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Murad the Unlucky and Other Tales by Maria Edgeworth

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This etext was prepared by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk
from the 1891 Cassell and Company edition.


by Maria Edgeworth


Murad the Unlucky
The Limerick Gloves
Madame de Fleury


Maria Edgeworth came of a lively family which had settled in
Ireland in the latter part of the sixteenth century. Her father at
the age of five-and-twenty inherited the family estates at
Edgeworths-town in 1769. He had snatched an early marriage, which
did not prove happy. He had a little son, whom he was educating
upon the principles set forth in Rousseau's "Emile," and a daughter
Maria, who was born on the 1st of January, 1767. He was then
living at Hare Hatch, near Maidenhead. In March, 1773, his first
wife died after giving birth to a daughter named Anna. In July,
1773, he married again, Honora Sneyd, and went to live in Ireland,
taking with him his daughter Maria, who was then about six years
old. Two years afterwards she was sent from Ireland to a school at
Derby. In April, 1780, her father's second wife died, and advised
him upon her death-bed to marry her sister Elizabeth. He married
his deceased wife's sister on the next following Christmas Day.
Maria Edgeworth was in that year removed to a school in London, and
her holidays were often spent with her father's friend Thomas Day,
the author of "Sandford and Merton," an eccentric enthusiast who
lived then at Anningsley, in Surrey.

Maria Edgeworth--always a little body--was conspicuous among her
schoolfellows for quick wit, and was apt alike for study and
invention. She was story-teller general to the community. In
1782, at the age of fifteen, she left school and went home with her
father and his third wife, who then settled finally at

At Edgeworthstown Richard Lovell Edgeworth now became active in the
direct training of his children, in the improvement of his estate,
and in schemes for the improvement of the country. His eldest
daughter, Maria, showing skill with the pen, he made her more and
more his companion and fellow-worker to good ends. She kept
household accounts, had entrusted to her the whole education of a
little brother, wrote stories on a slate and read them to the
family, wiped them off when not approved, and copied them in ink if
they proved popular with the home public. Miss Edgeworth's first
printed book was a plea for the education of women, "Letters to
Literary Ladies," published in 1795, when her age was eight-and-
twenty. Next year, 1796, working with her father, she produced the
first volume of the "Parent's Assistant." In November, 1797, when
Miss Edgeworth's age was nearly thirty-one, her father, then aged
fifty-three, lost his third wife, and he married a fourth in the
following May. The fourth wife, at first objected to, was young
enough to be a companion and friend, and between her and Maria
Edgeworth a fast friendship came to be established. In the year of
her father's fourth marriage Maria joined him in the production of
two volumes on "Practical Education." Then followed books for
children, including "Harry and Lucy," which had been begun by her
father years before in partnership with his second wife, when
Thomas Day began writing "Sandford and Merton," with the original
intention that it should be worked in as a part of the whole

In the year 1800 Miss Edgeworth, thirty-three years old, began her
independent career as a novelist with "Castle Rackrent;" and from
that time on, work followed work in illustration of the power of a
woman of genius to associate quick wit and quick feeling with sound
sense and a good reason for speaking. Sir Walter Scott in his
frank way declared that he received an impulse from Miss
Edgeworth's example as a storyteller. In the general preface to
his own final edition of the Waverley Novels he said that "Without
being so presumptuous as to hope to emulate the rich humour,
pathetic tenderness, and admirable tact, which pervade the works of
my accomplished friend, I felt that something might be attempted
for my own country of the same kind with that which Miss Edgeworth
so fortunately achieved for Ireland--something which might
introduce her natives to those of the sister kingdom in a more
favourable light than they had been placed hitherto, and tend to
procure sympathy for their virtues and indulgence for their

Of the three stories in this volume, who--"Murad the Unlucky" and
"The Limerick Gloves"--first appeared in three volumes of "Popular
Tales," which were first published in 1804, with a short
introduction by Miss Edgeworth's father. "Madame de Fleury" was
written a few years later.

H. M.



It is well known that the grand seignior amuses himself by going at
night, in disguise, through streets of Constantinople; as the
caliph Haroun Alraschid used formerly to do in Bagdad.

One moonlight night, accompanied by his grand vizier, he traversed
several of the principal streets of the city without seeing
anything remarkable. At length, as they were passing a rope-
maker's, the sultan recollected the Arabian story of Cogia-Hassan
Alhabal, the rope-maker, and his two friends, Saad and Saadi, who
differed so much in their opinion concerning the influence of
fortune over human affairs.

"What is your opinion on this subject?" said the grand seignior to
his vizier.

"I am inclined, please your majesty," replied the vizier, "to think
that success in the world depends more upon prudence than upon what
is called luck, or fortune."

"And I," said the sultan, "am persuaded that fortune does more for
men than prudence. Do you not every day hear of persons who are
said to be fortunate or unfortunate? How comes it that this
opinion should prevail amongst men, if it be not justified by

"It is not for me to dispute with your majesty," replied the
prudent vizier.

"Speak your mind freely; I desire and command it," said the sultan.

"Then I am of opinion," answered the vizier, "that people are often
led to believe others fortunate, or unfortunate, merely because
they only know the general outline of their histories; and are
ignorant of the incidents and events in which they have shown
prudence or imprudence. I have heard, for instance, that there are
at present, in this city, two men, who are remarkable for their
good and bad fortune: one is called Murad the Unlucky, and the
other Saladin the Lucky. Now, I am inclined to think, if we could
hear their stories, we should find that one is a prudent and the
other an imprudent character."

"Where do these men live?" interrupted the sultan. "I will hear
their histories from their own lips before I sleep."

"Murad the Unlucky lives in the next square," said the vizier.

The sultan desired to go thither immediately. Scarcely had they
entered the square, when they heard the cry of loud lamentations.
They followed the sound till they came to a house of which the door
was open, and where there was a man tearing his turban, and weeping
bitterly. They asked the cause of his distress, and he pointed to
the fragments of a china vase, which lay on the pavement at his

"This seems undoubtedly to be beautiful china," said the sultan,
taking up one of the broken pieces; "but can the loss of a china
vase be the cause of such violent grief and despair?"

"Ah, gentlemen," said the owner of the vase, suspending his
lamentations, and looking at the dress of the pretended merchants,
"I see that you are strangers: you do not know how much cause I
have for grief and despair! You do not know that you are speaking
to Murad the Unlucky! Were you to hear all the unfortunate
accidents that have happened to me, from the time I was born till
this instant, you would perhaps pity me, and acknowledge I have
just cause for despair."

Curiosity was strongly expressed by the sultan; and the hope of
obtaining sympathy inclined Murad to gratify it by the recital of
his adventures. "Gentlemen," said he, "I scarcely dare invite you
into the house of such an unlucky being as I am; but if you will
venture to take a night's lodging under my roof, you shall hear at
your leisure the story of my misfortunes."

The sultan and the vizier excused themselves from spending the
night with Murad, saying that they were obliged to proceed to their
khan, where they should be expected by their companions; but they
begged permission to repose themselves for half an hour in his
house, and besought him to relate the history of his life, if it
would not renew his grief too much to recollect his misfortunes.

Few men are so miserable as not to like to talk of their
misfortunes, where they have, or where they think they have, any
chance of obtaining compassion. As soon as the pretended merchants
were seated, Murad began his story in the following manner:-

"My father was a merchant of this city. The night before I was
born he dreamed that I came into the world with the head of a dog
and the tail of a dragon; and that, in haste to conceal my
deformity, he rolled me up in a piece of linen, which unluckily
proved to be the grind seignior's turban; who, enraged at his
insolence in touching his turban, commanded that his head should be
struck off.

"My father awaked before he lost his head, but not before he had
lost half his wits from the terror of his dream. He considered it
as a warning sent from above, and consequently determined to avoid
the sight of me. He would not stay to see whether I should really
be born with the head of a dog and the tail of a dragon; but he set
out, the next morning, on a voyage to Aleppo.

"He was absent for upwards of seven years; and during that time my
education was totally neglected. One day I inquired from my mother
why I had been named Murad the Unlucky. She told me that this name
was given to me in consequence of my father's dream; but she added
that perhaps it might be forgotten, if I proved fortunate in my
future life. My nurse, a very old woman, who was present, shook
her head, with a look which I shall never forget, and whispered to
my mother loud enough for me to hear, 'Unlucky he was, and is, and
ever will be. Those that are born to ill luck cannot help
themselves; nor can any, but the great prophet, Mahomet himself, do
anything for them. It is a folly for an unlucky person to strive
with their fate: it is better to yield to it at once.'

"This speech made a terrible impression upon me, young as I then
was; and every accident that happened to me afterwards confirmed my
belief in my nurse's prognostic. I was in my eighth year when my
father returned from abroad. The year after he came home my
brother Saladin was born, who was named Saladin the Lucky, because
the day he was born a vessel freighted with rich merchandise for my
father arrived safely in port.

"I will not weary you with a relation of all the little instances
of good fortune by which my brother Saladin was distinguished, even
during his childhood. As he grew up, his success in everything he
undertook was as remarkable as my ill luck in all that I attempted.
From the time the rich vessel arrived, we lived in splendour; and
the supposed prosperous state of my father's affairs was of course
attributed to the influence of my brother Saladin's happy destiny.

"When Saladin was about twenty, my father was taken dangerously
ill; and as he felt that he should not recover, he sent for my
brother to the side of his bed, and, to his great surprise,
informed him that the magnificence in which we had lived had
exhausted all his wealth; that his affairs were in the greatest
disorder; for, having trusted to the hope of continual success, he
had embarked in projects beyond his powers.

"The sequel was, he had nothing remaining to leave to his children
but two large china vases, remarkable for their beauty, but still
more valuable on account of certain verses inscribed upon them in
an unknown character, which were supposed to operate as a talisman
or charm in favour of their possessors.

"Both these vases my father bequeathed to my brother Saladin;
declaring he could not venture to leave either of them to me,
because I was so unlucky that I should inevitably break it. After
his death, however, my brother Saladin, who was blessed with a
generous temper, gave me my choice of the two vases; and
endeavoured to raise my spirits by repeating frequently that he had
no faith either in good fortune or ill fortune.

"I could not be of his opinion, though I felt and acknowledged his
kindness in trying to persuade me out of my settled melancholy. I
knew it was in vain for me to exert myself, because I was sure
that, do what I would, I should still be Murad the Unlucky. My
brother, on the contrary, was nowise cast down, even by the poverty
in which my father left us: he said he was sure he should find
some means of maintaining himself; and so he did.

"On examining our china vases, he found in them a powder of a
bright scarlet colour; and it occurred to him that it would make a
fine dye. He tried it, and after some trouble, it succeeded to

"During my father's lifetime, my mother had been supplied with rich
dresses by one of the merchants who was employed by the ladies of
the grand seignior's seraglio. My brother had done this merchant
some trifling favours, and, upon application to him, he readily
engaged to recommend the new scarlet dye. Indeed, it was so
beautiful, that, the moment it was seen, it was preferred to every
other colour. Saladin's shop was soon crowded with customers; and
his winning manners and pleasant conversation were almost as
advantageous to him as his scarlet dye. On the contrary, I
observed that the first glance at my melancholy countenance was
sufficient to disgust every one who saw me. I perceived this
plainly; and it only confirmed me the more in my belief in my own
evil destiny.

