisfied?"
"Not satisfied, but we will demand nothing more," said the cadi,
"although the viceroy should be required to confess, publicly, that
the accusation is unjust."
"That is too much. This the viceroy cannot and will not do," cried
the oualy. "Be contented if he sets the Sitta at liberty, and allows
you to show her to the people."
"But we demand, in addition," said the cadi, "that he with draw his
police from her house."
"That he has already done," said the oualy, smiling. "Not finding
what they sought, the soldiers have quietly with drawn."
"Then I shall go at once to the viceroy, and endeavor to soften his
severity," cried Mustapha Aga. "Await my return here."
Mustapha hastened to the viceroy's apartment. In a few minutes he
returned, his countenance radiant with delight.
"Ye men, the viceroy has graciously accorded what we demand, and you
are to conduct the Sitta in triumph through the city. What, cadi!
you receive this intelligence calmly and gloomily?"
"The times are gloomy and lowering," said the cadi. "That the
viceroy sets the Sitta at liberty proves only that he had no right
to arrest her, and that the viceroy does right or wrong at his own
pleasure. That saddens me. Come, let us go after Sitta Nefysseh."
"Wait a moment," said Mustapha. "The viceroy annexes a little
condition to his consent."
"I thought so," said the cadi, quietly.
"The viceroy requires that the Sitta shall not return to her house,
as he has been informed that she often receives the visits of the
Mameluke chieftains there. Her house is in the outskirts of the
city, and it is difficult to observe those who enter and leave it.
It is peculiarly accessible to the enemy, and the viceroy therefore
requires that Sitta Nefysseh shall no longer reside there, but in
the house of Sheik Sadat. She cannot refuse to do this."
"And she will not," said Sheik Sadat. "No, she will not refuse to
honor the abode of her old friend with her presence. Come, let us
They then repaired at once to the house of Sheik Hesseyni, who,
already informed of what had taken place, came forward to meet them,
leading Sitta Nefysseh. She extended her hand to the cadi, and then
turned to Sadat:
"Will you receive me into your dwelling? Will you extend your
hospitality to the poor woman who has been driven from her own
"Welcome to my house, Sitta!" cried Sadat. "It seems to me that with
you my noble friend Mourad Bey will also cross my threshold once
more. Your presence in my humble house will do me great honor. How
delighted my wives will be to receive you!"
The people had again assembled in front of the gates of the citadel.
As these were now opened, and Sitta Nefysseh appeared coming toward
them in the midst of her escort, the people recognized her queenly
figure and bearing, although her face was veiled. Shouts of delight
rent the air. "Long live Sitta Nefysseh, and the cadi! Praised be
Allah that we have a cadi who enforces our rights!" ` Cousrouf sat
on his divan in his apartment. He heard this cry, and muttered
between his teeth, "These rebels shall pay for this!"
The shouting populace conducted Sitta Nefysseh in triumph through
the streets. The cadi was loudly applauded, and the viceroy derided.
These shouts were not only heard by the viceroy, but also by
Mohammed Ali in his silent chamber, and they brought a smile to his
lips. He had stayed in his apartments all day, and had also
commanded his soldiers to remain in their quarters.
"It works well," said he to himself. "These shouts show how good was
the advice I gave him. Shrewd as you are, Cousrouf, you are beaten
at your own game. The people are contented to know you, enthroned in
the citadel. They dreamed of happiness and peace, and called you a
just ruler. I have opened their eyes. Today, they know Cousrouf to
be an unjust ruler, and love him no longer. You enraged them most
when you dared to insult the woman who is most honored in Cairo.
From this moment, not only the men, but, what is far worse, the
women, are arrayed against you."
He had risen and was walking to and fro in his apartment.
From time to time he stopped at the window to listen to the cries
that resounded from the streets, and then resumed his walking.
"What curses good Cousrouf must be invoking upon my head at this
moment! He will have discovered by this time that his good friend
Mohammed still somewhat resembles the 'insolent lad,' as he always
called him, of Cavalla. You have schooled me well, Cousrouf; you
have converted the insolent lad into a lion who wears the skin of a
fox. You were pleased with the fox, stroked his fur, and called him
your devoted servant. But, only wait, the fox-skin will soon fall to
the ground and disclose the lion ready to destroy you. Yes,"
continued he, "wait but a few days longer, and this transformation
shall take place. It must take place. The week will soon have
elapsed, and then Bardissi must have my answer. Cousrouf shall hear
it and quake in his citadel. Everything is ready, and my new friends
shall soon hear from me."
Suddenly he stopped before the window and listened attentively.
Fierce and savage cries had succeeded the shouts of joy. The voices
of women and children were now hushed, and the hoarse tones of men
only could be heard. He hastily stepped back from the window. No, he
must not be seen. If seen, he might be called and compelled to join
in the movement against his will, and the time has not yet come. He
must still wait.
He stood still in the middle of the room, and listened to the uproar
"This is revolt! These are soldiers!" said he to himself, stepping
to the door of the antechamber, and beckoning to a slave. "What is
the meaning of this uproar?"
"I know not, sarechsme. Shall I go down to inquire?"
"Go down, mingle with the crowd, and find out what it means, and
then return to me as quickly as possible."
The Nubian hastened to do his master's bidding. Mohammed continued
to walk to and fro. The uproar, as it came nearer, had become
"We want money! Give us bread! We are hungry. and must have our
Such were the savage cries that resounded from the street below.
"Ah, I understand," said Mohammed to himself ; "these are Taher
Pacha's soldiers! He has marched with them into the city, to begin
the work on his own account; Taher is ambitious, and wants the
viceroy's throne. He begins the work of rebellion for himself, he
will end it for me; though I can as yet take no active part in it! O
Sitta Nefysseh, you have brought me a step nearer to the throne, and
Taber is advancing me another. Wait, Mohammed, only wait."
The Nubian returned and announced that a revolt had broken oat among
Taber Pacha's soldiers. They had gone to the citadel, and savagely
demanded their pay. The viceroy had received a deputation sent by
them, and told them to go to the defterdar, and demand payment of
him in the viceroy's name. In accordance with this demand, the
soldiers had then repaired to the house of the defterdar, and had,
upon admission being denied them, broken down the doors. The
minister of finance, however, rid himself of them by telling them to
demand their pay of Mohammed Ali, who had a few days before received
ten purses of gold from the viceroy for the payment of the troops.
"And now the soldiers have come here," said the Nubian, in
deferential, anxious tones. "They have surrounded the house, and
demand their pay. They are furious, and swear by Allah and the
prophet that they will not rest until they have received the money
due them. They complain, too, of being sent from house to house like
"The poor fellows are right," said Mohammed.
Fierce cries now resounded from below:
"We will not be trodden under foot like dogs! We are no beggars!
Give us our pay, Mohammed Ali! The defterdar sends us to you! You
have our money, and we want it!"
He sprang to the window, tore it open, and, in tones that were heard
above the uproar, commanded silence.
"The defterdar has deceived you. I have no money! I will come down
He quickly stepped back from the window, and laid the sword, dagger,
and pistols, that hung in his belt, on the table.
"They shall see that I am not alarmed. I will go down to them
No, Mohammed Ali is not alarmed, they all perceive as he appears
among them unarmed, and motions the soldiers, that are rushing upon
him, back, with a wave of the hand.
"Stand back, soldiers, and do not forget that I am the sarechsme.
Not your general, but yet, like you, in the viceroy's service."
"Does he also pay you as he does us? " asked a soldier, in mocking
tones. "Do they also give you empty promises instead of money?"
"That is an insolent question," said he. "I will, however, answer
it, because I choose to do so. They do not pay me. They gave the
sarechsme, after he had waited in vain for many months, ten purses
of gold; they owe him more. Ask my soldiers what I did with this
money. I shared it with my soldiers as a general should. I retained
five purses, for this amount was due my creditors. The other five
purses I gave to my soldiers--not as their pay, the viceroy owes
them that, but as a present from me. I have received no other money-
-I swear to this by Allah and the prophet. Go to my soldiers and ask
them if this is not true, and then do as you think proper."
"Long live Mohammed Ali! Long live the generous sarechsme!" cried
one of the soldiers, and the cry was taken up and repeated by all
"It is needless to go to the soldiers, for the sarechsme tells the
truth. Let us return to the defterdar; he must and shall pay us!"
The revolting soldiers surged on up the street. Mohammed, however,
returned to his solitary apartments with a clearer brow and a more
derisive smile on his lips:
"This was well done, and can tend only to my advantage. Taher Pacha
will not be much pleased, either, when his soldiers tell him of the
presents made by me to mine. The waves are surging higher and
higher, but I see the boat in which I am to ride over them safely.
The golden oars only are wanting, but I shall find them, too!"
He called the Nubian, and commanded him to tell his bim bashis he
desired to see them. And when they came he conversed with them for a
long time, and gave them his orders. The soldiers were to remain
quietly in their quarters, and not to mingle with the revolters.
