Princes of Bagdad
The Sultan shall assume his throne promptly at the hour previously decided upon for opening the Siesta, and shall ring his bell for order. Whereupon all officers shall at once take their respective patrols and be in readiness for duty.
SULTAN: Hear, oh ye Princes; Hearken, oh ye people. Should there be present any misguided mortals who are not Princes of Bagdad, they are requested to retire for the evening (either at home or at some hotel, as the Alhambra is not supposed to be provided with beds). Stand not upon the order of going; but go at once.
All strangers having departed or while they are leaving, the Sultan will say:
SULTAN: Oriental Guide, hath any infidel or any of the vile scum of the earth entered the Secret Chamber of the Alhambra to disturb our profound Siesta. If there be, away with them to the dog pound.
The doors being secured after the departure of all outsiders, the Guardians of the Faithful ,will re-enter the Alhambra and station themselves in front of the emblems facing the Sultan.
The Oriental Guide will then take up the pass, and having satisfied himself that all present are entitled to remain will report. Should 'any be present of whose right he is in doubt, he will report to the Sultan, who shall inquire of the Scratcher regarding the standing of the Prince in
question, and decide according to the report of the Scratcher.
ORIENTAL GUIDE, salaaming: Illustrious Sultan, all present are faithful Princes of Bagdad.
SULTAN, giving ******* with the hilt of his scimeter: Are there 77 or a less number of Princes of Bagdad present?
Being answered in the affirmative by the Vizier he will say:
SULTAN: Guardians of the Faithful, you will station yourselves at your respective patrols and permit none to enter without my authority, except duly accredited Princes proving themselves to be such.
The Guardians then salaam and retire to their respective patrols and announce their arrival by each giving *******.
The Sultan will ring his bell when all will arise and remain standing after saluting the Sultan with a salaam.
The Sultan will then call upon each officer who will deliver his charge, salaam, and seat himself at his patrol.
SULTAN: Caliph, perceivest thou thy duties? Tell them!
CALIPH, salaaming: I am to rule in the absence of the Sultan, assist in preserving order and order the admission of all Princes entitled to enter during the Siesta, upon a satisfactory report from the First Guardian of the Faithful. I am also to give the retiring password to any Prince desiring to depart from the Siesta before its close.
All passwords of the evening must begin with the words, "I am a" …, the remaining word to be supplied according to the wisdom and discretion of the Caliph.
SULTAN: It is well, rest! Pasha, what services may we expect of thee?
PASHA, salaaming: I am to rule in the absence of both the Sultan and Caliph, or take the Caliph's patrol in his absence. To oversee the preparations for conferring our mystic rites and to have charge of and keep a watchful eye over all our working paraphernalia, so that there be no unexpected deficiency therein.
SULTAN: It is well, rest!, Khatib, disclose to our willing ears the nature of thy ministrations.
KHATIB, salaaming: I am to admonish the vile scum of their great iniquity and the penalty thereof, and administer to them the cleansing obligation by the observance of which through our rites they may be absolved. I am also to observe that the signs are given properly and to kick out any Prince who makes a noise to disturb our profound Siesta.
SULTAN: It is well, rest! Vizier, unveil the mysteries under thy care.
VIZIER, salaaming: I am to receive, take charge of, prepare and trot in the vile scum from the dog pound, and at the proper time place them in charge of the Oriental Guide. If there be no victims in the dog pound I am to go out into the highways and byways and catch them, and trot them in and conduct them through our momentous ceremonies.
SULTAN: It is well, rest! Oriental Guide, exploit thy nefarious occupation.
ORIENTAL GUIDE, salaaming: I am to take up the password at the opening of the Siesta and satisfy myself that all present are Princes of Bagdad.
I am also to receive the vile scum from the Vizier, to accompany them safely through our purifying process, to preserve them from possible injury through our kindly manipulations and return them (or what is left of them) in passably sound condition to the Vizier.
SULTAN: It is well, rest! Scratcher, how is thy time to be employed?
