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The old woman went into the oratory, said her prayers, and when she came out two of the princess's women invited her to see the residence, which civility she accepted, followed them from one apartment to another, and observed, like a person who understood what belonged to furniture, the nice arrangement of everything. They conducted her also into the garden, the disposition of which she found so well planned, that she admired it, observing that the person who had formed it must have been an excellent master of his art. Afterward she was brought before the princess, who waited for her in the great hall, which in beauty and richness exceeded all that she had admired in the other apartments.
The princess was somewhat surprised at this intelligence. "Your meeting with the emperor," said she, "is happy and honourable and may in the end be highly advantageous to you, but it places me in an awkward position. It was on my account, I know, you refused the emperor, and I am infinitely obliged to you for doing so. I know by this that you would rather be guilty of incivility toward the emperor than violate the union we have sworn to each other. You judge right, for if you had once gone you would insensibly have been engaged to devote yourselves to him. But do you think it an easy matter absolutely to refuse the emperor what he seems so earnestly to desire? Monarchs will be obeyed in their desires, and it may be dangerous to oppose them; therefore, if to follow my inclination I should dissuade you from obeying him, it may expose you to his resentment, and may render myself and you miserable. These are my sentiments; but before we conclude upon anything let us consult the Talking Bird and hear what he says; he is penetrating, and has promised his assistance in all difficulties."
Ali Baba rose before day, and, followed by his slave, went to the baths, entirely ignorant of the important event which had happened at home; for Morgiana had not thought it safe to wake him before, for fear of losing her opportunity; and after her successful exploit she thought it needless to disturb him.
Thus Sinbad finished the history of his third voyage; gave another hundred sequins to Hindbad, and invited him to dinner again the next day to hear the story of his fourth series of adventures.
After these words, Aladdin's mother prostrated herself a second time; and when she arose, said: "Monarch of monarchs, before I tell your majesty the extraordinary and incredible business which brings me before your high throne, I beg of you to pardon the boldness of the demand I am going to make, which is so uncommon, that I tremble, and am ashamed to propose it to my sovereign." In order to give her the more freedom to explain herself, the sultan ordered all to quit the divan but the grand vizier, and then told her she might speak without restraint.
Steam has outstripped their dragons and their cars,
In the meantime, Aladdin's mother got home, and shewed in her countenance the good news she brought her son. "My son," said she to him, "you have now all the reason in the world to be pleased. The sultan, with the approbation of the whole court, has declared that you are worthy to possess the Princess Badroulboudour, and waits to embrace you, and conclude your marriage; therefore, you must think of making preparations for your interview, which may answer the high opinion he has formed of your person."
"The king and all his court expressed their wish to honour the funeral with their presence, and the most considerable people of the city did the same. When all was ready for the ceremony, the corpse was put into a coffin with all her jewels and her most magnificent apparel. The procession began, and as second actor in this doleful tragedy, I went next the corpse, with my eyes full of tears, bewailing my deplorable fate. Before we reached the mountain, I made an attempt to affect the minds of the spectators: I addressed myself to the king first, and then to all those that were round me; bowing before them to the earth, and kissing the border of their garments, I prayed them to have compassion upon me. 'Consider,' said I, 'that I am a stranger, and ought not to be subject to this rigorous law, and that I have another wife and children in my own country.' Although I spoke in the most pathetic manner, no one was moved by my address; on the contrary, they ridiculed my dread of death as cowardly, made haste to let my wife's corpse into the pit, and lowered me down the next moment in an open coffin with a vessel full of water and seven loaves.
Aladdin immediately mounted his charger, and though he never was on horseback before, appeared with such extraordinary grace, that the most experienced horseman would not have taken him for a novice. The streets through which he was to pass were almost instantly filled with an innumerable concourse of people, who made the air echo with their acclamations, especially every time the six slaves who carried the purses threw handfuls of gold among the populace. Neither did these shouts of joy come from those alone who scrambled for the money, but from a superior rank of people, who could not forbear applauding Aladdin's generosity. Not only those who knew him when he played in the streets like a vagabond did not recollect him, but those who saw him but a little while before hardly recognised him, so much were his features altered: such were the effects of the lamp, as to procure by degrees to those who possessed it perfections suitable to the rank to which the right use of it advanced them. Much more attention was paid to Aladdin's person than to the pomp and magnificence of his attendants, as a similar show had been seen the day before, when the slaves walked in procession with the present to the sultan. Nevertheless, the horse was much admired by good judges, who knew how to discern his beauties, without being dazzled by the jewels and richness of his furniture. When the report was everywhere spread that the sultan was going to give the princess in marriage to Aladdin, nobody regarded his birth, nor envied his good fortune, so worthy he seemed of it in the public opinion.
His eyebrows were as white as snow, as was also the hair of his head; his whiskers covered his mouth, and his beard and hair reached down to his feet. The nails of his hands and feet were grown to an extensive length, while a flat, broad umbrella covered his head. He had no clothes, but only a mat thrown round his body. This old man was a dervish for so many years retired from the world to give himself up entirely to the service of God that at last he had become what we have described.