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   Chapter 1 No.1

Paul Patoff By F. Marion Crawford Characters: 42537

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


If places could speak, they would describe people far better than people can describe places. No two men agree together in giving an account of a country, of natural scenery, or of a city; and though we may read the most accurate descriptions of a place, and vividly picture to ourselves what we have never seen, yet, when we are at last upon the spot, we realize that we have known nothing about it, and we loudly blame the author, whose word-painting is so palpably false. People will always think of places as being full of poetry if they are in love, as being beautiful if they are well, hideous if they are ill, wearisome if they are bored, and gay if they are making money.

Constantinople and the Bosphorus are no exceptions to this general rule. People who live there are sometimes well and sometimes ill, sometimes rich and sometimes poor, sometimes in love with themselves and sometimes in love with each other. A grave Persian carpet merchant sits smoking on the quay of Buyukdere. He sees them all go by, from the gay French secretary of embassy, puffing at a cigarette as he hurries from one visit to the next, to the neat and military German diplomat, landing from his steam launch on his return from the palace; from the devil-may-care English youth in white flannel to the graceful Turkish adjutant on his beautiful Arab horse; from the dark-eyed Armenian lady, walking slowly by the water's edge, to the terrifically arrayed little Greek dandy, with a spotted waistcoat and a thunder-and-lightning tie. He sees them all: the Levantine with the weak and cunning face, the swarthy Kurdish porter, the gorgeously arrayed Dalmatian embassy servant, the huge, fair Turkish waterman in his spotless white dress, and the countless veiled Turkish women from the small harems of the little town, shuffling along in silence, or squatted peacefully upon a jutting point of the pier, veiled in yashmaks, the more transparent as they have the more beauty to show or the less ugliness to conceal. The carpet merchant sees them all, and sits like Patience upon a monumental heap of stuffs, waiting for customers and smoking his water-pipe. His eyes are greedy and his fingers are long, but the peace of a superior mendacity is on his brow, and in his heart the lawful price of goods is multiplied exceedingly.

By the side of the quay, separated from the quiet water by the broad white road, stand the villas, the embassies, the houses, large and small, a varying front, following the curve of the Bosphorus for half a mile between the Turkish towns of Buyukdere and Mesar Burnu. Behind the villas rise the gardens, terraces upon terraces of roses, laurels, lemons, Japanese medlars, and trees and shrubs of all sorts, with a stone pine or a cypress here and there, dark green against the faint blue sky. Beyond the breadth of smooth sapphire water, scarcely rippling under the gentle northerly breeze, the long hills of the Asian mainland stretch to the left as far as the mouth of the Black Sea, and to the right until the quick bend of the narrow channel hides Asia from view behind the low promontories of the European shore. Now and then a big ferry-boat puffs into sight, churning the tranquil waters into foam with her huge paddles; a dozen sailing craft are in view, from Lord Mavourneen's smart yawl to the outlandishly rigged Turkish schooner, her masts raking forward like the antlers of a stag at bay, and spreading a motley collection of lateen-sails, stay-sails, square top-sails, and vast spinnakers rigged out with booms and sprits, which it would puzzle a northern sailor to name. Far to the right, towards Therapia, glimmer the brilliant uniforms and the long bright oars of an ambassador's twelve-oared ca?que, returning from an official visit at the palace; and near the shore are loitering half a dozen barcas,-commodious row-boats, with awnings and cushioned seats,-on the lookout for a fare.

