Halil the Pedlar eBook

Mór Jókai
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 221 pages of information about Halil the Pedlar.
care to sell as much opium themselves as possible, because it brought in by far the largest profits.  Surely, they argued among themselves, because an individual cuts his throat with a knife now and then, that is no reason why knives in general should not be kept for sale in shops?  It was plain to them that Halil was no born trader.  Yet he was perfectly satisfied with the little profit he made, and it never occurred to him to wish for anything he had not got.

Consequently when he now found himself the possessor of five thousand piastres, he was very much puzzled as to what he should do with such a large amount.  The things he really desired were far, far away, quite out of his reach in fact.  He would have liked to lead fleets upon the sea and armies marshalled in battle array.  He would have liked to have built cities and fortresses.  He would have liked to have raised up and cast down pashas, dispensed commands, and domineered generally.  But a beggarly five thousand piastres would not go very far in that direction.  It was too much from one point of view and too little from another, so that he really was at a loss what to do with it.

His booth looked out upon that portion of the bazaar where there was a vacant space separated from the trading booths by lofty iron railings.  This vacant space was a slave-market.  Here the lowest class of slaves were freely offered for sale.  Every day Halil saw some ten to twenty of these human chattels exhibited in front of his booth.  It was no new sight to him.

In this slave-market there were none of those pathetic scenes which poets and romance writers are so fond of describing when, for instance, the rich traders of Dirbend offer to the highest bidder miracles of loveliness, to be the sport of lust and luxury, beautiful Circassian and Georgian maidens, whose cheeks burn with shame at the bold rude gaze of the men, and whose eyes overflow with tears when their new masters address them.  There was nothing of the sort in this place.  This was but the depository of used up, chucked aside wares, of useless Jessir, such as dry and wrinkled old negresses, worn-out, venomous nurses, human refuse, so to speak, to whom it was a matter of the most profound indifference what master they were called upon to serve, who listened to the slang of the auctioneer with absolute nonchalance as he circumstantially totted up their years and described their qualities, and allowed their would-be purchasers to examine their teeth and manipulate their arms and legs as if they were the very last persons concerned in the business on hand.

On the occasion of the first general auction that had come round after the departure of Janaki from Halil, the pedlar was sitting as usual before his booth in the bazaar when the public crier appeared in the slave-market, leading by the hand a veiled female slave, and made the following announcement in a loud voice: 

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Halil the Pedlar from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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