“Yes, indeed, Rustem!” she exclaimed, looking tearfully but gratefully into his eyes. “All that is in me of love and tenderness is for you—for you only.”
At this he joyfully exclaimed:
“All, that is indeed good hearing! That will do for me; that is what I call a good morning’s work! I sat down under this tree a vagabond and a wanderer, and I get up a future land-holder, with the sweetest little wife in the world to keep house for me.”
They sat a long time under the shady foliage; he craved no more than to gaze at her and, when he put the old questions asked by all lovers, to be answered with lips and eyes, or merely a speechless nod. Her hands no longer plied the needle, and the pair would have smiled in pity on any one who should have complained of the intolerable heat of this scorching, parching forenoon. A pair of turtle doves over their heads were less indifferent to the sun’s rays than they, for the birds had closed their eyes, and the head of the mother bird was resting languidly against the dark collar round her mate’s neck.
By Georg Ebers
The Vekeel, like the Persian lovers, did not allow the heat of the day to interfere with his plans. He regarded the governor’s house as his own; all he found there aroused, not merely his avarice, but his interest. His first object was to find some document which might justify his proceedings against Orion and the sequestration of his estates, in the eyes of the authorities at Medina.
Great schemes were brewing there; if the conspiracy against the Khaliff Omar should succeed, he had little to fear; and the greater the sum he could ere long forward to the new sovereign, the more surely he could count on his patronage—a sum exceeding, if possible, the largest which his predecessor had ever cast into the Khaliff’s treasury.
He went from room to room with the curiosity and avidity of a child, touching everything, testing the softness of the pillows, peeping into scrolls which he did not understand, tossing them aside, smelling at the perfumes in the dead woman’s rooms, and the medicines she had used. He showed his teeth with delight when he found in her trunks some costly jewels and gold coins, stuck the finest of her diamond rings on his finger, already covered with gems, and then eagerly searched every corner of the rooms which Orion had occupied.
His interpreter, who could read Greek, had to translate every document he found that did not contain verses. While he listened, he clawed and strummed on the young man’s lyre and poured out the scented oil which Orion had been wont to use to smear it over his beard. In front of the bright silver mirror he could not cease from making faces.
To his great disgust he could find nothing among the hundred objects and trifles that lay about to justify suspicion, till, just as he was leaving the room, he noticed in a basket near the writing-table some discarded tablets. He at once pointed them out to the interpreter and, though there was but little to read on the Diptychon,—[Double writing-tablets, which folded together]—it seemed important to the negro for it ran as follows: