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deserts of Upper Egypt, where she should be more than their justice, or that they would formet by the same number, and her ransom should bear the gratification of any ardour of desire, or be paid.
caprice of cruelty. I, however, kissed my maids, That no time might be lost, as they expected and endeavoured to pacify them by remarking, that the proposal would not be refused, they im- that we were yet treated with decency, and that, mediately began their journey to the monastery; since we were now carried beyond pursuit, there and when they arrived, Imlac went forward with was no danger of violence to our lives. the former messenger to the Arab's fortress. Ras- “ When we were to be set again on horseselas was desirous to go with them ; but neither back, my maids clung round me, and refused to his sister nor Imlac would consent. The Arab, be parted; but I commanded them not to irriaccording to the custom of his nation, observed tate those who had us in their power. We trathe laws of hospitality with great exactness to velled the remaining part of the day through an those who put themselves into his power, and, unfrequented and pathless country, and came in a few days, brought Pekuah with her maids, by moonlight to the side of a hill, where the rest by easy journeys, to the place appointed, where, of the troop was stationed. Their tents were receiving the stipulated price, he restored her, pitched, and their fires kindled, and our chief with great respect, to liberty and her friends, was welcomed as a man much beloved by his and undertook to conduct them back towards dependants. Cairo beyond all danger of robbery or violence. * We were received into a large tent, where
The Princess and her favourite embraced each we found women who had attended their husother with transport too violent to be expressed, bands in the expedition. They set before us the and went out together to pour the tears of ten- supper which they had provided, and I ate it derness in secret, and exchange professions of rather to encourage my maids, than to comply kindness and gratitude. After a few hours they with any appetite of my own. When the meat returned into the refectory of the convent, where, was taken away, they spread the carpets for rein the presence of the prior and his brethren, pose. I was weary, and hoped to find in sleep the Prince required of Pekuah the history of her that remission of distress which nature seldom adventures.
denies. Ordering myself, therefore, to be undressed, I observed that the women looked very
earnestly upon me, not expecting, I suppose, to CHAP. XXXVIII.
see me so submissively attended. When my
upper vest was taken off, they were apparently The Adventures of the Lady Pekuah. struck with the splendour of my clothes, and
one of them timorously laid her hand upon the “At what time, and in what manner, I was embroidery. She then went out, and, in a short forced away,” said Pekuah, “ your servants have time, came back with another woman, who told you. The suddenness of the event struck seemed to be of higher rank and greater authome with surprise, and I was at first rather stu- rity. She did, at her entrance, the usual act of pified than agitated with any passion of either reverence, and, taking me by the hand, placed fear or sorrow. My confusion was increased by me in a smaller tent, spread with finer carpets, the speed and tumult of our flight, while we where I spent the night quietly with my maids. were followed by the Turks, who, as it seem- “ In the morning, as I was sitting on the ed, soon despaired to overtake us, or were afraid grass, the chief of the troop came towards me. of those whom they made a show of menacing. I rose up to receive him, and he bowed with
“ When the Arabs saw themselves out of great respect. “Illustrious lady,' said he,'my fordanger, they slackened their course; and as I tune is better than I had presumed to hope ; I was less harassed by external violence, I began am told, by my women, that I have a princess in to feel more uneasiness in my mind. After some my camp.'-'Sir,'answered I,ʻyour women have time, we stopped near a spring shaded with trees, deceived themselves and you ; I am not a prinin a pleasant meadow, where we were set upon cess, but an unhappy stranger, who intended the ground, and offered such refreshments as soon to have left this country, in which I am our masters were partaking. I was suffered to now to be imprisoned for ever.'-'Whoever, or sit with my maids apart from the rest, and none whencesoever you are,' returned the Arab, ' your attempted to comfort or insult us. Here I first dress, and that of your servants, shew your rank began to feel the full weight of my misery. The to be high, and your wealth to be great. Why girls sat weeping in silence, and from time to should you, who can so easily procure your rantime looked on me for succour. I knew not to som, think yourself in danger of perpetual capwhat condition we were doomed, nor could con- tivity ? the purpose of my incursions is to injecture where would be the place of our captivity, crease my riches, or more properly to gather or whence to draw any hope of deliverance. I tribute. The sons of Ishmael are the natural was in the hands of robbers and savages, and and hereditary lords of this part of the continent, had no reason to suppose that their pity was which is usurped by late invaders and low-born tyrants, from whom we are compelled to take temples will be demolished, to make stables of by the sword what is denied to justice. The granite and cottages of porphyry." violence of war admits no distinction ; the lance that is lifted at guilt and power will sometimes fall on innocence and gentleness. .“ How little,” said 1,“ did I expect that yes
CHAP. XXXIX. terday it should have fallen upon me.”