"Wait quietly for three hours, and, if you receive no message from
me by that time, him bashis, you may allow the soldiers to go out
and satisfy their curiosity. Now go and wait until then."
The insurgents had again repaired to the house of the defterdar,
situated on the square of the Esbekieh.
For the second time they fiercely demanded money, and called for the
defterdar with such savage cries that he was compelled to show
Deathly pale, and trembling in every limb, he came out upon the
balcony of the second story, bowed in every direction, and begged
the soldiers to listen to him. The uproar subsided for a moment. He
entreated them to be patient for a few days, promising to procure
money for them, to have it brought from Alexandria to meet their
"No!" cried one of the soldiers, raising his fist threateningly, "we
have waited long enough, and will wait no longer! We are hungry. Pay
"No!" cried another, "we will wait no longer! If the defterdar does
not pay up we will tear him to pieces, and pay ourselves with his
"Let us surround his house, and keep him prisoner until he gives us
our pay!" yelled the soldiers, as they scaled the garden-wall and
surrounded the house.
The terrified defterdar sent a messenger through a secret passage
into the street, to convey intelligence of what had happened to the
"Have pity on your defterdar, highness. The soldiers have broken
into his house, and he is in their power. Help me! Subdue the revolt
by paying the soldiers!"
Cousrouf received this intelligence with wrath.
"Are all the devils let loose? Hardly have I been compelled to
liberate this insolent woman, when I am defied by rebellious
soldiers. They shall be taught that I am master, and that to
threaten me is to destroy themselves. Let the artillerists stand by
their guns, with burning fuses, and await my orders! Let the
soldiers be drawn up around the fortress with loaded muskets! And
you, messenger, go back to your master, and tell him to send the
rebels to me. I will give them the reception they deserve."
The messenger returned by the same secret passage to his master, and
delivered the viceroy's message, and the delighted defterdar
presented himself on the balcony once more.
"Go to the citadel, to the viceroy, he will receive you, and give
you your money; I have none!"
"Allah il Allah !" cried the soldiers. "The viceroy is a great man!
He will deal justly with us!"
The dense masses of rebels surged up the Muskj Street toward the
citadel. They have reached their destination. There stands the
citadel. But what does this mean? The gates are closed. "The viceroy
has sent for us; we wish to see him to demand our pay!" Suddenly the
guns of the fortress hurl their deadly contents among them. "We are
betrayed! They are murdering us!" yell the infuriated rebels,
drawing their ataghans, and rushing upon the Turkish soldiers who
are endeavoring to drive them from the citadel, fighting them man to
man. And now the three hours have elapsed, and new masses of
soldiers are storming up the height! These are Mohammed Ali's
troops, now let loose! Like the others, they clamor for pay, and,
like the others, they rush upon the Turkish soldiers. The revolt is
Taker Pacha, as well as Mohammed Ali, hears it; but the latter
remains quietly in his room. Taker Pacha, less discreet, hastens
forth to suppress, or, if the prospect seems favorable, to encourage
the revolt. He repairs to the citadel and sends the viceroy word
that he desires an audience.
"Tell his highness I wish to restore the city to tranquillity; and,
if possible, appease the soldiers."
The messenger soon returns with a dejected look. "It is in vain,
general, in vain! His highness desires no peaceful settlement. He
says he will make no compromise with rebels! You are to return to
your house; he says he can dispose of these rebels without any
"Is that his opinion?" asked Taher, bowing profoundly. "The wisdom
of the viceroy is inscrutable. I retire, as he commands."
He hastily quitted the apartment, went down to his soldiers and
called his bim bashis to his side.
"I was with his highness, and endeavored to settle this difficulty
without further bloodshed. But he declined, and said there could be
no settlement between you and him except at the cannon's mouth, and
that be would pay you with your own blood!"
The soldiers answered their general's words with a fierce roar; when
this at last subsided, he continued: "The viceroy says the defterdar
is to pay you--that you must look to him. Let us do so, soldiers!
Let us compel him to pay!"
"Yes, be shall pay us!" cried they; and the wild masses again rushed
to the house of the defterdar.
The closed gates are torn asunder; and Taher Pacha's Armenians and
Mohammed Ali's Albanians run with savage cries into the house.
"I have no money!" cries the defterdar, with pale, trembling lips.
"Where are your books, your accounts? We will take you, together
with your books, to our general."
"Do so, do so!" groaned the defterdar, pointing to his books. "Take
me, with my books, to Taher Pacha."
Onward the wild mass surged with their prisoner and his accounts.
They passed the house of Mohammed Ali, who stood at the window, and
looked down at them with a smile of satisfaction.
"The revolt is firmly established; Taher Pacha is at its head, and
we shall see how he conducts the matter."
From the citadel the thunder of the artillery and the fierce shouts
of the people still resounded. Mohammed heard the uproar throughout
the entire night. The soldiers continually pressed forward to
replace their comrades shot down by the murderous volleys from the
Mohammed remained quietly in his house. True, his soldiers have
joined the rebels, but who can hold him responsible, and why should
he expose himself to the danger of being refused obedience should he
demand it of them?
Taher Pacha thinks differently. During the night he had examined the
books of the defterdar, held a prisoner in his house, and had been
compelled to admit that he was innocent, and had no money with which
to pay off the soldiers.
On the following morning he announced to his soldiers that the
defterdar was innocent, and the viceroy alone guilty. He had
accumulated and possessed money and treasure, and could pay the
soldiers if he would. He had, however, determined to keep for
himself all the money sent from Stamboul for the troops.
The intelligence rapidly spreads among the soldiers that Cousrouf
has money, and can pay if he will.
"And pay he shall!" cries Taher Pacha. "I will march with you into
his stronghold. Woe to him; he has begun this work of slaughter, and
must take the consequences!"
The gates are closed and barred. What care the soldiers, encouraged
by their general's approach, for that?" The walls can be scaled!" No
sooner said than done. Like cats, the first climb over the high
wall, and the rest follow. The guards within are overpowered, and
the gates are thrown open. And now all rush in intent on victory,
and, above all, on obtaining money.
The viceroy's khaznadar advances to meet them with a body of
soldiers. Taher Pacha calls on him to surrender. The coward obeys,
and lays down his arms. Cousrouf sits quietly in his apartment,
little dreaming of what has taken place.
"Let them fight on; in a short time these rebels and traitors will
yield, and sue for mercy. I will have their heads severed from their
bodies, and sent to Stamboul as trophies of victory!"
But what does this strange noise mean?
A volley resounds from beneath Cousrouf's windows.
A Nubian rushes into his apartment, and announces, in tones of
dismay: "You are betrayed, the khaznadar has surrendered, and the
rebels are storming the palace."
Cousrouf bounds from his seat, hurls from him his chibouque, and
quickly girds on his sword.
"We will hurl them back. Let Mohammed Ali come with his troops. He
will vanquish them and overthrow the traitor, Taher Pacha. Right
royally shall Mohammed Ali be rewarded if he comes to my assistance;
and come he will. He is at least no traitor, and will never make
common cause with rebels. You, my Nubians, my body-guard, my brave
followers, ascend to the battlement and turn the guns upon the
rebels who surround us."
They obey his command, and their guns are soon thundering down into
the ranks of the rebels.
Mohammed does not come to the viceroy's assistance; he is ill, and
has been confined to his room ever since Taher Pacha has been
besieging the citadel with his soldiers. Nor will his illness permit
him to leave the house now, and his servant announces to all comers
and to the soldiers that the sarechsme is very, very ill.
After two days have elapsed, he asks the physician, who is feeling
his pulse, in a weak voice and with an air of indifference, how
matters are progressing at the citadel; whether the traitor, Taher
Pacha, still presumes to besiege the viceroy in his palace, and
laments his inability to fly to his master's, assistance with his
troops. When the physician tells him that the rebels had stormed the
citadel, and that Cousrouf had fled, Mohammed shudders and sinks
back upon his couch. Truly, he is very ill! How could this
intelligence otherwise have so fearful an effect?
"Yes, Cousrouf has fled; he hoped for your assistance in vain, and
was compelled to yield when it did not come. Yes, sarechsme, he fled
secretly through the back gate of the citadel into the desert with
his faithful body-guard and his women."
"And Taber Pacha?" asks Mohammed, eagerly.
"Taber Pacha has proclaimed himself caimacan. On my way here I met
the cadi of the sheiks going to the citadel to present the robe of
fur to the caimacan, in token of their recognition."
Loud and derisive laughter resounds from Mohammed Ali's lips.
"Really the sarechsme is very ill, and in a fearful state of
excitement! His head may be affected by it. It may become
The physician prescribes cooling applications for his head, and goes
in person to superintend their preparation.
The door has hardly closed behind the physician, when Mohammed
bounds from his bed.
"Now I am no longer il! The time for action has come!"
He calls one of his Nubian slaves.
"Hasten, my Saneb--hasten to the camp of the Mameluke beys. You will
find them near Petresin, on the banks of the Nile. Seek Osman Bey
Bardissi, and say to him: 'The time has come; await, beside the
great Pyramid at Gheezeh, him with whom you conversed there two
weeks since; await him there with all his forces.' Have you
understood me? Repeat my words."
