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God Wills It! by William Stearns Davis

Hossein cast one glance upon her


However,

when they brought the two before Duke Godfrey and threatened the Turk with torture, he broke down and told the interpreter a tale exactly like Hossein's--that Kilidge Arslan waited in the mountains with a great host and would fall on the besiegers the next day. So the Arab's credit was high when Richard brought him to the tent of his wife. Hossein cast one glance upon her, and fell upon his knees, kissing her robe and crying:--

"Praises, praises to St. John of Damascus! I behold the daughter of my beloved lord Manuel, and God has verily clothed her as an angel of light!"

"Good man," said the Greek, a little confused, "I know you not. When have you served my father?"

"O preeminently august lady!" broke forth the Arab again. "Do you not remember Hossein, who was in the Caesar Manuel's palace at Antioch? How he told you the tales of his people and sang you the wondrous song of Antar, and the stories of the jinns and the spirits of the air?"

"I was indeed in Antioch when my father ruled the city, but I was very young. I recall nothing," replied Mary.

"Alas! I had hopes your memory had not failed," declared Hossein, still kneeling; "yet it is true, O noblest of the Greeks, you were very young. Enough; my devotion can repay the daughter what I owe to the father. For the most excellent Caesar saved me from cruel

death at the hands of the infidels, my fellow-countrymen."

"You are an honorable man," said the lady, touched at his demonstration, "to discharge a debt incurred so long ago. Perhaps"--and she ran over all her early girlhood in her memory--"I recall something of you, yet my father had many servants. I crave pardon if I forget. And how have you fared all this while among the Turks?"

Whereupon Hossein flew into the most pitiful tale as to his life of captivity and persecution, so that the lady's eyes grew wet, and her heart right sore.

"Good Christian," said she, at last, "surely you have endured much for your faith. God grant that under like persecution I do not apostatize more deeply. And what may I do for you? Have you home, friends, kin?"

"Alas! most august princess, Heaven has taken all away. Let me be your slave, your bodyguard, and sleep without your tent by night with a naked sword. Perilous times await, and"--here he choked in his speech--"the foe shall only touch you by stepping across my poor body!"

"You are a noble and pious man," said Mary, smiling. "It shall be as you say. I will ask the Baron to make you my guardsman." Whereupon Hossein invoked all the saints of the calendar to witness his delight; and the princess had her varlets and maids clothe and feed him. When Herbert and Theroulde came to look at him, however, they wagged their heads; and Sylvana, the nurse, who went wherever her mistress went, came boldly to Mary, saying:--

"Save for his pious talk, we all swear this man is infidel. I knew all your father's servants at Antioch, and he was not of them."


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