Chapter 3

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Alroy, Edited by Sheila A. Spector

Part VII

Chapter 3

‘GENTLE Rachel, I fear I trouble you; sweet Beruna, I thank you for your zeal. I am better now; the shock was great. These are strange tidings, maidens.’

‘Yes, dear lady! who would have thought of your brother turning out a Captain?’

‘I am sure I always thought he was the quietest person in the world,’ said Beruna, ‘though he did kill Alschiroch.’

‘One could never get a word out of him,’ said Rachel.

‘He was always moping alone,’ said Beruna.

‘And when one spoke to him he always turned away,’ said Leah.

‘Or blushed,’ added Imra.*

‘Well, for my part,’ said the beautiful Bathsheba,* ‘I always thought Prince David was a genius. He had such beautiful eyes!’

‘I hope he will conquer Hassan,’ said Rachel.

‘So do I,’ said Beruna.

‘I wonder what he has done with the Harem,’ said Leah.

‘I don't think he will dare to speak to them,’ said Imra.

‘You are very much mistaken,’ said Bathsheba.

‘Hark!’ said Miriam.

‘’Tis Hassan,’ said Bathsheba; ‘may he never return!’

The wild drum of the Seljuks sounded, then a flourish of their fierce trumpets, and soon the tramp of horse. Behind the blinds of their chamber, Miriam and her maidens beheld the magnificent troop of turbaned horsemen, who, glittering with splendid armour and bright shawls, and proudly bounding on their fiery steeds, now went forth to crush and conquer the only hope of Israel. Upon an Arab, darker than night, rode the superb Hassan, and, as he passed the dwelling of his late prisoners, whether from the exulting anticipation of coming triumph, or from a soft suspicion that, behind that lattice, bright eyes and brilliant faces were gazing on his state, the haughty but handsome Seljuk flourished his scimetar over his head, as he threw his managed steed into attitudes that displayed the skill of its rider.

‘He is handsomer than Alschiroch,’ said Rachel.

‘What a shawl!’ said Beruna.

‘His scimetar was like lightning,’ said Leah.

‘And his steed like thunder,’ said Imra.

‘The evil eye fall on him!’ said Bathsheba.

‘Lord,’ exclaimed Miriam, ‘remember David and all his afflictions!’

Published @ RC

January 2005