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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete - 180/272 -
princess's eyes than the glittering of the jewels with which she was adorned, was much surprised. The smiling and graceful air with which she received him, so opposite to her former behaviour, quite fascinated his heart.
When he was seated, the princess, to free him from his embarrassment, broke silence first, locking at him all the time in such a manner as to make him believe that he was not so odious to her as she had given him to understand hitherto and said, "You are doubtless amazed to find me so much altered to-day; but your surprise will not be so great when I acquaint you, that I am naturally of a disposition so opposite to melancholy and grief, sorrow and uneasiness, that I always strive to put them as far away as possible when I find the subject of them is past. I have reflected on what you told me of Alla ad Deen's fate, and know my father's temper so well, that I am persuaded with you he could not escape the terrible effects of the sultan's rage; therefore, should I continue to lament him all my life, my tears cannot recall him. For this reason, since I have paid all the duties decency requires of me to his memory, now he is in the grave I think I ought to endeavour to comfort myself. These are the motives of the change you see in me; I am resolved to banish melancholy entirely; and, persuaded that you will bear me company tonight, I have ordered a supper to be prepared; but as I have no wines but those of China, I have a great desire to taste of the produce of Africa, and doubt not your procuring some of the best."
The African magician, who had looked upon the happiness of getting so soon and so easily into the princess Buddir al Buddoor's good graces as impossible, could not think of words expressive enough to testify how sensible he was of her favours: but to put an end the sooner to a conversation which would have embarrassed him, if he had engaged farther in it, he turned it upon the wines of Africa, and said, "Of all the advantages Africa can boast, that of producing the most excellent wines is one of the principal. I have a vessel of seven years old, which has never been broached; and it is indeed not praising it too much to say it is the finest wine in the world. If my princess," added he, "will give me leave, I will go and fetch two bottles, and return again immediately." "I should be sorry to give you that trouble," replied the princess; "you had better send for them." "It is necessary I should go myself," answered the African magician; "for nobody but myself knows where the key of the cellar is laid, or has the secret to unlock the door." "If it be so," said the princess, "make haste back; for the longer you stay, the greater will be my impatience, and we shall sit down to supper as soon as you return."
The African magician, full of hopes of his expected happiness, rather flew than ran, and returned quickly with the wine. The princess, not doubting but he would make haste, put with her own hand the powder Alla ad Deen had given her into the cup set apart for that purpose. They sat down at the table opposite to each other, the magician's back towards the sideboard. The princess presented him with the best at the table, and said to him, "If you please, I will entertain you with a concert of vocal and instrumental music; but, as we are only two, I think conversation maybe more agreeable." This the magician took as a new favour.
After they had eaten some time, the princess called for some wine, drank the magician's health, and afterwards said to him, "Indeed you had a full right to commend your wine, since I never tasted any so delicious." "Charming princess," said he, holding in his hand the cup which had been presented to him," my wine becomes more exquisite by your approbation." "Then drink my health," replied the princess; "you will find I understand wines." He drank the princess's health, and returning the cup, said, "I think myself fortunate, princess, that I reserved this wine for so happy an occasion; and own I never before drank any in every respect so excellent."
When they had each drunk two or three cups more, the princess, who had completely charmed the African magician by her civility and obliging behaviour, gave the signal to the slave who served them with wine, bidding her bring the cup which had been filled for her, and at the same time bring the magician a full goblet. When they both had their cups in their hands, she said to him, "I know not how you express your loves in these parts when drinking together? With us in China the lover and his mistress reciprocally exchange cups, and drink each other's health." At the same time she presented to him the cup which was in her hand, and held out her hand to receive his. He hastened to make the exchange with the more pleasure, because he looked upon this favour as the most certain token of an entire conquest over the princess, which raised his rapture to the highest pitch. Before he drank, he said to her, with the cup in his hand, "Indeed, princess, we Africans are not so refined in the art of love as you Chinese: and your instructing me in a lesson I was ignorant of, informs me how sensible I ought to be of the favour done me. I shall never, lovely princess, forget my recovering, by drinking out of your cup, that life, which your cruelty, had it continued, must have made me despair of."
The princess, who began to be tired with this impertinent declaration of the African magician, interrupted him, and said, "Let us drink first, and then say what you will afterwards;" at the same time she set the cup to her lips, while the African magician, who was eager to get his wine off first, drank up the very last drop. In finishing it, he had reclined his head back to shew his eagerness, and remained some time in that state. The princess kept the cup at her lips, till she saw his eyes turn in his head, when he fell backwards lifeless on the sofa.