It is the month of June, and the afternoon air is warm and hazy upon the land, though a gentle northerly breeze is on the water, just enough to fill the sails of Lord Mavourneen's little yacht, so that by making many short tacks he may beat up to the mouth of the Black Sea before sunset. But his excellency the British ambassador is in no hurry; he would go on tacking in his little yawl to all eternity of nautical time, with vast satisfaction, rather than be bored and worried and harrowed by the predestinating servants of Allah, at the palace of his majesty the commander of the faithful. Even Fate, the universal Kismet, procrastinates in Turkey, and Lord Mavourneen's special mission is to out-procrastinate the procrastinator. For the present the little yawl is an important factor in his operations, and as he stands in his rough blue clothes, looking up through his single eyeglass at the bellying canvas, a gentle smile upon his strongly marked face betrays considerable satisfaction. Lord Mavourneen is a very successful man, and his smile and his yacht have been elements of no small importance in his success. They characterize him historically, like the tear which always trembles under the left eyelid of Prince Bismarck, like the gray overcoat of Bonaparte, the black tights and gloomy looks of Hamlet the Dane, or Richelieu's kitten. Lord Mavourneen is a man of action, but he can wait. When he came to Constantinople the Turks thought they could keep him waiting, but they have discovered that they are more generally kept waiting themselves, while his excellency is up the Bosphorus, beating about in his little yawl near the mouth of the Black Sea. His actions are thought worthy of high praise, but on some occasions his inaction borders upon the sublime. Of the men who moved along the Buyukdere quay, many paused and glanced out over the water at the white-sailed yawl, with the single streamer flying from the mast-head; and some smiled as they recognized the ambassadorial yacht, and some looked grave.

The sun sank lower towards the point where he disappears from the sight of the inhabitants of Buyukdere; for he is not seen to set from this part of the upper Bosphorus. He sinks early behind the wooded hills above Therapia, and when he is hidden the evening freshness begins, and the crowd upon the quay swells to a multitude, as the people from the embassies and villas sally forth to mount their horses or to get into their ca?ques.

Two young men came out of the white gates of the Russian embassy, and, crossing the road, stood upon the edge of the stone pier. They were brothers, but the resemblance was slight between them. The one looked like an Englishman, tall, fair, and rather angular, with hard blue eyes, an aquiline nose, a heavy yellow mustache concealing his mouth, and a ruddy complexion. He was extremely well dressed, and, though one might detect some awkwardness in his movements, his manner had that composure which comes from a great knowledge of the world, and from a natural self-possession and independence of character.

His brother, though older by a year, might have passed for being several years younger. He was in reality two and thirty years of age, but his clear complexion was that of a boy, his dark brown hair curled closely on his head, and his soft brown eyes had a young and trustful look in them, which contrasted strangely with his brother's hard and dominating expression. He was shorter, too, and more slender, but also more graceful; his hands and feet were small and well shaped. Nevertheless, his manner was at least as self-possessed as that of his tall brother, and there was something in his look which suggested the dashing, reckless spirit sometimes found in delicately constituted men. Alexander Patoff was a soldier, and had obtained leave to visit his younger brother Paul in Constantinople, where the latter held the position of second secretary in the Russian embassy. At first sight one would have said that Paul should have been the cavalry officer, and Alexander the diplomatist: but fate had ordered it otherwise, for the elder son had inherited the bulk of his father's fortune, and was, consequently, able to bear the expenses of a career in a guard regiment; while Paul, the younger, just managed to live comfortably the life of a fashionable diplomacy, by dint of economy and an intelligent use of his small income.

They were Russians, but their mother was an Englishwoman. Their father had married a Miss Anne Dabstreak, with whom he had fallen in love when in London, shortly before the Crimean War. She was a beautiful woman, and had a moderate portion. Old Patoff's fortune, however, was sufficient, and they had lived happily for ten years, when he had died very suddenly, leaving a comfortable provision for his wife, and the chief part of his possessions to Alexander Paolovitch Patoff, his eldest boy. Paul, he thought, showed even as a child the character necessary to fight his own way; and as he had since advanced regularly in the diplomacy, it seemed probable that he would fulfill his father's predictions, and die an embassador.

At the time when this story opens Madame Patoff was traveling in Switzerland for her health. She was not strong, and dared not undertake a journey to Constantinople at present. On the other hand, the climate of northern Russia suited her even less well in summer than in winter, and, to her great regret, her son Alexander, whom she loved better than Paul, as he was also more like herself, had persisted in spending his leave in a visit to his brother.

