Then for a long time Halil gazed into the old man’s face.
“At thy command, my master.”
“Thou seest the sun rising up yonder behind the hills?”
“Yes, my master.”
“Before the shadows return to the side of yon hills take care to be well behind them, and let not another dawn find thee in this city!”
The boatman bent low with his arms folded across his breast, then he disappeared in his skiff.
But Halil Patrona hastened into the mosque.
The Sultan’s ambassadors were awaiting him. Sheik Suleiman came forward.
“Halil!” said he, “the bodies of the three dead men I have given to the people and their heads I have sent to thee.”
“Who were they?” asked Halil darkly.
“The first was the corpse of the Kiaja Beg, his body was cast upon the cross-ways through the Etmeidan Gate.”
“And the second?”
“The Kapudan Pasha, his body was flung down in front of the fountains of Khir-Kheri.”
“And the third?”
“Damad Ibrahim, the Grand Vizier. His body we flung out into the piazza in front of the Seraglio, at the foot of the very fountains which he himself caused to be built.”
Halil Patrona cast a searching look at the Sheik’s face, and coldly replied:
“Know then, oh, Sheik Suleiman, that thou liest, the third corpse was not the body of Damad Ibrahim the Grand Vizier. It was the body of a sailor named Manoli, who greatly resembled him, and sacrificed himself in Damad’s behalf. But the Grand Vizier has escaped and none can tell where he is. Go now, and tell that to those who sent thee hither!”
THE SETTING AND THE RISING SUN.
The dead bodies of the victims were still lying in the streets when Sultan Achmed summoned the Ulemas to the cupolaed chamber. His countenance was dejected and sad.
Before coming to the council-chamber he had kissed all his children, one by one, and when it came to the turn of his little ten-year-old child, Bajazid, he saw that the little fellow’s eyes were full of tears and he inquired the reason why. The child replied:
“Father, it is well with those who are thy enemies and grievous for them that love thee. What then will be our fate who love thee best of all? Amongst the wives of our brethren thou wilt find more than one in grey mourning weeds. Look, I prythee, at the face of Ummettulah; look at the eyes of Sabiha, and the appearance of Ezma. They are all of them widows and orphans, and it is thou who hast caused their fathers and husbands to be slain.”
“To save thee I have done it,” stammered Achmed, pressing the child to his breast.
“Thou wilt see that thou shalt not save us after all,” sighed Bajazid.
In the years to come these words were to be as an eternal echo in the ears of Achmed.