There at the window of the Seven Towers stood Achmed, in whose hands was now a far more terrible power than when they held the wand of dominion, for in his fingers now rests the power of cursing. It is sufficient now for him to point the finger at those he loves not, in order that they may wither away in the bloom of their youth. Whomsoever he now breathes upon, however distant they may be, will collapse and expire, and none can save them; and he has but to pronounce the name of his enemies, and torments will consume their inner parts. The destroying angel of Allah watches over his every look, so that on whomsoever his eye may fall, that soul is instantly accursed. Since the death of Ispirizade the people fear him more than when he sat on the throne.
A deep silence fell upon the mob. Nobody dared to speak.
And Achmed stretched forth his hand towards Adsalis. Those who stood around the Sultana felt a feeling of shivering awe, and began to withdraw from her, and she herself durst not raise her eyes.
“Salute that pure woman!” cried the tremulous voice of Achmed, “do obeisance to the wife of Halil Patrona, and cover thy face before her, for she is the true consort of her husband.”
And having uttered these words, Achmed withdrew from the window whither the noise of the crowd had enticed him, and the multitude clamoured as before; but now they no longer tried to force the suite of the Sultana to make way before Guel-Bejaze, but escorted Halil Patrona’s wife back to the dwelling-place of her husband.
Adsalis, desperate with rage and shame, returned to the Seraglio. Sobbing aloud, she cast herself at the feet of the Sultan, and told him of the disgrace that had befallen her.
Mahmud only smiled as he heard the whole story, but who can tell what was behind that smile.
“Dost thou not love me, then, that thou smilest when I weep? Ought not blood to flow because tears have flowed from my eyes?”
Mahmud gently stroked the head of the Sultana and said, still smiling:
“Oh, Adsalis! who would ever think of plucking fruit before it is ripe?”
GLIMPSES INTO THE FUTURE.
Halil Patrona was sitting on the balcony of the palace which the Sultan and the favour of the people had bestowed upon him. The sun was about to set. It sparkled on the watery mirror of the Golden Horn, hundreds and hundreds of brightly gleaming flags and sails flapped and fluttered in the evening breeze.