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veys the utmost contempt. My brother soon an insult. Was I not encouraging my weakness took leave of me. When he had gone
by these scruples, which, at heart, I felt to be “ You seem to be very intimate,” she said in cowardly? It seemed by a providential chance a suspicious manner.
that all obstacles smoothed their own way, as if “ Yes; is it not very natural ?”
to constrain my doubts and conquer my timidity. "Do you see him often?"
Did not Zourah's house offer a safe place of “Not as often as I should desire."
meeting? What would be the harm of meeting “ And his wife ?" she continued, fastening him there, under the protection of these two woher eyes on mine.
men, in whose devotion I could so entirely conThe promise I had given my father forced me fide? Certain of the discretion of Nazly, veiled to evade her question. I was slightly embar- and disguised under the habarah of some slave, rassed.
what chance was there that Zourah would rec“You well know we must not receive her," ognize me at all? or would not rather suspect replied I, smiling to hide my confusion.
me to be a woman from Chimilah, some friend But I was uneasy about what Ali had been of her sister's? I had still to hesitate before detelling me, and questioned Hosnah.
ciding; but could I live with the thought that “ Bah!” she said, shrugging her shoulders. his life was in my hands, perhaps ? Each hour “Do not make yourself uneasy about Moham- which passed would increase his peril, yet still I med; he has them in his grasp this moment, hesitated and drew back. I could bear it no lonand, if he delays acting, it is only to crush them ger. I called Nazly. more completely when the right moment ar “Are you not devoted to me?" I asked. rives.”
“My dear mistress, even unto death!” I let her take me to Chcubrah. We were re “Well, you must assist me in saving an unturning from our drive when a battalion of weary happy man, whom they intend to put to death soldiers, covered with dust, and who seemed to this very night, for I have been the cause of his have arrived after a long march, passed us. ruin." With a sort of joyous curiosity, Hosnah lifted then revealed my project to her. She was the blind softly, to see them pass.
terrified, and offered violent resistance; but, see“We shall have news to-morrow," she said. ing me so desperate, and ready to commit any
Astonished, warned by a presentiment, I folly, she yielded. Time passed. I gave her this questioned her.
note, which Zourah was to carry immediately, “Pshaw!” she replied, in a low tone, “it is without knowing, any more than the two previous a secret which concerns you. Mohammed will times, who had sent it : probably this night make away with enemies mad enough to dare to attack him."
“ This woman will conduct you to where I I returned to Chimilah a prey to the most await you." horrible pangs. In this lawless country, where an order is all that is requisite for an execution. A spray of jasmine still served me for a sigthey were going to take Hassan's life. Could I let nature. When the time arrived, disguised with them commit this crime, all the fault of which care, I started with Nazly, who often goes out would be mine? It was no longer now a ques- thus, accompanied by some slave. A hackneytion of imprudence or rashness. I had a duty coach awaited us, and we got in. My decision to fulfill, a reparation to make, which it would be had been made after many doubts and combatcowardly to frustrate. I must speak to Hassan, ings, and yet I felt fears assail me anew. The must confess to him that I was the involuntary sort of feverish energy which had sustained me cause of the danger which hung over his head, in preparing for a departure so rash and danshow him his blind folly, and, if needful, implore gerous abandoned me. I was amazed to have him to fly for the sake of my future peace. Af- dared it. But did I not, after all, exaggerate the ter all, was I not convinced of his respect? Hum- bearing of this interview ? Could it have any ble and resigned as he is, he would know how other motive than a natural pity? A meeting for to suppress, in my presence, that adoration which a moment, closely veiled, and in the presence of he doubtless betrayed under a conviction that we Nazly, had certainly nothing mysterious about it. should never meet. What had I to fear from a Had I not already spoken to him in the presence heart so grand, so strong in its abnegation of Adilah and her people ? Enlightened as to Does not my rank place me above suspicion? his foolish enterprise, and told by me of its hopeBesides, am I not already the wife of Moham- lessness, he could no longer hesitate to yield to med? A soul like his could not mistake my in- the only course which could save him. terest, but would understand, in the dignity of an The coach stopped in a lonely road on the engagement, that any other sentiment would be banks of the Nile, where the little white house
