The maniac paused: then starting upon his feet, he commenced in a loud voice:—“But I know who they were—I know them all, and I know where she is too: and now, pacha, you shall do me justice. This is he who stole my wife; this is he who murdered my child; this is he who keeps her from my arms: and thus I beard him in your presence:”—and as he finished his exclamations, he sprang upon the terrified Mustapha, seizing him by the beard with one hand, while with the other he beat his turban about his head.
The guards rushed in, and rescued the vizier from the awkward position in which he was placed by his own imprudence, in permitting the man to appear at the divan.
The rage of the pacha was excessive; and the head of the maniac would have been separated from his body, had it not been for the prudence of Mustapha, who was aware that the common people consider idiots and madmen to be under the special protection of heaven, and that such an act would be sufficient to create an insurrection. At his intercession, the man was taken away by the guards, and not released until he was a considerable distance from the palace.
“Allah Karim!—God is merciful!” exclaimed the pacha as soon as the maniac had been carried away. “I’m glad that he did not think it was me who had his wife.”
“Allah forbid that your highness should have been so treated. He has almost ruined the beard of your slave,” replied the vizier, adjusting the folds of his turban.
“Mustapha, make a memorandum never again to accept an offer. I’m convinced that a volunteer story is worth nothing.”
“Your highness speaks the truth—no man parts readily with what is worth retaining—gold is not kicked up with the sandal, nor diamonds to be found glittering in the rays of the sun. If we would obtain them, we must search and labour in the dark mine.—Will your highness be pleased to hear the manuscript which had been translated by the Greek slave?”
“Be it so,” replied the pacha, not in the very best of humours.
The Greek made his appearance and made his salutation, and then read as follows:—
RECORDING THE DISCOVERY OF THE ISLAND OF MADEIRA.
Before I am summoned to that offended tribunal, to propitiate which I have passed so many years in penitence and prayer, let me record for the benefit of others the history of one, who, yielding to fatal passion, embittered the remainder of his own days, and shortened those of the adored partner of his guilt. Let my confession be public, that warning may be taken from my example; and may the sincerity with which I acknowledge my offence, and the tears which I have shed, efface it from the accumulated records of the wilfulness and disobedience of man!