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thought him sufficiently old or manly to assume the command. But when his sister desired him to take his place at her back, the boy, it seems, had resisted with violence, exclaiming, 'Am I a slave?-must I sit behind a woman?-No! you must mount behind me.' The Arabs accepted the favourable omen, and were marching to do battle against their enemies, when the Sheikh and the young Agyd, accompanied but by a small body of troops, having ridden on hastily, so as to enjoy during noon the freshness of their favourite fountain, fell in with our party, and in spite of the augury under which their enterprise had been commenced, had been dealt with in the manner I have described.
"Loud will be the wail,' said my informant, in the tribe of Beni Lam; heavy and sick at heart will they be-the warriors of the long spear, when they hear of the capture of their venerable Sheikh and the youthful Agyd, the last of his race; neither have they camels or horses such as the tribe of Sabaa will accept as a ransom, for there is little milk in their tents, and many of their horses feed from strange hands; and now have they lost that which is better than the milk of camels, or the speed of horses; the strength of their right arm is broken -their best warriors have bitten the dry sand.'
"The man spoke with emotion, for he belonged to a tribe that had no relation to the feud at issue, and he felt like an Arab of the wide desert, and not as one of the race of Beni Lam or Sabaa.
"I should have been interested by the tale that I had heard, even had it not been for the blue eyes of the Arabian maiden, which however were not without their effect in exciting my sympathy for her tribe.
"And what are to become of our prisoners?' said I. "The Arabs make no prisoners of those who descend upon them, their harness on their backs and their spear in the air as enemies they may be plundered and stripped, but they may not be detained as robbers.'
"And yet I would have given little for our baggage if they had been victorious; and if these people we are carrying along with us are not prisoners, it is difficult to say what they are.'
"They were not prisoners however, or rather it was not intended to keep them as such. Still as we had everything to apprehend from pursuit, it had been judged advisable to make those keep company with us who would otherwise be able to point out the direction we had taken, until we arrived at a friendly encampment, or were out of the reach of our vanquished enemy's revenge. This did not happen for several days, and during that time I was not idle in endeavouring to soften the heart of the fair captive. Not only to herself but to her youthful brother and the old Sheikh, who acknowledged me as the preserver of his life, I commanded my followers to show every attention and respect. I even condoled with the aged chief on the misfortunes of his tribe and the poverty which abridged his means of hospitality-the only source of regret to an Arab. I talked to him of the wild bands near whom I was born on the banks of the Don. I listened to relations of his own exploits, and ere the end of our journey we were on terms of amity that hardly suited our relative situations. Nor with the maiden had I been altogether
unsuccessful; my splendid dress, for I wore, as was the custom with travellers, a military uniform; the power which I exercised over my own people, and that carriage which the habit of command gives; the skill with which I managed my well-broken steed, and the soft words sometimes not the less agreeable to woman's ear for being whispered with a foreign and broken accent, had served me well. At length the hour of parting came, but it found me unprepared to part. There was a dew in the damsel's eye, the brave boy wept, and the Sheikh, as I pressed on him the price of the camels that had been lost in the late affray, invited me with tears to the hospitality of his tent.
"It is useless to say how or when, but it was not long ere I found my way thither. I found my way thither in the garb, and with the garb I adopted the habits, of their race; nor was it long before my name was known in the songs which speak of the valour of the warrior, and are sung in accompaniment to the reballa-the wild instrument of the desert. Ay, and a brighter reward soon came; the green branch waved on my head, and my bride was the blue-eyed girl, whom I had first seen on a milk-white barb in the throng of the battle.
