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because we cannot escape the conscious- she desired, he was less and less willing to come ness of our fault; but if we miscarry, the dis- into her presence. She observed his backwardappointment is irremediably embittered. How ness, and commanded him to attend her. “You comfortless is the sorrow of him, who feels at are not,” said she, “ to confound impatience once the pangs of guilt, and the vexation of ca- with resentment, or to suppose that I charge you lamity, which guilt has brought upon him ! with negligence, because I repine at your un
“ Consider, Princess, what would have been successfulness. I do not much wonder at your your condition, if the lady Pekuah had entreat- absence. I know that the unhappy are never ed to accompany you, and, being compelled to pleasing, and that all naturally avoid the constay in the tents, had been carried away; or how tagion of misery. To hear complaints is weariwould you have borne the thought if you had some, alike to the wretched and the happy; for forced her into the pyramid, and she had died who would cloud, by adventitious grief, the before you in agonies of terror?”
short gleams of gaiety' which life allows us ? or “ Hảd either happened,” said Nekayah," I who, that is struggling under his own evils, could not have endured life till now; I should will add to them the miseries of another? have been tortured to madness by the remem- “ The time is at hand, when none shall be brance of such cruelty, or must have pined away disturbed any longer by the sighs of Nekayah: in abhorrence of myself.”.
my search after happiness is now at an end. I “This, at least," said Imlac," is the present am resolved to retire from the world with all its reward of virtuous conduct, that no unlucky flatteries and deceits, and will hide myself in consequence can oblige us to repent it.” solitude, without any other care than to com
pose my thoughts, and regulate my hours by a
constant succession of innocent occupations, till, CHAP. XXXV.
with a mind purified from earthly desires, I
shall enter into that state, to which all are hasta The Princess languishes for want of Pekuah. ening, and in which I hope again to enjoy the
friendship of Pekuah.” NEKAYAH, being thus reconciled to herself, “ Do not entangle your mind,” said Imlac, found that no evil is insupportable but that “by irrevocable determinations, nor increase the which is accompanied with consciousness of burthen of life by a voluntary accumulation of wrong. She was, from that time, delivered from misery : the weariness of retirement will conthe violence of tempestuous sorrow, and sunktinue or increase when the loss of Pekuah is forinto silent pensiveness and gloomy tranquillity: got. That you have been deprived of one pleaShe sat from morning to evening recollecting all sure is no very good reason for rejection of the that had been done or said by her Pekuah, rest.” treasured up
with care every trifle on which Pe- “ Since Pekuah was taken from me," said the kuah had set an accidental value, and which Princess, “ I have no pleasure to reject or to remight recal to mind any little incident or care- tain. She that has no one to love or trust, has less conversation. The sentiments of her whom little to hope. She wants the radical principle she now expected to see no more, were treasured of happiness. We may, perhaps, allow that in her memory as rules of life, and she delibe- what satisfaction this world can afford, must rated to no other end than to conjecture on any arise from the conjunction of wealth, knowledge, occasion what would have been the opinion and and goodness : wealth is nothing but as it is becounsel of Pekuah.
