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round the map several times, his eyes fixed on
the chart as he went round it, and his wand tra-
velling from one star to another, till at length
it rested on an orb in the centre. " Ambition,
my son," said Abou Rassed, " is your idol, and
here is its altar, smoking with the blood of a
thousand sacrifices. The slippery steps to it
are surrounded by all these difficulties, number-
less as they are ; but of the many who attempt
the summit, none are more likely to attain it
than you are." Yussufs features brightened
up at the promise. " But there is one little
obstacle, which even now is rising in your path ;
but, Heaven forbid that animosity should in-
terfere with ambition ! and yet I fear it may.
Here are two stars twinkling in the same con-
stellation, and yet they have no affinity for each
other. They do not sympathise, Effendi. To
what this configuration of the heavenly bodies
refers, you best know ; the warning is obvious.
Whatever be the nature of the encounter that
is intended, the danger is imminent."

Yussuf listened attentively to the words of
the old man ; and when he removed the chart


which lay before him, the former appeared to
be a good deal agitated, and, when he rose to
depart, his spirit seemed to quail under the
keen eye of the astrologer.

He had not been gone above a minute, before
the Dervish entered the apartment.

" Ah ! my friend Ali," said Abou Rassed,
" all the lessons I have given you in celestial
science have failed to make you a man of intel-
ligence. How many a foolish word has brought
ruin on an innocent man's head ! how much
more mischief does folly do in the world than
downright malice ! If there was any specula-
tion in your eyes, could you not read the words
of mortal enmity that were written in the fea-
tures of that man of blood, when you mention-
ed the name of your unfortunate companion ?
Who he is, or what he is, I neither know nor
care; but you have brought him into trouble,
and if you are an honest man, you will not fail
to endeavour to defeat the mischief which your
imprudence is likely to produce. I tell you.
Dervish, there is murder in the thoughts of
that Effcndi who has just now left us. Do not
smile, man ; I am not now talking of stars or

o 5


giams ; for fifty years my book has been the
human heart; its study has been my only so-
lace ; its knowledge has been my razkallah, my
tlaily bread, and ill have I employed my time
if I know not the working of every passion
which agitates the breast, and gleams in the

The Dervish was too well acquainted with
his master's knov.'ledge of human nature to dis-
pute his words. He promised to lose not a
moment in putting his companion on his guard,
and he left the house for the purpose of going
to his abode.

Yussuf, in the mean time, had obtained an
interview with the chief executioner, and was
informing him of the arrival in Stamboul of the
robber who had plundered his father of all his
wealth, who had murdered the Comptroller of
the Customs of Canea, who had profaned the
sanctity of the harem, and robbed the widow of
his victim of her last paras.

The executioner was not ignorant of these
circumstances. The story of the robbery and
the murder had made a great deal of noise at


the time; and though the period of their com-
mission was too remote for the memory of
Turkish justice, it was not too long for that
of vengeance. Tlie executioner said, " If men
were to be put in jeopardy for robberies and
murders committed ten years ago, the fee simple
of no man's head would be worth the purchase."

The unwonted vehemence, however, of Yus-
suf 's manner, and the earnestness of his suppli-
cation to be permitted to bring the offender to
justice, disposed the executioner to oblige his
lieutenant, by consenting to the apprehension
of his enemy.

He inquired of Yussuf what he wished to
have done with the knave ? whether he desired
to have him bow-strung, or beheaded, or meant
onlv to extort his riches as a ransom ?

Yussuf said, the head of the villain was
what he wanted, and he implored his master by
everyone of the ninety-nine attributes of Allah,
to make him happy, and to use his influence
with the Cadi to have the culprit condemned
to death.

The indulgent executioner promised to in-


terest himself in his behalf; he told him he
might count on the condemnation of his enemy,
and if it was any personal gratification to him,
that he might perform the execution.

