The sun is shining through the windows of the Seraglio, the two Ulemas who are wont to come and pray with the Sultan have withdrawn, and the Kapu-Agasi, or chief doorkeeper, and the Anakhtar Oglan, or chief key-keeper, hasten to open the doors through which the Padishah generally goes to his dressing-room, where already await him the most eminent personages of the Court, to wit, the Khas-Oda-Bashi, or Master of the Robes, the Chobodar who hands the Sultan his first garment, the Duelbendar who ties the shawl round his body, the Berber-Bashi who shaves his head, the Ibrikdar Aga who washes his hands, the Peshkiriji Bashi who dries them again, the Serbedji-Bashi who has a pleasant potion ready for him, and the Ternakdji who carefully pares his nails. All these grandees do obeisance to the very earth as they catch sight of the face of the Padishah making his way through innumerable richly carved doors on his way to his dressing-chamber.
This robing-room is a simple, hexagonal room, with lofty, gold-entrellised window; its whole beauty consists in this, that the walls are inlaid with amethysts, from whose jacinth-hued background shine forth the more lustrous raised arabesques formed by topazes and dalmatines. Precious stones are the delight of the Padishah. Every inch of his garments is resplendent with diamonds, rubies, and pearls, his very fingers are hidden by the rings which sparkle upon them. Pomp is the very breath of his life. And his countenance well becomes this splendour. It is a mild, gentle, radiant face, like the face of a father when he moves softly among his loving children. His large, melancholy eyes rest kindly on the face of everyone he beholds; his smooth, delicate forehead is quite free from wrinkles. It would seem as if it could never form into folds, as if its possessor could never be angry; there is not a single grey hair in his well-kept, long black beard; it would seem as if he knew not the name of grief, as if he were the very Son of Happiness.
And so indeed he was. For seven-and-twenty years he had sat upon the throne. It is possible that during these seven-and-twenty years many changes may have taken place in the realm which could by no means call for rejoicing, but Allah had blessed him with such a happy disposition as to make him quite indifferent to these unfortunate events, in fact, he did not trouble his head about them at all. Like the true philosopher he was, he continued to rejoice in whatsoever was joyous. He loved beautiful flowers and beautiful women—and he had enough of both and to spare. His gardens were more splendid than the gardens of Soliman the Magnificent, and that his Seraglio was no joyless abode was demonstrated by the fact that so far he was the happy father of one-and-thirty children.