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A short story by Wardon Allan Curtis

The Adventure Of Achmed Ben Daoud

Title:     The Adventure Of Achmed Ben Daoud
Author: Wardon Allan Curtis [More Titles by Curtis]

Being curious to hear of the young ladies who had inquired concerning the emir in the restaurant, and to learn what their connection with that prince might be, Mr. Middleton repaired to the bazaar on Clark Street on the succeeding night. But the emir was not in. Mesrour apparently having experienced one of those curious mental lesions not unknown in the annals of medicine, where a linguist loses all memory of one or more of the languages he speaks, while retaining full command of the others--Mesrour having experienced such a lesion, which had, at least temporarily, deprived him of his command of the English language, Mr. Middleton was unable to learn anything that he desired to know, until bethinking himself of the fact that alcohol loosens the thought centers and that by its agency Mesrour's atrophied brain cells might be stimulated, revivified, and the coma dispelled, he made certain signs intelligible to all races of men in every part of the world and took the blackamore into a neighboring saloon, where, after regaling him with several beers, he learned that only an hour before an elegant turnout containing two young women, beautiful as houris, had called for the emir and taken him away.

"He done tole me that if I tole anybody whar he was gwine, he'd bowstring me and feed mah flesh to the dawgs."

Mr. Middleton shuddered as he heard this threat, so characteristically Oriental.

"Where was he going?" he inquired with an air of profound indifference and irrelevance, signalling for another bottle of beer.

The blackamore silently drank the beer, a gin fizz, and two Scotch high-balls, his countenance the while bearing evidence that he was struggling with a recalcitrant memory.

"'Deed, I doan' know, suh," said Mesrour finally. "He never done tole me."

Though Mr. Middleton called three times during the next week, he did not find the emir in. Nor could Mesrour give any information concerning his master's whereabouts. However, in the society news of the Sunday papers, appeared at the head of several lists of persons attendant upon functions, one A. B. D. Alyam, and this individual was included among those at a small dinner given by Misses Mildred and Gladys Decatur. As Mildred was the name of one of the young ladies who had accosted him in the restaurant, Mr. Middleton felt quite certain that this A. B. D. Alyam was none other than Achmed Ben Daoud, emir of the tribe of Al-Yam.

On the tenth day, Mesrour informed Mr. Middleton that the emir had left word to make an appointment with him for seven o'clock on the following evening, at which time Mr. Middleton came, to find the accomplished prince sitting at a small desk made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, engaged in the composition of a note which he was inscribing upon delicate blue stationery with a gold mounted fountain pen. Arising somewhat abruptly and offering his hand at an elevation in continuity of the extension of his shoulder, the emir begged the indulgence of a few moments and resumed his writing. He was arrayed in a black frock coat and gray trousers and encircling his brow was a moist red line that told of a silk hat but lately doffed. "Give the gentleman a cup of tea," said he to Mesrour, looking up from the note, which now completed, he was perusing with an air that indicated satisfaction with its chirography, orthography, and literary style. At last, placing it in an envelope and affixing thereto a seal, he turned and ordering Mesrour to give Mr. Middleton another cup of tea, he lighted a cigarette and began as follows:

"This is the last time you will see me here. My lease expires to-morrow and my experience as a retail merchant, in fact, as any sort of merchant, is over. On this, the last evening that we shall meet in the old familiar way, the story I have to relate to your indulgent ears is of some adventures of my own, adventures which have had their final culmination in a manner most delightful to me, and in which consummation you have been an agent. Indeed, but for your friendship I should not now be the happy man I am. Without further consuming time by a preamble which the progress of the tale will render unnecessary, I will proceed.

"Last summer, I spent a portion of the heated term at Green Lake, Wisconsin. I know that sentiment in this city is somewhat unequally divided upon the question of the comparative charms of Green Lake and Lake Geneva and that the former resort has not acquired a vogue equal to that of the latter, but I must say I greatly prefer Green Lake. I have never been at Lake Geneva, it is true, but nevertheless, I prefer Green Lake.

