The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
Tim and the Pasha's Ghost
Tim and the Pasha's Ghost.
"That be hanged for a furphy," quoth Trooper Timothy Horan. when the con ierge, on tip-toe to reach his ear, whispered awesome words, with her arms flung wide as if she were going to fly.
Tne wrinkled old dame didn't "comprey" Tim's remark exactly, but got the drift of it, and shrugged her shoulders.
"As you will, Monsieur," she said. "I show you zee room". And the toiled up the steep stairway, with Tim in her wake, to an apartment on the top storey of the pension. After five minutes machine gun spetch and gesticulation, she left her new boarder in reace.
'Nothin' to worry about here," Trooper Horan soliloquised, glancing round the room. "Haunted! all my eve. What the 'ell would a Pasha's ghost be doin' here anyway? He had six bonzer bints, says she. By Gum! if the old blighter does come posin' around, I'll bleedin' well knock him stiff. Six bints! The old sinner But I'm thinkin', its a bit of all right to be a Pasha."
The room Tim had engaged for a lodging during his week's leave in Cairo was nothing to write home about: a commonplace apartment, furnished with bed, chest-of-drawers, hard-seated chair, and a rickety washstand.
Tim feared neither man nor devil. He reckoned that the old woman had tried to scare him, because she didn't fancy as a boarder a lanky soldier, who had thoughtlessly addressed her, "Sieda bint." Well, he dumped hs kit on the floor, and sallied forth for a Cairo night's entertainment. He had five quid in his money belt, the makings of a lovely spree.
At 24 00 Trooper Horan tumbled out of a gharry opposite No. 042 B Sheria-el-Araby, tossed the driver a ten dizzy piece, and entered the pension. He hauled himself up the stairs to his room, and sat on the truckle bed. Suddenly his brain got a move on, and he recalled the ghost business. It made him wild.
"Say, old Bluebeard," he cried, "if you're anywheres about, hop your frame out."
The last word was still on his lips when the dark room became illuminated, and before Tim's astonished eyes appeared the figure of a potbellied, fat-jowled old Pasha, wearing a flowing white gown, with red stripes, a tarboah and scarlet slippers, while a curved sword swung from his belt. The ghost glowed with phos-
phorescene, and a strong smell of spirits pervaded the room.
Tim wasn't scared, only a bit dazed, and the whisky perfume was rather nice. He yarded up his wits, and pulled a buttle from under the pillow of his bed.
"Ere y'are, old sport," Says Tim, "have a booze."
The ghost stretched out a glowing hand, grasped the battle and drained it at a gulp, Tim watched the liquor go right through the spectre and splash all over the floor.
"You're dinkum. Pasha," he said, "but you might have left us a nip. Malish."
Tim tnought for a while, then he spoke again,
"What's it like in Paradise, Pasha?" says he. "An' about hem bints of yours?"
"Dinkum," says the ghost, in sepulchral tones, "you are my friend; I tell you everything. Six bints did I take to myself in marriage, and I had not one minute of peace. All were beautiful, with eyes of the gazzlle, sum bodies and little hands and feet. I loved them all, my wives, but they loved not each other. By Allah! I tell you true, marry but one woman, or your life will be all sorrow."
"Right O! old boy," Tim says, "but I'm a ladies' man meself. Any of your bints in Cairo?"
The ghost capered around the room and its eyes sparkled with rage.
"Son of a dog", it squeaked, "would you lift eyes to a Pasha's widow?"
"Too right I would," says Tim. 'Don't get narked. Pasha. You've had your fling. Put us wise, I've got six days to go yet."
But the ghost made no reply, and when Tim looked up, after stooping for the bottle, he was alone in the room. The Pasha of many wives had returned to the Spirit would, and all that remained to tell of his visit was a strong smell of whisky.