The Nubian repeated what he had said, word for word.
"And now hasten away, time is precious, and my message is
Hardly had the Nubian departed, when messengers came to summon
Mohammed to the citadel, to Taher Pacha, the new caimacan. With a
profound bow, Mohammed replies that he will immediately do himself
the honor of waiting on the caimacan.
He calls his servants to his assistance, and puts on his gala
uniform, mounts his splendidly-caparisoned steed, and, followed by a
small body-guard of eight men, gallops through the streets to the
Taher Pacha, reclining on Cousrouf s cushions and smoking his
chibouque, receives Mohammed with lively manifestations of delight.
"See what a man can make of himself, Mohammed? Here I lie, smoking
Cousrouf's chibouque on Cousrouf's cushions!"
"I congratulate you on your magnificence, and hope you may long
"It is to be hoped that I shall," replied Taher Pacha. "Fortune
smiles on the daring. Had you been bold enough, you might now be in
my place, Mohammed Ali; but you probably shrank from incurring the
risk. I acted boldly, you perceive, and mine is now the viceroy's
crown. Why did you not grasp it? you needed but to stretch forth
"And you did grasp it. Allah was gracious to you. I dared not; it
seemed too far from me. And then, I admit, my head is too small for
so heavy an ornament!"
"I feel strong enough to bear this burden," said Taher, laughing,
"and now that I have it, I shall also know how to secure myself in
its possession. All Cairo already recognizes me in my new dignity,
and your recognition is now alone wanting, Mohammed Ali."
"I bow in all humility before the caimacan, and shall also recognize
him as viceroy as soon as an answer is received from Stamboul."
Taher smiled graciously. "And now receive my first instructions,
sarechsme. Send messengers to the Mameluke beys, I desire to make
peace with them; I wish them to be my friends. We have had bloodshed
enough. United with the Mamelukes, we shall be able to defy our
"I am of the same opinion," replied Mohammed, bowing profoundly.
"Then carry out my instructions at once."
"Your command shall be obeyed without delay," replied Mohammed, as
he turned and left the apartment.
"He does not know what he is doing. It would have been dangerous for
me to send a messenger to the Mamelukes. Now, in his assumed
authority, he empowers me to do what I have long since done in my
own interests. O Taher Pacha, you think yourself entitled to the
throne because you have scaled the walls of the citadel; you are,
however, grievously mistaken."
After three days the messenger reached the bardissi's camp, and
delivered Mohammed's message.
Osman Bardissi shouted with delight. "The sarechsme keeps his word,
and is about to unite with us. Come, ye Mamelukes, let us march to
Gheezeh to meet our ally."
On the third day of their march the Mamelukes reach their
destination, and encamp on the banks of the Nile, near Gheezeh.
Early on the following morning an officer in a glittering uniform
rides into the Mameluke camp, accompanied by a small body-guard.
Bardissi recognizes the officer and joyously greets him, and Sheik
Arnhyn, who rides at his side.
"There comes the brave sarechsme, Mohammed Ali; he keeps his word,
and comes to unite his forces with ours."
"A hearty welcome, Mohammed Ali; a hearty welcome from me, and from
all of us!"
"A warm greeting to you, Bardissi!" cried Mohammed, extending his
There they stood, hand-in-hand, gazing at each other thoughtfully
and earnestly. The others had respectfully withdrawn.
"We are both thinking of the past, Osman Bey," said Mohammed, with a
soft smile. "You see I have not forgotten the name you impressed on
my memory at Cavalla."
"Nor have I forgotten your name, Mohammed Ali," replied Bardissi.
"The boys who defied each other at Cavalla have become men, and
friends, too, have they not, Mohammed?"
"Yes, friends, too, I hope, Bardissi; and I press your hand in token
of my friendship."
"And I yours. I am your friend, and welcome you heartily to our
camp. But where are your forces? We have assembled here to meet
them; are they not coming?"
"They will soon come," replied Mohammed; "my army awaits my orders.
I have hastened here in the mean while to tell you that I am your
faithful friend and ally. Great events have taken place in Cairo,
and others are now impending. Wait a short time, and I shall
probably be able to bring you the troops of the new caimacan, Taher
Pacha, as well as my own. The caimacan wishes your friendship and
alliance, and sends me as his messenger. But, as I have already
said, I advise you to wait. The caimacan's rule is an overbearing
one, and strange events are about to take place in Cairo. I do not
wish to take part in them, and have therefore come here with a small
escort. My soldiers are encamped near Cairo, and await my orders to
march here. I came alone to prove that I trust you, and, with your
permission, will remain here with you a few days."
"That was nobly thought and nobly done, Mohammed; you honor us more
by coming alone than if you had come with all your forces," cried
Bardissi, as he embraced Mohammed.
"Now you are mine, Mohammed, and I love you with all my heart.
United with you, my hero, we can defy all the Turks that may be sent
over from Stamboul."
Mohammed was right; strange events soon occurred in the palace of
the caimacan at Cairo. The revolt which he had helped to excite had
not yet subsided. He had turned the wild herd loose, but was now
unable to manage it. The soldiers demanded their pay of the caimacan
as savagely as they had demanded it of Cousrouf.
But where was the necessary money to be obtained? Money was the
pretext on which he began the revolt, and now he finds himself
enthroned in the palace as caimacan with empty coffers, Cousrouf
having taken with him whatever treasure he possessed. He had invoked
curses upon himself by endeavoring to procure money by force and
extortion. What had become of the promises solemnly made to the
people by the caimacan on the first day of his rule?--
"Peace and quiet shall prevail in the land, and happiness be the
portion of the much-tormented inhabitants of Cairo."
Instead of peace, he has brought upon them new discord and revolt;
instead of happiness, new misery.
In order to appease the wrath of his soldiers, he caused a number of
the leading citizens to be arrested, and, upon their refusal to pay
the money demanded of them, several of them were stretched on the
rack, and others beheaded.
Finally, nothing remained to the new caimacan but to do as Cousrouf
had done, and meet the demands of his soldiers with the statement
that he had no money, and could not pay them.
The savage cry of the soldiery for pay was renewed in front of the
citadel day after day with increased fierceness, and at last the two
bim bashis, Moussa and Ismail Aga, were sent up to the citadel to
the caimacan to make a final appeal for pay on the part of the
He received them with a proud, gloomy look, asked why they came, and
how these rebellious soldiers dare approach him in such a manner.
They bowed their heads, and, as they approached the caimacan,
entreated him in humble tones to satisfy the just demands of the
soldiers. They conjured him to do so for the sake of peace, and for
his own sake. The soldiers were in a highly excited state, and
disposed to adopt extreme measures.
"To adopt extreme measures!" cried Taher "How dare you address such
words to me?"
"We have been sent to you by the troops, highness, and must act
according to our instructions. Once more, we implore you to pay the
"And once more I repeat to you that I neither can nor will pay
them!" cried Taker, furiously. "If the traitors dare to threaten me,
I will lay their heads at their feet!"
"Then we had best begin with you!" cried the bim bashis, rushing
upon him, and running him through with their ataghans. They then
severed the head from the body, opened a window, and hurled it down
to the soldiers, who received it with shouts of delight, and then
rushed into the palace.
The caimacan's faithful Armenians threw themselves in their way, and
a murderous conflict arose on the stairway, and in all the halls and
apartments of the palace. The conflict extended to all the streets
of the city, and the work of slaughter was carried on all over
Taker Pacha is dead, murdered! The magnificence of the new caimacan
is at an end after a rule of scarcely twenty days. The intelligence
reaches Gheezeh, where the Mamelukes are encamped, and where the
sarechsme Mohammed Ali is sojourning. He smiles as he hears it.
"I told you to wait. But now I say, let us hasten to Cairo! Let
messengers be sent to my troops, instructing them to march out to
meet us, and the Armenians will, I think, also join us. The time has
come. Let us hasten to Cairo, ye Mameluke beys!"
The camp resounds with shouts of delight, and the Mameluke beys
mount their steeds, and place themselves at the head of their
followers to begin the march.
Mohammed Ali also mounts his horse, but, before he turns, glances
around, and sees the Bedouin sheik Arnhyn, who is about to mount his
dromedary, and calls him to his side.
"Well, Arnhyn, your dromedary is here, but I miss your daughter in
"She is at home in the tent awaiting my return, sarechsme!"
"In her father's tent, still?" said Mohammed, smiling. "She has not
yet followed to his tent him who has kissed her, and made her his
"No, sarechsme, she is still in her father's tent, and there, she
says, she will remain. Many fine young men have wooed her, for she
has been made rich by the spoils her father gathered on the plain of
Damanhour. Yes, Arnhyn will give his daughter a rich dowry, and
there are wooers enough. But Butheita is a strange child! When a
handsome suitor comes, and I beg her to follow him to his tent, she
shakes her head, rejects his gifts, and laughs at his sweet words.