Madame Patoff had been surprised at Alexander's determination. Her sons were not congenial to each other. They had been brought up differently to different careers, which might partially account for the lack of sympathy between them, but in reality the evil had a deeper root. Madame Patoff had either never realized that Alexander had been the favored son, and that Paul had suffered acutely from the preference shown to his elder brother, or she had loved the latter too passionately to care to hide her preference. Alexander had been a beautiful child, full of grace, and gifted with that charm which in young children is not easily resisted. Paul was ugly in his boyhood, cold and reserved, rarely showing sympathy, and too proud to ask for what was not given him freely. Alexander was quick-witted, talented, and showy, if I may use so barbarous a word. Paul was slow at first, ungainly as a young foal, strong without grace, shy of attempting anything new to him, and not liking to be noticed. Both father and mother, as the boys grew up, loved the older lad, and spoiled him, while the younger was kept forever at his books, was treated coldly, and got little praise for the performance of his tasks. Had Paul possessed less real energy of character, he must have hated his brother; as it was, he silently disliked him, but inwardly resolved to outshine him in everything, laboring to that end from his boyhood, and especially after his father's death, with a dogged determination which promised success. The result was that, although Paul never outgrew a certain ungainliness of appearance, due to his large and bony frame, he nevertheless acquired a perfection of manner, an ease and confidence in conversation, which, in the end, might well impress people who knew him more favorably than the bearing of Alexander, whose soft voice and graceful attitudes began to savor of affectation when he had attained to mature manhood. As they stood together on the quay at Buyukdere, one could guess that, in the course of years, Alexander would be an irritable, peevish old dandy, while Paul would turn out a stern, successful old man.

They stood looking at the water, watching the ca?ques shoot out from the shore upon the bosom of the broad stream.

"Have you made up your mind?" asked Paul, without looking at his brother.

"Oh, yes. I do not care where we go. I suppose it is worth seeing?"

"Well worth seeing. You have never seen anything like it."

"Is it as fine as Easter Eve in Moscow?" asked Alexander, incredulously.

"It is different," said Paul. "It corresponds to our Easter Eve in some ways. All through the Ramazán they fast all day-never smoke, nor drink a glass of water, and of course they eat nothing-until sunset, when the gun is fired. During the last week there are services in Santa Sophia every night, and that is what is most remarkable. They go on until the news comes that the new moon has been seen."

"That does not sound very interesting," remarked Alexander, languidly, lighting a cigarette with a bit of yellow fuse that dangled from his heavy Moscow case.

"It is interesting, nevertheless, and you must see it. You cannot be here at this time and not see what is most worth seeing."

"Is there nothing else this evening?" asked Alexander.

"No. We have to respect the prejudices of the country a little. After all, we really have a holiday during this month. Nothing can be done. The people at the palace do not get up until one o'clock or later, so as to make the time while they fast seem shorter."

"Very sensible of them. I wonder why they get up at all, until their ridiculous gun fires, and they can smoke."

"Whether you like it or not, you must go to Santa Sophia to-night, and see the service," said Paul, firmly. "You need not stay long, unless you like."

"If you take me there, I will stay rather than have the trouble of coming away," answered the other. "Bah!" he exclaimed suddenly, "there is that ca?que again!"

Paul followed the direction of his brother's glance, and saw a graceful ca?que pulling slowly upstream towards them. Four sturdy Turks in snow-white cotton tugged at the long oars, and in the deep body of the boat, upon low cushions, sat two ladies, side by side. Behind them, upon the stern, was perched a hideous and beardless African, gorgeously arrayed in a dark tunic heavily laced with gold, a richly chased and adorned scimiter at his side, and a red fez jauntily set on one side of his misshapen head. But Alexander's attention was arrested by the ladies, or rather by one of them, as the ca?que passed within oar's length of the quay.

"She must be hideous," said Paul, contemptuously. "I never saw such a yashmak. It is as thick as a towel. You cannot see her face at all."

"Look at her hand," said Alexander. "I tell you she is not hideous."

