'Come, my lads,' said Alroy, as he rubbed his hands over the ascending flame, 'at any rate, this is better than the desert.'
After all his exertions, Alroy fell into profound and dreamless sleep. When he awoke, the sun had been long up. Schirene was still slumbering. He embraced her, and she opened her eyes and smiled.
'You are now a bandit's bride,' he said. 'How like you our new life?'
'Well! with thee.'
'Rest here, my sweetest: I must rouse our men, and see how fortune speeds.' So saying, and tripping lightly over many a sleeping form, he touched Benaiah.
'So! my brave captain of the guard, still napping! Come! stir, stir.'
Benaiah jumped up with a cheerful face. 'I am ever ready, Sire.'
'I know it; but remember I am no more a king, only a co-mate. Away with me, and let us form some order.'
The companions quitted the amphitheatre and reconnoitred the adjoining buildings. They found many stores, the remains of old days, mats, tents, and fuel, drinking-bowls, and other homely furniture. They fixed upon a building for their stable, and others for the accommodation of their band. They summoned their companions to the open place, the scene of Hassan Subah's fate, where Alroy addressed them and explained to them his plans. They were divided into companies; each man had his allotted duty. Some were placed on guard at different parts; some were sent out to the chase, or to collect dates from the Oasis; others led the horses to the contiguous pasture, or remained to attend to their domestic arrangements. The amphitheatre was cleared out. A rude but convenient pavilion was formed for Schirene. They covered its ground with mats, and each emulated the other in his endeavours to study her accommodation. Her kind words and inspiring smiles animated at the same time their zeal and their invention.
They soon became accustomed to their rough but adventurous life. Its novelty pleased them, and the perpetual excitement of urgent necessity left them no time to mourn over their terrible vicissitudes. While Alroy lived, hope indeed never deserted their sanguine bosoms. And such was the influence of his genius, that the most desponding felt that to be discomfited with him, was preferable to conquest with another. They were a faithful and devoted band, and merry faces were not wanting when at night they assembled in the amphitheatre for their common meal.
No sooner had Alroy completed his arrangements than he sent forth spies in all directions to procure intelligence, and especially to communicate, if possible, with Ithamar and Medad, provided that they still survived and maintained themselves in any force.
A fortnight passed away without the approach of any stranger; at the end of which, there arrived four personages at their haunt, not very welcome to their chief, who, however, concealed his chagrin at their appearance. These were Kisloch the Kourd, and Calidas the Indian, and their inseparable companions, the Guebre and the Negro.
'Noble Captain,' said Kisloch, 'we trust that you will permit us to enlist in the band. This is not the first time we have served under your orders in this spot. Old co-mates, i'faith, who have seen the best and the worst. We suspected where you might be found, although, thanks to the ever felicitous invention of man, it is generally received that you died in battle. I hope your Majesty is well,' added Kisloch, bowing to Schirene.
'You are welcome, friends,' replied Alroy; 'I know your worth. You have seen, as you say, the best and the worst, and will, I trust, see better. Died in battle, eh! that's good.'
''Tis so received,' said Calidas.
'And what news of our friends?'
'Not over good, but strange.'
'Hamadan is taken.'
'I am prepared; tell me all.'
'Old Bostenay and the Lady Miriam are borne prisoners to Bagdad.'
'But so; all will be well with them, I trow. The Lord Honain is in high favour with the conqueror, and will doubtless protect them.'
'Honain in favour?'
'Even so. He made terms for the city, and right good ones.'
'Hah! he was ever dexterous. Well! if he save my sister, I care not for his favour.'
'There is no doubt. All may yet be well, Sir.'
'Let us act, not hope. Where's Abner?'
'I saw him fall, and fought beside him.'
'A soldier's death is all our fortune now. I am glad he was not captured. Where's Medad, Ithamar?'
'Fled into Egypt.'
'We have no force whatever, then?'
'None but your guards here.'
'They are strong enough to plunder a caravan. Honain, you say, in favour?'
'Very high. He'll make good terms for us.'
'This is strange news.'
'Very, but true.'
'Well! you are welcome! Share our fare; 'tis rough, and somewhat scanty; but we have feasted, and may feast again. Fled into Egypt, eh?'
'Schirene, shouldst like to see the Nile?'
'I have heard of crocodiles.'
If the presence of Kisloch and his companions were not very pleasing to Alroy, with the rest of the band they soon became great favourites. Their local knowledge, and their experience of desert life, made them valuable allies, and their boisterous jocularity and unceasing merriment were not unwelcome in the present monotonous existence of the fugitives. As for Alroy himself, he meditated an escape to Egypt. He determined to seize the first opportunity of procuring some camels, and then, dispersing his band, with the exception of Benaiah and a few faithful retainers, he trusted that, disguised as merchants, they might succeed in crossing Syria, and entering Africa by Palestine. With these plans and prospects, he became each day more cheerful and more sanguine as to the future. He had in his possession some valuable jewels, which he calculated upon disposing of at Cairo for a sum sufficient for all his purposes; and having exhausted all the passions of life while yet a youth, he looked forward to the tranquil termination of his existence in some poetic solitude with his beautiful companion.
One evening, as they returned from the Oasis, Alroy guiding the camel that bore Schirene, and ever and anon looking up in her inspiring face, her sanguine spirit would have indulged in a delightful future.
'Thus shall we pass the desert, sweet,' said Schirene. 'Can this be toil?'
'There is no toil with love,' replied Alroy.
'And we were made for love, and not for empire,' rejoined Schirene.
'The past is a dream,' said Alroy. 'So sages teach us; but, until we act, their wisdom is but wind. I feel it now. Have we ever lived in aught but deserts, and fed on aught but dates? Methinks 'tis very natural. But that I am tempted by the security of distant lands, I could remain here a free and happy outlaw. Time, custom, and necessity form our natures. When I first met Scherirah in these ruins, I shrank with horror from degraded man; and now I sigh to be his heir. We must not think!'
'No, love, we'll only hope,' replied Schirene; and they passed through the gates.
The night was beautiful, the air was still warm and sweet. Schirene gazed upon the luminous heavens. 'We thought not of these skies when we were at Bagdad,' she exclaimed; 'and yet, my life, what was the brightness of our palaces compared to these? All is left to us that man should covet, freedom, beauty, and youth. I do believe, ere long, Alroy, we shall look back upon the wondrous past as on another and a lower world. Would that this were Egypt! Tis my only wish.'
'And it shall soon be gratified. All will soon be arranged. A few brief days, and then Schirene will mount her camel for a longer ride than just to gather dates. You'll make a sorry traveller, I fear!'
'Not I; I'll tire you all.'
They reached the circus, and seated themselves round the blazing fire. Seldom had Alroy, since his fall, appeared more cheerful. Schirene sang an Arab air to the band, who joined in joyous chorus. It was late ere they sought repose; and they retired to their rest, sanguine and contented.
A few hours afterwards, at the break of dawn, Alroy was roused from his slumbers by a rude pressure on his breast. He started; a ferocious soldier was kneeling over him; he would have spurned him; he found his hand manacled. He would have risen; his feet were bound. He looked round for Schirene, and called her name; he was answered only by a shriek. The amphitheatre was filled with Karasmian troops. His own men were surprised and overpowered. Kisloch and the Guebre had been on guard. He was raised from the ground, and flung upon a camel, which was instantly trotted out of the circus. On every side he beheld a wild scene of disorder and dismay. He was speechless from passion and despair. The camel was dragged into the desert. A body of cavalry instantly surrounded it, and they set off at a rapid pace. The whole seemed the work of an instant.
How many days had passed Alroy knew not. He had taken no account of time. Night and day were to him the same. He was in a stupor. But the sweetness of the air and the greenness of the earth at length partially roused his attention. He was just conscious that they had quitted the desert. Before him was a noble river; he beheld the Euphrates from the very spot he had first viewed it in his pilgrimage. The strong association of ideas called back his memory. A tear stole down his cheek; the bitter drop stole to his parched lips; he asked the nearest horseman for water. The guard gave him a wetted sponge, with which he contrived with difficulty to wipe his lips, and then he let it fall to the ground. The Karasmian struck him.
They arrived at the river. The prisoner was taken from the camel and placed in a covered boat. After some hours they stopped and disembarked at a small village. Alroy was placed upon an ass with his back to its head. His clothes were soiled and tattered. The children pelted him with mud. An old woman, with a fanatic curse, placed a crown of paper on his brow. With difficulty his brutal guards prevented their victim from being torn to pieces. And in such fashion, towards noon of the fourteenth day, David Alroy again entered Bagdad.
The intelligence of the capture of Alroy spread through the agitated city. The Moolahs bustled about as if they had received a fresh demonstration of the authenticity of the prophetic mission. All the Dervishes began begging. The men discussed affairs in the coffee-houses, and the women chatted at the fountains.
'They may say what they like, but I wish him well,' said a fair Arab, as she arranged her veil. 'He may be an impostor, but he was a very handsome one.'
'All the women are for him, that's the truth,' responded a companion; 'but then we can do him no good.'
'We can tear their eyes out,' said a third.
'And what do you think of Alp Arslan, truly?' inquired a fourth.
'I wish he were a pitcher, and then I could break his neck,' said a fifth.
'Only think of the Princess!' said a sixth.
'Well! she has had a glorious time of it,' said a seventh.
'Nothing was too good for her,' said an eighth.
'I like true love,' said a ninth.
'Well! I hope he will be too much for them all yet,' said a tenth.
'I should not wonder,' said an eleventh.
'He can't,' said a twelfth, 'he has lost his sceptre.'
'You don't say so?' said a thirteenth.
'It is too true,' said a fourteenth.
'Do you think he was a wizard?' said a fifteenth. 'I vow, if there be not a fellow looking at us behind those trees.'
'Impudent scoundrel!' said a sixteenth. 'I wish it were Alroy. Let us all scream, and put down our veils.'
And the group ran away.
Two stout soldiers were playing chess in a coffee-house.
'May I slay my mother,' said one, 'but I cannot make a move. I fought under him at Nehauend; and though I took the amnesty, I have half a mind now to seize my sword and stab the first Turk that enters.'