Yussuf 's eyes sparkled with delight at the pro-
spect of trampling on the neck of his hated rival.
He thanked his master over and over for his
great kindness, and kissed the hem of his gar-
ment with such humility as became an abject
slave. He was nermitted to take six of his
official attendants to apprehend the culprit, and
Yussuf lost no time in starting with his blood-
hounds, to discover, if possible, the inn where
he lodged. He searched several caravanserais
to no purpose, at length he stumbled on the
right one ; he was shown into the apartment of
Mourad; he stationed his attendants at the door,
and entered the chamber. He found a wretched
man, with a care-worn aspect, full of misery,
and furrowed with the earl}' lines of sorrow,
sitting on a carpet in a gloomy corner of the
room, his hands clasped over his knees, his
head sunk on his breast, and a wild expression
in his regard like the fixed stare of intoxication.
He lifted up his head when the stranger entered


the apartment, he looked at him for a moment,
and then withdrew his eyes, as if he was heed-
less of his presence.

Yussuf could hardly believe that the person
he looked on was the object of his search ; he
addressed him by name, and the reply left him
no longer in doubt of Mourad's identity.

Previous to his entrance, he had informed tiie
attendants, that the signal for their appearance
should be his greeting the culprit with a friend-
ly salutation. He approached his victim.
" Well, Mourad !" said he, " will you not raise
your head to look on an old friend who comes
to see you after so long an absence ? will you
not greet the companion of your youth with an
embrace ?"" And with these words, he assisted his
victim to rise, and pressed him to his heart.

The fellows who were stationed at the door
immediately burst into the room. In a mo-
ment, the unfortunate Mourad was seized, his
arms were pinioned, and cords tied round his
wrists. But there was no necessity for the re-
straint ; the poor wretch stood mute and motion-
less in the midst of them : his knees tottering
under him, and his head downcast, he appeared


totally unconscious of what was going forward.
Yussuf stared at him with astonishment; tlie
servants stood aloof: some said he was drunk,
others that he was famished, but an old man
who had gazed on him in silence for several
minutes, said he was sick, and he knew nothing
of the plague, if that was not the disorder of
the prisoner.

Yussuf's cheek and lips became like ashes at
the word. " Plague ! did you say ?" he ex-
claimed ; " look at the kafir well, and tell me,
by your beard, is that his malady ?"

" As sure," said the old man, " as you
pressed him to your bosom, the plague is on
him ; for all the riches of your tribe, I would
not have laid a finger on him."

Yussuf's soul was filled with the terror of
the infectious malady. While the old man
spoke, he stood aghast, leaning on the shoulder
of one of his attendants, trembling from head
to foot. In the mean time, the sick man's limbs
were tottering under him ; at length they seem-
ed to fail him altogether вАФ he staggered a few
steDs and then sunk on the floor.


" Had he fifty plagues on his pei'son," cried
Yussuf, in a tremulous voice, " he should not
escape me ! If none of you will stand forward
and lift the robber from the earth, though the
breath of his nostrils reek with contamination, 1
will raise him and bear him hence : if all of you
are such impious Moslems as to fly in the face
of Heaven, and seek to avoid that which destiny
has ordained to come to pass, the hell-couch of
the infidels is too good a bed for you."

The old man was the spokesman of the party ;
he told the young Effendi, that precaution was
not impiety ; that it was the act of a madman
to stand under a falling house ; and that the
blessed Prophet had said, there was no necessity
to rush into the midst of a conflag-ration.
" What was the use," he said, " of carrying a
wretch to a dungeon, who would die quietly in
his own dwelling within three days, without trou-
bhng any human being? What was the neces-
sity of carrying a pestiferous disease into a
crowded gaol ?

" He prayed Heaven its ravages would not ex-
tend to the Effendi's house ; but he trembled,""


he said, "for the result of his imprutlence : it
was an unfortunate greeting. Who, that had
the use of his two eyes, could fail to see the
deadly characters of the most terrible of all
maladies written in the livid features of the
wretch he had folded to his heart .'' Did you
not observe, EfFendi," continued the torturer,
" the wildness of his lurid eye, the leaden hue
of his complexion, the quivering motion of his
ashy lip ; and how, in the name of Allah ! with
such horrors staring you in the face, could you
throw yourself into his arms .'' Oh ! Effendi,
it was ill-done of you, and it will be a great
mercy if you escape the peril you have rushed
in the midst of."

