SLEEP crept over the senses of the exhausted and desperate Caliph.
He threw himself upon the divan, and was soon buried in profound
repose. He might have slept an hour; he awoke suddenly. From the
cabinet in which he slept, you entered a vast hall, through a lofty
and spacious arch, generally covered with drapery, which was now
withdrawn. To the astonishment of Alroy, this presence-chamber appeared
at this moment to blaze with light. He rose from his couch, he advanced;
he perceived, with feelings of curiosity and fear, that the hall
was filled with beings, terrible indeed to behold, but to his sight
more terrible than strange. In the colossal and mysterious forms
that lined the walls of the mighty chamber, and each of which held
in its extended arm a streaming torch, he recognised the awful Afrites.
At the end of the hall, upon a sumptuous throne, surrounded by priests
and courtiers, there was seated a monarch, on whom Alroy had before
gazed, Solomon the Great! Alroy beheld him in state and semblance
the same Solomon, whose sceptre the Prince of the Captivity had
seized in the royal tombs of Judah.
The strange assembly seemed perfectly unconscious of the presence
of the child of Earth, who, with a desperate courage, leant against
a column of the arch, and watched, with wonder, their mute and motionless
society. Nothing was said, nothing done. No one moved, no one, even
by gesture, seemed sensible of the presence of any other apparition
This great crowd poured on in beautiful order, the procession never
terminating, yet passing thrice round the hall, bowing to him that
was upon the throne, and ranging themselves in ranks before the
And there came in twelve forms, bearing a great seal: the stone
green, and the engraven characters of living flame, and the characters
were those on the talisman of Jabaster, which Alroy still wore next
to his heart. And the twelve forms placed the great seal before
Solomon, and humbled themselves, and the King bowed. At the same
moment Alroy was sensible of a pang next to his heart. He instantly
put his hand to the suffering spot, and lo! the talisman crumbled
The procession ceased; a single form advanced. Recent experience
alone prevented Alroy from sinking before the spectre of Jabaster.
Such was the single form. It advanced, bearing the sceptre. It advanced,
it knelt before the throne, it offered the sceptre to the crowned
and solemn vision. And the form of Solomon extended its arm, and
took the sceptre, and instantly the mighty assembly vanished!
Alroy advanced immediately into the chamber, but all was dark and
silent. A trumpet sounded. He recognised the note of his own soldiery.
He groped his way to a curtain, and, pulling it aside, beheld the
first streak of dawn.