This section is from the book "Stories From The Thousand And One Nights", by Edward William Lane and Stanley Lanepoole. Also available from Amazon: Stories From Thousand And One Nights: The Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
Thus did I until one day I went to the bath and returned to the Khan, and, entering my lodging, took for my breakfast a cup of wine, and then slept; and when I awoke I ate a fowl, and perfumed myself with essence, and repaired to the shop of a merchant named Bedr-ed-Din the Gardener, who, when he saw me, welcomed me, and conversed with me a while in his shop; and as we were thus engaged, lo, a female came and seated herself by my side. She wore a headkerchief inclined on one side, and the odours of sweet perfumes were diffused from her, and she captivated my reason by her beauty and loveliness as she raised her izar and I beheld her black eyes. She saluted Bedr-ed-Din, and he returned her salutation, and stood conversing with her; and when I heard her speech, love for her took entire possession of my heart. She then said to Bedr-ed-Din, Hast thou a piece of stuff woven with pure gold thread? And he produced to her a piece; and she said, May I take it and go, and then send thee the price? But he answered, It is impossible, O my mistress; for this is the owner of the stuff, and I owe him a portion of the profit.-Woe to thee! said she: it is my custom to take of thee each piece of stuff for a considerable sum of money, giving thee a gain beyond thy wish, and then to send thee the price.-Yes, he rejoined; but I am in absolute want of the price this day. And upon this she took the piece and threw it back to him upon his breast, saying, Verily your class knows not how to respect any person's rank! And she arose, and turned away. I felt then as if my soul went with her, and, rising upon my feet, I said to her, O my mistress, kindly bestow a look upon me, and retrace thine honoured steps. And she returned, and smiled and said, For thy sake I return. And she sat opposite me upon the seat of the shop; and I said to Bedr-ed-Din, What is the price that thou hast agreed to give for this piece ? He answered, Eleven hundred pieces of silver. And I said to him, Thy profit shall be a hundred pieces of silver: give me then a paper, and I will write for thee the price upon it. I then took the piece of stuff from him, and wrote him the paper with my own hand, and gave the piece of stuff to the lady, saying to her, Take it and go; and if thou wilt, bring the price to me in the market; or, if thou wilt, it shall be my present to thee. She replied, God recompense thee, and bless thee with my property, and make thee my husband; and may God accept this prayer!-O my mistress, said I, let this piece of stuff be thine, and another like it, and permit me to see thy face. And upon this she raised her veil; and when I beheld her face, the sight drew from me a thousand sighs, and my heart was entangled by her love, so that I no longer remained master of my reason. She then lowered the veil again, and took the piece of stuff, saying, O my master, leave me not desolate. So she departed, while I continued sitting in the market-street until past the hour of afternoon-prayer, with wandering mind, overpowered by love. In the excess of my passion, before I rose I asked the merchant respecting her; and he answered me, She is a rich lady, the daughter of a deceased Emir, who left her great property.
I then took leave of him, and returned to the Khan, and the supper was placed before me; but, reflecting upon her, I could eat nothing. I laid myself down to rest; but sleep came not to me, and I remained awake until the morning, when I arose and put on a suit of clothing different from that which I had worn the day before; and, having drunk a cup of wine, and eaten a few morsels as my breakfast, repaired again to the shop of the merchant, and saluted him, and sat down with him. The lady soon came, wearing a dress more rich than the former, and attended by a slave-girl; and she seated herself, and saluted me instead of Bedr-ed-Din, and said, with an eloquent tongue which I had never heard surpassed in softness or sweetness, Send with me some one to receive the twelve hundred pieces of silver, the price of the piece of stuff.-Wherefore, said I, this haste? She replied, May we never lose thee! And she handed to me the price; and I sat conversing with her, and made a sign to her, which she understood, intimating my wish to visit her: whereupon she rose in haste, expressing displeasure at my hint. My heart clung to her, and I followed in the direction of her steps through the market-street; and lo, a slave-girl came to me, and said, O my master, answer the summons of my mistress. Wondering at this, I said, No one here knoweth me.-How soon, she rejoined, hast thou forgotten her! My mistress is she who was to-day at the shop of the merchant Bedr-ed-Din.-So I went with her until we arrived at the money-changer's; and when her mistress, who was there, beheld me, she drew me to her side, and said, O my beloved, thou hast wounded my heart, and love of thee hath taken possession of it; and from the time that I first saw thee, neither sleep nor food nor drink hath been pleasant to me. I replied, And more than that do I feel; and the state in which I am needs no complaint to testify it.-Then shall I visit thee, O my beloved, she asked, or wilt thou come to me ? [For our marriage must be a secret.]-I am a stranger, I answered, and have no place of reception but the Khan; therefore, if thou wilt kindly permit me to go to thine abode, the pleasure will be perfect.-Well, she replied; but to-night is the eve of Friday, and let nothing be done till to-morrow, when, after thou hast joined in the prayers, do thou mount thine ass, and inquire for the Habbaniyeh; and when thou hast arrived there, ask for the house called the Ka'ah of Barakat the Nakib,8 known by the surname of Abu-Shameh; for there do I reside; and delay not; for I shall be anxiously expecting thee.