"The hotel where I stayed was very well filled and the manager was enjoying a highly prosperous season. Yet though there were so many people there I made no acquaintances in the first week of my sojourn. Nor in the second week did I come to know more than three or four, and they but slightly. I was, in truth, treated somewhat as an object of suspicion, the cause of which I could not at first imagine. I was newer to this country and its customs and costumes there a year ago. Previous to starting for the lake, I had purchased of a firm of clothiers farther up this street, Poppenheimer and Pappenheimer, a full outfit for all occasions and sports incident upon a vacation at a fashionable resort. I had not then learned that one can seldom make a more fatal mistake than to allow a clothier or tailor to choose for you. It is true that these gentry have in stock what persons of refinement demand, but they also have fabrics and garments bizarre in color and cut, in which they revel and carry for apparently no other reason than the delectation of their own perverted taste, since they seldom or never sell them. But at times they light upon some one whose ignorance or easy-going disposition makes him a prey, and they send him forth an example of what they call a well-dressed man. More execrably dressed men than Poppenheimer and Pappenheimer and most of the other parties in the clothing business, are seldom to be found in other walks of life. In my ignorance of American customs, I entrusted myself to their hands with the result that my garments were exaggerated in pattern and style and altogether unsuited to my dark complexion and slim figure. But in the wearing of these garments I aggravated the original sartorial offence into a sartorial crime. With my golf trousers and white ducks I wore a derby hat. For nearly a week I wore with a shirt waist a pair of very broad blue silk suspenders embroidered in red. All at once I awoke to a realization that the others did not wear their clothes as I did and set myself to imitate them with the result that my clothes were at least worn correctly. The mischief was largely done, however, before this reform, and nothing I could do would alter the cut and fabric.

"My clothes were not the only drawbacks to my making acquaintances. I was entirely debarred from a participation in the sports of the place. I knew nothing of golf. A son of the desert, I could no more swim than fly, and so far from being able to sail a boat, I cannot even manage a pair of oars. I could only watch the others indulge in their divertissements, a lonely and wistful outsider.

"Yet despite all this, I could perceive that I was not without interest to the young ladies. Partially as an object of amusement at first, but not entirely that, even at first, for the sympathetic eyes of some of them betrayed a gentle compassion.

"Among the twenty or so young ladies at our hotel, were two who would attract the attention and excite the admiration of any assemblage, two sisters from Chicago, beautiful as houris. In face and figure I have never seen their equal. Their cheeks were like the roses of Shiraz, their teeth like the pearls of Ormuz, their eyes like the eyes of gazelles of Hedjaz. Before beholding these damosels, I had never realized what love was, but at last I knew, I fell violently in love with them both. Never in my wildest moments had I thought to fall in love with a daughter of the Franks. Nor had I contemplated an extended stay in this land, and before my departure from Arabia I had begun to negotiate for the formation of a harem to be in readiness against my return.

"But I soon began to entertain all these thoughts and to dally with the idea of changing my religion, abhorrent as that idea was. At first I had been comforted by the thought that I was in love with both girls in orthodox Moslem style. But reflecting that I could never have both, that they would never come to me, that I must go to them, becoming renegade to my creed, I tried to decide which I loved best. I came to a decision without any extended thinking. I was in love with Miss Mildred, the elder of the two sisters Decatur, daughters of one of Chicago's wealthy men, and this question settled, there remained the stupendous difficulty of winning her. For I did not even possess the right to lift my hat to these young ladies. My affair certainly appeared quite hopeless.

"In the last week of August, an Italian and his wife encamped upon the south shore of the lake with a small menagerie, if a camel, a bear, and two monkeys can be dignified by so large a title. He was accustomed to make the rounds of the hotels and cottages on alternate days, one day mounted on the dromedary and strumming an Oriental lute, on the others playing a Basque bagpipe while his bear danced, or proceeding with hand-organ and monkeys. He had been a soldier in the Italian colony of Massowah on the Red Sea, where he had acquired the dromedary--which was the most gigantic one I have ever seen--and a smattering of Arabic. English he had none, his wife serving as his interpreter in that tongue.

