In the meantime the beauteous Princess Babe-bi-bobu had recovered, and was in the arms of Acota, who, resigning her to her attendant maidens, addressed the assembly in a speech of so much eloquence, so much beauty, and so much force, that it was written down in letters of gold, being considered the ne plus ultra of the Souffrarian language; he explained to them the nefarious attempt of Mezrimbi to counteract the will of Heaven, and how he had fallen into the snare which he had laid for others. And when he had finished, the whole assembly hailed him as their king; and the population, whose heads paved, as it were, a space of ten square miles, cried out, “Long life to the king Acota, and his beautiful princess Babe-bi-bobu, the cream-tart of delight!”
Who can attempt to describe the magnificent procession which took place that evening, who can describe the proud and splendid bearing of king Acota, or the beaming eyes of the beautiful Princess Babe-bi-bobu. Shall I narrate how the nightingales sang themselves to death—shall I——
“No, pray don’t,” interrupted the pacha, “only let us know one thing—was the beautiful Babe-bi-bobu married at last?”
“She was, that very evening, your sublime highness.”
“Allah be praised!” rejoined the pacha. “Mustapha, let Menouni know what it is to tell a story to a pacha, even though it is rather a long one, and I thought the princess would never have been married.” And the pacha rose and waddled to his harem.
On the ensuing day, the pacha was sitting at his divan, according to his custom, Mustapha by his side, lending his ear to the whispers of divers people who came to him in an attitude of profound respect. Still they were most graciously received, as the purport of their intrusion was to induce the vizier to interest himself in their behalves when their cause came forward to be heard and decided upon by the pacha, who in all cases was guided by the whispered opinion of Mustapha. Mustapha was a good-hearted man: he was always grateful, and if any one did him a good turn, he never forgot it. The consequence was, that an intimation that a purse of so many sequins would be laid at his feet if the cause to be heard was decided in favour of the applicant, invariably interested Mustapha in the favour of that party; and Mustapha’s opinion was always coincided in by the pacha, because he had (or supposed that he had) half of the sequins so obtained. True, the proverb says, “you should be just before you are generous;” but Mustapha’s arguments when he first proposed to the pacha this method of filling the royal treasury, were so excellent, that we shall hand them down to posterity. “In the first place,” said Mustapha, “it is evident that in all these causes the plaintiffs and defendants are both rascals. In the second place, it is impossible to believe a word on either side.