''Twere but sheer justice,' said his companion. 'By my father's blessing, he was the man for a charge. They may say what they like, but compared with him, Alp Arslan is a white-livered Giaour.'
'Here is confusion to him and to thy last move. There's the dirhem, I can play no more. May I slay my mother, though, but I did not think he would let himself be taken.'
'By the blessing of my father, nor I; but then he was asleep.'
'That makes a difference. He was betrayed.'
'All brave men are. They say Kisloch and his set pocket their fifty thousand by the job.'
'May each dirhem prove a plague-spot!'
'Amen! Dost remember Abner?'
'May I slay my mother if I ever forget him. He spoke to his men like so many lambs. What has become of the Lady Miriam?'
'She is here.'
'That will cut Alroy.'
'He was ever fond of her. Dost remember she gained Adoram's life?'
'Oh! she could do anything next to the Queen.'
'Before her, I say, before her. He has refused the Queen, he never refused the Lady Miriam.'
'Because she asked less.'
'Dost know it seemed to me that things never went on so well after Jabaster's death?'
'So say I. There was a something, eh?'
'A sort of a peculiar, as it were, kind of something, eh?'
'You have well described it. Every man felt the same. I have often mentioned it to my comrades. Say what you like, said I, but slay my mother if ever since the old man strangled himself, things did not seem, as it were, in their natural propinquity. 'Twas the phrase I used.'
'A choice one. Unless there is a natural propinquity, the best-arranged matters will fall out. However, the ass sees farther than his rider, and so it was with Alroy, the best commander I ever served under, all the same.'
'Let us go forth and see how affairs run.'
'Ay, do. If we hear any one abuse Alroy, we'll cleave his skull.'
'That will we. There are a good many of our stout fellows about; we might do something yet.'
A subterranean dungeon of the citadel of Bagdad held in its gloomy limits the late lord of Asia. The captive did not sigh, or weep, or wail. He did not speak. He did not even think. For several days he remained in a state of stupor. On the morning of the fourth day, he almost unconsciously partook of the wretched provision which his gaolers brought him. Their torches, round which the bats whirled and flapped their wings, and twinkled their small eyes, threw a ghastly glare over the nearer walls of the dungeon, the extremity of which defied the vision of the prisoner; and, when the gaolers retired, Alroy was in complete darkness.
The image of the past came back to him. He tried in vain to penetrate the surrounding gloom. His hands were manacled, his legs also were loaded with chains. The notion that his life might perhaps have been cruelly spared in order that he might linger on in this horrible state of conscious annihilation filled him with frenzy. He would have dashed his fetters against his brow, but the chain restrained him. He flung himself upon the damp and rugged ground. His fall disturbed a thousand obscene things. He heard the quick glide of a serpent, the creeping retreat of the clustering scorpions, and the swift escape of the dashing rats. His mighty calamities seemed slight when compared with these petty miseries. His great soul could not support him under these noisome and degrading incidents. He sprang, in disgust, upon his feet, and stood fearful of moving, lest every step should introduce him to some new abomination. At length, exhausted nature was unable any longer to sustain him. He groped his way to the rude seat, cut in the rocky wall, which was his only accommodation. He put forth his hand. It touched the slimy fur of some wild animal, that instantly sprang away, its fiery eyes sparkling in the dark. Alroy recoiled with a sensation of woe-begone dismay. His shaken nerves could not sustain him under this base danger, and these foul and novel trials. He could not refrain from an exclamation of despair; and, when he remembered that he was now far beyond the reach of all human solace and sympathy, even all human aid, for a moment his mind seemed to desert him; and he wrung his hands in forlorn and almost idiotic woe. An awful thing it is, the failure of the energies of a master-mind. He who places implicit confidence in his genius will find himself some day utterly defeated and deserted. 'Tis bitter! Every paltry hind seems but to breathe to mock you. Slow, indeed, is such a mind to credit that the never-failing resource can at least be wanting. But so it is. Like a dried-up fountain, the perennial flow and bright fertility have ceased, and ceased for ever. Then comes the madness of retrospection.
Draw a curtain! draw a curtain! and fling it over this agonising anatomy.
The days of childhood, his sweet sister's voice and smiling love, their innocent pastimes, and the kind solicitude of faithful servants, all the soft detail of mild domestic life: these were the sights and memories that flitted in wild play before the burning vision of Alroy, and rose upon his tortured mind. Empire and glory, his sacred nation, his imperial bride; these, these were nothing. Their worth had vanished with the creative soul that called them into action. The pure sympathies of nature alone remained, and all his thought and grief, all his intelligence, all his emotion, were centred in his sister.
It was the seventh morning. A guard entered at an unaccustomed hour, and, sticking a torch into a niche in the wall, announced that a person was without who had permission to speak to the prisoner. They were the first human accents that had met the ear of Alroy during his captivity, which seemed to him an age, a long dark period, that cancelled all things. He shuddered at the harsh tones. He tried to answer, but his unaccustomed lips refused their office. He raised his heavy arms, and endeavoured to signify his consciousness of what had been uttered. Yet, indeed, he had not listened to the message without emotion. He looked forward to the grate with strange curiosity; and, as he looked, he trembled. The visitor entered, muffled in a dark caftan. The guard disappeared; and the caftan falling to the ground, revealed Honain.
'My beloved Alroy,' said the brother of Jabaster; and he advanced, and pressed him to his bosom. Had it been Miriam, Alroy might have at once expired; but the presence of this worldly man called back his worldliness. The revulsion of his feelings was wonderful. Pride, perhaps even hope, came to his aid; all the associations seemed to counsel exertion; for a moment he seemed the same Alroy.
'I rejoice to find at least thee safe, Honain.'
'I also, if my security may lead to thine.'
'Still whispering hope!'
'Despair is the conclusion of fools.'
'O Honain! 'tis a great trial. I can play my part, and yet methinks 'twere better we had not again met. How is Schirene?'
'Thinking of thee.'
'Tis something that she can think. My mind has gone. Where's Miriam?'
'That's something. Thou hast done that. Good, good Honain, be kind to that sweet child, if only for my sake. Thou art all she has left.'
'She hath thee.'
'Live and be her refuge.'
'How's that? These walls! Escape? No, no; it is impossible.'
'I do not deem it so.'
'Indeed! I'll do anything. Speak! Can we bribe? can we cleave their skulls? can we——'
'Calm thyself, my friend. There is no need of bribes, no need of bloodshed. We must make terms.'
'Terms! We might have made them on the plain of Nehauend. Terms! Terms with a captive victim?'
'Is Arslan then so generous?'
'He is a beast, more savage than the boar that grinds its tusks within his country's forests.'
'Why speakest thou then of hope?'
'I spoke of certainty. I did not mention hope.'
'Dear Honain, my brain is weak; but I can bear strange things, or else I should not be here. I feel thy thoughtful friendship; but indeed there need no winding words to tell my fate. Pr'ythee speak out.'
'In a word, thy life is safe.'
'If it please thee.'
'Please me? Life is sweet. I feel its sweetness. I want but little. Freedom and solitude are all I ask. My life spared! I'll not believe it. Thou hast done this deed, thou mighty man, that masterest all souls. Thou hast not forgotten me; thou hast not forgotten the days gone by, thou hast not forgotten thine own Alroy! Who calls thee worldly is a slanderer. O Honain! thou art too faithful!'
'I have no thought but for thy service, Prince.'
'Call me not Prince, call me thine own Alroy. My life spared! 'Tis wonderful! When may I go? Let no one see me. Manage that, Honain. Thou canst manage all things. I am for Egypt. Thou hast been to Egypt, hast thou not, Honain?'
'A very wondrous land, 'twill please thee much.'
'When may I go? Tell me when I may go. When may I quit this dark and noisome cell? 'Tis worse than all their tortures, dear Honain. Air and light, and I really think my spirit never would break, but this horrible dungeon—— I scarce can look upon thy face, sweet friend. 'Tis serious.'
'Wouldst thou have me gay?'
'Yes! if we are free.'
'Alroy! thou art a great spirit, the greatest that I e'er knew, have ever read of. I never knew thy like, and never shall.'
'Tush, tush, sweet friend, I am a broken reed, but still I am free. This is no time for courtly phrases. Let's go, and go at once.'
'A moment, dear Alroy. I am no flatterer. What I said came from my heart, and doth concern us much and instantly. I was saying thou hast no common mind, Alroy; indeed thou hast a mind unlike all others. Listen, my Prince. Thou hast read mankind deeply and truly. Few have seen more than thyself, and none have so rare a spring of that intuitive knowledge of thy race, which is a gem to which experience is but a jeweller, and without which no action can befriend us.'
'A moment's calmness. Thou hast entered Bagdad in triumph, and thou hast entered the same city with every contumely which the base spirit of our race could cast upon its victim. 'Twas a great lesson.'
'I feel it so.'
'And teaches us how vile and valueless is the opinion of our fellow-men.'
'Alas! 'tis true.'
'I am glad to see thee in this wholesome temper. 'Tis full of wisdom.'
'The miserable are often wise.'
'But to believe is nothing unless we act. Speculation should only sharpen practice. The time hath come to prove thy lusty faith in this philosophy. I told thee we could make terms. I have made them. To-morrow it was doomed Alroy should die—and what a death! A death of infinite torture! Hast ever seen a man impaled?'
'To view it is alone a doom.'
'God of Heaven!'
'It is so horrible, that 'tis ever marked, that when this direful ceremony occurs, the average deaths in cities greatly increase. 'Tis from the turning of the blood in the spectators, who yet from some ungovernable madness cannot refrain from hurrying to the scene. I speak with some authority. I speak as a physician.'
'Speak no more, I cannot endure it.'
'To-morrow this doom awaited thee. As for Schirene——'
'Not for her, oh! surely not for her?'
'No, they were merciful. She is a Caliph's daughter. 'Tis not forgotten. The axe would close her life. Her fair neck would give slight trouble to the headsman's art. But for thy sister, but for Miriam, she is a witch, a Jewish witch! They would have burnt her alive!'
'I'll not believe it, no, no, I'll not believe it: damnable, bloody demons! When I had power I spared all, all but——ah, me! ah, me! why did I live?'
