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The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 2 by Anon.

Part 3 out of 7

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mad?" Then my brother, making as if he had come to himself again,
said, "My lord, you have been so good as to admit your slave into
your house, and give him a treat; you should have been satisfied
with making me eat, and not have obliged me to drink wine; for I
told you beforehand, that it might occasion me to fail in my
respect for you. I am very sorry for it, and beg you a thousand

Scarcely had he finished these words, when the Barmecide, instead
of being in a passion, fell a laughing with all his might. "I
have been long," said he, "seeking a man of your character."

The Barmecide caressed Schacabac mightily, and told him, "I not
only forgive the blow you have given me, but I desire
henceforward we should be friends, and that you take my house for
your home: you have had the complaisance to accommodate yourself
to my humour, and the patience to keep the jest up to the last;
we will now eat in good earnest." When he had finished these
words, he clapped his hands, and commanded his servants, who then
appeared, to cover the table; which was speedily done, and my
brother was treated with all those dishes in reality, which he
ate of before in fancy. At last they cleared the table, and
brought in the wine, and at the same time a number of handsome
slaves, richly appareled, came and sung some agreeable airs to
their musical instruments. In a word, Schacabac had all the
reason in the world to be satisfied with the Barmecide's civility
and bounty; for he treated him as his familiar friend, and
ordered him a suit from his wardrobe.

The Barmecide found my brother to be a man of so much wit and
understanding, that in a few days after he entrusted him with the
care of his household and all his affairs. My brother acquitted
himself very well in that employment for twenty years; at the end
of which the generous Barmecide died, and leaving no heirs, all
his property was confiscated to the use of the prince; and my
brother lost all he had acquired. Being reduced to his first
condition, he joined a caravan of pilgrims going to Mecca,
designing to accomplish that pilgrimage by their charity; but
unfortunately the caravan was attacked and plundered by a number
of Bedouins, superior to that of the pilgrims. My brother was
then taken as a slave by one of the Bedouins, who put him under
the bastinado for several days, to oblige him to ransom himself.
Schacabac protested that it was all in vain. "I am your slave,"
said he, "you may dispose of me as you please; but I declare to
you that I am extremely poor, and not able to redeem myself." In
a word, my brother discovered to him all his misfortunes, and
endeavoured to soften him with tears; but the Bedouin was not to
be moved, and being vexed to find himself disappointed of a
considerable sum of which he reckoned himself sure, he took his
knife and slit my brother's lips. to avenge himself by this
inhumanity for the loss that he thought he had sustained.

The Bedouin had a handsome wife, and frequently when he went on
his excursions left my brother alone with her. At such times she
used all her endeavours to comfort my brother under the rigour of
his slavery. She gave him tokens enough that she loved him, but
he durst not return her passion, for fear he should repent; and
therefore avoided being alone with her, as much as she sought the
opportunity to be alone with him. She was so much in the habit of
caressing and playing with the miserable Schacabac, whenever she
saw him, that one day she happened to act in the same manner, in
the presence of her husband. My brother, without taking notice
that he observed them (so his sins would have it), played
likewise with her. The Bedouin, immediately supposing that they
lived together in a criminal manner, fell upon my brother in a
rage, and after he had mutilated him in a barbarous manner,
carried him on a camel to the top of a desert mountain, where he
left him. The mountain was on the road to Bagdad, so that the
passengers who saw him there informed me where he was. I went
thither speedily, and found unfortunate Schacabac in a deplorable
condition: I gave him what help he stood in need of, and brought
him back to the city.

This is what I told the caliph; that prince applauded me with new
fits of laughter. "Now," said he, "I cannot doubt but they justly
give you the surname of Silent. No one can say the contrary for
certain reasons, however, I command you to depart this town
immediately, and let me hear no more of you." I yielded to
necessity, and travelled for several years in distant countries.
Understanding at last that the caliph was dead, I returned to
Bagdad, where I found not one of my brothers alive. It was on my
return to this city that I did the lame young man the important
service which you have heard. You are, however, witnesses of his
ingratitude, and of the injurious manner in which he treated me;
instead of testifying his obligation, he rather chose to fly from
me and leave his own country. When I understood that he was not
at Bagdad, though no one could tell me whither he was gone, I
determined to seek him. I travelled from province to province a
long time; and when I least expected, met him this day, but I
little thought to find him so incensed against me.

When the barber had concluded his story, we found that the young
man was not to blame for calling him a great chatterer. However,
he wished him to stay with us, and partake of the entertainment
which the master of the house had prepared. We sat down to table,
and were merry together till afternoon prayers; when all the
company parted, and I went to my shop, till it was time to return
home. It was during this interval that humpback came half drunk
before my shop, where he sung and played on his tabor. I thought
that, by carrying him home with me, I should divert my wife,
therefore I took him in: my wife gave us a dish of fish, and I
presented humpback with some, which he ate, without taking notice
of a bone. He fell down dead before us, and after having in vain
essayed to help him, in the trouble and fear occasioned by such
an unlucky accident, we carried the corpse out, and dexterously
lodged him with the Jewish doctor. The Jewish doctor put him into
the chamber of the purveyor, and the purveyor carried him out
into the street, where it was believed the merchant had killed
him. "This sir," added the tailor, "is what I had to say to
satisfy your majesty, who must pronounce whether we be worthy of
mercy or wrath, life or death."

The sultan of Casgar shewed a satisfaction in his countenance,
which restored the tailor and his comrades to life. "I cannot but
acknowledge," said he, "that I am more struck with the history of
the young cripple, with that of the barber, and with the
adventures of his brothers, than with the story of my jester: but
before I send you all away, and we proceed to bury humpback, I
should like to see the barber who is the occasion of my pardoning
you; since he is in my capital, it is easy to satisfy my
curiosity." At the same time he sent an officer with the tailor
to find him.

The officer and the tailor went immediately and brought the
barber, whom they presented to the sultan: the barber was a
venerable man about ninety years of age; his eye-brows and beard
were white as snow, his ears hanging down, and his nose very
long. The sultan could not forbear laughing when he saw him.
"Silent man," said he to him, "I understand that you know
wonderful stories, will you tell me some of them?"

"Sir," answered the barber, "let us forbear the stories, if you
please, at present. I most humbly beg your majesty to permit me
to ask what that Christian, that Jew, that Moosulmaun and that
dead humpback, who ties on the ground, do here before your
majesty?" The sultan smiled at the barber's freedom, and replied,
"Why do you ask?" "Sir," replied the barber, "it concerns me to
ask, that your majesty may know I am not so great a talker as
some represent me, but a man justly called Silent."

The sultan commanded them to tell him the story of the humpback,
which he seemed earnestly to wish for. When the barber heard it,
he shook his head, as if he would say, there was something under
this which he did not understand. "Truly," cried he, "this is a
surprising story; but I wish to examine humpback a little
nearer." He approached him, sat down on the ground, took his head
between his knees, and after he had looked upon him steadfastly,
fell into so great a fit of laughter, and had so little command
of himself, that he fell backwards on the ground, without
considering that he was before the sultan of Casgar. As soon as
he came to himself, "It is said," cried he, "and not without
reason, that no man dies without a cause. If ever any history
deserved to be written in letters of gold, it is that of this

At this all the people looked on the barber as a buffoon, or an
old dotard. "Silent man," said the sultan, "why do you laugh?"
"Sir," answered the barber, "I swear by your majesty's
benevolence, that humpback is not dead: he is yet alive, and I
shall be content to pass for a madman if I do not convince you
this minute." So saying, he took a box wherein he had several
medicines that he carried about him to use as occasion might
require; and drew out a little phial of balsam, with which he
rubbed humpback's neck a long time; then he took out of his case
a neat iron instrument, which he put betwixt his teeth, and after
he had opened his mouth, he thrust down his throat a pair of
small pincers, with which he took out a bit of fish and bone,
which he shewed to all the people. Immediately humpback sneezed,
stretched forth his arms and feet, opened his eyes, and shewed
several other signs of life.

The sultan of Casgar, and all who were witnesses of this
operation, were less surprised to see humpback revive, after he
had passed a whole night, and great part of a day, without giving
any sign of life, than at the merit and capacity of the barber,
who performed this; and notwithstanding all his faults, began to
look upon him as a great physician. The sultan, transported with
joy and admiration, ordered the story of humpback to be written
down, with that of the barber, that the memory of them might, as
it deserved, be preserved for ever. Nor did he stop here; but,
that the tailor, Jewish doctor, purveyor, and Christian merchant
might remember the adventure, which the accident of humpback had
occasioned to them, with pleasure, he did not send them away till
he had given each of them a very rich robe, with which he caused
them to be clothed in his presence. As for the barber, he
honoured him with a great pension, and kept him near his person.

The History of Aboulhassen Ali Ebn Becar, and
Schemselnihar, Favourite of Caliph Maroon Al Rusheed.

In the reign of the caliph Haroon al Rusheed, there lived at
Bagdad a druggist, named Alboussan Ebn Thaher, a very rich
handsome man. He had more wit and politeness than people of his
profession generally possess: his integrity, sincerity, and good
humour made him beloved and sought after by all sorts of people.
The caliph, who knew his merit, had entire confidence in him. He
held him in such high esteem, that he entrusted him to provide
his favourite ladies with all the things they stood in need of.
He chose for them their clothes, furniture, and jewels, with
admirable taste.

His good qualities, and the favour of the caliph, occasioned the
sons of emirs, and other officers of the first rank, to be always
about him: his house was the rendezvous of all the nobility of
the court Among the young lords that went daily to visit him, was
one whom he took more notice of than the rest, and with whom he
contrasted a particular friendship, called Aboulhassen Ali Ebn
Becar, originally of an ancient royal family of Persia. This
family had continued at Bagdad ever since the conquest of that
kingdom. Nature seemed to have taken pleasure in endowing this
young prince with the rarest qualities of body and mind: his face
was so very beautiful, his shape so fine, his air so easy, and
his physiognomy so engaging, that it was impossible to see him
without immediately loving him. When he spoke, he expressed
himself in terms proper and well chosen, with a new and agreeable
turn, and his voice charmed all that heard him: he had besides so
much wit and judgment, that he thought and spoke of all subjects
with admirable exactness. He was so reserved and modest, that he
advanced nothing till after he had taken all possible care to
avoid giving any ground of suspicion that he preferred his own
opinion to that of others.

Being such a person as I have represented him, we need not wonder
that Ebn Thaher distinguished him from all the other young
noblemen of the court, most of whom had the vices which composed
the opposites to his virtues. One day, when the prince was with
Ebn Thaher, there came a lady mounted on a piebald mule, in the
midst of ten female slaves who accompanied her on foot, all very
handsome, as far as could be judged by their air, and through
their veils which covered their faces. The lady had a girdle of a
rose colour, four inches broad, embroidered with pearls and
diamonds of an extraordinary bigness; and for beauty it was easy
to perceive that she surpassed all her women, as far as the full
moon does that of two days old. She came to buy something, and as
she wanted to speak to Ebn Thaher, entered his shop, which was
very neat and spacious; and he received her with all the marks of
the most profound respect, entreating her to sit down, and
directing her to the most honourable place.