SCRATCHER, salaaming: I am to keep a faithful record of the deliberations of the Siesta and an authentic list of all Princes with their address (if they have any), and to send each one a notice at least seven days before each Siesta of the location of the Alhambra and date of Siesta, and also one month before each Annual Siesta to pony up 77 cents for his annual contribution. I am to receive all the spondulix ponied up by the Princes and the victims and pay (what I don't steal) over to the Grasper.
SULTAN: It is well, rest! Grasper, why standest thou there idle?
GRASPER, salaaming: I am waiting for the Scratcher to hand over the spondulix so that I may appropriate my share and keep the balance (if there is any) for the use of this mendacious fraternity. In case of emergency, or when the scrip is too empty for my comfort, I am to raise the wind by fining any Prince (whether he behaves or misbehaves), but strictly for the good of the fraternity, and after paying the necessary expenses spend the surplus in treating the Princes in such manner as the Siesta may decide.
SULTAN: It is well; rest not until thy duty is performed; Dervish, recite thy vagaries.
DERVISH, salaaming: I am to apply experience when notified, and otherwise assist in skimming the froth from the vile scum. I am also to perform such duties as the Oriental Guide may direct. I am to be taciturn and dignified―the victims will do all my smiling for me; but my chief duty will be to keep out of the way of the candidates for a reasonable time after the cessation of this Siesta.
SULTAN: It is well, never rest!
SULTAN: Princes, being Princes you have no duties except to enjoy yourselves and marry heiresses; your chief object in life will develop itself into hunting more candidates that you may have more enjoyment. Sons have been known to inveigle their fathers into this fraternity and then volunteer to act as the Dervish as a mark of filial affection.
The Caliph will then ring his bell and all will salaam and then be seated.
SULTAN: Vizier, what is the hour?
VIZIER, salaaming: Illustrious Sultan, night has drawn her sable curtain and the stars are gleaming in the azure vault of Heaven. The Meuzzin’s cry has died away. All is tranquil and serene.
SULTAN: What affairs of state do now concern us?
VIZIER, salaaming: None, Illustrious Sultan, but to receive the homage of the assembled Princes and our petitions to promote the greater good to our realm by adding new glories to your majesty.
SULTAN: How may this be done, Most Wise Vizier?
VIZIER, salaaming: By adding, Illustrious Sultan, to our fraternity of the Princes of Bagdad from among those whose fervent petitions we have received imploring that they may be chosen to become Princes of our noble fraternity.
SULTAN: Scratcher, you will read the names of the victims who have presented their abject petitions that the Princes may know who it is that craves their sublime sympathy; and a ballot will be taken that they may express their choice by a collective ballot, and it will require 77 black beans to reject the vile scum.
The Scratcher will salaam and read the list of victims selected to travel the degree.
The ballot is then taken in a very diminutive ballot-box at the end of a long handle. The ballot shall be taken by the Vizier, who shall stand in front of the emblem and extend the box around the Alhambra so each Prince can deposit his ballot.
SULTAN: The die is cast; the vile scum is to be purified and become Princes of Bagdad. Mighty Vizier, hearken ye to our commands! Direct our all powerful Pasha to prepare the Alhambra for the reception of our guests. See that no infidel or spy approach our presence, for woe is his who obeys no tour august mandate.
VIZIER, salaaming: The mandate of our Illustrious Sultan has been heard; to hear is to obey. All-powerful Pasha, we await thy commands.
PASHA, speaking in a very loud tone of voice: Mighty Vizier, repair to the dog pound, accompanied by the Oriental Guide as an escort, and if you find the victims have not escaped, examine them and if they be straight of limb and sound in body, that they may live through our tests of their powers of endurance, you will immediately trot them in.
The Vizier and Oriental Guide salaam and retire.
Candidates have bandages placed over their eyes.
The Vizier then gives ******* on the door; the First Guardian of the Faithful then answers with *******.
The Vizier gives *******, when the Guardian opens the door and inquires.
FIRST GUARDIAN OF THE FAITHFUL: Who signals! What are thy wishes that thou darest disturb our profound Siesta?
VIZIER: Princes of Bagdad with victims, for whom we vouch. Misguided mortals who desire to register their vows before our sublime prophet, the Khatib.
