The house of Mourad's widow also shows signs of life with-in, to- day. Sitta Nefysseh has returned to her home after a long sojourn in the house of Sheik Sadat. The doors of her house and the park-gate are again thrown open. Sitta Nefysseh is at home; she sits behind the golden lattice-work of her window and gazes out into the street. Why does her heart throb so wildly? Is Sitta Nefysseh awaiting any one?
A long array of richly-attired officers passes by. Sitta Nefysseh gazes at them intently, her heart still throbbing wildly. Suddenly she utters a low cry, and with closed eyes reels back from the window. It is he--yes, she has seen him, the young Mameluke bey, galloping toward her house on his proud steed, followed by a body of Mamelukes. She hears him stop before the door, and she knows that he is coming.
Her countenance radiant with delight, she stands with outstretched arms, as she had stood when she last saw him, and, as then, she whispers: "I love him! oh, I love him! My soul yearns for him! I would clasp him in my arms, and yet--no, it may not be! "murmurs she, interrupting herself and letting her arms sink down to her side. "No, it may not, cannot be! They would kill him! If Bardissi did not, L'Elfi would! And then my oath! O Mourad, be with me in this hour, that I may remain firm! Be strong, my heart! It may not be!"
The door opened, and a slave entered to announce that the Mameluke bey, Youssouf, was waiting at the door with his suite, and humbly begged that he might be permitted to see Sitta Nefysseh.
"Let him enter," said she, making an effort to compose herself." Tell my women to go into the adjoining room, and to open the door."
Poor woman's heart! So strong in love, and yet so weak! These women and the open door were to stand guard over her heart, and keep her from forgetting all else in his presence.
Now the door opens and Youssouf enters. It seems to her that he has grown taller. His deeds have elevated him, and his countenance is radiant with energy and courage. Yet he kneels down before her, and kisses the hem of her robe.
"Sitta Nefysseh, you bade me go, and I went. Upon my return, my first thoughts were of you. I wished to hear from your sweet lips the word welcome! Do you speak it, Sitta Nefysseh?"
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