58 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
fact, they were all enjoying themselves mightily when they heard a knock at the outer door, which Sadie rose to open. She soon returned saying that three Calenders, all blind in the right eye, and all with their heads, faces, and eyebrows clean shaved, begged for admittance, as they were newly arrived in Bagdad, and night had already fallen. ' They seem to have pleasant manners,' she added, ' but you have no idea how funny they look. I am sure we should find their company diverting.'
Zobeida and Amina made some difficulty about admitting the new comers, and Sadie knew the reason of their hesitation. But she urged the matter so strongly that Zobeida was at last forced to consent. ' Bring them in, then,' said she, ' but make them understand that they are not to make remarks about what does not concern them, and be sure to make them read the inscription over the door.' For on the door was written in letters of gold, ' Whoso meddle in affairs that are no business of his, will hear truths that will not please him.'
The three Calenders bowed low on entering, and thanked the ladies for their kindness and hospitality. The ladies replied with words of welcome, and they were all about to seat themselves when the eyes of the Calenders fell on the porter, whose dress was not so very unlike their own, though he still wore all the hair that nature had given him. ' This,' said one of them, ' is apparently one of our Arab brothers, who has rebelled against our rules.'
The porter, although half asleep from the wine he had drunk, heard the words, and without moving cried angrily to the Calender, ' Sit down and mind your own business. Did you not read the inscription over the door? Everybody is not obliged to live in the same way.'
' Do not be so angry, my good man,' replied the Calender; (we should be very sorry to displease you;' so the quarrel was smoothed over, and supper began in good earnest. When the Calenders had satisfied theii