Yussuf stood breathless with consternation ;
the mortal anxiety of his countenance was vi-
sible to every eye ; the warning of the astrolo-
ger was present to his mind, his words were so
many appalling terrors to his heart. He still
was in the chamber, and every breath he drew
he felt as if it came warm from the contamina- '
ting lips of the wretch before him, and was
loaded with the effluvia of the noisome ma-
lady. His heart sickened with apprehension ;


he was alone in the apartment; the old man be-
sought him, from the door-way, to leave the
place of peril ; he gave one scowling glance at
the unfortunate being who lay extended on the
floor, and quitted the room.

" Shall we go, Effendi ?" said the old man,
" from this devoted house, over which the angel
of death is flapping his sable wings ? shall we
leave this pest-house, Effendi, about whose
windows the ravens are hovering, and the hor-
rible vulture, with blood-stained beak and gru-
mous claws, is spreading the shade of his mon-
strous wings ?"

" Peace, man !"" exclaimed Yussuf, '"' your
words are those of terror. If the sight of a sick
man have turned the stream of life into jjeled
water, fly while you have a foot to stand upon ;
but here will I remain, till I procure the assist-
ance of those who have the souls of men, and
whose spirits will not quail when I command
them to bear that villain to a dungeon."

" If you are resolved on taking him," re-
plied the old man, " the common porters who
convey the sick wretches to the pest-house of
the Seven Towers, will be the fittest persons to


bear him to his ckinocon. Shall wc send for
them, EfFendi ?"

" Do so," said Yussuf, " and let it be done
quickly."" One of the attendants was dispatch-
ed for the fellows, whose horrible avocation is
undertaken by none but the very dregs of the
Bagnio. Yussuf was seated on the step of the
door waiting their arrival; every moment ap-
peared an age of torment till they apjieared ; his
only chance of escaping the contagion, depend-
ed, he believed, on changing his apparel and
visiting the bath.

At length the messenger returned with those
he had been sent for; two such cut-throats
never gave the hellish character of atrocity to
the human countenance. Drunkenness and pro-
fanity were written in every broad disgust-
ing line of their visages, and all the detestable
familiarity of vulgar infamy was apparent in
their address. " Allah defend my soul !" said
Yussuf, in a voice almost audible enough for
the ears of those around him, " from the horror
of ever encountering the sight of these wretches
on the bed of sickness ! Heaven preserve me
from the touch of their appalling hands f


Merciful powers, save me from the terrors
of the gloomy walls, where none who enter,
again go forth ! Prophet of the faithful ! let me
walk under thy shadow ; and be thy protection
my shield from danger, my shelter from the
falling arrows of the pestilence which flies aloft
and turns the breath of life into a poison/'

" Where is the man who is to be carried
hence ?" said one of the fellows, addressing iiim-
self to Yussuf ; " and where would you have him
brought ?" Yussuf shuddered at the sound of
the gruff voice ; he could not bring his heart to
sustain the stare of the bold eye which was fixed
upon him ; his look was involuntarily averted
from the fellow''s hideous face, when he told him
the prisoner was to be taken to the Bagnio.

A growl of surprise was the reply. " What,
take a dying man to a dungeon ! it is our
business to carry people Vv-itli the plague to the
pest-house ; but no matter where we go, so
long as we are paid for our trouble. Do you
think he will die on the road ? if so, we are en-
titled to double pay for carrying a corpse."

" Dogs !" cried Yussuf, " bear off your
burden and cease your clamour."


" Do2S as we are," muttered the fellow who
had before spoken, " we have dragged the body
of a greater Efftndi than any here, before now,
to the sea-shore." Yussuf shuddered : had the
speaker stood another moment before him, in all
probability he would have had a bullet througii
his head ; but he had the prudence to follow his
scowling companion into the apartment where
the unfortunate Mourad lay. When they
rudely seized on his arms and pulled him uj),
he looked wildly round him, his brain was all
confusion, he knew not where he was, or who
surrounded him ; but as they led him to the
door, trailing his feet after him, his heavy eye_
hds sinking every moment, and his head nodding
at every step, he seemed to make an effort to
rouse his stupified senses. He stared like one
bewildered at the strange faces he saw about
him ; his glance at length encountered the per-
son of Yussuf : for a minute his dim eye was
riveted on his countenance ; his death-like fea-
ture brightened up, a faint blush of redness
passed over his cheek, his eyebrows became
contracted, and from the dark space between
them thunderbolts appeared to issue.