"The sight of the camel was balm to my eyes. Not only was it agreeable to me to see one of that race of animals so characteristic of my native land, but here at last was a form of recreation opened to me. I hired the camel on the days when the Italian was not using him and went flying about all over the country. Little did I suspect that I thereby became associated with the Italian in the minds of the public and that presently they began to believe that I, too, was an Italian and the real owner of the menagerie, employing Baldissano to manage it for me while I lived at my ease at the hotel. I was heard conversing with the Italian, and of course nobody suspected that I was talking to him in Arabic. It was a tongue unknown to them all and they chose to consider it Italian. Moreover, one Ashton Hanks, a member of the Chicago board of trade, at the hotel for the season, had said to the menagerie, jerking his thumb interrogatively at me, as I was busied in the background with the camel, 'Italiano? Italiano?' To which Baldissano replied, 'Si, signor,' meaning 'yes,' thinking of course that Hanks meant him. 'Boss? Padrone?' said Hanks again, and again the answer was, 'Si, signor.'

"So here I was, made out to be an Italian and the owner of a miserable little menagerie which I employed a minion to direct, while myself posing as a man of substance and elegant leisure. Here I was, already proven a person of atrocious taste in dress, clearly proclaimed of no social standing, of unknown and suspicious antecedents, a vulgarian pretender and interloper. But of course I didn't know this at the time.

"I was riding past the front of the hotel on the camel one day at a little before the noon hour, when I beheld her whom I loved overcome by keen distress and as she was talking rather loudly, I could not but be privy to what she said.

"'Oh, dear,' she exclaimed, clasping her hands in great worriment, 'what shall I do, what shall I do! Here I am, invited to go on a sail and fish-fry on Mr. Gannett's yacht, and I have no white yachting shoes to wear with my white yachting dress. I've just got to wear that dress, for I brought only two yachting dresses and the blue one is at the laundry. I thought I put a pair of white shoes in my trunk, but I didn't; I haven't time to send to Ripon for a pair. I won't wear black shoes with that dress. But how will I get white ones?'

"'Through my agency,' said I from where I sat on the back of the camel.

"'Oh,' said she, with a little start at my unexpected intrusion, her face lighting with a sudden hope, nevertheless. 'Were you going to Ripon and will you be back before one-thirty? Are you perfectly willing to do this errand for me?'

"'I am going to Ripon,' I said, 'and nothing will please me more than to execute any commission you may entrust to me. This good steed will carry me the six miles and back before it is time to sail. They seldom sail on the time set, I have observed.'

"She brought me a patent-leather dancing shoe to indicate the desired size, and away I went, secured the shoes, and turned homeward. While skirting a large hill that arises athwart the sky to the westward of the city of Ripon, I was startled by a weird, portentous, moaning cry from my mount. Ah, its import was only too well known to me. Full many a time had I heard it in the desert. It was the cry by which the camels give warning of the coming of a storm. While yet the eye and ear of man can detect no signs whatever of the impending outburst of nature's forces and the earth is bathed in the smiles of the sky, the camels, by some subtle, unerring instinct, prognosticate the storm.

"I looked over the whole firmament. Not a cloud in sight. A soft zephyr and a mellow sun glowing genially through a slight autumnal haze. Not a sign of a storm, but the camel had spoken. I dismounted at once. I undid the package of shoes. From my pocket I took a small square bit of stone of the cubical contents of a small pea. It was cut from the side of the cave where Mohammed rested during the Hegira, or flight of Mohammed, with which date we begin our calendar. This bit of stone was reputed to be an efficacious amulet against dangers of storms, and also a charm against suddenly falling in love. I placed it in the toe of the right shoe. Unbeknownst to her, Mildred would be protected against these dangers. I could not hope to dissuade her from the voyage by telling her of the camel's forewarning. Ashton Hanks was to be one of the yachting party and he had shown evidences of a tender regard for her. Retying the package, it was not long before I had placed it in the hands of Mildred. With a most winsome smile she thanked me and ran in to don the new purchases.

"The boat set sail and I watched it glide westward over the sparkling waves, toward the lower end of the lake, watching for an hour until it had slipped behind some point and was lost to sight. Then I scanned the heavens to see if the storm I knew must come would break before it was time for the yachting party to return. Low on the northern horizon clouds were mustering, their heads barely discernible above the rim of the world. But for the camel's warning I would not have seen them. The storm was surely coming. By six o'clock, or thereabouts, it would burst. The party was to have its fish-fry at six, at some point on the south shore. On the south shore would be the wreck, if wreck there was to be.