'Thou dost forget thyself; I speak of that which was to have been, not of that which is to be. I have stepped in and communed with the conqueror. I have made terms.'
'What are they, what can they be?'
'Easy. To a philosopher like Alroy an idle ceremony.'
'Be brief, be brief.'
'Thou seest thy career is a great scandal to the Moslemin. I mark their weakness, and I have worked upon it. Thy mere defeat or death will not blot out the stain upon their standard and their faith. The public mind is wild with fantasies since Alroy rose. Men's opinions flit to and fro with that fearful change that bodes no stable settlement of states. None know what to cling to, or where to place their trust. Creeds are doubted, authority disputed. They would gladly account for thy success by other than human means, yet must deny thy mission. There also is the fame of a fair and mighty Princess, a daughter of their Caliphs, which they would gladly clear. I mark all this, observe and work upon it. So, could we devise some means by which thy lingering followers could be for ever silenced, this great scandal fairly erased, and the public frame brought to a sounder and more tranquil pulse, why, they would concede much, much, very much.'
'Thy meaning, not thy means, are evident.'
'They are in thy power.'
'In mine? 'Tis a deep riddle. Pr'ythee solve it.'
'Thou wilt be summoned at to-morrow's noon before this Arslan. There in the presence of the assembled people who are now with him as much as they were with thee, thou wilt be accused of magic, and of intercourse with the infernal powers. Plead guilty.'
'Well! is there more?'
'Some trifle. They will then examine thee about the Princess. It is not difficult to confess that Alroy won the Caliph's daughter by an irresistible spell, and now 'tis broken.'
'So, so. Is that all?'
'The chief. Thou canst then address some phrases to the Hebrew prisoners, denying thy Divine mission, and so forth, to settle the public mind, observe, upon this point for ever.'
'Ay, ay, and then——?'
'No more, except for form. (Upon the completion of the conditions, mind, you will be conveyed to what land you please, with such amount of treasure as you choose.) There is no more, except, I say, for form, I would, if I were you ('twill be expected), I would just publicly affect to renounce our faith, and bow before their Prophet.'
'Hah! Art thou there? Is this thy freedom? Get thee behind me, tempter! Never, never, never! Not a jot, not a jot: I'll not yield a jot. Were my doom one everlasting torture, I'd spurn thy terms! Is this thy high contempt of our poor kind, to outrage my God! to prove myself the vilest of the vile, and baser than the basest? Rare philosophy! O Honain! would we had never met!'
'Or never parted. True. Had my word been taken, Alroy would ne'er have been betrayed.'
'No more; I pray thee, sir, no more. Leave me.'
'Were this a palace, I would. Harsh words are softened by a friendly ear, when spoken in affliction.'
'Say what they will, I am the Lord's anointed. As such I should have lived, as such at least I'll die.'
'The Lord will not desert her: she ne'er deserted Him.'
'Schirene! why! for her sake alone I will die a hero. Shall it be said she loved a craven slave, a base impostor, a vile renegade, a villainous dealer in drugs and charms? Oh! no, no, no! if only for her sake, her sweet, sweet sake, my end shall be like my great life. As the sun I rose, like him I set. Still the world is warm with my bright fame, and my last hour shall not disgrace my noon, stormy indeed, but glorious!'
Honain took the torch from the niche, and advanced to the grate. It was not fastened: he drew it gently open, and led forward a veiled and female figure. The veiled and female figure threw herself at the feet of Alroy, who seemed lost to what was passing. A soft lip pressed his hand. He started, his chains clanked.
'Alroy!' softly murmured the kneeling female.
'What voice is that?' wildly exclaimed the Prince of the Captivity. 'It falls upon my ear like long-forgotten music. I'll not believe it. No! I'll not believe it. Art thou Schirene?'
'I am that wretched thing they called thy bride.'
'Oh! this indeed is torture! What impalement can equal this sharp moment? Look not on me, let not our eyes meet! They have met before, like to the confluence of two shining rivers blending in one great stream of rushing light. Bear off that torch, sir. Let impenetrable darkness cover our darker fortunes.'
'She speaks again. Is she mad, as I am, that thus she plays with agony?'
'Sire,' said Honain advancing, and laying his hand gently on the arm of the captive, 'I pray thee moderate this passion. Thou hast some faithful friends here, who would fain commune in calmness for thy lasting welfare.'
'Welfare! He mocks me.'
'I beseech, thee, Sire, be calm. If, indeed, I speak unto that great Alroy whom all men fear and still may fear, I pray remember, 'tis not in palaces or in the battle-field alone that the heroic soul can conquer and command. Scenes like these are the great proof of a superior soul. While we live, our body is a temple where our genius pours forth its godlike inspiration, and while the altar is not overthrown, the deity may still work marvels. Then rouse thyself, great Sire; bethink thee that, a Caliph or a captive, there is no man within this breathing world like to Alroy. Shall such a being fall without a struggle, like some poor felon, who has naught to trust to but the dull shuffling accident of Chance? I, too, am a prophet, and I feel thou still wilt conquer.'
'Give me my sceptre, then, give me the sceptre! I speak to the wrong brother! It was not thou, it was not thou that gavest it me.'
'Gain it once more. The Lord deserted David for a time; still he pardoned him, and still he died a king.'
'A woman worked his fall.'
'But thee a woman raises. This great Princess, has she not suffered too? Yet her spirit is still unbroken. List to her counsel: it is deep and fond.'
'So was our love.'
'And is, my Alroy!' exclaimed the Princess. 'Be calm, I pray thee! For my sake be calm; I am calm for thine. Thou hast listened to all Honain has told thee, that wise man, my Alroy, who never erred.
'Tis but a word he counsels, an empty word, a most unmeaning form. But speak it, and thou art free, and Alroy and Schirene may blend again their glorious careers and lives of sweet fruition. Dost thou not remember when, walking in the garden of our joy, and palled with empire, how often hast thou sighed for some sweet isle unknown to man, where thou mightst pass thy days with no companion but my faithful self, and no adventures but our constant loves? O my beloved, that life may still be thine! And dost thou falter? Dost call thyself forlorn with such fidelity, and deem thyself a wretch, when Paradise with all its beauteous gates but woos thy entrance? Oh! no, no, no, no! thou hast forgot Schirene: I fear me much, thy over-fond Schirene, who doats upon thy image in thy chains more than she did when those sweet hands of thine were bound with gems and played with her bright locks!'
'She speaks of another world. I do remember something. Who has sent this music to a dungeon? My spirit softens with her melting words. My eyes are moist. I weep! 'Tis pleasant. Sorrow is joy compared with my despair. I never thought to shed a tear again. My brain is cooler.'
'Weep, weep, I pray thee weep; but let me kiss away thy tears, my soul! Didst think thy Schirene had deserted thee? Ah! that was it that made my bird so sad. It shall be free, and fly in a sweet sky, and feed on flowers with its faithful mate. Ah me! I am once more happy with my boy. There was no misery but thy absence, sweet! Methinks this dungeon is our bright kiosk! Is that the sunbeam, or thy smile, my love, that makes the walls so joyful?'
'Did I smile? I'll not believe it.'
'Indeed you did. Ah! see he smiles again. Why this is freedom! There is no such thing as sorrow. Tis a lie to frighten fools!'
'Why, Honain, what's this? 'Twould seem I am really joyful. There's inspiration in her very breath. I am another being. Nay! waste not kisses on those ugly fetters.'
'Methinks they are gold.'
They were silent. Schirene drew Alroy to his rough seat, and gently placing herself on his knees, threw her arms round his neck, and buried her face in his breast. After a few minutes she raised her head, and whispered in his ear in irresistible accents of sweet exultation, 'We shall be free to-morrow!'
'To-morrow! is the trial so near?' exclaimed the captive, with an agitated voice and changing countenance. 'To-morrow!' He threw Schirene aside somewhat hastily, and sprang from his seat. 'To-morrow! would it were over! To-morrow! Methinks there is within that single word the fate of ages! Shall it be said to-morrow that Alroy—— Hah! what art thou that risest now before me? Dread, mighty spirit, thou hast come in time to save me from perdition. Take me to thy bosom, 'tis not stabbed. They did not stab thee. Thou seest me here communing with thy murderers. What then? I am innocent. Ask them, dread ghost, and call upon their fiendish souls to say I am pure. They would make me dark as themselves, but shall not.'
'Honain, Honain!' exclaimed the Princess in a terrible whisper as she flew to the Physician. 'He is wild again. Calm him, calm him. Mark! how he stands with his extended arms, and fixed vacant eyes, muttering most awful words! My spirit fails me. It is too fearful.'
The Physician advanced and stood by the side of Alroy, but in vain attempted to catch his attention. He ventured to touch his arm. The Prince started, turned round, and recognising him, exclaimed in a shrieking voice, 'Off, fratricide!'
Honain recoiled, pale and quivering. Schirene sprang to his arm. 'What said he, Honain? Thou dost not speak. I never saw thee pale before. Art thou, too, mad?'
'Would I were!'
'All men are growing wild. I am sure he said something. I pray thee tell me what was it?'
'I dare not. Tell me, tell me, Honain!'
'That I dare not.'
'Was it a word?'
'Ay! a word to wake the dead. Let us begone.'
'Without our end? Coward! I'll speak to him. My own Alroy,' sweetly whispered the Princess, as she advanced before him.
'What, has the fox left the tigress! Is't so, eh? Are there no judgments? Are the innocent only haunted? I am innocent! I did not strangle thee! He said rightly, "Beware, beware! they who did this may do even feller deeds." And here they are quick at their damned work. Thy body suffered, great Jabaster, but me they would strangle body and soul!'
The Princess shrieked, and fell into the arms of the advancing Honain, who bore her out of the dungeon.