"It happened one day that a lady, richly apparelled and attended by
two female slaves, came to my brother's house to make some
purchases. He was out, and I alone was left to attend to the shop.
After she had looked over some goods, she chanced to see my china
vase, which was in the room. She took a prodigious fancy to it,
and offered me any price if I would part with it; but this I
declined doing, because I believed that I should draw down upon my
head some dreadful calamity if I voluntarily relinquished the
talisman. Irritated by my refusal, the lady, according to the
custom of her sex, became more resolute in her purpose; but neither
entreaties nor money could change my determination. Provoked
beyond measure at my obstinacy, as she called it, she left the

"On my brother's return, I related to him what had happened, and
expected that he would have praised me for my prudence; but, on the
contrary, he blamed me for the superstitious value I set upon the
verses on my vase; and observed that it would be the height of
folly to lose a certain means of advancing my fortune for the
uncertain hope of magical protection. I could not bring myself to
be of his opinion; I had not the courage to follow the advice he
gave. The next day the lady returned, and my brother sold his vase
to her for ten thousand pieces of gold. This money he laid out in
the most advantageous manner, by purchasing a new stock of
merchandise. I repented when it was too late; but I believe it is
part of the fatality attending certain persons, that they cannot
decide rightly at the proper moment. When the opportunity has been
lost, I have always regretted that I did not do exactly the
contrary to what I had previously determined upon. Often, whilst I
was hesitating, the favourable moment passed. {1} Now this is what
I call being unlucky. But to proceed with my story.

"The lady who bought my brother Saladin's vase was the favourite of
the Sultan, and all-powerful in the seraglio. Her dislike to me,
in consequence of my opposition to her wishes, was so violent, that
she refused to return to my brother's house while I remained there.
He was unwilling to part with me; but I could not bear to be the
ruin of so good a brother. Without telling him my design, I left
his house careless of what should become of me. Hunger, however,
soon compelled me to think of some immediate mode of obtaining
relief. I sat down upon a stone, before the door of a baker's
shop: the smell of hot bread tempted me in, and with a feeble
voice I demanded charity.

"The master baker gave me as much bread as I could eat, upon
condition that I should change dresses with him and carry the rolls
for him through the city this day. To this I readily consented;
but I had soon reason to repent of my compliance. Indeed, if my
ill-luck had not, as usual, deprived me at this critical moment of
memory and judgment, I should never have complied with the baker's
treacherous proposal. For some time before, the people of
Constantinople had been much dissatisfied with the weight and
quality of the bread furnished by the bakers. This species of
discontent has often been the sure forerunner of an insurrection;
and, in these disturbances, the master bakers frequently lose their
lives. All these circumstances I knew, but they did not occur to
my memory when they might have been useful.

"I changed dresses with the baker; but scarcely had I proceeded
through the adjoining streets with my rolls before the mob began to
gather round me with reproaches and execrations. The crowd pursued
me even to the gates of the grand seignior's palace, and the grand
vizier, alarmed at their violence, sent out an order to have my
head struck off; the usual remedy, in such cases, being to strike
off the baker's head.

"I now fell upon my knees, and protested I was not the baker for
whom they took me; that I had no connection with him; and that I
had never furnished the people of Constantinople with bread that
was not weight. I declared I had merely changed clothes with a
master baker for this day, and that I should not have done so but
for the evil destiny which governs all my actions. Some of the mob
exclaimed that I deserved to lose my head for my folly; but others
took pity on me, and whilst the officer, who was sent to execute
the vizier's order, turned to speak to some of the noisy rioters,
those who were touched by my misfortune opened a passage for me
through the crowd, and thus favoured, I effected my escape.

"I quitted Constantinople; my vase I had left in the care of my
brother. At some miles' distance from the city I overtook a party
of soldiers. I joined them, and learning that they were going to
embark with the rest of the grand seignior's army for Egypt, I
resolved to accompany them. 'If it be,' thought I, 'the will of
Mahomet that I should perish, the sooner I meet my fate the
better.' The despondency into which I was sunk was attended by so
great a degree of indolence, that I scarcely would take the
necessary means to preserve my existence. During our passage to
Egypt I sat all day long upon the deck of the vessel, smoking my
pipe, and I am convinced that if a storm had risen, as I expected,
I should not have taken my pipe from my mouth, nor should I have
handled a rope to save myself from destruction. Such is the effect
of that species of resignation, or torpor, whichever you please to
call it, to which my strong belief in fatality had reduced my mind.

"We landed, however, safely, contrary to my melancholy forebodings.
By a trifling accident, not worth relating, I was detained longer
than any of my companions in the vessel when we disembarked, and I
did not arrive at the camp till late at night. It was moonlight,
and I could see the whole scene distinctly. There was a vast
number of small tents scattered over a desert of white sand; a few
date-trees were visible at a distance; all was gloomy, and all
still; no sound was to be heard but that of the camels feeding near
the tents, and, as I walked on, I met with no human creature.

"My pipe was now out, and I quickened my pace a little towards a
fire which I saw near one of the tents. As I proceeded, my eye was
caught by something sparkling in the sand: it was a ring. I
picked it up and put it on my finger, resolving to give it to the
public crier the next morning, who might find out its rightful
owner; but, by ill-luck, I put it on my little finger, for which it
was much too large, and as I hastened towards the fire to light my
pipe, I dropped the ring. I stooped to search for it amongst the
provender on which a mule was feeding, and the cursed animal gave
me so violent a kick on the head that I could not help roaring

"My cries awakened those who slept in the tent near which the mule
was feeding. Provoked at being disturbed, the soldiers were ready
enough to think ill of me, and they took it for granted that I was
a thief, who had stolen the ring I pretended to have just found.
The ring was taken from me by force, and the next day I was
bastinadoed for having found it; the officer persisting in the
belief that stripes would make me confess where I had concealed
certain other articles of value which had lately been missed in the
camp. All this was the consequence of my being in a hurry to light
my pipe and of my having put the ring on a finger that was too
little for it, which no one but Murad the Unlucky would have done.

"When I was able to walk again, after my wounds were healed, I went
into one of the tents distinguished by a red flag, having been told
that these were coffee-houses. Whilst I was drinking coffee I
heard a stranger near me complaining that he had not been able to
recover a valuable ring he had lost, although he had caused his
loss to be published for three days by the public crier, offering a
reward of two hundred sequins to whoever should restore it. I
guessed that this was the very ring which I had unfortunately
found. I addressed myself to the stranger, and promised to point
out to him the person who had forced it from me. The stranger
recovered his ring, and, being convinced that I had acted honestly,
he made me a present of two hundred sequins, as some amends for the
punishment which I had unjustly suffered on his account.

"Now you would imagine that this purse of gold was advantageous to
me. Far the contrary; it was the cause of new misfortunes.

"One night, when I thought that the soldiers who were in the same
tent with me were all fast asleep, I indulged myself in the
pleasure of counting my treasure. The next day I was invited by my
companions to drink sherbet with them. What they mixed with the
sherbet which I drank I know not, but I could not resist the
drowsiness it brought on. I fell into a profound slumber, and when
I awoke, I found myself lying under a date-tree, at some distance
from the camp.

"The first thing I thought of when I came to my recollection was my
purse of sequins. The purse I found still safe in my girdle; but
on opening it, I perceived that it was filled with pebbles, and not
a single sequin was left. I had no doubt that I had been robbed by
the soldiers with whom I had drunk sherbet, and I am certain that
some of them must have been awake the night I counted my money;
otherwise, as I had never trusted the secret of my riches to any
one, they could not have suspected me of possessing any property;
for ever since I kept company with them I had appeared to be in
great indigence.

"I applied in vain to the superior officers for redress: the
soldiers protested they were innocent; no positive proof appeared
against them, and I gained nothing by my complaint but ridicule and
ill-will. I called myself, in the first transport of my grief, by
that name which, since my arrival in Egypt, I had avoided to
pronounce: I called myself Murad the Unlucky. The name and the
story ran through the camp, and I was accosted, afterwards, very
frequently, by this appellation. Some, indeed, varied their wit by
calling me Murad with the purse of pebbles.

"All that I had yet suffered is nothing compared to my succeeding

"It was the custom at this time, in the Turkish camp, for the
soldiers to amuse themselves with firing at a mark. The superior
officers remonstrated against this dangerous practice, but
ineffectually. Sometimes a party of soldiers would stop firing for
a few minutes, after a message was brought them from their
commanders, and then they would begin again, in defiance of all
orders. Such was the want of discipline in our army, that this
disobedience went unpunished. In the meantime, the frequency of
the danger made most men totally regardless of it. I have seen
tents pierced with bullets, in which parties were quietly seated
smoking their pipes, whilst those without were preparing to take
fresh aim at the red flag on the top.

"This apathy proceeded, in some, from unconquerable indolence of
body; in others, from the intoxication produced by the fumes of
tobacco and of opium; but in most of my brother Turks it arose from
the confidence which the belief in predestination inspired. When a
bullet killed one of their companions, they only observed, scarcely
taking the pipes from their mouths, 'Our hour is not yet come: it
is not the will of Mahomet that we should fall.'

"I own that this rash security appeared to me, at first,
surprising, but it soon ceased to strike me with wonder, and it
even tended to confirm my favourite opinion, that some were born to
good and some to evil fortune. I became almost as careless as my
companions, from following the same course of reasoning. 'It is
not,' thought I, 'in the power of human prudence to avert the
stroke of destiny. I shall perhaps die to-morrow; let me therefore
enjoy to-day.'

"I now made it my study every day to procure as much amusement as
possible. My poverty, as you will imagine, restricted me from
indulgence and excess, but I soon found means to spend what did not
actually belong to me. There were certain Jews who were followers
of the camp, and who, calculating on the probability of victory for
our troops, advanced money to the soldiers, for which they engaged
to pay these usurers exorbitant interest. The Jew to whom I
applied traded with me also, upon the belief that my brother
Saladin, with whose character and circumstances he was acquainted,
would pay my debts if I should fall. With the money I raised from
the Jew I continually bought coffee and opium, of which I grew
immoderately fond. In the delirium it created I forgot all my
misfortunes, all fear of the future.

"One day, when I had raised my spirits by an unusual quantity of
opium, I was strolling through the camp, sometimes singing,
sometimes dancing, like a madman, and repeating that I was not now
Murad the Unlucky. Whilst these words were on my lips, a friendly
spectator, who was in possession of his sober senses, caught me by
the arm, and attempted to drag me from the place where I was
exposing myself. 'Do you not see,' said he, 'those soldiers, who
are firing at a mark? I saw one of them, just now, deliberately
taking aim at your turban; and observe, he is now reloading his
piece.' My ill luck prevailed even at this instant--the only
instant in my life when I defied its power. I struggled with my
adviser, repeating, 'I am not the wretch you take me for; I am not
Murad the Unlucky.' He fled from the danger himself; I remained,
and in a few seconds afterwards a ball reached me, and I fell
senseless on the sand.

