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What Befell Mr. Middleton Because Of The Seventh Gift Of The Emir
by [?]

“I did not know that such things were possible,” said Mr. Middleton, when Prince Achmed had concluded the tale of the episode of the two Orientalists and the faithless woman. “Do I understand that the person in this condition is asleep?”

“It is not consistent with strict scientific accuracy to say the person is asleep,” said the emir; “for the vital processes are entirely in abeyance and the subject is devoid of any evidence of life. The pulse is still, for the heart no longer beats and all the blood having retreated to that inmost citadel of the body, the skin has the pallor of death. Only in a little spot upon the crown is there any sign of life. Here is a place warm to the touch and the first and most important operation in restoring the suspended animation, is to send this vital warmth forth from where it still feebly simmers, coursing once more through the body’s shrunken channels. This is accomplished by shaving the crown and applying thereto a succession of piping hot pancakes. The tongue has been curved back over the entrance to the throat. You reach into the mouth and with a finger pull the tongue back into place. Plugs of wax in the nostrils and ears are removed, and in a very short time the subject is as well as ever.”

“It is very interesting,” murmured Mr. Middleton.

“Since you find it so, let me present you with a little treatise upon the subject written by a Mohammedan hakim, or doctor of medicine, after studying several cases of the kind at Madras, which is in India,” and at his bidding, Mesrour brought him a small portable writing desk from which he took a manuscript scroll inscribed in the Arabic language. “The first page,” said Prince Achmed, “contains a few thoughts upon the superiority of the Moslem faith over all others and a discussion of the follies, inconsistencies, not to say evils of them all when compared with that perfect religious system declared to men by the Prophet of Mecca,” and having in an orotund voice given Mr. Middleton some idea of the contents of this page by quoting a number of sentences, the prince handed him the sheet, which was inscribed upon one side only. The emir continuing to give a summary of what the hakim set forth in the remaining pages, and handing over each sheet as he finished it, Mr. Middleton wrote in short-hand upon the blank side of each preceding sheet what the emir culled from the one following, omitting, of course, the contents of the first sheet, both because he had nothing to write upon while the emir was quoting from that one, and because its theology was entirely contrary to all Mr. Middleton held, and, in his eyes, ridiculous and sacrilegious. When the emir had done, Mr. Middleton had in his possession a succinct account of the process of inducing a condition of suspended animation and of the means of restoring the subject to his normal state. It was his intention to write an article from his notes for some Sunday paper, and putting the hakim’s treatise in his pocket, and thanking his host for the entertainment and instruction as well as the gift, he sought his lodgings.

Mr. Middleton had now been admitted to the bar for some time. But the firm of Brockelsby and Brockman did not therefore raise his salary. They made greater demands upon his endeavors than before, for he was now able to handle cases in court, but they did not raise his salary, nor did they employ him upon cases where he was able to distinguish himself, or learn new points of law and gain forensic ability. He was employed upon humdrum and commonplace cases that were a vexation to his spirit without any compensating advantage of pecuniary reward or experience. While he felt that his self-respect and on one hand his self-interests impelled him to resign his connection with Brockelsby and Brockman, on the other hand, the very course his employers pursued made such retirement temporarily inexpedient. For the trivial cases he handled could neither gain him reputation enough or make him friends enough to warrant him in setting up for himself, nor would they attract the attention of other firms and result in offers at an increased salary. He was in a measure forced to remain with Brockelsby and Brockman, hoping they would be moved to pay him according to his worth and dreaming of some contingency which might place in his hands the management of an important case with the resulting enhancing of his reputation.