He stood firmer on his legs than he had
done before ; his head became erect ; all of a
sudden he rushed from the hold of the two fel-
lows who stood beside him, and sprang at
Yussufs throat : every nerve was strung with
the excitement of the moment, the strength of
death was in his grasp, his fingers continued
clawed into the neck of his enemy, and there he
stood in breathless frenzy, shaking every fibre
of the trembler in his grasp, and defying the
strensth of all the attendants to tear his hands
from the throat of his adversary.

It was a shocking spectacle. The terrified
Yussuf was screaming to those about him to
save him from the madman ; the horror of his
look was even more appalling than the frenzy
of Mourad's ; and it was only after the despe-
rate struggle had endured for many minutes,
that the strength of the assailant began to fail ;
his limbs trembled ; his features shrank, and
his enfeebled hands at last relaxed their hold ;
and when the servants were tearing him from
their master, he still breathed defiance at his
foe, and spat upon his person, as he was dragged
from him.


No sooner were the arms of Yussuf set at
liberty, than he grasped his pistol ; but the ser-
vants stepped between him and his victim, while
the latter sunk exhausted into the arms of the
two ruffians who stood by him, and was car-
ried to the prison of the Bagnio, followed by the
old man, to whose charge he was committed.

Yussuf hastened to his own house, terrified
with the apprehension of the contaminating
touch from which he had just escaped. Every
symptom he had ever heard of that terrible dis-
order was present to his imagination ; every
sound he had ever heard of the subtlety of its
contagion came to his recollection ; and if any
thing was wanting to complete the mortal agony
of fear, the supernatural warning of the astro-
loger filled up the measure of his distress.



The circling sky,

The wide enlivening air is full of fate ;
And struck by turns in solitary pangs
They fall unblest, untended, and unmourn'd.


The gaoler of the Bagnio grumbled a curse
on the head of the prosecutor, who sent him
such a prisoner within his walls. He made
some difficulty about admitting him ; but when
he heard the name of the lieutenant of the chief
executioner, all his scruples vanished ; the fear
of engendering a plague in the prison was no-
thing to the apprehension of losing the favour
of the executioner.

Poor Mourad was carried to a dungeon, in
which eighteen wretches were confined, crowded
together in a room about thirty feet square ;
many without a mat to lay their bones on, or a


ruir to cover their naked limbs ; some were
chained to the wall, others to their comrades.
They were of different countries; confined for
diff*ercnt crimes ; they had only one thing in
common, and that was misery. Mourad had
been in a state of insensibility from the moment
of his removal from the khan to that of his
arrival in the prison. He now lay extended on
his back, his eyes fixed constantly on the ceil-
ing ; all the excitement of fever in his features,
without its glow ; all the anxiety of a deadly
malady in his countenance, without the power
of giving utterance to his distress. The feeble
pulse, and laboured breathing of a strangled
circulation, proclaimed the nature of his disease
to the hakkim who visited the prison ; while
the leaden cheek, and livid lip, and glaring eye,
left little doubt on the minds of his fellow-pri-
soners, that the sick man's disorder was the
plague. But the consternation of the poor
wretches was at its height, when the unequi-
vocal symptoms of the disease manifested them-
selves ; when the plague-spot glowed in the
pale flesh, and the purple streak extended from


it to the place where the poison was concen-

The sufferer still lay without sense or motion ;
the oppression of the disorder had prostrated
the strength of Nature, and vitality struggled
unequally and ineffectually with the despotism
of Death's prime minister. But the second day
of his abode in that place of wretchedness, the
torpor of the mind diminished ; he gazed at the
miserable objects who surrounded him ; he lis-
tened to the clanking of their chains ; he re-
peated their imprecations ; he tossed to and fro,
and, like him who was " smote with sore boils
from the sole of his foot imto his crown," he
cursed his day, for " the arrows of the Almighty
were within him, the poison whereof drinketh
up the spirit."'"' The leaden hue of his features
now assumed a crimson tint ; his eyes became
bloodshot ; he clenched his fingers, and mutter-
ed incessantly to himself; and at nightfall the
fury of his delirium was at its height. He
screamed for water till his parched tongue clove
to his palate; but there was none to give him.
He asked, in the name of the Prophet, for one