In the mean time, the prince of Persia, unwilling to lose such an
opportunity of strewing his good breeding and gallantry, adjusted
the cushion of cloth of gold, for the lady to lean on; after
which he hastily retired, that she might sit down; and having
saluted her, by kissing the carpet under her feet, rose and stood
before her at the lower end of the sofa. It being her custom to
be free with Ebn Thaher, she lifted up her veil, and discovered
to the prince of Persia such an extraordinary beauty as struck
him to the heart. On the other hand, the lady could not refrain
from looking upon the prince, the sight of whom had made the same
impressions upon her. "My lord," said she to him, with an
obliging air, "pray sit down." The prince of Persia obeyed, and
sat on the edge of the sofa. He had his eyes constantly fixed
upon her, and swallowed large draughts of the sweet poison of
love. She quickly perceived what passed in his heart, and this
discovery served to inflame her the more towards him. She arose,
went to Ebn Thaher, and after she had whispered to him the cause
of her coming, asked the name and country of the prince. "Madam,"
answered Ebn Thaher, "this young nobleman's name is Aboulhassen
Ali Ebn Becar, and he is a prince of the blood royal of Persia."

The lady was transported at hearing that the person she already
loved so passionately was of so high a rank. "Do you really
mean," said she, "that he is descended from the kings of Persia?"
"Yes, madam," replied Ebn Thaher, "the last kings of Persia were
his ancestors, and since the conquest of that kingdom, the
princes of his family have always made themselves very acceptable
at the court of our caliphs." "You will oblige me much," added
she, "by making me acquainted with this young nobleman: when I
send this woman," pointing to one of her slaves, "to give you
notice to come and see me, pray bring him with you; I shall be
glad to afford him the opportunity of seeing the magnificence of
my house, that he may have it in his power to say, that avarice
does not reign at Bagdad among persons of quality. You know what
I mean."

Ebn Thaher was a man of too much penetration not to perceive the
lady's mind by these words: "My princess, my queen," replied he,
"God preserve me from giving you any occasion of anger: I shall
always make it a law to obey your commands." At this answer, the
lady bowed to Ebn Thaher, and took her leave; and after she had
given a favorable look to the prince of Persia, she remounted her
mule, and departed.

The prince of Persia was so deeply in love with the lady, that he
looked after her as far as he could; and long after she was out
of sight directed his eyes that way. Ebn Thaher told him, that he
remarked several persons observing him, and began to laugh to see
him in this posture. "Alas!" said the prince, "the world and you
would pity me, if you knew that the beautiful lady, who is just
gone from you, has carried with her the best part of me, and that
the remaining part seeks for an opportunity to go after her. Tell
me, I conjure you," added he, "what cruel lady is this, who
forces people to love her, without giving them time to reflect?"
"My lord," answered Ebn Thaher, "this is the celebrated
Schemselnihar, the principal favourite of the caliph, our
master." "She is justly so called," added the prince, "since she
is more beautiful than the sun at noonday." "True," replied Ebn
Thaher; "therefore the commander of the faithful loves, or rather
adores her. He gave me express orders to furnish her with all
that she asked for, and to anticipate her wishes as far as lies
in my power."

He spoke thus to hinder him from engaging in a passion which
could not but prove unfortunate to him; but this served only to
inflame it the more. "I feared, charming Schemselnihar," cried
he, "I should not be allowed so much as to think of you; I
perceive, however, that without hopes of being loved in return, I
cannot forbear loving you; I will love you then, and bless my lot
that I am the slave of an object fairer than the meridian sun."

While the prince of Persia thus consecrated his heart to the fair
Schemselnihar, this lady, as she went home, contrived how she
might see, and have free converse with him. She no sooner entered
her palace, than she sent to Ebn Thaher the woman she had pointed
out to him, and in whom she placed all her confidence, to tell
him to come and see her without delay, and bring the prince of
Persia with him. The slave came to Ebn Thaher's shop, while he
was speaking to the prince, and endeavouring to dissuade him, by
very strong arguments, from loving the caliph's favourite. When
she saw them together, "Gentlemen," said she, "my honourable
mistress Schemselnihar the chief favourite of the commander of
the faithful, entreats you to come to her palace, where she waits
for you." Ebn Thaher, to testify his obedience, rose up
immediately, without answering the slave, and followed her, not
without some reluctance. The prince also followed he, without
reflecting on the danger there might be in such a visit. The
presence of Ebn Thaher, who had liberty to go to the favourite
when he pleased, made the prince very easy: they followed the
slave, who went a little before them, and entered after her into
the caliph's palace, and joined her at the gate of
Schemselnihar's pavilion, which was ready open. She introduced
them into a great hall, where she prayed them to be seated.

The prince of Persia thought himself in one of those delicious
palaces that are promised to us in the other world: he had never
seen any thing that came near the magnificence of the place. The
carpets, cushions, and other appendages of the sofa, the
furniture, ornaments, and architecture, were surprisingly rich
and beautiful. A little time after Ebn Thaher and he had seated
themselves, a very handsome black slave brought in a table
covered with several delicacies, the admirable smell of which
evinced how deliciously they were seasoned. While they were
eating, the slave who brought them in waited upon them; she took
particular care to invite them to eat of what she knew to be the
greatest dainties. The other slaves brought them excellent wine
after they had eaten. When they had done, there was presented to
each of them a gold basin full of water to wash their hands;
after which, they brought them a golden pot full of the wood of
aloes, with which they perfumed their beards and clothes.
Odoriferous water was not forgotten, but served in a golden
vessel enriched with diamonds and rubies, and it was thrown upon
their beards and faces according to custom; they then resumed
their places, but had scarcely sat down, when the slave entreated
them to arise and follow her. She opened a door, and conducted
them into a large saloon of wonderful structure. It was a dome of
the most agreeable form, supported by a hundred pillars of
marble, white as alabaster. The bases and chapiters of the
pillars were adorned with four-footed beasts, and birds of
various sorts, gilded. The carpet of this noble saloon consisted
of one piece of cloth of gold, embroidered with bunches of roses
in red and white silk; and the dome painted in the same manner,
after the Arabian fashion, presented to the mind one of the most
charming objects. In every space between the columns was a little
sofa adorned in the same manner, and great vessels of china,
crystal, jasper, jet, porphyry, agate, and other precious
materials, garnished with gold and jewels; in these spaces were
also so many large windows, with balconies projecting breast
high, fitted up as the sofas, and looking out into the most
delicious garden; the walks were of little pebbles of different
colours, of the same pattern as the carpet of the saloon; so
that, looking upon the carpet within and without it seemed as if
the dome and the garden with all its ornaments had been upon the
same carpet. The prospect was, at the end of the walks,
terminated by two canals of clear water, of the same circular
figure as the dome, one of which being higher than the other,
emptied its water into the lowermost, in form of a sheet; and
curious pots of gilt brass, with flowers and shrubs, were set
upon the banks of the canals at equal distances. Those walks lay
betwixt great plots of ground planted with straight and bushy
trees, where a thousand birds formed a melodious concert, and
diverted the eye by flying about, and playing together, or
fighting in the air.

The prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher were a long time engaged in
viewing the magnificence of the place, and expressed their
surprise at every thing thing saw, especially the prince, who had
never beheld any thing like it. Ebn Thaher, though he had been
several times in that delicious place, could not but observe many
new beauties, In a word they never grew weary in admiring so many
singularities, and were thus agreeably employed, when they
perceived a company of ladies richly appareled sitting without,
at some distance from the dome, each of them upon a seat of
Indian plane wood inlaid with silver filigree in compartments,
with instruments of music in their hands, waiting for orders to
play. They both went forward, and had a full view of the ladies,
and on the right they saw a great court with a stair up from the
garden, encompassed with beautiful apartments. The slave had left
them, and being alone, they conversed together; "For you, who are
a wise man," said the prince of Persia, "I doubt not but you look
with a great deal of satisfaction upon all these marks of
grandeur and power; for my part, I do not think there is any
thing in the world more surprising. But when I consider that this
is the glorious habitation of the lovely Schemselnihar, and that
the greatest monarch of the earth keeps her here, I confess to
you that I look upon myself to be the most unfortunate of all
mankind, and that no destiny can be more cruel than mine, to love
an object possessed by my rival, and that too in a place where he
is so potent, that I cannot think myself sure of my life one

Ebn Thaher, hearing the prince of Persia speak, replied, "Sir, I
wish you could give me as good assurance of the happy success of
your passion, as I can give you of the safety of your life.
Though this stately palace belongs to the caliph, who built it on
purpose for Schemselnihar, and called it the palace of eternal
pleasures, and though it makes part of his own palace, yet you
must know that this lady lives here at absolute liberty. She is
not beset by eunuchs to be spies upon her; this is her private
house, absolutely at her disposal. She goes into the city when
she pleases, and returns again, without asking leave of any body:
and the caliph never comes to see her, but he sends Mesrour, the
chief of his eunuchs, to give her notice, that she may be
prepared to receive him. Therefore you may be easy, and give full
attention to the concert of music, which, I perceive,
Schemselnihar is preparing for you."

Just as Ebn Thaher had spoken these words, the prince of Persia,
and he, saw the favourite's trusty slave giving orders to the
ladies to begin to sing, and play with the instruments: they all
began immediately to play together as a prelude, and after they
had played some time, one of them began to sing alone, and
accompanied herself at the same time admirably upon her lute,
being informed beforehand upon what subject she was to sing. The
words were so agreeable to the prince of Persia's sentiments,
that he could not forbear applauding her at the end of the
couplet. "Is it possible," cried he, "that you have the gift of
knowing people's hearts, and that the knowledge of what is
passing in my mind has occasioned you to give us a taste of your
charming voice by those words? I should not express myself
otherwise, were I to choose." The lady made no reply, but went on
and sung several other stanzas, with which the prince was so
affected, that he repeated some of them with tears in his eyes;
which discovered plainly enough that he applied them to himself.
When she had finished, she and her companions rose up and sung a
chorus, signifying by their words, that the full moon was going
to rise in all her splendour, and that they should speedily see
her approach the sun. Intimating, that Schemselnihar was coming,
and that the prince of Persia would soon have the pleasure of
beholding her.

In fact, as they looked towards the court, they saw
Schemselnihar's confidant coming towards them, followed by ten
black women, who, with much difficulty, carried a throne of
massive silver curiously wrought, which they set down before them
at a certain distance; the black slaves then retired behind the
trees, to the entrance of a walk. After this came twenty handsome
ladies richly appareled alike; they advanced in two rows, each
singing and playing upon instruments which she held in her hands,
and placed themselves on each side of the throne.

All these things kept the prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher in so
much the greater expectation, as they were curious to know how
they would end. At length they saw advancing from the gate
through which the ten black women had proceeded ten other ladies
equally handsome, and well dressed, who halted a few moments,
expecting the favourite, who came out last, and placed herself in
the midst of them.

Schemselnihar was easily distinguished from the rest, by her fine
shape and majestic air, as well as by a sort of mantle, of a very
fine stuff of gold and sky-blue, fastened to her shoulders, over
her other apparel, which was the most handsome, most magnificent,
and best contrived that could be imagined.

The pearls, rubies, and diamonds, which adorned her, were well
disposed; not many in number, but chosen with taste, and of
inestimable value. She came forward, with a majesty resembling
the sun in its course amidst the clouds, which receive his
splendour without hiding his lustre, and sat upon the silver
throne that had been brought for her.

