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pity. To write! I decided to do that, for seek Situated in a street so narrow that the carriage as I might it was the only method. At one time appeared to enter it with difficulty, the palace of I thought of sending a message to him; but my sister Hosnah is a marvel of antiquity. The what slave could I send on such an unusual er- family of her husband, a descendant of green rand ? I can not tell what inner consciousness turbans, inhabited it for eight centuries, during convinced me that I alone would be listened to, which time nothing has been done to alter the and obeyed. Ten times did I take up my pen, and primitive architecture, nor has more been done ten times did I throw it down. After much in- in the interior than to make requisite repairs. It decision, and with terror, I resolved. Only an is the only monument of this sort in this country anonymous warning was necessary, so I wrote where palaces, houses, and gourbis, all date from these simple lines :
yesterday. When the carriage stopped, my little A friend knows that you are in peril: step-mother ceased her prattling, and became your presence in Cairo is known. Fly imme- very serious under her bourko. The very door diately /
even of this secular palace has a formidable and Then I called Nazly, and, trusting to her fidel- imposing appearance. The first court was empty ity, obtained a promise that she would get her -a double barrier for all Mussulman houses ; sister to take it to Hassan's house. For the sake then a second court, immense, without trees, and of safety, and to keep my secret better, we agreed with a very high wall, with a well, the marble that Zourah should not know who sent the mes- basin of which is green and worn by time. I sage, and thus she could not question or answer. was delighted by the elegant originality, the exI felt relieved from a heavy responsibility. Bur- quisite variety, the fantastic and delicate art of ied in his imprudent seclusion, Hassan would at the windows, those jewels of Arab chiseling, least learn that he must be on the alert. I im- those laces in wood, fine as a woman's veil, patiently awaited Nazly's return. She soon came where the imagination and patience of the artist back with the tidings that Zourah had accom- display according to caprice the most extravaplished her mission.
gant and the most wonderful execution. The
immense wall at the rear is bare and flat, without XI.
windows or the least ornamentation. A single He has gone; God be praised!... This has door is cut there, closed by a heavy curtain of a little lightened this importunate care which I so white cloth covered with inscriptions, cut out of idly caused myself. The day after the delivery scraps of various colored silks. It is impossible of my mysterious advice the house was fastened, to picture the effect of this brilliant drapery upon and Nazly's sister is convinced that the exile had the discolored gray-stone. This was the entrance flown. I have saved this unhappy man; and now
to the harem. Saida pointed out to the left the I owe him nothing. I will now relate an incident Selamlik, a separate building where my brotherto you which presages storms and tempests. in-law Mustapha lives. On account of this vi
My sister Hosnah has returned, and I went cinity, the windows of the harem open on the garto make my first visit to her, which I must de- dens on the other side. The curtain is lowered scribe in all its details, because it will prove all when the hanums are at home, and raised when the life and happiness which are in store for me they are out; it is also the custom not only for through this superb marriage of which the secret strangers, but even for the domestics, to make a has never been divulged to me up to this hour. long détour when they have occasion to pass this
It is now three days since, in my elegant cos- mysterious altar. On our arrival, about twelve tume of a sultana, and in a beautiful carriage, young girls, who were drawing water, took flight I left Chimilah, accompanied by Saïda, as rich- as swiftly as a flock of pigeons. The boabs, who ly appareled as myself. During the drive she had hastened to the carriage, flew as soon as the again instructed me upon the ordained etiquette steps were let down; it seemed a general sauve at such an important interview; and gave me a qui peut, and one would have supposed we final lesson on ceremonial and bearing which was brought the plague in our garments. In a few to be very complicated, for this time I was going minutes the court was empty. Four eunuchs to encounter the severest traditions of Islam. then came to meet us, and raised the terrible My little step-mother gave me information about curtain for us. A large granite staircase, lighted the members of the family, whom I have never by colored lanterns, until it was as bright as the seen, and of the various wives of my brother-in- daylight outside, led to the apartments. At the law Mustapha, whom I was to meet. Four of door I stopped amazed. It seemed as if one these wives are as legitimate as my sister Hos- only could know my sister Hosnah when she was nah, in consequence of which I owe them a cer- seen at home. I do not know if her apparel was tain respect.
the result of her instinct or her skill. In the We had soon crossed the town.
