treless as a dead hare鈥檚. His listeners followed the notation of the verses as they fell from his lips with care and rapture, gradually seeking their way together out into the main stream of the poetry, like a school offish following a leader by instinct out into the deep sea. Nessim鈥檚 own constraint and unease gave place to a warmth about the heart, for he 鏉窞鐢峰＋鍏荤敓棣?loved the suras, and the old preacher had a magnificent speaking voice, although the tone was as yet furry and unaccentuated. But it was a 鈥榲oice of the inmost heart鈥?鈥?his whole spiritual presence coursed like a bloodstream in the magnificent verses, filling them with his own 鏉窞瓒虫荡tt ardour, and one could feel his audience tremble and respond, like the rigging of a ship in the wind. 鈥楢llah!鈥?they sighed at every newly remembered felicity of phrasing, and these little gasps increased the confidence of the old voice with its sweet high register. 鈥楢 voice whose melody is sweeter than charity鈥?says the proverb. The recitation was a dramatic one and very varied in style, the preacher changing his tone to suit the substance of the words, now threatening, now pleading, now declaiming, now admonishing. It was no surprise that he should be 鏉窞娲楁荡涓績600闅忎究鐜?word-perfect, for in Egypt the blind preachers have a faculty for memorizing which is notorious, and moreover the whole length of the Koran is about two-thirds that of the New Testament. Nessim listened to him with tenderness and admiration, staring down upon the carpet, half-entranced 鏉窞妗戞嬁鎸夋懇瀵绘璁?by the ebb and flow of the poetry which distracted his mind from the tireless speculations he had been entertaining about Memlik鈥檚 possible response to the pressures which Mountolive had been forced to bring upon him. Between each sura there came a few moments of silence in which nobody stirred or uttered a word, but appeared sunk in contemplation of what had gone before. The preacher then sank his chin upon his breastbone as if to regain his strength and softly linked his fingers. Then once more he would look upwards towards the sightless light and 鏉窞妗戞嬁姘翠細鎺掑悕 declaim, and once more one felt the tension of the words as they sped through the attentive consciousness of his listeners. It was after midnight when the Koran reading was complete and some measure of relaxation came back to the audience as the old man embarked upon the stories 鏉窞妗戞嬁鎸夋懇鍝噷濂?of tradition; these were no longer listened to as if they were a part of music, but were followed with the active proverbial mind: for they were the dialectics of revelation 鈥?its ethic and application. The company responded to the changed tone by letting their expression brighten to the 鏉窞spa鎺ㄨ崘 keenness of habitual workers in the world, bankers, students, or business men. It was two o鈥檆lock before the evening ended and Memlik showed his guests to the front door where their cars awaited them, with a white dew upon their wheels and chromium surfaces.
To Nessim he said 鏉窞spa浼氭墍鍝釜鏈€濂?in a quiet deliberate voice 鈥?a voice which went down to the heart of their relationship like some heavy plumb-line: 鈥業 will invite you again, sir, for as long as may be possible. But reflect.鈥?And with