"With no definite plan, no definite purpose, save to be near my love in the threatening peril, I set out for the south shore. By water, it is from a mile and a half to three miles across Green Lake. By land, it is many times farther. From road to road of those parallel with the major axis of the lake, it is four miles at the narrowest, and it is three miles from the end of the lake before you reach the first north and south road connecting the parallels. Ten miles, then, after you leave the end of the lake on the side where the hotels are, before you are at the end on the other side. And then thirteen miles of shore.

"So what with the distance and the time I had spent watching the shallop that contained my love pass from my field of vision the afternoon had far waned when I had reached the opposite shore, and when I had descended to the beach at a point where I had thought I might command the most extensive view and discover the yacht, if it had begun to make its way homeward, the light of day had given place to twilight. But not the twilight of imminent night, the twilight of the coming tempest. For the brewing of a fearful storm had now some time been apparent. A hush lay on the land. A candle flame would have shot straight upward. Nature waited, silently cowering.

"To the northward advanced, in serried columns of black, the beetling clouds that were turning the day into night, the distant booming of aerial artillery thundering forth the preluding cannonade of the charge. Higher and higher into the firmament shot the front of the advancing ranks in twisting curls of inky smoke, yet all the while the mass dropped nearer and nearer to the earth and the light of day departed, save where low down in the west a band of pale gold lay against the horizon, color and nothing more, as unglowing as a yellow streak in a painted sunset. Against this weird, cold light, I saw a naked mast, and then a sail went creaking up and I heard voices. They had been shortening sail. By some unspent impulse of the vanished wind, or the impact of the waves still rolling heavily and glassily from a recent blow, the yacht was still progressing and came moving past me fifty or sixty feet from shore.

"I heard the voices of women expressing terror, begging the men to do something. Danger that comes in the dark is far more fearsome than danger which comes in the light. I heard the men explaining the impossibility of getting ashore. For two miles on this coast, a line of low, but unscalable cliffs rose sheer from the water's edge, overhanging it, in fact, for the waves had eaten several feet into the base of the cliffs. To get out and stand in front of these cliffs was to court death. The waves of the coming storm would either beat a man to death against the rocks, or drown him, for the water was four feet deep at the edge of the cliffs and the waves would wash over his head. For two miles, I have said, there was a line of cliffs on this coast, for two miles save just where I stood, the only break, a narrow rift which, coinciding with a section line, was the end of a road coming down to the water. They could not see this rift in the dusk, perhaps were ignorant of its existence and so not looking for it.

"The voices I had heard were all unfamiliar and it was not until the yacht had drifted past me that I was apprised it was indeed the craft I sought by hearing the voice of Mildred saying, with an assumed jocularity that could not hide the note of fear:

"'What will I do? All the other girls have a man to save them. I am the extra girl.'

"I drove my long-legged steed into the water after the boat none too soon, for the whistling of a premonitory gust filled the air. Quickly through the water strode the camel, and, with his lariat in my hand, I plumped down upon the stern overhang just as the mainsail went slatting back and forth across the boat and everybody was ducking his head. In the confusion, nobody observed my arrival.

"'She's coming about,' cried the voice of the skipper, Gannett. 'A few of these gusts would get us far enough across to be out of danger from the main storm.'

"But she did not come about. I could feel the camel tugging at the lariat as the swerving of the boat jerked him along, but presently the strain ceased, for the boat lay wallowing as before. Again a fitful gust, again the slatting of the sail, the skipper put his helm down hard, the boat put her nose into the wind, hung there, and fell back.

"'She won't mind her helm!'

"'She won't come about!'

"'She acts as if she were towing something, were tied to something!'

"'What's that big rock behind there? Who the devil is this? And how the devil did he get here?'

"In the midst of these excited and alarmed exclamations came the solemn, portentous voice of the camel tolling out in the unnatural night the tocsin of the approaching hurricane.

