And I, whose memory stepping from one legal murder to another, can walk dry-footed over the broad space of five-and-twenty years of time,—but the “damned spots” won’t come out—so I’ll put my hands in my pockets and walk on.
Conscience, fortunately or unfortunately, I hardly can tell which, permits us to form political and religious creeds, most suited to disguise or palliate our sins. Mine is a military conscience, and I agree with Bates and Williams, who flourished in the time of Henry V., that it is “all upon the King:” that is to say, it was all upon the king; and now our constitution has become so incomparably perfect, that “the king can do no wrong;” and he has no difficulty in finding ministers, who voluntarily impignorating themselves for all his actions in this world, will, in all probability, not escape from the clutches of the great Pawnbroker in the next—from which facts I draw the following conclusions:—
1st. That his Majesty (God bless him!) will go to heaven.
2ndly. That his Majesty’s ministers will all go to the devil.
3rdly. That I shall go------on with my story.
As, however, a knowledge of the previous history of our pacha will be necessary to the development of our story, the reader will in this instance be indulged. He had been brought up to the profession of a barber; but, possessing great personal courage, he headed a popular commotion in favour of his predecessor, and was rewarded by a post of some importance in the army. Successful in detached service, while his general was unfortunate in the field, he was instructed to take off the head of his commander, and head the troops in his stead; both of which services he performed with equal skill and celerity. Success attended him, and the pacha, his predecessor, having in his opinion, as well as in that of the sultan, remained an unusual time in office, by an accusation enforced by a thousand purses of gold, he was enabled to produce a bowstring for his benefactor; and the sultan’s “firman” appointed him to the vacant pachalik. His qualifications for office were all superlative: he was very short, very corpulent, very illiterate, very irascible, and very stupid.
On the morning after his investment, he was under the hands of his barber, a shrewd intelligent Greek, Mustapha by name. Barbers are privileged persons for many reasons: running from one employer to another to obtain their livelihood, they also obtain matter for conversation, which, impertinent as it may sometimes be, serves to beguile the tedium of an operation which precludes the use of any organ except the ear. Moreover, we are inclined to be on good terms with a man, who has it in his power to cut our throats whenever he pleases—to wind up, the personal liberties arising from his profession, render all others trifling; for the man who takes his sovereign by the nose, cannot well after that be denied the liberty of speech.