"The ball was cut out of my body by an awkward surgeon, who gave me
ten times more pain than was necessary. He was particularly
hurried at this time, because the army had just received orders to
march in a few hours, and all was confusion in the camp. My wound
was excessively painful, and the fear of being left behind with
those who were deemed incurable added to my torments. Perhaps, if
I had kept myself quiet, I might have escaped some of the evils I
afterwards endured; but, as I have repeatedly told you, gentlemen,
it was my ill fortune never to be able to judge what was best to be
done till the time for prudence was past.

"During the day, when my fever was at the height, and when my
orders were to keep my bed, contrary to my natural habits of
indolence, I rose a hundred times, and went out of my tent in the
very heat of the day, to satisfy my curiosity as to the number of
the tests which had not been struck, and of the soldiers who had
not yet marched. The orders to march were tardily obeyed, and many
hours elapsed before our encampment was raised. Had I submitted to
my surgeon's orders, I might have been in a state to accompany the
most dilatory of the stragglers; I could have borne, perhaps, the
slow motion of a litter, on which some of the sick were
transported; but in the evening, when the surgeon came to dress my
wounds, he found me in such a situation that it was scarcely
possible to remove me.

"He desired a party of soldiers, who were left to bring up the
rear, to call for me the next morning. They did so; but they
wanted to put me upon the mule which I recollected, by a white
streak on its back, to be the cursed animal that had kicked me
whilst I was looking for the ring. I could not be prevailed upon
to go upon this unlucky animal. I tried to persuade the soldiers
to carry me, and they took me a little way; but, soon growing weary
of their burden, they laid me down on the sand, pretending that
they were going to fill a skin with water at a spring they had
discovered, and bade me lie still, and wait for their return.

"I waited and waited, longing for the water to moisten my parched
lips; but no water came--no soldiers returned; and there I lay, for
several hours, expecting every moment to breathe my last. I made
no effort to move, for I was now convinced my hour was come, and
that it was the will of Mahomet that I should perish in this
miserable manner, and lie unburied like a dog: 'a death,' thought
I, 'worthy of Murad the Unlucky.'

"My forebodings were not this time just; a detachment of English
soldiers passed near the place where I lay: my groans were heard
by them, and they humanely came to my assistance. They carried me
with them, dressed my wound, and treated me with the utmost
tenderness. Christians though they were, I must acknowledge that I
had reason to love them better than any of the followers of
Mahomet, my good brother only excepted.

"Under their care I recovered; but scarcely had I regained my
strength before I fell into new disasters. It was hot weather, and
my thirst was excessive. I went out with a party, in hopes of
finding a spring of water. The English soldiers began to dig for a
well, in a place pointed out to them by one of their men of
science. I was not inclined to such hard labour, but preferred
sauntering on in search of a spring. I saw at a distance something
that looked like a pool of water; and I pointed it out to my
companions. Their man of science warned me by his interpreter not
to trust to this deceitful appearance; for that such were common in
this country, and that, when I came close to the spot, I should
find no water there. He added, that it was at a greater distance
than I imagined; and that I should, in all probability, be lost in
the desert if I attempted to follow this phantom.

"I was so unfortunate as not to attend to his advice: I set out in
pursuit of this accursed delusion, which assuredly was the work of
evil spirits, who clouded my reason, and allured me into their
dominion. I went on, hour after hour, in expectation continually
of reaching the object of my wishes; but it fled faster than I
pursued, and I discovered at last that the Englishman, who had
doubtless gained his information from the people of the country,
was right; and that the shining appearance which I had taken for
water was a mere deception.

"I was now exhausted with fatigue: I looked back in vain after the
companions I had left; I could see neither men, animals, nor any
trace of vegetation in the sandy desert. I had no resource but,
weary as I was, to measure back my footsteps, which were imprinted
in the sand.

"I slowly and sorrowfully traced them as my guides in this unknown
land. Instead of yielding to my indolent inclinations, I ought,
however, to have made the best of my way back, before the evening
breeze sprang up. I felt the breeze rising, and, unconscious of my
danger, I rejoiced, and opened my bosom to meet it; but what was my
dismay when I saw that the wind swept before it all trace of my
footsteps in the sand. I knew not which way to proceed; I was
struck with despair, tore my garments, threw off my turban, and
cried aloud; but neither human voice nor echo answered me. The
silence was dreadful. I had tasted no food for many hours, and I
now became sick and faint. I recollected that I had put a supply
of opium into the folds of my turban; but, alas! when I took my
turban up, I found that the opium had fallen out. I searched for
it in vain on the sand, where I had thrown the turban.

"I stretched myself out upon the ground, and yielded without
further struggle to my evil destiny. What I suffered from thirst,
hunger, and heat cannot be described. At last I fell into a sort
of trance, during which images of various kinds seemed to flit
before my eyes. How long I remained in this state I know not: but
I remember that I was brought to my senses by a loud shout, which
came from persons belonging to a caravan returning from Mecca.
This was a shout of joy for their safe arrival at a certain spring,
well known to them in this part of the desert.

"The spring was not a hundred yards from the spot where I lay; yet,
such had been the fate of Murad the Unlucky, that he missed the
reality, whilst he had been hours in pursuit of the phantom.
Feeble and spiritless as I was, I sent forth as loud a cry as I
could, in hopes of obtaining assistance; and I endeavoured to crawl
to the place from which the voices appeared to come. The caravan
rested for a considerable time whilst the slaves filled the skins
with water, and whilst the camels took in their supply. I worked
myself on towards them; yet, notwithstanding my efforts, I was
persuaded that, according to my usual ill-fortune, I should never
be able to make them hear my voice. I saw them mount their camels!
I took off my turban, unrolled it, and waved it in the air. My
signal was seen! The caravan came towards me!

"I had scarcely strength to speak; a slave gave me some water, and,
after I had drunk, I explained to them who I was, and how I came
into this situation.

"Whilst I was speaking, one of the travellers observed the purse
which hung to my girdle: it was the same the merchant for whom I
recovered the ring had given to me; I had carefully preserved it,
because the initials of my benefactor's name and a passage from the
Koran were worked upon it. When he give it to me, he said that
perhaps we should meet again in some other part of the world, and
he should recognise me by this token. The person who now took
notice of the purse was his brother; and when I related to him how
I had obtained it, he had the goodness to take me under his
protection. He was a merchant, who was now going with the caravan
to Grand Cairo: he offered to take me with him, and I willingly
accepted the proposal, promising to serve him as faithfully as any
of his slaves. The caravan proceeded, and I was carried with it.


The merchant, who was become my master, treated me with great
kindness; but on hearing me relate the whole series of my
unfortunate adventures, he exacted a promise from me that I would
do nothing without first consulting him. 'Since you are so
unlucky, Murad,' said he, 'that you always choose for the worst
when you choose for yourself, you should trust entirely to the
judgment of a wiser or a more fortunate friend.'

"I fared well in the service of this merchant, who was a man of a
mild disposition, and who was so rich that he could afford to be
generous to all his dependants. It was my business to see his
camels loaded and unloaded at proper places, to count his bales of
merchandise, and to take care that they were not mixed with those
of his companions. This I carefully did till the day we arrived at
Alexandria; when, unluckily, I neglected to count the bales, taking
it for granted that they were all right, as I had found them so the
preceding day. However, when we were to go on board the vessel
that was to take us to Cairo, I perceived that three bales of
cotton were missing.

"I ran to inform my master, who, though a good deal provoked at my
negligence, did not reproach me as I deserved. The public crier
was immediately sent round the city, to offer a reward for the
recovery of the merchandise; and it was restored by one of the
merchants' slaves with whom we had travelled. The vessel was now
under sail; my master and I and the bales of cotton were obliged to
follow in a boat; and when we were taken on board, the captain
declared he was so loaded, that he could not tell where to stow the
bales of cotton. After much difficulty, he consented to let them
remain upon deck; and I promised my master to watch them night and

"We had a prosperous voyage, and were actually in sight of shore,
which the captain said we could not fail to reach early the next
morning. I stayed, as usual, this night upon deck, and solaced
myself by smoking my pipe. Ever since I had indulged in this
practice at the camp at El Arish, I could not exist without opium
and tobacco. I suppose that my reason was this night a little
clouded with the dose I took; but towards midnight I was sobered by
terror. I started up from the deck on which I had stretched
myself; my turban was in flames--the bale of cotton on which I had
rested was all on fire. I awakened two sailors, who were fast
asleep on deck. The consternation became general, and the
confusion increased the danger. The captain and my master were the
most active, and suffered the most, in extinguishing the flames--my
master was terribly scorched.

"For my part, I was not suffered to do anything; the captain
ordered that I should be bound to the mast; and when at last the
flames were extinguished, the passengers, with one accord, besought
him to keep me bound hand and foot, lest I should be the cause of
some new disaster. All that had happened was, indeed, occasioned
by my ill-luck. I had laid my pipe down, when I was falling
asleep, upon the bale of cotton that was beside me. The fire from
my pipe fell out and set the cotton in flames. Such was the
mixture of rage and terror with which I had inspired the whole
crew, that I am sure they would have set me ashore on a desert
island rather than have had me on board for a week longer. Even my
humane master, I could perceive, was secretly impatient to get rid
of Murad the Unlucky and his evil fortune.

"You may believe that I was heartily glad when we landed, and when
I was unbound. My master put a purse containing fifty sequins into
my hand, and bade me farewell. 'Use this money prudently, Murad,
if you can,' said he, 'and perhaps your fortune may change.' Of
this I had little hopes, but determined to lay out my money as
prudently as possible.

"As I was walking through the streets of Grand Cairo, considering
how I should lay out my fifty sequins to the greatest advantage, I
was stopped by one who called me by my name, and asked me if I
could pretend to have forgotten his face. I looked steadily at
him, and recollected to my sorrow that he was the Jew Rachub, from
whom I had borrowed certain sums of money at the camp at El Arish.
What brought him to Grand Cairo, except it was my evil destiny, I
cannot tell. He would not quit me; he would take no excuses; he
said he knew that I had deserted twice, once from the Turkish and
once from the English army; that I was not entitled to any pay; and
that he could not imagine it possible that my brother Saladin would
own me or pay my debts.

"I replied, for I was vexed by the insolence of this Jewish dog,
that I was not, as he imagined, a beggar: that I had the means of
paying him my just debt, but that I hoped he would not extort from
me all that exorbitant interest which none but a Jew could exact.
He smiled, and answered that if a Turk loved opium better than
money this was no fault of his; that he had supplied me with what I
loved best in the world, and that I ought not to complain when he
expected I should return the favour.

