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THE MERCHANT OF SMYRNA.
A COMEDY ; IN ONE ACT.
Zayda, Wife of Hassan.
Nebi, a Turk.
The Scene is at Smyrna, in a Garden, which is com
mon to HASSAN and KALED, whose Houses face each other on the Sea Shore.
HASSAN, alone. THEY say that past sorrow is but a dream. It is something a great deal better; for it serves to make us enjoy present happiness. Two years ago I was a slave among the christians at Marseilles; and this very day twelve months I married the prettiest girl in Smyrna. This is no small difference! Though I am a good mussulman, I have only one wife. My neighbours have two, three, four, five, six, and for what, pray. The law allows it-Luckily it does not com mand it! The French are quite right in having only one. I do'nt know whether they love her or no; for my part, I love mine dearly. But she's a long while before she comes down to take the air. However, I put no restraint upon her. It does not do to put restraint upon women. I was told in France that it is a mischievous custom. But here she is.
HASSAN. ZAYDA. Hassan. You come down very late, my dear Zayda.
Zayda. I have been amusing myself with looking from the balcony to see the ships return to port. There
seemed to be more bustle than usual. , Perhaps oar cruizers have taken some prize?
Hassan. It is a long time since they took any; and, to tell the truth, I am not sorry for it. Siuce a Christian delivered me from slavery, and restored me to my dear Zayda, I find it impossible to hate them.
Zayda. And why should we hate them? Is it because they do not believe in our holy prophet: Are they not, therefore, objects of pity?' Besides, I must own that I like them; they must be good fólks, for they have only one wife; aud that, I ihink, is an excellent custom.
Hassan. (smiling.) Yes, but to compensate for that
Hassan. Nothing. (uside.) Why should I tell her? It is only destroying an agreeable idea. (aloud.) I have made a vow to liberate one of them every year. If our people should have taken any slaves, as this day is the anniversary of our marriage, I should think Heaven blesses my gratitude.
Zayda. How I love your deliverer, without knowing him. I shall never see him-At least, I hope not.
Hassan. His image is indelibly imprinted on my heart. What a noble mind! If you had but seenSome of my companions were being ransomed; I was lying on the ground, thinking of you, and sighing, when a Christian came up, and asked me why I wept? I am torn, said I, from a mistress whom I adore. I was on the eve of marrying her, and now I shall die far from her, for the want of two hundred sequins. I had scarcely uttered these words before the tears started into his eyes. You are separated from her you love! said he. Here, my friend, here are two hundred se. quins; return to your home; be happy; and do not hate Christians. I jumped up with transport; I threw myself again at his feet; I clasped his knees; and sobbing pronounced your pame. I then asked him his name, that I might repay the money when I was returned home. My friend, said he, taking me by the hand, I did not know that you could repay me, I wished to do a good action, and you niust allow it not to degenerate into a mere loan, an exchange of money.
You shall not know my name. I was astonished, and he accompanied me to the vessel, where we parted, with tears in our eyes.
Zayda. May Heaven for ever bless him! With so 'feeling a mind, he must surely be happy.
Hassan. He was on the point of marrying a young person, whom he was going to Malta to fetch. Zayda. How she must love him !
HASSAN, ZAYDA, FÁTIMA. Zayda. What are you coming to tell us, Fatima? You seem out of breath.
Fatima. O! there are some Christian slaves arrived. The Armenian, whom you dislike so for a neighbour, and whom you despise so much, because he sells men, bas bought a dozen of them, and has already sold several.
Hassan. This very day then I can fulfil my vow. I in my turn, shall have the pleasure of being a deliverer.
Zayda. Is it a woman you are going to set free, my dear Hassan ?
Hassan. (smiling.) Why? This makes you uneasy. You are afraid that example
Zayda. No, I have no fear. I hope you will never expose me to such a cruel vexation. You do not know my meaning. Will it be a man?
Hassan. Without doubt.
Hassan. Yes—But, Zayda, have a little conscience. A poor devil of a man is always miserable in slavery; while a woman, whether at Smyrna, Constantinople, Tunis, or Algiers, is never in a situation to be pitied, Beauty is at home every where. Come, come, it must be a man, if you have no objection.
Zayda. Well ! be it so, if it must be so.
Hassan. Good I must make haste and get my purse; for it will not do for a true believer to go to an Armenian without ready money, and particularly to such an avaricious fellow as this is.
ZAYDA. FATIMA. S Zayda. My husband has some design in his head, my dear Fatima; he's planning something to please me; and, as usual, I make believe not to be aware of it. "I wish, too, to take him by surprise. I hear a noise; it is certainly Kaled with the slaves. I will not see these unhappy people, for the sight would give me too much pain. Follow me, and be sure to execute my orders punctually.
SCENE V. KALED, DORNAL, AMELIA, ANDREW,a SPANIARD,
an ITALIAN, chained, Kaled. I never saw the people so eager to buy my goods. It is plain that no slaves have been caught for å long time before. That's what comes of being at peace; it was abominably unlucky!
Dornal. O despair! On the eve of my marriage! O dearest Amelia!
Kaled (looking round him.) What's all that?-1 am told there are countries where slavery is not known. What detestable countries ! Could I have made a for. tune there? I have already done very well indeed today; I have got rid of that old slave who drew out of his pocket a parcel of copper melals, all eaten up with rust, and pored over them so attentively. Such fel. lows are very bard to get rid of; I have been taken in with them before now. I am not sorry, either, to have washed my bands of that French doctor. Let's go ia; go on! Who's this that's coming? Why, 'tis Nebi, He looks in a terrible passion. Sure, he's not dissatisfied with his purchase?.
SCENE VI. THE PRECEDING CHARACTERS. NEBII NI Nebi, Kaled, I am come to tell you that you must either take back your slave, and return me my money, or go with me before the cadi.
Kaled. Why must I? What slave are you talking about? Is it the labourer? The shopkeeper I'll take them back with all my heart. "Nebi. O certainly, that's the business in question!
You pretend to knew nothing about the matter-I'm speaking of your French doctor. So, return me my money, or come before the cadi.
Kaled. How? What has he done?
Nebi. What has be done! Why, I've in my seraglio, a young Spanish girl, who is my favourite; she is not well. Do you know what he has prescribed for her?
Kuled. No, truly, not I.
Nebi. Her native air! That suits me admirably, does it not?
Kaled. Well !-native air-When I go to my own country it always does my health good.
Nebi. What a doctor! It seems that his patients can't be cured unless they are five hundred leagues from him! An ignorant dog! It was well for him that he got out of the way of my anger. He ran away into the garden; but my slaves are after him, and they will bring him to you. My money! My money!
Kaled. Your money! oh! the bargain is a good one; it will hold.
Nebi. It will hold! No, by Mahomet! I shall obtain justice this time. You took advantage of my being in want of a doctor. It was not with a good will that I applied to you, I assure you; but I shall not be a fool again. Do you think that you will get over this affair as you did last year, when you sold me that learn. ed man?
Kaled. What learned man?
Nebi. Yes ! yes! that learned man who did not kuow maize from wheat; and who made me lose six hundred sequins, by sowing my land according to a new method used in his own country.
Kaled. Well! Was that my fault? Why did you employ learned men to sow your lands? Do they know any thing of the matter? Have not you farming men ? You have nothing to do but to feed them well, and make them work. A pretty fellow you are, with your learned men!
Nebi. And that other, whom you sold me at his weight in gold, and who was always crying out, who is he the son of? who is be the son of? and what was bis father and his grandfather? and his great grand. father? I think he called it being a genealogist. Did