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their arrangements, and follow the caravan.
Hamed's camels had been laden by his
servants, and were ready to proceed. He
hesitated a moment; but, remembering his debt
to Kodadad, cried, " March!" and went away
with his heart full of new recollections.

The journey was prosperous, but tedious.
When the caravan reached Damascus, the
market was found to be encumbered with
merchandise, and sales were with difficulty
effected. Month after month passed away;
most of Hamed's bales still remained on his
hands. The fifth month from the time of his
departure had arrived, and he was beginning
to despair of being able to perform his
engagements. At length, however, a
merchant about to proceed to Bagdad, made him
an advantageous offer for the whole of his
stock, and he was enabled to depart, after
having realised a good profit. Several accidents
and delays occurred on the journey; but the
caravans reached the valley, one march from
Tarsus, on the eve of the day when Hamed had
promised payment to Kodadad. Most of the
merchants immediately rode forward to glad
their families and friends; but our young
merchant, feeling his love for Leilah revive with
intensity, determined to spend that day in
endeavouring to obtain an interview with
her. He wandered into the mountains,
endeavouring to follow the same track as before;
but, although he several times imagined he
recognised the trees and the rocks, his search
was unsuccessful. All was wild and
seemingly uninhabited. He called aloud " Leilah!"
but the echoes only answered, " la! la "!—
no, no; and when night came, he knew not
which way to turn. So, he sat down beneath
a huge sycamore to wait patiently until the
morning.

When light came, he remembered his
promise to Kodadad. He was to pay the
hundred dinars at noon. He determined to
hasten to Tarsus on foot over the mountains,
for he knew the general direction in which it
lay. Many hours of travel were before him;
but he was light of foot, and at length beheld
in the distance the minarets of the city, and
the winding course of the river. Suddenly,
the landscape darkened. Clouds seemed
to come out of every valley, and to
inundate the plain. The rain fell; the
wind blew. He hastened onward, clutching
the leather purse in which he
carried his wealth, and invoking the assistance
of the Prophet. When he reached the
banks of the river, he heard, through the
mist, a muezzin proclaiming the hour of
noon from the distant mosque. The waters
were turbulent. No ferry boat was in
sight. It was impossible to cross. Haj
Hamed prayed; and an idea came to his
mind. He plucked a large reed, and hollowed
it, and placed therein a hundred pieces of
gold, and tied other reeds to it, and floated
this raft upon the stream, and confided in
the mercy of God.

Now, it happened that Kodadad,
remembering Haj Hamed's promise, had gone to his
kiosque that day, to wait for his money.
The wind blew; the rain fell. The debtor
did not appear. " We must allow him an
hour's grace; for the storm is violent," said
Kodadad. The muezzin chanted the hour of
noon. The merchant called to his slave to
bring another pipe. Presently, a bundle of
reeds came floating along the misty waters;
a black boy stooping forward seized them
as they passed. He was about to cast them
away again, when the unusual weight
prevented him. " Master," said he, " this is a
reed of lead." The merchant, who wished
to pass the time, told him to break the reeds.
He did so, and lo! a hundred glittering pieces
of gold fell suddenly upon the pavement of
the kiosque!

This story which is told in many different
ways, illustrates the Oriental idea of
mercantile probity. Turkish merchants, in their
dealings among themselves, are famous for
keeping their engagements with scrupulous
exactitude; and the example of Haj Hamed
is often cited as a model. Of course it
is understood that the debt, all in good
golden dinars, came to its destination in
some miraculous way: the Prophet being
always deeply interested in the good deeds
of his servants. The young merchant was
not without his reward. His credit was, in
future, unlimited. But not only so; Kodadad
insisted on giving him his daughter in
marriage. And it will surprise none but very
matter-of-fact peopleto whom we do not
address this legendthat this daughter turned
out to be the same very imprudent Leilah,
whose fascination had nearly caused Haj
Hamed to dishonour his verbal promissory
note. We learn, moreover, that she settled
down into a most prudent and exemplary wife
which relieves our mindfor, except under
extremely Oriental circumstances, we should
not recommend her conduct for imitation.

New Tale by the Author of MARY BARTON, to be
published weekly in HOUSEHOLD WORDS.
ON WEDNESDAY, 30th of August, will be published, in
HOUSEHOLD WORDS, the FIRST PORTION of a New
Work of Fiction, called
NORTH AND SOUTH.
By the AUTHOR OF MARY BARTON.
The publication of this Story will be continued in HOUSEHOLD
WORDS from Week to Week, and completed in Five Months.
Price of each Weekly Number of HOUSEHOLD WORDS
(containing, besides, the usual variety of matter), Twopence;
or Stamped, Threepence.
HOUSEHOLD WORDS, CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS,
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The NINTH VOLUME of HOUSEHOLD WORDS
(containing HARD TIMES), price 5s. 6d., was published on
the 16th instant.

This day a published, carefully revised and wholly
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BY CHARLES DICKENS.
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