VOL. in. p


blessed drop to cool his burning mouth ; but
he asked in vain. He called on the God of
Islam, to let the dew of heaven moisten his
baked lip ; but his prayer was drowned in the
imprecations of the wretches whose rest he in-
te)-fered with. In his frenzy, he crawled from
the ground, dashed his aching head against the
wall, and groaned with agony. All night long
his lamentable howl was heard, and in the
morning he was found on the damp pavement,
disfigured with blood, and the remnant of his
tattered garments in his grasp. It was a sad
spectacle : even the wretches, whose hearts were
familiar with atrocity, and accustomed to misery
in all its horrid shapes, pitied their unfortunate
fellow-prisoner, and assisted to carry him back
to the mat he had quitted in the night. The
third day passed over, and he still was in exist-
ence ; and in the course of that day, an old man
entered the dungeon, whose long white beard
and venerable figure excited a feeling of de-
ferential awe in the bosoms of the prisoners : he
was followed by a Dervish of a very different
appearance, who pointed to the spot where
IVlourad lay. The old man approached him ;


he gazed on the haggard visage of the sick
man : he said the features of his young happy
days must have been much altered to be what
they then were ; they were not altogether those
of a villain, but many unpropitious planets had
shed their disastrous influence upon them. He
turned to the Dervish : " This is the man," said
he, " you told me was the son of a dear friend.
Behold what you have brought him to. It was
ill done of you, my son, to bring a sick man to
such a chamber.""

" Reproaches are needless,''' said the Der-
vish ; " my own heart furnishes a thousand. I
repent of my folly, Abou Rassed, and I wish,
from the bottom of my soul, I had gone when
you told me, to warn the son of my poor friend
of the peril I had brought him into."

The old man put his hand into his bosom,
and pulled out his purse. " Take this money,
my friend," said he, "and use more diligence
than you did when I last gave you a commis-
sion ; purchase a carpet for the poor fellow
to lie on, and some covering to throw over him-
While you are away, I will endeavour to pro-

p 2


cure for him the attendance of one of his fellow-
prisoners ; a few piastres are a strong enforce-
ment of the duties of humanity."

When the Dervish was gone, the old man
took a phial from his sleeve, and put it to the
mouth of the sick man. Whatever it contain-
ed, it was swallowed with avidity, and the last
drop of it was drained before it was taken from
his lips. In a little time, it seemed to do him
good ; he moved his limbs, but his senses still
remained obscured, and he returned no answer
to any question that was put to him. The Der-
vish returned in a much shorter time than Abou
llassed expected, with the articles he had sent
him for. The latter then distributed a few
piastres amongst the prisoners who stood about
him, and told them he would not forget them
on the morrow, if they paid some attention to
their poor companion. The rug was imme-
diately spread, Mourad placed on it, and a
large vessel of sherbet put by his side.

The eyes of the good old man glistened with
satisfaction when he imagined he perceived
some little improvement in his patient ; and
after reconnnending him over and over to the


kindness of one who had promised to take
charge of him, he left the place.

The patient appeared much more tranquil
during the day, but the delirium returned at
the same hour precisely it had set in the pre-
ceding night ; but his attendant watched over
him, and frequently gave him to drink, and in
the morning, though the violence of his dis-
order was unabated, it was unaccompanied by
the extreme exhaustion of the day before.

At noon, Abou Rassed made his appear-
ance, but unattended by the Deivish, whose
friendship, perhaps, was not proof against the
fear of infection. The cordial was repeated,
and a few piastres more were given to the at-
tendant before the old man took his leave.
That night the delirium did not return, and
there was a moisture on the hands and forehead
which gave some hope of his amendment to the
attendant, who had hitherto little expectation
of his recovery.

But the morning was ushered in with a scene
of horror in the dungeon, which turned the
blood cold of every wretched being within its
walls, whose senses were yet alive to the terror


of the doom that awaited him. Moans and
lamentations were heard in every corner of the
dungeon ; seven of its inmates were infected
with the plague; the groans of the sick were
mingled with the cries of those who were re-
served for a later death : of the two, the fate of
the latter was the worst, for the horrors they
had to witness rendered life more appalling
than the tomb.

They knocked at the door of their dungeon,

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