FIRST GUARDIAN, reporting to the Caliph: Defender of the Faithful, there are without the Alhambra gates victims who are vouched for by Princes of our fraternity, who desire to enter and pass through our purifying ceremonies and register a solemn vow before our sublime prophet, the Khatib.
CALIF: None may enter our mysterious portal unless under escort of a Prince of Bagdad. If they be so escorted you may permit them to enter.
The door is opened and the Vizier enters, followed by the vîctims, the Oriental Guide in the rear. They march rapidly round the room seven times and stop at the Caliph's patrol, facing that Officer. Hoodwinks are now raised.
VIZIER: Defender of the Faithful, while wending my weary way toward the dog pound I met this vile scum which floated along on the tide of iniquity and found in them a spirit of meekness which boded well for our enjoyment. Long and faithfully I labored with them, and now they desire to register their vows and seek purification through wisdom and experience.
CALIPH: Mighty Vizier, wisdom we can teach but experience can only be gained by contact. That they may learn wisdom you will read to them the great "Edict." Let thine ear be attentive, oh ye infidels, that your minds may absorb and retain wisdom.
The Vizier then stands in front of the victims and reads from the parchment containing the Edict.
It should be written on a long roll of paper in a large hand. He should read slowly and impressively, and make a great ado of rattling the paper, letting one end fall upon the ground and rolling it up as he reads.
Hearken, oh ye iniquitous generation of vipers, ye vile scum of the earth. He that hath ears let him hear.
Listen and learn, all ye who would have wisdom.
"He that humbleth himself shall be exalted; but he that exalteth himself, shall be brought low." Think not more highly of thyself than thou oughtest to think. Thou knowest thine iniquity―it is unveiled by pride. Know thyself, for we know thee.
It having been frequently charged by our enemies that the doings in the Alhambra during the secret and profound Siestas of the Princes of Bagdad would not bear the light of day, our Supreme Council. of seven and seven held an underground consultation, and, while smarting under the false charges, decided by a unanimous vote, after careful consideration and due deliberation, to vindicate the honor of our most sublime, ancient, eminent, honorable and illustrious fraternity by giving an exposition of the hitherto secret work, and initiating into our mysteries those who heretofore, owing to their plebeian birth, were excluded from participating in our rites and pleasures.
Believing this to be the most effective way of silencing calumniators, satisfying the overwhelming curiosity of busy bodies and gaining the equivocal respect, unmitigated ill-will and lifelong enmity of our victims, you have been selected to exemplify the fact that man will not learn wisdom of others but must be taught by the experience of contact.
We are taught that humility precedes exaltation, and we endeavour to cultivate that glorious and noble precept and indelibly impress upon you the experience of this great lesson by actual contact.
Although some of our doings may seem foolish and even ridiculous and nonsensical to you; even though our ceremonies may seem unmeaning to your ignorant eyes, we are happy, aye, exceedingly happy, to inform you that it all teaches a great lesson. Ponder it well!
We are rejoiced with exceeding great joy to see so many victims present so that they may learn by experience something of the sublime ideas that we inculcate in our fraternity; the imparting of which may keep you out late at night and fill you unutterably full (of emotion), so that when you return to the bosom of your family in "the wee small hours" you are al most unable to converse intelligently on gross worldly affairs.
Once let the poor forsaken companion of your bosom see you engaged in the laudable task of making others happy and she will never again object when you leave the bright fireside of your home to attend a Siesta of Princes of Bagdad.
We are glad to see so many aged, gray-haired and bald-headed victims present (who are entering or have entered. their second childhood), so that they can see for themselves, with their own eyes, that had they joined our fraternity in their youth they would now be happy angels instead of gouty old men. For their vertebræ, instead of being bent with the weight of years, would have been broken long ago.
We have no doubt but that some of the things you are about to witness will fill your hearts with fear, blanch your faces, make your teeth chatter and in all probability cause you to faint.
In case you should become casually injured, crippled for life or permanently killed in passing through our trying ordeals, you must keep perfectly mum about it and not herald it to the outside world.
I now sorrowfully and regretfully commit you to the tender mercies of the Oriental Guide. Go thy way―and if thou shouldst ever return may it be a better and a wiser man.
