Page:The Perfumed Garden - Burton - 1886.djvu/38

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The Perfumed Garden

to him who calls you, you shall make answer," and went to Hamdonna.[1]

Hamdonna welcomed him and said: "Oh, Bahloul, I believe you come to hear me sing." He replied: "Most certainly, oh, my mistress! She has a marvelous gift for singing," he continued. "I also think that after having listened to my songs, you will be pleased to take some refreshments."

"Yes," said he. Then she began to sing admirably, so as to make people who listened die with love.

After Bahloul had heard her sing, refreshments were served; he ate and he drank. Then she said to him. "I do not know why but I fancy you would gladly take off your robe, to make me a present of it." And Bahloul answered: "Oh, my mistress! I have sworn to give it to her to whom I have done as a man does to a woman."

"What! you know what that is, Bahloul?" said she.

"Whether I know it?" replied he. "I, who am instructing God's creatures in that science? It is I who make them copulate in love, who initiate them in the delights a female can give, show them how you must caress a woman, and what will excite and satisfy her. Oh, my mistress, who should know the art of coition if it is not I?"

Hamdonna was the daughter of Mamoum, and the wife of the Grand Vizir. She was endowed with the most perfect beauty; of superb figure and harmonious form. No one in her time surpassed her in grace and

  1. "To him who calls you make answer." This sentence is taken from the Hadits, or Traditions of Mohammed. Sometimes it is used in conversation in the same sense as above, but its true meaning is obscure. The words "By the blessing of God" in the same sentence is a form of acceptance or consent.