“So all is well at last, as I knew it would be; and now, Olaf—and now, Olaf, you are about to be married. Yes, at once, and—I wish you joy.”
Her words were simple enough, yet they kindled in my heart a light by which it saw many things.
“Martina,” I said, “if I have lived to reach this hour, under God it is through you. Martina, they say that each of us has a guardian angel in heaven, and if that be so, mine has come to earth. Yet in heaven alone shall I learn to thank her as I ought.”
Then suddenly Martina was sobbing on my breast; after which I remember only that Heliodore helped me to wipe away her tears, while in the background I heard the Caliph say to himself in his deep voice,
“Wondrous! Wondrous! By Allah! these Christians are a strange folk. How far wiser is our law, for then he could have married both of them, and all three would have been happy. Truly he who decreed that it should be so knew the heart of man and woman and was a prophet sent by God. Nay, answer me not, friend Politian, since on matters of religion we have agreed that we will never argue. Do your office according to your unholy rites, and I and my servants will watch, praying that the Evil One may be absent from the service. Oh! silence, silence! Have I not said that we will not argue on subjects of religion? To your business, man.”
So Politian drew us together to the other end of the chamber, and there wed us as best he might, with Martina for witness and the solemn Moslems for congregation.
When it was over, Harun commanded my wife to lead me before him.
“Here is a marriage gift for you, General Olaf,” he said; “one, I think, that you will value more than any other,” and he handed me something sharp and heavy.
I felt it, hilt and blade, and knew it for the Wanderer’s sword, yes, my own red sword from which I took my name, that the Commander of the Faithful now restored to me, and with it my place and freedom. I took it, and, saying no word, with that same sword gave to him the triple salute due to a sovereign.
Instantly I heard Harun’s scimitar, the scimitar that was famous throughout the East, rattle as it left its scabbard, as did the scimitars of all those who attended on him, and knew that there was being returned to me the salute which a sovereign gives to a general in high command. Then the Caliph spoke again.
“A wedding gift to you, Lady Heliodore, child of an ancient and mighty race, and new-made wife of a gallant man. For the second time to-night take this cup of gold, but let that which lies within it adorn your breast in memory of Harun. Queens of old have worn those jewels, but never have they hung above a nobler heart.”
Heliodore took the cup, and in her trembling hand I heard the priceless gems that filled it clink against its sides. Once more the Caliph spoke.