The figures of the two ladies were completely hidden in the wide black silk garments they wore, the eternal ferigee which makes all women alike. Upon their heads they wore caps, such as in the jargon of fashion are called toques, and their faces were enveloped in yashmaks, white veils which cross the forehead above the eyes and are brought back just below them, so as to cover the rest of the face. But there was this difference; that whereas the veil worn by one of the ladies was of the thinnest gauze, showing every feature of her dark, coarse face through its transparent texture, the veil of the other was perfectly opaque, and disguised her like a mask. Paul Patoff justly remarked that this was very unusual. He had observed the same peculiarity at least twenty times; for in the course of three weeks, since Alexander arrived, the brothers had seen this same lady almost every day, till they had grown to expect her, and had exhausted all speculation in regard to her personality. Paul maintained that she was ugly, because she would not show her face. Alexander swore that she was beautiful, because her hand was young and white and shapely, and because, as he said, her attitude was graceful and her head moved well when she turned it. Concerning her hand, at least, there was no doubt, for as the delicate fingers stole out from the black folds of the ferigee their whiteness shone by contrast upon the dark silk; there was something youthful and nervous and sensitive in their shape and movement which fascinated the young Russian, and made him mad with curiosity to see the face of the veiled woman to whom they belonged. She turned her head a little, as the ca?que passed, and her dark eyes met his with an expression which seemed one of intelligence; but unfortunately all black eyes look very much alike when they are just visible between the upper and the lower folds of a thick yashmak, and Alexander uttered an exclamation of discontent.

Thereupon the hideous negro at the stern, who had noticed the stare of the two Russians, shook his light stick at Alexander, and hissed out something that sounded very like "Kiope 'oul kiopek,"-dog and son of a dog; the oarsmen grinned and pulled harder than ever, and the ca?que shot past the pier. Paul shrugged his shoulders contemptuously, but did not translate the Turkish ejaculation to his brother. A boatman stood lounging near them, leaning on a stone post, and following the retreating ca?que with his eyes.

"Ask that fellow who she is," said Alexander.

"He does not know," answered Paul. "Those fellows never know anything."

"Ask him," insisted his brother. "I am sure he knows." Paul was willing to be obliging, and went up to the man.

"Do you know who that Khanum is?" he asked, in Turkish.

"Bilmem,-I don't know," replied the man, without moving a muscle of his face.

"Do you know who her father is?"

"Allah bilir,-God knows. Probably Abraham, who is the father of all the faithful." Paul laughed.

"I told you he knew nothing about her," he said, turning to his brother.

"It did you no harm to ask," answered Alexander testily. "Let us take a ca?que and follow her."

"You may, if you please," said Paul. "I have no intention of getting myself into trouble."

"Nonsense! Why should we get into trouble? We have as good a right to row on the Bosphorus as they have."

"We have no right to go near them. It is contrary to the customs of the country."

"I do not care for custom," retorted Alexander.

"If you walked down the Boulevard des Italiens in Paris on Easter Day and kissed every woman you met, merely saying, 'The Lord is risen,' by way of excuse, as we do in Russia, you would discover that customs are not the same everywhere."

"You are as slow as an ox-cart, Paul," said Alexander.

"The simile is graceful. Thank you. As I say, you may do anything you please, as you are a stranger here. But if you do anything flagrantly contrary to the manners of the country, you will not find my chief disposed to help you out of trouble. We are disliked enough already,-hated expresses it better. Come along. Take a turn upon the quay before dinner, and then we will go to Stamboul and see the ceremony."

"I hate the quay," replied Alexander, who was now in a very bad humor.

"Then we will go the other way. We can walk through Mesar Burnu and get to the Valley of Roses."

"That sounds better."

So the two turned northwards, and followed the quay upstream till they came to the wooden steamboat landing, and then, turning to the left, they entered the small Turkish village of Mesar Burnu. While they walked upon the road Alexander could still follow the ca?que, now far ahead, shooting along through the smooth water, and he slackened his pace more slowly when it was out of sight. The dirty little bazaar of the village did not interest him, and he was not inclined to talk as he picked his way over the muddy stones, chewing his discontent and regretting the varnish of his neat boots. Presently they emerged from the crowd of vegetable venders, fishmongers, and sweetmeat sellers into a broad green lane between two grave-yards, where the huge silent trees grew up straight and sad from the sea of white tombstones which stood at every angle, some already fallen, some looking as though they must fall at once, some still erect, according to the length of time which had elapsed since they were set up. For in Turkey the headstones of graves are narrow at the base and broaden like leaves towards the top, and they are not set deep in the ground; so that they are top-heavy, and with the sinking of the soil they invariably fall to one side or the other.

