From Bentley's Miscellany.


"Thereby hangs a tale."

but which, for several years before he became its
proprietor, had remained uninhabited. Notwith-
standing the advantages of its position, it had been
completely deserted, for popular belief had marked
it out as a place accursed-a spot haunted by an
efreet-and among a people so credulously super-
stitious as the Mohammedans, no one was to be
found either sufficiently esprit fort to laugh at the
story, or sufficiently courageous to tempt the
demon by disputing the locality with it. The
tenement would soon have fallen to ruins, had not
Mr. Walne, wisely disregarding the public rumor,
ventured upon becoming its tenant, and testing in
his own person the truth of the strange stories
that were circulated concerning its supernatural
He caused the forsaken mansion to be
thoroughly repaired and comfortably fitted up;
and from the moment of his installing himself
there, he has continued to divide his time equally
between it and his official residence in Cairo.

It is scarcely possible for any race of people to be more strongly imbued with superstition than the Egyptian Mohammedans. Their belief in supernatural influences is unlimited; and not to mention the inexplicable witchcraft of the Evil Eye, the different descriptions of spirits supposed by them to be allowed to wander upon earth, and interfere with the actions of mankind, exceed in variety the category of kelpies, wraiths, and bogles, which the Scottish peasantry formerly pinned their faith upon. Besides the legions of viewless ginn (or genii) for whose propitiation all manner of deferential ohservances are in use, and the ghools which are believed to haunt cemeteries, and feed upon the ghastly tenants of the grave, there are efreets, a term equally applied to I had the pleasure of visiting him at Minieh, malicious demons, and to the ghosts of murdered and heard from his own lips the circumstances persons, which latter are religiously believed by that had attached so unenviable a reputation to the Egyptians to "revisit the glimpses of the his pretty retirement. Certainly nothing could moon," and wander restlessly round the scene look less like the idea I had formed to myself of that witnessed the destruction of their earthly a haunted house than that cheerful, commodious part. Woe to the luckless mortal who should habitation, with its cool, airy chambers, and its come in contact with an efreet during its nocturnal elegant deewan, (or reception room,) adorned with perambulations, for one touch of that shadowy faisceaux of valuable Memlook arms, and blending form would turn him into a demoniac! Such, at the evidences of oriental usages with European least, is the faith of the ignorant Egyptians; and comfort. I looked in vain for any of those gloomy that being the case, it is not to be wondered at features which are supposed to characterize localthat they invariably fly with terror from any hab-ities identified with tales of horror: everything itation that has acquired the unenviable reputation was serenely bright; and the haunting spirit of of being possessed by a haunting spirit. the place, I should have pronounced to be-the spirit of courteous hospitality!

Mrs. Poole, in her "Englishwoman in Egypt," has given an interesting account of her sojourn, during the commencement of her residence in Cairo, in a house where a murder had been committed, and which was reputed to be haunted-of the vexations to which she was subjected by the strange noises that were nightly heard, and the consequent terrors of her servants-of the curious methods that were resorted to in order to lay the ghost-and of the impenetrable mystery that involved its final disappearance. When I was in Egypt, Mrs. Poole had removed to another habitation, therefore I had no opportunity of seeing the haunt of her unearthly visitant; but it was my lot to visit in a house in the environs of Cairo, similarly circumstanced, where, although I did not see the ghost, I heard all about it. It is of that house that I am now about to treat.

