LETTER 4 (continued)
Thus passed the second night of my undoing. After he had left me in the morning, and reason had resumed its empire, I was fully sensible of my deviation from strict virtue in the return I had made to his pleasure.
This for a time filled my mind with melancholy thoughts, but I reflected it was the will of Heaven that my virginity should be reserved for the Dey. It was a thing settled by fate, that he should possess it, and I soon became entirety resigned, ceasing to reproach myself about that which I had no control over. The next day I was introduced to three of his other ladies - one French, one Italian, and one Greek. They were all lovely. The Grecian is named Zena, and I think I never beheld anything so lovely. She appeared about seventeen years of age, fair as a lily, with all the charms and freshness of her age, whilst the modest languish of her fine dark eyes, combined with a settled melancholy, gave an interesting appearance to her countenance which made her look peculiarly attractive.
I felt great interest in this young girl, and will give you an outline of her history, and also that of the French and Italian ladies. I shall begin with the Italian, who spoke French equally as well as the Frenchwoman herself, and who related to me the short history of her coming into the possession of the Dey. I shall relate just as she repeated it to me. She was a most lovely woman, gracefully formed, with fine black languishing eyes, capable of creating the greatest interest; but she appeared of delicate health; her voice was tender, her mouth was rather large, but her admirably made lips with regular teeth, quite hid the defect; so fine and beautiful a head of hair I think I never saw; in fact, her person altogether was sufficient to create desire in the bosom of age itself. She related her story in nearly the following words:
"The city of Genoa, where I was born, has been always famed above any town in Europe for the refinement of its gallantry. It is common there for a gentleman to profess himself the humble servant of a handsome woman and to wait upon her to serve in every public place for twenty years together without ever seeing her in private or being entitled to any greater favour than a kind look or a touch of her fair hand. Of all this sighing tribe, the most constant, and the most respectful of all those I knew was Signer Ludovico, my lover. My name is Honoria Grimaldi, I am the only daughter of a senator of that name, and I was esteemed a very great beauty in Genoa, but at the same time quite a prude, and most reserved."
The remark made me laugh, for she had the look of a very great libertine.
"You may smile, but so great was nicety then, in point of love, that although I could not be insensible to the address of Signer Ludovico, yet I could not bring myself to think of marrying my lover, which would have admitted him to freedoms which I thought entirely inconsistent with true modesty - freedoms which then, I assure you, made me shudder to think of."
I here asked whether the Dey had not rectified her ideas on that point.
She blushed and sighed, "Indeed, Madame, he was not long in effecting that change of opinion. In vain, Madame, did Ludovico speak of the violence of his passion for me. I answered that mine for him was no less so. But it was his mind I loved; I enjoyed that without having to go to bed with him, the very thought of which shocked and alarmed me. My lover was ready to despair at these discourses; he could not but admire such fine sentiments, yet he wished I had not been so perfect. He wrote me a long, melancholy letter. I returned him one for answer in verses, full of sublime expressions about my love, but not a word that tended to satisfy the poor man's impatience. At last he applied himself to my father, and to engage him to use his authority, offered to take me without a portion. My father, who was a plain man, was mighty pleased with this proposal, and made no difficulty to promise him success.
"Accordingly he very roughly told me that I must be married the next day or go to a nunnery. This dilemma startled me very much. In spite of all my repugnance to the marriage bed, I found something about me extremely averse to a cloister. An absolute separation from Ludovico was what I could not bear; it was even worse than absolute conjunction.
"In this distress, not knowing what to do, I turned over about a hundred romances in search for precedents. After many struggles with myself, I resolved to surrender upon terms; therefore, I told my lover I consented to be his wife, provided I might be so by degrees, and that after the ceremony was over he should not pretend at once to all the rights and privileges of a husband, but allow my modesty to make a decent and gradual surrender. Ludovico did not much like such a capitulation, but rather than not have me, he was content to pay the last compliment to my delicacy. We were united, and at the end of the first month he was happy to find himself arrived at full enjoyment of my lips.