midst of her slaves, standing in a circle around
her, lying on a divan, the mouth-piece of a nar- my ear that she was the present favorite, and I gile between her lips, dressed in a robe of cherry should have suspected it from the airs of indosatin covered with gems, she appeared to me still lent superiority with which she received the adulamore imposing than at our first interview. The tion paid her. She came up and examined me resolution of a fanatic betrayed itself, mingled as a rare object, asked me some amiable queswith the gaze of a sphinx. Yet her eyes are very tions, then, carrying her finger to her lips, went beautiful, bordered by a deep circle of kohl under and seated herself with crossed legs upon the their heavy brows, which meet in a black line. cushions carefully arranged for her by the attenThey fascinate by their magnetic power. She dant eunuchs. Arousing me from my astonishtook her time to rise; her favorites dashing for- ment, Hosnah presented me to some distinguished ward to support her. Slowly, with her excep- visitors, who appeared to have been invited in tional majesty, she came toward me.
honor of me. While they were overwhelming On the part of an eldest sister this reception me with compliments and attentions, my mind was a distinguished proof of consideration and was absorbed in a study of this extraordinary kindly feeling. I answered in my best style, household. These rival hanums, possessing the bending to kiss the hem of her robe. While the same rights and titles, concealing without doubt slaves took off my féredjé, she said, examining atrocious jealousies, and forced to yield to this my costume :
favorite slave whom the caprice of their master “ This is well ; you are a thorough Arab." had placed above them, filled me at the same
I took a place on the divan beside her. The time with shame and pity. My sister Hosnah windows of the harem, as I said, overlook the thrones herself in the midst of this, and reconciles gardens on three sides; they are at an ordinary herself to it, as the most natural thing in the height, but seem very low, the ceiling being very world. lofty, formed like a dome, and decorated in Fashion required that pipes and coffee should squares of porcelain in the most ingenious method be brought. I do not know if Hosnah had dethat Arab art has invented. It is cool to the eye, sired to dazzle me, or whether this was the usual of a refined tone, and deliciously harmonious. ceremony of the house, but I never saw any A gallery in filigree silver runs around the sides such pomp nor such solemnity. Thirty slaves of the room, with its sides of cedar-wood inlaid marched in two lines, clothed like houris, the in pearl and ivory. Here and there on the walls negresses contrasting with the blondes, and were old appliques, where turquoise was sown; bringing out their pure pallor; all were young, in little niches were étagères holding priceless and of a beauty remarkable in its type. At their pottery. All around the room was a divan of head, the smallest bearing the arphs (the cups), Persian silk, with piles of cushions scattered over the largest following with the waiters, the narthe carpets. Nothing modern here. The sin- giles, and pipes, then closing the procession two gle word Europe causes the eyes of my sister to Smyriotes with their long blonde plaits trailing flash. Never had a Christian sullied her door- on the floor, bearing the cafetière in the form of sill; never had an infidel seen her face. Though a censer. Diamonds glistened wherever they I have profited by the instructions of Saida so moved. Instructed by Saïda, I made a very good much, in the midst of a scene so different from appearance. I accepted the arph and the pipe, Chimilah, I felt a little disconcerted. Sitting saluting my sister in Arab fashion, and, drinking apart, each surrounded by her own group, in the my coffee, buried in the cushions of the divan, I midst of a little court, I soon recognized the ha- puffed some clouds from my chibouk. An hour nums. They came up to me. My little step- passed thus. Some of the visitors having taken mother named to me Fatma-Hanum, Khadouja- leave, my sister and myself remained together Hanum, Aissá-Hanum; this last of very noble alone. birth, and scarcely twelve years of age. At a “Miriam,” she said abruptly, “has not our glance I decided on the superiority of our recluses father spoken to you of his great scheme?" at Chimilah to these. Ours are great children- “What scheme?" I inquired, wishing to show these have not even gayety. The atmosphere discretion. of the harem enwraps them in a smiling sort “ A marriage." of idiocy. Have they souls-thoughts? With “He has alluded to it," I replied; “ but it is their large eyes blackened by kohl, they looked still a secret, I suppose ?" at me until their curiosity was gratified, then “ Not to me," she replied, “for I was the one they returned to their divans, where, without who conceived the idea of this great happiness troubling themselves more about me, they re- for us all.” turned to their far niente. A superb creature, I could not tell why, but as my sister uttered covered with diamonds, suddenly entered, fol- these words I was struck with terror. lowed by a group of slaves. Saida whispered in “ Do you know the man whom my father
destines for me?” asked I, more agitated than I wished to appear.
