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"Not always, but generally, dear Euphrasia."
'My father says, that such a gross violation of the laws of nations as this last action of Mahomet's releases from all pledges. How do we know but that he might deal with you as with those unfortunate men to-day? And
how then could you stand excused from the guilt of selfmurder ? Remember this-you owe much to your friends-to me you owe something-do not forget this duty, when you think of the other."
"I will not, love: be assured of that. If the Emperor joins with your father and the Lord Phranza, and as you say, De Rushton, in thinking that I ought to stay, stay I will. Does that content you ?"
"It does," replied Euphrasia. "One thing more." And she bent her head over Chrysolaras, and spoke almost in a whisper. "If you go,-which God forbid, you go to imminent danger,-I stay to the same. My father will tell you himself what he wishes-and I am only glad that I can give you a proof of my love that in any other circumstances might well make me blush-but not now. Manuel! you shall not go till you have called me your wife—”
But, in spite of poor Euphrasia's protestations, she did blush most deeply as she spoke the last words.
"Euphrasia," said Manuel, "you have offered what I dared not to have asked. They will say it is selfish in me not to thrust away the happiness you would give me -I hope it is not. More dearly than I loved you before I cannot love you now-but-who is that?" A knock was heard at the door: it opened; and the Emperor entered.
"So well attended, Lord Chrysolaras ?" he said; "nay then, I had better retire."
"By no means, Sire. I hope your Splendour will do me the honour to stay."
"And so do I, your Majesty," said Euphrasia, boldly : "for I have a question to ask, Sire, to which none can reply but yourself."
"Ask it, ask it, lady," said Constantine: "it were hard indeed if I do not answer it to my best ability."
"Thus it is, Sire. I have pleaded hard with the Lord
Chrysolaras not to return to Mahomet, since every one tells him that since the last act of the Sultan's, his honour does not require his return. And he has agreed to refer the matter to your Majesty, and to be bound by your decision."
"I think," said Constantine, "that, for once, fair lady, I shall be able to plead more successfully than yourself; for I shall not scruple to employ a plea that you could not urge. My Lord Chrysolaras, you will on your word of honour, consider yourself a prisoner till we give further directions: and if you do not give me your word to that effect, when you are able to leave this room, we shall give orders for your committal. Have I satisfied you, lady ?"
"I am most bounden to your Majesty," replied Euphrasia.
"And so, I am sure, will my husband be," said Theodora; "for he has grieved himself at the Lord Chrysolaras's obstinacy."
"I willingly submit, Sire," said Manuel; "for I am well assured that your Majesty will command nothing which you did not also approve.
Well," said Constantine, "I must not now stop with you, for every moment is valuable. Farewell, fair ladies both, and happier times! And to you, my Lord, a speedy recovery!" And he left the apartment.
When I shall say it.
Illo. You wait upon the stars, and on their answers,
Ir was the night of the twenty-seventh of May,Whitsunday: deep repose was on the city and the camp; the moon had not risen, the sky was intensely dark, but the stars shone out full and lustrous: Venus
was now almost setting: Mars glowed red and fiery toward the zenith; the constellations seemed to stand out from the infinite void of space behind them: Orion glittered like a giant in golden armour: Cassiopeia shone out in her own peculiar liquid radiance, and the Pleiades. in their misty brightness. In the judgment of the Sultan's Astrologer, the stars in their courses were fighting against Constantinople.
For there he sat, in front of the Sultan's own tent; none daring to intrude on his studies; Mahomet himself standing reverently by, and expecting the result of his calculations. Sometimes the old man added another line to the tablet lying before him: sometimes he wrote down figures, and combined or divided them: sometimes he gazed up into the sky as if half admiring the beauty, and half reverencing the wisdom of the orbs that had been the study of his life.
At length he paused, and sat in meditation for a few moments. "Well ?" asked Mahomet at length, after curbing his impatience to the utmost of his power.
"Patience, Lord Sultan," said the Astrologer. "My calculations cannot be quickened, and must not be hurried. This only can I tell you as yet, which I have told you more than once before,-that the city will undoubtedly fall." He paused, bent over his papers, and resumed his calculations.