"Whilst he was thus gaining ground, inch by inch, his father died, and left him a large estate in Corsica. His presence was necessary there, but he could not think of parting with me, so we embarked together, and Ludovico had good hopes that he should not take possession of his estate only, but of my virginity too, at his arrival. Whether it was that Venus, who is said to have been born out of the sea, was more powerful there than on land, or whether it was from the freedom that is usual on board a ship, but whatever the reason it is sure that during the voyage I indulged him in greater liberties than he ever presumed to take before, for my neck and breasts were moulded by his bold hand. But while he was thus by degrees, as it were, reducing me to his wishes, fortune, who took a pleasure in persecuting him, brought an African corsair in our way, who quickly put an end to our dalliance by making us both slaves. Who can express our affliction and despair at so sudden and ill-timed a captivity? Ludovico saw himself bereft of his virgin bride on the very point of obtaining all his wishes, and I had reason to apprehend from the rough hands I had fallen into that my virginity was likely to be taken from me, whether I resisted or not. But the martyrdom I looked for on the instant was unexpectedly deferred, for the corsair, seeing I was handsome, thought me worthy of the embraces of the Dey, and to him I was presented on our arrival here - unfortunate end to all my pure and heroic sentiments! The time was now arrived when I was doomed to be courted in a manner opposite to that adopted by Ludovitio. My being a married woman was known to my captor, and was a fact which, of course, he communicated to the Dey.
"He naturally supposed me to be a finished woman. When I was brought to him he appeared much struck with my appearance, and instantly ordered everyone out of the apartment; then, rising off the couch he was sitting on, he took my hand and led me towards it.
"On approaching it to my great astonishment he desired me in good Italian to be seated. I obeyed trembling, and he seated himself by my side. Directly he had seated himself he took hold of one of my hands, and demanded from what part of Italy I came from. The mildness of his speech and manner, I thought I could assume the same authority with him as I had done with Ludovico, so would scarcely answer any of his questions, whereupon the Dey, seeing the more tender and respectful his behaviour was, the more I presumed on his forbearance, suddenly seized me round the waist, and drawing my lips forcibly to his, continued sucking them with such force that he nearly made me faint.
"The suddenness of the attack threw me into extreme confusion. Ere I recovered from it, the Dey had uncovered my breasts and was handling them just as he pleased, exclaiming every moment, as he pressed and handled them, "By Mahomet, how deliciously formed they are! how firm! how delightfully the nipples pout!" and such-like observations, which covered me with burning blushes.
"By this time I had recovered somewhat from my confusion, observing which the Dey, rising from the coach, said, in a low, determined tone, "How now, audacious slave, do you presume to oppose the will of thy master? Show again the least opposition to my desires and in an instant I shall have thee scourged properly for thy presumption. So mark me, slave!"
After this menace he again seated himself and drew me upon his knees, with his arms round my waist. His determined manner of treating me had such an effect that I dared not resist his forcing his hand again into my breasts; but after he had sufficiently satisfied himself with feeling and moulding them, he suddenly turned his hands under my petticoats. His threats were now forgotten; I again strenuously resisted and struggled, whereupon he immediately desisted, and getting off the couch, with a small whistle which hung on his belt, he called in his black eunuchs, to one of whom he gave some orders in the Turkish language; the fellow went out, but quickly returned with a whip, which had about a dozen tails.
"I was now seized by the two eunuchs, who forced me across the couch with my face downwards; each of the eunuchs held me over the couch by the arm, so that I could not possibly get away. Having me thus secure and unmindful of my tears or entreaties, the Dey lifted up my clothes, and threw them all over my shoulders, leaving everything below my waist as naked as when I was born. Would you believe it, Madame, he began to flog me in so unmerciful a manner that I could not retain my screams, of which he took not the least notice until he thought he had sufficiently punished my first offence. He then left off, and demanded if I would dare to oppose his wishes again. I could not at the moment have answered him, even if death had been the consequence.
