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The Great Mogul   By: (1863-1928)

The Great Mogul by Louis Tracy

First Page:

THE GREAT MOGUL

by

LOUIS TRACY

Author of "The Wings of the Morning" and "The Pillar of Light"

Illustrations by J. C. Chase

New York Edward J. Clode 156 Fifth Avenue 1905

Copyright, 1905 By Edward J. Clode

The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass.

[Illustration: As it entered the gate the bar crashed across its knees.]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

As it entered the gate the bar crashed across its knees Frontispiece

In a minute or less they were free 83

And that is the manner in which Nur Mahal, on her wedding night, came back to the Garden of Heart's Delight 135

"If we go to Burdwán, are you content to remain there?" 207

"Out of my path, swine!" 284

Instantly the man was put to the test 294

The Great Mogul

CHAPTER I

"And is there care in Heaven?" Spenser's Faerie Queene.

"Allah remembers us not. It is the divine decree. We can but die with His praises on our lips; perchance He may greet us at the gates of Paradise!"

Overwhelmed with misery, the man drooped his head. The stout staff he held fell to his feet. He lifted his hands to hide the anguish of eye and lip, and the grief that mastered him caused long pent up tears to well forth.

His resigned words, uttered in the poetic tongue of Khorassan, might have been a polished verse of Sa'adi were they not the outpouring of a despairing heart. The woman raised her burning eyes from the infant clinging to her exhausted breast.

"Father of my loved ones," she said, "let you and the two boys travel on with the cow. If you reach succor, return for me and my daughter. If not, it is the will of God, and who can gainsay it?"

The man stooped to pick up his staff. But his great powers of endurance, suddenly enfeebled by the ordeal thrust upon him, yielded utterly, and he sank helpless by the side of his wife.

"Nay, Mihr ul nisa, sun among women, I shall not leave thee," he cried passionately. "We are fated to die; then be it so. I swear by the Prophet naught save death shall part us, and that not for many hours."

So, to the mother, uselessly nursing her latest born, was left the woful task of pronouncing the doom of those she held dear. For a little while there was silence. The pitiless sun, rising over distant hills of purple and amber, gave promise that this day of late July would witness no relief of tortured earth by the long deferred monsoon. All nature was still. The air had the hush of the grave. The greenery of trees and shrubs was blighted. The bare plain, the rocks, the boulder strewed bed of the parched river, each alike wore the dust white shroud of death. Far off mountains shimmered in glorious tints which promised fertile glades and sparkling rivulets. But the promise was a lie, the lie of the mirage, of unfulfilled hope.

These two, with their offspring, had journeyed from the glistening slopes on the northwest, now smiling with the colors of the rainbow under the first kiss of the sun. They knew that the arid ravines and bleak passes behind were even less hospitable than the lowlands in front. Knowledge of what was past had murdered hope for the future. They had almost ceased to struggle. True children of the East, they were yielding to Kismet. Already a watchful vulture, skilled ghoul of desert obsequies, was describing great circles in the molten sky.

The evils of the way were typical of their by gone lives. Beginning in pleasant places, they were driven into the wilderness. The Persian and his wife, Usbeg Tartars of Teherán, nobly born and nurtured, were now poverty stricken and persecuted because one of the warring divisions of Islam had risen to power in Ispahán. "It shall come to pass," said Mahomet, "that my people shall be divided into three and seventy sects, all of which, save only one, shall have their portion in the fire!" Clearly, these wanderers found solace in the beliefs held by some of the condemned seventy two... Continue reading book >>




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