As soon as the prince of Persia saw Schemselnihar, his eyes were
rivetted on her. "We cease inquiring," said he to Ebn Thaher,
"after what we seek, when once it is in view; and no doubt
remains, when once the truth is made apparent. Do you see this
charming beauty? She is the cause of all my sufferings, which I
bless, and will never forbear to bless, however severe and
lasting. At the sight of this objets, I am not my own master; my
soul is disturbed, and rebels, and seems disposed to leave me. Go
then, my soul, I allow thee; but let it be for the welfare and
preservation of this weak body. It is you, cruel Ebn Thaher, who
are the cause of this disorder, in bringing me hither. You
thought to do me a great pleasure; but I perceive I am only come
to complete my ruin. Pardon me," he continued, interrupting
himself; "I am mistaken. I would come, and can blame no one but
myself;" and at these words he burst into tears. "I am glad,"
said Ebn Thaher, "that you do me justice. When I told you at
first, that Schemselnihar was the caliph's chief favourite, I did
it on purpose to prevent that fatal passion which you please
yourself with entertaining. All that you see here ought to
disengage you, and you are to think of nothing but of
acknowledging the honour which Schemselnihar has done you, by
ordering me to bring you with me; recall then your wandering
reason, and prepare to appear before her, as good breeding
requires. See, she advances: were we to begin again, I would take
other measures, but since the thing is done, I pray God we may
not have cause to repent. All that I have now to say to you is,
that love is a traitor, who may involve you in difficulties from
which you will never be able to extricate yourself."

Ebn Thaher had no time to say more, because Schemselnihar
approached, and sitting down upon her throne, saluted them both
by bowing her head; but she fixed her eyes on the prince of
Persia, and they spoke to one another in a silent language
intermixed with sighs; by which in a few moments they spoke more
than they could have done by words in a much longer time. The
more Schemselnihar, looked upon the prince, the more she found in
his looks to confirm her opinion that he was in love with her;
and being thus persuaded of his passion, thought herself the
happiest woman in the world. At last she turned her eyes from
him, to command the women, who began to sing first, to come near;
they rose, and as they advanced, the black women, who came out of
the walk into which they had retired, brought their seats, and
placed them near the window, in the front of the dome where Ebn
Thaher and the prince of Persia stood, and their seats were so
disposed, that, with the favourite's throne and the women on each
side of her, they formed a semicircle before them.

The women, who were sitting before she came resumed their places,
with the permission of Schemselnihar, who ordered them by a sign;
that charming favourite chose one of those women to sing, who,
after she had spent some moments in tuning her lute, sung a song,
the meaning whereof was, that when two lovers entirely loved one
another with affection boundless, their hearts, though in two
bodies, were united; and, when any thing opposed their desires,
could say with tears in their eyes, "If we love because we find
one another amiable, ought we to be blamed? Let destiny bear the

Schemselnihar evinced so plainly by her eyes and gestures that
those words were applicable to herself and the prince of Persia,
that he could not contain himself. He arose, and advancing to a
balustrade, which he leaned upon, beckoned to one of the
companions of the woman who had just done singing, to approach.
When she had got near enough, he said to her, "Do me the favour
to accompany me with your lute, in a song which you shall hear me
sing." He then sung with an air so tender and passionate, as
perfectly expressed the violence of his love. As soon as he had
done, Schemselnihar, following his example, said to one of the
women, "Attend to me likewise, and accompany my song." At the
same time she sung in such a manner, as more deeply to penetrate
the heart of the prince of Persia, who answered her by a new air,
more passionate than the former.

The two lovers having declared their mutual affection by their
songs, Schemselnihar yielded to the force of hers. She arose from
her throne in transport, and advanced towards the door of the
hall. The prince, who perceived her design, rose up immediately,
and went to meet her. They met at the door, where they took one
another by the hand, and embraced with so much passion, that they
fainted, and would have fallen, if the woman who followed
Schemselnihar had not hindered them. They supported them to a
sofa, where they were brought to themselves, by throwing
odoriferous water on their faces, and applying pungent odours to
their nostrils.

When they had recovered, the first thing Schemselnihar did was to
look about: and not seeing Ebn Thaher, she asked, with eagerness,
where he was? He had withdrawn out of respect whilst her women
were engaged in recovering her, and dreaded, not without reason,
that some disagreeable consequence might follow what he had seen;
but as soon as he heard Schemselnihar inquire for him, he came

Schemselnihar was much pleased to see Ebn Thaher, and expressed
her joy in the most obliging terms: "Ebn Thaher, I know not how
to make you proper returns for the great obligations you have put
upon me; without you, I should never have seen the prince of
Persia, nor have loved the most amiable person in the world.
Assure yourself I shall not die ungrateful, and that my
gratitude, if possible, shall be equal to the obligation." Ebn
Thaher answered this compliment by a low obeisance, and wished
the favourite the accomplishment of all her desires.

Schemselnihar, turning towards the prince of Persia, who sat by
her, and looking upon him with some confusion after what had
passed, said to him, "I am well assured you love me, and how
great soever your love may be to me, you need not doubt but mine
is as great towards you: but let us not flatter ourselves; for,
notwithstanding this conformity of our sentiments, I see nothing
for you and me but trouble, impatience, and tormenting grief.
There is no other remedy for our evils but to love one another
constantly, to refer ourselves to the disposal of Heaven, and to
wait its determination of our destiny." "Madam," replied the
prince of Persia, "you will do me the greatest injustice, if you
doubt for a moment the continuance of my love. It is so
interwoven with my soul, that I can justly say it makes the best
part of it, and will continue so after death. Pains, torments,
obstacles, nothing shall prevent my loving you." Speaking these
words he shed tears in abundance, and Schemselnihar was not able
to restrain hers.

Ebn Thaher took this opportunity to speak to the favourite.
"Madam, allow me to represent to you, that, instead of melting
into tears, you ought to rejoice that you are now together. I
understand not this grief. What will it be when you are obliged
to part? But why do I talk of that? We have been a long while
here, and you know, madam, it is time for us to be going." "Ah!
how cruel are you!" replied Schemselnihar, "You, who know the
cause of my tears, have you no pity for my unfortunate condition?
Oh! sad fatality! What have I done to subject myself to the
severe law of not being able to join with the only person I

Persuaded as she was that Ebn Thaher spoke to her only out of
friendship, she did not take amiss what he said, but made a
proper use of his intimation She made a sign to the slave her
confidant, who immediately went out, and in a little time brought
a collation of fruits upon a small silver table, which she set
down betwixt her mistress and the prince of Persia. Schemselnihar
took some of the best, and presented it to the prince, praying
him to eat it for her sake; he took it, and put to his mouth that
part which she had touched; and then he presented some to her,
which she took, and ate in the same manner. She did not forget to
invite Ebn Thaher to eat with them; but he thinking himself not
safe in that place, and wishing himself at home, ate only out of
complaisance. After the collation was taken away, they brought a
silver basin, with water in a vessel of gold, and washed
together; they afterwards returned to their places, and three of
the ten black women brought each a cup of rock crystal full of
exquisite wine, upon a golden salver; which they placed before
Schemselnihar, the prince of Persia, and Ebn Thaher. That they
might be the more private, Schemselnihar kept with her only ten
black women, with ten others who began to sing, and play upon
instruments; and after she had sent away all the rest, she took
up one of the cups, and holding it in her hand sung some tender
words, which one of her women accompanied with her lute. When she
had done, she drank, and afterwards took up one of the other cups
and presented it to the prince, praying him to drink for love of
her, as she had drunk for love of him. He received the cup with a
transport of love and joy; but before he drank, he sung also a
song, which another woman accompanied with an instrument: and as
he sang the tears fell from his eyes in such abundance, that he
could not forbear expressing in his song, that he knew not
whether he was going to drink the wine she had presented to him,
or his own tears. Schemselnihar at last presented the third cup
to Ebn Thaher, who thanked her for her kindness, and for the
honour she did him.

After this she took a lute from one of her women, and sung to it
in such a passionate manner, that she seemed to be transported
out of herself: and the prince of Persia stood with his eyes
fixed upon her, as if he had been enchanted. At this instant, her
trusty slave came in great alarm, and addressing herself to her
mistress, said, "Madam Mesrour and two other officers, with
several eunuchs that attend them, are at the gate, and want to
speak with you from the caliph." When the prince of Persia and
Ebn Thaher heard these words, they changed colour, and began to
tremble as if they had been undone: but Schemselnihar who
perceived their agitation, revived their courage by a sigh.

After Schemselnihar had quieted the fears of the prince of Persia
and Ebn Thaher, she ordered the slave, her confidant, to go and
speak to Mesrour, and the two other officers, till she had put
herself in a condition to receive them, and could send her to
introduce them. Immediately she ordered all the windows of' the
saloon to be shut, and the painted cloth on the side of the
garden to be let down: and after having assured the prince and
Ebn Thaher that they might continue there without any fear, she
went out at the gate leading to the garden, and closed it upon
them: but whatever assurance she had given them of their safety,
they were full of apprehension all the while they remained there.

As soon as Schemselnihar had reached the garden with the women
that had followed her, she ordered all the seats, which served
the women who played on the instruments, to be placed near the
window, where the prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher heard them; and
having got things in order, she sat down upon her silver throne:
she then sent notice to the slave her confidant to bring in the
chief of the eunuchs, and his two subaltern officers.

They appeared, followed by twenty black eunuchs all handsomely
clothed, with cimeters by their sides, and gold belts of four
inches broad. As soon as they perceived the favourite
Schemselnihar at a distance, they made her a profound reverence,
which she returned them from her throne. When they approached,
she arose and went to meet Mesrour, who advanced first; she asked
what news he brought? He answered, "Madam, the commander of the
faithful has sent me to signify that he cannot live longer
without seeing you; he designs to do himself that pleasure this
night, and I am come to give you notice, that you may be ready to
receive him. He hopes, madam, that you will receive him with as
much pleasure as he feels impatience to see you."

At these words the favourite Schemselnihar prostrated herself to
the ground, as a mark of that submission with which she received
the caliph's order. When she rose, she said, "Pray tell the
commander of the faithful, that I shall always reckon it my glory
to execute his majesty's commands, and that his slave will do her
utmost to receive him with all the respect that is due to him."
At the same time she ordered the slave her confidant to tell the
black women appointed for that service to get the palace ready to
receive the caliph, and dismissing the chief of the eunuchs, said
to him, "You see it requires some time to get all things ready,
therefore I entreat you to curb his majesty's impatience, that,
when he arrives, he may not find things out of order."

The chief of the eunuchs and his retinue being gone,
Schemselnihar returned to the saloon, extremely concerned at the
necessity she was under of sending back the prince of Persia
sooner than she had intended. She came up to him again with tears
in her eyes, which heightened Ebn Thaher's fear, who thought it
no good omen. "Madam," said the prince to her, "I perceive you
are come to tell me that we must part: if there be nothing more
to dread, I hope Heaven will give me the patience which is
necessary to support your absence." "Alas!" replied the too
tender Schemselnihar, "how happy do I think you, and how unhappy
do I think myself, when I compare your lot with my sad destiny!
No doubt you will suffer by my absence, but that is all, and you
may comfort yourself with hopes of seeing me again; but as for
me, just Heaven! what a terrible trial am I brought to! I must
not only be deprived of the sight of the only person whom I love,
but I must be tormented with the presence of one whom you have
made hateful to me. Will not the arrival of the caliph put me in
mind of your departure? And how can I, when I am taken up with
your dear image, express to that prince the joy which he always
observed in my eyes whenever he came to see me? I shall have my
mind perplexed when I speak to him, and the least complaisance
which I shew to his love will stab me to the heart. Can I relish
his kind words and caresses? Think, prince, to what torments I
shall be exposed when I can see you no more." Her tears and sighs
hindered her from going on, and the prince of Persia would have
replied, but his own grief, and that of his mistress, deprived
him of the power of speech.

