STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF HALI 235
become black, and I am wholly ignorant what is the cause of either misfortune.'
' Do not let us stay here,' said Sumi, ' our presence must add to their grief. But permit me to fetch the Book of Spells, which I feel sure will tell us not only the cause of their malady but also its cure.'
The Bassa readily agreed to Sumi's proposal, but Neangir objected strongly. t If Sumi leaves us,' he said to his father, ' I shall not see my beloved Argentine when she returns to-night with the fair Aurora. And life is an eternity till I behold her.'
■ ' Be comforted,' replied Sumi. ' I will be back before sunset; and I leave you my adored Izaf as a pledge.'
Scarcely had the Jewess left Neangir, when the old female slave entered the hall where the three Jews still remained carefully guarded, followed by a man whose splendid dress prevented Neangir from recognising at first as the person in whose house he had dined two days before. But the woman he knew at once to be the nurse of Zelida.
He started eagerly forward, but before he had time to speak the slave turned to the soldier she was conducting. ' My lord,' she said, ' those are the men; I have tracked them from the house of the Cadi to this palace. They are the same; I am not mistaken, strike and avenge yourself.'
As he listened the face of the stranger grew scarlet with anger. He drew his sword and in another moment would have rushed on the Jews, wrhen Neangir and the slaves of the Bassa seized hold of him.
'What are you doing?' cried Neangir. 'How dare you attack those whom the Bassa lias taken under his protection ? '
' Ah, my son,' replied the soldier, ' The Bassa would withdraw his protection if he knew that these wretches have robbed me of all I have dearest in the world. He knows them as little as he knows you.'