Mr. Walne told me, although he had so far prevailed over the terrors of his Egyptian servants as to have succeeded in inducing them to live in the house, yet that no earthly consideration would tempt any one of them to set foot after dark in that portion of it which composed what had formerly been the women's apartment, or hareem. It was in the hareem that a fearful crime had been perpetrated by the last Moslem possessor; and it is in the hareem that the spirit of the victim is said nightly to wander and bemoan itself. That strange noises were heard there, he admitted to be the case, for his own ears had repeatedly testified to the truth of the assertion; but he accounted for those nocturnal sounds in so rational a manner, that perhaps, in the interest of my story, I ought to keep back the natural causes he assigned About three miles from Cairo, and not more for the so-called supernatural visitation. As, than a quarter of a mile from the vice-regal resi- however, I honor truth more than I admire dence of Shoubra, at a place called Minieh, (which, romance, I shall hint that his firm conviction was, however, must not be confounded with the distant that the restless ghost was neither more nor less town of Minieh, known to all travellers going up than a legion of rats and mice which had accuthe Nile,) situated in the midst of verdant fields, mulated to an extraordinary extent during the and just near enough to Mohammed Ali's rus in years that the house had been shut up; and that, urbe to benefit by the superior cultivation, and the when it once more became inhabited, they had shady avenues that surround that luxurious retreated to the apartments not occupied by his retreat, there is a pretty country-house, at pres- household, (the hareem,) where their nightly gam ent in the possession of the English vice-consul, bols produced noises which were religiously

believed by his servants to emanate from the awful young and experienced creature was left to her world of shadows.

The story which gave rise to that belief is as follows, and is curiously characteristic of the manners of the people among whom it occurred:

own guidance, and to rely upon herself alone. At first, the natural sorrow she felt for the loss of one whom she had both loved and revered as a mother, absorbed her too completely to leave her a thought for aught else but grief dwells not long with the young; and in a few weeks Nefeeseh began to think that there would be no harm in extending her rides, and that there were other motives for going out besides praying at the mosque of the holy Zeyneb, or carrying palm branches to the great cemetery that skirts the Desert, to adorn her mother-in-law's grave. But timid and ignorant, she knew not how to make use of the liberty she had acquired, or to extend the sphere of her enjoyments; and although each day she sallied forth with her negress slave and

Among the superior officers attached to the staff of Ibrahim Pasha, when he commanded the Egyptian army in Syria, was a Bey named Masloum, holding the rank of Bimbashi, or colonel, a man of distinguished bravery, and a personal favorite of the Prince Generalissimo, whose confidence he possessed, and over whose mind he exercised great influence. Masloum Bey was still young, and had been married only a few months previous to the opening of the Syrian campaign; but although passionately attached to his youthful wife, he did not deem it advisable to take her with him to the seat of warfare. With the jeal-her Saises, under the superintendence of old Husous vigilance of a Mohammedan husband, he left her in charge of his mother when he could no longer watch over her himself, first having removed his hareem to a country house at Minieh, and strictly enjoining that there it should remain in complete seclusion during the whole period of his absence.

sein, the one-eyed eunuch of Mebroukeh, determined to ride through the gay bazaars and thoroughfares of Cairo, and to visit the hareems of her friends, the tyrannizing force of habit restrained her, and involuntarily, as it were, she stopped short at the cemetery, and, dismounting from her donkey, took her accustomed station by the tomb of Mebroukeh.

It is a strange, solemn place, that great city of the dead, so thickly peopled, yet so silent: the throng, the hum, the thrift of busy Cairo on one side, the awful stillness of the barren desert on the other-fit emblems of life and eternity, with the inevitable grave between! Turbaned headstones and white rounded cupolas rise over the thousand tombs that stretch in dreary confusion along the skirts of the desert, each day adding some new habitation to that vast Necropolis; and beyond them, placed in the desert itself, rise those

So far from feeling wounded at the distrust evinced by these precautions, the fair Nefeeseh gloried in the jealousy from which they proceeded; for, in common with Mohammedan wives, she would have conceived herself slighted by her husband, had he treated her with that holy confidence which it is the pride of a Christian matron to obtain and to deserve; and-such is the moral debasement consequent upon the system of female education pursued in the East-she would have been wholly unable to distinguish between such a confidence and apathy the most offensive. Therefore, when Mebroukeh, her mother-in-law, ex-graceful monuments of Arabian splendor, the claimed, "Oh, well hast thou been named Nefeeseh, my soul! for thou art more precious in the sight of thy husband than every other earthly good; and, like the miser who buries his treas-naries whose ambition grasped at, and appropriure that none else may see it, he would fain hide thee even from the light of the sun!" Nefeeseh, with a feeling of exultation at being thus valued, submitted with cheerful alacrity to the restrictions imposed upon her, which limited her recreations to rides upon the homar alee (or high ass) in the secluded environs of Minieh, and occasionally a visit to Cairo to lay a votive offering upon the shrine of the Seyyideh Zeyneb,† and to supplicate for the intercessions of the Saint with the Most High for safety and protection to Masloum Bey.


