Letter 140

, par Stewart

Usbek to the principal eunuch in the seraglio in Isfahan

Receive by this letter a power without limits over the entire seraglio. Command with as much authority as myself ; may fear and terror go with you. Hasten from apartment to apartment bearing punishments and chastisements ; may everyone live in consternation, may everyone melt into tears before you. Interrogate the entire seraglio : begin with the slaves ; spare not my love, let everyone undergo your fearsome tribunal. Bright to light the most hidden secrets ; purify this defiled place, and restore therein the banished virtue, for from this moment I place on your head the slightest faults committed. I suspect Zelis of being the person to whom the letter you intercepted was intended : examine this with the eyes of a lynx.

*** this 11th day of the moon of Zilhagé 1718 [1]


[1Beginning in February 1718, Usbek thus knows that the situation in the seraglio is in all probability irreversible ; which does not keep him from writing numerous letters subsequently (108 to 119), until he receives letter 142 from Narsit in December 1718.