"However, he allowed me very little time, but recommenced his flogging again, saying, "Oh, you are sullen are you? but I shall soon subdue you." Indeed, so painfully did I feel his lashes that at last I was able to cry that I would be submissive to his desires.
"I was directly relieved from the position I was in, and the eunuchs were dismissed, when the Dey, just as if nothing had happened, placed himself by my side; but, seeing I sat extremely uneasily from the soreness of the part he had so unmercifully whipped, he caused me to lie down on my side, laying himself beside me. He then drew me to his bosom and after kissing away my tears, sucking my lips and forcing his tongue into my mouth (which created great disgust in me), presently demanded if I was not married, I shuddered out an affirmative. "Curses on the Christian dog, I say, that has plucked your virginity!" he replied, "by Ali, I would have possessed it."
"You may be sure, Madame, this made me blush, which made him remark how much my blushes increased my beauty. Again my lips became his prey. "How long have you been joined to the Christian dog?" demanded he, withdrawing his lips to let me answer him.
"I stammered out, "Only a month."
"A month have thy blushes, then, been polluted. Well, I must be content with you as you are. Indeed, you are a feast fit for a monarch. How languishingly delicious is the modest cast of your eyes! Kiss me, trembler!" I dared not disobey, and, covered with blushes, joined my lips to his. He seemed much pleased with my obedience, and continued for some time most passionately kissing me. Whilst thus occupied, he slipped his right hand again under my petticoats and shift. A dreadful trembling seized me, but my fears prevented the least resistance, whilst his burning hand travelled over my most secret charms.
"Here was a change, Madame, from the respect of poor Ludovico! The smallest favour was not granted to him until after the most urgent persuasions, whilst the Dey took every liberty he thought fit, and I believe thought he was conferring an honour upon me. He had now got his hand between my thighs and, drawing my lips closer to his, he desired me to open them a little wider, that he might have full command of the shrine of pleasure where he said he meant presently to sacrifice. I did not at the moment obey him. "How now," he cried, changing his tone from the soliciting to the commanding, "darest thou neglect my orders?"
"Oh, Madame, the gradual extension of my thighs plainly spoke my fears. My tears flowed in torrents; my breasts heaved in convulsive agony. For a moment or so the Dey played with the soft down that crowns the mount of pleasure, and then slipped his finger between the lips of the road which until then had never been travelled, little dreaming of the discovery he was about to make. Indeed, on forcing his finger as far as he could into me, with great astonishment he found some difficulty in effecting entry, his efforts making me cry out that he hurt me.
"Surprised at my cries, he instantly started up, and forcing me on my back, extended my thighs to their utmost width, "Why, by Mahomet, you are a maid!" he cried, as he minutely examined me. "What punishment do you think you deserve for thus deceiving me as to your virginity?" Trembling and panting with shame and fear, I replied that I had not deceived him, as he had only asked how long I had been married, and I had told him the truth.
"Then how is it," he demanded, "that your husband has not reaped his rights?" I at last confessed my maiden bashfulness had been the reason. At this the Dey laughed heartily, saying, "Whatever is the cause, holy Mahomet, I thank you for this unexpected treasure, but it shall not hang long on the stock for want of plucking." He then got off the couch, also assisting me to rise off my back; then applying the whistle to his mouth he summoned the same eunuchs, to whom he gave some directions as before.
"In obedience to his instructions they conducted me into a small room, every side of which was covered with glass: even the door at which I entered I could not discover when shut. In the centre of the room was a low dark-cushioned velvet couch, with one large cushion at the head; it was nothing but a plain broad couch, in the centre of which was fastened, properly extended, a beautiful white damask cloth.