“Misfortunes,' answered the Arab,' should The Adventures of Pekuah continued. always be expected. If the eye of hostility could learn reverence or pity, excellence like yours had “We wandered about in this manner for been exempt from injury. But the angels of some weeks, either, as our chief pretended, for affliction spread their toils alike for the virtuous my gratification, or, as I rather suspected, for and the wicked, for the mighty and the mean. some convenience of his own. I endeavoured to Do not be disconsolate; I am not one of the appear contented where sullenness and resenta lawless and cruel rovers of the desert ; I know ment would have been of no use, and that enthe rules of civil life ; I will fix your ransom, deavour conduced much to the calmness of my give a passport to your messenger, and perform mind; but my heart was always with Nekayah, my stipulation with nice punctuality.'
and the troubles of the night much overbalan" You will easily believe that I was pleased ced the amusements of the day. My women, with his courtesy; and finding that his predo- who threw all their cares upon their mistress, minant passion was desire of money, I began set their minds at ease from the time when they now to think my danger less; for I knew that saw me treated with respect, and gave themno sum would be thought too great for the re- selves up to the incidental alleviations of our lease of Pekuah. I told him that he should have fatigue, without solicitude or sorrow. I was no reason to charge me with ingratitude, if I pleased with their pleasure, and animated with was used with kindness; and that any ransom their confidence. My condition had lost much which could be expected for a maid of common of its terror, since I found that the Arab ranged rank would be paid, but that he must not perthe country merely to get riches. Avarice is an sist to rate me as a princess. He said he would uniform and tractable vice : other intellectual consider what he should demand, and then, distempers are different in different constitutions smiling, bowed and retired.
of mind ; that which sooths the pride of one “Soon after, the women came about me, each will offend the pride of another ; but to the facontending to be more officious than the other, vour of the covetous there is a ready way and my maids themselves were served with re- bring money, and nothing is denied." verence. We travelled onwards by short jour- “At last we came to the dwelling of our nies. On the fourth day, the chief told me that chief; a strong and spacious house, built with my ransom must be two hundred ounces of gold; stone in an island of the Nile, which lies, as I was which I not only promised him, but told him told, under the tropic. "Lady,' said the Arab, that I would add fifty more, if I and my maids 'you shall rest after your journey a few weeks in were honourably treated.
this place, where you are to consider yourself “ I never knew the power of gold before as sovereign. My occupation is war: I have From that time I was the leader of the troop.— therefore chosen this obscure residence, from The march of every day was longer or shorter which I can issue unexpected, and to which I as I commanded, and the tents were pitched can retire unpursued. You may now repose in where I chose to rest. We now had camels and security: here are few pleasures, but here is no other conveniencies for travel : my own women danger. He then led me into the inner apartwere always at my side, and I amused myself ments, and, seating me on the richest couch, with observing the manners of the vagrant na- bowed to the ground. tions, and with viewing remains of ancient edi- “ His women, who considered me as a rival, fices with which these deserted countries appear looked on me with malignity ; but being soon to have been, in some distant age, lavishly em- informed that I was a great lady detained only bellished.
for my ransom, they began to vie with each other “ The chief of the band was a man far from in obsequiousness and reverence. illiterate : he was able to travel by the stars or “Being again comforted with new assurances the compass, and had marked in his erratic ex- of speedy liberty, I was for some days diverted peditions such places as are most worthy the no- from impatience by the novelty of the place. The tice of a passenger. He observed to me, that turrets overlooked the country to a great disbuildings are always best preserved in places tance, and afforded a view of many windings of little frequented, and difficult of access ; for the stream. In the day I wandered from one when once a country declines from its primitive place to another, as the course of the sun varied splendour, the more inhabitants are left, the the splendour of the prospect, and saw many quicker ruin will be made. Walls supply stones things which I had never seen before. The cromore easily than quarries; and palaces and codiles and river-llorses are common in this un
peopled region; and I often looked upon them they had lived from early youth in that narrow with terror, though I knew that they could not spot; of what they had not seen they could have hurt me. For some time I expected to see mer- no knowledge, for they could not read. They maids and tritons, which, as Imlac has told me, had no idea but of the few things that were the European travellers have stationed in the within their view, and had hardly names for any Nile ; but no such beings ever appeared, and thing but their clothes and their food. As I bore the Arab, when I inquired after them, laughed a superior character, I was often called to termiat my credulity.