XII. “ How should I not know Mohammed ? He I SOON perceived that this great secret of my is my husband's brother.”
marriage was no longer a secret from any of the This unexpected revelation had the effect of family; from my step-mother, Zeinab, down to a thunder-clap. Her husband's brother! I fore- Saïda, they never stopped gossiping about the saw for myself, as in a bad dream, this frightful happiness in store for me. I discovered it was a life now before my eyes, with its humiliations, its concerted understanding to assure victory to immodesty, and revolts ; this strange mingling Seigneur Mohammed. Bell even joined the parof wives and slaves; this degrading servility from ty, and, from what Farideh told her, was everwhich even the title of princess would not belastingly pointing out to me the magnificent life able to save me.
Was this in reserve for me? I should have with such a husband. Then, I returned to Chimilah a prey to the wildest some days later, my father came one morning to terror. My father had scarcely entered the next inform me that at noon he would be awaiting me morning when I cried out:
in a pavilion which almost joins the Selamlik. “ It is not true! It is impossible! Hosnah At this extraordinary departure from precedent, has deceived me! Tell me quickly that it is not I realized that the first blow was struck. true !"
'I shall have some one to present to you," he “ First tell me what is not true.”
added, with a smile. " That you wish to marry me to her brother- This news threw my entire house into confuin-law Mohammed."
sion. “ Hosnah is a tattler," he answered, smiling; Though, in accordance with the inflexible “ but, since she has told it, there is nothing more rules, I could only appear at this presentation to hide. But why this look of consternation ? closely veiled, Nazly, naturally in their confiYou have never seen him. You do not know dence, would deck me in my most beautiful toihim.”
let. Saida would arrange my head with her own “ But what necessity is there for me to have hands, placing first the bourka_you know the known him? It was sufficient for me to have piece of stuff which is fastened below the eyesbeen in the household of his brother yesterday and over all the habarah, hiding the head and to terrify me at the idea of a harem like his." forehead. In spite of their jests and laughter, I
Allah! What know you of it?” calmly was somewhat agitated. I felt an unconquerable answered my father. “Mohammed has no ha- emotion, which all these preparations increased. rem, and if he marries you he will never have A thousand thoughts struggled in my brain, now another wife."
one, now another, gaining the mastery. At one Though there was much in these assurances time the picture of Hosnah's harem would make to calm my liveliest alarm, I did not yield. me shudder; at another the promise of my fa“But if I do not love him, father?"
ther would give me confidence. “Be at ease,” he answered with a smile. I was ready. Saida saw me go, nearly as “ Have I not promised that you shall know your agitated as if she were herself the victim. Nazly husband before marriage? Yet more, I do not embraced me, so as to encourage me. Bell alone, wish to compel you, my dear child. If Moham- very self-possessed under her veil, was to accommed is disagreeable to you—absolutely-well, pany me. you shall not marry Mohammed. Are you re- You know I am not brave, but I only tremble assured ?"
when the danger is in the distance. In an event What could I answer to words so tender and like this, I arm myself with all my sang-froid. I reasonable? He spoke then of the hopes he had would not allow myself to be swayed either by built on this superb match-one of the finest my anticipations nor by surrounding influences. in Egypt—and of the happiness that would be I would refuse to take any part. Two eunuchs mine. Mohammed is thirty. Educated in Eu- formed our escort; they ascended the steps be
rope, he is civilized, which accounts for his not fore us, and introduced us. As I entered, my . resembling his brother in anything. A friend of eyes rested on a person very elegantly dressed in the Khédive, and with great influence over him, European style, with a tarbouch on his head, who he occupies one of the highest positions at court, was sitting near my father. At my entrance he where his great political ability makes him a sort immediately rose. of vizier. My father did not conceal the fact Large, erect, with the profile of an antique that this marriage would be the height of the medal, his long lashes soften the flash of a gaze amòition of my family, and he dwelt at length very proud and at the same time a little hard; a on the wondrously influential position I should brown beard conceals all the lower part of the occupy, and the great wealth it would bring me. face.
