“Pacha,” said she, “the fleet has arrived, and Mustapha has already communicated with the renegade. Depend upon it you are lost, if you do not forestall them. Lose no time. But stop,” said she, “do not alarm the renegade by violence to Mustapha. To-morrow the fleet will anchor, and if there is mischief, it will not arrive until to-morrow—but this evening, you will as usual send for coffee, while you smoke and listen to the tales which you delight in. Drink not your coffee, for there shall be death in it. Be all smiles and good-humour, and leave me to manage the rest.”
The pacha smoothed his brow and returned to the divan. Business proceeded as usual, and at length the audience was closed. The pacha appeared to be in high good-humour, and so was the vizier.
“Surely,” said Mustapha, when the pipes were brought, “his imperial highness, the sultan will have sent you some mark of his distinguished favour.”
“God is great, and the sultan is wise,” replied the pacha. “I have been thinking so too, Mustapha. Who knows but that he may add to the territory under my sway by another pachalik?”
“I dreamt as much,” replied Mustapha, “and I am anxious that the renegade should come on shore; but it is now dark, and he will not leave his vessel.”
“We must drive away the mists of suspense by the sunbeams of hope,” replied the pacha. “What am I but the sultan’s slave? Shall we not indulge this evening in the water of the Giaour?”
“What saith Hafiz? It is for wine to exalt men, and raise them beyond uncertainty and doubt. It overfloweth us with courage, and imparts visions of bliss.”
“Wallah Thaib, it is well said, Mustapha,” said the pacha, taking a cup of coffee, presented by the Greek slave. Mustapha also received his cup. “My heart is light this evening,” said the pacha, laying down his pipe, “let us drink deep of the forbidden juice. Where is it, Mustapha?”
“It is here,” replied the vizier, drinking off his coffee; while the pacha watched him from the corner of his small grey eye. And Mustapha produced the spirits, which were behind the low ottoman upon which he was seated.
The pacha put aside his coffee, and drank a large draught. “God is great; drink, Mustapha,” said he, handing him the bottle.
Mustapha followed the example of the pacha. “May it please your highness,” said Mustapha, “I have without a man, who they say hath stories to recount more delightful than those of Menouni. Hearing that he passed through this city, I have detained him, that he might afford amusement to your highness, whose slave I am. Is it your pleasure that he be admitted?”
“Let it be so,” replied the pacha.
Mustapha gave the sign, and to the surprise of the pacha, in came the renegade, commander of the fleet, accompanied by guards and the well-known officer of the caliph, the Capidji Bachi, who held up a firman to his forehead.