After the fall of Hamadan, Bostenay and Miriam had been carried prisoners to Bagdad. Through the interference of Honain, their imprisonment had been exempted from the usual hardships, but they were still confined to their chambers in the citadel. Hitherto all the endeavours of Miriam to visit her brother had been fruitless. Honain was the only person to whom she could apply for assistance, and he, in answer to her importunities, only regretted his want of power to aid her. In vain had she attempted, by the offer of some remaining jewels, to secure the co-operation of her guards, with whom her loveliness and the softness of her manners had already ingratiated her. She had not succeeded even in communicating with Alroy. But after the unsuccessful mission of Honain to the dungeon, the late Vizier visited the sister of the captive, and, breaking to her with delicate skill the intelligence of the impending catastrophe, he announced that he had at length succeeded in obtaining for her the desired permission to visit her brother; and, while she shuddered at the proximity of an event for which she had long attempted to prepare herself, Honain, with some modifications, whispered the means by which he flattered himself that it might yet be averted. Miriam listened to him in silence, nor could he, with all his consummate art, succeed in extracting from her the slightest indication of her own opinion as to their expediency. They parted, Honain as sanguine as the wicked ever are.
As Miriam dreaded, both for herself and for Alroy, the shock of an unexpected meeting, she availed herself of the influence of Honain to send Caleb to her brother, to prepare him for her presence, and to consult him as to the desirable moment. Caleb found his late master lying exhausted on the floor of his dungeon. At first he would not speak or even raise his head, nor did he for a long time apparently recognise the faithful retainer of his uncle. But at length he grew milder, and when he fully comprehended who the messenger was, and the object of his mission, he at first seemed altogether disinclined to see his sister, but in the end postponed their meeting for the present, and, pleading great exhaustion, fixed for that sad interview the first hour of dawn.
The venerable Bostenay had scarcely ever spoken since the fall of his nephew; indeed it was but too evident that his faculties, even if they had not entirely deserted him, were at least greatly impaired. He never quitted his couch; he took no notice of what occurred. He evinced no curiosity, scarcely any feeling. If indeed he occasionally did mutter an observation, it was generally of an irritable character, nor truly did he appear satisfied if anyone approached him, save Miriam, from whom alone he would accept the scanty viands which he ever appeared disinclined to touch. But his devoted niece, amid all her harrowing affliction, could ever spare to the protector of her youth a placid countenance, a watchful eye, a gentle voice, and a ready hand. Her religion and her virtue, the strength of her faith, and the inspiration of her innocence, supported this pure and hapless lady amid all her undeserved and unparalleled sorrows.
It was long past midnight; the young widow of Abner reposed upon a couch in a soft slumber. The amiable Beruna and the beautiful Bathsheba, the curtains drawn, watched the progress of the night.
'Shall I wake her?' said the beautiful Bathsheba. 'Methinks the stars are paler! She bade me rouse her long before the dawn.'
'Her sleep is too benign! Let us not wake her,' replied the amiable Beruna. 'We rouse her only to sorrow.'
'May her dreams at least be happy;' rejoined the beautiful Bathsheba. 'She sleeps tranquilly, as a flower.'
'The veil has fallen from her head,' said the amiable Beruna. 'I will replace it lightly on her brow. Is that well, my Bathsheba?'
'It is well, sweet Beruna. Her face shrouded by the shawl is like a pearl in its shell. See! she moves!'
'I am here, sweet lady.'
'Is it near dawn?'
'Not yet, sweet lady; it is yet night. It is long past the noon of night, sweet lady; methinks I scent the rising breath of morn; but still 'tis night, and the young moon shines like a sickle in the heavenly field, amid the starry harvest.'
'Beruna, gentle girl, give me thy arm. I'll rise.'
The maidens advanced, and gently raising their mistress, supported her to the window.
'Since our calamities,' said Miriam, 'I have never enjoyed such tranquil slumber. My dreams were slight, but soothing. I saw him, but he smiled. Have I slept long, sweet girls? Ye are very watchful.'
'Dear lady, let me bring thy shawl. The air is fresh——'
'But sweet; I thank thee, no. My brow is not so cool as to need a covering. 'Tis a fair night!'
Miriam gazed upon the wide prospect of the moonlit capital. The elevated position of the citadel afforded an extensive view of the mighty groups of buildings-each in itself a city, broken only by some vast and hooded cupola, the tall, slender, white minarets of the mosques, or the black and spiral form of some lonely cypress—through which the rushing Tigris, flooded with light, sent forth its broad and brilliant torrent. All was silent; not a single boat floated on the fleet river, not a solitary voice broke the stillness of slumbering millions. She gazed and, as she gazed, she could not refrain from contrasting the present scene, which seemed the sepulchre of all the passions of our race, with the unrivalled excitement of that stirring spectacle which Bagdad exhibited on the celebration of the marriage of Alroy. How different then, too, was her position from her present, and how happy! The only sister of a devoted brother, the lord and conqueror of Asia, the bride of his most victorious captain, one worthy of all her virtues, and whose youthful valour had encircled her brow with a diadem. To Miriam, exalted station had brought neither cares nor crimes. It had, as it were, only rendered her charity universal, and her benevolence omnipotent. She could not accuse herself, this blessed woman—she could not accuse herself, even in this searching hour of self-knowledge—she could not accuse herself, with all her meekness, and modesty, and humility, of having for a moment forgotten her dependence on her God, or her duty to her neighbour.
But when her thoughts recurred to that being from whom they were indeed scarcely ever absent; and when she remembered him, and all his life, and all the thousand incidents of his youth, mysteries to the world, and known only to her, but which were indeed the prescience of his fame, and thought of all his surpassing qualities and all his sweet affection, his unrivalled glory and his impending fate, the tears, in silent agony, forced their way down her pale and pensive cheek. She bowed her head upon Bathsheba's shoulder, and sweet Beruna pressed her quivering hand.
The moon set, the stars grew white and ghastly, and vanished one by one. Over the distant plain of the Tigris, the scene of the marriage pomp, the dark purple horizon shivered into a rich streak of white and orange. The solemn strain of the Muezzin sounded from the minarets. Some one knocked at the door. It was Caleb.
'I am ready,' said Miriam; and for a moment she covered her face with her right hand. 'Think of me, sweet maidens; pray for me!'
Leaning on Caleb, and lighted by a gaoler, bearing torches, Miriam descended the damp and broken stairs that led to the dungeon. She faltered as she arrived at the grate. She stopped, and leant against the cold and gloomy wall. The gaoler and Caleb preceded her. She heard the voice of Alroy. It was firm and sweet. Its accents reassured her. Caleb came forth with a torch, and held it to her feet; and, as he bent down, he said, 'My lord bade me beg you to be of good heart, for he is.'
The gaoler, having stuck his torch in the niche, withdrew. Miriam desired Caleb to stay without. Then, summoning up all her energies, she entered the dreadful abode. Alroy was standing to receive her. The light fell full upon his countenance. It smiled. Miriam could no longer restrain herself. She ran forward, and pressed him to her heart.
'O, my best, my long beloved,' whispered Alroy; 'such a meeting indeed leads captivity captive!'
But the sister could not speak. She leant her head upon his shoulder, and closed her eyes, that she might not weep.
'Courage, dear heart; courage, courage!' whispered the captive. 'Indeed I am happy!'
'My brother, my brother!'
'Had we met yesterday, you would have found me perhaps a little vexed. But to-day I am myself again. Since I crossed the Tigris, I know not that I have felt such self-content. I have had sweet dreams, dear Miriam, full of solace. And, more than dreams, the Lord has pardoned me, I truly think.'
'O, my brother! your words are full of comfort; for, indeed, I too have dreamed, and dreamed of consolation. My spirit, since our fall, has never been more tranquil.'
'Indeed I am happy.'
'Say so again, my David; let me hear again these words of solace!'
'Indeed, 'tis very true, my faithful friend. It is not spoken in kind mockery to make you joyous. For know, last eve, whether the Lord repented of his wrath, or whether some dreadful trials, of which I will not speak, and wish not to remember, had made atonement for my manifold sins, but so it was, that, about the time my angel Miriam sent her soothing message, a feeling of repose came over me, such as I long have coveted. Anon, I fell into a slumber, deep and sweet, and, instead of those wild and whirling images that of late have darted from my brain when it should rest, glimpses of empire and conspiracy, snatches of fierce wars and mocking loves, I stood beside our native fountain's brink, and gathered flowers with my earliest friend. As I placed the fragrant captives in your flowing locks, there came Jabaster, that great, injured man, no longer stern and awful, but with benignant looks, and full of love. And he said, "David, the Lord hath marked thy faithfulness, in spite of the darkness of thy dungeon." So he vanished. He spoke, my sister, of some strange temptations by heavenly aid withstood. No more of that. I awoke. And lo! I heard my name still called. Full of my morning dream, I thought it was you, and I answered, "Dear sister, art thou here?" But no one answered; and then, reflecting, my memory recognised those thrilling tones that summoned Alroy in Jabaster's cave.' 'The Daughter of the Voice?' 'Even that sacred messenger. I am full of faith. The Lord hath pardoned me. Be sure of that.'
'I cannot doubt it, David. You have done great things for Israel; no one in these latter days has risen like you. If you have fallen, you were young, and strangely tempted.'
'Yet Israel, Israel! Did I not feel a worthier leader will yet arise, my heart would crack. I have betrayed my country!'
'Oh no, no, no! You have shown what we can do and shall do. Your memory alone is inspiration. A great career, although baulked of its end, is still a landmark of human energy. Failure, when sublime, is not without its purpose. Great deeds are great legacies, and work with wondrous usury. By what Man has done, we learn what Man can do; and gauge the power and prospects of our race.'
'Alas! there is no one to guard my name. 'Twill be reviled; or worse, 'twill be forgotten.'
'Never! the memory of great actions never dies. The sun of glory, though awhile obscured, will shine at last. And so, sweet brother, perchance some poet, in some distant age, within whose veins our sacred blood may flow, his fancy fired with the national theme, may strike his harp to Alroy's wild career, and consecrate a name too long forgotten?'
'May love make thee a prophetess!' exclaimed Alroy, as he bent down his head and embraced her. 'Do not tarry,' he whispered. ''Tis better that we should part in this firm mood.'
She sprang from him, she clasped her hands. 'We will not part,' she exclaimed, with energy; 'I will die with thee.'
'Blessed girl, be calm! Do not unman me.'
'I am calm. See! I do not weep. Not a tear, not a tear. They are all in my heart.'
'Go, go, my Miriam, angel of light. Tarry no longer; I pray thee go. I would not think of the past. Let all my mind be centred in the present. Thy presence calls back our bygone days, and softens me too much. My duty to my uncle. Go, dear one, go!'