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tombs of the Memlook sultans, their fretted domes and delicate arches, and tall minarets clustering in airy pomp over the dust of the foreign merce

ated, the inheritance of the Pharaohs and the Ptolemies. The very names of the Circassian rulers of Egypt are now almost forgotten in the land they made their own, even as their mausolea are fast crumbling into decay. In another century, dome, and arch, and minaret, will have mingled with the desert sands and be swept into oblivion; and the traveller will ride over the lonely spot, heedless of the "fiery dust," once instinct with life, that slumbers beneath, and never dreaming that under those heaps of rubbish rest a whole dynasty—a warlike and voluptuous race, who burst the bonds of slavery, and made themselves kings of the antique territory where Joseph governed and Moses legislated!

Little thought Nefceseh of those brilliant despots, as her eyes wandered listlessly over the picturesque outlines of their tombs; still less did she think, or know, of that race of intellectual Titans who had founded the Great Pyramids that loomed in the distance. One of the painful peculiarities of the actual race of Egyptians is their

profound ignorance of the ancient glories of their | His hands were much whiter than those of her country; one of the humiliating characteristics countrymen, and his complexion many degrees of Mohammedan women in general, is their abso- fairer-so fair, as to have appeared almost effemlute want of all such mental culture as would inate, had not a well-formed light brown moustaarouse them to investigation and inquiry on sub-chio imparted a certain degree of manliness to his jects which interest the intellectual portions of the youthful countenance. civilized world. To them the past is a blank- Nefeeseh's curiosity was aroused, and she felt the future, nothing-the present, a narrow circle that before she quitted the cemetery she must of puerile occupations, in which the tastes and ascertain the nature of the stranger's employment. requirements of mere animal existence predomi- Looking round first, to be certain that no observer nate. To them the Region of Intellect is a was within ken, she directed her negress, Naïmé, Terra Incognita which they never dream of to approach near enough to the Effendi to peep exploring. To read and write a very little-to | over his shoulder and glance at the contents of his embroider to compound those delicate violet- book. The girl immediately obeyed; but, with sherbets and rose-conserves, which the inmates of the most distinguished hareems in Cairo reserve for their own peculiar care-to dance with the wanton allurements of a Ghawazee-and to excel in those feminine arts of personal adornment, by which a husband's sensual preference is to be propitiated such are the attainments that constitute a thoroughly accomplished Mohammedan woman. But of that higher moral education which exalts the mind, purifies the heart, and spiritualizes the affections, they are as ignorant as the beasts of the field.

Nefeeseh was not in advance of the generality of her country women in the development of intellectual resource; and while seated in that solemn place, surrounded by so many incentives to reflection, she languidly fanned away the flies with a green palm-branch, her thoughts took no bolder flight than wondering whether Masloum Bey would return home before the Moolid-en-Nebbi,* or whether he would remain absent another year; whether her new shintyani (trousers) should be composed of Aleppo satin or of the Caireen silk called Devil's-skin; mixed up with reflections half-tender, half-indignant, upon the protracted duration of her temporary widowhood, and the inutility of ordering new clothes when there was no husband near to admire her-no Fantasiaf to go to, or to give. How long was she thus to be debarred the pleasures of her age and station?

In the midst of these cogitations her attention was attracted towards a young man seated at some little distance, whose eyes were evidently riveted on her person. He wore the elegant dress of an Effendi, but his observation of her appeared to be connected with an occupation which she had never yet seen exercised by an Egyptian Effendi, or even a scribe. With a portable desk before him, upon which rested a large open book, and an apparatus in no way resembling the reed-pen and inkhorn of an eastern scribe, (it was a palette and a box of colors,) he appeared, when he withdrew his eyes from the place she occupied, to be intent upon noting down something, every now and then looking up from the page to her form, and then resuming his task.