“My daughter, his Excellency Mohammed blank flattery did not cause me a blush. ConPasha, who has solicited the honor of being pre- vinced that he knew nothing, I pressed him to ensented to you."
lighten me as to his information.
“ Were it only I bowed slightly.
by your eyes and your voice,” he replied, “I My father spoke in Arabic. As if through would already have had sufficient reason to gallant deference, the young Pasha uttered in judge." I jestingly continued this skirmish, inFrench some phrases of delicate courtesy, in sisting that he should show me my portrait, and, which he expressed his gratitude for a favor after making me entreat him awhile—" which he so highly estimated.
“ Notwithstanding your great, severe eyes, Bell, book in hand, had discreetly retired to he continued, "you have a smiling mouth with a little distance. I took a place on the divan be- dazzling little teeth; your nose is straight and side my father. Seigneur Mohammed sat in front delicate, and low down on your left cheek is a of us in a fauteuil.
slight little mole." This visit à la Française was the most ex- I fell from the clouds. traordinary and original proceeding ever heard “What treachery! You have seen me in of. It had all the form of a meeting in the Fau- Paris.” bourg St.-Germain; but here the veil added a He denied this. new feature-something like an intrigue with a “ It is magic, then!” mask on, covering an interview of lovers. The He enjoyed my astonishment for a moment, conversation that ensued was somewhat ceremo- then he took from his pocket-book a photograph nious, and on general topics. Apart from the which he showed me. I uttered a cry of amazegravity, at the same time easy and dignified, of ment on recognizing myself. I gave my father a the man of state, Mohammed does not lack in- reproachful look, to which he seemed insensible, tellect. Yet, to be frank, his haughty coldness appearing to enjoy my defeat. was not unbecoming. But his smile has an ironi- I had lost much of my assurance ; for this cal finesse which betrays the consciousness of veil, behind which I took refuge, no longer conslightly haughty superiority. My father made a cealed me. The visit was soon ended, for, with remark on some point of foreign policy, and, with- a good taste for which I had not given him credit, out knowing much about it, I ventured a timid ob- as if he understood my embarrassment, Mohamservation. Mohammed's countenance expressed med did not abuse his advantage over me. He surprise ; I had, it appeared, uttered a very sub- rose, and, bowing very low, took his leave with a tile remark, which covered the point at issue be- few graceful and respectful words. When he tween them.
had left, I reproached my father with having so “Eh ! mon Dieu, mademoiselle," he said, “ be- perfidiously betrayed me. hold ! we have you already a great politician.” “ You are an ingrate, Miriam," he answered.
My father laughed aloud. I I lowered my eyes, “To please you we set aside all established rules, blushing under my veil.
and behold, you scold me for obeying you too Mohammed did not pursue the subject, but well! Do you not see that Mohammed can not gave the conversation a turn which restored it love you unless he knows you ?" That was very to its careless and indifferent tone. Emboldened true, and I was appeased. He inquired my imby this strange situation, through his grave self- pressions, and in daughterly confidence I owned control, a certain tone of gallantry was percepti- that his protégé had made a very favorable impresble. I can not explain how, in the most apropos sion on me. I criticised, though, something too manner, he found a way of slipping in some very searching in his gaze, an imperceptible shade of graceful compliments. Once I considered his irony in his smile, a cold nature under the grave praises fulsome.
hauteur of his manner even in his gallant atten“Take care,” I said with a slight dash of tions; but, after all, these are the trifling defects irony; “I may be very ugly."
suitable to a politician. My father then informed “ No, you are not," he replied in a tone of me, in addition to what he had told me before this confidence, very flattering to my vanity.
meeting, and which with very natural discretion · My father gave one of his little malicious Mohammed had not touched on, how affairs now, laughs.
stood. Everything had been understood in ad“How do you know ?" I asked.
vance. Mohammed, like many other young “ Mademoiselle, I have my secrets."
