"It is said the viceroy has sent for his sons," replied Hassan, "and I therefore suppose that they are to live here."
"And your supposition is right, my friend," replied the viceroy, smiling. "Yes, here my dear sons will live, my three boys. Yet they must be almost young men by this time. Let me see, five years have passed since I saw them. They must have changed very much in this time, Hassan, and I confess my heart yearns for them. Do you think they will know me?"
"You are not changed, master," replied Hassan. "Just as you look now, you looked on that day, you know, the day at Aboukir, when I saw you for the first time."
"I know, we met there for the first time, and you are the only friend that has stood beside me faithfully since that day. The only one, too, Hassan, in whom I confide, and may Allah grant that you stand beside me through life!"
"Yes, may Allah grant that my enemies may never succeed in making you distrust me. For this I know, I shall remain faithful to you until death; and malice and calumny alone can succeed in alienating from me my master's confidence."
"Hassan," said the viceroy, looking at him earnestly, "I do not listen to calumny, and, whatever I hear, I do not believe it unless I recognize it as truth. You will be often calumniated, my friend; that I well know. But this I promise you: whatever evil is said of you I will repeat to you, to enable you to justify yourself, and then woe to those who have the temerity to calumniate you!"
The viceroy has shown the beautiful apartments of the citadel to his friend Hassan, but the apartments in the palace of the Esbekieh he shows to no one; through them he wanders alone. The saloons and chambers are not yet finished; he carefully observes them as he walks along, noting whether his instructions are being complied with. Now he has entered the immense saloon, situated at the end of the apartments of the harem. He locks the door behind him; here no one must see him; to this sanctuary no human eye must follow him.
At the entrance he stands still and looks around. A wondrous change has come over him. He smiles, and his countenance is still more radiant than when he spoke with Hassan of his sons. His eyes sparkle like those of a youth who beholds again the countenance of his beloved.
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