* * * * *
“God is great!” ejaculated the pacha.
* * * * *
I was lying in my bed, meditating upon these things, when the venerable form again appeared to me.
“Art them now convinced?”
“I am,” replied I.
“Then prove it by submitting to the law the moment that you are able. You shall be rewarded—not at once, but when your faith has been proved. Mark me, follow your profession on the seas, and, when once you find yourself sitting in the divan at Cairo, with two people originally of the same profession as yourself, without others being present, and have made this secret known, then you shall be appointed to the command of the pacha’s fleet, which under your directions shall always meet with success. Such shall be the reward of your fidelity.”
It is now four years that I have embraced the true faith, and, sinking under poverty, I was induced to make use of the exclamation that your highness heard; for how can I ever hope to meet two barbers at the divan without other people being present?
“Holy prophet! how strange! Why Mustapha was a barber, and so was I,” cried the pacha.
“God is great!” answered the renegade, prostrating himself. “Then I command your fleet?”
“From this hour,” replied the pacha. “Mustapha, make known my wishes.”
“The present in command,” replied Mustapha, who was not a dupe to the wily renegade, “is a favourite with the men.”
“Then send for him and take off his head. Is he to interfere with the commands of Mahomed?”
The vizier bowed, and the pacha quitted the divan.
The renegade, with a smile upon his lips, and Mustapha with astonishment, looked at each other for a few seconds; “You have a great talent, Selim,” observed the vizier.
“Thanks to your introduction, and to my own invention, it will at last be called into action. Recollect, vizier, that I am grateful—you understand me;” and the renegade quitted the divan, leaving Mustapha still in his astonishment.
“Mustapha,” said the pacha, taking his pipe out of his mouth, after half an hour’s smoking in silence, “I have been thinking it very odd that our holy prophet (blessed be his name!) should have given himself so much trouble about such a son of Shitan as that renegade rascal, Huckaback, whose religion is only in his turban. By the sword of the prophet, is it not strange that he should send him to command my fleet?”
“It was the will of your sublime highness,” replied Mustapha, “that he should command your fleet.”
“Mashallah! was it not the will of the prophet?”
Mustapha smoked his pipe, and made no reply.
“He was a great story-teller,” observed the pacha, after another pause.