nate their quarrels, which I decided as equitably " At night the Arab always attended me to a as I could. If it could have amused me to hear tower set apart for celestial observations, where the complaints of each against the rest, I might he endeavoured to teach me the names and cour- have been often detained by long stories ; but ses of the stars. I had no great inclination to the motives of their animosity were so small, this study; but an appearance of attention was that I could not listen without interrupting the necessary to please my instructor, who valued tale." himself for his skill, and, in a little while, I “How,” said Rasselas, “ can the Arab, whom found some employment requisite to beguile the you represented as a man of more than common tediousness of time, which was to be passed al- accomplishments, take any pleasure in his seways amidst the same objects. I was weary of raglio, when it is filled only with women like looking in the morning on things from which I these? Are they exquisitely beautiful ?” had turned away weary in the evening; I there- “ They do not,” said Pekuah, “want that fore was at last willing to observe the stars ra- unaffecting and ignoble beauty which may subther than do nothing, but could not always com- sist without sprightliness or sublimity, without pose my thoughts, and was very often thinking energy of thought or dignity of virtue. But, to on Nekayah when others imagined me contem- a man like the Arab, such beauty was only a plating the sky. Soon after the Arab went upon flower casually plucked and carelessly thrown another expedition, and then my only pleasure away. Whatever pleasures he might find among was to talk with my maids about the accident them, they were not those of friendship or soby which we were carried away, and the happi- ciety. When they were playing about him, he ness that we should all enjoy at the end of our looked on them with inattentive superiority; captivity.”
when they vied for his regard, he sometimes *There were women in your Arab's fortress," turned away disgusted. As they had no knowsaid the Princess ; "why did you not make them ledge, their talk could take nothing from the teyour companions, enjoy their conversation, and diousness of life ; as they had no choice, their partake their diversions? In a place where they fondness, or appearance of fondness, excited in found business or amusement, why should you him neither pride nor gratitude; he was not exalone sit corroded with idle melancholy? or why alted in his own esteem by the smiles of a wocould not you bear for a few months that condi- man who saw no other man, nor was much oblition to which they were condemned for life?" ged by that regard, of which he could never
- The diversions of the women," answered know the sincerity, and which he might often Pekuah, “were only childish play, by which the perceive to be exerted not so much to delight mind, accustomed to stronger operations, could him as to pain a rival. That which he gave, and not be kept busy. I could do all which they de- they received, as love, was only a careless distrilighted in doing, by powers merely sensitive, bution of superfluous time ; such love as man while my intellectual faculties were flown to can bestow upon that which he despises, such as Cairo. They ran from room to room, as a bird has neither hope nor fear, neither joy nor sorhops from wire to wire in his cage. They danced row.” for the sake of motion, as lambs frisk in a “You have reason, lady, to think yourself meadow. One sometimes pretended to be hurt happy,” said Imlac, « that you have been thus that the rest might be alarmed, or hid herself easily dismissed. How could a mind, hungry for that another might seek her. Part of their time knowledge, be willing, in an intellectual famine, passed in watching the progress of light bodies to lose such a banquet as Pekuah's conversathat floated on the river, and part in marking tion ?” the various forins into which clouds broke in the “I am inclined to believe," answered Pekualı, sky.