was half hidden from sight by the sycamores. I cause,” he said. “You would scorn me as a was in advance of the time. Nazly alone fol- coward if I did fly." lowed me into a little garden close in the rear of And he enthusiastically painted the mission the house. Day began to fall, but there was still on which he had been sent to redeem his counsuch a transparent light that I could even dis- try from oppression and theft. He described tinguish the outlines of the Pyramids commands the poor fellahs bending under the courbash of ing the horizon like great gray phantoms. It the masters, and to whom nothing belonged was a soft, balmy, azure twilight. I looked not even the products of their fields. around, palpitating and oppressed; those mo- While he spoke I looked at him. In the faint ments of waiting seemed centuries. The little light his countenance softened, and appeared as door opened suddenly, and Zourah appeared, if transfigured. I was astonished to find him no followed by a man. When he reached me he longer ugly. The fire in his eyes gave a strange knelt and kissed the hem of my mantle, while brightness to his severe, dark expression. Nazly and her sister moved off to a distance. “But," I answered with less assurance, “it
There are sometimes strange sensations which is an idle struggle." abruptly take us by surprise, and defeat the most “What matters that, if duty forces it on wisely calculated foresight. I had prepared for me?" this interview, but in vain I called all my sang- He saw me shiver. froid to my aid ; I could not think of a word to “Oh, do not tremble,” he said eagerly. say. I stood perfectly still under my bourko- “Thanks to you, am I not saved until to-morthen I made him a sign to rise, and hesitatingly row? And to-morrow—who knows—?" faltered a few embarrassed sentences in French, “ Have you some hope, then?” I cried, because my women did not understand that lan- moved by this answer. guage. I alluded to the service he had rendered He hesitated a moment, as if battling with the child whom I had taken, and gave that as an the fear of betraying himself. excuse for my unusual proceeding, and revealed “Pardon me if I am silent on that point,” he to him the design which was intended on this then replied, “but have confidence, and be trannight.
quil. I wish to live, and have I not at this hour “I bless the peril I passed through, since it a talisman which protects me?" has won me thanks from your lips," replied he, And he placed before my eyes a sprig of dried with a glance that betrayed all his repressed agi- jasmine. I did not answer. There was perfect tation. “I am proud and happy at this present silence, and I felt his gaze weigh upon me. He danger, to which I owe your pity, and to which I slightly leaned toward me, and in a low and owe the joy of seeing you to-day-a thing I have troubled voicenever dared to hope for."
“I already owe too much happiness to you," I was alarmed at his calmness, and the accent he said softly. My heart beat so I did not dare in which he pronounced these words. I strove to speak. in vain to prevent my mind from understanding “I have had little joy in the world," he conthe sense of them; the recollection of his letter tinued ; "the liveliest has been the gift of this weighed on us both. His repressed passion, poor flower : there are moments which are worth united to his respectful timidity, moved me much an eternity.' more than an avowal would have done. Could Suddenly a dark shadow rose near us ; it was I take offense at the silent ecstasy that I read in the signal for departure given by Nazly. his eyes ?
For an instant we remained standing before By degrees I conquered my embarrassment, each other. and spoke to him of his menaced life-that he “Adieu !" I murmured. must preserve it to give me peace, and I en- “Adieu !” he repeated. treated him to fly.
It was only after my return home, alone in . "No," he said, when I ceased, in his deep, rich the silence, not having to tremble or to think, that voice "no, I shall not go; I do not wish to I began to recover. With that sort of compla
cency which leads us to brood over all that has "And if I order you?"
violently agitated and shaken us, I recalled the At this word, which escaped me, I felt myself least incidents of my audacious escapade. My crimson under my veil; for did not this reveal heart fluttered still with a thousand confused that I knew his love, and that I was not offended impressions. Certain that I had now acquitted at the knowledge? He so understood it. His myself toward him, I again saw myself in the gareyes sparkled, but he immediately cast them den, reading his eyes and divining his thoughts. down.
