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the guilty proved obstinate, and for a moment he sincerely regretted he was not himself pacha, kiaya, and body-diplomatic, all in one.
“ Allah! Allah !” he exclaimed, “ who shall solve this mystery ?"
Muftifiz told the pacha as much of the line of conduct he meant to pursue as answered his purpose, which tended to obtain the pacha's authorisation to proceed in the matter exactly as his impulses should prompt him, with a guarantee that whatever he did should receive the pacha's assento
In the course of his investigation, Muftifiz discovered many secrets and learnt many things. For instance, he learnt that the kiaya was very friendly, too friendly, perhaps, with the fair Barbarosa, his fellowlabourer, Pupmoud's wife. He knew exactly what jewellery she had, how long she had had it, and from whence it came; and recognising his own wares which had been legitimately sold, though not regularly paid for by the kiaya, he got nothing from that quarter. He learnt how Achmet Benali, as grand master of the mules, and whipper-in in ordinary to the seraglio, had presumed upon his influence to bestow all the vacant stalls on his own family, and turned the feminine chit-chat to his personal benefit. He learnt how Achmet Ali, as master of the pantaloons and dispenser in extraordinary of otto of roses, had let out on hire the sovereign breeches for masquerade nights, and spilt the perfume to destroy the public scent. But what was infinitely more to the purpose, he learnt that Bibi indulged in solitary walks whilst his fellow-ministers were at their clubs, or pleasantly engaged on their own special pet business. That Bibi, the son of Mars—Bibi, of all men—should take solitary walks, bore something so strange on the face of it, he determined to watch him closely. Assuming the costume of an Armenian, and putting powder on his beard and hair, to make them look grey, and placing a pair of green spectacles on his nose, Muftifiz took up a position in front of the palace. Presently, Bibi came out, twirling a cane round his fingers, and looking very bold. It being dark, Muftifiz pretended not to see, and ran up violently against him.
“ Dog!" exclaimed Bibi, striking him a severe blow across the shoulders with his cane.
Muftifiz was profuse of excuses, but the ruse had succeeded ; Bibi did not recognise him. Closely and pertinaciously he hung on his steps that night, followed him into the bazaars, stopped with him at the stalls, watched him into different marts, but Bibi did nothing but what was quite correct. Once or twice even, Muftifiz noticed that he bestowed alms on the fakirs who solicited his charity; and recognising in a subsequent application the same fakir who had been a previous recipient, he felt quite grieved that this charitable man should be so imposed upon. They had now reached that quarter of the city which no true follower of the Prophet was ever supposed to enter--the domain of the Gaiour-and Muftifiz, like all true believers, having the stench in his nostrils, was about to leave Bibi to his fate, when, for the third time, standing in the reflection of the light, he saw the fakir who had twice received charity deliberately make a sign to Bibi, who followed in his steps, and turned down a dark corner, where they entered into conversation together. From
thence he traced them to the house of an infidel general dealer, where he thought it advisable to leave them, but promised himself to renew his investigation on the morrow, not doubting for a moment but that he now had a clue. The following night, Muftifiz having applied for and obtained the assistance of a guard of mamalukes, posted them in that same dark corner, with strict instructions to their chief not to leave the spot, and proceeded to his own watch in front of the palace, from which Bibi soon issued. He followed him into a bazaar, where Bíbi stopped at a stall, and requested to look at some trinkets. Several were shown to himrings, bracelets, earrings, brooches, and pins for the hair. Whilst handling some of these, the fakir of the preceding night solicited alms. Muftifiz now drew up quite close, and saw Bibi put his right hand into his pocket, from which he drew a small square piece of paper, in which from his left hand he wrapped up something, which he tossed to the beggar. This short comedy was repeated some three or four times at different places, and then Bibi directed his steps to the spot where he had met the mendicant. There the latter had preceded him. Muftifiz diverged round, and as soon as they turned the corner gave the word to the mamalukes, who sprang upon the pair, seized them despite of Bibi's expostulations and threats, bound them with cords, and took them before the pacha. There the mendicant was searched, and in his gabardine were found, not well-bestowed alms, but many of the richest gems of the province.
The poor pacha was greatly shocked that Bibi, one of his household, under the cloak of religion, should have conspired to rob his people, thereby provoking their suspicions and animosity against himself, whose only wish was to be entirely free from cares of any kind. He determined to make an example, and commanded that Bibi and his confederate should be immediately put to death. Muftifiz he handsomely rewarded for this signal piece of service; indeed, he became so great a favourite, that scarcely a day passed he was not sent for to attend at the palace on some piece of business or other. The pacha even admitted him to his secret conferences with the kiaya, and now and then appealing to him, would say: “ What thinks our faithful servant Muftifiz ?" or, “We sball talk it over at our leisure with friend Muftifiz."