The Vizier then deliberately rolls up the Edict and sticks it in his girdle.
VIZIER: Oriental Guide, I now commend to your care these victims of their own curiosity, be their safeguard as they journey on. I admonish you to be careful and not cripple the victims, and if any Prince have a grudge against any of them he will be allowed to impart experience to him at the proper time.
VIZIER: Victims! Farewell, and, if forever, still forever fare thee well. Our Oriental Guide will attend you on your journey. Listen to his counsel; obey, or danger lurks near thee.
Hoodwinks are now lowered.
ORIENTAL GUIDE: Come! This is our way to the Mosque.
Leads them seven times around the room, meantime saying:
ORIENTAL GUIDE: We will soon be there. A wise man remembereth wisdom―the fool forgets. We will enter the Mosque and prostrate ourselves before the Khatib, for he who lowereth himself shall be raised.
Oh, sublime prophet, our beloved Khatib, we beg of thee permission to register our vows and receive thy blessing. We bend low to receive it.
The Oriental Guide assists victims to prostrate themselves―kneeling on both knees, hands
outstretched on floor, palm down, and head bowed upon their hands.
The Spanker is not used here, as it is intended to gain the confidence of the victims who will be victimized further on.
KHATIB: Children of men, I bless you, may all your days be peace and nights―blissful repose. May your journeys be pleasant and your blessings many―if you share them with the Princes. May the clouds shelter you from the sun's hot rays and the hot sands of the desert be cooled for your weary feel. You have come to register your vows, rise and remove the bandage from your eyes, that I may read into your very soul and make fully known your secret wickedness.
The candidates then stand up and raise their hoodwinks. .
KHATIB: You now stand upon our threshold, and we have as yet unfolded but few of our mysteries to you. Before we tear aside the veil which enshrouds the arcana of mystery and open up to your astonished vie; our further secrets, it is necessary for you to take upon yourselves a solemn and binding obligation, such as is taken in thousands of orders spread over the habitable globe, but if it sits as lightly upon you as it seems to upon many members of the orders referred to, you will not find it very burdensome.
Stand upon your right foot raising your left foot behind the right leg, and grasp your left ankle with your right hand, arid with your left hand grasp your right ear, reaching over your he ad to do it.
KHATIB: Stand erect.
Having arrived at the supposed age of discretion, and thinking that you think you know what you are doing, you do hereby, herein and her eon, solemnly, reservedly and qualifiedly promise, declare, affirm and proclaim upon your word as an efficient and proficient prevaricator, in the presence of these true and tried, humiliated and elevated Princes of Bagdad, that you will not divulge, reveal, communicate or give away any of the signs, secrets or ceremonies of this sublime fraternity.
Do you promise this?
CANDIDATES are prompted to answer: I do.
That you will render prompt, implicit and unquestioning obedience to all orders emanating from this fraternity or the officers thereof, when the same coincides with your inclination and meets your approval.
Do you declare this?
CANDIDATES, prompted: I do.
You pledge yourselves when you retire from a Siesta in the "wee sma' hours," that on arriving in the bosom of your family you will say that you have been to an important and impossibly profound Siesta, and if this will not do that you have been sitting up with a sick Prince (or Princess).
Do you affirm this?
CANDIDATES, prompted: I do.
You also bind yourselves to endeavor to abstain from all profanity during housecleaning time or when putting up stoves, unless the same shall interfere with your attending a Siesta of the Princes of Bagdad.
Do you promise this?
CANDIDATES: I do.
You further promise not to drink any liquors except on legal holidays, when you are asked, and when thirsty (if you have the spondulix).
Do you exclaim this?
CANDIDATES: I do.
To all this you pledge your sacred honor (if you have any), and if you fail in this your solemn promise, may you again become a victim to the wiles and allurements of the Dervish.
CANDIDATES, prompted: I do! I do!! I do!!!
PRINCES: They have said it.
Blindfolds are now lowered.
KHATIB: You have registered your vows. Remember your Obligation. Go, and peace go with you, even if you have to be broken in pieces to keep the peace. This Amulet will protect you and preserve you from the infidel and the wicked. Puts snake around his neck. Under the watchful care of the Oriental Guide you will now journey to our All Powerful Pasha. May your visit prove of great value.