'You are ugly!' says she, laughing. 'I will love only the handsomest
of men, and him only will I follow to his tent.' That is what
Butheita says, sarechsme!"
"And that is what she should say," replied Mohammed, smiling. "Bear
a greeting to Butheita from me, when you return home, sheik, and
tell her she is right in waiting until he comes whom she will gladly
follow to his tent, and who may kiss her. Tell her to wait
patiently, for Allah will surely send her the man she can love.
Greet Butheita for me."
He mounts his horse, and gallops off to where the Mameluke beys are
awaiting him in order to begin their march to Cairo.
The Mameluke beys and Mohammed Ali enter Cairo in triumph. Taher
Pacha's Armenians have joined him, and, together with his Albanians,
they form a magnificent corps. The delighted people of Cairo cry out
to Mohammed: "Oh, give us peace, brave sarechsme! Let the day of
peace at last dawn over unhappy Cairo!"
Mohammed had conferred with the leaders of the Armenians, and, with
their consent, the citadel was tendered the Mameluke beys as a
residence. They joyfully accepted it, and proudly took up their
abode in the fortress.
Mohammed Ali, however, returned to his own house, and when he had
reached the retirement of his apartment, and no one could see, he
raised his arm threateningly in the direction of the citadel.
"You are in my residence, ye Mamelukes," muttered he. "You are now
the toasters of Cairo, but I swear that I will drive you out of my
palace, as I drove out the viceroy, Cousrouf Pacha. I am awaiting my
time. It has not yet come, but I now know that it will come!"
VENGEANCE AT LAST.
THE Mamelukes, so often driven from Cairo, are once more enthroned
in the citadel. Cairo reposes, and hopes for a long period of peace.
And it really seemed that peace had entered the city with the
Mamelukes and Osman Bey. The citizens could once more pursue their
daily avocations in tranquillity, and bands of disorderly soldiers
no longer roamed about in the neighborhood, destroying and
Perhaps the wounds inflicted on the people by so many cruel wars
would have time to heal. But no, their hopes are vain. In Cairo
there is peace, for Ismail Bey, the oldest and wisest of the
Mamelukes, sits enthroned in the citadel, and with him Bardissi,
whom Mohammed Ali calls his friend.
In Cairo there is peace, for the Albanians and Armenians are under
subjection to their sarechsme, Mohammed Ali. But, without, war
raises its bloody head, and threatens Egypt with new misery.
Is not Cousrouf Pacha, the former viceroy, still in the country? Has
he not fled to Upper Egypt? Have not his troops followed him there,
and has not his reputation drawn many to his standard? And are there
not many who refuse to submit to the Mameluke rule, and remain
faithful to the flag of their master, Cousrouf Pacha, the Viceroy of
No sooner had Cousrouf heard of the death of Taher Pacha than he
started from Damietta, where he had lain encamped with his army, to
return to Cairo and resume his authority.
Mohammed, informed of this advance, consulted Bardissi, and it was
agreed that their united forces should march out to meet the enemy,
Hassan Bey being first sent out with a body of Arabian cavalry to
feel the enemy's lines.
With united forces they now marched out, Mohammed Ali and the beys,
his former enemies, side by side; the Albanians, Ottomans, and
Armenians, were in front; behind them came the Mamelukes and
In the mean while, Cousrouf had advanced victoriously. He had driven
Hassan Bey before him, and had stormed the village of Fareskour, in
which the bey had fortified himself. The inhabitants were slain, and
the houses sacked and destroyed by Cousrouf's soldiers.
After this victory, the advance on Cairo seemed easier. Cousrouf,
however, preferred to retreat to Damietta, having learned that a
larger force was advancing to meet him. Hassan Bey had returned by
hurried marches to Cairo, and demanded re-enforcements, which were
given him. With these, he again advanced toward Damietta, followed
by Mohammed and Bardissi with their powerful columns. With great
haste, Cousrouf set about making Damietta strong enough to defy the
enemy. The walls were crowned with cannon, and two guns were placed
in position on the bridge that spans the Nile canal, at Damietta. A
plentiful supply of provisions and munitions of war was also
accumulated in the fortress.
"And now let us await the enemy. Allah and the right are with us.
The grand-sultan at Stamboul has appointed me viceroy; the rebels
have driven me from Cairo, but my just cause will lead me back in
In such terms did Cousrouf speak to his soldiers to encourage them
to make a gallant defence of the fortress.
But Cousrouf's words excited little enthusiasm among his followers;
the scouts sent out returned with the intelligence that the enemy
was approaching in immense force.
They were advancing along the Nile, Mohammed with the infantry,
Bardissi with the mounted troops. Now they were separated from the
enemy by the canal only, but Cousrouf's cannon made impassible the
one bridge that united the two shores.
"Yet we must effect our passage to the other side," said Bardissi.
"Yes, but the question is, how are we to do so?" said Mohammed.
All the bim bashis and boulouk bashis, together with the beys and
their kachefs, were called together in a council of war. For a long
time their deliberations were fruitless. How were they to get over
without boats or bridges?
"We must ford it," said Mohammed Ali. "There must be some place
where we can venture to cross on foot. There are shallow places in
the canal, I have been told; and, if some one could be found willing
to incur the danger of making inquiries on the other side, in
Damietta, where they are better informed on the subject, we might
succeed in finding such a place."
"I will undertake this duty," said the kachef Youssouf, stepping
forward. "I will go over to Damietta and obtain the desired
"You are a brave man, Kachef Youssouf," said Bardissi, "but consider
that you risk your life, and perhaps in vain."
"I shall, however, die in the performance of my duty! I will go over
and make the attempt!"
"As you are? And do you not suppose the first sentinel on the walls
of Damietta will shoot you down?"
"I shall not go as I am, Osman Bey. They will not be able to
recognize in me the kachef of Bardissi and of Sitta Nefysseh."
And he was right. He was not recognized. Disguised as a fellah, in
the long blouse that hung down to his feet, entirely unarmed, a
plain brown cap on his head, and carrying, suspended to a strap over
his shoulder, a basket filled with watermelons, Kachef Youssouf
entered the fortress of Damietta on the following morning.
He called out his fruit, and people hastened to him to purchase. The
kachef chatted gayly with them in the Arabian tongue, and told them
of the enemy who was approaching, but who could find no passage over
the canal; and Youssouf laughed at and derided the enemy.
They quickly observed that he was a faithful servant of the viceroy,
and therefore chatted with him unreservedly. Much was told the
fellah of the want of the soldiers, and of the longing of the people
to see the war terminated.
"If they could only get over," said some of the people, with a sigh.
"There are shallow places, here and there, where a passage would be
Youssouf's manner was careless and indifferent, but nothing escaped
him. No one read in his countenance the fearful danger to which he
was exposed, and he passed the entire day strolling around in
Damietta. But, when night came, he hastened to the canal, and tried
the places casually mentioned during the day. He finally attempted
to cross over at the place spoken of as the most shallow.
And he has succeeded! There he stands on the other bank, dripping
with water, his wet blouse clinging to his person. He hastened to
the camp to Bardissi, to bring the glad intelligence that there is a
place where they can cross on foot to the other shore in spite of
the cannon on the bridge, and of the garrison of Damietta.
"Well done, brave kachef!" cried Bardissi. "You have deserved your
reward, and you shall have it! I appoint you kachef of my guard, and
give you a command of one hundred Mamelukes."
Youssouf's countenance lighted up, and his eyes sparkled with
delight. He thought of Sitta Nefysseh, and rejoiced in his
successful feat, and 'in his reward, because she would be pleased.
"O Sitta Nefysseh, when I come into your presence, and kneel down
before you, will you receive me graciously, and permit me to remain
with you henceforth? O Sitta Nefysseh, if the time were only come
when on bended knee I can say to you: 'Your servant has returned,
but he is no longer a poor kachef! He has won laurels because you
commanded him to seek them! May he now serve you again?' Oh, that I
were with you again, Sitta Nefysseh!"
On the following night they were conducted by Youssouf to the place
at which he had forded the canal.
The Mameluke beys dismount and step into the water. In advance is
Osman Bey, and beside him Mohammed Ali. The passage must be effected
noiselessly, so as not to attract the attention of the enemy.
The water rushes past them, almost carrying their feet from under
them. It already reaches their shoulders, and they can hardly retain
their foothold. Kachef Youssouf must have been deceived. A wave,
driven by the night-wind, rolls by and sweeps Mohammed with it.
Osman Bey sees his friend torn from his side, rushes after him,
grasps him with his strong arm, and holds him securely.
"I thank you, Osman Bey, you have saved my life."
"And I thank Allah that I was at your side and could save it."
Finally they succeed in getting over, and now they stand on the
other shore. Bardissi embraces Mohammed, and congratulates him on
their safe passage. He then grasps Youssouf's hand, and thanks him
"Now, good Cousrouf, the days of your rule are numbered."
"Yes," murmured Mohammed to himself, "I, too, rejoice in your coming
overthrow. O Allah, give us all victory, and give me vengeance!"