Paul turned again, where four roads meet at a drinking fountain, and the two brothers entered the narrow Valley of Roses. The roses are not, indeed, so numerous as one might expect, but the path is beautiful, green and quiet, and below it the tinkle of a little stream is heard, flowing down from the spring where the lane ends. There they sat down beneath a giant tree on a beaten terrace, where a Kaffegee has his little shop. The water pours from the spring in the hillside into a great basin bordered with green, the air is cool, and there is a delicious sense of rest after leaving the noise and dust of the quay. Both men smoked and drank their coffee in silence. Paul could not help wishing that his brother would take a little more interest in Turkey and a little less in the lady of the thick yashmak; and especially he wished that Alexander might finish his visit without getting into trouble. He had successfully controlled him during three weeks, and in another fortnight he must return to Russia. Paul confessed to himself that his brother's visit was not an unmitigated blessing, and found it hard to explain the object of it. Indeed, it was so simple that his diplomatic min

d did not find it out; for Alexander had merely said to himself that he had never seen Constantinople, and that, as his brother was there, in the embassy, he could see it under favorable circumstances, at a very moderate cost. He was impetuous, spoiled by too much flattery, and incapable of imagining that Paul could consider his visit in any light but that of a compliment. Accordingly he had come, and had enjoyed himself very much.

"Let us dine here," he said suddenly, as he finished his coffee.

"There is nothing to eat," answered Paul. "Coffee, cold water, and a few cakes. That is all, and that would hardly satisfy you."

"What a nuisance!" exclaimed the elder brother. "What a barbarous country this is! Nothing to eat but coffee, cold water, and cakes!"

"It is rather hard on the Turks to abuse them for not keeping restaurants in their woods," remarked Paul.

"I detest the Turks. I shall never forget the discomfort I had to put up with in the war. They might have learned something from us then; but they never learn anything. Come along. Let us go and dine in your rooms."

"It is impossible to be more discontented than you are," said Paul, rather bitterly. "It is utterly impossible to please you,-and yet you have most things which are necessary to happiness."

"I suppose you mean the money?" sneered his brother. But Paul kept his temper.

"I mean everything," he answered. "You have money, youth, good looks, and social success; and yet you can hardly see anything without abusing it."

"You forget that I do not know the name of the lady in the yashmak," objected Alexander.

Paul shrugged his shoulders, and said nothing. Both men rose, and began to go down the green lane, returning towards Mesar Burnu. By this time the sun had sunk low behind the western hills, and the cool of the evening had descended on the woods and the Valley of Roses. The green grass and the thick growth of shrubs took a darker color, and the first dampness of the dew was in the air. The two walked briskly down the path. Suddenly a turn in the narrow way brought them face to face with a party of three persons, strolling slowly towards them.

"Luck!" ejaculated Alexander. "Here they are again!"

He was right. There was no mistaking the lady with the thick, impenetrable veil, nor her companion, whose heavy dark face was distinctly visible through the thin Indian gauze. Behind them walked the hideous negro, swinging his light cane jauntily, but beginning to cast angry glances at the two Russians, whom he had already recognized. The way was very narrow, and the ladies saw that retreat was impossible. Paul bit his lip, fearing some foolish rashness on the part of his brother. As they all met, the ladies drew close to the hedge on one side of the path, their black attendant standing before them, as though to prevent the Giaours from even brushing against the wide silken ferigees of his charges. Paul pushed his brother in front of him, hoping that Alexander would have the sense to pass quietly by; but he trembled for the result.

Alexander moved slowly forward, turning his head as he passed, and looking long into the black eyes of the veiled lady.