stowed, and knowledge nothing but as it is come The women, by whom she was attended, knew municated : they must therefore be imparted to nothing of her real condition, and therefore she others, and to whom could I now delight to imcould not talk to them but with caution and re- part them? Goodness affords the only comfort serve. She began to remit her curiosity, having which can be enjoyed without a partner, and no great desire to collect notions which she had goodness may be practised in retirement." no convenience of uttering. Rasselas endeavour- “ How far solitude may admit goodness, or ed first to comfort, and afterwards to divert her; advance it, I shall not,” replied Imlac, “ dishe hired musicians, to whom she seemed to list- pute at present. Remember the confession of en, but did not hear them; and procured mas- the pious hermit. You will wish to return inters to instruct her in various arts, whose lec- to the world when the image of your companion tures, when they visited her again, were again has left your thoughts.”_" That time,” said to be repeated. She had lost her taste of plea- Nekayah, “ will never come. The generous sure, and her ambition of excellence. And her frankness, the modest obsequiousness, and the mind, though forced into short excursions, al- faithful secrecy of my dear Pekuah, will always ways recurred to the image of her friend. be more missed, as I shall live longer to see vice
Ímlac was every morning earnestly enjoined and folly." to renew his inquiries, and was asked every night “ The state of a mind oppressed with a sudwhether he had yet heard of Pekuah ; till, not den calamity,” said Imlac, “ is like that of the being able to return the Princess the answer that fabulous inhabitants of the new-created earth,
who, when the first night came upon them, sup- important and pressing avocation to delay the posed that day would never return. When the tribute of daily tears. She then yielded to less clouds of sorrow gather over us, we see nothing occasions; and sometimes forgot what she was beyond them, nor can imagine how they will indeed afraid to remember; and, at last, wholly be dispelled : yet a new day succeeded to the released herself from the duty of periodical afnight, and sorrow is never long without a dawn fliction. of ease. But they who restrain themselves from Her real love of Pekuah was not yet diminishreceiving comfort, do as the savages would have ed. A thousand occurrences brought her back done, had they put out their eyes when it to memory, and a thousand wants, which nowas dark. Our minds, like our bodies, are in thing but the confidence of friendship can supcontinual flux ; something is hourly lost, and ply, made her frequently regretted. She, there something acquired. To lose much at once is fore, solicited Imlac never to desist from inquiry, inconvenient to either, but while the vital powers and to leave no art of intelligence untried, that remain uninjured, nature will find the means of at least she might have the comfort of knowing reparation. Distance has the same effect on the that she did not suffer by negligence or sluggishmind as on the eye; and while we glide along ness. “ Yet what,” said she, “is to be expectthe stream of time, whatever we leave behind ed from our pursuit of happiness, when we find us is always lessening, and that which we ap- the state of life to be such that happiness itself proach increasing in magnitude. Do not suffer is the cause of misery? Why should we endealife to stagnate ; it will grow muddy for want vour to attain that of which the possession canof motion. Commit yourself again to the current not be secured ? I shall henceforward fear to of the world ; Pekuah will vanish by degrees; yield my heart to excellence, however bright, or you will meet in your way some other favour. to fondness, however tender, lest I should lose ite, or learn to diffuse yourself in general con- again what I have lost in Pekuah.” versation.”
“ At least," said the Prince, “ do not despair before all remedies have been tried : the inquiry
CHAP. XXXVII. after the unfortunate lady is still continued, and, shall be carried on with yet greater diligence, on The Princess hears news of Pekuah. condition that you will promise to wait a year for the event, without any unalterable resolu- In seven months, one of the messengers, who tion.”
had been sent away upon the day when the proNekayah thought this a reasonable demand, mise was drawn from the Princess, returned, and made the promise to her brother, who had after many unsuccessful rambles, from the borbeen advised by Imlac to require it. Imlac had, ders of Nubia, with an account that Pekuah was indeed, no great hope of regaining Pekuah; but in the hands of an Arab chief, who possessed a he supposed, that if he could secure the inter- castle or fortress on the extremity of Egypt. The val of a year, the Princess would be then in no Arab, whose revenue was plunder, was willing danger of a cloister.
to restore her, with her two attendants, for two hundred ounces of gold.
The price was no subject of debate. The CHAP. XXXVI.
Princess was in ecstasies when she heard that
her favourite was alive, and might so cheaply Pekuah is still remembered. The Progress of be ransomed. She could not think of delaying Surrow.
for a moment Pekuah's happiness or her own,
but entreated her brother to send back the mesNEKAYAH, seeing that nothing was omitted senger with the sum required. Imlac being confor the recovery of her favourite, and having, by sulted, was not very confident of the veracity of her promise, set her intention of retirement at a the relater, and was still more doubtful of the distance, began imperceptibly to return to com- Arab's faith, who might, if he were too liberalmon cares and common pleasures. She rejoiced ly trusted, detain at once the money and the without her own consent at the suspension of captives. He thought it dangerous to put themher sorrows, and sometimes caught herself with selves in the power of the Arab, by going into indignation in the act of turning away her mind his district ; and could not expect that the rofrom the remembrance of her, whom yet she re- ver would so much expose himself as to come solved never to forget.
into the lower country, where he might be seiShe then appointed a certain hour of the day zed by the forces of the Bassa. for meditation on the merits and fondness of It is difficult to negociate where neither will Pekuah, and for some weeks retired constantly trust. But Imlac, after some deliberation, diat the time fixed, and returned with her eyes rected the messenger to propose that Pekuah swollen and her countenance clouded. By de- should be conducted by ten horsemen to the mogrees she grew less scrupulous, and suffered any nastery of St Anthony, which is situated in the deserts of Upper Egypt, where she should be more than their justice, or that they would formet by the same number, and her ransom should bear the gratification of any ardour of desire, or be paid.