"I will not weary you, gentlemen, with all the arguments that
passed between me and Rachub. At last we compromised matters; he
would take nothing less than the whole debt: but he let me have at
a very cheap rate a chest of second-hand clothes, by which he
assured me I might make my fortune. He brought them to Grand
Cairo, he said, for the purpose of selling them to slave merchants,
who, at this time of the year, were in want of them to supply their
slaves; but he was in haste to get home to his wife and family at
Constantinople, and, therefore, he was willing to make over to a
friend the profits of this speculation. I should have distrusted
Rachub's professions of friendship, and especially of
disinterestedness, but he took me with him to the khan where his
goods were, and unlocked the chest of clothes to show them to me.
They were of the richest and finest materials, and had been but
little worn. I could not doubt the evidence of my senses; the
bargain was concluded, and the Jew sent porters to my inn with the

"The next day I repaired to the public market-place; and, when my
business was known, I had choice of customers before night--my
chest was empty, and my purse was full. The profit I made upon the
sale of these clothes was so considerable, that I could not help
feeling astonishment at Rachub's having brought himself so readily
to relinquish them.

"A few days after I had disposed of the contents of my chest, a
Damascene merchant, who had bought two suits of apparel from me,
told me, with a very melancholy face, that both the female slaves
who had put on these clothes were sick. I could not conceive that
the clothes were the cause of their sickness; but soon afterwards,
as I was crossing the market, I was attacked by at least a dozen
merchants, who made similar complaints. They insisted upon knowing
how I came by the garments, and demanded whether I had worn any of
them myself. This day I had, for the first time, indulged myself
with wearing a pair of yellow slippers, the only finery I had
reserved for myself out of all the tempting goods. Convinced by my
wearing these slippers that I could have had no insidious designs,
since I shared the danger, whatever it might be, the merchants were
a little pacified; but what was my terror and remorse the next day,
when one of them came to inform me that plague-boils had broken out
under the arms of all the slaves who had worn this pestilential
apparel! On looking carefully into the chest, we found the word
'Smyrna' written, and half effaced, upon the lid. Now, the plague
had for some time raged at Smyrna; and, as the merchants suspected,
these clothes had certainly belonged to persons who had died of
that distemper. This was the reason why the Jew was willing to
sell them to me so cheap; and it was for this reason that he would
not stay at Grand Cairo himself to reap the profits of his
speculation. Indeed, if I had paid attention to it at the proper
time, a slight circumstance might have revealed the truth to me.
Whilst I was bargaining with the Jew, before he opened the chest,
he swallowed a large dram of brandy, and stuffed his nostrils with
sponge dipped in vinegar; he told me, he did to prevent his
perceiving the smell of musk, which always threw him into

"The horror I felt when I discovered that I had spread the
infection of the plague, and that I had probably caught it myself,
overpowered my senses--a cold dew spread over all my limbs, and I
fell upon the lid of the fatal chest in a swoon. It is said that
fear disposes people to take the infection; however this may be, I
sickened that evening, and soon was in a raging fever. It was
worse for me whenever the delirium left me, and I could reflect
upon the miseries my ill-fortune had occasioned. In my first lucid
interval I looked round, and saw that I had been removed from the
khan to a wretched hut. An old woman, who was smoking her pipe in
the farthest corner of my room, informed me that I had been sent
out of the town of Grand Cairo by order of the cadi, to whom the
merchants had made their complaint. The fatal chest was burnt, and
the house in which I had lodged razed to the ground. 'And if it
had not been for me,' continued the old woman, 'you would have been
dead probably at this instant; but I have made a vow to our great
Prophet that I would never neglect an opportunity of doing a good
action; therefore, when you were deserted by all the world, I took
care of you. Here, too, is your purse, which I saved from the
rabble--and, what is more difficult, from the officers of justice.
I will account to you for every part that I have expended; and
will, moreover, tell you the reason of my making such an
extraordinary vow.'

"As I believed that this benevolent old woman took great pleasure
in talking, I made an inclination of my head to thank her for her
promised history, and she proceeded; but I must confess I did not
listen with all the attention her narrative doubtless deserved.
Even curiosity, the strongest passion of us Turks, was dead within
me. I have no recollection of the old woman's story. It is as
much as I can do to finish my own.

"The weather became excessively hot; it was affirmed by some of the
physicians that this heat would prove fatal to their patients; but,
contrary to the prognostics of the physicians, it stopped the
progress of the plague. I recovered, and found my purse much
lightened by my illness. I divided the remainder of my money with
my humane nurse, and sent her out into the city to inquire how
matters were going on.

"She brought me word that the fury of the plague had much abated,
but that she had met several funerals, and that she had heard many
of the merchants cursing the folly of Murad the Unlucky, who, as
they said, had brought all this calamity upon the inhabitants of
Cairo. Even fools, they say, learn by experience. I took care to
burn the bed on which I had lain and the clothes I had worn; I
concealed my real name, which I knew would inspire detestation, and
gained admittance, with a crowd of other poor wretches, into a
lazaretto, where I performed quarantine and offered up prayers
daily for the sick.

"When I thought it was impossible I could spread the infection, I
took my passage home. I was eager to get away from Grand Cairo,
where I knew I was an object of execration. I had a strange fancy
haunting my mind; I imagined that all my misfortunes, since I left
Constantinople, had arisen from my neglect of the talisman upon the
beautiful china vase. I dreamed three times, when I was recovering
from the plague, that a genius appeared to me, and said, in a
reproachful tone, 'Murad, where is the vase that was entrusted to
thy care?'

"This dream operated strongly upon my imagination. As soon as we
arrived at Constantinople, which we did, to my great surprise,
without meeting with any untoward accidents, I went in search of my
brother Saladin to inquire for my vase. He no longer lived in the
house in which I left him, and I began to be apprehensive that he
was dead, but a porter, hearing my inquiries, exclaimed, 'Who is
there in Constantinople that is ignorant of the dwelling of Saladin
the Lucky? Come with me, and I will show it to you.'

"The mansion to which he conducted me looked so magnificent that I
was almost afraid to enter lest there should be some mistake. But
whilst I was hesitating the doors opened, and I heard my brother
Saladin's voice. He saw me almost at the same instant that I fixed
my eyes upon him, and immediately sprang forward to embrace me. He
was the same good brother as ever, and I rejoiced in his prosperity
with all my heart. 'Brother Saladin,' said I, 'can you now doubt
that some men are born to be fortunate and others to be
unfortunate? How often you used to dispute this point with me!'

"'Let us not dispute it now in the public street,' said he,
smiling; 'but come in and refresh yourself, and we will consider
the question afterwards at leisure.'

"'No, my dear brother,' said I, drawing back, 'you are too good:
Murad the Unlucky shall not enter your house, lest he should draw
down misfortunes upon you and yours. I come only to ask for my

"'It is safe,' cried he; 'come in, and you shall see it: but I
will not give it up till I have you in my house. I have none of
these superstitious fears: pardon me the expression, but I have
none of these superstitious fears.'

"I yielded, entered his house, and was astonished at all I saw. My
brother did not triumph in his prosperity; but, on the contrary,
seemed intent only upon making me forget my misfortunes: he
listened to the account of them with kindness, and obliged me by
the recital of his history: which was, I must acknowledge, far
less wonderful than my own. He seemed, by his own account, to have
grown rich in the common course of things; or rather, by his own
prudence. I allowed for his prejudices, and, unwilling to dispute
farther with him, said, 'You must remain of your opinion, brother,
and I of mine; you are Saladin the Lucky, and I Murad the Unlucky;
and so we shall remain to the end of our lives.'

"I had not been in his house four days when an accident happened,
which showed how much I was in the right. The favourite of the
sultan, to whom he had formerly sold his china vase, though her
charms were now somewhat faded by time, still retained her power
and her taste for magnificence. She commissioned my brother to
bespeak for her, at Venice, the most splendid looking-glass that
money could purchase. The mirror, after many delays and
disappointments, at length arrived at my brother's house. He
unpacked it, and sent to let the lady know it was in perfect
safety. It was late in the evening, and she ordered it should
remain where it was that night, and that it should be brought to
the seraglio the next morning. It stood in a sort of ante-chamber
to the room in which I slept; and with it were left some packages,
containing glass chandeliers for an unfinished saloon in my
brother's house. Saladin charged all his domestics to be vigilant
this night, because he had money to a great amount by him, and
there had been frequent robberies in our neighbourhood. Hearing
these orders, I resolved to be in readiness at a moment's warning.
I laid my scimitar beside me upon a cushion, and left my door half
open, that I might hear the slightest noise in the ante-chamber or
the great staircase. About midnight I was suddenly awakened by a
noise in the ante-chamber. I started up, seized my scimitar, and
the instant I got to the door, saw, by the light of the lamp which
was burning in the room, a man standing opposite to me, with a
drawn sword in his hand. I rushed forward, demanding what he
wanted, and received no answer; but seeing him aim at me with his
scimitar, I gave him, as I thought, a deadly blow. At this instant
I heard a great crash; and the fragments of the looking-glass,
which I had shivered, fell at my feet. At the same moment
something black brushed by my shoulder: I pursued it, stumbled
over the packages of glass, and rolled over them down the stairs.

"My brother came out of his room to inquire the cause of all this
disturbance; and when he saw the fine mirror broken, and me lying
amongst the glass chandeliers at the bottom of the stairs, he could
not forbear exclaiming, 'Well, brother! you are indeed Murad the

"When the first emotion was over, he could not, however, forbear
laughing at my situation. With a degree of goodness, which made me
a thousand times more sorry for the accident, he came downstairs to
help me up, gave me his hand, and said, 'Forgive me if I was angry
with you at first. I am sure you did not mean to do me any injury;
but tell me how all this has happened?'

"Whilst Saladin was speaking, I heard the same kind of noise which
had alarmed me in the ante-chamber; but, on looking back, I saw
only a black pigeon, which flew swiftly by me, unconscious of the
mischief he had occasioned. This pigeon I had unluckily brought
into the house the preceding day; and had been feeding and trying
to tame it for my young nephews. I little thought it would be the
cause of such disasters. My brother, though he endeavoured to
conceal his anxiety from me, was much disturbed at the idea of
meeting the favourite's displeasure, who would certainly be
grievously disappointed by the loss of her splendid looking-glass.
I saw that I should inevitably be his ruin if I continued in his
house; and no persuasions could prevail upon me to prolong my stay.
My generous brother, seeing me determined to go, said to me, 'A
factor, whom I have employed for some years to sell merchandise for
me, died a few days ago. Will you take his place? I am rich
enough to bear any little mistakes you may fall into from ignorance
of business; and you will have a partner who is able and willing to
assist you.'

"I was touched to the heart by this kindness, especially at such a
time as this. He sent one of his slaves with me to the shop in
which you now see me, gentlemen. The slave, by my brother's
directions, brought with us my china vase, and delivered it safely
to me, with this message: 'The scarlet dye that was found in this
vase, and in its fellow, was the first cause of Saladin's making
the fortune he now enjoys: he therefore does no more than justice
in sharing that fortune with his brother Murad.'

"I was now placed in as advantageous a situation as possible; but
my mind was ill at ease when I reflected that the broken mirror
might be my brother's ruin. The lady by whom it had been bespoken
was, I well knew, of a violent temper; and this disappointment was
sufficient to provoke her to vengeance. My brother sent me word
this morning, however, that though her displeasure was excessive,
it was in my power to prevent any ill consequences that might
ensue. 'In my power!' I exclaimed; 'then, indeed, I am happy!
Tell my brother there is nothing I will not do to show him my
gratitude and to save him from the consequences of my folly.'

