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"He cannot have it," the Vizier answered,
"so let him begin."

Here was a terrible blow. The piano was
essential to Madame's interpretation of the
little drama, to throw in colour, breath, and
effect. Besides, it was useful in covering
those little inequalities of Madame's organ.
What should he do?

"Let him begin," said the Vizier, in a voice
of thunder.

There was no help for it: so Piquette led
out Madame to the middle of the floor with
as much grace as he could, left her there,
and then drew a little to one side to wait
events.

Madame, some waynow that she was
facing her publichad got back some of her
courage; nay, she felt something like
enthusiasm filling her gentle breast; and her
famous ballet charger of L'amour sans bien
being now brought round, she sprang upon
his back at once, and started at a gallop.
Besides, she saw that the Soldan had been
scrutinising her closely; but she did not see
that his lips had curled as he finished his
survey. So she commenced the history of
her unfortunate young man and his ill-fated
love.

          Yes, this fire shall consume me,
             This love within me ever burn;
          And if thy lover e'er desert thee,
             Call on me, and I'll return.

"Mais," continues Madame, dropping her
head pensively, and fixing the Commander
of the Faithful with her eyes,  " 'Tis the old
story,—L'amour sans biensans bien! (with
mournful and desponding glance) n'est rien!
n'est rien! n'est Ri————EN!! "  Piquette,
from the corner, expresses his faith in the
dismal truth by profound shaking of his
head.

Everything was going admirably. The
Soldan was seen to take his narghili from his
mouth for an instant, to give utterance to a
single word, significant, doubtless, of his
approbation. "Naoum!" was the word
spoken by the Soldan; and he replaced his
pipe.

The dragoman interpreted it to eager
Piquette.

"Monsieur," said the dragoman, "His
Highness orders me to say that he wishes
Madame to have done at once."

Piquette was thunder-stricken, —crushed.
He could only murmur,  "She has only just
begunshe- "

Meantime, the poor lady, utterly unconscious
of this dialogue, began to intone the
second portion of her little history. Her
eyes now swam with tenderness as she
warmed to her theme; for she was at that,
tender parting of the lovers:

          Yes, 'twere better that I leave thee
             Bend to fate, so harsh and stern.
          Still, should this cruel one deceive thee,
             Ah, call on me, and I'll return!

"Ah! call on-"

The Soldan has again removed his pipe,
and a strange guttural issues, with a cloud of
smoke. "Zieck!" says the Soldan.

"Ah! call on me," Madame still sings,
"and I'll-"

The dragoman interprets. "His Highness
orders me to say, that unless Madame holds
her tongue this instant, he will have her
thrown into the Bosphorus."

Madame was just about fixing her august
listener with her eyes, entering on the moral
burden of her song,— for, L'amour sans
bien! sans- ,"  when the wretched husband
all aghast, rushed to her, and placed
his hand on her mouth. The perspiration
dropped from his brow, and there was a
profound silence for a minute or more.

Again the Soldan removed his pipe.
"Boulack!" was the monosyllable that came
forth.

Dragoman interprets. "His Highness de-
sires, Monsieur, to see you dance."

"Dance!"  says Piquette, now all but distraught
by these accumulated horrors; "Sir,
I cannot dance; I don't know how. I
merely go about with my wife, to carry her
cloak and- "

"Zieck! Boulack!" the Soldan spits
forth, rather than speaks.

Dragoman interprets, very quickly. "His
Highness orders me to say, that unless you
dance at once, he will have you impaled by
his chief executioner, and your body thrown
to the dogs."

There was nothing for it. Unhappy
Piquette had to go through a series of
ill-regulated leaps and gambadoes, as unlike
dancing as could be conceived,— all to the
unconcealed disgust of the Sultan and his
court.

"Chick!"  says that imperial personage,
removing his pipe for the last time.

Dragoman: "His Highness desires that
you will withdraw yourselves as speedily as
possible: that you will quit Constantinople
to-morrow morning. If you ever return, His
Highness will have you both flung into the
Bosphorus!"

Why pursue the sad chronicle further?

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