Farewell, victims, farewell.
ORIENTAL GUIDE: We will journey on, the night is fine, and the stars are bright the perfume of flowers laden the air. We will soon reach the pal ace of the Pasha.
They walk around the room in the meantime, and stop facing the Pasha's patrol.
ORIENTAL GUIDE: All Powerful Pasha, victims stand before you. They have registered their vows and were directed by our Sublime Prophet to come to you for further truths of great value.
PASHA: Welcome, victims, to our palace, the worthy are always welcome. I perceive that you wear the Amulet of our beloved Khatib, which insures you protection, especially from women, for by the serpent's power, Eve fell. Learn, then, that purity is a great virtue. Hear me, oh my children, the wicked stumble, for their paths are of darkness. Hearken not to the voice of a strange woman by the wayside, neither let her tempt you with her eyelids, for by means of such artful snares even Princes have fallen. A fool mocketh at sin; the righteous man shunneth it altogether. The trail of the serpent is about you, even now.
Guide raises hoodwink, and candidate discovers the snake, after which he replaces hoodwink.
PASHA: Guide, remove the serpent. For while it was a protection on his journey, it is no longer needed. Virtue must be indelibly; impressed upon his memory for he has heard the warning to the Princes, let it profit him. Again let him journey forth.
CALIPH: But hold, they have not proven their virtue and fidelity. Let us first ask them a few questions, by the answers to which we may know of what they are made.
They are marched round the room and stop at Caliph's patrol.
CALIPH: What is your name?
Candidate is prompted by Oriental Guide to answer.
CALIPH: What is your age?
The same or some other victim answers.
CALIPH: How many birthdays have you had?
If the candidate answers any number except "one," the Scratcher will protest, saying:
SCRATCHER: He is unfit for membership, as any soul which has had so many transmutations must be wicked beyond purification. We perfect Princes have only had "one" birthday,
CALIPH: Did you ever dispute a gas or coal bill?
CALIPH: Do you snore in your sleep?
Candidate is prompted to say: Yes.
CALIPH: If admitted amongst these Princes, will you agree to wear a clothespin upon your nose when you doze during a Siesta?
CALIPH: Are the Princes satisfied?
PRINCES: We are.
SCRATCHER: I am not satisfied.
Victims are marched round stopping at Scratcher's patrol.
SCRATCHER: Have you ever been vaccinated?
If candidate answers "Yes."
SCRATCHER: Upon which foot?
If candidate says "No."
SCRATCHER: Upon which foot do you prefer to be vaccinated now?
SCRATCHER: Are you male or female?
SCRATCHER: State how long you have been so?
SCRATCHER: Have you ever committed suicide?
SCRATCHER: How did it affect you?
SCRATCHER: I have it recorded, I am satisfied, are the other Princes satisfied?
PRINCES: We are.
PASHA: I am not satisfied.
Candidates taken to Pasha's patrol.
PASHA: Are you a military man by practice or inclination?
PASHA: Do you understand the use of the Scimeter?
PASHA: Are you sufficiently in earnest to fight for admission?
PASHA: Have you good teeth, sufficiently good to bite a cartridge?
PASHA: Let him be tried.
Candidate is given something to bite on.
PASHA: Are all the Princes satisfied?
PRINCES: We are.
KHATIB, quickly: I am not satisfied.
Candidates are taken to Khatib’s patrol.
KHATIB: Are you subject to fits? Do you ever have more than one at a time?
KHATIB: Did you ever have any ancestors?
KHATIB: How much?
KHATIB: Are you a good swimmer?
Some victim will answer "Yes," or be prompted to do so.
KHATIB: Let him be tried.
Place candidate over chair and let him strike out as if swimming.
KHATIB: Have you any musical talent? Do you sing or play?
Several candidates are prompted to answer this, and they are told to sing, and supplied with various noisy instruments and told to play.
KHATIB: Is there any Prince not yet satisfied?
GRASPER: I am not perfectly satisfied.
Candidates taken to Grasper.
GRASPER: Did you ever have nightmare?
GRASPER: Has your mental balance been completely restored?