"Pek güzel,-very pretty indeed," he said aloud, using the only words of Turkish he had learned in three weeks. But they were enough; the effect was instantaneous. Without a word and without hesitation, the tall negro struck a violent blow at Alexander with the light bamboo he carried. Paul, who was immediately behind his brother, saw the action and caught the man's hand in the air, but the end of the flexible cane flew down and knocked Alexander's hat from his head.

"Run!" cried Paul excitedly, as the negro struggled in his grip.

The two Turkish ladies laughed aloud. They were used to such adventures, but the spectacle of the negro beating a Frank gentleman was novel and refreshing. Alexander picked up his hat, but showed no disposition to move. The African struggled vainly in Paul's powerful arms.

"Go, I say!" cried the latter authoritatively. "There will be trouble if any one comes."

But Alexander had received a blow, and his blood was up. Moreover, he was a Russian, and utterly regardless of consequences,-or perhaps he only wanted to annoy his brother by a show of violence.

"I think I will shoot him," he said, quietly producing a small revolver from his pocket.

At the sight of the weapon, the two ladies, who, on seeing the fight prolonged, had retired a few paces up the path, began to scream loudly for help. The negro, who was proof against blows and would not have shown much fear at the sight of a knife, fell on his knees, crying aloud for mercy. Thereupon Paul released him and bid him go.

"For God's sake, Alexander, do not make a fool of yourself!" he said coldly, walking up to his brother. But he turned once more to the black attendant, and added quietly in Turkish, "You had better go. We both have pistols."

The negro did not wait, but sprang back and flew towards the two ladies, speaking excitedly, and imploring them to make haste. The two brothers made their way quickly down the path, Paul pushing Alexander before him.

"You have done it now. You will have to leave Constantinople to-morrow," he said, sternly. "You cannot play these tricks here."

"Bah!" returned Alexander, "it is of no consequence. They do not know who we are."

"They have not seen us coming out of our embassy half a dozen times without knowing where to look for us. There will be a complaint made within two hours, and there will be trouble. The law protects them. These fellows are authorized to strike anybody who speaks to the women they have in charge, or who even goes too near them. Be quick! We must get back to the quay before there is any alarm raised."

Alexander knew that his brother Paul was no coward, and, being thoroughly convinced of the danger, he quickened his walk. In twenty minutes they reached Mesar Burnu, and in five minutes more they were within the gates of the embassy. The huge Cossack who stood by the entrance saluted them gravely, and Paul drew a long breath of relief as he entered the pretty pavilion in the garden in which he had his quarters. Alexander threw himself upon a low divan, and laughed with true Russian indifference. Paul pretended not to notice him, but silently took up the local French paper, which came every evening, and began to read.

"You are excellent company, upon my word!" exclaimed Alexander, irritated at his brother's coldness. Paul laid down the paper, and stared at him with his hard blue eyes.

"Alexander, you are a fool," he said coolly.

"Look here," said the other, suddenly losing his temper, and rising to his feet, "I will not submit to this sort of language."

"Then do not expose yourself to it. Are you aware that you do me very serious injury by your escapades?"

"Escapades indeed!" cried Alexander indignantly. "As if there were any harm in telling a woman she is pretty!"

"You will probably have occasion to hear what the chief thinks of it before long," retorted his brother. "There will be a complaint. It will get to the palace, and the result will be that I shall be sent to another post, with a black mark in the service. Do you call that a joke? It is very well for you, a rich officer in the guards, taking a turn in the East by way of recreation. You will go back to Petersburg and tell the story and enjoy the laugh. I may be sent to China or Japan for three or four years, in consequence."

"Bah!" ejaculated the soldier, sitting down on the divan. "I do not believe it. You are an old woman. You are always afraid of injuring your career."

"If it is to be injured at all, I prefer that it should be by my own fault."

"What do you want me to do?" asked Alexander, rising once more. "I think I will go back to the Valley of Roses, and see if I cannot find her again." Suiting the action to the word, he moved towards the door. All the willfulness of the angry Slav shone in his dark eyes, and he was really capable of fulfilling his threat.

