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having tuned it, in a voice of marvellous
sweetness chanted the following verses:

"In absence I longed for thee as the thirsty flowers
long for the dews of night;

"As the Arab longs to see the white sides of his
tent gleaming in the deserts afar off; as the mother for
the first kiss of her first-born; as the soul of the
faithful for paradise.

"Food was not pleasant to me, for the sweetest
viands seemed bitter.

"Rest was not pleasant to me, for I feared that thy
feet were weary.

"Sleep stayed no longer on my eyelids than does the
nestward-bound bird on the branch where it alights to
rest its wings.

"I rose to escape from my dreams, and I lay down
to escape from my waking thoughts.

""Without thee I cannot live, and with thee I am
content to die."

As she concluded she stooped towards
Gamadel and touched his brow fondly with
her hand. Cathalla dared not advance and
could not retire.

Then the master of the house took the lute,
and having tuned it, sang in a voice that
resounded like the clang of cymbals:

"For the love of thee I have steeped my hands in
blood; and the wealth which I lay at thy feet is
gathered by the strength of my arm.

"I have not measured yards of cloth nor weighed
the teeth of dead beasts in scales.

"I have not lied to foolish men nor deceived silly
women.

"They come with their hands full of gold; some to
buy more gold, and others to buy more life.

"Not one has returned except in semblance.

"What matters it that the people murmur? Now
thou art come we will away to the land of Ajem, and
the secret of the well will never be known."

Cathalla learned from these words that he
had really penetrated into a house of crime,
and regretted not that he had put the two
blacks to death. Ordinary prudence would
have counselled him to retire whilst it was
yet time; but although the lady was evidently
associated with Gamadel in crime, her fascination
remained powerful. Curiosity, also, to learn
more of this strange history, urged Cathalla
onwards. No other person save the two lovers
seemed astir in the house. On all sides the doors
of chambers well-lighted were open, but no one
moved. The young man, casting aside his
mantle and firmly grasping his sword,
descended a narrow staircase, and soon found
himself on a level with the garden in a dark
corner where he was concealed by trees.
From what they said, it seemed that they
were cousins; that they had lived formerly at
Stamboul, from which city they had been
forced suddenly to fly, by different ways; that
the young man had continued in various
places his terrible mode of lifedecoying rich
men by secret emissaries to his house by
the promise of unlimited wealth procured
magicallyand that the lady had long
searched for him in vain.

"Whisper into their ears," said Gamadel,
with terrible knowledge of human nature;
"though they be rich as Suliman ben Daood,
with not a month of life before them; tell
them that there is a way to get more money
without work, and that the grave may be
spurned back as I spurn this cushion. Not
one will disbelieve! All come here with pearls
and jewels; all come and die and go to their
paradise, which they would exchange for one
hour of basking at thy feet."

Gamadel was about to say further impious
things; but the sword of Cathalla gleamed
over his head, and he fell and spoke no more.
The lady became white with terror, and
looked to the right and to the left for help;
but seeing none, tried to smilethe smile of
one upon the rack, who will not allow his
torturer to know that he has power over him.
Then she spoke the sweetest words she could
remember, so that Cathalla, who had
meditated doing vengeance on her likewise,
dropped the point of his sword arid listened.
She feigned to be glad of her deliverance
from a monster like Gamadel, and offered to
follow Cathalla. But he now loathed her
even because she was so submissive, and
imperiously commanded her to say how many
more slaves were in the house. Two, she
said, the steward and the porter; and offered
to lead him where he might slay them. She
kept her promise; for she had formed a plan
to kill Cathalla afterwards, and take to flight
alone with a casket containing all the wealth
of Gamadel in jewels of prodigious value.
"With this," said she, exhibiting it, "we
will fly to the world's end." She beckoned
to the young man to follow her into a room;
so fascinating was her smile, that in
spite of his good resolutions he was about to
follow; when, as if by a miracle, a line of
Gamadel's song flashed across his mind:
"The secret of the well will never be
known."

"Lady," said he, " wherefore didst thou
avoid that great stone in the doorway? Is
the well beneath? Come towards me across
it; else I will slay thee with this sword."

Upon this, seeing that she was discovered,
the face of the woman changed to that of a
fury, and she began to utter horrible
maledictions. The choice of death was before her.
She endeavoured bravely to meet the sharp
edge of the sword, but could not; and leaping
with a fearful cry upon the stone, that gave
way at once, she fell to join the numerous
victims on whose spoils the wealth of her
lover was based. Cathalla stood a moment
horror-stricken; but the wicked woman,
thinking to get rid of her enemy and escape
at once, had thrown fire into a room full of
rich stuffs, the spoils of the murdered. Smoke
and flames began to rise on every side: the
crackling of burning wood showed how
rapidly the conflagration spread. The young
man snatched up the casket and made his
escape in time; but, the house of Gamadel,
with the whole of the Cassar, was destroyed
that night. The poor people, suddenly

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