Ebn Thaher, who only wished to get out of the palace, was obliged
to comfort them, and to exhort them to have patience: but the
trusty slave again interrupted them. "Madam," said she to
Schemselnihar, "you have no time to lose; the eunuchs begin to
arrive, and you know the caliph will be here immediately." "O
Heaven! how cruel is this separation!" cried the favourite. "Make
haste," said she to the confidant, "take them both to the gallery
which looks into the garden on the one side, and to the Tigris on
the other; and when the night grows dark, let them out by the
back gate, that they may retire with safety." Having spoken thus,
she tenderly embraced the prince of Persia, without being able to
say one word more, and went to meet the caliph in such disorder
as cannot well be imagined.

In the mean time, the trusty slave conducted the prince and Ebn
Thaher to the gallery, as Schemselnihar had appointed; and left
them there, assuring them, as she closed the door upon them, that
they had nothing to fear, and that she would come for them when
it was time

When Schemselnihar's trusty slave had left the prince of Persia
and Ebn Thaher, they forgot she had assured them they had nothing
to apprehend. They examined the gallery, and were seized with
extreme fear, because they knew no means of escape, if the caliph
or any of his officers should happen to come there.

A great light, which they suddenly beheld through the lattices on
the garden side, caused them to approach them to see from whence
it came. It was occasioned by a hundred flambeaux of white wax,
carried by as many young eunuchs: these were followed by more
than a hundred others, who guarded the ladies of the caliph's
palace, clothed, and armed with cimeters, in the same manner as
those I spoke of before; and the caliph came after them, betwixt
Mesrour their captain on his right, and Vassif their second
officer on his left hand.

Schemselnihar waited for the caliph at the entrance of a walk,
accompanied by twenty women all of surprising beauty, adorned
with necklaces and ear-rings of large diamonds; they played and
sung on their instruments, and formed a charming concert. The
favourite no sooner saw the prince appear, but she advanced and
prostrated herself at his feet; and while she was doing this,
"Prince of Persia," said she, within herself, "if your sad eyes
witness what I do, judge of my hard lot; if I were humbling
myself so before you, my heart would feel no reluctance."

The caliph was delighted to see Schemselnihar: "Rise, madam,"
said he to her, "come near, I am angry with myself that I should
have deprived myself so long of the pleasure of seeing you." As
he spoke, he took her by the hand, and, with many tender
expressions, went and sat down upon the silver throne which
Schemselnihar caused to be brought for him, and she sat down on a
seat before him. The twenty women made a circle round them upon
other seats, while the young eunuchs, who carried flambeaux,
dispersed themselves at a certain distance from one another, that
the caliph might the better enjoy the cool of the evening.

When the caliph had seated himself, he looked round him, and
beheld with great satisfaction the garden illuminated with many
other lights, besides those flambeaux which the young eunuchs
held; but taking notice that the saloon was shut, expressed his
surprise, and demanded the reason. It was done on purpose to
surprise him; for he had no sooner spoken, than all the windows
flew open at once, and he saw it illuminated within and without,
in a much better manner than ever he had beheld it before.
"Charming Schemselnihar," cried he, at this sight, "I understand
you; you would have me know there are as fine nights as days.
After what I have seen, I cannot deny this."

Let us return to the prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher, whom we
left in the gallery. Ebn Thaher could not enough admire all that
he saw: "I am not young," said he, "and I have seen great
entertainments in my time; but I do not think any thing can be
seen so surprising and magnificent! All that is said of enchanted
palaces does not come up to the prodigious spectacle we now
behold. What riches and magnificence united!"

The prince of Persia was not at all interested by the objects
which so delighted Ebn Thaher; he could look on nothing but
Schemselnihar, and the presence of the caliph threw him into
inconceivable grief. "Dear Ebn Thaher," he exclaimed, "would to
God I had my mind as much at liberty to attend to those objects
of admiration as you! But alas! I am in a quite different
situation, all these things serve only to increase my torment.
Can I see the caliph familiar with the objets of my love, and not
die of grief? Must so ardent a passion as mine be disturbed with
so potent a rival? O heavens! How cruel and strange is my
destiny! It is but a moment since I esteemed myself the most
fortunate lover in the world, and at this instant I feel a death
stroke to my heart. I cannot resist it, my dear Ebn Thaher; my
patience is exhausted, my disorder overwhelms me, and my courage
fails." While he was speaking, he saw something pass in the
garden, which obliged him to be silent and to turn all his
attention that way.

The caliph had ordered one of the women, who was near him, to
play upon her lute, and she began to sing. The words she sung
were very passionate, and the caliph, persuaded that she sung
thus by order of Schemselnihar, who had frequently entertained
him with the like testimonies of her affection, interpreted them
in his own favour. But this was not now Schemselnihar's meaning;
she applied them to her dear Ali Ebn Becar, and was so sensibly
touched with grief, to have before her an object whose presence
she could no longer enjoy, that she fainted and fell backwards
upon her seat, which having no arms to support her, she must have
fallen, had not some of the women given her timely assistance,
taken her up, and carried her into the saloon.

Ebn Thaher, who was in the gallery, being surprised at this
accident, turned towards the prince of Persia; but instead of
finding him standing, and looking through the window as before,
he was extremely amazed to discover him Iying at his feet
motionless. This convinced him of the violence of the prince's
passion for Schemselnihar, and he admired that strange effect of
sympathy, which put him into a mortal fear on account of the
place they were in. He did all he could to recover the prince,
but in vain. Ebn Thaher was in this perplexity, when
Schemselnihar's confidant opened the gallery door, and entered
out of breath, as one who knew not where she was. "Come
speedily," cried she "that I may let you out; all is in confusion
here; and I fear this will be the last of our days." "Alas! how
would you have us go?" replied Ebn Thaher, with a mournful voice;
"approach, and see what a condition the prince of Persia is in."
When the slave saw him in a swoon, she ran for water, and
returned in an instant.

At last the prince of Persia, after they had thrown water on his
face, recovered. "Prince," said Ebn Thaher to him, "we run the
risk of perishing if we stay here any longer; exert yourself,
therefore, let us endeavour to save our lives." He was so feeble,
that he could not rise alone; Ebn Thaher and the confidant lent
him their hands, and supported him on each side. They reached a
little iron gate which opened towards the Tigris, went out at it,
and came to the side of a little canal which communicated with
the river. The confidant clapped her hands, and immediately a
little boat appeared, and came towards them with one rower. Ali
Ebn Becar and his comrade went aboard, and the confidant remained
at the side of the canal. As soon as the prince was seated in the
boat, he stretched out one hand towards the palace, and laying
the other on his heart, exclaimed with a feeble voice, "Dear
object of my soul, receive my faith with this hand, while I
assure you with the other, that my heart shall for ever preserve
the fire with which it burns for you."

In the mean time the boatman rowed with all his might, and
Schemselnihar's confidant accompanied the prince of Persia and
Ebn Thaher walking along the side of the canal, until they came
to the Tigris, and when she could go no farther she took leave of
them and returned.

The prince of Persia continued very feeble. Ebn Thaher comforted
him, and exhorted him to take courage. "Consider," said he, "that
when we are landed, we have a great way to walk before we reach
my house, and I would not advise you to go to your palace, which
is a great deal farther, at this hour and in this condition." At
last they went out of the boat, but the prince had so little
strength that he could not walk, which put Ebn Thaher into great
perplexity. He recollected he had a friend in the neighbourhood,
and carried the prince thither with great difficulty. His friend
received him very cheerfully, and when he had made them sit down,
he asked them where they had been so late. Ebn Thaher answered,
"I heard this evening that a man who owed me a considerable sum
of money was setting out on a long voyage. I lost no time to find
him, and by the way I met with this young nobleman, to whom I am
under a thousand obligations; for knowing my debtor, he did me
the favour to go along with me. We had a great deal of trouble to
bring the man to reason. We have at length succeeded, and that is
the cause of our being so late. In our return home, this good
lord, to whom I am for ever bound to shew all possible respect,
was attacked by a sudden illness, which made me take the liberty
to knock at your door, flattering myself that you would be
pleased to lodge us this night."

Ebn Thaher's friend took all this for truth, told them they were
welcome, and offered the prince of Persia, whom he knew not, all
the assistance he could desire; but Ebn Thaher spoke for the
prince, and said, that his distemper was of such a nature as to
require nothing but rest. His friend understood by this that they
desired to go to bed. Upon which he conducted them to an
apartment, where he left them.

Though the prince of Persia slept, he was interrupted by
troublesome dreams, which represented Schemselnihar in a swoon at
the caliph's feet, and increased his affliction. Ebn Thaher was
very impatient to be at home, and doubted not but his family was
under great apprehension, because he never used to sleep out. He
arose and departed early in the morning, after he had taken leave
of his friend, who rose at break of day to prayers At last he
reached his house, and the first thing the prince of Persia did,
who had walked so far with much trouble, was to lie down upon a
sofa, as weary as if he had been a long journey. Not being in a
state to go to his own palace, Ebn Thaher ordered a chamber to be
prepared for him, and sent to acquaint his friends with his
condition, and where he was. In the mean time he begged him to
compose himself, to command in his house, and to dispose of all
things as he pleased. "I thank you heartily for your obliging
offers," said the prince; "but that I may not be any ways
troublesome to you, I conjure you to deal with me as if I were
not at your house. I would not stay one moment, if I thought my
presence would incommode you in the least."

As soon as Ebn Thaher had time to recollect himself, he told his
family all that had passed at Schemselnihar's palace, and
concluded by thanking God, who had delivered him from the danger
he had been in. The prince of Persia's principal domestics came
to receive his orders at Ebn Thaher's house, and in a little time
there arrived several of his friends, who had notice of his
indisposition. Those friends passed the greatest part of the day
with him; and though their conversation could not extinguish
those melancholy ideas which were the cause of his trouble, yet
it afforded him some relief. He would have taken his leave of Ebn
Thaher towards the evening; but this faithful friend found him
still so weak, that he obliged him to stay till next day, and in
the mean time, to divert him, gave a concert of vocal and
instrumental music in the evening; but this concert served only
to remind him of the preceding night, and renewed his trouble,
instead of assuaging it; so that next day his distemper seemed to
increase. Upon this Ebn Thaher did not oppose his going home, but
took care to accompany him; and when he was with him alone in his
chamber, he represented to him all those arguments which might
influence him to a generous effort to overcome his passion, which
in the end would neither prove fortunate to himself nor to the
favourite. "Ah! dear Ebn Thaher," exclaimed the prince, "how easy
is it for you to give this advice, but how hard for me to follow
it! I am sensible of its importance, but am not able to profit by
it. I have said already, that I shall carry to the grave the love
I bear to Schemselnihar." When Ebn Thaher saw that he could gain
nothing upon the prince, he took his leave, and would have

The prince of Persia interrupted him, and said, "Kind Ebn Thaher,
since I have declared to you that it is not in my power to follow
your wise counsels, I beg you would not charge it on me as a
crime, nor forbear to give me the usual testimonies of your
friendship. You cannot do me a greater favour than to inform me
of the destiny of my dear Schemselnihar, when you hear of her.
The uncertainty I am in concerning her fate, and the
apprehensions her fainting have occasioned in me, keep me in this
languishing condition you reproach me with." "My lord," answered
Ebn Thaher, "you have reason to hope that her fainting was not
attended with any bad consequences: her confidant will quickly
come and inform me of the issue; and as soon as I know the
particulars, I will not fail to impart them."