The passage of the troops is effected. The Albanians first rush to
the bridge where the cannon are in position, cut down the gunners
before they can give an alarm, and with the captured guns fire their
first shots into Damietta.
The thunder of these shots arouses the enemy, who lie encamped in
front of the fortress, and a bloody, fiercely-contested battle
begins. But at its conclusion the allies, Bardissi and Mohammed Ali,
enter Damietta in triumph. No quarter is given. They massacre all
who fall into their hands; every house is sacked and then burned. On
the square in front of Fort Lesbe, a column of soldiers, Cousrouf
Pacha at its head, sitting proudly erect on his steed, still opposes
them. He has been bravely fighting all along, fighting for life, for
victory, for glory, but he has fought in vain; he prefers, however,
to die at the head of his followers, than to flee, or fall into the
hands of Mohammed Ali.
The enemy approaches. A ball strikes Cousrouf's horse, and it sinks
to the ground. With difficulty he succeeds in extricating himself
from his fallen steed.
"Upon them, my brave soldiers!" he cries, drawing his ataghan. "Let
us fight our way through to the fort. There we shall be secure."
"You shall never reach it!" exclaims Bardissi, his uplifted sword
descending upon Cousrouf's head.
Suddenly his arm is grasped, and held as in a vise.
"Give him to me, Bardissi!" cries Mohammed.
"And you wish to save Cousrouf's life, Mohammed?"
"Only give him to me, Bardissi, I pray you!"
Bardissi recognized in the tone in which these few words were
uttered, that Mohammed's motive in making his request was not love
"You are my prisoner," cried Mohammed, tearing the sword from
Cousrouf's hand, and hurling it far from him. He then grasped him by
the shoulders and looked him firmly in the eye. "Cousrouf Pacha, I,
Mohammed Ali, make you my prisoner."
Cousrouf makes no reply, but only gazes defiantly upon his enemy;
gradually his head sinks down upon his breast. Yes, he is vanquished
and a prisoner, a prisoner of his worst enemy. He could be in no
worse hands than in those that now hold him. To become Mohammed
Ali's prisoner was the worst that could befall him.
And vanquished and captured he is, by this his most relentless
enemy! With him are vanquished all his followers, and nothing is
left of the fortress of Damietta but ashes and ruins.
The victors have decided to send Cousrouf a prisoner to Cairo, to
the citadel where he once sat enthroned.
Mohammed entered the apartment in a half-burned house of Damietta in
which Cousrouf was confined. None else is in the room. Without, the
sentinel is pacing to and fro, and in an adjoining room lie two
Nubian slaves who have remained faithful to their master, wounded
and exhausted by loss of blood.
Cousrouf sees Mohammed enter, and a groan escapes his breast;
involuntarily he carries his hand to his belt. He is unarmed! He
cannot hurl himself upon him, and in his downfall destroy him also.
Mohammed stands before him, armed, his eyes fixed on him in a hard,
cruel gaze. Cousrouf feels this, glance, and knows that his enemy
rejoices in his humiliation. For a long time no word is spoken. At
last Cousrouf raises his eyes and endeavors to look his enemy in the
face; but he cannot. So terrible, so threatening is his expression,
that Cousrouf shudders. It seems to him at this moment that an
avenging angel stands before him; and the viceroy, usually so
haughty and overbearing, feels humiliated and helpless.
"Cousrouf Pacha," said Mohammed, after a long pause, "look at me! I
have long worn a mask; you placed it on my countenance, and I
allowed you to do so, and awaited my time. Cousrouf Pacha, raise
your eyes and look at me! I no longer wear a mask!"
Cousrouf looked up at him, and now his glance was firm, and his
" I see, Mohammed Ali, sarechsme by my grace, I see that you now
wear a mask. He who now stands before me is hardly a human being,
but the mere embodiment of hatred--envy and hatred personified."
"You mistake, Cousrouf," replied Mohammed in haughty tones. "Not
envy and hatred, but vengeance personified. Cousrouf, I have awaited
this hour for thirteen years. Am I not to enjoy it now? Do you think
I would relinquish it for all the wealth and power of the world?"
"I know you would not," replied Cousrouf, quietly. "Yet you would
give all these thirteen years of falsehood and trickery, of cunning
flattery; yes, you would give the miserable triumph of this hour for
a single smile of the slave to whom I awarded merited punishment.
Ah, Mohammed Ali, you fancied yourself the victor. I am he! This
your thirst for vengeance proclaims. It tells me that the wound in
your heart still burns. And who gave you this wound? I, Cousrouf
Pacha, and therefore do you seek vengeance on me. The wound still
bleeds, and I am triumphant! Yes, I am the victor. You should see
your own countenance at this moment; now, you are not vengeance and
hatred, but misery, personified. Let me in conclusion proclaim this:
Masa is dead, and I slew Masa. Slay me, her murderer. But dying, I
shall cry exultingly: 'Your wound still bleeds, and I am victor!
Masa is dead, here stands her slayer, slay him!'"
For a moment Mohammed was silent; a deathly pallor had overspread
his countenance, and his eyes gleamed fiercely. He grasped the
dagger in his girdle, drew it from its sheath, and raised it high in
his right hand.
Cousrouf gazed at him with a triumphant expression.
He wished for death, he longed for it after his fearful overthrow.
Perhaps Mohammed read this in his glance. His arm sank slowly to his
side, and he replaced the dagger in its sheath.
"Cousrouf Pacha, you desire death, but you shall not die. You shall
live to learn that the wound in my heart no longer bleeds; that it
is healed. If it were not so, by Allah, you, the murderer of Masa,
were already dead! Do you hear me? I pronounce the name I have not
spoken for many years the name Masa! You were her murderer, not her
judge! You were not her master, she was not your slave. Her death
was not lawful; you could not condemn her, and therefore do I call
you a common murderer. I know that murderers are slain, that blood
is atoned for by blood. This punishment the heart dictates, and this
punishment the law of the land prescribes. But this punishment were
too mild for you, Cousrouf Pacha. I will not slay you; you shall
suffer shame and humiliation; you shall drink the cup of bitterness
and disgrace to the very dregs. I will take you to Cairo, and there
in the citadel you shall await my last act of revenge."
"You threaten me," said Cousrouf, quietly." What evil can you add to
that already inflicted? I do not fear your threat, and I shall not
feel humiliated at being led a prisoner into the citadel, where I
once ruled your master, and where Mohammed Ali, the sarechsme by my
grace, so often knelt in the dust before me. I have been vanquished
in honorable warfare, and in a just cause; and though you, the
victor, triumph over, I shall still remain, your lawful master!"
"Prove this to the people of Cairo; see whether you will be
recognized as master there; whether those who formerly flattered you
will now raise a finger to liberate you, or restore you to the
throne. And when you find that they will not, then remember,
Cousrouf Pacha--that, too, is a part of Mohammed Ali's revenge--had
I slain you, all your sufferings would have been at an end! But you
shall live and suffer for many a long year to come! For Cousrouf
Pacha caused Mohammed Ali to suffer for long years. Then suffer,
Cousrouf; and, let me tell you, from this hour I shall suffer no
longer--from this hour my wounds are healed, for your wounds bleed.
And now go to Cairo humiliated, covered with disgrace, the prisoner
of Mohammed Ali!"
THE RETURN TO CAIRO.
Joy and exultation reign in Cairo. The united forces of the
Mamelukes, Albanians, and Armenians, have returned home crowned with
victory. Damietta and Rosetta have fallen, and the Turks have
everywhere retreated; a miserable remnant only have found safety in
Alexandria, where Courschid Pacha rules.
The people throng the streets to witness the grand entrance of the
There, at the head of four thousand Mamelukes, surrounded by a body
of beys and kachefs, comes Osman Bey Bardissi, the hero of so many
battles. How sparkling his eyes, how radiant the smile with which he
greets the populace that hails him with shouts of enthusiasm!
He passes by, and now come the Albanians and Armenians. At their
head rides the sarechsme, Mohammed Ali; around him his bim bashis,
in their glittering uniforms. But who is it that rides beside him on
the splendidly-caparisoned ass--who is the man in the long green
caftan, trimmed with fur, the green turban on his head adorned with
its glittering crescent? He is unarmed, and yet he rides beside the
sarechsme. His countenance is pale, and his lips are firmly
compressed, as if to keep back a cry of rage that struggles for
utterance. Who is this man? Can it be Cousrouf Pacha? Yes, it is he,
the viceroy, the prisoner given to Mohammed Ali by Bardissi. In his
magnanimity Mohammed had grasped Bardissi's arm, uplifted for the
deadly stroke, and had thus saved his enemy's life. And now he
generously allows the man whose life he has saved to ride into Cairo
at his side. The people relate this to each other, and are loud in
their praises of the sarechsme's magnanimity.
Was it magnanimity? Ask Cousrouf, who feels that the favor shown him
by his enemy is worse than death, who feels with anguish that he is
merely an object of contempt, while the air resounds with the
people's enthusiastic greeting to the accursed Mohammed Ali. Him the
people had never saluted thus; upon his head the sheiks and cadis
had never invoked Allah's blessing.