caprice of cruelty. I, however, kissed my maids, That no time might be lost, as they expected and endeavoured to pacify them by remarking, that the proposal would not be refused, they im- that we were yet treated with decency, and that, mediately began their journey to the monastery; since we were now carried beyond pursuit, there and when they arrived, Imlac went forward with was no danger of violence to our lives. the former messenger to the Arab's fortress. Ras- “ When we were to be set again on horseselas was desirous to go with them ; but neither back, my maids clung round me, and refused to his sister nor Imlac would consent. The Arab, be parted; but I commanded them not to irriaccording to the custom of his nation, observed tate those who had us in their power. We trathe laws of hospitality with great exactness to velled the remaining part of the day through an those who put themselves into his power, and, unfrequented and pathless country, and came in a few days, brought Pekuah with her maids, by moonlight to the side of a hill, where the rest by easy journeys, to the place appointed, where, of the troop was stationed. Their tents were receiving the stipulated price, he restored her, pitched, and their fires kindled, and our chief with great respect, to liberty and her friends, was welcomed as a man much beloved by his and undertook to conduct them back towards dependants. Cairo beyond all danger of robbery or violence. We were received into a large tent, where
The Princess and her favourite embraced each we found women who had attended their husother with transport too violent to be expressed, bands in the expedition. They set before us the and went out together to pour the tears of ten- supper which they had provided, and I ate it derness in secret, and exchange professions of rather to encourage my maids, than to comply kindness and gratitude. After a few hours they with any appetite of my own. When the meat returned into the refectory of the convent, where, was taken away, they spread the carpets for rein the presence of the prior and his brethren, pose. I was weary, and hoped to find in sleep the Prince required of Pekuah the history of her that remission of distress which nature seldom adventures.
denies. Ordering myself, therefore, to be undressed, I observed that the women looked very
earnestly upon me, not expecting, I suppose, to CHAP. XXXVIII.
see me so submissively attended. When my upper vest was taken off
, they were apparently The Adventures of the Lady Pekuah. struck with the splendour of my clothes, and
one of them timorously laid her hand upon the “At what time, and in what manner, I was embroidery. She then went out, and, in a short forced away,” said Pekuah," your servants have time, came back with another woman, who told you. The suddenness of the event struck seemed to be of higher rank and greater autho me with surprise, and I was at first rather stu- rity. She did, at her entrance, the usual act of pified than agitated with any passion of either reverence, and, taking me by the hand, placed fear or sorrow. My confusion was increased by me in a smaller tent, spread with finer carpets, the
seed and tumult of our flight, while we where I spent the night quietly with my maids. were followed by the Turks, who, as it seem- “ In the morning, as I was sitting on the ed, soon despaired to overtake us, or were afraid grass, the chief of the troop came towards me. of those whom they made a show of menacing. I rose up to receive him, and he bowed with
“When the Arabs saw themselves out of great respect. “Illustrious lady,' said he,‘my fordanger, they slackened their course; and as I tune is better than I had presumed to hope ; I was less harassed by external violence, I began am told, by my women, that I have a princess in to feel more uneasiness in my mind. After some my camp.—Sir,'answered I,‘your women have time, we stopped near a spring shaded with trees, deceived themselves and you ; I am not a prinin a pleasant meadow, where we were set upon cess, but an unhappy stranger, who intended the ground, and offered such refreshments as soon to have left this country, in which I am our masters were partaking. I was suffered to now to be imprisoned for ever.'— Whoever, or sit with my maids apart from the rest, and none whencesoever you are,' returned the Arab, your attempted to comfort or insult us. Here I first dress, and that of your servants, shew your rank began to feel the full weight of my misery. The to be high, and your wealth to be great. Why girls sat weeping in silence, and from time to should you, who can so easily procure your rantime looked on me for succour. I knew not to som, think yourself in danger of perpetual capwhat condition we were doomed, nor could con- tivity ? the purpose of my incursions is to injecture where would be the place of our captivity, crease my riches, or more properly to gather or whence to draw any hope of deliverance. I tribute. The sons of Ishmael are the natural was in the hands of robbers and savages, and · and hereditary lords of this part of the continent, had no reason to suppose that their pity was which is usurped by late invaders and low-born
tyrants, from whom we are compelled to take temples will be demolished, to make stables of by the sword what is denied to justice. The granite and cottages of porphyry.” violence of war admits no distinction; the lance that is lifted at guilt and power will sometimes fall on innocence and gentleness.' “How little,” said I,“ did I expect that yes
CHAP. XXXIX. terday it should have fallen upon me.”