Ebn Thaher left the prince in this hope, and returned home, where
he expected Schemselnihar's confidant all the rest of the day,
but in vain, nor did she come on the following. His uneasiness to
know the state of the prince of Persia's health would not suffer
him to wait any longer without seeing him. He went to his palace
to exhort him to patience, and found him lying on his bed as ill
as ever, surrounded by a great many of his friends, and several
physicians, who used all their art to discover the cause of his
disorder. As soon as he saw Ebn Thaher, he looked at him with a
smile, to signify that he had two things to tell him; the one,
that he was glad to see him; the other how much the physicians,
who could not discover the cause of his illness, were out in
their reasonings.

His friends and physicians retired one after another, so that Ebn
Thaher being alone with him, approached his bed to ask him how he
had been since he had last seen him. "I must tell you," answered
the prince, "that my passion, which continually gathers new
strength, and the uncertainty of the lovely Schemselnihar's fate,
augment my disorder every moment, and cast me into such a state
as afflicts my kindred and friends, and breaks the measures of my
physicians, who do not understand it. You cannot think," he
added, "how much I suffer by seeing so many people about me, who
importune me, and whom I cannot in civility put away. Your
company alone relieves me; but I conjure you not to dissemble
with me: what news do you bring of Schemselnihar? Have you seen
her confidant? What says she to you?" Ebn Thaher answered, that
he had not seen her yet. No sooner had he communicated to the
prince of Persia this sad intelligence, than the tears came into
his eyes; he could not answer one word, his heart was so
oppressed. "Prince," added Ebn Thaher, "suffer me to tell you,
that you are too ingenious in tormenting yourself. In the name of
God, wipe away your tears: if any of your people should come in,
they would discover you by this, notwithstanding the care you
ought to take to conceal your thoughts." Whatever his judicious
adviser could say, it was not possible for the prince to refrain
from weeping. "Wise Ebn Thaher," said he, when he had recovered
his speech, "I may indeed hinder my tongue from revealing the
secrets of my heart, but I have no power over my tears, upon such
an alarming subject as Schemselnihar's danger. If that adorable
and only objets of my desires be no longer in the world, I shall
not survive her a moment." "Reject so afflicting a thought,"
replied Ebn Thaher; "Schemselnihar is yet alive, you need not
doubt it: if you have heard no news of her, it is because she
could find no opportunity to send to you, and I hope you will
hear from her to-day." To this he added several other consoling
arguments, and then withdrew.

Ebn Thaher had scarcely reached his own house, when
Schemselnihar's confidant arrived with a melancholy countenance,
which he reckoned a bad omen. He asked news of her mistress.
"Tell me yours first," said the confidant, "for I was in great
trouble to see the prince of Persia go away in that condition."
Ebn Thaher told her all that she wished to know, and when he had
done, the slave began thus: "If the prince of Persia has
suffered, and does still suffer for my mistress, she suffers no
less for him. After I departed from you, I returned to the
saloon, where I found Schemselnihar not yet recovered from her
swoon, notwithstanding all the assistance they endeavoured to
give her. The caliph was sitting near her with all the signs of
real grief. He asked all the women, and me in particular, if we
knew the cause of her disorder; but we kept all secret, and told
him we were altogether ignorant of it. In the mean time we all
wept to see her suffer so long, and forgot nothing that might any
ways relieve her. In a word, it was almost midnight before she
came to herself. The caliph, who had the patience to wait the
event, was rejoiced at her recovery, and asked Schemselnihar the
cause of her illness. As soon as she heard him speak, she
endeavoured to recover her seat; and after she had kissed his
feet, before he could hinder her, ‘Sir,' said she, ‘I have reason
to complain of heaven, that it did not allow me to expire at your
majesty's feet to testify thereby how sensible I am of your

"‘I am persuaded you love me,' replied the caliph, ‘and I command
you to preserve yourself for my sake. You have probably exceeded
in something to-day, which has occasioned this indisposition;
take care, I entreat you; abstain from it for the future. I am
glad to see you better, and advise you to stay here to-night, and
not return to your chamber, for fear the motion should affect
you.' He then commanded a little wine to be brought to strengthen
her; and taking leave of her, returned to his apartment.

"As soon as the caliph had departed, my mistress gave me a sign
to come near her. She asked me earnestly concerning you: I
assured her that you had been gone a long time, which made her
easy on that head. I took care not to speak of the prince of
Persia's fainting, lest she should fall into the same state, from
which we had so much trouble to recover her: but my precautions
were in vain, as you shall hear. ‘Prince,' exclaimed she, ‘I
henceforth renounce all pleasure as long as I am deprived of the
sight of you. If I have understood your heart right, I only
follow your example. You will not cease to weep and mourn until I
see you.' At these words, which she uttered in a manner
expressive of the violence of her passion, she fainted a second
time in my arms.

"My companions and I were a long time recovering her; at last she
came to herself; and then I said to her, ‘Madam, are you resolved
to kill yourself, and to make us also die with you? I entreat
you, in the name of the prince of Persia, who is so deeply
interested in your life, to preserve it.' ‘I am much obliged to
you,' replied she, ‘ for your care, your zeal, and your advice;
but alas! they are useless to me: you are not to flatter us with
any hopes, for we can expect no end of our torment but in the

"One of my companions would have diverted these sad thoughts by
playing on the lute, but she commanded her to be silent, and
ordered all of them to retire, except me, whom she kept all night
with her. O heavens! what a night it was! she passed it in tears
and groans, and incessantly naming the prince of Persia. She
lamented her lot, that had destined her to the caliph, whom she
could not love, and not for him whom she loved so dearly.

"Next morning, as she was not commodiously lodged in the saloon,
I helped her to her chamber, which she had no sooner reached,
than all the physicians of the palace came to see her, by order
of the caliph, who was not long before he arrived himself. The
medicines which the physicians prescribed to Schemselnihar were
ineffectual, because they were ignorant of the cause of her
malady, which was augmented by the presence of the caliph. She
got a little rest however this night, and as soon as she awoke,
she charged me to come to you, to learn some news of the prince
of Persia." "I have already informed you of his case," said Ebn
Thaher; "so return to your mistress, and assure her, that the
prince of Persia waits for some account of her with an impatience
equal to her own. Above all, exhort her to moderation, and to
overcome her feelings, for fear she should drop before the caliph
some word, which may prove fatal to us all." "As for me," replied
the confidant, "I confess I dread her transports. I have taken
the liberty to tell her my mind, and am persuaded that she will
not take it ill that I tell her this from you."

Ebn Thaher, who had but just come from the prince of Persia's
lodgings, thought it not convenient to return so soon, and
neglect his own important affairs; he therefore went not till the
evening. The prince was alone, and no better than in the morning.
"Ebn Thaher," said he to him, as soon as he saw him, "you have
doubtless many friends, but they do not know your worth, which
you discover to me by your zeal, your care, and the trouble you
give yourself to oblige me. I am confounded with all that you do
for me with so much affection, and I know not how I shall be able
to express my gratitude." "Prince," answered Ebn Thaher, "do not
speak thus, I entreat you. I am ready, not only to give one of my
eyes to save one of yours, but to sacrifice my life for you. But
this is not the present business. I come to tell you that
Schemselnihar sent her confidant to ask me about you, and at the
same time to inform me of her condition. You may assure yourself
that I said nothing but what might confirm the excess of your
passion for her mistress, and the constancy with which you love
her." Then Ebn Thaher gave him a particular account of all that
had passed betwixt the trusty slave and him. The prince listened
with all the different emotions of fear, jealousy, affection, and
compassion, which this conversation could inspire, making, upon
every thing which he heard, all the afflicting or comforting
reflections that so passionate a lover was capable of.

Their conversation continued so long that the night was far
advanced, so that the prince of Persia obliged Ebn Thaher to stay
with him. The next morning, as this trusty friend returned home,
there came a woman to him whom he knew to be Schemselnihar's
confidant, and immediately she spoke to him thus: "My mistress
salutes you, and I am come to entreat you in her name to deliver
this letter to the prince of Persia." The zealous Ebn Thaher took
the letter, and returned to the prince, accompanied by the
confidant slave.

When Ebn Thaher entered the prince of Persia's house with
Schemselnihar's confidant, he prayed her to stay, and wait for
him a moment in the ante-room. As soon as the prince saw him, he
asked earnestly what news he had to communicate? "The best you
can expect," answered Ebn Thaher: "you are as dearly beloved as
you love; Schemselnihar's confidant is in your anteroom; she has
brought you a letter from her mistress, and waits for your orders
to come in." "Let her enter," cried the prince, with a transport
of joy; and so saying, sat up to receive her.

The prince's attendants retired as soon as they saw Ebn Thaher,
and left him alone with their master. Ebn Thaher opened the door
himself, and brought in the confidant. The prince knew her, and
received her with great politeness. "My lord," said she to him,
"I am sensible of the affliction you have endured since I had the
honour to conduct you to the boat which waited to bring you back;
but I hope the letter I have brought will contribute to your
cure." So saying, she presented him the letter. He took it, and
after he had kissed it several times, opened it, and read as

Letter from Schemselnihar to the Prince of Persia.

"The person who will deliver to you this letter will give you
more correct information concerning me than I can, for I have not
been myself since I saw you. Deprived of your presence, I
endeavour to deceive myself by conversing with you by these ill-
written lines, with the same pleasure as if I had the happiness
of speaking to you in person.

"It is said that patience is a cure for all evils, but instead of
relieving it heightens my sufferings. Although your picture is
deeply engraver in my heart, my eyes desire to have the original
continually before them; and they will lose all their light, if
they be any considerable time deprived of this felicity. May I
flatter myself that yours have the same impatience to see me?
Yes, I can; their tender glances have sufficiently assured me of
this. How happy, prince, would it be for you, how happy for
Schemselnihar, if our united desires were not thwarted by
invincible obstacles; obstacles which afflict me the more
sensibly as they affect you.

"These thoughts which my fingers write, and which I express with
incredible pleasure, repeating them again and again, proceed from
the bottom of my heart, and from the incurable wound which you
have made in it; a wound which I bless a thousand times,
notwithstanding the cruel torments I endure through your absence.
I would reckon all that opposes our love nothing, were I only
allowed to see you sometimes with freedom; I should then enjoy
your company, and what could I desire more?

"Do not imagine that I say more than I think. Alas! whatever
expressions I use, I feel that I think more than I can tell you.
My eyes, which are continually watching and weeping for your
return; my afflicted heart, which desires you alone; the sighs
that escape me as often as I think on you, and that is every
moment; my imagination, which represents no other object to me
than my dear prince; the complaints that I make to heaven for the
rigour of my destiny; m a word, my grief, my distress, my
torments, which have allowed me no ease since I was deprived of
your presence, will vouch for what I write.

"Am not I unhappy to be born to dove, without hope of enjoying
the object of my passion? This afflicting thought oppresses me so
that I should die, were I not persuaded that you love me: but
this sweet comfort balances my despair, and preserves my life.
Tell me that you love me always. I will keep your letter
carefully, and read it a thousand times a-day: I shall endure my
afflictions with less impatience: I pray heaven may cease to be
angry at us, and grant us an opportunity to say that we love one
another without fear; and that we shall never cease thus to love.
Adieu. I salute Ebn Thaher, to whom we are so much obliged."

The prince of Persia was not satisfied with reading the letter
once; he thought he had perused it with too little attention, and
therefore read it again with more leisure; and while so doing,
sometimes heaved deep sighs, sometimes shed tears, and sometimes
broke out into transports of joy and tenderness as the contents
affected him. In short, he could not keep his eyes off those
characters drawn by so beloved a hand, and was beginning to read
it a third time, when Ebn Thaher observed to him that the
confidant had no time to lose, and that he ought to think of
giving an answer. "Alas!" cried the prince, "how would you have
me reply to so kind a letter! In what terms shall I express
myself in my present disturbed state! My mind is tossed with a
thousand tormenting thoughts, which are lost the moment they are
conceived, to make way for others. So long as my body is
influenced by the impressions of my mind, how shall I be able to
hold the paper, or guide a reed to write."

