Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/32

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shoulder forwards and thy right well behind, and sway thy hips from side to side."[1] So he walked before her, as she bade him; and, when she saw he had caught the trick of woman's gait, she said to him, "Expect me tomorrow night, and Allah willing, I will take and carry thee to the palace. But when thou seest the Chamberlains and the Eunuchs be bold, and bow thy head and speak not with any, for I will prevent their speech; and with Allah is success!" Accordingly, when the morning dawned, she returned and, carrying him to the palace, entered before him and he after her step by step. The Chamberlain would have stopped his entering, but the old woman said to him, "O most ill omened of slaves, this is the handmaid of Naomi, the Caliph's favourite. How durst thou stay her when she would enter?" Then said she, "Come in, O damsel!"; and the old woman went in and they ceased not faring on, till they drew near the door leading to the inner piazza of the palace, when she said to him, "O Ni'amah, hearten thyself and take courage and enter and turn to the left: then count five doors and pass through the sixth, for it is that of the place prepared for thee. Fear nothing, and if any speak to thee, answer not, neither stop." Then she went up with him to the door, and the Chamberlain there on guard accosted her, saying "What damsel is this?"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Chamberlain accosted the old woman, saying, "What damsel is this?"; quoth the ancient dame, "Our lady hath a mind to buy her;" and he rejoined, "None may enter save by leave of the Commander of the Faithful; so do thou go back with her. I can not let her pass for thus am I commanded." Replied the old woman, "O Chief Chamberlain, use thy reason. Thou knowest that Naomi, the Caliph's slave-girl, of whom he is enamoured, is but now restored to health and the Commander of the Faithful hardly yet crediteth her recovery. She is minded to buy this hand maid;

  1. The Badawi (who is nothing if not horsey) compares the gait of a woman who walks well (in Europe rarely seen out of Spain) with the slightly swinging walk of a thoroughbred mare, bending her graceful neck and looking from side to side at objects as she passes.