Had I not let fall some imprudent words which “ No! You could not order me to desert my revealed that I was aware of his passion? What
must he think of me? I calmed myself by the thought that I had disabused the mind of this
XVI. poor madman. An adieu had ended his dream I RECOGNIZE you well there, Martha, and of a day.
you have been truly idle to tremble for your adYet I could not sleep at night. If he went venturous Miriam as you call her. Of this rocould he escape them? I had opened a window mance, which makes you so uneasy, there only of the veranda, not recollecting that the park at remains at this hour a withered sprig of jasmine. Chimilah cut off all noises, and depending on the Your little princess is of a rank which sufficientrarity of the air to bring me some sound of ly protects her from the scorn which might wound what was taking place at that hour. Nothing! her pride. To put a seal on this secret for ever, I The sky, the stars with their mild light, illu- have written to this unhappy man a last reasonmined the parterres, whence rose odoriferous able letter, and I have again taken up my old breathings. Daylight surprised me still up. I course of life, so very busy, I assure you, with preptold myself then that this terrible adventure was arations for my marriage that it leaves no time unknown. As to Zourah-as I said before, she to give way to that natural nonchalance of my believed she carried a letter from some woman race with which you have so often reproached of the harem. From what passed at her house me, In eight days the Ramadan will be over, she can suspect nothing. Thus, then, no one will and, urged by my father, I have pronounced the ever discover that the Princess Miriam protected word which will accomplish my destiny. You this unfortunate, nor suspect that one evening can judge of the joy at Chimilah. Day before she left her palace to speak with him, Now, de- yesterday, departing more than ever from the esprived of all hope, the poor poet will live, and tablished rules, there was a new visit to the fathe remembrance of this incident will weaken in mous pavilion, where Seigneur Mohammed came his mind with time, which effaces all things. this time under the character of fiancé. Under
The next morning I had scarcely risen when stand, I was still closely wrapped in my veils. Nazly entered, handing me a letter which bore no Honestly, he did not utter his protestations badly. address.
Timid and impassioned by turns, he yet had a “Where did this letter come from?" I asked certain hardness of glance which presages the in amazement.
master - h’m! Martha ! He would have been “Zourah brought it to me. A slave carried perfect if he had not let me suspect that he it to her house and desired her to convey it im- treats me like a child. mediately to the hanum who had come to visit Before this proud man, to whom I must one her garden yesterday."
day humble myself, I could not prevent my I tremblingly opened the paper. Some jas- thoughts from returning to the foolish dreams mine-flowers fell upon my knees. I read : you know of. But, pshaw! all that has flown.
“This act of thanks will reach you to say The glory and fortune of our family are at stake! that you have saved me. Alas! in leaving you I We have arranged the routine of my house. knew that the adieu from your lips was a final The gratings are newly gilded, as is suitable for adieu, and that I should never see you more, but one of the rarest of birds. Each morning magI bear in my heart the imperishable souvenir of nificent baskets of presents are sent to the hathat pity of an instant that you felt for me. rem. I find among them unknown flowers which From the retirement of the retreat which I have seem to have been forced expressly for me. Never secured, I do not wish one cloud to still trouble was there more radiant happiness. . . . Do not the calm peace of your happy life. Know, then, pay any attention to these blistered lines. Withthat I am free; that the perils which made you out knowing why, I melted into tears ; that is tremble are now no more than idle shadows; all, and they have washed them. and that I remember.” When I had finished,
XVII. an unspeakable sadness took possession of me. Tears of tenderness wet my eyes. The danger MORE and more enchanted, Hosnah has put now removed, in spite of myself, I pity this love herself at the head of all the preparations for the so full of abnegation, so respectful, so humble important day. She desires that Cairo shall long in its hopelessness that it does not even utter a remember such a fête. Owing to this diversion, complaint. This solicitude for my peace, which I have gained some respite, which I have profited has made him no doubt brave danger to send me by to go and see Adilah. My father is so joythis note, touches me to the depths of my soul! ous that I do not despair of arriving at the great Poor boy! I have repaired the evil that my im- aim I have pursued in fancy—to make him acprudence might have caused him. I am quits knowledge the poor, lonely girl. You know how with my conscience, and with him.
indulgent he is to my escapades. He listens Such is the end of my prank.
when I speak of her; and he no longer forbids me to visit her, but feigns unconsciousness. I “Enter, hanums,” she said, in the grave and have already Saida as an ally. Were she not dignified manner of a sibyl. afraid of being disagreeable to Hosnah, we While she devoted herself to embracing her would be sure of the zeal of my step-mother, son, I examined with amazement the interior, on condition always that she remains hidden be- which I had entered after much repugnance. In hind the curtain.