So saying, he took out of a little desk which was near him,
paper, a cane ready cut, and an inkhorn.

The prince of Persia, before he began to write, gave
Schemselnihar's letter to Ebn Thaher, and prayed him to hold it
open while he wrote, that by casting his eyes upon it he might
the better see what to answer. He began to write; but the tears
that fell from his eyes upon the paper obliged him several times
to stop, that they might fall the more freely. At last he
finished his letter, and giving it to Ebn Thaher, "Read it, I
pray," said he, "and do me the favour to see if the disorder of
my mind has allowed me to give a favourable answer." Ebn Thaher
took it, and read as follows:

The Prince of Persia's Answer to Schemselnihar's Letter.

"I was plunged in the deepest grief when I received your letter,
but at the sight of it I was transported with unspeakable joy.
When I beheld the characters written by your fair hand, my eyes
were enlightened by a stronger light than they lost, when yours
were suddenly closed at the feet of my rival. The words contained
in your kind epistle are so many rays which have dispelled the
darkness wherewith my soul was obscured; they shew me how much
you suffer from your love of me, and that you are not ignorant of
what I endure on your account. Thus they comfort me in my
afflictions. On the one hand they cause me to shed tears in
abundance; and on the other, inflame my heart with a fire which
supports it, and prevents my dying of grief. I have not had one
moment's rest since our cruel separation. Your letter alone gave
me some ease. I kept a mournful silence till the moment I
received it, and then recovered my speech. I was buried in
profound melancholy, but it inspired me with joy, which
immediately appeared in my eyes and countenance. But my surprise
at receiving a favour which I had not yet deserved was so great,
that I knew not how to begin to testify my thankfulness. In a
word, after having kissed it several times, as a precious pledge
of your goodness, I read it over and over, and was confounded at
the excess of my good fortune. You would have me declare that I
always love you. Ah! did I not love you so perfectly as I do, I
could not forbear adoring you, after all the marks you have given
me of an affection so uncommon: yes, I love you, my dear soul,
and shall account it my glory to burn all my days with that sweet
fire you have kindled in my heart. I will never complain of that
ardour with which I feel it consumes me: and how rigorous soever
the evils I suffer, I will bear them with fortitude, in hopes
some time or other to see you. Would to heaven it were to-day,
and that, instead of sending you my letter, I might be allowed to
come and assure you in person, that I die for you! My tears
hinder me from saying more. Adieu."

Ebn Thaher could not read these last lines without weeping. He
returned the letter to the prince of Persia, and assured him it
wanted no correction. The prince closed it, and when he had
sealed it, he desired the trusty slave to come near, and said to
her, "This is my answer to you dear mistress's letter. I conjure
you to carry it to her, and to salute her in my name." The slave
took the letter, and retired with Ebn Thaher.

After Ebn Thaher had walked some way with the slave, he left her,
and went to his house, and began to think in earnest upon the
amorous intrigue in which he found himself unhappily engaged. He
considered, that the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar,
notwithstanding their interest to conceal their correspondence,
conducted themselves with so little discretion, that it could not
be long a secret. He drew all the consequences from it, which a
man of good sense might have anticipated. "Were Schemselnihar,"
said he to himself, "a lady of common rank, I would contribute
all in my power to make her and her lover happy; but she is the
caliph's favourite, and no man can without danger attempt to
engage the affections of the objets of his choice. His anger
would fall in the first instance on Schemselnihar; it will next
cost the prince of Persia his life, and I should be involved in
his misfortune. In the mean time I have my honour, my quiet, my
family, and my property to preserve. I must, while I can,
extricate myself out of such a perilous situation."

These thoughts occupied his mind all that day. Next morning he
went to the prince of Persia, with a design of making one more
effort to induce him to conquer his passion. He represented to
him what he had before urged in vain; that it would be much
better for him to summon all his resolution, to overcome his
inclination for Schemselnihar, than to suffer himself to be
hurried away by it; and that his passion was so much the more
dangerous, as his rival was powerful. "In short, sir," added he,
"if you will hearken to me, you ought to think of nothing but to
triumph over your love; otherwise you run the risk of destroying
yourself with Schemselnihar, whose life ought to be dearer to you
than your own. I give you this advice as a friend, for which you
will some time or other thank me."

The prince heard Ebn Thaher with great impatience, but suffered
him to speak his mind, and then replied to him thus: "Ebn Thaher,
do you think I can cease to love Schemselnihar, who loves me so
tenderly? She is not afraid to expose her life for me, and would
you have me regard mine? No; whatever misfortunes befall me, I
will love Schemselnihar to my last breath."

Abn Thaher, shocked at the obstinacy of the prince of Persia,
left him hastily, and going to his own house, recalled his former
reflections, and began to think seriously what he should do. In
the mean time a jeweller, one of his intimate friends, came to
see him. The jeweller had perceived that Schemselnihar's
confidant came oftener to Ebn Thaher than usual, and that he was
constantly with the prince of Persia, whose sickness was known to
every one, though not the cause. This had awakened the jeweller's
suspicions, and finding Ebn Thaher very pensive, he presently
judged that he was perplexed with some important affair, and
fancying that he knew the cause, he asked what Schemselnihar's
confidant wanted with him? Ebn Thaher being struck with this
question, would have dissembled, and told him, that it was on
some trifling errand she came so frequently to him. "You do not
tell me the truth," said the jeweller, "and your dissimulation
only serves to prove to me that this trifle is a more important
affair than at first I thought it to be."

Ebn Thaher, perceiving that his friend pressed him so much, said
to him, "It is true, that it is an affair of the greatest
consequence. I had resolved to keep it secret, but since I know
how much you are my friend, I choose rather to make you my
confidant, than to suffer you to be under a mistake about it. I
do not bind you to secrecy, for you will easily judge by what I
am going to tell you how impossible it is to keep it unknown."
After this preamble, he told him the amour between Schemselnihar
and the prince of Persia. "You know," he continued, "in what
esteem I am at court, in the city, and with lords and ladies of
the greatest quality; what a disgrace would it be for me, should
this rash amour come to be discovered? But what do I say; should
not I and my family be completely ruined! That is what perplexes
my mind; but I have just formed my resolution: I will go
immediately and satisfy my creditors, and recover my debts, and
when I have secured my property, will retire to Bussorah, and
stay till the storm, that I foresee, is blown over. My friendship
for Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia makes me very sensible
to what dangers they are exposed. I pray heaven to convince them
of their peril, and to preserve them; but if their evil destiny
should bring their attachment to the knowledge of the caliph, I
shall, at least, be out of the reach of his resentment; for I do
not think them so wicked as to design to involve me in their
misfortunes. It would be the height of ingratitude, and a bad
reward for the service I have done them, and the good advice I
have given, particularly to the prince of Persia, who may save
both himself and his mistress from this precipice. He may as
easily leave Bagdad as I; and absence will insensibly disenage
him from a passion, which will only increase whilst he continues
in this place."

The jeweller was extremely surprised at what Ebn Thaher told him.
"What you say," said he, "is of so much importance, that I cannot
understand how Schemselnihar and the prince could have abandoned
themselves to such a violent passion. What inclination soever
they may have for one another, instead of yielding to it, they
ought to resist it, and make a better use of their reason. Is it
possible they can be insensible of the danger of their
correspondence? How deplorable is their blindness! I anticipate
all its consequences as well as yourself; but you are wise and
prudent, and I approve your resolution; as it is the only way to
deliver yourself from the fatal events which you have reason to
fear." After this conversation the jeweller rose, and took his
leave of Ebn Thaher.

Before the jeweller retired, Ebn Thaher conjured him by the
friendship betwixt them, to say nothing of what he had heard.
"Fear not," replied the jeweller, "I will keep this secret at the
peril of my life."

Two days after, the jeweller went to Ebn Thaher's shop, and
seeing it shut, he doubted not but he had executed his design;
but, to be more sure, he asked a neighbour, if he knew why it was
not opened? The neighbour answered that he knew not, unless Ebn
Thaher was gone a journey. There was no need of his enquiring
farther, and he immediately thought of the prince of Persia:
"Unhappy prince," said he to himself, "what will be your grief
when you hear this news? How will you now carry on your
correspondence with Schemselnihar? I fear you will die of
despair. I pity you, and must repair your loss of a too timid

The business that obliged him to come abroad was of no
consequence, so that he neglected it, and though he had no
knowledge of the prince of Persia, only by having sold him some
jewels, he went to his house. He addressed himself to one of his
servants, and desired him to tell his master, that he wished to
speak with him about business of very great importance. The
servant returned immediately to the jeweller, and introduced him
to the prince's chamber. He was leaning on a sofa, with his head
on a cushion. As soon as the prince saw him, he rose up to
receive and welcome him, and entreated him to sit down; asked him
if he could serve him in any thing, or if he came to tell him any
thing interesting concerning himself. "Prince," answered the
jeweller, "though I have not the honour to be particularly
acquainted with you, yet the desire of testifying my zeal has
made me take the liberty to come to your house, to impart to you
a piece of news that concerns you. I hope you will pardon my
boldness for my good intention."

After this introduction, the jeweller entered upon the matter,
and continued: "Prince, I shall have the honour to tell you, that
it is a long time since conformity of disposition, and some
business we have had together, united Ebn Thaher and myself in
strict friendship. I know you are acquainted with him, and that
he has employed himself in obliging you to his utmost. I have
learnt this from himself, for he keeps nothing secret from me,
nor I from him. I went just now to his shop, and was surprised to
find it shut. I addressed myself to one of his neighbours, to ask
the reason; he answered me, that two days ago Ebn Thaher took
leave of him, and other neighbours, offering them his service at
Bussorah, whither he is gone, said he, about an affair of great
importance. Not being satisfied with this answer, my concern for
his welfare determined me to come and ask if you knew any thing
particular concerning this his sudden departure."

At this discourse, which the jeweller accommodated to the
subject, the better to compass his design, the prince of Persia
changed colour, and looked at the jeweller in a manner which
convinced him how much he was disconcerted at the intelligence.
"I am surprised at what you inform me," said he; "a greater
misfortune could not befall me: Ah!" he continued, with tears in
his eyes, "if what you tell me be true, I am undone! Has Ebn
Thaher, who was all my comfort, in whom I put all my confidence,
left me? I cannot think of living after so cruel a blow."

The jeweller needed no more to convince him fully of the prince
of Persia's violent passion, which Ebn Thaher had told him of:
mere friendship would not make him speak so; nothing but love
could produce such lively sensations.

The prince continued some moments absorbed in melancholy
thoughts; at last he lifted up his head, and calling one of his
servants, said, "Go, to Ebn Thaher's house, and ask some of his
domestics if he be gone to Bussorah: run, and come back quickly
with the answer." While the servant was gone, the jeweller
endeavoured to entertain the prince of Persia with indifferent
subjects; but the prince gave little heed to him. He was a prey
to fatal grief: sometimes he could not persuade himself that Ebn
Thaher was gone, and at others he did not doubt of it, when he
reflected upon the conversation he had had with him the last time
he had seen him, and the abrupt manner in which he had left him.