*The great annual festival in honor of the birth of the Prophet.

+The Arabs denominate every entertainment given in

the hareem a fantasia.

that address peculiar to the sex in all parts of the world, instead of at once advancing towards the point of attraction, she moved off in a contrary direction with an air of the most unconscious carelessness, and after describing a considerable circumbendibus, stole softly upon him from behind, and cast her eyes furtively over his open book.

A shrill cry, smothered in a moment, caused the young man to start and look round, and as his eyes met those of the intruder, the ejaculation of "Bismillah!" (In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate) burst from Naïmé's lips, and throwing a handful of salt into his face--the common method of neutralizing the effect of the Evil Eye-she scampered away with all the speed of



Fly, oh my mistress!" she exclaimed, as she regained the side of Nefeeseh; "truly, the Effendi is not a man, but a sorcerer--he is casting a spell over us! When I looked over his shoulder, I beheld, oh, wonderful! no writing in his book, but you, my mistress-you yourself there, and your slave, Naïmé, by your side!"

"Wonderful!" repeated her mistress; is great! Can I be there, and here too?"


"And when I looked in his face, it was strange and beautiful to behold-the blueness of his eyes dazzled me! the fire that darted from them scorched me up!" continued Naïmé.

At these words, Nefeeseh arose and advanced a few paces toward the stranger; but Naïmé, grasping her dress, exclaimed, in affright,

"Whither are you going, oh, my mistress?" Look not upon those eyes, as you love your soul!”

"I must see what thou hast seen, ya Naïmé! The man is doubtless a magician. I will ask him to show me Masloum, my husband."

And heedless of the danger she was incurring had any one beheld her accosting a man, Nefeeseh was quickly at the side of the stranger. Luckily, there was no one in sight, and her imprudence produced no fatal results.

She cast her eyes with a strange mixture of eagerness and terror over the page which had thrown her slave into such a tremor, but prepared in some measure by Naïmé's declaration for what she was to see, her senses stood the shock of beholding a very striking and spirited drawing, representing herself and her negress seated among

the tombs, with which the artist-for such he was and she could see that the young artist was there -had enriched his sketch-book.

For a moment she stood in rapt astonishment, gazing upon the sketch; then, turning her flashing black orbs (all that the discreet boorkoo permitted to be revealed of her face) upon the stranger, she found his eyes fixed in most undisguised admiration upon her own.

"Mashallah!" burst from her lips, while something of fascination seemed to emanate from the "unholy blue" of those bold eyes, that chained her to the spot in a state of feeling vibrating between fear and delight. The young man at length withdrew his gaze, and turning over the leaves of his book, drew her attention to a sketch of Mohammed Ali, and another of Abbas Pasha, both of them such admirable likenesses, that Nefeeseh at once recognized them.

"Wonderful!" she exclaimed, clapping her hands; "truly this is magic, oh man! Canst thou, in like manner, show me my husband, Masloum Bey, the Lion of War, the companion of Ibrahim Pasha in Syria, for my soul is sick at his absence, and languishes to behold him?"

Unhesitatingly, but in terms so respectful that they inspired confidence, the stranger assured her that his art would enable him to show her the image of Masloum Bey; but for this achievement a day or two must be allowed him, and even then, he ventured to suggest, the cemetery would be a perilous place to attempt a second interview; it was open to the public; to-day it was deserted, another day would it be so?

While he yet spoke, Naïmé, rushing up to her mistress, seized her by the skirt of her anteree, and dragging her away, declared that the old eunuch was waking from his nap, and, in another moment, would be in quest of her; and Nefeeseh, hurrying away, contrived to regain her usual place, before Hussein became aware of her absence; and when he rejoined her, she was fanning herself as deliberately with the green palm branch, as though nothing had occurred.

They mounted their donkeys and returned to Minieh. Once or twice, on her way home, Nefeeseh turned her head round, and beheld the Effendi following at a considerable distance; on reaching the gate of her residence she again glanced back, and there he was, stationed at the foot of a tree, evidently watching her movements. No sooner had she entered, than she ascended to the terraced roof, and saw the stranger advance near enough to take a scrutinizing view of the premises, and then turn back and retrace his steps to Cairo.

