In the mean while the two men have approached each other. Now they stand face to face, Osman Bey Bardissi, and the sarechsme, Mohammed Ali, and regard each other with a long, gloomy look. Both, it seems, wish to avoid being the first to speak a word of greeting.
Finally, Osman breaks the silence. "This, Mohammed Ali, is our third meeting. The first, you will recollect, was at Cavalla. Two boys, both ambitious, addressed each other in tones of mockery and derision. In the years that have since passed, I have often thought of the boy with the eagle eyes and the haughty, contemptuous smile. Our second meeting occurred a few months since, after the massacre at Aboukir. You were my enemy, and yet you acted as my friend. You saved Osman Bey Bardissi's life. Then I said to you: 'I will remember this, Mohammed Ali, and in me you have found a friend for all time.'"
"Such were your words, Osman Bey Bardissi," replied Mohammed, his voice tremulous with anger, "and now I have received a proof of your friendship! You have had me snared like a wild beast, and abducted from my camp and my soldiers, to become a laughing-stock for them and an object of derision for your people."
Bardissi shook his head quietly. "You are in error, Mohammed Ali; none of my men know what has occurred, nor do I believe that yours do. No one shall ever learn, I swear it by Allah, where the sarechsme, Mohammed Ali, has passed this night, or by whom he was abducted. No, no one shall ever learn it! You can rest assured, Sheik Arnhyn is not the man to babble like a woman when he should hold his peace, and Butheita is his obedient daughter. This matter shall be kept to ourselves. We meet to-day for the third time, and do you know why, Mohammed Ali? I caused you to be abducted because I promised you friendship. I did not wish to confront you as an enemy; against my wish a bullet might have chanced to strike you; and, I know not how it is, but I feel drawn to you, I feel a desire to be your friend. I wish to fight at your side, and not against you. We two, O Mohammed--we two, united--could make our land happy, great, and free, I feel assured. I read this in your countenance when we met on the ship. A voice seemed to whisper in my heart: 'He can assist you, he must be your friend!' Your eye glittered as I have seen but one other glitter; a proud consciousness of power was expressed in your features, such as I have seen in those of but one other man, and to this day I regret that he was our enemy, and that he has left us."
"He was a French general. They called him Bonaparte, and he was a great man. It seems to me you resemble him, Mohammed Ali; like him you seem to stand gazing out upon the world, conscious of power and heroism, and resolved to bring it into subjection, as he was, but could not. For, observe, this was his mistake: he assumed a hostile attitude toward the Mamelukes, instead of seeking their friendship. And this I now hope of you, Mohammed Ali, that you will make friends of the Mamelukes, and not remain on the side of our treacherous enemies the Turks. It does not beseem you. Your soul is great, and your actions heroic! Why are you with the Turks? It does not beseem you."
"It does not beseem me!" cried Mohammed excitedly; "truly it does not beseem me-"
"Be still, my friend, I pray you!" said Bardissi, interrupt ing him. "Listen first to what I have to say. Do you know whence I come? Look at me! Do you see these dark spots on my clothing? 'Tis blood, Mohammed Ali, human blood. It splashed on me from many a wound! Go thither, Mohammed Ali; go to the plain of Damanhour. The bodies of the dead lie thick there--the bodies of dead Turks, Mohammed Ali!"
"And the bodies of many Mamelukes also, I should think," rejoined Mohammed quickly.
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