CAMARALZAMAN AND BADOURA 219
how distressed she felt that he should have vexed hia father so much. She asked what reasons he could have for his objections to obey.
' Madam,' replied the prince, 'I make no doubt that there are as many good, virtuous, sweet, and amiable women as there are others very much the reverse. Would that all were like you ! But what revolts me is the idea of marrying a woman without knowing anything at all about her. My father will ask the hand of the daughter of some neighbouring sovereign, who will give his consent to our union. Be she fair or frightful, clever or stupid, good or bad, I must marry her, and am left no choice in the matter. How am I to know that she will not be proud, passionate, contemptuous, and recklessly extravagant, or that her disposition will in any way suit mine?'
'But, my son,' urged Fatima, 'you surely do not wish to be the last of a race which has reigned so long and so gloriously over this kingdom?'
' Madam,' said the prince, ' I have no wish to survive the king, my father, but should I do so I will try to reign in such a manner as may be considered worthy of my predecessors.'
These and similar conversations proved to the Sultan how useless it was to argue with his son, and the year elapsed without bringing any change in the prince's ideas.
At length a day came when the Sultan summoned him before the council, and there informed him that not only his own wishes but the good of the empire demanded his marriage, and desired him to give his answer before the assembled ministers.
At this Camaralzaman grew so angry and spoke with so much heat that the king, naturally irritated at being opposed by his son in full council, ordered the prince to be arrested and locked up in an old tower, where he had nothing but a very little furniture, a few books, and a single slave to wait on him.