But he knew enough about the strict rules of an oriental harem to doubt whether he would ever be able to meet her alone, as the eunuch had already noticed his admiration of the lady and would certainly warn his master, the Pasha. However, Frederick determined to go to the bitter end, no matter what the cost might be.

Two days later he was lounging on the terrace of the hotel, lazily watching the throng of Arabs, donkeys, and beggars jostling one another along the Esbekleh street, when his attention was suddenly attracted by a ragged individual, with a very black countenance and a basket of flowers, who was evidently trying to catch his eye. Frederick, leaning over the balustrade, was about to throw a few piasters to the man, when the latter suddenly broke loose from the crowd, and walking up the marble steps, “salaamed” to him in the most approved fashion; then squatting down on the ground in front of him, he extracted a bunch of flowers from his basket. Frederick was about to motion him away, when the man hurriedly thrust the roses into his hands, whispering in a low, guttural voice:

“Letter for you.”

[Pg 47]

He then “salaamed” again and, arising from the ground, began displaying his wares to some ladies who were sitting under the veranda. Frederick, whose thoughts immediately turned to the lady whom he had met two days before on the road to the Pyramids, repaired at once to his room and, cutting the thread which bound the flowers together, brought to view a small, square envelope without any address. Carefully opening it he extracted therefrom a highly perfumed sheet of pink paper on which the following words were written:

“If you wish to see me again, go to-night between 11 and 12 o’clock to the farther end of the Mouski street and follow the woman who will give you a bunch of lotus flowers. She will bring you to me. Destroy this.”

Frederick 杭州品茶快餐 dropped the note to the floor in his surprise and delight. His wildest anticipations were surpassed, for in a few hours he would see his “houri” face to face.

At 11 o’clock that night he wandered up the long Mouski street, which at that hour looked weird and deserted. He took care to keep as much as possible in the more shadowy portions of the thoroughfare, so as not to attract the attention of the few Arabs who, wrapped in their spectral-looking “burnous,” were still to be met with here and there. After about an hour’s walk he stopped at the end of the long street and looked about him. Nobody was in sight, and he was just thinking of retracing his steps when a hand was laid on his arm and a vailed woman, without uttering a word, placed a small bunch of lotus flowers in his hand. She 杭州男士私人高级养生会所 then beckoned to him to follow her, saying in a low, musical voice:

“Taala hena” (come this way).

A few steps brought them to a high stone wall, in which a small kind of postern was pierced. Taking hold of his hand she led him under the archway, and, inserting a [Pg 48] small key in the lock, she opened the door and pushed him into the garden.

Frederick, for a moment, believed that he had been suddenly transported into fairy-land. He found himself in an immense garden, where groups of feathery palms and dark sycamores made a fitting background for masses of brilliant flowers and shrubs in full bloom. The air was redolent with the perfume of thousands of orange trees and starry jessamine, while the high wall, which looked so bare and grim from without, was on the inside covered with blue passion-flowers and pink aristolochus. 杭州最大洗浴休闲会所 Numerous marble fountains sent their silvery jets of spray toward the dark-blue heavens, and a flock of red flamingoes stalked majestically up and down the long stretches of velvety lawn.

In the distance a white alabaster palace gleamed in the glorious Egyptian moonlight, which rendered the scene almost as bright


as day; and its cupolas and minarets, all fretted and perforated, looked like some wonderful piece of old lacework.

Frederick followed his silent companion through a dense thicket of rose-bushes, where a narrow path had been cut. He noticed that she was very careful to keep away from the bright light of the moon and that she occasionally stopped to listen. After about ten minutes’ walk they reached a side entrance of the palace. The woman, once more taking hold of his hand, led him up six or seven steps and into a 杭州桑拿信息网 narrow passage where a silver hanging-lamp shed a dim light on the tapestried walls. Turning suddenly to the left she lifted a large gold-embroidered drapery which hung before an archway and motioned him inside.

Frederick was in the harem of the famous Princess M.

Emerging from the comparative darkness of the gardens, Frederick was fairly dazzled by the brilliancy of the scene which met his eyes. He found himself in a lofty apartment, the walls of which were entirely covered with silver [Pg 49] brocade. White velvet divans ran all around the room, and from the painted ceiling hung a rock-crystal chandelier, lighted by at least a hundred wax candles. Great masses of blooming camellias, azalias, and tuberoses were tastefully arranged in silver vases on tables of transparent [Pg 50] 杭州足浴会所 jade. The floor was covered with a white velvet carpet richly embroidered with silver, and the windows were hung with fairy-like draperies of silver gauze and point lace.

At the farther end of the apartment was a kind of broad, oriental divan, and there, nestling among a pile of cushions, reclined the jewel of which all the splendors above described formed but the unworthy setting. Princess Louba, a little over twenty-two years of age at the time, was certainly one of the loveliest women of the day. Tall and exquisitely proportioned, her hands and feet were marvelously small and the rich contours of her figure were absolutely perfect. She had one of those dead white complexions, ever so delicately tinted with pink, which remind one of the petal of a tea-rose or the interior of a shell. Her large, languid black eyes were shaded 杭州龙凤论坛贵族宝贝 by long and curly eyelashes, and her straight eyebrows almost met over a small, aquiline nose, the sensuous nostrils of which quivered at the slightest emotion. In piquant contrast to her dark eyes, her hair, of a pale golden color, hung down to below her knees. She was dressed in a long “djebba,” or loose robe of white crepe de chine, the semi-transparent folds of which clung to her form as the morning dew clings to a flower which it is loth to conceal.

For several minutes Frederick stood as if transfixed, unable to remove his fevered gaze from the lovely apparition which rendered him blind to all else. He could see nothing but the princess, as she lay there in all her indolent beauty.

The “Muezzin” droning forth his harmonious summons to prayers from the loftiest galleries of the minarets, had but just notified the faithful 滨江按摩不正规的 that it was two hours after midnight, when suddenly one of the curtains was softly drawn aside, and a woman scarcely less beautiful than the princess herself glided into the room.

Her largo violet eyes flashed triumphantly, and a mocking, [Pg 51] cruel smile hovered around her red lips as she advanced toward the princess and her lover.

“Enfin! Louba Hanem!” exclaimed she, in French. “At length I have you in my power! Revenge always comes to those who can afford to wait! For months and months you have been the favorite of our lord, the pearl of surpassing value, beside whom all were but as dross, the treasure of his heart and the joy of his life, while I—I—was left far behind—hardly noticed—often repulsed—I, who am as beautiful as you, and who love him with a love of which you are utterly incapable! How often have I besought Allah to grant me my revenge! He has heard my prayer! for within the hour that is now passing away our lord will have slain both your lover and yourself! Even at this very moment you are being watched, and at a sign from me he will be summoned hither to behold with his own eyes the shameful manner in which you betray him with a dog of an unbeliever!”

Princess Louba had meanwhile started to her feet, and stood there in all her glorious beauty, white and trembling with rage and with terror.

“Who is it that will dare to raise his or her hand against me, the daughter of his highness! Who are you but a mere slave—a toy bought by our lord! The pastime of one short hour, thereafter to be flung back into the depths of ignominy from which you were raised by his hand! You shall suffer cruelly for your present insolence. I will cause you to be whipped until every particle of skin has been torn from your body.”

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