“ that he was for some time in suspense ; for, « Their business was only needle-work, in notwithstanding his promise, whenever I propowhich I and my maids sometimes helped them; sed to dispatch a messenger to Cairo, he found but you know that the mind will easily straggle some excuse for delay. While I was detained in from the fingers, nor will you suspect that cap- his house he made many incursions into the tivity and absence from Nekayah could receive neighbouring countries, and, perhaps, he would solace from silken flowers.
have refused to discharge me had his plunder “Nor was much satisfaction to be hoped from been equal to his wishes. He returned always their conversation ; for of what could they be courteous, related his adventures, delighted to expected to talk? They had seen nothing, for hear my observations, and endeavoured to ada vance my acquaintance with the stars. When smiled at the narrative of my travels, and was I importuned him to send away my letters, he glad to forget the constellations, and descend for soothed me with professions of honour and sin- a moment into the lower world. cerity; and when I could be no longer decently “On the next day of vacation I renewed my denied, put his troop again in motion, and left visit, and was so fortunate as to please him again. me to govern in his absence. I was much af- He relaxed from that time the severity of his flicted by this studied procrastination ; and was rule, and permitted me to enter at my own choice. sometimes afraid that I should be forgotten- I found him always busy, and always glad to be that you would leave Cairo, and I must end my relieved. As each knew much which the other days in an island of the Nile..
was desirous of learning, we exchanged our noI grew at last hopeless and dejected, and tions with great delight. I perceived that I had cared so little to entertain him, that he for a every day more of his confidence, and always while more frequently talked with my maids. found new cause of admiration in the profundity That he should fall in love with them, or with of his mind. His comprehension is vast, his meme, might have been equally fatal ; and I was mory capacious and retentive; his discourse is not much pleased with the growing friendship. methodical, and his expression clear. My anxiety was not long ; for, as I recovered “His integrity and benevolence are equal to some degree of cheerfulness, he returned to me, his learning. His deepest researches, and most and I could not forbear to despise my former favourite studies, are willingly interrupted for uneasiness.
any opportunity of doing good by his counsel or “ He still delayed to send for my ransom, and his riches. To his closest retreat, at his most would perhaps never have determined, had not busy moments, all are admitted that want his your agent found his way to him. The gold, assistance; 'for, though I exclude idleness and which he would not fetch, he could not reject pleasure, I will never,' says he, bar my doors when it was offered. He hastened to prepare for against charity. To man is permitted the conour joúrney hither, like a man delivered from templation of the skies, but the practice of virthe pain of an intestine conflict. I took leave tue is commanded."" of my companions in the house, who dismissed “Surely,” said the Princess, “ this man is me with cold indifference."
happy." Nekayah, having heard her favourite's rela "I visited him,” said Imlac,“ with more and tion, rose and embraced her; and Rasselas gave more frequency, and was every time more enaher an hundred ounces of gold, which she pre- moured of his conversation. He was sublime sented to the Arab for the fifty that were pro- without haughtiness, courteous without formalmised.
ity, and communicative without ostentation. I was at first, great Princess, of your opinion,
thought him the happiest of mankind, and often CHAP. XL.
congratulated him on the blessing that he en
joyed. He seemed to hear nothing with indifThe History of a Man of Learning. ference but the praises of his condition, to which
he always returned a general answer, and diThey returned to Cairo, and were so well verted the conversation to some other topic. pleased at finding themselves together, that none “ Amidst this willingness to be pleased, and of them went much abroad. The Prince began labour to please, I had quickly reason to imagine to love learning, and one day declared to Imlac, that some painful sentiment pressed upon his that he intended to devote himself to science, mind. He often looked up earnestly towards the and pass the rest of his days in literary solitude. .sun, and let his voice fall in the midst of his dis
“ Before you make your final choice,” an- course. He would sometimes, when we were swered Imlac, “ you ought to examine its ha- alone, gaze upon me in silence with the air of a zards, and converse with some of those who are man who longed to speak what he was yet regrown old in the company of themselves. I have solved to suppress. He would often send for me just left the observatory of one of the most learn- with vehement injunctions of haste, though, ed astronomers in the world, who has spent forty when I came to him, he had nothing extraoryears in unwearied attention to the motions and dinary to say. And sometimes, when I was appearances of the celestial bodies, and has drawn leaving him, would call me back, pause a few out his soul in endless calculations. He admits moments, and then dismiss me.” a few friends once a month to hear his deductions and enjoy his discoveries. I was introduced as a man of knowledge worthy of his notice.