GRASPER: Do you eat limburger, onions and sauer kraut?
GRASPER: How often?
GRASPER: Will you agree to eat some of each just before attending a Siesta of the Princes, so that they may have the full benefit of their medicinal qualities?
GRASPER: Are the Princes satisfied?
PRINCES: We are.
PASHA: I am not yet satisfied.
Candidates are taken to Pasha.
PASHA: Are you a good rider?
PASHA: Let them be tried.
Several candidates are set astride of chairs and told to ride.
PASHA: What prospect have you of a lively aspect in the near future?
PASHA: I am satisfied.
SULTAN: Oh, ye Princes, are you all perfectly satisfied?
PRINCES: We are! We are!! We are!!!
Pasha then proceeds with the charge.
PASHA: Provide them with trumpets that they may call the faithful to their aid should they need help, But first, let us try their strength of lungs, place the trumpet to their lips and bid them call in their loudest voices our cry for help: "Oh, ye Princes."
The Guide places the tube to the candidate's lips, the opening near his ear, and directs him to call out quick and loud: "Oh, ye Princes."
PASHA: Victims, farewell, our Guide will escort you to the palace of our Illustrious Sultan, that he may reward you and inscribe your names among the Princes. "Beware of the Infidel and the Spy."
The Oriental Guide assisted by some of the Princes marches the candidates around the room, saying as they go:
ORIENTAL GUIDE: Again will we take our way. Our All Powerful Pasha has great wisdom; and is an Effendi of eminent virtue. It is well to remember his counsel. It is of great value in our journey through life, to follow the counsels of the great and good. If we need help, remember his words: "Oh, ye Princes," it may be a talisman. Now we approach the Sentinel.
The Guide then approaches the end of the room, where the First Guardian of the Faithful is stationed as a Sentinel. Near him stand two lusty Princes as Mamelukes, who rush the candidate once around the room, on a full run, taking care that the candidate does not fall, as he is still hoodwinked. This is done after the Sentinel demands the safeguard of the Pasha. If he hesitates a moment, or fails to give it all, then the two Princes shout, which may be joined in by others: "He forgot it," and bring him back to the Sentinel, who may again demand the safeguard and if desired give him a second run for his money.
SENTINEL: Halt! None can pass without he proves he is an elect of the Faithful. Advance and give me the safeguard of the Pasha. If he hesitates.
TWO PRINCES AS MAMELUKES: He forgot it. Spoken very loudly.
SENTINEL: Mamelukes, seize him and away.
They start on their run. If a second run is desired, the Mamelukes say: He forgot it again.
SENTINEL: Hold! Here is the Oriental Guide. Speaking to the Guide. Thou hast not counselled thy charge upon thy way, or else this lesson to teach him to remember the words of wisdom, had not been necessary.
ORIENTAL GUIDE: I have counselled him and charged him to remember, we can furnish wisdom, but not memory. I beg thee, let him pass. I will be his voucher and his friend.
SENTINEL: Then give me the safeguard of the Pasha. It will do for both.
ORIENTAL GUIDE: Beware of the Infidel and the Spy, oh, ye Princes.
SENTINEL: You are permitted to pass. Remember thy vows. Remember the safeguard.
Oriental Guide and candidate resume their march.
ORIENTAL GUIDE: This was done that you might have cause to remember the important things of life. Some men forget to mail their wives letters, others forget their own name and sign a better name, and the check goes. Even Princes have been known to forget their well-worn fez, and pick up a newer and better one. Such are the mistakes of memory. Guard thyself against these errors, or thou mayest become a Congressman in far-away Washington. Here we are at last before the palace gates. Remember to bow low before our Illustrious Sultan, even as before the Khatib. All Princes must prostrate themselves before their Sovereign.
They halt before the Vizier.
VIZIER, seated near Sultan's patrol: Halt, friends! What are your wishes that you approach the throne of our Illustrious Sultan?
ORIENTAL GUIDE: Mighty Vizier; my charges are victims who have heard the Edict, have registered their vows, and have the safeguard of the Mighty Pasha; and they now seek to obtain the favor of our Illustrious Sultan, that they may become Princes of Bagdad.