Still Mahomet waited on with patience. His faith in Baltazar had always been great; and the remarkable coincidence of the prediction of the astrologer concerning the danger of Leontius with the event, had changed it into the most absolute trust. But the Council of War which had been summoned by Mahomet, though by no. means despising the predictions of the astrologer, were yet not at all prepared to be implicitly governed by them, -and thought, to say the least, that the chances of war, and the judgment of experienced generals, ought to have as much weight in the decision of the proper time for the final assault, as the calculations of an astrologer.
"I wish the Sultan would allow Baltazar to finish his calculations, another time, before he summons us," said Achmet Pasha.
"They should be worth something when they are finished," observed Baltha Ogli, "for, by the Prophet, they are long enough in making."
Never a better time than to-morrow, according to my judgment!" cried the Pasha of Anatolia.
"Then for that very reason," returned Baltha Ogli, to-morrow will not be the day. These astrologers can
do nothing like other men."
"You seem to place no great confidence in them," remarked Achmet.
"Faith, nor I neither," said Leontius.
However, my lords, the time is not far distant," said one of the Sanjaks. "The Sultan will make the right stars appear, when the right time comes."
"I know not what to say to that," said an old Pasha. "More than once has the Sultan followed Baltazar's opinion rather than his own, and gone the worse for so doing.'
As he spoke, Mahomet entered; and, after receiving the obeisances of the Pashas, "I have to announce," said he, "that the infallible skill of astrology predicts a happy day for the assault. The day after to-morrow, at sunrise, we attack the city by sea and land."
"Let the Commander of the Faithful live a thousand years," replied Calil Pasha, "your slaves will obey; and doubt not but that, as Allah has predicted the time, so He will also furnish the means.'
"It is on them we are now to consult," said the Sultan. "We are ready to listen to any proposal in furtherance of our end."
"Were it not well," asked Baltha Ogli, "that the Dervishes go through the camp, preaching the meritoriousness of the work, and the certainty of the reward ?”
"It is well thought of," replied the Sultan; "look to it. We will ourselves address the Janissaries, and promise them a recompense beyond their hopes. I propose that the attack be commenced in three places more especially: at the Tower of S. Romanus, from the Horn, and from the ruined bastion near the Silivri gate."
"It is well said," cried several voices.
"Achmet Pasha," continued the Sultan, "and the Lord Leontius will attack the ramparts from the Horn.
The vessels must be brought up as near as may be to the fortifications, and then the scaling ladders applied. Baltha Ogli, to you we entrust the assault on the Silivri gate. The Pasha of Anatolia will command that on the Tower of S. Romanus: which we intend to be the principal one; and the Janissaries, whom we propose to keep back as a reserved body, we shall ourselves command."
"In that case," said the Pasha of Anatolia, " I shall crave leave of your Highness that the artillery may play on S. Romanus to-night and to-morrow. There is a breach, it is true, but it is barely practicable yet; and the ditch is very formidable."
"A thousand mules," replied Mahomet, "are even now on their way from the Balkan with fascines. By a messenger just arrived, I learn that they will be here by two hours after midnight,—or sunrise at the furthest. Dispose the artillery as you will. We will visit it at daybreak to-morrow morning."
The news of the intended attack spread like wildfire through the camp. Late as it was, the Janissaries might be seen in knots, discussing the probable method of the assault; the resistance likely to be opposed; the number of the enemy yet remaining; their own distinction in the operations of the Tuesday. The wild hordes of Bulgaria and Croatia, with their long, matted hair, fierce countenances, and discordant voices, were in full discussion of the plunder and the licence; here and there a ring of dervishes were expatiating on the irresistible necessity that Islam should prevail, or whirling in their passionate contortions and maniacal devotion. Messages passed between the ambassadors of Hunniades and the king of Hungary, who-shame that it should have been so !— were in the Sultan's camp; a Christian slave would go or come with dejection deeper than usual. Gradually, large bodies of men were in motion; new positions were taken up; the Pasha of Anatolia raised his flag a quarter of a mile from the gate of S. Romanus; and, as the night wore on, the heavy roll of artillery was heard in that direction.
Sir Edward de Rushton was seated, late that evening, by Theodora. There had been little done that day. The