Now the citadel looms up before them; the sarechsme's countenance is
radiant; smilingly he turns to Cousrouf.
"I take pleasure, highness, in conducting you to the citadel. You
fled in the darkness of night; I conduct you back in the broad light
of day, and wish you a pleasant sojourn in your palace. I regret,
however, that you are not to reside there entirely alone. The great
Mameluke Bey, Ismail, now resides there, and but few apartments
remain unoccupied. With these few you will therefore have to content
"I should be contented with the smallest room, though it lay beneath
the earth, could I be spared your presence, traitor! " mutters
"Spared my presence!" cries Mohammed Ali. "Consider, highness, that
I alone am to amuse and entertain you. With me alone can you
converse, and recall fond recollections of the past, and I shall
therefore not fail to wait on your highness right often. And now,
highness, ride in advance and enter the palace first, as the master
He draws rein as they reach the gateway, and gives the ass on which
Cousrouf is mounted a blow with the flat of his sword, that causes
it to rush into the court-yard with a succession of quick bounds.
The soldiers standing around laugh loudly. And this laughter makes
Cousrouf's cheeks red with shame, and sends tears to his eyes, tears
Several of Ismail Bey's Mamelukes now approach, and lift Cousrouf
from the saddle and lead him into the house. Mohammed seems to have
forgotten him; let Ismail Bey take care of him. To him Mohammed
intrusts the keeping of his prisoner.
"He belongs to me, Ismail, to me alone; I only intrust my prisoner
to you for safe keeping."
He is conducted to the upper chambers of the citadel; there let his
thoughts prey on the memory of her he murdered, and of him who
The houses of Cairo are adorned with carpets and flowers, and
laughter and merry-making are the order of the day.
The house of Mourad's widow also shows signs of life with-in, to-
day. Sitta Nefysseh has returned to her home after a long sojourn in
the house of Sheik Sadat. The doors of her house and the park-gate
are again thrown open. Sitta Nefysseh is at home; she sits behind
the golden lattice-work of her window and gazes out into the street.
Why does her heart throb so wildly? Is Sitta Nefysseh awaiting any
A long array of richly-attired officers passes by. Sitta Nefysseh
gazes at them intently, her heart still throbbing wildly. Suddenly
she utters a low cry, and with closed eyes reels back from the
window. It is he--yes, she has seen him, the young Mameluke bey,
galloping toward her house on his proud steed, followed by a body of
Mamelukes. She hears him stop before the door, and she knows that he
Her countenance radiant with delight, she stands with outstretched
arms, as she had stood when she last saw him, and, as then, she
whispers: "I love him! oh, I love him! My soul yearns for him! I
would clasp him in my arms, and yet--no, it may not be! "murmurs
she, interrupting herself and letting her arms sink down to her
side. "No, it may not, cannot be! They would kill him! If Bardissi
did not, L'Elfi would! And then my oath! O Mourad, be with me in
this hour, that I may remain firm! Be strong, my heart! It may not
The door opened, and a slave entered to announce that the Mameluke
bey, Youssouf, was waiting at the door with his suite, and humbly
begged that he might be permitted to see Sitta Nefysseh.
"Let him enter," said she, making an effort to compose herself."
Tell my women to go into the adjoining room, and to open the door."
Poor woman's heart! So strong in love, and yet so weak! These women
and the open door were to stand guard over her heart, and keep her
from forgetting all else in his presence.
Now the door opens and Youssouf enters. It seems to her that he has
grown taller. His deeds have elevated him, and his countenance is
radiant with energy and courage. Yet he kneels down before her, and
kisses the hem of her robe.
"Sitta Nefysseh, you bade me go, and I went. Upon my return, my
first thoughts were of you. I wished to hear from your sweet lips
the word welcome! Do you speak it, Sitta Nefysseh?"
"Welcome, Youssouf Bey! How beautiful that sounds--Youssouf Bey! But
rise, it does not become the hero to bend the knee before a woman,
"I was your slave when I went, now that I have returned I am your
slave still. And thus should he salute his mistress."
He bends down. lower and kisses the gold-embroidered slipper that
clasps her little foot.
"Youssouf!" she cried, in severe tones, "I command you to rise from
"You see, I obey you, as it beseems your slave to do," said he,
springing to his feet; "and he now begs to be permitted to enter
your service again."
"My service?" said she, with an air of astonishment. "Mourad's widow
is not so proud and not of such high rank as to desire to have a
troop of Mamelukes in her service. You know I liberated all my
Mamelukes at my husband's death; and how could I, who have so few
servants about me, dare to take a Mameluke bey into my service? No,
such honor were too great for me. You, Youssouf Bey, must go out
into the world again. You will still accomplish many great deeds,
and do me honor. For, when your deeds are spoken of, people will
say: 'He was once a Mameluke with Mourad Bey, and afterward the
kachef of Sitta Nefysseh. It was in Mourad's house that he grew up
and became a hero.' That suffices for me, and Sitta Nefysseh will
rejoice in your renown."
"Sitta Nefysseh!" cried he, in tones of anguish, "you drive me from
you! I have done as you commanded. I went out to battle and did not
seek death, because you had forbidden me to do so, but fought like a
lion, and earned a name. Now that I have returned, you refuse to
give me the one reward I desire. While the bullets whistled about
me, amid the din of battle, I thought only of Sitta Nefysseh, who
would bid me welcome when I returned home, and restore to me my
place in her house. This was the only reward I sought. And now you
drive me from you!"
She had listened to him in breathless suspense. It was bliss to hear
his words, yet her countenance must not betray her. She slowly
raised her eyes, and then gazed at him, long and fixedly.
"Youssouf Bey," said she, "you cannot remain with me, and though it
may seem hard to you to-day, to-morrow you will confess that it is
impossible. Youssouf Bey was not created for such purposes. He is a
hero! Without, your men await you. Return to them. Those who imagine
that peace has entered the city with you are in error. There are
still many laurels to be earned by Youssouf Bey on the battlefield.
Go and gather them!"
"They have no charms for me; I desire only to look on you, to love
you, Sitta Nefysseh! To remain with you and dream of bliss, and
"Be still!" cried she, interrupting him. "Do you wish my women to
hear what your folly dictates? Mourad's widow commands you to be
silent. Now you have terminated our interview. Go, join your men!"
"Forgive me, Sitta, forgive me! By Allah, I entreat you, do not deal
so severely with your poor Youssouf! You are lustrous, yet also cold
like the diamond! You know no mercy; for, alas, you know not love!
Yet, I conjure you, be merciful; do not drive me from you; and I
swear that I will speak no more of love, but only serve you as your
"Let us terminate this interview," said she, in a low voice. "I
shall remain convinced that you should not stay in my house, and you
will therefore go."
"I must go!" cried he, in despairing tones, "yet others may approach
you! The great Bardissi will be welcome, and L'Elfi may also come.
They may speak to you of their love and adoration, but me you
command to depart!"
"No, Youssouf," cried she, "to them I shall say, depart also! I
swear by Allah and by my--"
She stopped, she had almost pronounced the word that trembled on her
lips. "By my love," she had almost said, yet, with quick command of
herself, she added:
"By my honor, Bardissi and L'Elfi shall visit me no more! From this
day the doors of my house are closed against all men; this I swear
to you, Youssouf!"
"I cannot thank you for doing so," said Youssouf, sadly. "If no man
is to cross your threshold, I also am banished from your presence,
and I therefore rather entreat you to let others visit you, in order
that I too may come to you sometimes."
There was something so humble, so imploring in his voice and look,
that Sitta Nefysseh's heart was touched against her will. She could
not do otherwise, she held out her hand and gave him a kindly look.
"I have sworn that no other man should cross my threshold; but you,
Youssouf, you may come sometimes."
He starts, and gazes at her intently. Her voice sounds so sweet, so
changed, and his eyes sparkle with delight.
She quickly withdraws her hand and looks down. She feels that she
has betrayed herself for a moment, she feels the ardent gaze that is
fastened on her, and dares not look up, for fear that he may read
the love that is reflected in her eyes.
"Farewell, Youssouf Bey! I tell you, you may sometimes come, but
farewell for the present."
She turns, and, without looking at him again, goes into the other
room, where her women are awaiting her. With a quick movement she
draws the curtain over the door; she knows that no one must see him
at this moment; she knows he will fall on his knees and kiss the
place where she stood. Yes, she knows this, for she loves him, and
understands his heart.
And she is right! He has fallen on his knees, and, again and again,
kisses the spot where she stood. Then he stretches out his arms and
opens his lips to utter a sweet word. Yet, he does not pronounce it,
for, if what he thinks be true, the air itself may not hear it! No,
his lips utter no word! He only kisses the air she has breathed. And
now can he go, for she has said that he may return!
He turns and leaves the house; his soldiers have never seen their
kachef's countenance so radiant as now. He mounts his horse, and
gallops off through the streets, followed by his Mamelukes.
