There was a knock on his door. A telegram had come for him. It came from the West, and these were its words:
“Come back and the answer will be yes.
He kept the boy waiting ten minutes, and then wrote the reply: “Impossible to leave here at present.” Then he sat at the window again and let the city put its cup of mandragora to his lips again.
After all it isn’t a story; but I wanted to know which one of the heroes won the battle against the city. So I went to a very learned friend and laid the case before him. What he said was: “Please don’t bother me; I have Christmas presents to buy.”
So there it rests; and you will have to decide for yourself.
“WHAT YOU WANT”
Night had fallen on that great and beautiful city known as Bagdad-on-the-Subway. And with the night came the enchanted glamour that belongs not to Arabia alone. In different masquerade the streets, bazaars and walled houses of the occidental city of romance were filled with the same kind of folk that so much interested our interesting old friend, the late Mr. H. A. Rashid. They wore clothes eleven hundred years nearer to the latest styles than H. A. saw in old Bagdad; but they were about the same people underneath. With the eye of faith, you could have seen the Little Hunchback, Sinbad the Sailor, Fitbad the Tailor, the Beautiful Persian, the one-eyed Calenders, Ali Baba and Forty Robbers on every block, and the Barber and his Six Brothers, and all the old Arabian gang easily.
But let us revenue to our lamb chops.
Old Tom Crowley was a caliph. He had $42,000,000 in preferred stocks and bonds with solid gold edges. In these times, to be called a caliph you must have money. The old-style caliph business as conducted by Mr. Rashid is not safe. If you hold up a person nowadays in a bazaar or a Turkish bath or a side street, and inquire into his private and personal affairs, the police court’ll get you.
Old Tom was tired of clubs, theatres, dinners, friends, music, money and everything. That’s what makes a caliph—you must get to despise everything that money can buy, and then go out and try to want something that you can’t pay for.