At last the prince's servant returned, and reported that he had
spoken with one of Ebn Thaher's servants, who assured him that he
had been gone two days to Bussorah. "As I came from Ebn Thaher's
house," added the servant. "a slave well dressed met me, and
after she had asked me if I had the honour to belong to you, told
me she wanted to speak with you, and begged at the same time that
she might accompany me: she is in the outer room, and I believe
has a letter to deliver to you from some person of consequence."
The prince commanded her to be immediately introduced, not
doubting but it was Schemselnihar's confidant slave, as indeed it
was. The jeweller knew her, having seen her several times at Ebn
Thaher's house: she could not have come at a better time to save
the prince from despair. She saluted him. The prince of Persia
returned the salute of Schemselnihar's confidant. The jeweller
arose as soon as he saw her and retired, to leave them at liberty
to converse together. The confidant, after she had spoken some
time with the prince, took her leave and departed. She left him
quite another person from what he was before; his eyes appeared
brighter, and his countenance more gay, which satisfied the
jeweller that the good slave came to tell him something
favourable to his amour.

The jeweller having taken his place again near the prince, said
to him smiling, "I see, prince, you have business of importance
at the caliph's palace." The prince of Persia, astonished and
alarmed at these words, answered the jeweller, "What leads you to
suppose that I have business at the caliph's palace?" "I judge
so," replied the jeweller, "by the slave who has just left you."
"And to whom, think you, belongs this slave?" demanded the
prince. "To Schemselnihar the caliph's favourite," answered the
jeweller: "I know," continued he, "both the slave and her
mistress, who has several times done me the honour to come to my
house, and buy jewels. Besides, I know that Schemselnihar keeps
nothing secret from this slave; and I have seen her pass
backwards and forwards for several days along the streets, as I
thought very much troubled; I imagined that it was for some
affair of consequence concerning her mistress."

The jeweller's words greatly troubled the prince of Persia. "He
would not say so," said he to himself, "if he did not suspect, or
rather were not acquainted with my secret." He remained silent
for some time, not knowing what course to take. At last he began,
and said to the jeweller, "You have told me things which make me
believe that you know yet more than you have acquainted me with;
it concerns my repose that I be perfectly informed; I conjure you
therefore not to conceal any thing from me."

Then the jeweller, who desired nothing more, gave him a
particular account of what had passed betwixt Ebn Thaher and
himself. He informed him that he was apprised of his
correspondence with Schemselnihar. and forgot not to tell him
that Ebn Thaher, alarmed at the danger of being his confidant in
the matter, had communicated to him his intention of retiring to
Bussorah, until the storm which he dreaded should be blown over.
"This he has executed," added the jeweller, "and I am surprised
how he could determine to abandon you, in the condition he
informed me you were in. As for me, prince, I confess, I am moved
with compassion towards you, and am come to offer you my service.
If you do me the favour to accept of it, I engage myself to be as
faithful to you as Ebn Thaher; besides, I promise to be more
resolute. I am ready to sacrifice my honour and life for you:
and, that you may not doubt of my sincerity, I swear by all that
is sacred in our religion, to keep your secret inviolable. Be
persuaded then, prince, that you will find in me the friend whom
you have lost." This declaration encouraged the prince, and
comforted him under Ebn Thaher's absence. "I am glad," said he to
the jeweller, "to find in you a reparation of my loss; I want
words to express the obligations I am under to you. I pray God to
recompense your generosity, and I accept your obliging offer with
all my heart. Believe me," continued he, "Schemselnihar's
confidant came to speak to me concerning you. She told me that it
was you who advised Ebn Thaher to go from Bagdad; these were the
last words she spoke to me, as she went away, and she seemed
persuaded of what she said; but they do not do you justice. I
doubt not, after what you have told me, she is deceived."
"Prince" replied the jeweller, "I have had the honour to give you
a faithful account of my conversation with Ebn Thaher. It is
true, when he told me he meant to retire to Bussorah, I did not
oppose his design; but let not this prevent your putting
confidence in me. I am ready to serve you with all imaginable
zeal. If you do not use my service, this shall not hinder me from
keeping your secret religiously, according to my oath." "I have
already told you," replied the prince, "that I did not believe
what the confidant said: it is her zeal which inspired her with
this groundless suspicion, and you ought to excuse it, as I do."

They continued their conversation for some time, and consulted
together about the most convenient means to keep up the prince's
correspondence with Schemselnihar. They agreed to begin by
undeceiving the confidant, who was so unjustly prepossessed
against the jeweller. The prince engaged to remove her mistake
the first time he saw her again, and to intreat her to address
herself to the jeweller whenever she might bring letters, or any
other information from her mistress to him. In short, they
determined, that she ought not to come so frequently to the
prince's house, because thereby she might lead to the discovery
of what it was of so great importance to conceal. At last the
jeweller arose, and, after having again intreated the prince of
Persia to place an unreserved confidence in him, withdrew.

The jeweller returning to his house perceived before him a
letter, which somebody had dropped in the street. He took it up,
and as it was not sealed, he opened it, and read as follows:

Letter from Schemselnihar to the Prince of Persia.

"I have received from my confidant intelligence which gives me no
less concern than it must give you. In Ebn Thaher, we have indeed
sustained a great loss; but let this not hinder you, dear prince,
from thinking of your own preservation. If our friend has
abandoned us through fear, let us consider that it is a
misfortune which we could not avoid. I confess Ebn Thaher has
left us at a time when we most needed his assistance; but let us
bear this unexpected stroke with patience, and let us not forbear
to love one another constantly. Fortify your heart under this
misfortune. The object of our wishes is not to be obtained
without trouble. Let us not be discouraged, but hope that heaven
will favour us, and that, after so many afflictions, we shall see
a happy accomplishment of our desires. Adieu."

While the jeweller was conversing with the prince of Persia, the
confidant had time to return to the palace and communicate to her
mistress the ill news of Ebn Thaher's departure. Schemselnihar
immediately wrote this letter, and sent back her confidant with
it to the prince of Persia, but she negligently dropped it on her

The jeweller was glad to find it, for it furnished him with an
opportunity of justifying himself to the confidant, and bringing
her to the point he desired. When he had read it, he perceived
the slave seeking for it with the greatest anxiety. He closed it
again quickly, and put it into his bosom; but the slave observed
him, and running to him, said, "Sir, I have dropped a letter,
which you had just now in your hand; I beseech you to restore
it." The jeweller, pretending not to hear her, continued his way
till he came to his house. He left his door open, that the
confidant, who followed him, might enter after him. She followed
him in, and when she came to his apartment, said, "Sir, you can
make no use of that letter you have found, and you would not
hesitate to return it to me, if you knew from whom it came, and
to whom it is directed. Besides, allow me to tell you, you cannot
honestly keep it."

Before the jeweller returned her any answer he made her sit down,
and then said to her, "Is not this letter from Schemselnihar, and
is it not directed to the prince of Persia?" The slave, who
expected no such question, blushed. "The question embarrasses
you," continued he; "but I assure you I do not put it rashly: I
could have given you the letter in the street, but I wished you
to follow me, on purpose that I might come to some explanation
with you. Is it just, tell me, to impute a misfortune to persons
who have no ways contributed towards it? Yet this you have done,
in telling the prince of Persia that it was I who advised Ebn
Thaher to leave Bagdad for his own safety. I do not intend to
waste time in justifying myself; it is enough that the prince of
Persia is fully persuaded of my innocence; I will only tell you,
that instead of contributing to Ebn Thaher's departure, I have
been extremely afflicted at it, not so much from my friendship to
him, as out of compassion for the condition in which he left the
prince of Persia, whose correspondence with Schemselnihar he has
discovered to me. As soon as I knew certainly that Ebn Thaher was
gone from Bagdad, I went and presented myself to the prince, in
whose house you found me, to inform him of this event, and to
offer to undertake the service in which he had been employed; and
provided you put the same confidence in me, that you did in Ebn
Thaher, it will be your own fault if you do not make my
assistance of use to you. Inform your mistress of what I have
told you, and assure her, that though I should die for engaging
in so dangerous an intrigue, I should not repent of having
sacrificed myself for two lovers so worthy of one another."

The confidant, after having heard the jeweller with great
satisfaction, begged him to pardon the ill opinion she had
conceived of him, for the zeal she had for her mistress's
interest.? I am beyond measure glad," she added, "that
Schemselnihar and the prince have found in you a person so fit to
supply Ebn Thaher's place I will not fail to convince my mistress
of the good-will you bear her."

After the confidant had testified to the jeweller her joy to see
him so well disposed to serve Schemselnihar and the prince of
Persia, the jeweller took the letter out of his bosom, and
restored it to her, saying, "Go, carry it quickly to the prince,
and return this way that I may see his reply. Forget not to give
him an account of our conversation."

The confidant took the letter and carried it to the prince, who
answered it immediately. She returned to the jeweller's house to
shew him the answer, which was in these words:

The Prince of Persia's Answer to Schemselnihar.

"Your precious letter has had a great effect upon me, but not so
great as I could have wished. You endeavour to comfort me for the
loss of Ebn Thaher; alas! however sensible I am of this, it is
but the least of my troubles. You know these troubles, and you
know also that your presence alone can cure me. When will the
time come that I shall enjoy it without fear of a separation? How
distant does it seem to me! or shall we flatter ourselves that we
may ever see it? You command me to preserve myself; I will obey
you, since I have renounced my own will to follow only yours.

After the jeweller had read this letter, he returned it to the
confidant, who said, as she was going away, "I will desire my
mistress to put the same confidence in you that she did in Ebn
Thaher. You shall hear of me to-morrow." Accordingly, next day
she returned with a pleasant countenance. "Your very looks," said
he to her, "inform me that you have brought Schemselnihar to the
point you wished." "It is true," replied the confidant, "and you
shall hear how I succeeded. I found yesterday, on my return,
Schemselnihar expecting me with impatience, I gave her the prince
of Persia's letter, and she read it with tears in her eyes. When
she had done, I saw that she had abandoned herself to her usual
sorrow. ‘Madam,' said I to her, ‘it is doubtless Ebn Thaher's
removal that troubles you; but suffer me to conjure you in the
name of God, to alarm yourself no farther on this account. We
have found another Ebn Thaher, who offers to oblige you with
equal zeal; and, what is yet more important, with greater
courage.' Then I spoke to her of you," continued the slave, "and
acquainted her with the motive which led you to the prince of
Persia's house. In short, I assured her that you would keep
inviolably the secret betwixt her and the prince of Persia, and
that you were resolved to favour their amour with all your might.
She seemed to be much relieved by my discourse. ‘Ah! what
obligations,' said she, ‘are the prince of Persia and I under to
that honest man you speak of! I must be acquainted with him and
see him, that I may hear from his own mouth what you tell me, and
thank him for such unheard-of generosity towards persons on whose
account he is no way obliged to interest himself. The sight of
him will give me pleasure, and I shall omit nothing to confirm
him in those good sentiments. Fail not to bring him to me to-
morrow.' Therefore, sir, be so good as to accompany me to the

The confidant's proposal perplexed the jeweller. "Your mistress,"
replied he, "must allow me to say that she has not duly
considered what she requires of me. Ebn Thaher's access to the
caliph gave him admission every where; and the officers who knew
him, allowed him free access to Schemselnihar's palace; but as
for me, how dare I enter? You see clearly that it is impossible.
I entreat you to represent to Schemselnihar the reasons which
prevent me from affording her that satisfaction; and acquaint her
with all the ill consequences that would attend my compliance. lf
she considered it ever so little, she would find that it would
expose me needlessly to very imminent danger."

