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it was the gift of Aishké— take it, shew it her, and say that the friend to whom she gave it, desires her presence ;-believe me, she will rather urge you to increase your speed, than object to accompany you.'
“Bashustun !--on my head be it!' said Togrul Beg, in reply,— Life of my soul! the thing is done Aishké shall be yours, and you shall be mine, inshallah! before the moon shall be three days old.' The involuntary shudder of Neilah, at these words, was unperceived by the fond Togrul, while her look of grateful kindness penetrated his soul, and confirmed his purpose.
“In the meantime, Noor Allee continued at Sultaunabad, a prey to the most painful anxiety. Of the sincerity of his friend Solymaun, he entertained not the slightest doubt; for, naturally upright and confiding himself, he did not readily suspect the faith of others; but it was possible that the best efforts of that friend might fail, and when the consequences of such a failure flashed across his mind, it filled him with anguish, and almost with despair. On the fifth day, as he sat watching above the gateway for the arrival of intelligence, he descried a single horseman approaching ; who, as he advanced, was recognised as one of the privileged Toorkoman traders. He came to give notice of the approach of several camel loads of produce, from the aouls of Goorgaun, together with the plunder of a cafilah, which was to be offered in exchange for the articles usually supplied by the villagers. The messenger then
proceeded to intimate to Noor Allee, upon the part of his friend Solymaun Yoorkeh, that the latter had by no means neglected his commission; that the articles he required would be placed within his reach, by the first day of the moon at furthest, and he requested that the means of securing them might not be neglected, as the cost, he said, might be weighty. Further particulars, he promised, should be communicated to him in due season.
“The soul of Noor Allee was at once relieved; and, influenced by this intelligence, which he instantly concluded to apply to the great subject of his anxiety,--and in full hope of more particular information, he set himself secretly but earnestly to prepare for the struggle which might be at hand.
“Two days before the new moon appeared in the heavens, Togrul Beg, attended by twelve of his best-mounted and trustiest men, quitted the banks of the Goorgaun, and halting only for a few short hours to refresh his horses, proceeded straight to the hills in the vicinity of Iulana, where he ensconced himself among the rocks and clefts which surrounded the spot described to him by his captive, Neilah. The horses were fed, watered, and carefully tended; and each man, refreshed with food, lay down, to prepare for a long and rapid march on the morrow, when, as they doubted not, the object of their enterprise should have been achieved - sentinels were duly placed, and thus prepared did the Toorkoman Chief anxiously await the dawn of day.
“At length the grey light began to glimmer in the east-- the word was passed, and the men aroused themselves, for the approaching moment of action. It was scarcely time to expect the opening of the village gates, for objects at any distance were not yet distinguishable, when a dull uncertain sound attracted their attention. • Hah!--- there they are already, early as it is,' said one of the men, in a subdued voice. “Dispatch!- be active, men,' exclaimed Togrul Beg impatiently, as some of the party were still lazily stretching themselves; “yet staythe devil!-- there seems to be plenty of these same maidens, to judge by the clatter they make. Hush! hush! conceal yourselves!' And the men all ran to their posts, while the noise increased to a degree that bewildered the Toorkomans, who, afraid of scaring away their prey, did not dare to quit their covert.
“ A few moments passed in this suspense, when at length, advancing in the hollow, in the still uncertain light, appeared a troop of females, who, with much noise and laughter, and all the free gestures of youthful glee and peaceful security, approached the spring. For some seconds longer did the Toorkomans permit them to advance, until completely within the jaws of the ambuscade. At length, a shrill whistle was heard ; the voice of Togrul Beg called aloud upon his men to advance and seize the prey, while he himself, with two of his attendants, darted forward to seek out and secure the chief object of his enterprise. The women, bewildered
as it seemed by the sudden attack, offered no resistance beyond a few shrieks; they were instantly surrounded; and the Toorkomans dismounting immediately, proceeded to secure their prisoners. But at this moment, the hills and the hollows around them shook with the thunder of many horses' hoofs, and from bank to brae, from above and below, appeared a numerous and well-appointed troop of armed horsemen, who galloped up and attacked the unguarded Toorkomans, assisted by the seeming females, who, throwing aside their veils, and drawing their swords, appeared, as they really were, stout young men, perfectly able and willing to turn the tables upon their assailants.
“ Resistance was vain; Togrul Beg and five or six of his people were disarmed and made prisoners, for the object of the assailants was rather to take than to slay. One or two were desperately wounded in their foolish attempt at opposition; the rest managed to make good their retreat.
“It is scarce necessary to say, that these men were the youth of both villages, united under the guidance of Noor Allee, who, duly instructed of the snare into which Togrul Beg had been inveighled, had mustered them, according to agreement, in order to take him in his own toils. The Toorkomans were led in triumph to the village, where a negociation was speedily entered upon, by which not only were Neilab and her father restored to liberty, along with all their property, but a ransom
sufficient to compensate the villagers for many years, was exacted for the prisoners.
" Still less need I tell you, Aga, that Neilah and her lover were duly united, and that though prudence forbade them to publish the share which Solymaun Yoorkeh had taken in the affair, they never ceased to feel and to shew, as occasion offered, their gratitude to the kindhearted Toorkoman. It was not until some years afterwards, when the destruction of Togrul Beg, in one of the frequent disputes which arise among the tribes rendered it safe to speak upon the subject, that the truth became generally known. And I think, Aga, you will now confess, from the sample I have given you, that however uncommon it may be among these tribes of the devil, this same soonnie heretic, Solymaun Yoorkeh, does possess a heart which would be no discredit to a good Sheah, and a peaceful Iraunee Regot to boot.”
“In truth, my friend, you are right,” said I; " and it were well if among the many castes of faiths that boast of their own superiority, there were oftener found the gratitude and good feeling evinced by this warm-hearted Toorkoman.”