'And leave thee, leave thee to——Oh! my David, thou hast seen, thou hast heard——Honain?'
'No more; let not that accursed name profane those holy lips. Raise not the demon in me.'
'I am silent. Yet 'tis madness! Oh! my brother, thou hast a fearful trial.'
'The God of Israel is my refuge. He saved our fathers in the fiery furnace. He will save me.'
'I am full of faith. I pray thee let me stay.'
'I would be silent; I would be alone. I cannot speak, Miriam. I ask one favour, the last and dearest, from her who has never had a thought but for my wishes; blessed being, leave me.'
'I go. O Alroy, farewell! Let me kiss you. Again, once more! Let me kneel and bless you. Brother, beloved brother, great and glorious brother, I am worthy of you: I will not weep. I am prouder in this dread moment of your love than all your foes can be of their hard triumph!'
Beruna and Bathsheba received their mistress when she returned to her chamber. They marked her desolate air. She was silent, pale, and cold. They bore her to her couch, whereon she sat with a most listless and unmeaning look; her quivering lips parted, her eyes fixed upon the ground in vacant abstraction, and her arms languidly folded before her. Beruna stole behind her, and supported her back with pillows, and Bathsheba, unnoticed, wiped the slight foam from her mouth. Thus Miriam remained for several hours, her faithful maidens in vain watching for any indication of her self-consciousness.
Suddenly a trumpet sounded.
'What is that?' exclaimed Miriam, in a shrill voice, and looking up with a distracted glance.
Neither of them answered, since they were aware that it betokened the going forth of Alroy to his trial.
Miriam remained in the same posture, and with the same expression of wild inquiry. Another trumpet sounded, and after that a shout of the people. Then she raised up her arms to heaven, and bowed her head, and died.
'Has the second trumpet sounded?'
'To be sure: run, run for a good place. Where is Abdallah?'
'Selling sherbet in the square. We shall find him. Has Alroy come forth?'
'Yes! he goes the other way. We shall be too late. Only think of Abdallah selling sherbet!'
'Father, let me go?'
'You will be in the way; you are too young; you will see nothing. Little boys should stay at home.'
'No, they should not. I will go. You can put me on your shoulders.'
'Where is Ibrahim? Where is Ali? We must all keep together. We shall have to fight for it. I wish Abdallah were here. Only think of his selling sherbet!'
'Keep straight forward. That is right. It is no use going that way. The bazaar is shut. There is Fakreddin, there is Osman Effendi. He has got a new page.'
'So he has, I declare; and a very pretty boy too.'
'Father, will they impale Alroy alive?'
'I am sure I do not know. Never ask questions, my dear. Little boys never should.'
'Yes, they should. I hope they will impale him alive. I shall be so disappointed if they do not.'
'Keep to the left. Dash through the Butchers' bazaar: that is open. All right, all right. Did you push me, sir?'
'Suppose I did push you, sir, what then, sir?'
'Come along, don't quarrel. That is a Karasmian. They think they are to do what they like. We are five to one, to be sure, but still there is nothing like peace and quiet. I wish Abdallah were here with his stout shoulders. Only think of his selling sherbet!'
The Square of the Grand Mosque, the same spot where Jabaster met Abidan by appointment, was the destined scene of the pretended trial of Alroy. Thither by break of day the sight-loving thousands of the capital had repaired. In the centre of the square, a large circle was described by a crimson cord, and guarded by Karasmian soldiers. Around this the swelling multitude pressed like the gathering waves of ocean, but, whenever the tide set in with too great an impulse, the savage Karasmians appeased the ungovernable element by raising their battle-axes, and brutally breaking the crowns and belabouring the shoulders of their nearest victims. As the morning advanced, the terraces of the surrounding houses, covered with awnings, were crowded with spectators. All Bagdad was astir. Since the marriage of Alroy, there had never been such a merry morn as the day of his impalement.
At one end of the circle was erected a magnificent throne. Half way between the throne and the other end of the circle, but further back, stood a company of negro eunuchs, hideous to behold, who, clothed in white, and armed with various instruments of torture, surrounded the enormous stakes, tall, thin, and sharp, that were prepared for the final ceremony.
The flourish of trumpets, the clash of cymbals, and the wild beat of the tambour, announced the arrival of Alp Arslan from the Serail. An avenue to the circle had been preserved through the multitude. The royal procession might be traced as it wound through the populace, by the sparkling and undulating line of plumes of honour, and the dazzling forms of the waving streamers, on which were inscribed the names of Allah and the Prophet. Suddenly, amid the bursts of music, and the shouts of the spectators, many of whom on the terraces humbled themselves on their knees, Alp Arslan mounted the throne, around which ranged themselves his chief captains, and a deputation of the Mullahs, and Imams, and Cadis, and other principal personages of the city.
The King of Karasme was tall in stature, and somewhat meagre in form. He was fair, or rather sandy-coloured, with a red beard, and blue eyes, and a flat nose. The moment he was seated, a trumpet was heard in the distance from an opposite quarter, and it was soon understood throughout the assembly that the great captive was about to appear.
A band of Karasmian guards first entered the circle, and ranged themselves round the cord, with their backs to the spectators. After them came fifty of the principal Hebrew prisoners, with their hands bound behind them, but evidently more for form than security. To these succeeded a small covered wagon drawn by mules, and surrounded by guards, from which was led forth, his legs relieved from their manacles, but his hands still in heavy chains, David Alroy!
A universal buzz of blended sympathy, and wonder, and fear, and triumph arose, throughout the whole assembly. Each man involuntarily stirred. The vast populace moved to and fro in agitation. His garments soiled and tattered, his head bare, and his long locks drawn off his forehead, pale and thin, but still unsubdued, the late conqueror and Caliph of Bagdad threw around a calm and imperial glance upon those who were but recently his slaves.
The trumpets again sounded, order was called, and a crier announced that his Highness Alp Arslan, the mighty Sovereign of Karasme, their Lord, Protector, and King, and avenger of Allah and the Prophet, against all rebellious and evil-minded Jews and Giaours, was about to speak. There was a deep and universal silence, and then sounded a voice high as the eagle's in a storm.
'David Alroy!' said his conqueror, 'you are brought hither this day neither for trial nor for judgment. Captured in arms against your rightful sovereign, you are of course prepared, like other rebels, for your doom. Such a crime alone deserves the most avenging punishments. What then do you merit, who are loaded with a thousand infamies, who have blasphemed Allah and the Prophet, and, by the practice of magic arts and the aid of the infernal powers, have broken the peace of kingdoms, occasioned infinite bloodshed, outraged all law, religion, and decency, misled the minds of your deluded votaries, and especially by a direct compact with Eblis, by horrible spells and infamous incantations, captivated the senses of an illustrious Princess, heretofore famous for the practice of every virtue, and a descendant of the Prophet himself.
'Behold these stakes of palm-wood, sharper than a lance! The most terrible retribution that human ingenuity has devised for the guilty awaits you. But your crimes baffle all human vengeance. Look forward for your satisfactory reward to those infernal powers by whose dark co-operation you have occasioned such disasters. Your punishment is public, that all men may know that the guilty never escape, and that, if your heart be visited by the slightest degree of compunction for your numerous victims, you may this day, by the frank confession of the irresistible means by which you seduced them, exonerate your victims from the painful and ignominious end with which, through your influence they are now threatened. Mark, O assembled people, the infinite mercy of the Vicegerent of Allah! He allows the wretched man to confess his infamy, and to save by his confession, his unfortunate victims. I have said it. Glory to Allah!'
And the people shouted, 'He has said it, he has said it! Glory to Allah! He is great, he is great! and Mahomed is his prophet!'
'Am I to speak?' enquired Alroy, when the tumult had subsided. The melody of his voice commanded universal attention.
Alp Arslan nodded his head in approbation.
'King of Karasme! I stand here accused of many crimes. Now hear my answers. 'Tis said I am a rebel. My answer is, I am a Prince as thou art, of a sacred race, and far more ancient. I owe fealty to no one but to my God, and if I have broken that I am yet to learn that Alp Arslan is the avenger of His power. As for thy God and Prophet, I know not them, though they acknowledge mine. 'Tis well understood in every polity, my people stand apart from other nations, and ever will, in spite of suffering. So much for blasphemy; I am true to a deep faith of ancient days, which even the sacred writings of thy race still reverence. For the arts magical I practised, and the communion with infernal powers 'tis said I held, know, King, I raised the standard of my faith by the direct commandment of my God, the great Creator of the universe. What need of magic, then? What need of paltering with petty fiends, when backed by His omnipotence? My magic was His inspiration. Need I prove why, with such aid, my people crowded round me? The time will come when from out our ancient seed, a worthier chief will rise, not to be quelled even by thee, Sire.
'For that unhappy Princess of whom something was said (with no great mercy, as it seemed to me), that lady is my wife, my willing wife; the daughter of a Caliph, still my wife, although your stakes may make her soon a widow. I stand not here to account for female fancies. Believe me, Sire, she gave her beauty to my raptured arms with no persuasions but such as became a soldier and a king. It may seem strange to thee upon thy throne that the flower of Asia should be plucked by one so vile as I am. Remember, the accidents of Fortune are most strange. I was not always what I am. We have met before. There was a day, and that too not long since, when, but for the treachery of some knaves I mark here, Fortune seemed half inclined to reverse our fates. Had I conquered, I trust I should have shown more mercy.'
The King of Karasme was the most passionate of men. He had made a speech according to the advice and instructions of his councillors, who had assured him that the tone he adopted would induce Alroy to confess all that he required, and especially to vindicate the reputation of the Princess Schirene, who had already contrived to persuade Alp Arslan that she was the most injured of her sex. The King of Karasme stamped thrice on the platform of his throne, and exclaimed with great fire, 'By my beard, ye have deceived me! The dog has confessed nothing!'