"The slave who was sent by my brother seemed unwilling to name what
was required of me, saying that his master was afraid I should not
like to grant the request. I urged him to speak freely, and he
then told me the favourite declared nothing would make her amends
for the loss of the mirror but the fellow-vase to that which she
had bought from Saladin. It was impossible for me to hesitate;
gratitude for my brother's generous kindness overcame my
superstitious obstinacy, and I sent him word I would carry the vase
to him myself.

"I took it down this evening from the shelf on which it stood; it
was covered with dust, and I washed it, but, unluckily, in
endeavouring to clean the inside from the remains of the scarlet
powder, I poured hot water into it, and immediately I heard a
simmering noise, and my vase, in a few instants, burst asunder with
a loud explosion. These fragments, alas! are all that remain. The
measure of my misfortunes is now completed! Can you wonder,
gentlemen, that I bewail my evil destiny? Am I not justly called
Murad the Unlucky? Here end all my hopes in this world! Better
would it have been if I had died long ago! Better that I had never
been born! Nothing I ever have done or attempted has prospered.
Murad the Unlucky is my name, and ill-fate has marked me for her


The lamentations of Murad were interrupted by the entrance of
Saladin. Having waited in vain for some hours, he now came to see
if any disaster had happened to his brother Murad. He was
surprised at the sight of the two pretended merchants, and could
not refrain from exclamations on beholding the broken vase.
However, with his usual equanimity and good-nature, he began to
console Murad; and, taking up the fragments, examined them
carefully, one by one joined them together again, found that none
of the edges of the china were damaged, and declared he could have
it mended so as to look as well as ever.

Murad recovered his spirits upon this. "Brother," said he, "I
comfort myself for being Murad the Unlucky when I reflect that you
are Saladin the Lucky. See, gentlemen," continued he, turning to
the pretended merchants, "scarcely has this most fortunate of men
been five minutes in company before he gives a happy turn to
affairs. His presence inspires joy: I observe your countenances,
which had been saddened by my dismal history, have brightened up
since he has made his appearance. Brother, I wish you would make
these gentlemen some amends for the time they have wasted in
listening to my catalogue of misfortunes by relating your history,
which, I am sure, they will find rather more exhilarating."

Saladin consented, on condition that the strangers would accompany
him home and partake of a social banquet. They at first repeated
the former excuse of their being obliged to return to their inn;
but at length the sultan's curiosity prevailed, and he and his
vizier went home with Saladin the Lucky, who, after supper, related
his history in the following manner:-

"My being called Saladin the Lucky first inspired me with
confidence in myself; though I own that I cannot remember any
extraordinary instances of good luck in my childhood. An old nurse
of my mother's, indeed, repeated to me twenty times a day that
nothing I undertook could fail to succeed, because I was Saladin
the Lucky. I became presumptuous and rash; and my nurse's
prognostics might have effectually prevented their accomplishment
had I not, when I was about fifteen, been roused to reflection
during a long confinement, which was the consequence of my youthful
conceit and imprudence.

"At this time there was at the Porte a Frenchman, an ingenious
engineer, who was employed and favoured by the sultan, to the great
astonishment of many of my prejudiced countrymen. On the grand
seignior's birthday he exhibited some extraordinarily fine
fireworks; and I, with numbers of the inhabitants of
Constantinople, crowded to see them. I happened to stand near the
place where the Frenchman was stationed; the crowd pressed upon
him, and I amongst the rest; he begged we would, for our own sakes,
keep at a greater distance, and warned us that we might be much
hurt by the combustibles which he was using. I, relying upon my
mood fortune, disregarded all these cautions; and the consequence
was that, as I touched some of the materials prepared for the
fireworks, they exploded, dashed me upon the ground with great
violence, and I was terribly burnt.

"This accident, gentlemen, I consider as one of the most fortunate
circumstances of my life; for it checked and corrected the
presumption of my temper. During the time I was confined to my bed
the French gentleman came frequently to see me. He was a very
sensible man; and the conversations he had with me enlarged my mind
and cured me of many foolish prejudices, especially of that which I
had been taught to entertain concerning the predominance of what is
called luck or fortune in human affairs. 'Though you are called
Saladin the Lucky,' said he, 'you find that your neglect of
prudence has nearly brought you to the grave even in the bloom of
youth. Take my advice, and henceforward trust more to prudence
than to fortune. Let the multitude, if they will, call you Saladin
the Lucky; but call yourself, and make yourself, Saladin the

"These words left an indelible impression on my mind, and gave a
new turn to my thoughts and character. My brother, Murad, his
doubtless told you our difference of opinion on the subject of
predestination produced between us frequent arguments; but we could
never convince one another, and we each have acted, through life,
in consequence of our different beliefs. To this I attribute my
success and his misfortunes.

"The first rise of my fortune, as you have probably heard from
Murad, was owing to the scarlet dye, which I brought to perfection
with infinite difficulty. The powder, it is true, was accidentally
found by me in our china vases; but there it might have remained to
this instant, useless, if I had not taken the pains to make it
useful. I grant that we can only partially foresee and command
events; yet on the use we make of our own powers, I think, depends
our destiny. But, gentlemen, you would rather hear my adventures,
perhaps, than my reflections; and I am truly concerned, for your
sakes, that I have no wonderful events to relate. I am sorry I
cannot tell you of my having been lost in a sandy desert. I have
never had the plague, nor even been shipwrecked: I have been all
my life an inhabitant of Constantinople, and have passed my time in
a very quiet and uniform manner.

"The money I received from the sultan's favourite for my china
vase, as my brother may have told you, enabled me to trade on a
more extensive scale. I went on steadily with my business, and
made it my whole study to please my employers by all fair and
honourable means. This industry and civility succeeded beyond my
expectations: in a few years I was rich for a man in my way of

"I will not proceed to trouble you with the journal of a petty
merchant's life; I pass on to the incident which made a
considerable change in my affairs.

"A terrible fire broke out near the walls of the grand seignior's
seraglio. As you are strangers, gentlemen, you may not have heard
of this event, though it produced so great a sensation in
Constantinople. The vizier's superb palace was utterly consumed,
and the melted lead poured down from the roof of the mosque of St.
Sophia. Various were the opinions formed by my neighbours
respecting the cause of the conflagration. Some supposed it to be
a punishment for the sultan's having neglected one Friday to appear
it the mosque of St. Sophia; others considered it as a warning sent
by Mahomet to dissuade the Porte from persisting in a war in which
we were just engaged. The generality, however, of the coffee-house
politicians contented themselves with observing that it was the
will of Mahomet that the palace should be consumed. Satisfied by
this supposition, they took no precaution to prevent similar
accidents in their own houses. Never were fires so common in the
city as at this period; scarcely a night passed without our being
wakened by the cry of fire.

"These frequent fires were rendered still more dreadful by
villains, who were continually on the watch to increase the
confusion by which they profited, and to pillage the houses of the
sufferers. It was discovered that these incendiaries frequently
skulked, towards evening, in the neighbourhood of the bezestein,
where the richest merchants store their goods. Some of these
wretches were detected in throwing coundaks, or matches, into the
windows; and if these combustibles remained a sufficient time, they
could not fail to set the house on fire.

"Notwithstanding all these circumstances, many even of those who
had property to preserve continued to repeat, 'It is the will of
Mahomet,' and consequently to neglect all means of preservation.
I, on the contrary, recollecting the lesson I had learned from the
sensible foreigner, neither suffered my spirits to sink with
superstitious fears of ill-luck, nor did I trust presumptuously to
my good fortune. I took every possible means to secure myself. I
never went to bed without having seen that all the lights and fires
in the house were extinguished, and that I had a supply of water in
the cistern. I had likewise learned from my Frenchman that wet
mortar was the most effectual thing for stopping the progress of
flames. I, therefore, had a quantity of mortar made up in one of
my outhouses, which I could use at a moment's warning. These
precautions were all useful to me. My own house, indeed, was never
actually on fire; but the houses of my next-door neighbours were no
less than five times in flames in the course of one winter. By my
exertions, or rather by my precautions, they suffered but little
damage, and all my neighbours looked upon me as their deliverer and
friend; they loaded me with presents, and offered more, indeed,
than I would accept. All repeated that I was Saladin the Lucky.
This compliment I disclaimed, feeling more ambitious of being
called Saladin the Prudent. It is thus that what we call modesty
is often only a more refined species of pride. But to proceed with
my story.

"One night I had been later than usual at supper at a friend's
house; none but the watch were in the streets, and even they, I
believe, were asleep.

"As I passed one of the conduits which convey water to the city, I
heard a trickling noise; and, upon examination, I found that the
cook of the water-spout was half turned, so that the water was
running out. I turned it back to its proper place, thought it had
been left unturned by accident, and walked on; but I had not
proceeded far before I came to another spout, and another, which
were in the same condition. I was convinced that this could not be
the effect merely of accident, and suspected that some ill-
intentioned persons designed to let out and waste the water of the
city, that there might be none to extinguish any fire that should
break out in the course of the night.

"I stood still for a few moments, to consider how it would be most
prudent to act. It would be impossible for me to run to all parts
of the city, that I might stop the pipes that were running to
waste. I first thought of wakening the watch and the firemen, who
were most of them slumbering at their stations; but I reflected
that they were perhaps not to be trusted, and that they were in a
confederacy with the incendiaries, otherwise they would certainly
before this hour have observed and stopped the running of the
sewers in their neighbourhood. I determined to waken a rich
merchant, called Damat Zade, who lived near me, and who had a
number of slaves whom he could send to different parts of the city,
to prevent mischief and give notice to the inhabitants of their

"He was a very sensible, active man, and one that could easily be
wakened; he was not like some Turks, an hour in recovering their
lethargic senses. He was quick in decision and action; and his
slaves resembled their master. He despatched a messenger
immediately to the grand vizier, that the sultan's safety might be
secured, and sent others to the magistrates in each quarter of
Constantinople. The large drums in the janissary aga's tower beat
to rouse the inhabitants; and scarcely had they been heard to beat
half an hour before the fire broke out in the lower apartments of
Damat Zade's house, owing to a coundak which had been left behind
one of the doors.

"The wretches who had prepared the mischief came to enjoy it, and
to pillage; but they were disappointed. Astonished to find
themselves taken into custody, they could not comprehend how their
designs had been frustrated. By timely exertions, the fire in my
friend's house was extinguished; and though fires broke out during
the night in many parts of the city, but little damage was
sustained, because there was time for precautions, and, by the
stopping of the spouts, sufficient water was preserved. People
were awakened and warned of the danger, and they consequently
escaped unhurt.

