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The Adventure Of Achmed Ben Daoud
by [?]

Being curious to hear of the young ladies who had inquired concerning the emir in the restaurant, and to learn what their connection with that prince might be, Mr. Middleton repaired to the bazaar on Clark Street on the succeeding night. But the emir was not in. Mesrour apparently having experienced one of those curious mental lesions not unknown in the annals of medicine, where a linguist loses all memory of one or more of the languages he speaks, while retaining full command of the others–Mesrour having experienced such a lesion, which had, at least temporarily, deprived him of his command of the English language, Mr. Middleton was unable to learn anything that he desired to know, until bethinking himself of the fact that alcohol loosens the thought centers and that by its agency Mesrour’s atrophied brain cells might be stimulated, revivified, and the coma dispelled, he made certain signs intelligible to all races of men in every part of the world and took the blackamore into a neighboring saloon, where, after regaling him with several beers, he learned that only an hour before an elegant turnout containing two young women, beautiful as houris, had called for the emir and taken him away.

“He done tole me that if I tole anybody whar he was gwine, he’d bowstring me and feed mah flesh to the dawgs.”

Mr. Middleton shuddered as he heard this threat, so characteristically Oriental.

“Where was he going?” he inquired with an air of profound indifference and irrelevance, signalling for another bottle of beer.

The blackamore silently drank the beer, a gin fizz, and two Scotch high-balls, his countenance the while bearing evidence that he was struggling with a recalcitrant memory.

“‘Deed, I doan’ know, suh,” said Mesrour finally. “He never done tole me.”

Though Mr. Middleton called three times during the next week, he did not find the emir in. Nor could Mesrour give any information concerning his master’s whereabouts. However, in the society news of the Sunday papers, appeared at the head of several lists of persons attendant upon functions, one A. B. D. Alyam, and this individual was included among those at a small dinner given by Misses Mildred and Gladys Decatur. As Mildred was the name of one of the young ladies who had accosted him in the restaurant, Mr. Middleton felt quite certain that this A. B. D. Alyam was none other than Achmed Ben Daoud, emir of the tribe of Al-Yam.

On the tenth day, Mesrour informed Mr. Middleton that the emir had left word to make an appointment with him for seven o’clock on the following evening, at which time Mr. Middleton came, to find the accomplished prince sitting at a small desk made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, engaged in the composition of a note which he was inscribing upon delicate blue stationery with a gold mounted fountain pen. Arising somewhat abruptly and offering his hand at an elevation in continuity of the extension of his shoulder, the emir begged the indulgence of a few moments and resumed his writing. He was arrayed in a black frock coat and gray trousers and encircling his brow was a moist red line that told of a silk hat but lately doffed. “Give the gentleman a cup of tea,” said he to Mesrour, looking up from the note, which now completed, he was perusing with an air that indicated satisfaction with its chirography, orthography, and literary style. At last, placing it in an envelope and affixing thereto a seal, he turned and ordering Mesrour to give Mr. Middleton another cup of tea, he lighted a cigarette and began as follows:

“This is the last time you will see me here. My lease expires to-morrow and my experience as a retail merchant, in fact, as any sort of merchant, is over. On this, the last evening that we shall meet in the old familiar way, the story I have to relate to your indulgent ears is of some adventures of my own, adventures which have had their final culmination in a manner most delightful to me, and in which consummation you have been an agent. Indeed, but for your friendship I should not now be the happy man I am. Without further consuming time by a preamble which the progress of the tale will render unnecessary, I will proceed.