All the councillors and chief captains, and the Mullahs, and the Imams, and the Cadis, and the principal personages of the city were in consternation. They immediately consulted together, and, after much disputation, agreed that, before they proceeded to extremities, it was expedient to prove what the prisoner would not confess. A venerable Sheikh, clothed in flowing robes of green, with a long white beard, and a turban like the tower of Babel, then rose. His sacred reputation procured silence while he himself delivered a long prayer, supplicating Allah and the Prophet to confound all blaspheming Jews and Giaours, and to pour forth words of truth from the mouths of religious men. And then the venerable Sheikh summoned all witnesses against David Alroy. Immediately advanced Kisloch the Kourd, to whom, being placed in an eminent position, the Cadi of Bagdad drawing forth a scroll from his velvet bag, read a deposition, wherein the worthy Kisloch stated that he first became acquainted with the prisoner, David Alroy, in some ruins in the desert, the haunt of banditti, of whom Alroy was the chief; that he, Kisloch, was a reputable merchant, and that his caravan had been plundered by these robbers, and he himself captured; that, on the second night of his imprisonment, Alroy appeared to him in the likeness of a lion, and on the third, of a bull with fiery eyes; that he was in the habit of constantly transforming himself; that he frequently raised spirits; that, at length, on one terrible night, Eblis himself came in great procession, and presented Alroy with the sceptre of Solomon Ben Daoud; and that the next day Alroy raised his standard, and soon after massacred Hassan Subah and his Seljuks, by the visible aid of many terrible demons.
Calidas the Indian, the Guebre, and the Negro, and a few congenial spirits, were not eclipsed in the satisfactory character of their evidence by the luminous testimony of Kisloch the Kourd. The irresistible career of the Hebrew conqueror was undeniably accounted for, and the honour of Moslem arms and the purity of Moslem faith were established in their pristine glory and all their unsullied reputation. David Alroy was proved to be a child of Eblis, a sorcerer, and a dealer in charms and magical poisons. The people listened with horror and with indignation. They would have burst through the guards and torn him in pieces, had not they been afraid of the Karasmian battle-axes. So they consoled themselves with the prospect of his approaching tortures.
The Cadi of Bagdad bowed himself before the King of Karasme, and whispered at a respectful distance in the royal ear. The trumpets sounded, the criers enjoined silence, and the royal lips again moved.
'Hear, O ye people, and be wise. The chief Cadi is about to read the deposition of the royal Princess Schirene, chief victim of the sorcerer.'
And the deposition was read, which stated that David Alroy possessed, and wore next to his heart, a talisman, given him by Eblis, the virtue of which was so great that, if once it were pressed to the heart of any woman, she was no longer mistress of her will. Such had been the unhappy fate of the daughter of the Commander of the Faithful.
'Is it so written?' enquired the captive.
'It is so written,' replied the Cadi, 'and bears the imperial signature of the Princess.'
'It is a forgery.'
The King of Karasme started from his throne, and in his rage nearly descended its steps. His face was like scarlet, his beard was like a flame. A favourite minister ventured gently to restrain the royal robe.
'Kill the dog on the spot,' muttered the King of Karasme.
'The Princess is herself here,' said the Cadi, 'to bear witness to the spells of which she was a victim, but from which, by the power of Allah and the Prophet, she is now released.'
'Advance, royal Princess,' said the Cadi, 'and, if the deposition thou hast heard be indeed true, condescend to hold up the imperial hand that adorned it with thy signature.'
A band of eunuchs near the throne gave way; a female figure veiled to her feet appeared. She held up her hand amid the breathless agitation of the whole assembly; the ranks of the eunuchs again closed; a shriek was heard, and the veiled figure disappeared.
'I am ready for thy tortures, King,' said Alroy, in a tone of deep depression. His firmness appeared to have deserted him. His eyes were cast upon the ground. Apparently he was buried in profound thought, or had delivered himself up to despair.
'Prepare the stakes,' said Alp Arslan.
An involuntary, but universal, shudder might be distinguished through the whole assembly.
A slave advanced and offered Alroy a scroll. He recognised the Nubian who belonged to Honain. His former minister informed him that he was at hand, that the terms he offered in the dungeon might even yet be granted; that if Alroy would, as he doubted not, as he entreated him, accept them, he was to place the scroll in his bosom, but that if he were still inexorable, still madly determined on a horrible and ignominious end, he was to tear the scroll and throw it in to the arena. Instantly Alroy took the scroll, and with great energy tore it into a thousand pieces. A puff of wind carried the fragments far and wide. The mob fought for these last memorials of David Alroy, and this little incident occasioned a great confusion.
In the meantime the negroes prepared the instruments of torture and of death.
'The obstinacy of this Jewish dog makes me mad,' said the King of Karasme to his courtiers. 'I will hold some parley with him before he dies.' The favourite minister entreated his sovereign to be content; but the royal beard grew so red, and the royal eyes flashed forth such terrible sparks of fire, that even the favourite minister at length gave way.
The trumpet sounded, the criers called silence, and the voice of Alp Arslan was again heard.
'Thou dog, dost see what is preparing for thee? Dost know what awaits thee in the halls of thy master Eblis? Can a Jew be influenced even by false pride? Is not life sweet? Is it not better to be my slipper-bearer than to be impaled?'
'Magnanimous Alp Arslan,' replied Alroy in a tone of undisguised contempt; 'thinkest thou that any torture can be equal to the recollection that I have been conquered by thee?'
'By my beard, he mocks me!' exclaimed the Karasmian monarch, 'he defies me! Touch not my robe. I will parley with him. Ye see no farther than a hooded hawk, ye sons of a blind mother. This is a sorcerer; he hath yet some master spell; he will yet save himself. He will fly into the air, or sink into the earth. He laughs at our tortures.' The King of Karasme precipitately descended the steps of his throne, followed by his favourite minister, and his councillors, and chief captains, and the Cadis, and the Mullahs, and the Imams, and the principal personages of the city.
'Sorcerer!' exclaimed Alp Arslan, 'insolent sorcerer! base son of a base mother! dog of dogs! dost thou defy us? Does thy master Eblis whisper hope? Dost thou laugh at our punishments? Wilt thou fly into the air? wilt thou sink into the earth? eh, eh? Is it so, is it so?' The breathless monarch ceased, from the exhaustion of passion. He tore his beard out by the roots, he stamped with uncontrollable rage.
'Thou art wiser than thy councillors, royal Arslan; I do defy thee. My master, although not Eblis, has not deserted me. I laugh at thy punishments. Thy tortures I despise. I shall both sink into the earth and mount into the air. Art thou answered?'
'By my beard,' exclaimed the enraged Arslan, 'I am answered. Let Eblis save thee if he can;' and the King of Karasme, the most famous master of the sabre in Asia, drew his blade like lightning from its sheath, and took off the head of Alroy at a stroke. It fell, and, as it fell, a smile of triumphant derision seemed to play upon the dying features of the hero, and to ask of his enemies, 'Where now are all your tortures?'
NOTES TO ALROY.
[Footnote 1: page 4.—We shall yet see an ass mount a ladder.—Hebrew proverb.]
[Footnote 2: page 12.—Our walls are hung with flowers you love. It is the custom of the Hebrews in many of their festivals, especially in the feast of the Tabernacle, to hang the walls of their chambers with garlands of flowers.]
[Footnote 3: page 13.—The traditionary tomb of Esther and Mordecai. 'I accompanied the priest through the town over much ruin and rubbish to an enclosed piece of ground, rather more elevated than any in its immediate vicinity. In the centre was the Jewish tomb-a square building of brick, of a mosque-like form, with a rather elongated dome at the top. The door is in the ancient sepulchral fashion of the country, very small, consisting of a single stone of great thickness, and turning on its own pivots from one side. Its key is always in possession of the eldest of the Jews resident at Hamadan. Within the tomb are two sarcophagi, made of a very dark wood, carved with great intricacy of pattern and richness of twisted ornament, with a line of inscription in Hebrew,' &c.—Sir R. K. Porter's Travels in Persia, vol. ii. p. 107.]
[Footnote 4: page 16.—A marble fountain, the richly-carved cupola supported by twisted columns. The vast magnificence and elaborate fancy of the tombs and fountains is a remarkable feature of Oriental architecture. The Eastern nations devote to these structures the richest and the most durable materials. While the palaces of Asiatic monarchs are in general built only of wood, painted in fresco, the rarest marbles are dedicated to the sepulchre and the spring, which are often richly gilt, and adorned even with precious stones.]
[Footnote 5: page 17.—The chorus of our maidens. It is still the custom for the women in the East to repair at sunset in company to the fountain for their supply of water. In Egypt, you may observe at twilight the women descending the banks of the Nile in procession from every town and village. Their graceful drapery, their long veils not concealing their flashing eyes, and the classical forms of their vases, render this a most picturesque and agreeable spectacle.]
[Footnote 6: page 24.—I describe the salty deserts of Persia, a locality which my tale required; but I have ventured to introduce here, and in the subsequent pages, the principal characteristics of the great Arabian deserts: the mirage, the simoom, the gazelle, the oasis.]
[Footnote 7: page 28.—Jackals and marten-cat. At nightfall, especially in Asia Minor, the lonely horseman will often meet the jackals on their evening prowl. Their moaning is often heard during the night. I remember, when becalmed off Troy, the most singular screams were heard at intervals throughout the night, from a forest on the opposite shore, which a Greek sailor assured me proceeded from a marten-cat, which had probably found the carcass of some horse.]
[Footnote 8: page 30. Elburz, or Elborus, the highest range of the Caucasus.]
[Footnote 9: page 31.—A circular and brazen table, sculptured with strange characters and mysterious figures; near it was a couch on which lay several volumes. A cabalistic table, perhaps a zodiac. The books were doubtless Sepher Happeliah, the Book of Wonders; Sepher Hakkaneh, the Book of the Pen; and Sepher Habbahir, the Book of Light. This last unfolds the most sublime mysteries.]
