23: The Surprise
They presented themselves at the door with a low bow, and Morgiana was bidden to enter and show Cogia Houssain how well she danced. This, he knew, would interrupt him in carrying out his wicked purpose, but he had to make the best of it, and to seem pleased with Morgiana's dancing. She was indeed a good dancer, and on this occasion outdid herself in graceful and surprising motions. At the last, she took the tabor from Abdalla's hand, and held it out like those who dance for money.
Ali Baba put a piece of gold into it, and so did his son. When Cogia Houssain saw that she was coming to him he pulled out his purse from his bosom to make her a present; but while he was putting his hand into it, Morgiana, with courage worthy of herself, plunged the poniard into his heart.
"Unhappy woman!" exclaimed Ali Baba, "what have you done to ruin me and my family?"
"It was to preserve, not to ruin you," answered Morgiana. Then she showed the dagger in Cogia Houssain's garment, and said, "Look well at him, and you will see that he is both the pretended oil merchant and the captain of the band of forty robbers. As soon as you told me that he would eat no salt with you, I suspected who it was, and when I saw him I knew."
下期续 to be continued.
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