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to take up our hint, and follow it. It
would be a graceful way of making friends,
as well as of introducing a novel article, were
wealthy amateurs to send over a few lots for
the next poultry-show in France: presenting
them to the Institution, or the town, to be
raffled for, for the benefit of the poor,—a
favourite form of the French of charity.


IN all countries the stories on which legend
dwells most fondly are those which relate the
sufferings of lovers. The incidents which
compose them are generally few and bear a
marked similarity in all cases. This is partly
because the same passion naturally produces
the same fruit, partly because the world
rarely obtains new revelations of this kind.
The sufferings of lovers commonly take place
on a scene far removed from the public gaze,
in the innermost recesses of the mind; and
true affection is shy and reserved, keeping both
its pangs and its joys to itself. It is only by some
extraordinary accidentnow and then, at
intervals perhaps of a century or so, that we are
admitted into this kind of secret; but then the
peoplepreceding literatureinstantly seize
upon all the moral details and make them
their own, and relate them, sometimes in
connection with one series of material incidents,
sometimes with another, and so many stories
gradually spring from one, are all
incorporated in the repertory of legend, become
part of the world's belief, and raise and purify
its conception of human nature. The influence
of these narratives indeed has much to do
with the progress of true civilisation. They
humanise and soften us; they quicken the
pulse and open the heart. I am sure that the
Arabs who listened with me attentively,
under the sycamore, at Tel-el-Amarna, to the
story of King Zakariah and the Maiden
Salameh, must to some extent have been
made better if sadder men by meditating on
its simple incidents.

In former days, said the narrator, pointing
with his meagre fingerfor he was an old
and withered manto the broad and desolate
valley at the entrance of which the ruins of a
great city were visible, this was the capital of
a mighty king, named Zakariah. It contained
mosques, and baths, and palaces, and market-
places, and lofty gateways.

(It was evident at once that, according to
the peculiar habit of Egyptian story-tellers,
the real circumstances and probabilities of the
scene around had vanished from his mind,
and that he was thinking of Cairo, the only
type of a living seat of empire with which he
was acquainted. In all the subsequent part
of his narrative, therefore, the listeners were
compelled to localise the incidents in the city
of Victory; and sometimes even, as he
warmed, he mentioned the names of well-
known streets, and otherwise allowed it to be
understood that he had no authority for
choosing that ruined place of the Gentiles as
the scene of his story, but that he did so
merely to increase the impression of veracity.)

King Zakariah was wise though young,
good though powerful. He was beloved by
his subjects, and dreaded by none but the
wicked. The land resounded with his praises.
Widows confidently committed their orphan
children to his care; and the poor scarcely
considered themselves poor as long as his
treasury was unexhausted. Popular affection
therefore became busy about his happiness;
and many hearts mourned when it began to
be whispered that the King, who lavished joy
so plentifully on others, was himself sad in
mind, troubled with visions and unsatisfied
longings, and deprived by some mysterious
cause of the power to taste those family
delights which the humblest of his subjects
under the wing of his protection could indulge
in. When he issued from his palace to go in
procession to the mosque, or to the bath, or
to some of his gardens in the country, women
holding their babies in their arms crowded
before his steps, and looking anxiously in his
careworn countenance, blest him, and prayed
aloud that his sorrows might be taken away,
and that he might preserve his life for his own
sake and for that of his people. It had indeed
been whispered abroad that a mighty malady
beyond the reach of the physician's skill was
gnawing the heart of this good Kingthat
he was without hope, and without care for
anything in this world; and as good kings
were not common in those ancient days, there
was perhaps something of selfishness in the
anxiety of his people. Yet this thought could
scarcely have occurred to him when he smiled
benevolently on the crowds that lined his
path and hastened on to be out of reach of
their sympathy.

The only person who knew the secret of
the King's melancholy was his mother, then
far stricken in years. Many of the courtiers,
moved, some by sympathy, and some by
curiosity, had frequently questioned her
women, who, not to lose the opportunity of
garrulity, gave them surmises instead of facts.
But, in truth, what they said only increased
the general ignorance. The mystery remained
hidden, because those who knew it spoke of
it only between themselvesnot that they
cared much for secrecy, but that they knew
that the sufferings of King Zakariah were
such as the world with difficulty appreciates.

Zakariah had found the source of his
unhappiness within himself. His was not a manly
but a maidenly frame of mind. His soul
thirsted for love, but he would not accept
love which might even seem to be directed
towards his station and not solely towards
himself. By long dwelling on the delights of
pure passion, entirely separated in origin and
in expression from all worldly considerations,
he had learned perhaps somewhat to
overestimate them. He came to believe that man
was created only for that enjoyment, and that

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