[Footnote 10: page 32.—Answered the Cabalist. 'Simeon ben Jochai, who flourished in the second century, and was a disciple of Akibha, is called by the Jews the Prince of the Cabalists. After the suppression of the sedition in which his master had been so unsuccessful, he concealed himself in a cave, where, according to the Jewish historians, he received revelations, which he after-wards delivered to his disciples, and which they carefully preserved in the book called Sohar. His master, Akibha, who lived soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, was the author of the famous book Jezirah, quoted by the Jews as of Divine authority. When Akibha was far advanced in life, appeared the famous impostor Barchochebas, who, under the character of the Messiah, promised to deliver his countrymen from the power of the Emperor Adrian. Akibha espoused his cause, and afforded him the protection and support of his name, and an army of two hundred thousand men repaired to his standard. The Romans at first slighted the insurrection; but when they found the insurgents spread slaughter and rapine wherever they came, they sent out a military force against them. At. first, the issue of the contest was doubtful. The Messiah himself was not taken until the end of four years.'—Enfield, Philosophy of the Jews, vol. ii.
'Two methods of instruction were in use among the Jews; the one public, or exoteric; the other secret, or esoteric. The exoteric doctrine was that which was openly taught the people from the law of Moses and the traditions of the fathers. The esoteric was that which treated of the mysteries of the Divine nature, and other sublime subjects, and was known by the name of the Cabala. The latter was, after the manner of the Pythagorean and Egyptian mysteries, taught only to certain persons, who were bound, under the most solemn anathema, not to divulge it. Concerning the miraculous origin and preservation of the Cabala, the Jews relate many marvellous tales. They derive these mysteries from Adam, and assert that, while the first man was in Paradise, the angel Rasiel brought him a book from heaven, which contained the doctrines of heavenly wisdom, and that, when Adam received this book, angels came down to him to learn its contents, but that he refused to admit them to the knowledge of sacred things entrusted to him alone; that, after the Fall, this book was taken back into heaven; that, after many prayers and tears, God restored it to Adam, from whom it passed to Seth. In the degenerate age before the flood this book was lost, and the mysteries it contained almost forgotten; but they were restored by special revelation to Abraham, who committed them to writing in the book Jezirah.'—Vide Enfield, vol. ii. p. 219.
'The Hebrew word Cabala,' says Dom Calmet, 'signifies tradition, and the Rabbins, who are named Cabalists, apply themselves principally to the combination of certain words, numbers, and letters, by the means of which they boasted they could reveal the future, and penetrate the sense of the most difficult passages of Scripture. This science does not appear to have any fixed principles, but depends upon certain ancient traditions, whence its name Cabala. The Cabalists have a great number of names which they style sacred, by means of which they raise spirits, and affect to obtain supernatural intelligence.'—See Calmet, Art. Cabala.
'We spake before,' says Lightfoot, 'of the commonness of Magick among them, one singular means whereby they kept their own in delusion, and whereby they affronted ours. The general expectation of the nation of Messias coming when he did had this double and contrary effect, that it forwarded those that belonged to God to believe and receive the Gospel; and those that did not, it gave encouragement to some to take upon them they were Christ or some great prophet, and to others it gave some persuasion to be deluded by them. These deceivers dealt most of them with Magick, and that cheat ended not when Jerusalem ended, though one would have thought that had been a fair term of not further expecting Messias; but since the people were willing to be deceived by such expectation, there rose up deluders still that were willing to deceive them.'—Lightfoot, vol. ii. p. 371.
For many curious details of the Cabalistic Magic, Vide Basnage, vol. v. p. 384, &c.]
[Footnote 11: page 34.—Read the stars no longer. 'The modern Jews,' says Basnage, 'have a great idea of the influence of the stars.' Vol. iv. p. 454. But astrology was most prevalent among the Babylonian Rabbins, of whom Jabaster was one. Living in the ancient land of the Chaldeans, these sacred sages imbibed a taste for the mystic lore of their predecessors. The stars moved, and formed letters and lines, when consulted by any of the highly-initiated of the Cabalists. This they styled the Celestial Alphabet.]
[Footnote 12: page 38.—_The Daughter of the Voice. 'Both the Talmudick and the latter Rabbins,' says Lightfoot, 'make frequent mention of _Bath Kol, or Filia Vocis_, or an echoing voice which served under the Second Temple for their utmost refuge of revelation. For when Urim and Thummim, the oracle, was ceased, and prophecy was decayed and gone, they had, as they say, certain strange and extraordinary voices upon certain extraordinary occasions, which were their warnings and advertisements in some special matters. Infinite instances of this might be adduced, if they might be believed. Now here it may be questioned why they called it _Bath Kol, the daughter of a voice,_ and not a voice itself? If the strictness of the Hebrew word Bath be to be stood upon, which always it is not, it may be answered, that it is called The Daughter of a Voice in relation to the oracles of Urim and Thummim. For whereas that was a voice given from off the mercy-seat, within the vail, and this, upon the decay of that oracle, came as it were in its place, it might not unfitly or improperly be called a _daughter_, or successor of that voice.'—Lightfoot, vol. i. pp. 485, 486. Consult also the learned Doctor, vol. ii. pp. 128, 129: 'It was used for a testimony from heaven, but was indeed performed by magic art.']
[Footnote 13: page 44.—The walls and turrets of an extensive city. In Persia, and the countries of the Tigris and Euphrates, the traveller sometimes arrives at deserted cities of great magnificence and antiquity. Such, for instance, is the city of Anneh. I suppose Alroy to have entered one of the deserted capitals of the Seleucidae. They are in general the haunt of bandits.]
[Footnote 14: page 49.—Punctured his arm. From a story told by an Arab.]
[Footnote 15: page 52.—The pilgrim could no longer sustain himself. An endeavor to paint the simoom.]
[Footnote 16: page 54.—By the holy stone. The Caaba.—The Caaba is the same to the Mahomedan as the Holy Sepulchre to the Christian. It is the most unseemly, but the most sacred, part of the mosque at Mecca, and is a small, square stone building.]
[Footnote 17: page 56.—I am a Hakim; i.e. Physician, an almost sacred character in the East. As all Englishmen travel with medicine-chests, the Turks are not be wondered at for considering us physicians.]
[Footnote 18: page 57.—Threw their wanton jerreeds in the air. The Persians are more famous for throwing the jerreed than any other nation. A Persian gentleman, while riding quietly by your side, will suddenly dash off at full gallop, then suddenly check his horse, and take a long aim with his lance with admirable precision. I should doubt, however, whether he could hurl a lance a greater distance or with greater force and effect than a Nubian, who will fix a mark at sixty yards with his javelin.]
[Footnote 19: page 58.—Some pounded coffee. The origin of the use of coffee is obscure; but there is great reason to believe that it had not been introduced in the time of Alroy. When we consider that the life of an Oriental at the present day mainly consists in drinking coffee and smoking tobacco, we cannot refrain from asking ourselves, 'What did he do before either of these comparatively modern inventions was discovered?' For a long time, I was inclined to suspect that tobacco might have been in use in Asia before it was introduced into Europe; but a passage in old Sandys, in which he mentions the wretched tobacco smoke in Turkey, and accounts for it by that country being supplied with 'the dregs of our markets,' demonstrates that, in his time, there was no native growth in Asia. Yet the choicest tobaccos are now grown on the coast of Syria, the real Levant. But did the Asiatics smoke any other plant or substance before tobacco? In Syria, at the present day, they smoke a plant called timbac; the Chinese smoke opium; the artificial preparations for the hookah are known to all Indians. I believe, however, that these are all refinements, and for this reason, that in the classic writers, who were as well acquainted with the Oriental nations as ourselves, we find no allusion to the practice of smoking. The anachronism of the pipe I have not therefore ventured to commit, and that of coffee will, I trust, be pardoned.]
[Footnote 20: page 58.—Wilder gestures of the dancing girls. These dancing girls abound throughout Asia. The most famous are the Almeh of Egypt, and the Nautch of India. These last are a caste, the first only a profession.]
[Footnote 21: page 64.—For thee the bastinado. The bastinado is the common punishment of the East, and an effective and dreaded one. It is administered on the soles of the feet, the instrument a long cane or palm-branch. Public executions are very-rare.]
[Footnote 22: page 73.—A door of tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl. This elegant mode of inlay is common in Oriental palaces, and may be observed also in Alhambra, at Granada.]
[Footnote 23: page 74.—A vaulted, circular, and highly embossed roof, of purple, scarlet, and gold. In the very first style of Saracenic architecture. See the Hall of the Ambassadors in Alhambra, and many other chambers in that exquisite creation.]
[Footnote 24: page 74.—Nubian eunuchs dressed in rich habits of scarlet and gold. Thus the guard of Nubian eunuchs of the present Pacha of Egypt, Mehemet Ali, or rather Caliph, a title which he wishes to assume. They ride upon white horses.]
[Footnote 25: page 74.—A quadrangular court of roses. So in Alhambra, 'The Court of Myrtles,' leading to the Court of Columns, wherein is the famous Fountain of Lions.]
[Footnote 26: page 75.—An Abyssinian giant. A giant is still a common appendage to an Oriental court even at the present day. See a very amusing story in the picturesque 'Persian Sketches' of that famous elchee, Sir John Malcolm.]
[Footnote 27: page 75.—Surrounded by figures of every rare quadruped. 'The hall of audience,' says Gibbon, from Cardonne, speaking of the magnificence of the Saracens of Cordova, 'was encrusted with gold and pearls, and a great basin in the centre was surrounded with the curious and costly figures of birds and quadrupeds.'-Decline and Fall, vol. x. p. 39.]
[Footnote 28: page 76.—A tree of gold and silver. 'Among the other spectacles of rare and stupendous luxury was a tree of gold and silver, spreading into eighteen large branches, on which, and on the lesser boughs, sat a variety of birds made of the same precious metals, as well as the leaves of the tree. While the machinery effected spontaneous motions, the several birds warbled their natural harmony.'-Gibbon, vol. x. p. 38, from Abulfeda, describing the court of the Caliphs of Bagdad in the decline of their power.]
[Footnote 29: page 76.—Four hundred men led as many white bloodhounds, with collars of gold and rubies. I have somewhere read of an Indian or Persian monarch whose coursing was conducted in this gorgeous style: if I remember right, it was Mahmoud the Gaznevide.]
[Footnote 30: page 76.—A steed marked on its forehead with a star. The sacred steed of Solorhon.]
[Footnote 31: page 78.—Instead of water, each basin was replenished with the purest quicksilver. 'In a lofty pavilion of the gardens, one of those basins and fountains so delightful in a sultry climate, was replenished, not with water, but with the purest quicksilver.' —Gibbon, vol. x, from Cardonne.]
[Footnote 32: page 78.-Playing with a rosary of pearls and emeralds. Moslems of rank are never without the rosary, sometimes of amber and rare woods, sometimes of jewels. The most esteemed is of that peculiar substance called Mecca wood.]
[Footnote 33: page 78.—The diamond hilt of a small poniard. The insignia of a royal female.]
[Footnote 34: page 83.—You have been at Paris. Paris was known to the Orientals at this time as a city of considerable luxury and importance. The Embassy from Haroun Alraschid to Charlemagne, at an earlier date, is of course recollected.]
[Footnote 35: page 90.—At length beheld the lost capital of his fathers. The finest view of Jerusalem is from the Mount of Olives. It is little altered since the period when David Alroy is supposed to have gazed upon it, but it is enriched by the splendid Mosque of Omar, built by the Moslem conquerors on the supposed site of the temple, and which, with its gardens, and arcades, and courts, and fountains, may fairly be described as the most imposing of Moslem fanes. I endeavoured to enter it at the hazard of my life. I was detected, and surrounded by a crowd of turbaned fanatics, and escaped with difficulty; but I saw enough to feel that minute inspection would not belie the general character I formed of it from the Mount of Olives. I caught a glorious glimpse of splendid courts, and light aify gates of Saracenic triumph, flights of noble steps, long arcades, and interior gardens, where silver fountains spouted their tall streams amid the taller cypresses.]
[Footnote 36: page 91.—Entered Jerusalem by the gate of Zion. The gate of Zion still remains, and from it you descend into the valley of Siloah.]
[Footnote 37: page 94.- King Pirgandicus. According to a Talmudical story, however, of which I find a note, this monarch was not a Hebrew but a Gentile, and a very wicked one. He once invited eleven famous doctors of the holy nation to supper. They were received in the most magnificent style, and were then invited, under pain of death, either to eat pork, to accept a pagan mistress, or to drink wine consecrated to idols. After long consultation, the doctors, in great tribulation, agreed to save their heads by accepting the last alternative, since the first and second were forbidden by Moses, and the last only by the Rabbins. The King assented, the doctors drank the impure wine, and, as it was exceedingly good, drank freely. The wine, as will sometimes happen, created a terrible appetite; the table was covered with dishes, and the doctors, heated by the grape, were not sufficiently careful of what they partook. In short, the wicked King Pirgandicus contrived that they should sup off pork, and being carried from the table quite tipsy, each of the eleven had the mortification of finding himself next morning in the arms of a pagan mistress. In the course of the year all the eleven died sudden deaths, and this visitation occurred to them, not because they had violated the law of Moses, but because they believed that the precepts of the Rabbins could be outraged with more impunity than the Word of God.]
[Footnote 38: page 94.—And conquered Julius Caesar. This classic hero often figures in the erratic pages of the Talmud.]
[Footnote 39: page 94.—The Tombs of the Kings. The present pilgrim to Jerusalem will have less trouble than Alroy in discovering the Tombs of the Kings, though he probably would not as easily obtain the sceptre of Solomon. The tombs that bear this title are of the time of the Asmonean princes, and of a more ambitious character than any other of the remains. An open court, about fifty feet in breadth, and extremely deep, is excavated out of the rock. One side is formed by a portico, the frieze of which is sculptured in a good Syro-Greek style. There is no grand portal; you crawl into the tombs by a small opening on one of the sides. There are a few small chambers with niches, recesses, and sarcophagi, some sculptured in the same flowing style as the frieze. This is the most important monument at Jerusalem; and Dr. Clarke, who has lavished wonder and admiration on the tombs of Zachariah and Absalom, has declared the Tombs of the Kings to be one of the marvellous productions of antiquity.]
[Footnote 40: Page 95.—'Rabbi Hillel was one of the most celebrated among the Jewish Doctors, both for birth, learning, rule, and children. He was of the seed of David by his mother's side, being of the posterity of Shephatiah, the son of Abital, David's wife. He was brought up in Babel, from whence he came up to Jerusalem at forty years old, and there studied the law forty years more under Shemaiah and Abtalion, and after them he was President of the Sanhedrim forty years more. The beginning of his Presidency is generally conceded upon to have been just one hundred 'years before the Temple was destroyed; by which account he began eight-and-twenty years before our Saviour was born, and died when he was about twelve years old. He is renowned for his fourscore scholars.'—Lightfoot, vol. ii. p. 2008.
The great rival of Hillel was Shammai. Their controversies, and the fierceness of their partisans, are a principal feature of Rabbinical history. They were the same as the Scotists and Thomists. At last the Bath Kol interfered, and decided for Hillel, but in a spirit of conciliatory dexterity. The Bath Kol came forth and spake thus: 'The words both of the one party and the other are the words of the living God, but the certain decision of the matter is according to the decrees of the school of Hillel. And henceforth, whoever shall transgress the decrees of the school of Hillel is punishable with death.']
[Footnote 41: page 97.—A number of small, square, low chambers. These excavated cemeteries, which abound in Palestine and Egypt, were often converted into places of worship by the Jews and early Christians. Sandys thus describes the Synagogue at Jerusalem in his time.]
[Footnote 42: page 08.—Their heads mystically covered. The Hebrews cover their heads during their prayers with a sacred shawl.]
[Footnote 43: page 98.—Expounded the law to the congregation of the people. The custom, I believe, even to the present day, among the Hebrews, a remnant of their old academies, once so famous.]
[Footnote 44: page 99.—The Valley of Jehoshaphat and the Tomb of Absalom. In the Vale of Jehoshaphat, among many other tombs, are two of considerable size, and which, although of a corrupt Grecian architecture, are dignified by the titles of the tombs of Zachariah and Absalom.]
[Footnote 45: page 101.—The scanty rill of Siloah. The sublime Siloah is now a muddy rill; you descend by steps to the fountain which is its source, and which is covered with an arch. Here the blind man received his sight; and, singular enough, to this very day the healing reputation of its waters prevails, and summons to its brink all those neighbouring Arabs who suffer from the ophthalmic affections not uncommon in this part of the world.]
[Footnote 46: page 102.—Several isolated tombs of considerable size. There are no remains of ancient Jerusalem, or the ancient Jews. Some tombs there are which may be ascribed to the Asmonean princes; but all the monuments of David, Solomon, and their long posterity, have utterly disappeared.]
[Footnote 47: page 103.—Are cut strange characters and unearthly forms. As at Benihassan, and many other of the sculptured catacombs of Egypt.]
[Footnote 48: page 104.—A crowd of bats rushed forward and extinguished his torch. In entering the Temple of Dendara, our torches were extinguished by a crowd of bats.]
[Footnote 49: page 104.—The gallery was of great extent, with a gradual declination. So in the great Egyptian tombs.]
[Footnote 50: page 105.—The Afrite, for it was one of those dread beings. Beings of a monstrous form, the most terrible of all the orders of the Dives.]
[Footnote 51: page 106.—An avenue of colossal lions of red granite. An avenue of Sphinxes more than a mile in length connected the quarters of Luxoor and Carnak in Egyptian Thebes. Its fragments remain. Many other avenues of Sphinxes and lion-headed Kings may be observed in various parts of Upper Egypt.]
[Footnote 52: page 107.—A stupendous portal, cut out of the solid rock, four hundred feet in height, and supported by clusters of colossal Caryatides. See the great rock temple of Ipsambul in Lower Nubia. The sitting colossi are nearly seventy feet in height. But there is a Torso of a statue of Rameses the Second at Thebes, vulgarly called the great Memnon, which measures upwards of sixty feet round the shoulders.]
[Footnote 53: page 109.—Fifty steps of ivory, and each step guarded by golden lions. See 1st Kings, chap. x. 18-20.]
[Footnote 54: page 120.—Crossed the desert on a swift dromedary. The difference between a camel and a dromedary is the difference between a hack and a thorough-bred horse. There is no other.]
[Footnote 55: page 121.—That celestial alphabet known to the true Cabalist. See Note 11.]
[Footnote 56: page 133.—The last of the Seljuks had expired. The Orientals are famous for their massacres: that of the Mamlouks by the present Pacha of Egypt, and of the Janissaries of the Sultan, are notorious. But one of the most terrible, and effected under the most difficult and dangerous circumstances, was the massacre of the Albanian Beys by the Grand Vizir, in the autumn of 1830. I was in Albania at the time.]
[Footnote 57: page 136.— The minarets were illumined. So, I remember, at Constantinople, at the commencement of 1831 at the departure of the Mecca caravan, and also at the annual fast of Ramadan.]
[Footnote 58: page 138.—One asking alms with a wire run through his cheek. Not uncommon. These Dervishes frequent the bazaars.]
[Footnote 59: page 142.—One hundred thousand warriors were now assembled. In countries where the whole population is armed, a vast military force is soon assembled. Barchochebas was speedily at the head of two hundred thousand fighting men, and held the Romans long in check under one of their most powerful emperors.]
[Footnote 60: page 143.—Some high-capped Tatar with despatches. I have availed myself of a familiar character in Oriental life, but the use of a Tatar as a courier in the time of Alroy is, I fear, an anachronism.]
[Footnote 61: page 144.—Each day some warlike Atabek, at the head of his armed train, poured into the capital of the caliphs. I was at Yanina, the capital of Albania, when the Grand Vizir summoned the chieftains of the country, and I was struck by their magnificent arrays each day pouring into the city.]
[Footnote 62: page 153.—It is the Sabbath etc. 'They began their Sabbath from sunset, and the same time of day they ended it.'—Talm. Hierosolym. in Sheveith, fol. 33, col. I. The eve of the Sabbath, or the day before, was called the day of the preparation for the Sabbath.—Luke xxiii. 54.
'And from the time of the evening sacrifice and forward, they began to fit themselves for the Sabbath, and to cease from their works, so as not to go to the barber, not to sit in judgment, &c.; nay, thenceforward they would not set things on working, which, being set a-work, would complete their business of themselves, unless it would be completed before the Sabbath came—as wool was not put to dye, unless it could take colour while it was yet day! &c.—Talm. in Sab., par. I; Lightfoot, vol. i. p. 218.