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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe History Of Rasselas, Prince Of Abissinia - Chapter 15. The Prince And Princess Leave The Valley, And See Many Wonders
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The History Of Rasselas, Prince Of Abissinia - Chapter 15. The Prince And Princess Leave The Valley, And See Many Wonders Post by :BOISJOLI Category :Long Stories Author :Samuel Johnson Date :May 2012 Read :1687

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The History Of Rasselas, Prince Of Abissinia - Chapter 15. The Prince And Princess Leave The Valley, And See Many Wonders

CHAPTER XV. THE PRINCE AND PRINCESS LEAVE THE VALLEY, AND SEE MANY WONDERS

The prince and princess had jewels sufficient to make them rich, whenever they came into a place of commerce, which, by Imlac's direction, they hid in their clothes, and, on the night of the next full moon, all left the valley. The princess was followed only by a single favourite, who did not know whither she was going.

They clambered through the cavity, and began to go down on the other side. The princess and her maid turned their eyes towards every part, and, seeing nothing to bound their prospect, considered themselves, as in danger of being lost in a dreary vacuity. They stopped and trembled. "I am almost afraid," said the princess, "to begin a journey, of which I cannot perceive an end, and to venture into this immense plain, where I may be approached, on every side, by men whom I never saw." The prince felt nearly the same emotions, though he thought it more manly to conceal them.

Imlac smiled at their terrours, and encouraged them to proceed; but the princess continued irresolute, till she had been, imperceptibly, drawn forward too far to return.

In the morning they found some shepherds in the field, who set milk and fruits before them. The princess wondered, that she did not see a palace ready for her reception, and a table spread with delicacies; but, being faint and hungry, she drank the milk, and eat the fruits, and thought them of a higher flavour than the produce of the valley.

They travelled forward by easy journeys, being all unaccustomed to toil or difficulty, and knowing that, though they might be missed, they could not be pursued. In a few days they came into a more populous region, where Imlac was diverted with the admiration, which his companions expressed at the diversity of manners, stations, and employments.

Their dress was such, as might not bring upon them the suspicion of having any thing to conceal; yet the prince, wherever he came, expected to be obeyed; and the princess was frightened, because those that came into her presence did not prostrate themselves before her. Imlac was forced to observe them with great vigilance, lest they should betray their rank by their unusual behaviour, and detained them several weeks in the first village, to accustom them to the sight of common mortals.

By degrees, the royal wanderers were taught to understand that they had, for a time, laid aside their dignity, and were to expect only such regard, as liberality and courtesy could procure. And Imlac having, by many admonitions, prepared them to endure the tumults of a port, and the ruggedness of the commercial race, brought them down to the seacoast.

The prince and his sister, to whom every thing was new, were gratified equally at all places, and, therefore, remained, for some months, at the port, without any inclination to pass further. Imlac was content with their stay, because he did not think it safe to expose them, unpractised in the world, to the hazards of a foreign country.

At last he began to fear, lest they should be discovered, and proposed to fix a day for their departure. They had no pretensions to judge for themselves, and referred the whole scheme to his direction. He, therefore, took passage in a ship to Suez; and, when the time came, with great difficulty, prevailed on the princess to enter the vessel. They had a quick and prosperous voyage, and from Suez travelled by land to Cairo.

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CHAPTER XVI. THEY ENTER CAIRO, AND FIND EVERY MAN HAPPYAs they approached the city, which filled the strangers with astonishment, "This," said Imlac to the prince, "is the place where travellers and merchants assemble from all the corners of the earth. You will here find men of every character, and every occupation. Commerce is here honourable: I will act as a merchant, and you shall live as strangers, who have no other end of travel than curiosity; it will soon be observed that we are rich; our reputation will procure us access to all whom we shall desire to know; you
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CHAPTER XIV. RASSELAS AND IMLAC RECEIVE AN UNEXPECTED VISITThey had now wrought their way to the middle, and solaced their toil with the approach of liberty, when the prince, coming down to refresh himself with air, found his sister Nekayah, standing before the mouth of the cavity. He started, and stood confused, afraid to tell his design, yet hopeless to conceal it. A few moments determined him to repose on her fidelity, and secure her secrecy by a declaration without reserve. "Do not imagine," said the princess, "that I came hither, as a spy: I had long observed, from my window,
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