In the Seraglio all the clocks one after another struck one as four-and-twenty salvoes announced that the Sultan with the banner of the Prophet had arrived in the camp.
And the people of the East believe that the blessing of Allah does not rest on the hour which marks the afternoon.
THE BURSTING FORTH OF THE STORM.
A contrary wind was blowing across the Bosphorus, so that it was not until towards the evening that the Sultan arrived at Scutari, and disembarked there at his seaside palace with his viziers, his princes, the Chief Mufti, and Ispirizade.
Though everything had quieted down close at hand, all night long could be heard, some distance off, in the direction of the camp, a murmuring and a tumult, the cause of which nobody could explain.
More than once the Grand Vizier sent fleet runners to the Aga of the Janissaries to inquire what was the meaning of all that noise in the camp. Hassan replied that he himself did not understand why they were so unruly after they had heard the arrival of the Sultan and the sacred banner everywhere proclaimed.
Shortly afterwards Ibrahim commanded him to seize all those who would not remain quiet. Hassan accordingly laid his hands on sundry who came conveniently in his way; but, for all that, the rest would pay no heed to him, and the tumult began to extend in the direction of Stambul also.
Towards midnight a ciaus reached the Kiaja with the intelligence that a number of soldiers were coming along from the direction of Tebrif, crying as they came that the army of Kueprilizade had been scattered to the winds by Shah Tamasip, and that they themselves were the sole survivors of the carnage—that was why the army round Stambul was chafing and murmuring.
The Kiaja went at once in search of the Grand Vizier and told him of this terrible rumour.
“Impossible!” exclaimed Ibrahim. “Kueprilizade would not allow himself to be beaten. Only a few days ago I sent him arms and reinforcements which were more than enough to enable him to hold his own until the main army should arrive.
“And even if it were true. If, in consequence of the Sultan’s procrastination, we were to arrive too late and the whole of the provinces of Hamadan and Kermanshan were to be lost—even then we should all be in the hands of Allah. Come, let us go to prayer and then to bed!”
At about the same hour, three softas awoke the Chief Mufti and Ispirizade, and laid before them a letter written on parchment which they had discovered lying in the middle of a mosque. The letter was apparently written with gunpowder and almost illegible.
It turned out to be an exhortation to all true Mussulmans to draw the sword in defence of Muhammad, but they were bidden beware lest, when they went against the foe, they left behind them, at home, the greatest foes of all, who were none other than the Sultan’s own Ministers.