"Years passed away in this wild life-the happiest I ever knew. The young Agyd grew to years of manhood, and fortune smiled on the wild adventures of our troop. The old Sheikh still lived, though his eye had grown dim and his arm weak. My gentle Zoe, for thus I had christened her, was as lovely and as much beloved as ever, and by her side walked a young boy who yet ate by the side of his mother. Here let me pause and look back, if but for an instant, on this time, the green spot in my existence. Of a high name in my own country, not unknown at its Court, acquainted with the various states for which civilization had done the most, and possessing all that could give me consideration or procure me pleasure in each, I had abandoned my place, not a lonely one, among those who lorded it, as the gentlest, the wisest, the most powerful, over others of the sons of men. I had quitted Europe, its laws, and courtesies-its long hoarded and living knowledge-its high posts and offices-its commands, its empires, for such at that time were to be seized by the ready and audacious hand-to become a desert wanderer-the actor of an insignificant drama, in an obscure and barren nook of the world, without even the pride of race, or the worldly ignorance that endeared their lot to my companions. It boots not why or wherefore, however, but I was happy; whether it was in the excitement that I found in our perpetual warfare and wild enterprises, or in the quiet that awaited me in my tent; or in the deep solitude, that awakes strange and mysterious feelings of its own, when I found myself alone, spurring over the wide ocean of sand, amidst which could I see nor tree, nor herb, nor animal-nor aught endowed with the bright spirit of intelligence and life, save it were the stars that shone above me, whispering wild things. Six years I spent, then, in happiness; at least I was free from that burning disquietude, that restless desire after new and strange things, which had hitherto tormented me.
"In the sixth summer the small-pox came to our tents, and my first bitter grief was for the death of my only child. Determined to shake off by exertion the melancholy which in quietude I could not overcome, I joined a party which was going on a distant expedition, and
kissed my wife's forehead with more emotion than was my wont on the occasional absences which were usual to my wild life. On my return, I found a young traveller, who had probably from curiosity made an occasional abode with our tribe. He was an Englishman of noble birth, who, without any other feeling than that which is usual to these islanders, who delight in doing the wildest things with the gravest countenance, had set out from a ball at Almack's for the Arabian deserts. His education had been of the most frivolous description, but he was of an easy nature, possessing that dignity natural to his countrymen, but uniting with it a softness and polish, which, blended together, formed the most noble and fascinating manners.
"Without mentioning my name, which I did not care to make known, I had no hesitation in speaking to him as a European whom taste and circumstances had induced to adopt the habit and the life in which he found me. I was just the person of whom to ask those inquiries which were necessary for the book he had been advised to publish on his return; and I confess that the communications he brought with him of a world from which I could hardly consider myself irrevocably divided, were not without their interest.
"Less had been necessary to form an intimacy, and our mornings, which are long to those who do not play at draughts, in an Arab tent, were spent together in conversation. Though I had in many things adopted the customs of the people among whom I dwelt, yet my love for my wife as well as the more chivalrous notions of my European education, prevented me from allowing her to be employed in those domestic and menial offices which would have awaited her merely as an Arab's wife. My exploits, my hospitality, and generosity permitted me to regulate the economy of my family according to my own fashion, without exciting the reproach or jealousy of my comrades; and I had transported something of the ease and luxury of the town into the arrangement of my desert tent.
"What drudgery there might be was performed by slaves, and the Russians who had remained with me. With my wife I lived as with an equal; and it had been my dearest and fondest task to add to that fancy and elevation of soul which is the inheritance of an Arab maid, those elegant accomplishments and that more refined thought which embellish the weaknesses of our less artless ladies. Most fatally had I succeeded; and on rendering her different from those by whom she was surrounded, I had placed her alone in the midst of her long-cherished companions. My new acquaintance, the Englishman, was necessarily much in the company of my wife, nor did he in the remotest degree excite my jealousy. Zoe was much too gentle to my will to make me doubtful of her love. Besides, I felt myself in every way superior to this young Lord; and the greater was my contempt for the one, the stronger if (which was not the case) the shadow of coming events had crossed my mind, would have been my confidence in the other. My absences now, rarely long, were still frequent; Arnoff accom, panied me in them, and during these absences the stranger was by my express desire a frequent visitor of my tent. I felt too late that I had created a solitude round Zoe, and I was glad in my absence to think that there was anything or any one to render it less dreary.