"'It's the Dago!' cried Gannett, examining me by the fleeting flash of a match. 'It's his damned camel towing behind that won't let us come about. Pitch him overboard!'

"'Oh, save me!' appealed Mildred.

"There she had been, sitting just in front of me and I hadn't known it was she. It was not strange that she had faith that I who had arrived could also depart.

"'Selim,' I called, pulling the camel to the boat. I had never had a name for him before, but it was high time he had one, so now I named him. 'Selim,' and there the faithful beast was and with Mildred in my arms, I scrambled on to his back and urged him toward the rift in the wall of cliff.

"As if I had spurned it with my foot, the boat sprang away behind us, a sudden rushing blast filling her sails and laying her almost over, and then she was out of our sight, into the teeth of the tempest, yelling, screaming, howling with a hundred voices as it darted from the sky and laid flat the waves and then hurled them up in a mass of stinging spray.

"In fond anticipation, I had dwelt upon the homeward ride with Mildred. A-camelback, I was, as it were, upon my native heath, master of myself, assured, and at ease. I had planned to tell her of my love, plead my cause with Oriental fervor and imagery, but before we reached shore the tempest was so loud that she could not have heard me unless I had shouted, and I had no mind to bawl my love. Worse still, when once we were going across the wind and later into it, I could not open my mouth at all. We reached the hotel and on its lee side I lifted her down to the topmost of the piazza steps. I determined not be delayed longer. If ever there was to be a propitious occasion, it was now when I had rescued her from encompassing peril. I retained hold of her hand. She gave me a glance in which was at least gratitude, and I dared hope, something more, and I was about to make my declaration, when she made a little step, her right foot almost sunk under her and she gave an agonized cry and hobbling, limping, hopping on one foot, passed from me across the piazza to the stairs leading to the second story, whither she ascended upon her hands and knees.

"That wretched stone from the cavern where Mahommed slept in the Hegira! How many times during the day had she wanted to take her shoe off? She would ascertain the cause of her torment, she would lay it to me. It had indeed been an amulet against sudden love. I was the man whose love it had forefended.

"'Gannett's yacht went down and all aboard of her were drowned,' said one of the bellboys to me. 'Everybody in the hotel is feeling dreadful.'

"'How do you know they are drowned?'

"'Everybody in the hotel says so. I don't know how they found out.'

"'What's that at the pier?' said I.

"The lights at the end of the pier shone against a white expanse of sail and there was a yacht slowly making a landing.

"Someone came and stood for a moment in an open window above me and there floated out the voice of one of the sisters Decatur, but which one, I could not tell. Their voices were much alike and I had not heard either of them speak very often.

"'Do you think that one ought to marry a person who rescues her from death, when he happens to be a Dago and cheap circus man into the bargain? I certainly do not.'

"Which one was it? Which one was it? Imagine my feelings, torn with doubt, perplexity, and sorrow. Was it Mildred, replying scornfully to some opinion of her sister, or was it the sister taking Mildred to task for saying she wished or ought to marry me? How was I to know? Could I run the risk of asking the girls themselves?"

The emir paused, and it was plain to be seen from the workings of his countenance that once more he was living over this unhappy episode.

"I can well imagine your feelings and sympathize with them," said Mr. Middleton. "There you sat in the encircling darkness, asking yourself with no hope of an answer, 'Was it Mildred? Was it her sister? Was it Mildred contemptuously repudiating the idea of marriage with me, or the sister haughtily scoffing at some sentiments just professed by Mildred? But I should not have spent too long a time asking how I was to know. I should put the matter to the test and had it out with Mildred, Miss Mildred, I should say."

The emir looked steadily at Mr. Middleton. There was surprise, annoyance, perhaps even vexation in his gaze. With incisive tones, he said:

"How could you so mistake me? Ours is a line whose lineage goes back twelve hundred years, a noble and unsullied line. Could I, sir, think of making my wife, making a princess of my race, a woman who could entertain the thought of stooping to marry a Dago cheap circus man? Suppose I had gone to Mildred and had asked her if she had expressed herself of such a demeaning declaration? Suppose she had said, 'Yes,' then there I would have been, compromised, caught in an entanglement from which as a man of honor, I could not withdraw. The only thing to do was to keep silence. The risk was too great, I resolved to leave on the morrow. For the first time did I learn that I was believed to be a Dago and the proprietor of the little menagerie. This strengthened my resolve to leave.