"I was stripped in an instant by the eunuchs of every particle of my dress; they even untied the fillets which fastened up my hair; then, having reduced me to a complete state of nature, they retired, taking away my clothes. So much were my feelings overcome, that I was obliged to seat myself on the couch, or else I must have fallen. I was not doomed to wait long in suspense, for in a few seconds the Dey entered, as naked as myself. You, Madame, no doubt well know how little ceremony, in cases of this kind, he uses. He took me in his arms, after kissing me, and told me he was now come to redress the wrongs I had suffered in the cruel neglect of my husband. "But," he said, "it will soon be repaired; you quickly shall taste such joys as your beauties so well deserve you should partake of. But why these tears and sighs? Is this the way you meet my caresses and kindness? Is this the return you make my generosity in preparing to teach you those pleasure which your husband has neglected. Come, come, let me have no more of this folly!" So drawing me to his bosom, he gently forced me on my back.
"There now," he said, "lie down - no, not that way," seeing I was placing myself on my side, "it is on your back you must receive your first instructions. There, that's right; now open your soft thighs!" In an instant he was between them. I found I could not dare disobey. Finding my thighs were not quite extended enough, he soon widened them to his wish. I need not tell you how tremendously large the Dey is; turn in which way I would I could not help seeing in the glass the terrible pillar with which he was preparing to skewer me; quickly discovering the cause of my excessive alarm, whilst he was fixing its head between the lips of my virgin sheath, he tried by every kind of endearment to soothe me, assuring me the pain would be nothing - that my fears were unfounded; besides it was a sacrifice which nature had decreed, and once over the sweetest joys would be my reward; then why these foolish fears? Thus did he soften me to his desires. The head of his instrument was no sooner fixed in the opening than by four or five sudden shoves he contrived to insert the whole of it entirely, so that I could not see any part of it as my face turned towards the glass. At this moment his penetration was not deep enough to make me experience any great pain, but he, well knowing what was coming, forcibly secured one of his arms around my body.
"Everything was now prepared and favourable. My legs were glued to his, and I lay in his arms as it were insensible from despair, shame and confusion. He now began to improve his advantage by forcibly deepening his penetration; his prodigious stiffness and size gave me such dreadful anguish, from the separation of the sides of the soft passage by such a hard substance, that I could not refrain from screaming. Delicate as I was, he found great difficulty; but his Herculean strength in the end broke down all my virgin defences. My piercing cries spoke of my sufferings. In my agony I strove to escape, but the Dey, perfectly used to such attempts, easily foiled them by his able thrusts, and quickly buried his tremendous instrument too far within me to leave me any chance of escape. He now paid no kind of attention to my sufferings, but followed up his movements with fury, until the tender texture altogether gave way to his fierce tearing and rending, and one merciless, violent thrust broke in and carried all before it, sending his weapon, imbued and reeking with the blood of my virginity, up to its utmost length in my body. The piercing shriek I gave proclaimed that I felt it up to the very quick; in short, his victory was complete.
"What my sufferings at first were I need not dwell upon, as no doubt you must have experienced them as painfully as myself, from his extraordinary size. It was also increased from the want of delicacy he used in subduing me. But my suffering did not seem to be any consideration with him, for he gave me no respite in his proceedings, but by enjoyment after enjoyment very soon blunted the sharpness of the pain, and ere he withdrew from me I had sustained four assaults, which from their amorous fury had so stretched and opened me as to ensure I need never again complain on the score of suffering. Being satisfied on this point, he withdrew his shaft, and laying himself for a short time by my side, covered every part of me with burning kisses and caresses, assuring me that my sufferings were ended, and that I should shortly enjoy the pleasure of unmixed and pure delight in a manner that would reward me for all the anguish I had experienced in his fierce embraces.
"After reposing a short time on my bosom he got up and assisted me off the couch, which bore crimson evidence of my late loss. "Look," he cried, "my sweet slave," fondly pressing me in his arms, "I shall have your name worked in letters of gold on it, and it will then be deposited with a number of others that ornament a room in my harem. By virtue of this you are entitled to many privileges, which will be explained to you. Among others you are forever exempt from any kind of attendance on my wives or chief sultanas, unless you choose to amuse yourself. But the slaves who will attend you will explain all the things which the blushing testimony of your chastity entitles you to."