"The next day, as soon as I made my appearance at the bezestein,
the merchants crowded round, called me their benefactor, and the
preserver of their lives and fortunes. Damat Zade, the merchant
whom I had awakened the preceding night, presented to me a heavy
purse of gold, and put upon my finger a diamond ring of
considerable value; each of the merchants followed his example in
making me rich presents; the magistrates also sent me tokens of
their approbation; and the grand vizier sent me a diamond of the
first water, with a line written by his own hand, 'To the man who
has saved Constantinople.' Excuse me, gentlemen, for the vanity I
seem to show in mentioning these circumstances. You desired to
hear my history, and I cannot, therefore, omit the principal
circumstance of my life. In the course of four-and-twenty hours I
found myself raised, by the munificent gratitude of the inhabitants
of this city, to a state of affluence far beyond what I had ever
dreamed of attaining.

"I now took a house suited to my circumstances, and bought a few
slaves. As I was carrying my slaves home, I was met by a Jew, who
stopped me, saying, in his language, 'My lord, I see, has been
purchasing slaves; I could clothe them cheaply.' There was
something mysterious in the manner of this Jew, and I did not like
his countenance; but I considered that I ought not to be governed
by caprice in my dealings, and that, if this man could really
clothe my slaves more cheaply than another, I ought not to neglect
his offer merely because I took a dislike to the cut of his beard,
the turn of his eye, or the tone of his voice. I, therefore, bade
the Jew follow me home, saying that I would consider of his

"When we came to talk over the matter, I was surprised to find him
so reasonable in his demands. On one point, indeed, he appeared
unwilling to comply. I required not only to see the clothes I was
offered, but also to know how they came into his possession. On
this subject he equivocated; I, therefore, suspected there must be
something wrong. I reflected what it could be, and judged that the
goods had been stolen, or that they had been the apparel of persons
who had died of some contagious distemper. The Jew showed me a
chest, from which he said I might choose whatever suited me best.
I observed that, as he was going to unlock the chest, he stuffed
his nose with some aromatic herbs. He told me that he did so to
prevent his smelling the musk with which the chest was perfumed;
musk, he said, had an extraordinary effect upon his nerves. I
begged to have some of the herbs which he used himself, declaring
that musk was likewise offensive to me.

"The Jew, either struck by his own conscience or observing my
suspicions, turned as pale as death. He pretended he had not the
right key, and could not unlock the chest; said he must go in
search of it, and that he would call on me again.

"After he had left me, I examined some writing upon the lid of the
chest that had been nearly effaced. I made out the word 'Smyrna,'
and this was sufficient to confirm all my suspicions. The Jew
returned no more; he sent some porters to carry away the chest, and
I heard nothing of him for some time, till one day, when I was at
the house of Damat Zade, I saw a glimpse of the Jew passing hastily
through one of the courts, as if he wished to avoid me. 'My
friend,' said I to Damat Zade, 'do not attribute my question to
impertinent curiosity, or to a desire to intermeddle with your
affairs, if I venture to ask the nature of your business with the
Jew who has just now crossed your court?'

"'He has engaged to supply me with clothing for my slaves,' replied
my friend, 'cheaper than I can purchase it elsewhere. I have a
design to surprise my daughter Fatima, on her birthday, with an
entertainment in the pavilion in the garden, and all her female
slaves shall appear in new dresses on the occasion.'

"I interrupted my friend, to tell him what I suspected relative to
this Jew and his chest of clothes. It is certain that the
infection of the plague can be communicated by clothes, not only
after months, but after years have elapsed. The merchant resolved
to have nothing more to do with this wretch, who could thus hazard
the lives of thousands of his follow-creatures for a few pieces of
gold. We sent notice of the circumstance to the cadi, but the cadi
was slow in his operations; and before he could take the Jew into
custody the cunning fellow had effected his escape. When his house
was searched, he and his chest had disappeared. We discovered that
he sailed for Egypt, and rejoiced that we had driven him from

"My friend, Damat Zade, expressed the warmest gratitude to me.
'You formerly saved my fortune; you have now saved my life, and a
life yet dearer than my own: that of my daughter Fatima.'

"At the sound of that name I could not, I believe, avoid showing
some emotion. I had accidentally seen this lady, and I had been
captivated by her beauty and by the sweetness of her countenance;
but as I knew she was destined to be the wife of another, I
suppressed my feeling, and determined to banish the recollection of
the fair Fatima for ever from my imagination. Her father, however,
at this instant threw into my way a temptation which it required
all my fortitude to resist. 'Saladin,' continued he, 'it is but
just that you, who have saved our lives, should share our
festivity. Come here on the birthday of my Fatima; I will place
you in a balcony which overlooks the garden, and you shall see the
whole spectacle. We shall have a feast of tulips, in imitation of
that which, as you know, is held in the grand seignior's gardens.
I assure you the sight will be worth seeing; and besides, you will
have a chance of beholding my Fatima, for a moment, without her

"'That,' interrupted I, 'is the thing I most wish to avoid. I dare
not indulge myself in a pleasure which might cost me the happiness
of my life. I will conceal nothing from you, who treat me with so
much confidence. I have already beheld the charming countenance of
your Fatima, but I know that she is destined to be the wife of a
happier man.'

"Damat Zade seemed much pleased by the frankness with which I
explained myself; but he would not give up the idea of my sitting
with him in the balcony on the day of the feast of tulips; and I,
on my part, could not consent to expose myself to another view of
the charming Fatima. My friend used every argument, or rather
every sort of persuasion, he could imagine to prevail upon me; he
then tried to laugh me out of my resolution; and, when all failed,
he said, in a voice of anger, 'Go, then, Saladin: I am sure you
are deceiving me; you have a passion for some other woman, and you
would conceal it from me, and persuade me you refuse the favour I
offer you from prudence, when, in fact, it is from indifference and
contempt. Why could you not speak the truth of your heart to me
with that frankness with which one friend should treat another?'

"Astonished at this unexpected charge, and at the anger which
flashed from the eyes of Damat Zade, who till this moment had
always appeared to me a man of a mild and reasonable temper, I was
for an instant tempted to fly into a passion and leave him; but
friends, once lost, are not easily regained. This consideration
had power sufficient to make me command my temper. 'My friend,'
replied I, 'we will talk over this affair to-morrow. You are now
angry, and cannot do me justice, but to-morrow you will be cool;
you will then be convinced that I have not deceived you, and that I
have no design but to secure my own happiness, by the most prudent
means in my power, by avoiding the sight of the dangerous Fatima.
I have no passion for any other woman.'

"'Then,' said my friend, embracing me, and quitting the tone of
anger which he had assumed only to try my resolution to the utmost,
'Then, Saladin, Fatima is yours.'

"I scarcely dared to believe my senses; I could not express my joy!
'Yes, my friend,' continued the merchant, 'I have tried your
prudence to the utmost, it has been victorious, and I resign my
Fatima to you, certain that you will make her happy. It is true I
had a greater alliance in view for her--the Pacha of Maksoud has
demanded her from me; but I have found, upon private inquiry, he is
addicted to the intemperate use of opium, and my daughter shall
never be the wife of one who is a violent madman one-half the day
and a melancholy idiot during the remainder. I have nothing to
apprehend from the pacha's resentment, because I have powerful
friends with the grand vizier, who will oblige him to listen to
reason, and to submit quietly to a disappointment he so justly
merits. And now, Saladin, have you any objection to seeing the
feast of tulips?'

"I replied only by falling at the merchant's feet, and embracing
his knees. The feast of tulips came and on that day I was married
to the charming Fatima! The charming Fatima I continue still to
think her, though she has now been my wife some years. She is the
joy and pride of my heart; and, from our mutual affection, I have
experienced more felicity than from all the other circumstances of
my life, which are called so fortunate. Her father gave me the
house in which I now live, and joined his possessions to ours; so
that I have more wealth even than I desire. My riches, however,
give me continually the means of relieving the wants of others; and
therefore I cannot affect to despise them. I must persuade my
brother Murad to share them with me, and to forget his misfortunes:
I shall then think myself completely happy. As to the sultana's
looking-glass and your broken vase, my dear brother," continued
Saladin, "we must think of some means--"

"Think no more of the sultana's looking-glass or of the broken
vase," exclaimed the sultan, throwing aside his merchant's habit,
and showing beneath it his own imperial vest. "Saladin, I rejoice
to have heard, from your own lips, the history of your life. I
acknowledge, vizier, I have been in the wrong in our argument,"
continued the sultan, turning to his vizier. "I acknowledge that
the histories of Saladin the Lucky and Murad the Unlucky favour
your opinion, that prudence has more influence than chance in human
affairs. The success and happiness of Saladin seem to me to have
arisen from his prudence: by that prudence Constantinople has been
saved from flames and from the plague. Had Murad possessed his
brother's discretion, he would not have been on the point of losing
his head, for selling rolls which he did not bake: he would not
have been kicked by a mule or bastinadoed for finding a ring: he
would not have been robbed by one party of soldiers, or shot by
another: he would not have been lost in a desert, or cheated by a
Jew: he would not have set a ship on fire; nor would he have
caught the plague, and spread it through Grand Cairo: he would not
have run my sultana's looking-glass through the body, instead of a
robber: he would not have believed that the fate of his life
depended on certain verses on a china vase: nor would he, at last,
have broken this precious talisman, by washing it with hot water.
Henceforward, let Murad the Unlucky be named Murad the Imprudent:
let Saladin preserve the surname he merits, and be henceforth
called Saladin the Prudent."

So spake the sultan, who, unlike the generality of monarchs, could
bear to find himself in the wrong, and could discover his vizier to
be in the right without cutting off his head. History farther
informs us that the sultan offered to make Saladin a pacha, and to
commit to him the government of a province; but, Saladin the
Prudent declined this honour, saying he had no ambition, was
perfectly happy in his present situation, and that, when this was
the case, it would be folly to change, because no one can be more
than happy. What farther adventures befell Murad the Imprudent are
not recorded; it is known only that he became a daily visitor to
the Teriaky, and that he died a martyr to the immoderate use of


It was Sunday morning, and a fine day in autumn; the bells of
Hereford Cathedral rang, and all the world, smartly dressed, were
flocking to church.

"Mrs. Hill! Mrs. Hill!--Phoebe! Phoebe! There's the cathedral
bell, I say, and neither of you ready for church, and I a verger,"
cried Mr. Hill, the tanner, as he stood at the bottom of his own
staircase. "I'm ready, papa," replied Phoebe; and down she came,
looking so clean, so fresh, and so gay, that her stern father's
brows unbent, and he could only say to her, as she was drawing on a
new pair of gloves, "Child, you ought to have had those gloves on
before this time of day."

"Before this time of day!" cried Mrs. Hill, who was now coming
downstairs completely equipped--"before this time of day! She
should know better, I say, than to put on those gloves at all:
more especially when going to the cathedral."

"The gloves are very good gloves, as far as I see," replied Mr.
Hill. "But no matter now. It is more fitting that we should be in
proper time in our pew, to set an example, as becomes us, than to
stand here talking of gloves and nonsense."