"I left. Your happy encounter with the young ladies in the restaurant changed all. They learned from you that I was their social equal. They looked me up and apologized for their apparent lack of appreciation of my services and explained that they thought me a Dago circus man. I learned that neither of them believed in a mesalliance, that the question I had heard was a rhetorical question merely, one not expecting an answer, much used by orators to express a strong negation of the sentiments apparently contained in the question. But I have not yet learned which girl it was who asked the question. It is entirely immaterial and I don't think I shall try to find out, even after I am married, for of course you have surmised I am to be married, to be married to Mildred."

"Yes, another American heiress marries a foreign nobleman," said Mr. Middleton, with a bitterness that did not escape the emir.

"Permit me to correct a popular fallacy," said the emir. "Nothing could be more erroneous than the prevalent idea that American girls marry foreign noblemen because attracted by the glitter of rank, holding their own plain republican citizens in despite. Sir, it takes a title to make a foreigner equal to American men in the eyes of American women. A British knight may compete with the American mister, but when you cross the channel, nothing less than a count will do in a Frenchman, a baron in the line of a German, while, for a Russian to receive any consideration, he must be a prince.

"And now," said the emir, "my little establishment here being about to be broken up, I am going to ask you to accept certain of my effects which for sundry reasons I cannot take with me to my new abode. My jewels, hangings, and costumes, my wife will like, of course. But as she is opposed to smoking, there are six narghilehs and four chibouques which I will never use again. As I am about to unite with the Presbyterian church this coming Sunday, it might cause my wife some disquietude and fear of backsliding, were I to retain possession of my eight copies of the Koran. She may be wise there," said the emir with a sigh. "If perchance you should embrace the true faith and thereby make compensation for the loss of a member occasioned by my withdrawal----"

"That would not even matters up," interrupted Mr. Middleton, "for I am not a Presbyterian, but a Methodist."

"Oh," said the emir. "Well, there are five small whips of rhinoceros hide and two gags. My wife will not wish me to keep those, nor a crystal casket containing twenty-seven varieties of poisons. Then there are other things that you might have use for and I have not. I have sent for a cab and Mesrour will stow the things in it."

At that moment the cab was heard without and Mesrour began to load it with the gifts of the emir. At length he ceased his carrying and stood looking expectantly. With an air of embarrassment, and clearing his throat hesitatingly, the emir addressed Mr. Middleton.

"There is one last thing I am going to ask you to take. I cannot call it a gift. I can look upon your acceptance of it in no other light than a very great service. Some time ago, when marriage in this country was something too remote to be even dreamed of, I sent home for an odalisque."

The emir paused and looked obliquely at Mr. Middleton, as if to observe the effect of this announcement. That excellent young man had not the faintest idea what an odalisque might be, but he had ever made it a point when strange and unknown terms came up, to wait for subsequent conversation to enlighten him directly or by inference as to their meaning. In this way he saved the trouble of asking questions and, avoiding the reputation of being inquisitive and curious, gained that of being well informed upon and conversant with a wide range of subjects. So he looked understandingly at the emir and remarking approvingly, "good eye," the emir continued, much encouraged.

"To a lonely man such as I then was, the thought of having an odalisque about, was very comforting. Lonely as I then was, an odalisque would have afforded a great deal of company."

"That's right," said Mr. Middleton. "Why, even cats are company. The summer I was eighteen, everybody in our family went out to my grandfather's in Massachusetts, and I stayed home and took care of the house. I tell you, I'd been pretty lonely if it hadn't been for our two cats."

"But now I am going to be married and my wife would not think of tolerating an odalisque about the house. She simply would not have it. The odalisque arrived last night, and I am in a great quandary. I could not think of turning the poor creature out perhaps to starve."

"That's right," said Mr. Middleton. "Some persons desiring to dispose of a cat, will carry it off somewhere and drop it, thinking that more humane than drowning it. But I say, always drown a cat, if you wish to get rid of it."

