Many heads have fallen in these first days of his rule. The head of many a wild soldier, who paid for his mutinous or riotous behavior with his life, adorns the wall of the citadel, a warning to the enemies of law and order.
This warning is not lost on the other soldiers, and on the secret adherents of the Mamelukes; it teaches them to conform to circumstances and bow their heads in submission. The Mamelukes themselves are far distant from Cairo, and lie encamped near Minieh, equipping and disciplining their forces, and preparing to renew the struggle.
The viceroy, however, has a strong arm, and his power increases daily. He will bring them also into submission.
The people who pass the palace occupied by Mohammed as sarechsme, stand still, and gaze with curiosity at the changes and alterations being made there. Large numbers of laborers are engaged in repairing the injuries sustained by the building in the recent conflicts; in setting out trees and shrubbery in the garden, and in adorning it with rare flowers. Great improvements are progressing in the wing of the building whose windows open on the garden.
Artistically carved lattice-work and shutters are being affixed to the lofty windows of the second story. And the curious, who observe this, give each other a sly look, and smile. They understand the significance of these shutters. These are the shutters of the windows of a harem, and they proclaim that Mohammed is now also occupied with, other than affairs of state. The people rejoice in these harem windows, for they are a guarantee of peace. When the warrior builds a harem, it proves that he himself believes in the stability of peace, and the new order of things. And the new viceroy does.
In discussing these matters, the people who stand in front of the palace of the Esbekieh tell each other that the viceroy has sent a messenger to his distant home beyond the sea, where his first wife and children live, and has sent them word to come to him. "They will come by water!" relates one of them, "and that is why the dehabieh is being built at Boulak. It is like a magnificent saloon, and is to be beautifully adorned--the walls hung with velvet, and the floor covered with costly Persian carpets. The viceroy's first wife and his children will come up from Alexandria in this dehabieh."
"His first wife?" exclaims another. "You speak of his first. Has he then other wives?"
The person addressed then assumes a mysterious air, as if to intimate that he is in the viceroy's confidence, and quite accurately informed as to the number of his wives. "It is not known," says he, hesitatingly; "it is, however, well known that a harem has been constructed at the citadel, and that here also the apartments in the wing of the palace are to be arranged as a harem."
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