"He then placed such a thrilling kiss on my lips that it threw me into the greatest confusion.
"He now called some Turkish slaves, who brought every kind of female clothing. They were not long in completing my toilet. This finished, he conducted me into a magnificent room, where refreshments were laid out. During the repast the Dey, by the most assiduous attention, strove to render himself agreeable, but as yet I could scarcely venture to look on him. It was still early in the morning. When we had finished our repast, he tenderly enquired if I felt inclined to refresh myself by taking some repose alone. He could not have proposed anything more agreeable, which must have been evident by the immediate assent I gave to his offer. I was directly supported by him to a sleeping apartment, where, after again and again tenderly kissing me, he left me with a female slave, who soon undressed me; and in a soft slumber, which I soon fell into, my misfortunes were forgotten. My sleep was long and of course refreshing. I was awoken by the slave, who informed me that dinner was nearly ready, I got up and was assisted by her to dress. I then took dinner. After dinner the slave drew my attention to a large quantity of books, in my own language, which the Dey had caused to be sent to me. I found them to consist of our choicest authors.
"In my sitting-room he had occasioned a grand pianoforte to be placed, also an excellent lute, with a quantity of music, that I might not want amusement. I soon found several large portfolios of all kinds of prints, which alone were an inexhaustible store of amusement. The time imperceptibly passed in inspecting the various things which were placed for my recreation, until the slave reminded me that it was time I retired, as it was the Dey's intention to pass the night with me. What could I do? Resistance was now out of the question; my virtue and modesty had received their mortal wounds. I had, even if I wished, no resource; indeed, nothing was left to me but to submit to my fate.
"Scarcely knowing where I was going, I was conducted to the bedchamber, and soon was reduced to a proper state to meet the Dey's desires, being placed in bed in a state of panting, blushing confusion, very little different from that state I was in in the morning, when he debauched me. I was not long kept in suspense. I soon found myself in his strong arms. But, oh, how changed I now found him! All the authority of a master which he had so strongly assumed in the morning was now lost in the most passionate and tender regards of a most devoted and even submissive lover - even poor Ludovico could not be more so. I soon found his present proceedings more fatal to my morality than all the favours he had ravished from me by force under the influence of punishment. Indeed, I cannot explain the feeling he soon created.
"As I lay on his bosom he kissed me in a manner quite new, keeping my mouth to his several minutes, every now and then thrusting in his tongue and sucking mine. All the time he was doing this his hand was travelling over every part of my body with burning touches, creating the greatest disorder. The unopposed enjoyment of my lips, and feeling every secret beauty I possessed had now so heated his spirits, that to prevent the fluid that was boiling within him being improperly lost, it was absolutely necessary there should be no delay in my resigning to him the possession of the gates of pleasure. So far had his pressures and touches heated and inflamed me, that he found no obstacle in turning me on my back and again placing himself between my extended thighs.
"I scarcely recollect how it was, but I certainly felt at the moment he was fixing his instrument the soft prelude of pleasure illuminating within me. From trembling and fear I already began to desire; and, good God! how can I describe the surprise I felt when with one energetic shove he lodged himself up to the hilt in me without the smallest sensation of pain. Never, oh never shall I forget the delicious transports that followed the stiff insertion; and then, ah me! by what thrilling degrees did he, by his luxurious movements, fiery kisses, and strange touches of his hand in the most private parts of my body, reduce me to a voluptuous state of insensibility. I blush to say so powerfully did his ravishing instrument stir up nature within me, that by mere instinct I returned him kiss for kiss, responsively meeting his fierce thrusts, until the fury of the pleasure and ravishment became so overpowering that, unable longer to support the excitement I so luxuriously felt, I fainted in his arms with pleasure, Ludovico, the flogging, and everything else was entirely driven out of my head.