VIZIER: Then let the blindfolds be removed.
VIZIER: Most Faithful Guide, much do we praise thee for the safe conduct of thy charges. We now relieve thee. Here will they have peace and safety. Go refresh thyself. The viand's await thee. We will furnish refreshments for the victims.
The Vizier now leads the candidates to the anteroom, and from this point the candidates travel singly. The Vizier re-enters with one candidate and places him before the Sultan in the same position he was before the Khatib, kneeling on both knees, his head resting on his hands, palm down. The Dervish has the spanker ready, a Prince acting as a Mameluke having the detonator in readiness loaded with a cartridge. After the Vizier returns before the Sultan's patrol, he says:
VIZIER: Novitiate, you will prostrate yourself before the throne of our Illustrious Sultan, as have all Princes before thee. Listen to his mandates and obey. To hear our Sovereign is to obey.
SULTAN: Mighty Vizier, who is this mortal that he seeks our presence?
VIZIER, salaaming: A novitiate; who has heard the Edict, has registered his vows, and has the safeguard of the Mighty Pasha.
SULTAN: What further does he seek?
VIZIER, salaaming: Oh, Illustrious Sultan, he has learned wisdom and is now seeking experience that he may become enrolled among the Princes of Bagdad.
SULTAN: His pilgrimage is ended. He is of the Faithful, and shall become a Prince to serve and to obey. This is our mandate. He seeks experience.
It is well. Let the Dervish be called.
VIZIER, calling loudly: What ho! Good Dervish.
DERVISH, from opposite end of room: I come, most Mighty Vizier.
SULTAN: Good Dervish, thou art old and weak. Thy gray beard is the fruitage of many summers, and we call thee to our aid. Experience is thine, for by sharp contact Dervish applies the spanker and Mameluke explodes the cartridge one learns experience.
Assist the novitiate to rise, that he may become a Prince, seat him on our throne places him on the falling chair. Ambition has led man to hope beyond his deserts. It lures him on to his downfall. At the word downfall, the chair drops.
Vizier, our throne seems to be in bad repair. Are our finances so low that we cannot keep our own throne solid? Charge the repairs to the novitiate. If our throne don't work, let us try our crown. Seat him on another seat, two seats, if one won't do. Give him a whole settee if need be, and a bowl of milk, for we are in a happy mood tonight. Bring forth my crown, and crown him, "to hear is to obey."
A Prince puts the crown on him with the wet sponge in it.
All is well and the evening grows apace. Does the novitiate desire to pace again? Nay, gentle soul. Go out into the world and seek further good men and true, that you may increase our membership, and by good services, when you grow old you may become a Dervish. I will now instruct you in the secret work of the Princes of Bagdad.
The emblematic number is 77, and is given by seven raps answered by seven, or by word of mouth "seven" answered by "seven."
Desirous of gaining admission to a Siesta of Princes of Bagdad, you will give ******* at the outer door, which will be answered from within by the Second Guardian of the Faithful with the same alarm. He will then raise the wicket and require of you your name, your age, whether married or single, or both, whom you expect you widow to marry in the event of your death. If he is an inquisitive man, he is liable to ask many more similar questions; pacify him if you can, or you can't get in. If he still insists, then give him the regular pass word of his station, which is "I am a Prince." Once, admitted to the anteroom, you will give the alarm upon the inner door, which is *******. The First Guardian of the Faithful will respond with the same alarm. He will open the wicket and require of you this password, "seven-seven," you to give the first half of the pass, and, if required by him, the second half. Being satisfied, he will admit you to the Alhambra, where you will advance to the centre of the room and salute the Sultan with this sign-stand upon your right foot raising your left foot behind the right leg, and grasp your left ankle with your right hand; and with your left hand grasp your right ear, reaching over your head to do it. The Sultan will answer you by taking his scimeter between his teeth, holding the hilt with his right hand. You will then salaam and take your seat, which will remind you of your search for experience. The sign of distress is made by holding the left hand over the mouth. Neither the sign nor words of distress can he used by you to obtain from a Prince of this fraternity a drink, a cigar, or anything that is his. Desirous of leaving the Alhambra; you will repair to the patrol of the Caliph and receive from him the evening password. It is changed each Siesta, and his own wit will suggest the password. You will advance to the center of the room, salute the Sultan, as before, giving the retiring (unless too tired) password to the First Guardian of the Faithful, borrow a nickel of him to pay your car fare and then walk home. I now congratulate you upon being a real live Prince. American heiresses are hunting them with lanterns. Appreciate your own value and don't sell too cheaply. Remember your vows, and it is your duty to hustle around and secure additional material to build up our fraternity, and we will forgive you "breaking the throne." Persevere, and may honor await you. In your old age you may become a Dervish. The Princes will now welcome the worst case we ever had.