the place of that sordid poverty and dirt which Mansour—my little savage-is a charming are ordinarily to be found in the dwellings of the child; you can not imagine the affection this fellahs, there was a comparative cleanliness which poor little fellow has for me: he only seems to almost testified to a certain ease. The cabin had live in my presence. Saida is devoted to him, only one room, lighted by the open door, so that and we take him out to drive with us, which, the the farther end was in darkness. We seated other day, was the cause of a curious incident. ourselves on a divan of red cotton cloth; on a We had gone out in the coach. The weather was mat before us were carefully arranged some litso beautiful that passing Choubrah we reached tle pottery cups, some shells, and some cheese ; the banks of the Nile, when the idea occurred to and on one side a writing-desk and some old me of taking the child to see his mother. The books. Silent, and impressed by all this, Saida scene was the same as before: the same children looked around with curiosity.
-yaoulets, as they call them-were playing on Thin, bronzed, with strongly marked harsh the boats moored there, and startling the scarlet features, the guayari has an air of savage enerflamingoes. Some buffaloes dotted the blue gy which must inspire confidence and terror in water with great spots of black, while the little her fortune-telling. Her eyes, shaded with kohl fellahines, slender and graceful in their cloth as far as the middle of her cheeks, have a savage draperies, with jars upon their heads in the form glitter, which abash the gaze and seem to wrest of amphora vases, which each supports with one's secret thoughts involuntarily. She knelt the arm of a caryatid covered with glass brace- at my feet, searching me with her dark orbs. lets, went and came with the easy, undulating “Give me your hand,” she said. grace of antique statues. Mansour, on seeing I refused, but Saida timidly held hers out. his old comrades, wished to get out and show The sorceress held the little hand in hers, and himself in his dress of an effendi, and we per- appeared to study the lines, then without saying mitted him to do so. We were soon surround- a word she rose and returned with a stand upon ed, and you can imagine the cries of joy and which a live adder was crawling. Saïda screamed. wonder.
“Do not be afraid,” she said. “It is a harmWe followed the road on foot to reach a less reptile.” cluster of huts which were about a hundred And, as if she wished to show us what was yards off, when suddenly Mansour dropped my dangerous, she went and brought a little cage hand, and dashed off after a stranger who was which she placed before our eyes. A serpent, crossing the road. The pedestrian turned round: rolled into a ring scarcely larger than a bracelet, it was Hassan. Letting the child lead him, he seemed sleeping on a bed of sand. It was an came toward us, but-withheld by respect - asp, whose sting is mortal, and which is used stopped. My gaze met his; he started — no only in the most terrible incantations. doubt, discovering it was me—bowed his head in Of course the fortune-teller only predicted secret recognition, and smiling gently on the lit- happiness, fortune, power, and all smiling prophtle fellah, as if I must take the smile to myself, ecies, until Saida was beaming. Before going went on without daring to proffer a word
away I gave Salome permission to come and see You may believe I was much exercised in her son at Chimilah. answering Saida's questions, for she was greatly puzzled with this by-play. When she learned
XVIII. that he was the man who saved Mansour
I HAVE had an interview with my father, which “How ugly he is !" she cried.
