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"Not so;" replied she, "for it is an ancient
privilege of this monastery that bondsmen
and bondswomen shall for ever appertain to
it. If any freeman casts his eyes upon one of
us, and desires to marry her, he must quit
his state and become a slave, he and his
descendants for ever, to the monastery. This
is why I was not married last year to
Skandar, the porker, who offered twenty pigs
for my freedom, but who refused to give up
his liberty." Matthias internally thanked
Heaven for having given an independent
spirit to the porker, and replied, smiling,
"Believe me, Carine, that the fathers love
moneythey all doand I shall purchase
thee as my wife."

"It is nonsense," said she, shaking her
head, " they refused twenty pigs."

"I will give twenty sacks of gold, baby,"
cried Matthias, enraged at her obstinacy.
Carine replied, that she was not worth
so much; and that, if she were, it was of
no use talking of the matter, for the fathers
would not sell her. "By Saint Maron!"
exclaimed Matthias, "I can buy their whole

He was mistaken. The monastery of
Selafka was the richest in all the East, and the
head of it was the most self-willed of men. He
cut short the propositions of the merchant
who went straight to him that very dayby
saying that on no account could the liberty of
Carine be granted. "If thou wouldst marry
her," said he, looking, as Matthias thought,
more wicked than a demon, "thou must give
up all thy wealth to us, and become our
bondsman." With this answer the lover went
sadly away, and returned to Tarsus, saying to
himself, "It is impossible for me to give up,
not only the gains of all my life, but even my
liberty, for the sake of this cow-girl. I must
try to forget her."

So he went back among his friends, and
began again to walk in the bazaars.
When the Jew saw him, he cried out, "Hail,
oh wise man, that will not burthen
himself with the society of a woman!" But
the merchant frowned black upon him, and
turned away; and, to the surprise of all
the neighbours, went and sat down by the
side of the Christian tailor, and, taking his
hand, whispered to him; "Close thy shop,
my friend, and lead me, that I may see,
as thou didst promise, thy wife and thy

"Which child?" said the tailor. " I have
now three. Gorges, Lisbet, and Hanna."

"All of them," said Matthias: "and also
the ebony-black girl, Zarifeh."

"Oh!" said the tailor, "I have set her
free, and she is married to the pudding-seller,
round the corner."

"It seems," said Matthias to himself, "that
it is the law of Heaven that every one shall

The tailor shut up his shop and took the
merchant home and showed him his domestic
wealth;—that is to say, his pretty wife, his
three stout children, and a coal-black girl
called Zara, who was kneading dough in the
court-yard. "My friend," said Matthias,
"what wouldst thou do if the powerful were
to say to thee, thou must be deprived of all
this, or else lose thy liberty and become a

"Liberty is sweet," replied the tailor, shrugging
his shoulders; "yet some live without
it; but none can live without love."

Upon this the merchant went back to his
palace and mounted his mule and rode to the
monastery, where he found the court-yard full
of people. "I am come," said he to one of
the fathers whom he met in the gateway,
"to give up my liberty and my wealth for the
sake of Carine."

"It is too late," was the reply: Skandar,
the porker, has just driven in all his pigs, and
they are putting the chain upon his neck in
the chapel, and all these people that thou
seest collected are to be witnesses of his
marriage with Carine."

Matthias smote his breast with his hands,
and the sides of his mule with his heels, and
galloped through the crowd shouting out
that nobody should be made a slave that day
but he. The chief of the monastery, on
learning what was the matter, smiled and
said, "that the porker had a previous claim;"
but the monks, who, perhaps, looked forward
to the enjoyments which the merchant's
wealth would afford them, ingeniously
suggested that he had the best claim who had
hesitated least. Carine's opinion was asked;
and she, seeing both of her suitors resolved,
heartlessly condemned the enamoured porker
to liberty, and said: "Let the chain be put
upon the neck of the merchant." The ceremony
was immediately performed; and, whilst
the head of the convent was preparing to
begin the more interesting rite of the
marriage, brother Boag, the treasurer of the
monastery, set off to take an inventory of the
wealth which had just fallen under his

It is said that Matthias never gave a
single thought to his lost property, being
too much absorbed in contemplating the
charms of the beautiful Carine. The only
stipulation he made was, that he should be
allowed to go out to the pasturages with
her; and, next morning he found himself
in sober seriousness helping to drive Naharah
and its companions down to the water's

Meanwhile the Governor of Tarsus heard
what had happened to Matthias, and was
stricken with rage, and caused his mule to be
saddled and his guards to be mounted, and
set forth to the monastery and summoned the
chief, saying, "Know, O Monk, that Matthias
is my friend; and it cannot be that he shall
be thy slave, and that all his wealth shall be
transferred from my city to thy monastery.
He is a liberal citizen, and I may not lose him

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