Page 26 - Vladimir Bartol ALAMUT
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28 Vladimir Bartol ALAMUTZainab: “Fatima, you’re the last one to give lessons, in my estimation.”Fatima: “Can I help it if my greater knowledge is an irritation?”Zainab: “Nonsense, you should know yourself and know your limitations.”Fatima: “All right, it’s clear enough to me, my candor brings your indignation.”Zainab: “Not in the slightest. If you must know, your arrogance is the provocation.”Fatima: “Beauty breeds contempt. Plainness has no consolation.”Zainab: “Was that one aimed at me? From you, you overfed mutation?”Fatima: “Now that’s a nice one. Should we all praise your grim emaciation?”Zainab: “Not on my account. I can’t help laughing at your indignation.”Fatima: “Oh, really? And how should I react to your prevarication?”Zainab: “You think that your attacks can shield you from humiliation.”“Enough, my doves,” Adi interrupted them. “You’ve flaunted your lovely rhymes and learned maxims, you’ve disputed, gone on the attack, vied with each other and wrestled in spirit, made beautiful music with daggers flying. Now forget your quarrel and make peace. Enough learned elegance and spoken grace. Now off to the dining room with all of you.”He bowed good-naturedly and left the classroom. The girls poured out after him and found their places for dinner.Breakfast was waiting for them, having been laid out on the table, and this meal was served to them by three eunuchs: Hamza, Telha and Sohal. It was at this point that Halima learned that they had the services of seven eunuchs. Apart from the two teachers whom she already knew, and in addition to the three serving them at table, there were also two garden keepers, Moad and Mustafa. The kitchen was run essentially by Apama. Hamza, Telha and Sohal were simply her assistants.These three tended the housekeeping. They cleaned, straightened, washed and maintained order throughout the house. All of the eunuchs, however, lived together with Apama in some garden separated from

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