Page images

able company of bear-leaders, and the other worshipful professions therewith connected, to congratulate our kinsman and associate on his happy marriage. True it is, that we cannot but feel ourselves somewhat aggrieved by your late neglect of us, seeing that we naturally expected to have been among the first invited to your wedding festivities; yet, however you may slight us, we cannot, on our parts, forget the honour which we derive from so · distinguished a connexion, nor will we allow ourselves to be disowned by you; for are you not our cousin, and the son of our brother ? Nay, though you drive us from you, we will still return ; for what saith the Prophet, in the Chapter of Humility-Shall the higher branches say to the lower, who are ye? Wherefore, may the days of our cousin be prolonged, and may his posterity be numerous in the land!”

Obeidollah replied to this oration, by scattering large handsful of money among the assembled crowd. Upon this, the acclamations were renewed with tenfold vigour; the air rang with shouts of “ Health to our cousin ! long life to our munificent kinsman!” the bears growled, the monkeys chattered, and the dogs yelped in chorus; and the mob, whom curiosity had attracted from the adjoining streets, catching the contagion, flung in their multitudinous voices to swell the strange concert of sounds. As soon as the uproar had a little subsided, the Cadi, whom astonishment had till then kept silent, turning to his son-in-law, inquired of him the meaning of the scene.

“My dear sir,” replied the merchant, with a slight appearance of embarrassment, “you are not perhaps aware that my father (with whom be peace) was a – a respectable person in the bear-leading line, and that —”

“A bear-leader!” exclaimed the magistrate, with increased astonishment.

“Even so," replied the young merchant; “such was the profession of our family for nine successive generations, till my father, having acquired considerable wealth in his peregrinations through the cities and villages of Syria, abandoned his former employment, and embraced that of merchant.”

“And are you still," asked the judge, “ a member of this same worshipful corporation !”

“It were not fitting,” answered the young man, “ that I should disown my kindred for the sake of your daughter."

“And is it fitting,” exclaimed the Cadi in high displeasure, “that one so born, and so connected, should espouse the daughter of a person like myself - one whose pedigree ascends to the immediate relations of the Prophet —one who, by the grace of the Caliph, sits on a carpet of state, administering the holy law of the Koran? Dog, and son of a dog! what dirt have you compelled me to eat?”

“But, my dear father-in-law,” replied the merchant, remember that your daughter is my lawful wedded wife; that every hair of her head is as precious to me as my own life; that I would not part with her for the whole empire of Roum!”

“I appeal to the sheiks — to the imams -- to the Commander of the Faithful!” exclaimed the Cadi.

“I appeal to the laws common to all Mussulmen,” retorted the merchant.

But it is needless to pursue the dispute to its close. Suffice it, that after much wordy war, peace was effected between the combatants by the intervention of neutral powers; a deed of divorce executed, and the ten purses returned. The sequel may be easily imagined. The young merchant, having ascertained the birth and parentage of his fair apparition, obtained her hand from her father, the opulent head of the corporation of silversmiths, and lived with her in happiness and prosperity for many years. The Caliph Almaimoun, to whom the whole of the circumstances were reported, compassionating the hard fate of the Cadi's daughter, gave her in marriage to one of his courtiers with a handsome dowry, and commanded the story to be written in a book, as a warning to all who disparage the wit of women.*

* The narrative, on which the above story is founded, may be found at the end of a little publication of M. Langlès, entitled, Les Voyages de Sind-Búd le Marin.Paris, 1814.


E voi ridete?-Certo ridiamo.

Cosi fan tutte.


Laugh on, fair Cousins, for to you

All life is joyous yet;
Your hearts have all things to pursue,

And nothing to regret;
And every flower to you is fair,

And every month is May;
You've not been introduced to Care,

Laugh on, laugh on, to-day!


Old Time will fling his clouds ere long

Upon those sunny eyes ;
The voice, whose every word is song,

Will set itself to sighs ;
Your quiet slumbers,--hopes and fears

Will chase their rest away;
To-morrow you 'll be shedding tears --

Laugh on, laugh on, to-day!


Oh yes; if any truth is found

In the dull schoolman's theme,
If friendship is an empty sound,

And love an idle dream, -
If mirth, youth's playmate, feels fatigue

Too soon on life's long way,
At least he'll run with you a league,

Laugh on, laugh on, to-day!


Perhaps your eyes may grow more bright

As childhood's hues depart;
You may be lovelier to the sight,

And dearer to the heart;
You may be sinless still, and see

This earth still green and gay;
But what you are you will not be,

Laugh on, laugh on, to-day!

v. O’er me have many winters crept,

With less of grief than joy;
But I have learned, and toiled, and wept, -

I am no more a boy!
I've never had the gout, ’t is true,

My hair is hardly grey ;
But now I cannot laugh like you ;

Laugh on, laugh on, to-day!

« PreviousContinue »