The princess had no occasion to order the private door to be opened to Alla ad Deen; for her women were so disposed from the great hall to the foot of the staircase, that the word was no sooner given that the African magician was fallen backwards, than the door was immediately opened.
As soon as Alla ad Deen entered the hall, he saw the magician stretched backwards on the sofa. The princess rose from her seat, and ran overjoyed to embrace him; but he stopped her, and said, "Princess, it is not yet time; oblige me by retiring to your apartment; and let me be left alone a moment, while I endeavour to transport you back to China as speedily as you were brought from thence."
When the princess, her women and eunuchs, were gone out of the hall, Alla ad Deen shut the door, and going directly to the dead body of the magician, opened his vest, took out the lamp, which was carefully wrapped up, as the princess had told him, and unfolding and rubbing it, the genie immediately appeared. "Genie," said Alla ad Deen, "I have called to command thee, on the part of thy good mistress this lamp, to transport this palace instantly into China, to the place from whence it was brought hither." The genie bowed his head in token of obedience, and disappeared. Immediately the palace was transported into China, and its removal was only felt by two little shocks, the one when it was lifted up, the other when it was set down, and both in a very short interval of time.
Alla ad Deen went to the princess's apartment, and embracing her, said, "I can assure you, princess, that your joy and mine will be complete tomorrow morning." The princess, guessing that Alla ad Deen must be hungry, ordered the dishes, served up in the great hall, to be brought down. The princess and Alla ad Deen ate as much as they thought fit, and drank of the African magician's old wine; during which time their conversation could not be otherwise than satisfactory, and then they retired to their own chamber.
>From the time of the transportation of Alla ad Deen's palace, the princess's father had been inconsolable for the loss of her. He could take no rest, and instead of avoiding what might continue his affliction, he indulged it without restraint. Before the disaster he used to go every morning into his closet to please himself with viewing the palace, he went now many times in the day to renew his tears, and plunge himself into the deepest melancholy, by the idea of no more seeing that which once gave him so much pleasure, and reflecting how he had lost what was most dear to him in this world.
The very morning of the return of Alla ad Deen's palace, the sultan went, by break of day, into his closet to indulge his sorrows. Absorbed in himself, and in a pensive mood, he cast his eyes towards the spot, expecting only to see an open space; but perceiving the vacancy filled up, he at first imagined the appearance to be the effect of a fog; looking more attentively, he was convinced beyond the power of doubt it was his son-in- law's palace. Joy and gladness succeeded to sorrow and grief. He returned immediately into his apartment, and ordered a horse to be saddled and brought to him without delay, which he mounted that instant, thinking he could not make haste enough to the palace.
Alla ad Deen, who foresaw what would happen, rose that morning by day-break, put on one of the most magnificent habits his wardrobe afforded, and went up into the hall of twenty-four windows, from whence he perceived the sultan approaching, and got down soon enough to receive him at the foot of the great staircase, and to help him to dismount. "Alla ad Deen," said the sultan, "I cannot speak to you till I have seen and embraced my daughter."
He led the sultan into the princess's apartment. The happy father embraced her with his face bathed in tears of joy; and the princess, on her side, shewed him all the testimonies of the extreme pleasure the sight of him afforded her.
The sultan was some time before he could open his lips, so great was his surprise and joy to find his daughter again, after he had given her up for lost; and the princess, upon seeing her father, let fall tears of rapture and affection.
At last the sultan broke silence, and said, "I would believe, daughter, your joy to see me makes you seem as little changed as if no misfortune had befallen you; yet I cannot be persuaded but that you have suffered much alarm; for a large palace cannot be so suddenly transported as yours has been, without causing great fright and apprehension I would have you tell me all that has happened, and conceal nothing from me."
The princess, who took great pleasure in giving the sultan the satisfaction he demanded, said, "If I appear so little altered, I beg of your majesty to consider that I received new life yesterday morning by the presence of my dear husband and deliverer Alla ad Deen, whom I looked upon and bewailed as lost to me; and the happiness of seeing and embracing of whom has almost recovered me to my former state of health. My greatest suffering was only to find myself forced from your majesty and my dear husband; not only from the love I bore my husband, but from
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