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an exemplary life in Tunis, he denied his
marriage, and there was no proof of it.

Had Ibrahim retained the smallest presence
of mind, no harm could have befallen him.
In that land of polygamy, his two wives (even
though one were European) would have
caused little scandal. His domestic position
was somewhat complicated but by no means
desperate. On departing from the Consul's
house, however, he would seem to have
become possessed by a strange panic not to be
explained by any rules of logic, and to have
gone mad straightway. His one idea was
that he was hurried on by destiny tomurder
Rebecca!

This miserable wretch, possessed by the fixed
idea of destroying Rebecca, made deliberate
preparations for carrying it into effect. But
with the strange fanaticism and superstition
which formed a main part of his character, and
which forms a part of many such characters in
those countries, he determined to give her a
chance for her life; for, he seems to have
thought in some confused, wild, mad, vain
way, that it might still be the will of
Providence that she should live.

He concerted measures with the captain of
a Greek vessel, whom he induced by heavy
bribes to enter into his views. He gave it
out that he was going to Algiers, to put an
end to the ridiculous report which had been
raised, and to destroy the claim which had
been set up by his pretended wife.

He embarked with Rebecca, without any
attendants, on board the Greek vessel, which
was bound for Algiers. Rebecca was taken
at once into the cabin, where her curiosity
was excited by a strange-looking black box
which stood at one end of it. The black box
was high and square, and large enough to
contain a person sitting upright. The lid was
thrown back; and she saw that the box was
lined with thick cotton cloth, and contained a
small brass pitcher full of water and a loaf of
bread. Whilst she was examining these things,
Ibrahim and the Captain entered; they neither
of them spoke one word; but, coming behind
her, Ibrahim placed his hand over her mouth,
and muffling her head in her veil, lifted her
into the box with the assistance of the captain,
and shut down the lid, which they securely
fastened. They then carried the box between
them upon deck, and lowered it over the side
of the vessel. The box had holes bored in
the lid; it was very strong; and so built as
to float like a boat.

The Greek vessel continued her course
towards Algiers. Either the crew had really
not noticed the strange proceedings of Ibrahim
and the Captain, or (which is more
probable) they were paid to be silent. It is
certain that they did not attempt to interfere.

The next morning, as a French steamer, the
Panama, was bearing towards Tunis,
something like the hull of a small vessel was seen
drifting about directly in their course. They
picked it up, as it floated athwart the steamer's
bow; and were horrified to hear feeble cries
proceeding from the interior. Hastily breaking
it open, they found the unhappy Rebecca
nearly dead with fright and exhaustion.
When she was sufficiently recovered to speak,
she told the captain how she had come into
that strange condition, and he made all speed
on to Tunis.

The French Consul immediately dispatched
a swift sailing steamer to Algiers with Rebecca
and her nearest friends on board, bearing a
dispatch to the governor, containing a hasty
account of all these things. The steamer
arrived first. When the Greek vessel entered
the port, Ibrahim and the Captain were
ordered to follow the officer on guard, and in
a few moments Ibrahim stood face to face
with his victim. To render the complication
more complete, the French wife hearing that
a steamer from Tunis had arrived with
dispatches, went down to the governor's house
to make inquiries after her husband.

At first, Ibrahim nearly fainted; but he
soon regained his insane self, and boldly
confessed his crime. Addressing himself to
Rebecca, he said:

' I confided thee to the sea, for I thought it
might be the will of Providence to save thee!
If thou hadst died, it would have been
Providence that decreed thy fate, but thou art
saved, and I am destroyed.'

Both the wives wept bitterly. Their natural
jealousy of each other was merged into the
desire to save the fanatic from the
consequence of his madness. Rebecca attempted
to deny her former statement, and used great
intercession with her relatives to forego their
vengeance. The Frenchwoman made interest
with the authorities too, but it was all,
happily, in vain. The friends of Rebecca were
implacable and insisted on justice.

Ibrahim works now in the gallies at Toulon.
The captain is under punishment also. The
magician, it is to be feared, is practising his old
trade.

This is, perhaps, as strange an instance as
there is on record, of an audacious and besotted
transference of every responsibility to
Providence. As though Providence had left man
to work out nothing for himself! It is
probable that this selfish monomaniac made the
same pretext to his mind for basely marrying
the widow, whom he intended to desert.
There is no kind of impiety so monstrous as
this; and yet there is, perhaps, none encountered
so frequently, in one phase or other, in
many aspects of life.

To be Published Monthly, with the Magazines,
Price 2d., or Stamped, 3d.,
THE HOUSEHOLD NARRATIVE
OF
CURRENT EVENTS.
CONDUCTED
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
BEING
A Monthly Supplement to 'HOUSEHOLD WORDS.'

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