He offered his wife and daughter each an arm, and set out for the
cathedral; but Phoebe was too busy in drawing on her new gloves,
and her mother was too angry at the sight of them, to accept of Mr.
Hill's courtesy. "What I say is always nonsense, I know, Mr.
Hill," resumed the matron: "but I can see as far into a millstone
as other folks. Was it not I that first gave you a hint of what
became of the great dog that we lost out of our tan-yard last
winter? And was it not I who first took notice to you, Mr. Hill,
verger as you are, of the hole under the foundation of the
cathedral? Was it not, I ask you, Mr. Hill?"

"But, my dear Mrs. Hill, what has all this to do with Phoebe's

"Are you blind, Mr. Hill? Don't you see that they are Limerick

"What of that?" said Mr. Hill, still preserving his composure, as
it was his custom to do as long as he could, when he saw his wife
was ruffled.

"What of that, Mr. Hill! why, don't you know that Limerick is in
Ireland, Mr. Hill?"

"With all my heart, my dear."

"Yes, and with all your heart, I suppose, Mr. Hill, you would see
our cathedral blown up, some fair day or other, and your own
daughter married to the person that did it; and you a verger, Mr.

"God forbid!" cried Mr, Hill; and he stopped short and settled his
wig. Presently recovering himself, he added, "But, Mrs. Hill, the
cathedral is not yet blown up; and our Phoebe is not yet married."

"No; but what of that, Mr. Hill? Forewarned is forearmed, as I
told you before your dog was gone; but you would not believe me,
and you see how it turned out in that case; and so it will in this
case, you'll see, Mr. Hill."

"But you puzzle and frighten me out of my wits, Mrs. Hill," said
the verger, again settling his wig. "IN THAT CASE AND IN THIS
CASE! I can't understand a syllable of what you've been saying to
me this half-hour. In plain English, what is there the matter
about Phoebe's gloves?"

"In plain English, then, Mr. Hill, since you can understand nothing
else, please to ask your daughter Phoebe who gave her those gloves.
Phoebe, who gave you those gloves?"

"I wish they were burnt," said the husband, whose patience could
endure no longer. "Who gave you those cursed gloves, Phoebe?"

"Papa," answered Phoebe, in a low voice, "they were a present from
Mr. Brian O'Neill."

"The Irish glover!" cried Mr. Hill, with a look of terror.

"Yes," resumed the mother; "very true, Mr. Hill, I assure you.
Now, you see, I had my reasons."

"Take off the gloves directly: I order you, Phoebe," said her
father, in his most peremptory tone. "I took a mortal dislike to
that Mr. Brian O'Neill the first time I ever saw him. He's an
Irishman, and that's enough, and too much for me. Off with the
gloves, Phoebe! When I order a thing, it must be done."

Phoebe seemed to find some difficulty in getting off the gloves,
and gently urged that she could not well go into the cathedral
without them. This objection was immediately removed by her
mother's pulling from her pocket a pair of mittens, which had once
been brown, and once been whole, but which were now rent in sundry
places; and which, having been long stretched by one who was twice
the size of Phoebe, now hung in huge wrinkles upon her well-turned

"But, papa," said Phoebe, "why should we take a dislike to him
because he is an Irishman? Cannot an Irishman be a good man?"

The verger made no answer to this question, but a few seconds after
it was put to him observed that the cathedral bell had just done
ringing; and, as they were now got to the church door, Mrs. Hill,
with a significant look at Phoebe, remarked that it was no proper
time to talk or think of good men, or bad men, or Irishmen, or any
men, especially for a verger's daughter.

We pass over in silence the many conjectures that were made by
several of the congregation concerning the reason why Miss Phoebe
Hill should appear in such a shameful shabby pair of gloves on a
Sunday. After service was ended, the verger went, with great
mystery, to examine the hole under the foundation of the cathedral;
and Mrs. Hill repaired, with the grocer's and the stationer's
ladies, to take a walk in the Close, where she boasted to all her
female acquaintance, whom she called her friends, of her maternal
discretion in prevailing upon Mr. Hill to forbid her daughter
Phoebe to wear the Limerick gloves.

In the meantime, Phoebe walked pensively homewards, endeavouring to
discover why her father should take a mortal dislike to a man at
first sight, merely because he was an Irishman: and why her mother
had talked so much of the great dog which had been lost last year
out of the tan-yard; and of the hole under the foundation of the
cathedral! "What has all this to do with my Limerick gloves?"
thought she. The more she thought, the less connection she could
perceive between these things: for as she had not taken a dislike
to Mr. Brian O'Neill at first sight, because he was an Irishman,
she could not think it quite reasonable to suspect him of making
away with her father's dog, nor yet of a design to blow up Hereford
Cathedral. As she was pondering upon these matters, she came
within sight of the ruins of a poor woman's house, which a few
months before this time had been burnt down. She recollected that
her first acquaintance with her lover began at the time of this
fire; and she thought that the courage and humanity he showed, in
exerting himself to save this unfortunate woman and her children,
justified her notion of the possibility that an Irishman might be a
good man.

The name of the poor woman whose house had been burnt down was
Smith: she was a widow, and she now lived at the extremity of a
narrow lane in a wretched habitation. Why Phoebe thought of her
with more concern than usual at this instant we need not examine,
but she did; and, reproaching herself for having neglected it for
some weeks past, she resolved to go directly to see the widow
Smith, and to give her a crown which she had long had in her
pocket, with which she had intended to have bought play tickets.

It happened that the first person she saw in the poor widow's
kitchen was the identical Mr. O'Neill. "I did not expect to see
anybody here but you, Mrs. Smith," said Phoebe, blushing.

"So much the greater the pleasure of the meeting; to me, I mean,
Miss Hill," said O'Neill, rising, and putting down a little boy,
with whom he had been playing. Phoebe went on talking to the poor
woman; and, after slipping the crown into her hand, said she would
call again. O'Neill, surprised at the change in her manner,
followed her when she left the house, and said, "It would be a
great misfortune to me to have done anything to offend Miss Hill,
especially if I could not conceive how or what it was, which is my
case at this present speaking." And as the spruce glover spoke, he
fixed his eyes upon Phoebe's ragged gloves. She drew them up in
vain; and then said, with her natural simplicity and gentleness,
"You have not done anything to offend me, Mr. O'Neill; but you are
some way or other displeasing to my father and mother, and they
have forbid me to wear the Limerick gloves."

"And sure Miss Hill would not be after changing her opinion of her
humble servant for no reason in life but because her father and
mother, who have taken a prejudice against him, are a little

"No," replied Phoebe; "I should not change my opinion without any
reason; but I have not yet had time to fix my opinion of you, Mr.

"To let you know a piece of my mind, then, my dear Miss Hill,"
resumed he, "the more contrary they are, the more pride and joy it
would give me to win and wear you, in spite of 'em all; and if
without a farthing in your pocket, so much the more I should
rejoice in the opportunity of proving to your dear self, and all
else whom it may consarn, that Brian O'Neill is no fortune-hunter,
and scorns them that are so narrow-minded as to think that no other
kind of cattle but them there fortune-hunters can come out of all
Ireland. So, my dear Phoebe, now we understand one another, I hope
you will not be paining my eyes any longer with the sight of these
odious brown bags, which are not fit to be worn by any Christian
arms, to say nothing of Miss Hill's, which are the handsomest,
without any compliment, that ever I saw, and, to my mind, would
become a pair of Limerick gloves beyond anything: and I expect
she'll show her generosity and proper spirit by putting them on

"You expect, sir!" repeated Miss Hill, with a look of more
indignation than her gentle countenance had ever before been seen
to assume. "Expect!" "If he had said hope," thought she, "it
would have been another thing: but expect! what right has he to

Now Miss Hill, unfortunately, was not sufficiently acquainted with
the Irish idiom to know that to expect, in Ireland, is the same
thing as to hope in England; and, when her Irish admirer said "I
expect," he meant only, in plain English, "I hope." But thus it is
that a poor Irishman, often, for want of understanding the niceties
of the English language, says the rudest when he means to say the
civillest things imaginable.

Miss Hill's feelings were so much hurt by this unlucky "I expect"
that the whole of his speech, which had before made some favourable
impression upon her, now lost its effect: and she replied with
proper spirit, as she thought, "You expect a great deal too much,
Mr. O'Neill; and more than ever I gave you reason to do. It would
be neither pleasure nor pride to me to be won and worn, as you were
pleased to say, in spite of them all; and to be thrown, without a
farthing in my pocket, upon the protection of one who expects so
much at first setting out.--So I assure you, sir, whatever you may
expect, I shall not put on the Limerick gloves."

Mr. O'Neill was not without his share of pride and proper spirit;
nay, he had, it must be confessed, in common with some others of
his countrymen, an improper share of pride and spirit. Fired by
the lady's coldness, he poured forth a volley of reproaches; and
ended by wishing, as he said, a good morning, for ever and ever, to
one who could change her opinion, point blank, like the
weathercock. "I am, miss, your most obedient; and I expect you'll
never think no more of poor Brian O'Neill and the Limerick gloves."

If he had not been in too great a passion to observe anything, poor
Brian O'Neill would have found out that Phoebe was not a
weathercock: but he left her abruptly, and hurried away, imagining
all the while that it was Phoebe, and not himself, who was in a
rage. Thus, to the horseman who is galloping at full speed, the
hedges, trees, and houses seem rapidly to recede, whilst, in
reality, they never move from their places. It is he that flies
from them, and not they from him.

On Monday morning Miss Jenny Brown, the perfumer's daughter, came
to pay Phoebe a morning visit, with face of busy joy.

"So, my dear!" said she: "fine doings in Hereford! But what makes
you look so downcast? To be sure you are invited, as well as the
rest of us."

"Invited where?" cried Mrs. Hill, who was present, and who could
never endure to hear of an invitation in which she was not
included. "Invited where, pray, Miss Jenny?"

"La! have not you heard? Why, we all took it for granted that you
and Miss Phoebe would have been the first and foremost to have been
asked to Mr. O'Neill's ball."

"Ball!" cried Mrs. Hill; and luckily saved Phoebe, who was in some
agitation, the trouble of speaking. "Why, this is a mighty sudden
thing: I never heard a tittle of it before."

"Well, this is really extraordinary! And, Phoebe, have you not
received a pair of Limerick gloves?"

"Yes, I have," said Phoebe, "but what then? What have my Limerick
gloves to do with the ball?"

"A great deal," replied Jenny. "Don't you know that a pair of
Limerick gloves is, as one may say, a ticket to this ball? for
every lady that has been asked has had a pair sent to her along
with the card; and I believe as many as twenty, besides myself,
have been asked this morning."

Jenny then produced her new pair of Limerick gloves, and as she
tried them on, and showed how well they fitted, she counted up the
names of the ladies who, to her knowledge, were to be at this ball.
When she had finished the catalogue, she expatiated upon the grand
preparations which it was said the widow O'Neill, Mr. O'Neill's
mother, was making for the supper, and concluded by condoling with
Mrs. Hill for her misfortune in not having been invited. Jenny
took her leave to get her dress in readiness: "for," added she,
"Mr. O'Neill has engaged me to open the ball in case Phoebe does
not go; but I suppose she will cheer up and go, as she has a pair
of Limerick gloves as well as the rest of us."