The following day was Thursday, the eve of the Mohammedan Sabbath, when it is the custom for the friends of the dead to flock to the cemeteries, and adorn the tombs of their kindred with green palm branches; the succeeding one, the Sabbath itself, the day on which, in accordance with Moslem customs, the distribution of bread and meat to the poor takes place at the graves of certain wealthy individuals who have left bequests to that effect. On both of those occasions Nefeeseh was there,

also, but amidst so many lookers on there was no possibility of accosting him with safety. The first day her patience was sorely chafed by this obstacle, but on the second it waxed so faint that she would certainly have committed herself by some imprudence, had not a circumstance accidentally facilitated the doing that on which her mind was bent.

A rich bey was on that day buried, and the funeral ceremonies terminated by a buffalo being slaughtered at his grave, and the flesh divided among the clamorous poor assembled there. When this disgusting spectacle commenced, there was a general rush towards the spot, and in the confusion caused by the crowd hurrying thither from all sides, the artist contrived to approach Nefeeseh near enough to whisper, "Can you read?"

"Yes!" was the brief reply. In the next moment a slip of paper was thrust into her hand, and he was gone.

Thus ran the scrap :- "Your wish has been obeyed, but the image of the Lion of War can only be revealed to you in his own hareem. Can you trust your negress to assist in bringing this to pass? If so, send her forth this evening to the end of the road that leads to Shoubra, order her to obey my directions in all things, and leave the rest to me."

The imprudent Nefeeseh, carried away by her wishes, impelled by a mingled feeling of curiosity to behold the image of her absent husband, and of dangerous longing to see more of the stranger, whom she suspected to be a Frank as well as a magician, returned home, not to hesitate, but to resolve. Naïmé was easily prevailed on to do her mistress' bidding, and that evening beheld her sally forth on her unhallowed mission.

Night came on; the lamp was lighted in the hareem; old Hussein slumbered at his post, and Nefeeseh, wondering and alarıned at the protracted absence of her slave, roamed backwards and forwards from the latticed windows to the staircase, listening for her coming. At last the outer door was beaten upon, the eunuch, with his one eye but half open, lazily roused himself to undo the fastenings, and as the muffled form of Naïmé glided in, Nefeeseh rushed forward, seized her by the hand, and dragged her into her room, venting her agitation in angry reproaches for her dilatoriness. At the same moment Hussein locked the hareem door upon them, and leaving his mistress and her handmaiden to finish their dispute, bore away the key to its nightly place under his pillow, and was soon asleep again.

"What said the Frank magician to thee? Where is the image of my husband?" were the eager inquiries of Nefeeseh, as soon as Hussein was out of hearing.

Without uttering a word, Naïmé produced from under her wrappings a roll of paper, which she opened out, and placed before her mistress; and while Nefeeseh bent over it, and saw that the pictured scroll represented the interior of a tent, with

an Egyptian Bey reclining upon cushions, and a Ghawazee wantonly dancing before him, her attendant deliberately unfastened her face-veil, and divested herself of her muthlings.

A jealous pang shot through the young wife's bosom, as she gazed upon the drawing; then, with an angry flush, looking up, she beheld standing before her, not Naimé, but-the Frank stranger!

He had inveigled the negress into a house near Shoubra, and there, having plied her with candied hashhish, a condiment which no Egyptian can resist, he took advantage of the delirium produced by that intoxicating preparation, to induce her to lend him her tob, her habbarah, and her boorkoo, with which he effectually disguised himself; and then locked her up, intending to return and liberate her before the fumes of the hashhish were dissipated. And thus did that rash Christian boldly violate the sanctity of Masloum Bey's hareem.

door, and perceiving a man within, rushed at him with his drawn sword, both of the delinquents precipitated themselves upon him, and while Nefeeseh clung round the old eunuch, and effectually impeded his movements, the young Frank easily disarmed him, and, obeying the instinct of self-preservation, rushed down stairs and out of the house, leaving his victim to meet alone the consequences of their transgression.