CHAP. XLI, Men of various ideas and fluent conversation are commonly welcome to those whose thoughts The Astronomer discovers the Cause of his have been long fixed upon a single point, and
Uneasiness. who find the images of other things stealing away. I delighted him with my remarks : he “Ar last, the time came when the secret burst
his reserve. We were sitting together last night observations of the changes of the sky led me to in the turret of his house, watching the emersion consider, whether, if I had the power of the seaof a satellite of Jupiter. A sudden tempest sons, I could confer greater plenty upon the inclouded the sky, and disappointed our observa- habitants of the earth. This contemplation fastion. We sat a while silent in the dark, and tened on my mind, and I sat days and nights in then he addressed himself to me in these words: imaginary dominion, pouring upon this coun
Imlac, I have long considered thy friendship try and that the showers of fertility, and seas the greatest blessing of my life. Integrity conding every fall of rain with a due proportion without knowledge is weak and useless, and of sunshine. I had yet only the will to do good, knowledge without integrity is dangerous and and did not imagine that I should ever have the dreadful. I have found in thee all the qualities power. requisite for trust; benevolence, experience, and “One day as I was looking on the fields wifortitude. I have long discharged an office which thering with heat, I felt in my mind a sudden I must soon quit at the call of nature, and shall wish that I could send rain on the southern rejoice, in the hour of imbecility and pain, to de- mountains, and raise the Nile to an inundavolve it upon thee.'
tion. In the hurry of my imagination, I com“ I thought myself honoured by this testi- manded rain to fall; and by comparing the time mony, and protested that whatever could con- of my command with that of the inundation, I duce to his happiness would add likewise to found that the clouds had listened to my lips.' mine.
"Might not some other cause," said I, “pro" • Hear, Imlac, what thou wilt not without duce this concurrence? The Nile does not aldifficulty credit. I have possessed for five years ways rise on the same day.” the regulation of the weather, and the distribu « Do not believe,' said he, with impatience, tion of the seasons; the sun has listened to my that such objections could escape me. I readictates, and passed from tropic to tropic by my soned long against my own conviction, and ladirection; the clouds, at my call, have poured boured against truth with the utmost obstinacy. their waters, and the Nile has overflowed at my I sometimes suspected myself of madness, and command; I have restrained the rage of the should not have dared to impart this secret but dog-star, and mitigated the fervours of the crab. to a man like you, capable of distinguishing the The winds alone, of all the elemental powers, wonderful from the impossible, and the increhave hitherto refused my authority, and multi- dible from the false.'” tudes have perished by equinoctial tempests “Why, sir," said I,“ do you call that increwhich I found myself unable to prohibit or re- dible, which you know, or think you know, to strain. I have administered this great office with be true ?” exact justice, and made to the different nations “ Because,' said he, 'I cannot prove it by of the earth an impartial dividend of rain and any external evidence, and I know too well the sunshine. What must have been the misery of laws of demonstration, to think that my convichalf the globe, if I had limited the clouds to tion ought to influence another, who cannot, particular regions, or confined the sun to either like me, be conscious of its force. I therefore side of the equator !!
shall not attempt to gain credit by disputation. It is sufficient that I feel this power, that I have
long possessed, and every day exerted it. But CHAP. XLII.
the life of man is short: The infirmities of age
increase upon me, and the time will soon come The Opinion of the Astronomer is explained and when the regulator of the year must mingle justified.
with the dust. The care of appointing a suc
cessor has long disturbed me; the night and the “I SUPPOSE he discovered in me, through the day have been spent in comparisons of all the obscurity of the room, some tokens of amaze- characters which have come to my knowledge, ment and doubt; for, after a short pause, he and I have yet found none so worthy as thyself. proceeded thus :
"Not to be easily credited will neither surprise nor offend me; for I am probably the first
CHAP. XLIII. of human beings to whom this trust has been imparted. Nor do I know whether to deem this The Astronomer leaves Imluc his Directions. distinction a reward or punishment. Since I have possessed it, I have been far less happy “HEAR, therefore, what I shall impart with than before, and nothing but the consciousness attention, such as the welfare of a world reof good intention could have enabled me to sup- quires. If the task of a king be considered as port the weariness of unremitted vigilance." difficult, who has the care only of a few mil
“ How long, sir,” said I, “has this great of- lions, to whom he cannot do much good or harm, fice been in your hands ?”
what must be the anxiety of him on whom de“ About ten years ago,' said he, ‘my daily pends the action of the elements, and the great