Sitta Nefysseh hears his horse's hoofs ring out against the
pavement, and, like him, she sinks down upon her knees, and
stretches out her arms. "Youssouf, I love you! Allah be praised, I
have seen you again!"
MOHAMMED ALI AND BARDISSI.
Sitta Nefysseh was right: peace had not entered Cairo with the
victorious troops. War and turmoil prevailed everywhere, and the
confusion became worse each day.
The Mamelukes now ruled once more in Cairo, and, with them, Mohammed
Ali, Bardissi's beloved friend.
Ismail Bey sat enthroned in the citadel, and was the outward
representative of the magnificence and grandeur of the Mamelukes,
but the real rulers were Bardissi and Mohammed Ali. And these two
found no pleasure in lying on soft cushions, and speaking of the
deeds of the past. They longed for renewed activity, for new glory!
And, even if this had not been the case, they would, nevertheless,
have been compelled to draw the sword again. For the Turks were
marching out from Alexandria, and many places in the south were
still in their hands.
Mohammed and Bardissi's united forces march out to a succession of
conflicts, ever returning to Cairo crowned with victory.
Bardissi and Mohammed are united in love and friendship, and, though
the former seems to be the ruler, the latter reigns in reality. The
whole city is aware of this, and those who have complaints to make,
and seek redress, come not to Bardissi, but to Mohammed Ali. To him,
also, come the consuls of other countries, of England and France,
and have long and protracted interviews with him.
The object of their meetings is known to no one. Their conferences
are always private, and Bardissi learns of them only what Mohammed
chooses to tell him. "Does he tell him the truth?"
Bardissi is convinced that he does, and also convinced that he and
Mohammed are in perfect accord with each other.
Ismail, the Mameluke chief, is of a different opinion, and often
warns the magnanimous Osman Bey Bardissi.
"Be on your guard against Mohammed Ali; he has evil designs. Be on
Bardissi shakes his head. "Do not attempt to rob me of my friend, my
second self. I love him, and I know that he loves me!"
"He will lead us all to destruction, if he can!" said Ismail,
solemnly. "Mohammed Ali is not the faithful friend you suppose him
to be ! Unfortunately, the future will prove to you that my warning
was well founded."
Bardissi disregards the warning, and angrily affirms Mohammed's
fidelity. He can confide in his friend, and in the wisdom of his
counsel. And, as before, Bardissi continues to follow Mohammed's
advice in all things.
AGAINST THE MAMELUKES.
While the Mameluke beys, Ismail and Bardissi, were victorious at
Cairo, L'Elfi Bey still lay with his followers at Nisibis. There he
ruled, and there his Mamelukes robbed, plundered, and tyrannized
over the inhabitants.
The governor, Courschid Pacha, was again firmly established in
Alexandria, where he was assembling new forces, and preparing to
march against Cairo and the Mamelukes, and also against Mohammed Ali
and his Albanians and Armenians; he only awaited the sultan's
decision. He had sent to Stamboul intelligence of all that had
occurred--of Cousrouf's flight, and of his defeat and capture at
"Who is now to be appointed viceroy?" This was the question to be
decided at Stamboul.
"Do you command, O master, that our troops march against Cairo to
drive out the Mamelukes, and reinstate Cousrouf as viceroy! Command,
O master, and your servants will obey!"
While the Turks were awaiting an answer from Stamboul, affairs in
Cairo were becoming more and more complicated, and law and order no
longer reigned there. The Mamelukes were daily becoming more violent
and overbearing. They roamed through the city in bands, plundering
and burning, and the beys could no longer control them. Daily the
sufferings of the people became greater, and their hatred of the
lawless Mamelukes more intense.
Robbed and outraged as they were, they were, in addition,
continually being called on to pay new taxes to their detested
The Mameluke beys, Bardissi and Ismail, need money, need it more
than ever. But where are they to get it? The question is a
perplexing, a tormenting one, and with dismay Bardissi submits it to
his faithful friend and untiring adviser, the sarechsme, Mohammed
And it was Mohammed who continually advised the imposition of new
taxes, and who was constantly engaged with Bardissi in devising new
means of raising money; and the imposition of each new burden was
the signal for a new cry of rage from the oppressed people. The
soldiers, too, began to murmur again, and to loudly demand their
The Albanians and Armenians, subject to Mohammed Ali, were held by
him in severe discipline. He did not allow his soldiers to make
thieves and robbers of themselves. He threatened with instant death
all who should be caught in the act. They, however, clamored all the
more loudly for pay.
Mohammed listened to them quietly, and seemed to be touched by their
complaints. "But," said he, sadly, "it does not rest with me to pay
you, neither can I do so. I am poor myself; I have nothing to live
on but my pay, and that is withheld from me also. I therefore have,
unfortunately, nothing to give my soldiers. Only the chiefs, Ismail
or Bardissi, can give you your pay."
His soldiers have understood him. They salute their sarechsme, go
away, and say nothing.
Mohammed well knows where the swarm of soldiers that had stood
before his house have now gone, led by their bim bashis.
They rush, their numbers increasing on the way, to the house where
Bardissi resides. With loud cries they demand to speak with Bardissi
He appears, and asks why they have come. The vestibule of the palace
is already crowded with soldiers, and new masses are continually
pouring into the court-yard. In reply to Bardissi's question, they
all cry loudly: "We have come for our pay! We want money! We are
hungry! We want our pay, our money!"
"Go back to your quarters, and remain there, quietly!" cries
Bardissi. "In two days you shall have your pay. Go!"
"We will wait no longer!" cries a bim bashi, and they all cry after
him: "We want our money! We will not leave here until we are paid!"
They press farther and farther into the house, more and more
fiercely demanding their pay. Suddenly, a loud, firm voice resounds
from the court-yard: "What does this mean, soldiers? What are you
doing here? How dare you force your way into the palace of the
A smile lights up Bardissi's countenance. This is his friend
Mohammed Ali. He will extricate him from his embarrassing position.
Yes, it is he, the sarechsme, at whose approach the men respectfully
fall back and make room. He enters the palace and hastens to
"Oh, forgive me! I knew not that my soldiers had dared to come here.
They also came to me and demanded their pay; I had none to give
them, yet I had no idea they would go so far as to annoy you
Bardissi makes no reply. He only looks at his friend, and grasps his
"I thank you, Mohammed, for having come."
"It is my duty, Bardissi," replies he, loud enough to be understood
by all his soldiers. "Yes, it is the duty of the sarechsme to be
identified with his soldiers; and if, impelled by their want, they
went too far, I beg for their forgiveness; but I also beg that
justice be done them; and their demands are just. They are in great
want, for I have forbidden them to rob and plunder. They have long
waited patiently for their pay. But I beg you to give it them now,
The soldiers who had heard all, cried loudly: "Long live our
sarechsme! Long live Bardissi, our chief!"
"Believe me, soldiers, he will give you your pay!--Will you not,
"Yes, sarechsme, your soldiers shall receive their pay. I give you
my word, they shall be paid to-morrow. Come to the citadel, to my
defterdar to-morrow morning, and he will pay you."
"You have heard it, soldiers: you are to be paid to-morrow. And now
But no one moved; they stood still, grumbling in low tones.
"What," cried the sarechsme, with sparkling eyes, "you dare to
remain when I have told you to go! Do you distrust the promise of
Osman Bey Bardissi, and of your general? Go, I tell you! You are to
be paid to-morrow. Therefore, go and wait!"
They no longer dare to defy, and quietly withdraw.
Bardissi grasps his friend's hand again. "I thank you. You have
freed me from much embarrassment; you have done me a great service.
But I beg you to lend me your kindly assistance still further. Tell
me where am I to get the money with which to pay the soldiers to-
"To-morrow? Why trouble yourself about to-morrow? I will endeavor to
keep the soldiers quiet for a few days, and, in the meanwhile, we
will devise new plans for raising money. I know of one means that I
have often thought of."
"Name it, my friend!"
"It is dangerous."
"Name it, nevertheless. No matter about the danger, provided I raise
"Well, then," said Mohammed, deliberately, "it seems unjust to me
that our people should bear the burden of taxation alone! Why should
not a tax be imposed on the Franks and Levantines also?"
"On the foreigner?" said Bardissi, with a start. "That has never
been done, that I am aware of."
"Then let it be done now for the first time. They have been allowed
to accumulate wealth here, without bearing any of the burdens of
"You are right: it should be done. My defterdar shall take the
necessary steps at once. The Levantines and Franks shall be made to
pay this very day, and your soldiers shall have the money."
Bardissi hastily departed to give the necessary instructions.
Mohammed Ali returned slowly to his house, a complacent smile on his
countenance. "Only continue in your present course, and you will
soon fall into the pit I have dug for you and yours. Proceed! Your
new tax will create quite a sensation!"
He was right. The new tax did create a sensation.
Bardissi's officials flew from house to house, levying a
contribution of five hundred sequins from each Frank and Levantine.
