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Chapter 14
"Some time elapsed before I learned the history of my friends. It was one which could not
fail to impress itself deeply on my mind, unfolding as it did a number of circumstances,
each interesting and wonderful to one so utterly inexperienced as I was.
"The name of the old man was De Lacey. He was descended from a good family in
France, where he had lived for many years in affluence, respected by his superiors and
beloved by his equals. His son was bred in the service of his country, and Agatha had
ranked with ladies of the highest distinction. A few months before my arrival they had
lived in a large and luxurious city called Paris, surrounded by friends and possessed of
every enjoyment which virtue, refinement of intellect, or taste, accompanied by a
moderate fortune, could afford.
"The father of Safie had been the cause of their ruin. He was a Turkish merchant and had
inhabited Paris for many years, when, for some reason which I could not learn, he
became obnoxious to the government. He was seized and cast into prison the very day
that Safie arrived from Constantinople to join him. He was tried and condemned to death.
The injustice of his sentence was very flagrant; all Paris was indignant; and it was judged
that his religion and wealth rather than the crime alleged against him had been the cause
of his condemnation.
"Felix had accidentally been present at the trial; his horror and indignation were
uncontrollable when he heard the decision of the court. He made, at that moment, a
solemn vow to deliver him and then looked around for the means. After many fruitless
attempts to gain admittance to the prison, he found a strongly grated window in an
unguarded part of the building, which lighted the dungeon of the unfortunate
Muhammadan, who, loaded with chains, waited in despair the execution of the barbarous
sentence. Felix visited the grate at night and made known to the prisoner his intentions in
his favour. The Turk, amazed and delighted, endeavoured to kindle the zeal of his
deliverer by promises of reward and wealth. Felix rejected his offers with contempt, yet
when he saw the lovely Safie, who was allowed to visit her father and who by her
gestures expressed her lively gratitude, the youth could not help owning to his own mind
that the captive possessed a treasure which would fully reward his toil and hazard.
"The Turk quickly perceived the impression that his daughter had made on the heart of
Felix and endeavoured to secure him more entirely in his interests by the promise of her
hand in marriage so soon as he should be conveyed to a place of safety. Felix was too
delicate to accept this offer, yet he looked forward to the probability of the event as to the
consummation of his happiness.
"During the ensuing days, while the preparations were going forward for the escape of
the merchant, the zeal of Felix was warmed by several letters that he received from this
lovely girl, who found means to express her thoughts in the language of her lover by the