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I wish to be perspicuous; and the black,
I say, unlocking the recess, pulld forth A quantity of clothes fit for the back
Of any Mussulman, whate'er his worth ; And of variety there was no lack
And yet, though I have said there was no dearth,He chose himself to point out what he thought Most proper for the Christians he had bought.
The suit he thought most suitable to each
Was, for the elder and the stouter, first A Candiote cloak, which to the knee might reach,
And trousers not so tight that they would burst, But such as fit an Asiatic breech;
A shawl, whose folds in Cashmire had been nurst, Slippers of saffron, dagger rich and handy; In short, all things which form a Turkish Dandy.
While he was dressing, Baba, their black friend,
Hinted the vast advantages which they Might probably obtain both in the end,
If they would but pursue the proper way Which Fortune plainly seem'd to recommend;
And then he added, that he needs must say, “ 'Twould greatly tend to better their condition, If they would condescend to circumcision.
“ For his own part, he really should rejoice
To see them true believers, but no less Would leave his proposition to their choice.”
The other, thanking him for this excess Of goodness, in thus leaving them a voice
In such a trifle, scarcely could express “ Sufficiently" (he said) “ his approbation Of all the customs of this polish'd nation.
“ For his own share—he saw but small objection
To so respectable an ancient rite;
For which he own'd a present appetite,
Would reconcile him to the business quite.” “ Will it?” said Juan, sharply: “ Strike me dead, But they as soon shall circumcise my head !(1)
“ Cut off a thousand heads, before-"_“ Now,
pray,” Replied the other, “ do not interrupt : You put me out in what I had to say.
Sir !—as I said, as soon as I have supt, I shall perpend if your proposal may
Be such as I can properly accept; Provided always your great goodness still Remits the matter to our own free-will."
(1) [MS. — “ If they shall not as soon cut off my head."]
Baba eyed Juan, and said, “ Be so good
As dress yourself—" and pointed out a suit In which a Princess with great pleasure would
Array her limbs; but Juan standing mute, As not being in a masquerading mood,
Gave it a slight kick with his Christian foot ; And when the old negro told him to “ Get ready," Replied, “ Old gentleman, I'm not a lady."
“ What you may be, I neither know nor care,”
Said Baba; “ but pray do as I desire:
“ At least,” said Juan,“ sure I may enquire The cause of this odd travesty ?”—“ Forbear,"
Said Baba, “to be curious ; 't will transpire, No doubt, in proper place, and time, and season: I have no authority to tell the reason.”
LXXV. “ Then if I do,” said Juan, “I'll be"-"Hold !”
Rejoin'd the negro, “pray be not provoking;
will find us not too fond of joking.” “ What, sir !” said Juan, “ shall it e'er be told
That I unsex'd my dress?” But Baba, stroking The things down, said, “ Incense me, and I call Those who will leave you of no sex at all.
“ I offer you a handsome suit of clothes :
A woman’s, true; but then there is a cause
6 What the devil shall I do with all this gauze?” Thus he profanely term'd the finest lace Which e'er set off a marriage-morning face.
And then he swore ; and, sighing, on he slipp'd
A pair of trousers of flesh-colour'd silk; Next with a virgin zone he was equipp’d,
Which girt a slight chemise as white as milk ;(') But tugging on his petticoat, he tripp'd,
Which -- as we say—or, as the Scotch say, whilk, (The rhyme obliges me to this; sometimes Monarchs are less imperative than rhymes)—(2)
Whilk, which (or what you please), was owing to
His garment's novelty, and his being awkward : And yet at last he managed to get through
His toilet, though no doubt a little backward:
(1) [“ The first part of my dress is a pair of drawers, very full, that reach to my shoes, and conceal the legs more modestly than your English petticoats. They are of a thin rose-coloured damask, brocaded with silver flowers. Over this hangs my smock, of a fine white silk gauze, embroi. dered with gold. This smock has wide sleeves, hanging half-way down the arm, and is closed at the neck with a diamond button.” – LADY M. W. MONTAGU.]
(2) [MS. -" Kings are not more imperative than rhymes."]
The negro Baba help'd a little too,
When some untoward part of raiment stuck hard ; And, wrestling both his arms into a gown, He paused, and took a survey up and down.
One difficulty still remain'd-his hair
Was hardly long enough ; but Baba found So many false long tresses all to spare,
That soon his head was most completely crown'd, After the manner then in fashion there;
And this addition with such gems was bound
And now being femininely all array'd, [tweezers,
With some small aid from scissors, paint, and He look'd in almost all respects a maid, (-)
And Baba smilingly exclaim'd, “ You see, sirs, A perfect transformation here display'd;
And now, then, you must come along with me, sirs, That is— the Lady:" clapping his hands twice, Four blacks were at his elbow in a trice.
“ You, sir,” said Baba, nodding to the one,
“ Will please to accompany those gentlemen To supper; but you, worthy Christian nun,
Will follow me: no trifling, sir; for when
(1) [MS. -“ He look'd in all save modesty a maid.”]