With the generous heroism of woman, Nefeeseh continued to detain and to struggle with the old man, until convinced that the fugitive had made good his escape; then, relinquishing her grasp, she fell at Hussein's feet, embraced his knees, covered his hands with tears, and kissing them in token of humility, she besought him to have mercy upon her, and not betray her to her husband. She protested her innocence of all connivance in the stranger's fraudulent entry into the hareem; showed But in the middle of the night a strange, un-him the picture that had led to such fatal consewonted noise was heard at Nefeeseh's gate. The quences, and appealed to Naimé for the truth of hand of some one, evidently in terror, beat violently what she advanced. For a length of time he reupon it, and a shrill female voice, in piercing ac-mained absolutely steeled against her despair, but cents, cried—“ Open quickly, oh Hussein! It is at last a sullen promise was extracted from him, I, Naïmé. I have been bewitched, robbed, locked that he would remain forever silent upon the events up by an accursed Frank sorcerer, a son of the of that night; and Nefeeseh once more breathed Evil One! By your eyes! open, I say, and save freely.


Hussein, aroused, and now fully awake, answered through the door-"Begone, fool! what dirt wouldst thou make me eat with thy lies? Naïmé is safe in the hareem and asleep. Pass on thy way, and let us sleep too."

"I tell thee, oh Hussein! that I am Naïmé. Open the door and be convinced. I have been plundered and locked up, and have escaped out of a window, and here I am, half naked, and well nigh mad; or, if thou wilt not believe my words, go to the hareem and believe thine eyes, for thou wilt not find Naïmé there."

Thus adjured, Hussein unbarred the door, and opened it just wide enough to enable him to see, by the clear moonlight, Naïmé crouching on the threshold, with barely sufficient covering on her limbs to answer the purposes of decency.

How did he keep his promise?

Masloum Bey was one evening seated with Ibrahim Pasha in a kiosk built by the prince at the hot springs on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, near Tiberias, where the head-quarters of the Egyptian army were then established. There had been wine and wassail, and dancing girls to enliven the leisure of the voluptuary and his favorite, and the faces of both were flushed with excess, when, in a pause of the entertainment, it was announced, that a horseman had arrived bearing a letter for Masloum Bey.

He quitted the presence, and found in the anteroom one of his own saises, who had ridden night and day from Cairo, with a despatch from Hussein the eunuch. A few brief lines told him the history of Nefeeseh's frailty, and his own dishonor.

Masloum Bey reëntered the kiosk, prostrated "By the beard of the Prophet!" he exclaimed, himself before the prince, and, confiding to him stretching out his hand, and dragging her in the substance of Hussein's letter, entreated for "what devilry is this? Thou art Naïmé indeed, and, yet, with this hand, I locked thee in the hareem with thy mistress at nightfall!"

"Wallah!" ejaculated the negress, in a tone of dismay; "then the Frank is with my mistress!" Hussein hastily lighted a fenoos, drew forth the key of the hareem, took down his sabre, and then mounted the staircase leading to the women's apartment, followed by Naïmé.

Locked in-unable to escape, for there was but one outlet to the hareem, and of that Hussein held the key-the windows secured by iron bars, that precluded all attempts at egress, Nefeeseh and her companion heard the voices and the sound of approaching footsteps, with the terrible conviction that they were lost; but desperation lent them energy. When, therefore, Hussein unlocked the

leave to return immediately to Egypt, promising that his absence from the army should not exceed six weeks, the time necessary for the journey thither and back again. Ibrahim Pasha not only granted his favorite permission to return home, but, well knowing that vengeance was the motive that impelled him thither, gave him a carte blanche for everything he might do during his stay in Egypt; and, thus furnished, Masloum Bey lost not a moment in commencing his journey.

It is a weary ride, that long, long route from the land of Galilee to the banks of the Nile; and Masloum's thoughts were turbulent companions to him on the way; but at last, after many a restless day and night passed in the saddle, the minarets of Cairo greeted his longing eyes. And soon he entered its narrow, picturesque-looking streets, and

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