"So lively, so repeated were the enjoyments that the Dey caused me to participate in with him, I wondered how nature could have slumbered so long within me. I was lost in astonishment that in all the caresses I received from Ludovico he had not contrived to give the slightest alarm or feeling to nature. I could not help smiling at my ignorance when I considered the ridiculous airs I had assumed to Ludovico about my chastity. The Dey, indeed, had soon discovered my folly, and like a man of sense, took the proper method to subdue me. In this way, in one short night, you see, he put to the rout all my pure modest virgin scruples, rapturously teaching me the nature of love's sacred mysteries, and the great end for which we poor weak females are created.
"During the first month of my captivity, my senses were kept in such a continual flow of rapture that what with sustaining his embraces at night and refreshing myself with sleep during the day, I had little else to do. But by degrees his visits to my apartment became less and less frequent, from the numerous beauties that came into his possession it could not be otherwise, but when I am honoured with embraces, so tender, so kind are his caresses, that I feel sufficiently repaid for his long absence, although I cannot but wish his visits were more frequent.
"But I am content with my lot. I have now been in the harem nearly two years. This is my short history. Of Ludovico I have never heard anything since we parted, and under all circumstances I think it as well I should not, for it would now be impossible for me to return to him with anything like satisfaction to myself, so firmly has the Dey fixed himself in my affections."
I have now, dear Sylvia, given you the history of the Italian beauty. I must confess the latter part of her history, which related to the gradual decrease of the Dey's visits, gave me a very uncomfortable sensation at first; but I was afterwards angry with myself for entertaining it a moment, when I considered during the whole time I have been in his possession, three nights out of every week have as yet been spent in his arms. Nor have I observed the least relaxation in either his attentions or desires. But I have been most dreadfully alarmed by something this Italian has communicated, which at first I did not give the least credit to. When we had related to each other our histories, of course we became considerably more intimate and familiar in our conversation.
She asked me whether I felt any pleasure when the Dey enjoyed me behind. I told her I did not understand what she meant by behind. She laughed most immoderately at my ignorance, and would scarcely credit what I had asserted, particularly as she knew the Dey was so fond of the other route. I requested her to explain herself. "Are you not aware," said she, "that a woman has two maidenheads to take?" On my replying in the negative, she answered, "You have, though. Under the alter of Venus is another grotto, a little more obscure, to be sure; but there the Dey will offer up his sacrifices with characteristic energy." I was all in a tremble at this discourse, and demanded of her if the Dey had ever enjoyed her in that position. "Most certainly, many times," was her reply. "If you doubt what I say, the next time I am favoured with a morning visit by the Dey, you shall judge with your own eyes as to the fact; it can be easily managed, as our suites of rooms are contiguous."
"Is it possible," cried I, "that you receive any pleasure from a conjunction so beastly and unnatural?"
"What innocence, my dear, what childishness!" replied the libertine. "Do you not know that the men consider every part of us formed entirely for their pleasures; one enjoys us one way, one another, each man according to his lechery. You may rely upon it one of these days the Dey will instruct you in this way and rectify your ideas on the subject."
This conversation, and other matters which this Italian informed me of and which I could not drive from my thoughts, threw a considerable gloom over my feelings. In the evening the Dey visited me, and immediately saw by my countenance that something had disordered me. After considerable persuasion he contrived to extract what had caused my distress.
"And why should this, dearest Zulima, give you any uneasiness?" said he, tenderly taking me in his arms and kissing me. "I can see no reason why it should have raised a cloud on this lovely face; nor could I for a moment have supposed, if I had requested my sweet slave to have administered to my joys in that way, there would have been any denial."
I hid my face in his bosom, and told him in our country it was considered the most degrading crime that could be committed, that it was punished with death.
"I am aware," replied he, "that the English nation consider it a crime, but I was not acquainted with the magnitude of the punishment. But, Zulima" (I forgot to mention before that I received a new name from the Dey, as is customary with all captives), "your country is the only one in the world that either considers it a crime or punishes it. Besides, Zulima, you are not in England now, nor are you likely ever to go there again. You are mine until one of us shall shake off this mortal form; therefore, you must submit to everything that I conceive will be an addition to my pleasures. Does not the English law direct that the wife shall be obedient to the husband in all lawful desires?"
