The Veiled Lady and Other Men and Women eBook

Francis Hopkinson Smith
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 240 pages of information about The Veiled Lady and Other Men and Women.

On another occasion Joe again stood by my side when, with hat off and with body in a half kotow, I sat before the Pasha, who was acting chief of police after that stormy Armenian week—­it was over really in five days.

“Most High Potentate,” Joe began, translating my plain Anglo-Saxon “Please, sir,” into Eastern hyperbolics, “I again seek your Excellency’s presence to make my obeisance and to crave your permission to transfer to cheap paper some of the glories of this City of Turquoise and Ivory.  This, if your Highness will deign to remember, is not the first time I have trespassed.  Twice before have I prostrated myself, and twice has your Sublimity granted my request.”

“These be troublous times,” puffed his Swarthiness through his mustache, his tobacco-stained fingers meanwhile rolling a cigarette; a dark-skinned, heavily-bearded Oriental, this Pasha, with an eye that burned holes in you.  “You should await a more peaceful season, effendi, for your art.”

“On account of the Armenians, your Excellency?” I ventured to inquire with a smile.

“Yes.”  This, in translation by Joe, came with a whistling sound, like the escaping steam of a radiator.

“But why should I fear these disturbers of the peace, your Supreme Highness?  The Turk is my friend, and has been for years.  They know me and my pure and unblemished life.  They also know by this time that I have been one of the chosen few among nations who have enjoyed your Highness’s confidence, and to whom you have given protection.”  Here my spine took the form of a horseshoe curve—­ Moorish pattern.  “As to these dogs of Armenians” (this last was Joe’s, given with a growl to show his deep detestation of the race—­part of his own, if he would but acknowledge it), “your Excellency will look out for them.”  He was looking out for them at the rate of one hundred a day and no questions asked or answered so far as the poor fellows were concerned.

At this the distinguished Oriental finished rolling his cigarette, looked at me blandly—­it is astonishing how sweet a smile can overspread the face of a Turk when he is granting you a favor or signing the death warrant of an infidel—­clapped his hands, summoning an attendant who came in on all fours, and whispered an order in the left ear of the almost prostrate man.  This done, the Pasha rose from his seat, straightened his shoulders (no handsomer men the world over than these high-class Turks), shook my hand warmly, gave me the Turkish salute—­heart, mouth, and forehead touched with the tips of flying fingers—­and bowed me out.

Once through the flat leather curtain that hid the exit door of the Pasha’s office, and into the bare corridor, I led Joe to a corner out of the hearing of the ever-present spy, and, nailing him to the wall, propounded this query: 

“What did the High-Pan-Jam say, Joe?”

Hornstog raised his shoulders level with his ears, fanned out his fingers, crooked his elbows, and in his best conglomerate answered: 

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The Veiled Lady and Other Men and Women from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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