The candidate will naturally expect the Princes to come forward, shake hands with him and laugh. The Princes will come forward singly, look him over from head to toot, not uttering a word, then turn around and quietly take their seats. After, say a dozen have done this, all rush at him to congratulate him at Caliph's cow bell. Unless the charge is given this is
Sultan rings his bell for order.
Something should be left to the invention of the Siesta.
It increases the interest to originate its own charge, so that it may be applicable to the candidate and his surroundings. The punishment should befit the crime. Always avoiding, however, anything that is rude, coarse or vulgar. Nothing should be said or done that would shock the sensibilities of any true gentleman.
A crisp, witty, or even ridiculous charge will often be appreciated and enjoyed; a coarse one never.
The charge should be delivered in a dignified and earnest manner, as impressive as if dealing out sublime truths.
It should be delivered by the Sultan or some officer delegated by him, who is the nearest friend of the candidate, and just before he is welcomed by the Princes.
Religion should be absolutely eschewed.
Polities may be touched upon; provided you have a good-natured politician as a candidate.
The following will serve as a fair model.
A Sample Charge
The newly received Prince is led to a table on which is a basin of water and a towel, and bidden to wash his hands as an expression of the purity of his intentions. He is then led to the officer selected to give the charge.
Prince, for by that title I now gladly greet thee. From that time to which the memory of man goeth not back even unto the present, has the act of ablution been regarded as à sacred ceremony emblematic of purification from deceit and uncleanness―and thou hast by this act declared the purity of thy intentions, and cleansed thyself.
From its resting place 'mid the burning sands of Egypt's desert, the Sphynx has for thousands of ages looked with unchanged face upon the Fellahs and Pharaohs, wending their toilsome way toward the Nile that they might perform their ablutions in that mystic stream.
By the Golden Horn the caravans have gathered to bathe in the sweet waters and rest, by its tranquil and translucent depths―gaining spiritual and bodily strength.
To Mecca, the birthplace of the prophet, ten thousands toil across the sands of Arabia to drink at Zemr-zem's well and cleanse themselves of sin.
And even in far-away Washington there is a peculiar sect of men strangely called “Jimmie Krates.” And stranger still, they bathe not; but they drink, drink, drink―but not water!―not water!
The milk of the camel enticeth them not but they thirst for a strange compound of fire and water and their turbans do tighten round their heads as they drink.
Like the Siren at eventide, their voice is low and gentle as the murmur of the wave upon the beach, and by their gentleness they ingratiate themselves into the hearts of men, and become, by election, Shieks of great power.
Like the wind they arise, and none knoweth whence. Like the wind they goeth, and none knoweth whither, and none careth a―cough or sneeze.
When elected they purreth as doth the gentle kitten, but when they are not, chosen they howleth as the tempest and their wailing filleth the land.
For their portion they claimeth the cream of the land that floweth with milk and honey, and with the cash of the people they provide for themselves a Harem.
When thou takest thy journey through this benighted land, be careful when thou attendest their mosques of devotion―the PRIMARIES―that thou takest not thy wealth with thee, else thou returnedst a possessor of more wisdom and further experience.
Shouldst they argue with thee; answer thou not, for by argument they gain happiness and mayhap they will chastise thee.
With this warning in thine ears, thou mayst depart. Go, part thy hair in the centre that thou maintain thy balance, join their sworn foes who devote their days to singing hymns of praise about themselves.
Go thy devious way and may the Illustrious Sultan everlastingly roast thee.