"Yes," I replied.
"Well, then, although you are not my wife in fact, still you are, according to our laws, considered the same. To become my married wife you must change your religion. But still you are considered my wife, therefore must submit to my lawful desires. By our laws we are permitted to enjoy our wives or concubines in any way that adds to our luxuries; in other words it is lawful that I may enjoy, and you must resign, your second virginity whenever I require you to do so. After all, dear Zulima, how can it possibly be construed into a crime? It is true that the seed which I have so often distilled within you with such dissolving pleasure is given by nature to multiply our species, so to divert its natural course may in some measure be construed as an offence against nature by those who do not give it any consideration. Put the case thus: to divert and cast away seed is a crime. Now it is clear that the seed, even when deposited in its natural receiver, is entirely lost forty-nine times out of fifty. For instance, immediately sufficient seed is injected into the womb, the female conceives; then the mouth of the womb closes, and until the delivery of the child does not open again. If the female is fruitful, and properly enjoyed, she will conceive to a certainty in three months; it is six months more at least ere she will be delivered of her burden; consequently at every embrace the female sustains after conception, the seed that is shot within her is entirely lost or misused. Now what difference can there be as to where the seed is lost if it be lost? Where is the offence or crime? What difference whether the seed is uselessly deposited in the grotto of Venus, or injected in the temple below it? None in the world, lovely slave! My Grecian and Corsican slaves submit to any kind of enjoyment as a matter of duty and submission, in which they are instructed from their infancy. I have two Italians who think it no kind of crime; to my French slave it is a mere bagatelle. I was aware of the prejudices of your nation, and from the joys I found in your embraces did not like even to broach the subject to you."
"Then," cried I, throwing my arms round his neck and fondly kissing him, "let the pleasures you confess I have afforded you save me from what I consider would be the greatest disgrace I could possibly experience."
"This is folly," cried the Dey, "I can make no promise of the kind."
"But you must," I replied.
"How?" demanded he. "You have sworn by your holy Prophet to grant me any favour I choose to request; you recollect your sacred oath?"
"I do certainly."
"Well, then, the favour I request is that I may be spared the pollution we have been discoursing of."
"Can Zulima think that any act of Ali would pollute her?" cried he, rising from the couch with great heat and indignation. It was the first unkind word he had used to me since he had me. My heart sank within me whilst he continued, "It is true I made the oath, and must religiously observe it. I shall leave you to reflect, foolish slave, on your childishness in thus attempting to bind my pleasures by an oath made in a moment when your deceitful blandishments had softened me into a belief that your love and devotion to me was as sincere as your person is beautiful. When you have altered your opinion you can inform the chief eunuch. I may, perhaps, then pardon this insult, and restore you to favour." He then left me, muttering the word 'pollution', unmindful of my tears, which quickly began to flow at his angry looks.
As he went out of the room my spirits failed me entirely. I sank on the couch overwhelmed with grief, railing against the mischance that brought me acquaintance with this Italian, whom I considered as the cause of my rupture with the Dey. My tears continued for nearly an hour after his departure, which no doubt considerably relieved me. However, I began to comfort myself with the hopes that his anger would not last. But, indeed, I did not properly estimate his character.
The next day passed without my seeing him; a second, third, fourth passed in anxious, I may say almost breathless anguish, watching and listening for the approach of his well-known footstep. Guess the cruel suspense I suffered. Habituated to the sweet pleasure of his embraces, my desires began rapidly to overpower the scruples which early precept had instilled in me. My unsatisfied feelings became every hour stronger and stronger, until on the fifth day I was again visited by Honoria, the Italian, who entertained me with a long account of her happiness, having passed two nights running with the Dey; her transports went like daggers to my heart, but gave the decisive turn to my wavering indecision. I instantly resolved to submit to the Dey's desires, and wrote him a letter accordingly.