Time flew on apace. The pacha, worthy man, leaving state matters entirely to his ministers, continued to lead an easy, careless life, which however was not destined to run smooth. Vague rumours reached the palace of a formidable conspiracy against the state, and by an anonymous intimation, the pacha was apprised that an important member of his government was at the head of it.
“ What can it mean ?” said the pacha, who, with his two familiars, was squatted on tiger skins in the divan, sipping his coffee and puffing his chibouk.
The kiaya emitted thick volumes of smoke, which might be taken to imply that he felt quite as puzzled as his worthy master.
“ Hast observed nothing to excite thy suspicions, faithful Muftifiz ?" asked the pacha.
“ To suspect, oh! excellence," said Muftifiz, who had conversed with Martin Tupper on his projected “ Proverbial Philosophy," “is not to reap in the furrows of my brain good harvest of right reasons.”
“Well said, friend," answered the pacha; “still wilt thou lend thine aid to our faithful servant the kiaya ?"
"His humble servant will not hide from his beloved master that the matter may prove intricate."
“Do thy best, friend Muftifiz, do thy best ; we place entire confidence in the wisdom of our servants.”
We said, in the matter of the Bibi conspiracy, that Muftifiz had learnt how the kiaya was very friendly with the fair Barbarosa. Now this worthy dame, like the rest of her sex, had her little failings—an inordinate vanity and love of adulation. She had married Pupmoud at a time of life when she was scarcely conscious of the importance of the step she took ; and in later years discovered it was much against her inclination. Being a remarkably handsome woman, she had been so fortunate, or unfortunate, as the case may be, as to attract the notice of the kiaya, who fed upon her smiles with all the ardour of a thoroughly fascinated man. She felt her strength, and her chains became doubly burdensome to her. What would she not have given to have had it in her power to snap them! But though Pupmoud was but a simple burgess, still he belonged to an influential corporation, in offending which the kiaya would have run great risks, this class being specially favoured by the pacha, who moreover, in cases of matrimonial peccadilloes, was known to exercise great severity. Pupmoud, who did not feel the least flattered by the homage paid to his better half, though compelled to devour his anger in secret, would have risked the salvation of his soul almost for an opportunity to be revenged. This soon occurred. Barbarosa talked in her sleep, and though she made no distinct statement, she said enough to induce her husband to send that anonymous intimation to the pacha of which we have spoken.
One morning that the pacha had listened, through his interpreter, to a glowing account of one of those tremendous battles fought by the North Land savages amongst themselves, and was still wondering how it happened that such raging warfare resulted only in Sergeant Tightstrap's horse being blinded of one eye by an adverse ramrod, which had not been withdrawn from the barrel, and in Private Cookspet having sprained his ankle in leaping into the enemy's trenches, he was informed that his faithful Muftifiz craved a private audience. He commanded that he should be admitted at once.
“Hast discovered anything, friend Muftifiz?” eagerly asked the pacha.
“Highness," answered Muftifiz, in a desponding tone of voice, “all other means have failed. I have but one resource left.” And he proceeded to inform the pacha that he wished he would have him arrested as the originator of the conspiracy, and express his intention of having him executed in eight-and-forty hours; and perceiving the pacha's undisguised astonishment at such a demand, he added: “Your excellency's faithful servant believes this will be the means of obtaining a solution, and begs your highness will grant his request.”
It was therefore agreed between them that it should be as Muftifiz wished—that he should leave the palace, and proceed to his own house ; in the mean time, the pacha should give the order for his arrest and execution; but that no one should be allowed to visit him in prison without a warrant from the pacha, who, from a hidden place, should watch the interview himself. Accordingly, the next morning it was generally known throughout the city that Muftifiz had been arrested for conspiracy, and would be executed the following day; but that the pacha, in his great clemency, not wishing to deprive Muftifiz’s heirs of his immense wealth, had allowed him to make his will, which gracious condescension he had availed himself of, by bequeathing it all to his fellow-citizen Pupmoud.
Now the kiaya happened to be Muftifiz's debtor to a considerable amount for jewellery bought and monies lent, and he naturally argued that Pupmoud would inherit the credits as well as the real property. He knew that Pupmoud hated him with all an injured husband's strength, hence he drew the conclusion that Pupmoud would not leave a stone unturned to effect his ruin. It was quite out of his power to cancel the debt, and therefore he was at his mercy. Of two evils, he chose what appeared to him to be the lesser. He sought Muftifiz.