Mussulmen of rank, had pledged himself to have "Doubtless the gift of second-sight." but one wife. The arrangement of our ménage “ I do not think so."
would be the same as Ali's and Adilah's, and he “Then,”
only would require the ceremonial etiquette out “Then I assure you that you are charming." of the house. Notwithstanding his boldness, this point- At all events, I am permitted to reflect on it
before I decide : there is nothing to hurry me. and she continued her jests about the mad pasWe have just commenced our Ramadan -a sion I have inspired. fast of forty days. We must wait until that is She knows about the interview and the porended before we can dream of the celebration of trait, and approves of everything. Great Heava marriage. It is a month's respite. What do ens! What has become of her old principles '? you say to my romance? As you see, it is a very I can not disguise the fact that there is, in these important affair, dearest, and I can not decide meetings and this mystery, a sort of romantic without deepest reflection. Marriage in itself is perfume, which almost reconciles me to the barsomething terrifying in its incomprehensibility. barous rigor which hides us from all eyes. A Seigneur Mohammed impresses me favorably, I lover alone, my dear, invented this code of adoown, though I do not feel for him that sympathy ration and respect. What woman could dare to which reassures and encourages. A single in- complain of this jealous precaution, or this vigiterview, it is true, is not sufficient to form an lant care to secure her from all eyes? There opinion; still, I recognize in him the apparent certainly are no such scruples in the pale loves possession of sterling qualities—an attraction, a of Europe. A nature at the same time fervent bearing, an education, sentiments—which distin- and idolatrous is the only one which can feel guish him from all others. In short, I could not ardent passion. Veiled to all, the Mussulwoman be ambitious of a husband more desirable in belongs but to one. Does not the woman who this Mussulman world to which I belong. Love exposes herself to admiration and envy give away is sometimes more lasting for not being too sud- something of herself? den. Mohammed possesses gifts which must Circumstances are more defined, and your flatter the pride of any woman. The favorable little princess seems rushing on to the fatal déimpression he made on me has relieved me from noúment. Two days ago a bitter grief fell to my my terrors, and that is much to begin with. Why poor Nazly's share. Her sister's son, enlisted a should not affection be born later, when I have little while since, had deserted. His mother awakened a heart stifled perhaps by the cares of rushed to us in her despair. He was to be shot. business? Time is the best of counselors. We I immediately went to Hosnah's house, and she
agreed to help us. A hanum has the right of XIII.
calling at the house of a public official ; and this My life has suddenly gained an extraordi- had not been the first time that Hosnah sought nary excitement. The news of the marriage has the aid of her brother-in-law. She started imbeen spread abroad before it is even fully de- mediately to seek him, promising to obtain parcided on. At Chimilah they all consider it a fixed don for the condemned, and I returned to Chimifact. Since the visit of Mohammed, Hosnah has lah very hopeful. An hour later she came to my been seized with such a friendship for me that house. A free pardon was granted, and Moshe gives me no respite. Scarcely a day passes hammed would bring it to me. that she does not come to see me, carrying me “How!” cried I ; "that is impossible.” off in her coach to introduce me to her friends, “Why ?" she tranquilly inquired. “Has he inventing a thousand pretexts for driving and not been here before ?" fêtes. I no longer belong to myself, but seem “That was very different ; an interview auwon over by her flatteries.
thorized by my father.” In the midst of this strife, I have not been “ Well ! This time it will be an interview able to find a moment to go and see my dear authorized by me—that is all the difference.” Adilah; Hosnah accompanies me whenever I go “Where shall I receive him ?” out. We go together to Choubrah, where we I will accompany you to the pavilion." meet Mohammed. Behind the lowered shades I looked at her in amazement, not being able the sphinx-eye of my sister perceives him with to believe such a departure on the part of my such unerring certainty that one must believe sister. In truth, I had to let her do it. Mo she was prepared for the encounter. From the hammed was her near relation, and the authorlooks he gives at our coach, of which I suppose ity she exercised over the family would excuse he recognizes the livery, I am confident he knows such hardihood. I did not think of dressing, for I am there. Etiquette forbids him to bow to me; I was too much agitated in view of this new yet a few days since, when our coupé collided meeting, so unexpectedly improvised. I need not with his in a narrow passage, I perceived an im- tell you she had not much trouble in convincing perceptible sign, a movement of his eyes and me. Half an hour later one of Hosnah's eunuchs lowering of the lashes.
came to inform her that Seigneur Mohammed had “ Did you see that?” exclaimed Hosnah. arrived, and we started for the famous pavilion. “He almost committed an indiscretion. You Mohammed awaited us. We were both tightcertainly make him lose his head," she added ; ly veiled, of course. The magnificent embonpoint