"Now I have thought that you, being without a wife to object, might take this burden off my hands. I will hand you a sum sufficient for maintenance during a considerable period and doubtless you can, as time goes on, find someone else who wants an odalisque, or discover some other way of disposal, in case you tire----"

"Send her along," said Mr. Middleton, cordially and heartily. "If worst comes to worst, there's an old fellow I know who sells parrots and cockatoos and marmosets, and perhaps he'd like an odalisque."

"I will send her," said the emir.

"So it's a she," quoth Mr. Middleton to himself. He had used the feminine in the broad way that it is applied indefinitely to ships, railways trains, political parties etc., etc., with no thought of fitting a fact.

"I will give you fifteen hundred dollars for her maintenance. Having brought her so far, I feel a responsibility----"

"But that is such a large sum. I really wouldn't need so much----"

"That is none too large," rejoined the emir. "I wish her to be treated well and I believe you will do it. At first, she will not understand anything you say to her, of course, but she will soon learn what you mean. The tone, as much as the words, enlightens, and I think you will have very little trouble in managing her."

"Is there a cage?" hazarded Mr. Middleton, "or won't I need one?"

"Lock her in a room, if you are afraid she will run away, though such a fear is groundless. Or if you wish to punish her, the rhinoceros whips would do better than a cage. A cage is so large and I could never see any advantage in it. But you will probably never have occasion to use even a whip. You will have but this one odalisque. Had you two or three, they might get to quarreling among themselves and you might have use for a whip. But toward you, she will be all gentleness, all submission."

Mr. Middleton and the emir then turned to the counting and accounting of the fifteen hundred dollars, and so occupied, the lawyer missed seeing Mesrour pass with the odalisque and did not know she had been put in the hack until the emir had so apprised him.

"She is in a big coffee sack," said the emir. "The meshes of the fabric are sufficiently open to afford her ample facility for breathing, and yet she can't get out. Then, too, it will simplify matters when you get to your lodgings. You will not have to lead her and urge her, frightened and bewildered by so much moving about, but pack her upon your back in the bag and carry her to your room with little trouble.

"And now," continued the emir, grasping Mr. Middleton's hands warmly, "for the last time do I give you God-speed from this door. I will not disguise my belief that our intimacy has in a measure come to an end. As a married man, I shall not be so free as I have been. I am no longer in need of seeking out knowledge of strange adventures. The tyrannical imam of Oman, who imprisoned my brother, is dead, and his successor, commiserating the poor youth's sorrows, has not only liberated him, but given him the vermillion edifice of his incarceration. This my brother intends to transmute into gold, for he has hit upon the happy expedient of grinding it up into a face powder, a rouge, beautiful in tint and harmless in composition, for the rock was quarried in one of the most salubrious locations upon the upper waters of the great river Euphrates. I trust I shall sometimes see you at our place, where I am sure I shall be joined in welcoming you by Mrs.--Mrs.--well, to tell the truth," said the emir in some slight confusion, "I don't know what her name will be, for it is obviously out of the question to call her Mrs. Achmed Ben Daoud, and she objects to the tribal designation of Alyam, which I had temporarily adopted for convenience's sake, as ineuphonious."

"Sir, friend and benefactor, guiding lamp of my life, instructor of my youth and moral exemplar," said Mr. Middleton, in the emotion of the moment allowing his speech an Oriental warmth which the cold self-consciousness of the Puritan would have forbade, had he been addressing a fellow American, "I cannot tell you the advantages that have flowed from my acquaintance with you. It was indeed the turning point of my life. The pleasure I will leave untouched upon, as I must alike on the present occasion, the profits. Let me briefly state that they foot up to $3760. A full accounting of how they accrued, would consume the rest of the night, and so it must be good-bye."

As Mr. Middleton looked back for the last time upon that hospitable doorway, he saw the gigantic figure of Mesrour silhouetted against the dim glow beyond and there solemnly boomed on the night air, the Arabic salutation, "Salaam aleikoom."

[The end]
Wardon Allan Curtis's short story: Adventure Of Achmed Ben Daoud