As soon as he was introduced, “Vanish!” said he to the janisary who had admitted him. The official closed the door upon him and disappeared. Then addressing Muftifiz, the kiaya said, “ I have come to offer thee life.”
“My life! to me! Tamper not with my misfortunes, your greatness.”
“ Listen to me,” continued the kiaya. “I owe thee 10,000 zechins ; dost thou value freedom at that sum ?”
“ Can you ask it," answered Muftifiz.
“ Wilt thou give me a quittance in good form for that amount, against a warrant that I shall bring thee of pardon, and enjoyment of all thy former rights and privileges ?”
"You jest, greatness," said Muftifiz, with a sickly smile. “ Thou art arrested for conspiracy ?" asserted the kiaya. Muftifiz bowed.
“Whether justly or unjustly I will not pretend to say ; his sublime highness keeps the matter to himself.”
Muftifiz looked surprised.
“ But what I have to say to thee, to thee alone,” continued the kiaya, going up to him, placing his hand on his shoulder, and lowering his voice, “is, that there is a second conspiracy.”
“Ah! what says your excellency ?”
“Discovered it! pshaw !” he exclaimed, betrayed by his feelings into a louder tone of voice, “ I am the man who pulls the wires, O Muftifiz !"
No sooner had the last words escaped his lips than the end of the cell seemed to disappear as if by magic, and it became filled with soldiers, with the pacha at their head. The kiaya was surrounded in a moment, and whilst he was being held, the pacha, addressing him, said:
“O thou wicked man, on whom so many benefits have been bestowed, not content with the indulgence of thy passions, thou hast sought to remedy their evil consequences in the accomplishment of a crime. Let thy end be an example to all men.”
At these words the mamalukes plunged their scimitars into the body of the kiaya, who ceased to exist.
" And thou, my faithful servant," resumed the pacha, linking his arm with that of Muftifiz, “thou shalt occupy the post that unworthy man so lately filled, and thy talents and discernment shall aid and enlighten the councils of thy sovereign.”
BY SIR NATHANIEL.
No. XIV.—Mrs. JAMESON. “ ACCIDENT first made me an authoress," says Mrs. Jameson, in one of her captivating books. Something higher, deeper, better, qualified her to be an authoress, and ensured for her, as such, a position second to hardly one of her contemporaries in grace of style, correctness, and refinement of taste, keenness of observation, and freshness of thought. Acquaintance with such a writer would have been an invaluable argument and support to Charles Perrault, when he indited his Apologie des Femmes, in answer to Boileau's spiteful satire, and there maintained the supremacy of true womanly opinion in matters of taste, saying, in his preface: “On sait la justesse de leur discernement pour les choses fines et délicates, la sensibilité qu'elles ont pour ce qui est clair, vif, naturel et de bon sens, et le dégoût subit qu'elles temoignent à l'abord de tout ce qui est obscur, languissant, contraint, et embarrassé.” Mrs. Jameson stands unsurpassed among the literary women of England for critical culture; for instinctive accuracy of taste, and ability to give a reason for the faith that is in her, with elegance and precision of language. And it is beautiful to mark in this capacious, deep, highly-cultivated and everactive intellect, so utter an absence of, and so hearty a disrelish for, whatever is akin to the satirical and the censorious. This gracious nature holds no tie with carping, crabbed, captious ways and means. “I can smile,” she says, “nay, I can laugh still, to see folly, vanity, absurdity, meanness, exposed by scornful wit, and depicted by others in fictions light and brilliant. But these very things, when I encounter the reality, rather make me sad than merry, and take away all the inclination, if I had the power, to hold them up to derision.” And she contends that no one human being has been made essentially better by satire, which excites only the lowest and worst of our propensities; the spirit of ridicule she abhors, because in direct contradiction to the mild and serious spirit of Christianity—and at the same time she fears it, because wherever it has prevailed as a social fashion, and has given the tone to the manners and literature, it has marked the moral degradation and approaching destruction of the society thus characterised; -and furthermore, she despises it, as the usual resource of the shallow and the base mind, and, when wielded by the strongest hand with the purest intentions, an inefficient means of good. “The spirit of satire, reversing the spirit of mercy which is twice blessed, seems to me,” she says, “ twice accursed; evil in those who indulge it-evil to those who are the objects of it." In her every volume the jaded sufferer under literary fever and fretfulness is sure, in Wordsworth's language, of
One enclosure where the voice that speaks
Of evil inclinations are unknown.