“«Misfortunes,' answered the Arab,' should The Adventures of Pekuah continued. always be expected. If the eye of hostility could learn reverence or pity, excellence like yours had “ We wandered about in this manner for been exempt from injury. But the angels of some weeks, either, as our chief pretended, for affliction spread their toils alike for the virtuous my gratification, or, as I rather suspected, for and the wicked, for the mighty and the mean. some convenience of his own. I endeavoured to Do not be disconsolate; I am not one of the appear contented where sullenness and resentlawless and cruel rovers of the desert ; I know ment would have been of no use, and that enthe rules of civil life ; I will fix your ransom, deavour conduced much to the calmness of my give a passport to your messenger, and perform mind; but my heart was always with Nekayah, my stipulation with nice punctuality.'
and the troubles of the night much overbalan“ You will easily believe that I'was pleased ced the amusements of the day. My women, with his courtesy ; and finding that his
predo- who threw all their cares upon their mistress, minant passion was desire of money, I began set their minds at ease from the time when they now to think my danger less ; for I knew that saw me treated with respect, and gave themno sum would be thought too great for the re- selves up to the incidental alleviations of our lease of Pekuah. I told him that he should have fatigue, without solicitude or sorrow. no reason to charge me with ingratitude, if I pleased with their pleasure, and animated with was used with kindness ; and that any ransom their confidence. My condition had lost much which could be expected for a maid of common of its terror, since I found that the Arab ranged rank would be paid, but that he must not per- the country merely to get riches. Avarice is an sist to rate me as a princess. He said he would uniform and tractable vice : other intellectual consider what he should demand, and then, distempers are different in different constitutions smiling, bowed and retired.
of mind ; that which sooths the pride of one “Soon after, the women came about me, each will offend the pride of another ; but to the facontending to be more officious than the other, your of the covetous there is a ready way— and my maids themselves were served with re- bring money, and nothing is denied. verence. We travelled onwards by short jour- “ At last we came to the dwelling of our nies. On the fourth day, the chief told me that chief ; a strong and spacious house, built with my ransom must be two hundred ounces of gold; stone in an island of the Nile, which lies, as I was which I not only promised him, but told him told, under the tropic. “Lady,' said the Arab, that, I would add fifty more, if I and my maids you shall rest after your journey a few weeks in were honourably treated.
this place, where you are to consider yourself “ I never knew the power of gold before as sovereign. My occupation is war: I have From that time I was the leader of the troop.- therefore chosen this obscure residence, from The march of every day was longer or shorter which I can issue unexpected, and to which I as I commanded, and the tents were pitched can retire unpursued. You may now repose in where I chose to rest. We now had camels and security: here are few pleasures, but here is no other conveniencies for travel : my own women danger. He then led me into the inner apartwere always at my side, and I amused myself ments, and, seating me on the richest couch, with observing the manners of the vagrant na- bowed to the ground. tions, and with viewing remains of ancient edi- “ His women, who considered me as a rival, fices with which these deserted countries appear looked on me with malignity; but being soon to have been, in some distant age, lavishly em- informed that I was a great lady detained only bellished.
for my ransom, they began to vie with each other “ The chief of the band was a man far from in obsequiousness and reverence. illiterate : he was able to travel by the stars or “ Being again comforted with new assurances the compass, and had marked in his erratic ex- of speedy liberty, I was for some days diverted peditions such places as are most worthy the no- from impatience by the novelty of the place. The tice of a passenger. He observed to me, that turrets overlooked the country to a great disbuildings are always best preserved in places tance, and afforded a view of many windings of little frequented, and difficult of access ; for the stream. In the day I wandered from one when once a country declines from its primitive place to another, as the course of the sun varied splendour, the more inhabitants are left, the the splendour of the prospect, and saw many quicker ruin will be made. Walls supply stones things which I had never seen before. The cro more easily than quarries; and palaces and codiles and river-horses are common in this unpeopled region; and I often looked upon them they had lived from early youth in that narrow with terror, though I knew that they could not spot; of what they had not seen they could have hurt me. For some time I expected to see mer- no knowledge, for they could not read. They maids and tritons, which, as Imlac has told me, had no idea but of the few things that were the European travellers have stationed in the within their view, and had hardly names for any Nile ; but no such beings ever appeared, and thing but their clothes and their food. As I bore the Arab, when I inquired after them, laughed a superior character, I was often called to termiat my credulity.
