“I do not know that one.”
“Not know it! Look again and more carefully. Perchance Death has changed the expression of the features. That is Damad Ibrahim the Grand Vizier.”
Guel-Bejaze regarded her husband with eyes wide-open with astonishment, and then hastened to reply:
“Truly it is Damad Ibrahim. Of course, of course. Death hath disfigured his face so that I scarce knew it.”
“Did I not tell thee that thou shouldst make sport with the heads of those who made sport with thy heart? Dost thou want yet more?”
“Oh, no, no, Halil. I am afraid of these also. I am afraid to look upon these dumb heads.”
“Then cover them over with flowers, and thou wilt believe thou dost see flower-baskets before thee.”
“Let me have them buried, Halil. Do not make me fear thee also. Thou wouldst have me go on loving thee, wouldst thou not? If only thou wouldst come with me to Anatolia, where nobody would know anything about us!”
“What dost thou say? Go away now when the very sun cannot set because of me, and men cannot sleep because of the sound of my name? Dost not thou also feel a desire to bathe in all this glory?”
“Oh, Halil! the rose and the palm grow up together out of the same earth, and yet the palm grows into greatness while the rose remains quite tiny. Suffer me but gently to crouch beside thee, dispense but thy love to me, and keep thy glory to thyself.”
Halil tenderly embraced and kissed the woman, and buried the three baskets as she desired in the palace garden beneath three wide-spreading rosemary bushes.
Then he took leave of Guel-Bejaze, for deputies from the people now waited upon their leader, and begged him to accompany them to the mosque of Zuleima, where the Sultan’s envoys were already waiting for an answer.
In order to get to the mosque more easily and avoid the labour of forcing his way through the crowd that thronged the streets, Halil hastened to the water side, got into the first skiff he met with, and bade the sailor row him across to the Zuleima Mosque on the other side.
On the way his gaze fell upon the face of the sailor who was sitting opposite to him. It was a grey-bearded old man.
“What is thy name, worthy old man?” inquired Halil.
“My name is Manoli, your Excellency.”
“Call me not Excellency! Dost thou not perceive from my raiment that I am nothing but a common Janissary?”
“Oh! I know thee better than that. Thou art Halil Patrona, whom may Allah long preserve!”
“Thou also dost seem very familiar to me. Thou hast just such a white beard as had Damad Ibrahim who was once Grand Vizier.”
“I have often heard people say so, my master.”
On arriving opposite the Zuleima Mosque, the boatman brought the skiff ashore. Halil pressed a golden denarius into the old man’s palm, the old man kissed his hand for it.