"If you try it," said Paul, touching an electric bell behind his chair, "I will have you arrested. We are in Russia inside these gates, and there are a couple of Cossacks outside. I am quite willing to assume the responsibility."

Paul was certainly justified in taking active measures to coerce his headstrong brother. The spoilt child of a brilliant society was not accustomed to being thwarted in his caprices, and beneath his delicate pale skin the angry blood boiled up to his face. He strode towards his brother as though he would have struck him, but something in Paul's eyes checked the intention. He held his heavy silver cigarette case in his hand; turning on his heel with an oath, he dashed it angrily across the room. It struck a small mirror that stood upon a table in the corner, and broke it into shivers with a loud crash. At that moment the door opened, and Paul's servant appeared in answer to the bell.

"A glass of water," said Paul calmly. The man glanced at Alexander's angry face and at the broken looking-glass, and then retired.

"What do you mean by calling in your accursed servants when I am angry?" cried the soldier. "You shall pay for this, Paul,-you shall pay for it!" His soft voice rose to loud and harsh tones, as he impatiently paced the room. "You shall pay for it!" he almost yelled, and then stood still, suddenly, while Paul rose from his chair. The door was opened again, but instead of the servant with the glass of water a tall and military figure stood in the entrance. It was the ambassador himself. He looked sternly from one brother to the other.

"Gentlemen," he said, "what is this quarrel? Lieutenant Patoff, I must beg you to remember that you are my guest as well as your brother's, and that the windows are open. Even the soldiers at the gates can hear your cries. Be good enough either to cease quarreling, or to retire to some place where you cannot be heard."

Without waiting for an answer, the old diplomat faced about and walked away.

"That is the beginning," said Paul, in a low voice. "You see what you are doing? You are ruining me,-and for what? Not even because you have a caprice for a woman, but merely because I have warned you not to make trouble."

Paul crossed the room and picked up the fallen cigarette case. Then he handed it to his brother, with a conciliatory look.

"There,-smoke a cigarette and be quiet, like a good fellow," he said.

The servant entered with the glass of water, and put it down upon the table. Glancing at the fragments of the mirror upon the floor, he looked inquiringly at his master. Paul made a gesture signifying that he might leave the room. The presence of the servant did not tend to pacify Alexander, whose face was still flushed with anger, as he roughly took the silver case and turned away with a furious glance. The servant had noticed, in the course of three weeks, that the brothers were not congenial to each other, but this was the first time he had witnessed a violent quarrel between them. When he was gone Alexander turned again and confronted Paul.

"You are insufferable," he said, in low tones.

"It is easy for you to escape my company," returned the other. "The Varna boat leaves here to-morrow afternoon at three."

"Set your mind at rest," said Alexander, regaining some control of his temper at the prospect of immediate departure. "I will leave to-morrow."

He went towards the door.

"Dinner is at seven," said Paul quietly. But his brother left the room without noticing the remark, and, retiring to his room, he revenged himself by writing a long letter to his mother, in which he explained at length the violence and, as he described it, the "impossibility" of his brother's character. He had all the pettiness of a bad child; he knew that he was his mother's favorite, and he naturally went to her for sympathy when he was angry with his brother, as he had done from his infancy. Having so far vented his wrath, he closed his letter without re-reading it, and delivered it to be posted before the clock struck seven.

