* * * * *
“Such is my history,” ended the Spaniard, “which I trust has afforded some amusement to your sublime highness.”
The immediate answer of the pacha was a loud yawn.
“Shukur Allah! Praise be to God you have done talking. I do not understand much about it,” continued the pacha, turning round to Mustapha, “but how can we expect a good story from an unbelieving dog of a Christian?”
“Wallah Thaib! Well said, by God!” replied Mustapha; “who was Lokman, that they talk of his wisdom? Are not these words of more value than strung pearls?”
“What was the name of the country?” demanded the pacha.
“Spain, your sublime highness; the infidel tribes which you allow to remain there, are employed in cultivating the olive for true believers.”
“Very true,” rejoined the pacha; “I remember now. Let the Kafir taste of our bounty. Give him two pieces of gold, and allow him to depart.”
“May the shadow of your sublime highness never be less,” said the Spaniard. “I have here a manuscript which I received from an ancient monk of our order when at the point of death. At the time of my capture it was thrown on one side, and I preserved it as curious. It refers to the first discovery of an island. As your highness is pleased to be amused with stories, it may be worth while to have it translated.” The Dominican then handed from his breast a discoloured piece of parchment.
“Very good,” replied the pacha, rising. “Mustapha! let it be put into Arabic by the Greek slave, who shall read it to us some evening when we have no story-tellers.”
“Be Chesm! Upon my eyes be it,” replied Mustapha, bowing low, as the pacha retired to his harem.
The pacha had repeated his perambulations for many nights, without success; and Mustapha, who observed that he was becoming very impatient, thought it advisable to cater for his amusement.
Among those who used to repair to Mustapha when he exercised his former profession, was a French renegade, a man of considerable talent and ready invention, but a most unprincipled scoundrel, who, previous to the elevation of Mustapha, had gained his livelihood by daring piratical attempts in an open boat. He was now in the employ of the vizier, commanding an armed xebeque which the latter had purchased. She passed off as a government cruiser, but was in reality a pirate. Selim, for that was the name which the renegade had adopted when he abjured his faith, condemned every vessel that had the misfortune to meet with him, taking out the cargoes, burning the hull, and throwing the crews overboard, with the privilege of swimming on shore if they could. By this plan he avoided the inconveniences attending any appeals from the jurisdiction of the High Court of Admiralty, which he had established upon the seas.