There was a silence for some minutes after Jenny's departure, which
was broken by Phoebe, who told her mother that, early in the
morning, a note had been brought to her, which she had returned
unopened, because she knew, from the handwriting of the direction,
that it came from Mr. O'Neill.

We must observe that Phoebe had already told her mother of her
meeting with this gentleman at the poor widow's, and of all that
had passed between them afterwards. This openness on her part had
softened the heart of Mrs. Hill, who was really inclined to be
good-natured, provided people would allow that she had more
penetration than any one else in Hereford. She was, moreover, a
good deal piqued and alarmed by the idea that the perfumer's
daughter might rival and outshine her own. Whilst she had thought
herself sure of Mr. O'Neill's attachment to Phoebe, she had looked
higher, especially as she was persuaded by the perfumer's lady to
think that an Irishman could not but be a bad match; but now she
began to suspect that the perfumer's lady had changed her opinion
of Irishmen, since she did not object to her own Jenny's leading up
the ball at Mr. O'Neill's.

All these thoughts passed rapidly in the mother's mind, and, with
her fear of losing an admirer for her Phoebe, the value of that
admirer suddenly rose in her estimation. Thus, at an auction, if a
lot is going to be knocked down to a lady who is the only person
that has bid for it, even she feels discontented, and despises that
which nobody covets; but if, as the hammer is falling, many voices
answer to the question, "Who bids more?" then her anxiety to secure
the prize suddenly rises, and, rather than be outbid, she will give
far beyond its value.

"Why, child," said Mrs. Hill, "since you have a pair of Limerick
gloves; and since certainly that note was an invitation to us to
this ball; and since it is much more fitting that you should open
the ball than Jenny Brown; and since, after all, it was very
handsome and genteel of the young man to say he would take you
without a farthing in your pocket, which shows that those were
misinformed who talked of him as an Irish adventurer; and since we
are not certain 'twas he made away with the dog, although he said
its barking was a great nuisance; there is no great reason to
suppose he was the person who made the hole under the foundation of
the cathedral, or that he could have such a wicked thought as to
blow it up; and since he must be in a very good way of business to
be able to afford giving away four or five guineas' worth of
Limerick gloves, and balls and suppers; and since, after all, it is
no fault of his to be an Irishman, I give it as my vote and
opinion, my dear, that you put on your Limerick gloves and go to
this ball; and I'll go and speak to your father, and bring him
round to our opinion, and then I'll pay the morning visit I owe to
the widow O'Neill and make up your quarrel with Brian. Love
quarrels are easy to make up, you know, and then we shall have
things all upon velvet again, and Jenny Brown need not come with
her hypocritical condoling face to us any more."

After running this speech glibly off, Mrs. Hill, without waiting to
hear a syllable from poor Phoebe, trotted off in search of her
consort. It was not, however, quite so easy a task as his wife
expected, to bring Mr. Hill round to her opinion. He was slow in
declaring himself of any opinion; but when once he had said a
thing, there was but little chance of altering his notions. On
this occasion Mr. Hill was doubly bound to his prejudice against
our unlucky Irishman; for he had mentioned with great solemnity at
the club which he frequented the grand affair of the hole under the
foundation of the cathedral, and his suspicions that there was a
design to blow it up. Several of the club had laughed at this
idea; others, who supposed that Mr. O'Neill was a Roman Catholic,
and who had a confused notion that a Roman Catholic must be a very
wicked, dangerous being, thought that there might be a great deal
in the verger's suggestions, and observed that a very watchful eye
ought to be kept upon this Irish glover, who had come to settle at
Hereford nobody knew why, and who seemed to have money at command
nobody knew how.

The news of this ball sounded to Mr. Hill's prejudiced imagination
like the news of a conspiracy. "Ay! ay!" thought he; "the Irishman
is cunning enough! But we shall be too many for him: he wants to
throw all the good sober folks of Hereford off their guard by
feasting, and dancing, and carousing, I take it, and so to
perpetrate his evil design when it is least suspected; but we shall
be prepared for him, fools as he takes us plain Englishmen to be, I

In consequence of these most shrewd cogitations, our verger
silenced his wife with a peremptory nod when she came to persuade
him to let Phoebe put on the Limerick gloves and go to the ball.
"To this ball she shall not go, and I charge her not to put on
those Limerick gloves as she values my blessing," said Mr. Hill.
"Please to tell her so, Mrs. Hill, and trust to my judgment and
discretion in all things, Mrs. Hill. Strange work may be in
Hereford yet: but I'll say no more; I must go and consult with
knowing men who are of my opinion."

He sallied forth, and Mrs. Hill was left in a state which only
those who are troubled with the disease of excessive curiosity can
rightly comprehend or compassionate. She hied her back to Phoebe,
to whom she announced her father's answer, and then went gossiping
to all her female acquaintance in Hereford, to tell them all that
she knew, and all that she did not know, and to endeavour to find
out a secret where there was none to be found.

There are trials of temper in all conditions, and no lady, in high
or low life, could endure them with a better grace than Phoebe.
Whilst Mr. and Mrs. Hill were busied abroad, there came to see
Phoebe one of the widow Smith's children. With artless expressions
of gratitude to Phoebe this little girl mixed the praises of
O'Neill, who, she said, had been the constant friend of her mother,
and had given her money every week since the fire happened. "Mammy
loves him dearly for being so good-natured," continued the child;
"and he has been good to other people as well as to us."

"To whom?" said Phoebe.

"To a poor man who has lodged for these few days past next door to
us," replied the child; "I don't know his name rightly, but he is
an Irishman, and he goes out a-haymaking in the daytime along with
a number of others. He knew Mr. O'Neill in his own country, and he
told mammy a great deal about his goodness."

As the child finished these words, Phoebe took out of a drawer some
clothes, which she had made for the poor woman's children, and gave
them to the little girl. It happened that the Limerick gloves had
been thrown into this drawer; and Phoebe's favourable sentiments of
the giver of those gloves were revived by what she had just heard,
and by the confession Mrs. Hill had made, that she had no reasons,
and but vague suspicious, for thinking ill of him. She laid the
gloves perfectly smooth, and strewed over them, whilst the little
girl went on talking of Mr. O'Neill, the leaves of a rose which she
had worn on Sunday.

Mr. Hill was all this time in deep conference with those prudent
men of Hereford who were of his own opinion, about the perilous
hole under the cathedral. The ominous circumstance of this ball
was also considered, the great expense at which the Irish glover
lived, and his giving away gloves, which was a sure sign he was not
under any necessity to sell them, and consequently a proof that,
though he pretended to be a glover, he was something wrong in
disguise. Upon putting all these things together, it was resolved
by these over-wise politicians that the best thing that could be
done for Hereford, and the only possible means of preventing the
immediate destruction of its cathedral, would be to take Mr.
O'Neill into custody. Upon recollection, however, it was perceived
that there was no legal ground on which he could be attacked. At
length, after consulting an attorney, they devised what they
thought an admirable mode of proceeding.

Our Irish hero had not that punctuality which English tradesmen
usually observe in the payment of bills; he had, the preceding
year, run up a long bill with a grocer in Hereford, and, as he had
not at Christmas cash in hand to pay it, he had given a note,
payable six months after date. The grocer, at Mr. Hill's request,
made over the note to him, and it was determined that the money
should be demanded, as it was now due, and that, if it was not paid
directly, O'Neill should be that night arrested. How Mr. Hill made
the discovery of this debt to the grocer agree with his former
notion that the Irish glover had always money at command we cannot
well conceive, but anger and prejudice will swallow down the
grossest contradictions without difficulty.

When Mr. Hill's clerk went to demand payment of the note, O'Neill's
head was full of the ball which he was to give that evening. He
was much surprised at the unexpected appearance of the note: he
had not ready money by him to pay it; and after swearing a good
deal at the clerk, and complaining of this ungenerous and
ungentleman-like behaviour in the grocer and the tanner, he told
the clerk to be gone, and not to be bothering him at such an
unseasonable time: that he could not have the money then, and did
not deserve to have it at all.

This language and conduct were rather new to the English clerk's
mercantile ears: we cannot wonder that it should seem to him, as
he said to his master, more the language of a madman than a man of
business. This want of punctuality in money transactions, and this
mode of treating contracts as matters of favour and affection,
might not have damned the fame of our hero in his own country,
where such conduct is, alas! too common; but he was now in a
kingdom where the manners and customs are so directly opposite,
that he could meet with no allowance for his national faults. It
would be well for his countrymen if they were made, even by a few
mortifications, somewhat sensible of this important difference in
the habits of Irish and English traders before they come to settle
in England.

But to proceed with our story. On the night of Mr. O'Neill's grand
ball, as he was seeing his fair partner, the perfumer's daughter,
safe home, he felt himself tapped on the shoulder by no friendly
hand. When he was told that he was the king's prisoner, he
vociferated with sundry strange oaths, which we forbear to repeat.
"No, I am not the king's prisoner! I am the prisoner of that
shabby, rascally tanner, Jonathan Hill. None but he would arrest a
gentleman in this way, for a trifle not worth mentioning."

Miss Jenny Brown screamed when she found herself under the
protection of a man who was arrested; and, what between her screams
and his oaths, there was such a disturbance that a mob gathered.

Among this mob there was a party of Irish hay-makers, who, after
returning late from a hard day's work, had been drinking in a
neighbouring ale-house. With one accord they took part with their
countryman, and would have rescued him from the civil officers with
all the pleasure in life if he had not fortunately possessed just
sufficient sense and command of himself to restrain their party
spirit, and to forbid them, as they valued his life and reputation,
to interfere, by word or deed, in his defence.

He then despatched one of the haymakers home to his mother, to
inform her of what had happened, and to request that she would get
somebody to be bail for him as soon as possible, as the officers
said they could not let him out of their sight till he was bailed
by substantial people, or till the debt was discharged.

The widow O'Neill was just putting out the candles in the ball-room
when this news of her son's arrest was brought to her. We pass
over Hibernian exclamations: she consoled her pride by reflecting
that it would certainly be the most easy thing imaginable to
procure bail for Mr. O'Neill in Hereford, where he had so many
friends who had just been dancing at his house; but to dance at his
house she found was one thing and to be bail for him quite another.
Each guest sent excuses, and the widow O'Neill was astonished at
what never fails to astonish everybody when it happens to
themselves. "Rather than let my son be detained in this manner for
a paltry debt," cried she, "I'd sell all I have within half an hour
to a pawnbroker." It was well no pawnbroker heard this
declaration: she was too warm to consider economy. She sent for a
pawnbroker, who lived in the same street, and, after pledging goods
to treble the amount of the debt, she obtained ready money for her
son's release.

O'Neill, after being in custody for about an hour and a half, was
set at liberty upon the payment of his debt. As he passed by the
cathedral in his way home, he heard the clock strike; and he called
to a man, who was walking backwards and forwards in the churchyard,
to ask whether it was two or three that the clock struck. "Three,"
answered the man; "and, as yet, all is safe."

O'Neill, whose head was full of other things, did not stop to
inquire the meaning of these last words. He little suspected that

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