The confidant endeavoured to encourage the jeweller. "Can you
believe," said she, "that Schemselnihar is so unreasonable as to
expose you to the least danger by bringing you to her, from whom
she expects such important services? Consider with yourself that
there is not the least appearance of risk. My mistress and I are
too much interested in this affair to involve you in any danger.
You may depend upon me, and leave yourself to my conduit. After
the thing is over you will be the first to confess that your
apprehensions were groundless."

The jeweller yielded to the confidant's assurances, and rose up
to follow her, but notwithstanding his boasted courage, he was
seized with such terror that his whole body trembled. "In your
present state," said she, "I perceive it will be better for you
to remain at home, and that Schemselnihar should take other
measures to see you. It is not to be doubted but that to satisfy
her desire she will come hither herself: the case being so, sir,
I would not have you go: I am persuaded it will not be long ere
you see her here." The confidant foresaw this; for she no sooner
informed Schemselnihar of the jeweller's fear, but she prepared
to go to his house.

He received her with all the expressions of profound respect.
When she sat down, being a little fatigued, she unveiled herself,
and exhibited to the jeweller such beauty as convinced him that
the prince of Persia was excusable in giving his heart to the
caliph's favourite. Then she saluted the jeweller with a graceful
air, and said to him, "I could not hear with what zeal you have
engaged in the prince of Persia's concerns and mine, without
immediately determining to express my gratitude in person. I
thank heaven for having so soon made up to us the loss of Ebn

Schemselnihar said many other obliging things to the jeweller,
after which she returned to her palace. The jeweller went
immediately to give an account of this visit to the prince of
Persia; who said to him, as soon as he saw him, "I have expected
you impatiently. The trusty slave has brought me a letter from
her mistress, but it does not relieve me. Whatever the lovely
Schemselnihar says, I dare not hope, and my patience is
exhausted; I know not now what measures to pursue; Ebn Thaher's
departure reduces me to despair. He was my only support: in him I
have lost every thing. I had flattered myself with some hopes by
reason of his access to Schemselnihar."

After these words, which the prince spoke with so much eagerness,
that he gave the jeweller no time to interrupt him, he said to
the prince, "No man can take more interest in your affliction
than I do; and if you will have patience to hear me you will
perceive that I can relieve you." Upon this the prince became
silent, and listened to him. "I see," said the jeweller, "that
the only way to give you satisfaction is to devise a plan that
will afford you an opportunity of conversing freely with
Schemselnihar. This I wish to procure you, and to-morrow will
make the attempt. You must by no means expose yourself to enter
Schemselnihar's palace; you know by experience the danger of that
step. I know a fitter place for this interview, where you will be
safe." When the jeweller had finished, the prince embraced him
with transports of joy. "You revive," said he, "by this promise,
a wretched lover, who was condemned to die. You have fully
repaired the loss of Ebn Thaher; whatever you do will be well
performed; I leave myself entirely to your conduct."

After the prince had thus thanked him for his zeal, the jeweller
returned home, and next morning Schemselnihar's confidant came to
him. He told her that he had given the prince of Persia hopes
that he should shortly see her mistress. "I am come on purpose,"
answered she, "to concert measures with you for that end. I think
this house will be convenient enough for their interview." "I
could receive them very well here," replied he, "but I think they
will have more liberty in another house of mine where no one
resides at present; I will immediately furnish it for their
reception." "There remains nothing then for me to do," replied
the confidant, "but to bring Schemselnihar to consent to this. I
will go and speak to her, and return speedily with an answer."

She was as diligent as her promise, and returning to the
jeweller, told him that her mistress would not fail to keep the
appointment in the evening. In the mean time she gave him a
purse, and told him it was to prepare a collation. He carried her
immediately to the house where the lovers were to meet, that she
might know whither to bring her mistress: and when she was gone,
he went to borrow from his friends gold and silver plate,
tapestry, rich cushions, and other furniture, with which he
furnished the house very magnificently; and when he had put all
things in order, went to the prince of Persia.

You may easily conceive the prince of Persia's joy, when the
jeweller told him that he came to conduct him to the house he had
prepared to receive him and Schemselnihar. This news made him
forget all his former trouble. He put on a magnificent robe, and
went without his retinue along with the jeweller; who led him
through several by-streets that nobody might observe them, and at
last brought him to the house, where they conversed together
until Schemselnihar's arrival.

They did not wait long for this passionate lover. She came after
evening prayer, with her confidant, and two other slaves. It is
impossible to express the excess of joy that seized these two
lovers when they saw one another. They sat down together upon a
sofa, looking upon one another for some time, without being able
to speak, they were so much overjoyed: but when their speech
returned, they soon made up for their silence. They said to each
other so many tender things, as made the jeweller, the confidant,
and the two other slaves weep. The jeweller however restrained
his tears, to attend the collation, which he brought in himself.
The lovers ate and drank little, after which they sat down again
upon the sofa: Schemselnihar asked the jeweller if he had a lute,
or any other instrument, The jeweller, who took care to provide
all that could please her, brought her a lute: she spent some
time in tuning it, and then sung.

While Schemselnihar was charming the prince of Persia, and
expressing her passion by words composed extempore, a great noise
was heard; and immediately the slave, whom. the jeweller had
brought with him, came in great alarm to tell him that some
people were breaking in at the gate; that he asked who they were,
but instead of any answer the blows were redoubled. The jeweller,
being alarmed, left Schemselnihar and the prince to inform
himself of the truth of this intelligence. No sooner had he got
to the court, than he perceived, notwithstanding the darkness of
the night, a company of men armed with spears and cimeters, who
had broken the gate, and came directly towards him. He stood
close to a wall for fear of his life, and saw ten of them pass
without being perceived by them. Finding he could give no great
assistance to the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar, he
contented himself with lamenting their fate, and fled for refuge
to a neighbour's house, who was not yet gone to bed. He did not
doubt but this unexpected violence was by the caliph's order,
who, he thought, had been informed of his favourite's meeting the
prince of Persia there. He heard a great noise in his house,
which continued till midnight: and when all was quiet, as he
thought, he desired his neighbour to lend him a cimeter; and
being thus armed, went on till he came to the gate of his own
house: he entered the court full of fear, and perceived a man,
who asked him who he was; he knew by his voice that it was his
own slave. "How did you manage," said he, "to avoid being taken
by the watch?" "Sir," answered the slave, "I hid myself in a
corner of the court, and I went out as soon as I heard the noise.
But it was not the watch who broke into your house: they were
robbers, who within these few days robbed another house in this
neighbourhood. They doubtless had notice of the rich furniture
you brought hither, and had that in view."

The jeweller thought his slave's conjecture probable enough. He
entered the house, and saw that the robbers had taken all the
furniture out of the apartment where he received Schemselnihar
and her lover, that they had also carried off the gold and silver
plate, and, in a word, had left nothing. Perceiving this
desolation, he exclaimed, "O heaven! I am irrecoverably ruined!
What will my friends say, and what excuse can I make when I shall
tell them that the robbers have broken into my house, and robbed
me of all they had generously lent me? I shall never be able to
make up their loss. Besides, what is become of Schemselnihar and
the prince of Persia? This business will be so public, that it
will be impossible but it must reach the caliph's ears. He will
get notice of this meeting, and I shall fall a sacrifice to his
fury." The slave, who was very much attached to him, endeavoured
to comfort him. "As to Schemselnihar," said he, "the robbers
would probably consent themselves with stripping her, and you
have reason to think that she is retired to her palace with her
slaves. The prince of Persia too has probably escaped, so that
you have reason to hope the caliph will never know of this
adventure. As for the loss your friends have sustained, that is a
misfortune that you could not avoid. They know very well the
robbers are numerous, that they have not only pillaged the house
I have already spoken of, but many other houses of the principal
noblemen of the court: and they are not ignorant that,
notwithstanding the orders given to apprehend them, nobody has
been yet able to seize any of them. You will be acquitted by
restoring your friends the value of the things that are stolen,
and, blessed be God, you will have enough left."

While they were waiting for day-light, the jeweller ordered the
slave to mend the street door, which was broken, as well as he
could: after which he returned to his usual residence with his
slave, making melancholy reflections on what had happened. "Ebn
Thaher," said he to himself, "has been wiser than I; he foresaw
the misfortune into which I have blindly thrown myself: would to
God I had never meddled in this intrigue, which will, perhaps,
cost me my life!"

It was scarcely day when the report of the robbery spread through
the city, and a great many of his friends and neighbours came to
his house to express their concern for his misfortune; but were
curious to know the particulars. He thanked them for their
affection, and had at least the consolation, that he heard no one
mention Schemselnihar. or the prince of Persia: which made him
believe they were at their houses, or in some secure place.

When the jeweller was alone, his servants brought him something
to eat, but he had no appetite. About noon one of his slaves came
to tell him there was a man at the gate, whom he knew not, that
desired to speak with him. The jeweller, not choosing to receive
a stranger into his house, rose up, and went to speak to him.
"Though you do not know me," said the man; "I know you, and I am
come to talk to you about an important affair." The jeweller
desired him to come in. "No," answered the stranger "if you
please, rather take the trouble to go with me to your other
house." "How know you," asked the jeweller, "that I have another
house?" "I know very well," answered the stranger; "follow me,
and do not fear any thing: I have something to communicate which
will please you." The jeweller went immediately with him; and
after he had considered by the way how the house they were going
to had been robbed, he said to him that it was not fit to receive

When they were before the house, and the stranger saw the gate
half broken down, he said to the jeweller, "I see you have told
me the truth. I will conduct you to a place where we shall be
better accommodated." When he had thus spoken, he went on, and
walked all the rest of the day without stopping. The jeweller
being fatigued with his walk, vexed to see night approach, and
that the stranger went on without telling him where he was going,
began to lose his patience, when they came to a path which led to
the Tigris. As soon as they reached the river, they embarked in a
little boat, and went over. The stranger led the jeweller through
a long street, where he had never been before; and after he had
brought him through several by-streets, he stopped at a gate,
which he opened. He made the jeweller go in before him, he then
shut and bolted the gate, with a huge iron bolt, and conducted
him to a chamber, where there were ten other men, all of them as
great strangers to the jeweller as he who had brought him hither.

These ten men received him without much ceremony. They desired
him to sit down, of which he had great need; for he was not only
out of breath with walking so far, but his terror at finding
himself with people whom he thought he had reason to fear would
have disabled him from standing. They waited for their leader to
go to supper, and as soon as he came it was served up. They
washed their hands, obliged the jeweller to do the like, and to
sit at table with them. After supper the men asked him, if he
knew whom he spoke to? He answered, "No; and that he knew not the
place he was in." "Tell us your last night's adventure," said
they to him, "and conceal nothing from us." The jeweller, being
astonished at this request, answered, "Gentlemen, it is probable
you know it already." "That is true," replied they; "the young
man and the young lady, who were at your house yesternight, told
it us; but we would know it from your own mouth." The jeweller
needed no more to inform him that he spoke to the robbers who had
broken into and plundered his house. "Gentlemen," said he, "I am
much troubled for that young man and lady; can you give me any
tidings of them?"

Upon the jeweller's inquiry of the thieves, if they knew any
thing of the young man and the young lady, they answered, "Be not
concerned for them, they are safe and well," so saying, they
shewed him two closets, where they assured him they were
separately shut up. They added, "We are informed you alone know
what relates to them, which we no sooner came to understand, but
we shewed them all imaginable respect, and were so far from doing
them any injury, that we treated them with all possible kindness
on your account. We answer for the same," proceeded they, "for
your own person, you may put unlimited confidence in us."

The jeweller being encouraged by this assurance, and overjoyed to
hear that the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar were safe,

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