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Thou demandest the ring of Omar Pasha; it is the only token left me of his memory; but take it. Restore me my son; for this jewel would I restore all the treasures of the world did I possess them; but I have now nothing."
At the same time Jemna threw down the ring which she had kept concealed in her bosom.* At a signal from Abd-el-Kader, Jemna was led away. The next minute the cries of a woman were heard : a barbarous order had been given, but the Emir's steward and the bach chaous, were men of a timid and merciful nature: instead of putting the widow of Omar Pasha to the torture, they had given three hundred blows to the negress, who, according to the information furnished by Si-Embarek, knew where the treasure was concealed. It was a useless piece of cruelty, for she knew nothing. A great number of chiefs interceded, and at last obtained the liberation of Omar and his mother, on condition, however, that the whole of their property should be sold. What cared Jemna ? she beheld her son once more, and at his sight all her misfortunes seemed to fade away. Her trials, alas! were not yet over ! Negroes, negresses, horses, mules, furniture, · *This jewel was valued at 25,000 boudjous. The boudjou is worth 1 fr. 80 centimes.
apparel, all were sold in obedience to the Emir's order; and the wives of the elder son Omar Mohamed, were forcibly married to followers of Khalifat Embarek. Reduced to the last stage of destitution, the widow of Omar was driven to seek a shelter from her faithful servant, old Baba Djelloull, who died a few days after these fresh misfortunes. Omar, who had retired with his mother, was just recovered from a frightful disease, contracted in his dungeon, when a new calamity finally overwhelmed them. In the month of June, 1838, all the Coulouglis were commanded by the Emir to leave Milianah, and betake themselves to Tagdempt. In vain did the chiefs of the Hachems, of the Cheliff, and those of Djendel sue for an exemption in favour of Omar and his mother, offering a pledge of 10,000 boudjous. This step, far from serving their cause, was injurious to it. Depart they must. The mournful band of exiles left Milianah escorted by a body of Abd-el-Kader's horsemen. An expression of mutual grief was on all their faces, but mingled with calmness and resignation. Persons of the highest families covered with rags marched on without uttering a complaint; no sound was heard except the cries of the young children, overcome by the heat of the sun. The greater
her misfortunes, the more animated was Jemna's courage. Cheering by the example of her great heart her companions in misfortune, encouraging her son, she was still the widow of Omar Pasha. Not allowing herself to be cast down, she bore her grief with calmness and resignation, ever rejecting with contempt the offers of marriage made her by the Emir's chiefs. At the destruction of Tagdempt, Omar obtained permission to retire with his mother among the Beni Menacers. He was, however, enjoined to serve in the regular cavalry, under the Khalifat of Milianah: he yielded; but the Emir, who now beheld the decline of his power, was forced to retreat before our arms, and Omar was at last permitted, after so many changes of fortune, to return to Milianah. He met with a kind reception from the French. His house was restored to him, as well as part of his property, and shortly afterwards, at the request of the commandant, he was appointed hakem.
Such is the singular history of the Omars. When Marshal Bugeaud, who had heard the narrative, was passing through Milianah, he wished to see the mother of Omar, and give her a public mark of esteem. We accompanied him on the visit which he paid her, surrounded by his entire staff. The marshal was ushered into a small apartment, which retained no trace of by-gone splendour. Directly he entered, a woman enveloped in a large veil advanced with majestic deportment, supported by Omar. “Thou may'st remove thy veil, mother,” said Omar; “there are no eyes here but those of friends, who see only in thee the wife of a Pasha, and the mother of one of the most faithful servants of France.” With a gesture replete with dignity, Jemna let drop her veil. We could not but admire the noble countenance before us, over which time and grief, in leaving their stamp upon it, seemed to have shed a fresh charm. Filled with emotion, Jemna for a long time was unable to speak. Fortified at last by the kind address of the marshal, she lifted up her beautiful eyes, bathed in tears, and said, “I have been unfortunate; but I believe the hand of the Lord still stretches its protection over me as before, since it has brought me into thy presence. Oh French sultan, I know that thy heart is kind, as thy arm is powerful. I have faith in thee. I ask nothing for myself ; I am old, and shall soon go to join my husband, who was a sultan as thou art; but I place my son under thy protection; treat him as thine own son; he
is of noble blood, and will prove worthy of thy benefits. Every day my prayers will ascend towards God, that thou mayest be happy, thee and thine; and every day I will ask Him to grant that I may see Abd-el-Kader, and those that belong to him, come to ask pardon at thy feet.”
The marshal, touched with her emotion, replied to her in kind and cheering words, promising to watch over her son; and we retired, filled with respect, a feeling so seldom inspired by Musselman. A few hours afterwards, Jemna and her misfortunes were forgotten, in the midst of the preparations for our departure. At last we were restored to liberty. Marshal Bugeaud was to set out the next day with his column, and we, with General Changarnier, were about to pursue the Kabyles into their most inaccessible haunts.