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The Flowers Personified

Section 4



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          On the same day there was a festival in the seraglio, to celebrate the advancement of Rose-pompon to the rank of chief sultana. Dances, ring-sports, archery, macaroon-lotteries, Chinese shadows, -- nothing was spared that could render the fête worthy of him who gave it, and of her for whom it was given. Before the sun went down Shahabaam, followed by his entire court, ascended the loftiest turret of his palace.  Four slaves were in waiting, holding in their hands a leathern bag, in which a human form seemed to be moving. The slaves waved this bundle back and forth or a few minutes, and then, at a signal from their master, they hurled it down from the battlements.

          Shahabaam leaned over the terrace, and followed with his eye the descent of the sack. As the waters closed over it, he drew back and exclaimed: “What a magnificent circle!”

          This magnificent circle was the body of the incomparable Tulipia; and she had produced it by her fall into the sea.

          For a few days the tragical end of the unfortunate sultana was the common topic – and then she ceased to be named. No one regretted her. Beauty without intelligence leaves few traces on the memory.