Their demands were met everywhere with violent opposition, and
caused general dismay. All the consuls repaired to the citadel, to
Bardissi, to protest, in the names of their respective countries,
against this unexpected outrage. Bardissi turned a deaf ear to their
protests and entreaties. He thought only of his empty coffers, and
of the necessity of paying the soldiers on the following day.
Nothing could induce him to retract his action. The collection of
the tax was enforced, and the money extorted from the foreigners.
The consuls, however, incensed at the outrage, and resolved not to
submit to such treatment, left Cairo in a body, followed by their
entire households, to repair to Alexandria to take up their
residence there. But, during the night preceding their departure,
the French consul had a long private conference with Mohammed Ali.
What passed at this interview no one knew. At daybreak Mohammed
accompanied the consul to the door of his house, and, in taking
leave of him, said in a low voice: "Only wait. The fruit is ripe and
will soon fall. Tell Courschid Pacha I am working for him, and am
still the sultan's faithful servant. Though it seem otherwise, I am
still working for him. Be assured, I shall act promptly when the
time for action comes."
On the following morning the defterdar gave the troops half their
pay, the sum raised by the tax imposed on the foreigners not being
sufficient to liquidate the whole amount. The soldiers, however,
were not satisfied with receiving half their pay, and went away
grumbling. This gave only temporary relief, and soon the whole army
was dissatisfied, clamoring for pay and ripe for revolt.
New taxes had to be imposed, and the burden fell upon the hapless
people. The tax-gatherers made their circuit again, and mercilessly
collected the tax, in spite of the opposition and lamentations of
the sorely-oppressed people. If they refused to pay, the amount was
raised by selling their houses. The enraged, despairing people no
longer grumbled, but rushed howling and crying in dense masses to
the Mosque El-Ayar, declaring that they would rather die than longer
endure such outrages.
The monster-rebellion-raises its head again, and the uproar of
revolt rounds through all Cairo.
The cadis and sheiks hasten to the mosque to use their influence in
tranquillizing the people, but in vain. The only response to their
representations is, "We cannot, we will not pay more!"
The vast hall of the mosque resounds with their lamentations and
cries of rage. Suddenly Mohammed Ali, followed by a few of his
soldiers, appears on the threshold. In a loud voice he begs the
people to disperse; in Bardissi's name he promises that the
collection of the new tax shall not be enforced. He had gone to
Bardissi and entreated him to torment the people no longer, and
Bardissi had yielded to his entreaties.
"Repair quietly to your homes, and fear no longer for your property.
I interceded for you, and Bardissi gave me his solemn promise that
the tax should not be enforced."
The spacious mosque resounds with shouts of delight. The people cry,
"Long live Mohammed Ali!" All rush forward to grasp his hand and
assure him of their friendship and devotion.
Mohammed feels that he has won the people by his shrewd course.
Those who meet him in the streets salute him with reverence and
devotion, and call down blessings on his head. When they meet the
Mameluke beys, they look down and knit their brows; they have made
themselves odious to the people, and are hourly becoming more and
more detested by them. The thunder-clouds are gathering rapidly on
the heads of the Mameluke beys. They see the coming storm in the
angry looks of those who approach them; they feel it in the solitude
that surrounds them. Curses are invoked upon their heads by the
people, and not blessings, as upon Mohammed Ali's head.
Mohammed quietly prepares for the future; nothing is left to
accident. No unlooked--for event must break in upon his plans, and
destroy him with the rest. Let the fruit fall when ripe, and fall so
deep into the abyss that no hand can pluck it thence!
The consuls have left Cairo, but after a few days the French consul
returns secretly to the city, accompanied by the chief secretary of
the governor, Courschid Pacha; at night and disguised, they glide
stealthily through the streets of Cairo. They repair to the house of
Mohammed Ali, and remain there in earnest and eager conversation
with the sarechsme throughout the entire night. And again, as on the
occasion of a former conference, the consul takes his departure
before the dawn of day.
The governor's secretary remains with Mohammed. He still has a
document to present to him, and Mohammed's eyes sparkle as he reads
"I have but one further request to make of his excellency."
"What is it, sarechsme? I am instructed to comply with your wishes
in all things."
"I only wish to read the firman to Cousrouf myself."
"Let it be as you desire, sarechsme. If you ask this as a reward for
your faithful services, it is a petty one indeed; you are, however,
I believe, soon to receive a much greater one. When Courschid enters
Cairo, he will appoint you a pacha of two tails."
Mohammed hastily averted his face, and made no reply. No one should
see that the intelligence made him rejoice.
The fruit is ripe and ready to fall; the time for action has come.
On the following morning, a body of soldiers marches out and
surrounds the quarter of the city in which the Mameluke beys reside.
Bardissi and Ismail have both left the citadel, and now dwell in the
city. There they can live more comfortably and conveniently than up
in the citadel; and the Mameluke beys are in the habit of attaching
more importance to their comfort than the rest of the world. The
quarter in which they reside is completely surrounded by soldiers.
They do not notice it, however; these grand gentlemen are taking
their ease in their palaces.
Bardissi is in his harem. He has consoled himself for Sitta
Nefysseh's cruelty and coldness; the beautiful Georgian and
Circassian slaves that throng his harem well know how to make him
forget the past with their songs and dances, their sweet words and
There he lies on his cushions, gazing dreamily at their dancing.
Suddenly a shot is heard, then a second follows, and a ball strikes
the wall of his house.
Bardissi bounds from his cushions, and the dance is at an end. He
rushes out into the court-yard to learn the cause of the firing. The
street and square are filled with soldiers, and on the opposite side
of the square, in front of the arsenal, whole batteries are in
position, as though a battle were to be fought.
"What does this mean? Who has led these troops against us? Are those
not Albanians and Armenians?"
A loud, a fearful cry resounds from Bardissi's lips: "Those are
Mohammed Ali's troops, and it is he who is leading them against us.
It is he who has planned my destruction. Then let us also prepare
for battle ourselves. They shall see that Bardissi is not so easily
trapped. Let us defend ourselves in this house as in a fortress.
Close all the doors and gates. Quick, ye soldiers, prepare for
battle ! Ye cannoneers, do your duty!"
He calls to the cannoneers who stand by the guns crowning the wall
that surrounds his house. But the cannoneers refuse to obey him.
Another loud cry escapes Bardissi's lips. Now he understands
Mohammed's action, and knows why the troops were relieved, others
sent to his palace a few days before, and why a new body-guard had
been assigned him.
These are Mohammed's men, and they now refuse obedience to Bardissi.
He now comprehends Mohammed's whole scheme, and his heart is filled
with anguish and immeasurable wrath.
"Alas! Nothing is left me but to flee. Come, my Mamelukes. Load the
dromedaries with the treasure; let the women enter the carriages.
Quick, we must act with the speed of lightning. You, my faithful
Youssouf, you will stand by me as you stood by Mourad."
"I will fight beside you while life lasts."
All is now activity. The dromedaries are laden with treasure, with
chests of gold and silver coins, with jewelry, Persian carpets,
furs, and silken garments. The women enter the closed carriages; the
eunuchs take their place beside them. Now Bardissi mounts his war-
horse, beside him his best and truest friend, Youssouf, and many
others of his faithful followers.
The Mamelukes now throw open the gates, and with uplifted swords,
ready for the conflict, sally forth from the court-yard.
The soldiers who have surrounded the palace see with wonder the
gates open, Bardissi and his followers as they rush forth, the
heavily-laden dromedaries, and the carriages filled with women. The
conflict begins, a fierce conflict, the musketry rattles, and
carries death into the ranks of both.
Erect on his war-horse Bardissi leads the van. He fights his way
through, his sword mows down the enemy like the scythe of death.
Youssouf, his faithful kachef, rides beside him. Like Bardissi, he
fights like a lion, and hews with his trusty sword a pathway through
the enemy's ranks. But suddenly a well-aimed ball strikes him, he
reels in his saddle, and falls with a low moan to the earth, while
Bardissi and his men press on.
He succeeds in fighting his way out of the city. Onward the whole
train flies toward Gheezeh.
Bardissi is wounded; his right hand bleeds, and blood is streaming
down his cheeks. Bardissi is wounded, yet he lives, and is saved. On
they press, and now they are no longer followed.
The soldiers have still much to do in Cairo. Let Bardissi flee with
his richly-laden dromedaries; let him depart from Cairo with his
Mamelukes; but let him return no more.
He draws rein now that the city is behind him; he looks back, and a
tear trickles down his cheek and mingles with his blood.
For whom was this tear?
He looks back toward Cairo, and murmurs: "O Mohammed, that you have
betrayed me; this is bitter!"
He then turns his horse and they proceed in their flight.--Yes,
there is still much work to be done in Cairo. It is not only
Bardissi who has to be fought and driven out; there is Ismail, the
chief of all the Mamelukes, and all the other beys. All this lordly
game is to be chased and driven to bay to-day, and then there are
rich spoils to be gathered. Bardissi has hardly quitted his house
when the soldiers rush into it, and begin to plunder and destroy
after a fashion that can hardly be surpassed by the Mamelukes
themselves. The soldiers intend to pay themselves for that which