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The Flowers Personified

Section 3



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          The Sultan Shahabaam, who was destined, several years later, to astonish the Parisians by his brilliant repartees and profound intellect, had, at the period of our story, but just emerged from boyhood. A good ruler and skilful politician, his favorite maxim was: “Do what you please; let come what will.”

          Apart from his zeal for securing the happiness of his subjects, Shahabaam had no greater amusement that to make circles in the water, by spitting into the sea from the edge of his palace battlement. This taste he inherited from his grandfather, Shahabaam I. Surnamed the Great.

          It at length occurred to him, that some heavier object than a little saliva, would make, by its descent to the water, a larger circle, and one, consequently, more agreeable to the eye. While considering what object he could select for this purpose, his thoughts gradually settled upon the chief sultana.

          “Certainly,” said he, “this Tulipia, is as stupid as a goose. Yes and no are all that you can draw from her. A woman without intelligence is like a flower without odor – as I remarked at the last session of the council of state. I must have another prime sultana. Besides, I have suspicions of her being too intimate with a young Greek. I may be mistaken; but it suits me to believe that I am not mistaken – and that is enough.”

          Shahabaam summoned his chief eunuch, and whispered a few words in his ear.