Musli accompanied his eloquence with such gesticulations that the Grand Vizier thought it prudent to fall back before him.
“Don’t you feel well?” he asked Musli, who had suddenly become silent. In his excitement he had forgotten the other demands.
“Ah! I have it,” he said, and sitting down on the floor at his ease, he took the list from his bosom and extending it on the floor, began reciting Halil Patrona’s nominations seriatim.
The Grand Vizier approved of the whole thing, he had no objection to make to anything.
Musli left Janaki’s elevation last of all: “He you must make Voivode of Moldavia,” said he.
Suddenly Kabakulak went quite deaf. He could not hear a word of Musli’s last demand.
Musli drew nearer to him, and making a speaking-trumpet out of his hands, bawled in his ear:
“Janaki I am talking about.”
“Yes, yes! I hear, I hear. You want him to be allowed to provide the Sultan’s kitchen with the flesh of bullocks and sheep. So be it! He shall have the charge.”
“Would that the angel Izrafil might blow his trumpet in thine ear!” said Musli to himself sotto voce. “I am not talking of his trade as a butcher,” added he aloud. “I say that he is to be made Prince of Moldavia.”
Kabakulak now thought it just as well to show that he heard what had been asked, and replied very gravely:
“You know not what you are asking. The Padishah, only four days ago, gave this office to Prince Ghyka, who is a wise and distinguished man. The Sultan cannot go back from his word.”
“A wise and distinguished man!” cried Musli in amazement. “What am I to understand by that? Is there any difference then between one Giaour and another?”
“The Sultan has so ordered it, and without his knowledge I cannot take upon myself to alter his decrees.”
“Very well, go to the Sultan then and get him to undo again what he has done. For the rest you can do what you like for what I care, only beware of one thing, beware lest you lose the favour of Halil Patrona!”
Kabakulak by this time had had nearly enough of Musli, but the latter still continued diligently to consult his list. He recollected that Halil Patrona had charged him to say something else, but what it was he could not for the life of him call to mind.
“Ah, yes! now I have it!” he cried at last. “Halil commands that those nasty palaces which stand by the Sweet Waters shall be burnt to the ground.”
“I suppose, my worthy incendiaries, you will next ask permission to plunder Stambul out and out?”
“It is too bad of you, Kabakulak, to speak like that. Halil does not want the palaces burnt for the love of the thing, but because he does not want the generals to have an asylum where they may hide, plant flowers, and wallow in vile delights just when they ought to be hastening to the camp. If every pasha had not his paradise here on earth and now, many more of them would desire the heavenly Paradise. That is why Halil Patrona would have all those houses of evil luxury burnt to the ground.”