nate their quarrels, which I decided as equitably “ At night the Arab always attended me to a as I could. If it could have amused me to hear tower set apart for celestial observations, where the complaints of each against the rest, I might he endeavoured to teach me the names and cour- have been often detained by long stories; but ses of the stars. I had no great inclination to the motives of their animosity were so small, this study; but an appearance of attention was that I could not listen without interrupting the necessary to please my instructor, who valued tale." himself for his skill, and, in a little while, I “How,” said Rasselas, “can the Arab, whom found some employment requisite to beguile the you represented as a man of more than common tediousness of time, which was to be passed al- accomplishments, take any pleasure in his seways amidst the same objects. I was weary of raglio, when it is filled only with women like looking in the morning on things from which I these? Are they exquisitely beautiful ?" had turned away weary in the evening ; I there- “ They do not,” said Pekuah, “ want that fore was at last willing to observe the stars ra- unaffecting and ignoble beauty which may subther than do nothing, but could not always com- sist without sprightliness or sublimity, without pose my thoughts, and was very often thinking energy of thought or dignity of virtue. But, to on Nekayah when others imagined me contem- a man like the Arab, such' beauty was only a plating the sky. Soon after the Arab went upon flower casually plucked and carelessly thrown another expedition, and then my only pleasure away. Whatever pleasures he might find among was to talk with my maids about the accident them, they were not those of friendship or soby which we were carried away, and the happi- ciety. When they were playing about him, he ness that we should all enjoy at the end of our looked on them with inattentive superiority; captivity.”
when they vied for his regard, he sometimes " There were women in your Arab's fortress," turned away disgusted. As they had no knowsaid the Princess ; "why did you not make them ledge, their talk could take nothing from the teyour companions, enjoy their conversation, and diousness of life; as they had no choice, their partake their diversions? In a place where they fondness, or appearance of fondness, excited in found business or amusement, why should you him neither pride nor gratitude ; he was not exalone sit corroded with idle melancholy? or why alted in his own esteem by the smiles of a wocould not you bear for a few months that condi- man who saw no other man, nor was much oblition to which they were condemned for life?” ged by that regard, of which he could never
“ The diversions of the women,” answered know the sincerity, and which he might often Pekuah,"were only childish play, by which the perceive to be exerted not so much to delight mind, accustomed to stronger operations, could him as to pain a rival. That which he gave, and not be kept busy. I could do all which they de- they received, as love, was only a careless distrilighted in doing, by powers merely sensitive, bution of superfluous time; such love as man while my intellectual faculties were flown to can bestow upon that which he despises, such as Cairo. They ran from room to room, as a bird has neither hope nor fear, neither joy nor sorhops from wire to wire in his cage. They danced row." for the sake of motion, as lambs frisk in a “ You have reason, lady, to think yourself meadow. One sometimes pretended to be hurt happy,” said Imlac, “that you have been thus that the rest might be alarmed, or hid herself easily disinissed. How could a mind, hungry for that another might seek her. Part of their time knowledge, be willing, in an intellectual famine, passed in watching the progress of light bodies to lose such a banquet as Pekuah's conversathat floated on the river, and part in marking tion?" the various forms into which clouds broke in the “I am inclined to believe," answered Pekuah, sky.
" that he was for some time in suspense ; for, “ Their business was only needle-work, in notwithstanding his promise, whenever I propowhich I and my maids sometimes helped them; sed to dispatch a messenger to Cairo, he found but you know ihat the mind will easily straggle some excuse for delay. While I was detained in from the fingers, nor will you suspect that cap- his house he made many incursions into the tivity and absence from Nekayah could receive neighbouring countries, and, perhaps, he would solace from silken flowers.
have refused to discharge me had his plunder “Nor was much satisfaction to be hoped from been equal to his wishes. He returned always their conversation ; for of what could they be courteous, related his adventures, delighted to expected to talk? They had scen nothing, for hear my observations, and endeavoured to ad