Part 8, Chapter 7


Chapter 7

‘THE old story, the priest against the king,’ said Honain to Alroy, when at his morrow’s interview, he had listened to the events of the preceding night. ‘My pious brother wishes to lead you back to the Theocracy, and is fearful that, if he prays at Bagdad instead of Sion, he may chance to become only the head of an inferior sect, instead of revelling in the universal tithes of a whole nation. As for the meteor, Scherirah must have crossed river about the same time, and the Sultan of Roum may explain the bloody portent. For the shriek, as I really have no acquaintance with spirits, I must leave the miraculous communication to the favoured ears and initiated intelligences of your highness and my brother. It seems that it differed from “the Daughter of the Voice” in more respects than one, since it was not only extremely noisy, but, as it would appear, quite unintelligible except to the individual who had an interest in the interpretation, an ingenious one I confess. When I enter upon my functions as your highness’s chamberlain, I will at least guarantee that your slumbers shall not be disturbed either by spirits or more unwelcome visitors.’

‘Enter upon them at once, good Honain. How fares my Persian rose to-day, my sweet Schirene?’

‘Feeding on your image in your absence. She spares no word to me, I do assure your Highness.’

‘Nay, nay, we know you are a general favourite with the sex, Honain. I’faith I’m jealous.’

‘I would your highness had cause,’ said Honain, demurely.