was at the same time solemn and charming, in I know not why, but this exclamation spread which he complimented me by treating me as a peace into my soul. Certainly the ugliness of daughter with intelligence enough to understand the poor poet Hafiz absolves me for the secret things, and to be associated with the ambitious bond so strangely formed between us, and of projects that he does not confide to the narrow which chance seems to renew the remembrance. minds of my elder sisters. He did not conceal I told you, I think, that Mansour's mother is a from me the fact that, in the present ruined state fortune-teller. She was standing in the doorway, of our family affairs, they depend solely on me to and, seeing me approach with the child, rushed raise them up. Politics and caprice of the rulers to throw herself at my feet and kiss the hem of being in this country the only source of wealth my habarah with great effusion of gratitude and favor, he unfolded to me the hopes arising from this splendid marriage of mine, and he abnegation of self before his idol touches me to entered into the most confidential details. The the depths of my soul. He has the strength of influence that I appear to have gained already a lion, my dear, under this timid humility. I over Mohammed does not leave a doubt of the have again read his “ Princess Gulnare.” An sovereign power I shall be able to wield. The Eastern poet alone could paint its burning pasharem, my dear, strange as it may seem, holds sion. One of these days I will translate it for here a more important place than you may sup- you. pose in the control of the government. My rôle
XIX. is admirable, and, in view of the high position I MARTHA ! you are the only one to whom I shall be called to fill, if I am to believe the style can confide my most secret thoughts. Whether of the adulation of which I am the recipient in guilty or imprudent, I know that I shall always the innumerable visits I receive, behold me al- find in your heart the inextinguishable love of a ready the most envied hanum in Egypt. Hosnah sister. No! Do not say I have deceived you, and Farideh have introduced to me their most if, in consequence of an idle act, which up to this titled friends in Cairo. I am enthroned, and ac- hour troubles me, I have done injustice to mytually have almost a court, where the two parties self. I will at least open my soul to you, and let mingle, and petitions are presented to me as if you search there, like another conscience which I were the wife of a vizier.
forms part of my being. Yes ! you had foreseen Two new interviews with my fiancé have that, always pursuing chimeras, the imagination now definitely settled our future, and, save that of your poor Miriam would stray beyond your he only knows me by my eyes, the bond that advice and judgment. Led away by a miserable unites oui souls is firmly knitted. Workmen are feeling of coquetry, perhaps, I have not kept my in his palace arranging my harem in French style, promise! I have written, I have answered his and I learn through Hosnah that he is spending letters, which breathe such resigned, submissive nearly a million dollars on it. Think if I am love. I feel myself so exalted in this heart adorloved—and if I shall not be happy!...
ing me without hope or aim ! Does he not know To escape the fatigue of the visitors whom that we are utterly separated ? Do not believe my happiness has already secured me, I drive that I have encouraged him, Martha. His heart out of town, where, alone with Bell, I can collect is deep and transparent as a beautiful lake which my thoughts. Nearly each time I have met the reflects the sky. All there is noble and sublime poor poet Hafiz at the same spot, who seems to in its pleasures and its sorrows. Bereft of all come there and wait to see me pass. Perhaps hope, he loves me, and never dares even to prohe is in concealment in some hut in the neigh- nounce my name. Resolved to give up all my borhood. Through precaution for him, though, dreams in consequence of the marriage required I have for several days discontinued going there, by my father, I have only given the poor poet a hoping that when he does not see me any longer token of my sympathy for the horrible suffering he will cease his painful attendance; but, some of which I have been the involuntary cause. His whim of Hosnah's leading us through the same respect so exalted me in my own eyes that I felt road, I met him again more sad and paler than reassured, and rather proud to console him. Do before. More touched than I cared to be by this not alarm yourself, then, like my unfortunate patient devotion, which can only bring him suf- Bell, who, ignorant of my secret, torments me fering, I resolved to at least spare his poor, noble with a thousand questions about a change in me heart the torture of an effort so agonizing. The that she observes. I shall be married in a few next morning, arming myself with all my cour- days; I will obey my destiny. What more can age, I went out alone with Bell, and, as my coach they require? Must I give up my life also ? Am passed before him, I let fall a sprig of jasmine, to I not dazzled by the splendor of an unequaled which I had fastened this cold, harsh farewell : future? What is wanting in my fate ? A very “ I will return here no more."
little thing, truly-only the happiness of loving, The same evening Nazly's sister brought me the union of two souls which makes marriage an this note :
enchantment. What is all this I dream of? I have " Pardon, pardon me for being so unhappy as a lover who adores me, and, whether with him or to cause you annoyance. Alas! that it should with another, I shall learn to have a master. be my fault that you should avoid that road be- That is all. cause I was there! But now I recognize my error. Return-return; I will obey you. You No, Martha, I can not pretend any more! I shall not see me again."
have lied to you: I feigned a stupid resignation; Poor fellow ! In receiving these lines, where I am afraid I am afraid. Possessed, in spite not a word of complaint escapes his desolated of myself, by a delirium stronger than my reaheart, I realize how harsh I have been. This son, I lose my senses. The bare thought of be