"One evening I was returning from an expedition which had been unsuccessful; Arnoff had received that wound which has made him halt ever since; I had been slightly hurt, and my favourite mare, the most graceful, the most gentle and faithful of creatures, had met with a lance-thrust, and I was leading her forward with a faint hope that, if I could but get her as far as our encampment, she might yet recover. But a quarter of a mile from my tent, after a vain effort to keep up by my side, the poor animal dropped on the sand and died, as one of my hands supported her head, licking the other. I could not repress the tears that gathered to my eye, nor did I strive to do so, and to do my faithful follower justice he seemed less sensible to his own affliction than to the fate of my poor mare. I was still lingering by her, and thinking of the sorrow that I should give Zoe in the news of her death, for she was a foal of the very milk-white animal (since dead) on which my wife was mounted at our first meeting, when I heard the sounds of a horse approaching at full speed, and ere I could instinctively seize my spear, the Agyd was by my side. With this youth I had lived on the dearest terms of brotherhood and friendship, and his affection for me was heightened by that kind of devotion which is sometimes felt for one older than ourselves, and in whom we imagine there is that knowledge and experience which all men willingly obey. In an instant he was on foot and by my side.-Go not to your tent, oh, my friend,' he said, 'that of your faithful brother is to the right.'
"I was startled by the deep and hurried tones of his voice-I looked up in his face, the moon shone full upon it, and fearful was the expression of those dark eyes, terrible the contraction of that sweet brow, and the convulsive muscular struggle that was taking place throughout the whole of the young man's countenance.
"Zoe,' said I with a tremulous and hardly utterable exclamation :— "Is-false! and you are avenged.'
"I started as from a horrid dream-I passed my hand over my forehead as if to solve or awake my senses-it was in vain. I was stunned by his words, and felt as if he had muttered some spell which had taken from me the power of action or thought-I followed him without uttering an exclamation, while he poured into my ear, in the rapid accents of one to whom there is torture in every syllable he utters, the details of his terrible story. He had indeed found Zoe in the arms of the accursed stranger, and according to the wild and savage law of his race, he had cut her throat from ear to ear with his own hand; and the Englishman-was a guest and is dismissed!
"I felt that there was something yet to live for-vengeance; and that night I resumed the name I had borne at my birth, and set forth on my return to the haunts of civilized man. As long as my revenge was uncompleted, the keen and stern excitement was not wanting, which to me was the breath of existence, but the moment came when this dark desire, which had kept me awake amidst the dull and torpid varieties I mingled in, was satiated-was gone. Nor was I without a pang, as the breath of my enemy's last gasp cooled, as I knelt beside him, the heavy drops gathering on my forehead, at the thought that I had no farther pursuit among mankind
that my eyes were for the future as much closed upon the objects of human life and human exertion as those of the poor dying wretch I leant over. So it was. A new inquietude, however, mingled with a new world, sprang up before me—an inquietude after the secrets which all philosophers have attempted to penetrate-all religions pretended to know, but to which the eyes of philosophy have been veiled, and those of faith visited by too many contradictory
"Again I sought the regions which cradled Humanity at its birth, and on the strange characters of which men have frequently looked for the deep mysteries which were taught by the wise seers and astrologers of old.
"I sought the sage and serious Egypt, which gave Cecrops and Inachus to Greece, and which had in turn been visited before me by Homer, Lycurgus, and Pythagoras, as by Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. That Egypt where the shroud was carried round the feast, where the houses were called inns and the tombs houses-where the Habitations of the Living stood in insignificance beside the Palaces of the Dead. But even there the priests had bandaged up truth as they had done their mummies; and though somewhat of a sublime mystery had descended to their children, it bore but the semblance of life, and was dry and shrivelled.
"Nor did my inquiries cease here. I sought the Northern Chaldea, that gloriously gifted people who have bound an imagination of the wildest wing with chains of the subtlest and most sternminded thought. But the wise men of Germany knew nothing more than to dream, and to doubt; and to their deepest conclusions chimed the echo of my own uncertainty and hope.
Nightly do the stars torment me; and the depths of the ocean and the dews on the flower have all a secret and a mystery, that my wearied soul has idly struggled to unveil. In vain have I haunted the abode of death-watching each variation under which the spirit departs, and attempting to read its destiny in the changes which a yet remaining sympathy may induce in the clay it has quitted. My temple still throbs with doubt-my thirsty curiosity still remains unsatisfied, and ever and anon comes the thought that a small bit of sharp steel might teach me more than all that the wisest and mightiest of this world have contrived to know."
The very morning after this MS. was delivered to me, the noble and once celebrated person from whom I received it, put an end to his existence.