* * * * *
“Did you fulfil your promise to the Italian captain, by having five hundred masses said for his soul?” inquired Mustapha.
“Upon my salvation! I never thought of it to this moment,” replied the renegade.
“Such, your highness, are the adventures of my Fifth Voyage; and I trust that the narration of them has afforded you entertainment.”
“Yes,” observed the pacha, rising, “that was something like a voyage. Mustapha, give him thirty pieces of gold. Huckaback, we will hear your sixth voyage to-morrow”—and the pacha retired behind the screen, and, as usual, went into the apartment of the women.
“Pray, Selim, was there any truth in that history of the princess? I thought at first that it was all invention; but when you wept——”
“That was for the sake of effect,” answered the renegade: “when I get warmed with my story, I often work myself up to a degree that I almost believe it myself.”
“Holy prophet! what a talent!” rejoined Mustapha. “What an excellent prime minister you would have made in your own country! Here’s your money; will your next voyage be as good?”
“I’ll try, at all events; as I find that the principal increases with the interest” said the renegade, chinking the sequins in his hand. “Au revoir, as we say in France”—and the renegade quitted the divan.
“Allah—what a talent!” muttered the vizier to himself, as the renegade disappeared.
On the ensuing day, after the usual business of the divan had been gone through, the renegade was called in, and taking his seat, commenced the narrative of his sixth voyage.
May it please your highness.