Mustapha addressed the sailor in English, telling him that he was in the presence of his highness the pacha.
“What, that old chap, muffled up in shawls and furs—is he the pacha? Well, I don’t think much o’ he;” and the sailor turned his eyes round the room, gaping with astonishment, and perfectly unmindful how very near he was to one who could cut off his head or his tail, by a single movement of his hand.
“What sayeth the Frank, Mustapha?” inquired the pacha.
“He is struck dumb with astonishment at the splendour of your majesty, and all that he beholds.”
“It is well said, by Allah!”
“I suppose I may just as well come to an anchor,” said the sailor, suiting the action to the word, and dropping down on the mats. “There,” continued he, folding his legs in imitation of the Turks, “as it’s the fashion to have a cross in your hawse, on this here country, I can be a bit of a lubber as well as yourselves. I wouldn’t mind if I blew a cloud, as well as you, old fusty-musty.”
“What does the Giaour say? What son of a dog is this, to sit in our presence?” exclaimed the pacha.
“He saith,” replied Mustapha, “that in his country, no one dare stand in the presence of the Frankish king; and, overcome by his humility, his legs refuse their office, and he sinks to the dust before you. It is even as he sayeth, for I have travelled in their country, and such is the custom of that uncivilised nation. Mashallah! but he lives in awe and trembling.”
“By the beard of the Prophet, he does not appear to show it outwardly,” replied the pacha; “but that may be the custom also.”
“Be chesm, on my eyes be it,” replied Mustapha, “it is even so. Frank,” said Mustapha, “the pacha has sent for you that he may hear an account of all the wonderful things which you have seen. You must tell lies, and you will have gold.”
“Tell lies! that is, spin a yarn; well, I can do that, but my mouth’s baked with thirst, and without a drop of something, the devil a yarn from me, and so you may tell the old Billygoat, perched up there.”
“What sayeth the son of Shitan?” demanded the pacha, impatiently.
“The unbeliever declareth that his tongue is glued to his mouth from the terror of your highness’s presence. He fainteth after water to restore him, and enable him to speak.”
“Let him be fed,” rejoined the pacha.
But Mustapha had heard enough to know that the sailor would not be content with the pure element. He therefore continued, “Your slave must tell you, that in the country of the Franks they drink nothing but the fire-water, in which the true believers but occasionally venture to indulge.”
“Allah acbar! nothing but fire-water? What, then, do they do with common water?”
“They have none but from heaven—the rivers are all of the same strength.”
“Mashallah! how wonderful is God! I would we had a river here. Let some be procured, then, for I wish to hear his story.”