He found Paul waiting for him in the sitting-room, and was received by him as though nothing had happened. Paul was indeed neither so forgiving nor so long-suffering as he appeared. He cordially disliked his brother, and was annoyed at his presence and outraged at his rashness. He felt bitterly enough that Alexander had quartered himself in the little pavilion for nearly a month without an invitation, and that, even financially, the visit caused him inconvenience; but he felt still more the danger to himself which lay in Alexander's folly, and he was not far wrong when he said that the ambassador's rebuke was the beginning of trouble. Accustomed to rely upon himself and his own wise conduct in the pursuance of his career, he resented the injury done him by such incidents as had taken place that afternoon. On the other hand, since Alexander had expressed his determination to leave Buyukdere the next day, he was determined that on his side the parting should be amicable. He could control his mood so far as to be civil during dinner, and to converse upon general topics. Alexander sat down to table in silence. His face was pale again, and his eyes had regained that simple, trustful look which was so much at variance with his character, and which, in the opinion of his admirers, constituted one of his chief attractions. It is unfortunate that, in general, the expression of the eyes should have less importance than that of the other features, for it always seems that by the eyes we should judge most justly. As a matter of fact, I think that the passions leave no trace in them, although they express the emotions of the moment clearly enough. The dark pupils may flash with anger, contract with determination, expand with love or fear; but so soon as the mind ceases to be under the momentary influence of any of these, the pupil returns to its normal state, the iris takes its natural color, and the eye, if seen through a hole in a screen, expresses nothing. If we were in the habit of studying men's mouths rather than their eyes, we should less often be deceived in the estimates we form of their character. Alexander Patoff's eyes were like a child's when he was peaceably inclined, like a wild-cat's when he was angry; but his nervous, scornful lips were concealed by the carefully trained dark brown mustache, and with them lay hidden the secret of his ill-controlled, ill-balanced nature.

When dinner was finished, the servant announced that the steam launch was at the pier, and that the embassy kaváss was waiting outside to conduct them to Santa Sophia. Alexander, who wanted diversion of some kind during the evening, said he would go, and the two brothers left the pavilion together.

The kaváss is a very important functionary in Constantinople, and, though his office is lucrative, it is no sinecure. In former times the appearance of Franks in the streets of Constantinople was very likely to cause disturbance. Those were the great days of Turkey, when the Osmanli was master of the East, and regarded himself as the master of the world. A Frank-that is to say, a person from the west of Europe-was scarcely safe out of Pera without an escort; and even at the present day most people are advised not to venture into Stamboul without the attendance of a native, unless willing to wear a fez instead of a hat. It became necessary to furnish the embassies with some outward and visible means of protection, and the kaváss was accordingly instituted. This man, who was formerly always a Janizary, is at present a veteran soldier, and therefore a Mussulman; for Christians rarely enter the army in Constantinople, being permitted to buy themselves off. He is usually a man remarkable for his trustworthy character, of fine presence, and generally courageous. He wears a magnificent Turkish military dress, very richly adorned with gold embroidery, girt with a splendid sash, in which are thrust enough weapons to fill an armory,-knives, dirks, pistols, and daggers,-while a huge scimiter hangs from his sword-belt. When he is on active service, you will detect somewhere among his trappings the brown leather case of a serviceable army revolver. The reason of this outfit is a very simple one. The kaváss is answerable with his head for those he protects,-neither more nor less. Whenever the ambassador or the minister goes to the palace, or to Stamboul, or on any expedition whatsoever, the kaváss follows him, frequently acting as interpreter, and certainly never failing to impose respect upon the populace. Moreover, when he is not needed by the head of the mission in person, he is ready to accompany any member of the household when necessary. A lady may cross Stamboul in safety with no other attendant, for he is answerable for her with his life. Whether or not, in existing circumstances, he would be put to death, in case his charge were killed by a mob, is not easy to say; it is at least highly probable that he would be executed within twenty-four hours.

It chanced, on the evening chosen by Paul and Alexander for their visit to Santa Sophia, that no other members of the embassy accompanied them. Some had seen the ceremony before, some intended to go the next day, and some were too lazy to go at all. They followed the kaváss in silence across the road, and went on board the beautiful steam launch which lay alongside the quay. The night was exceedingly dark, for as the appearance of the new moon terminates the month Ramazán, and as the ceremonies take place only during the last week of the month, there can, of course, be no moonlight. But a dark night is darker on the black waters of the Bosphorus than anywhere else in the world; and the darkness is not relieved by the illumination of the shores. On the contrary, the countless twinkling points seem to make the shadow in midstream deeper, and accidents are not unfrequent. In some places the current is very rapid, and it is no easy matter to steer a steam launch skillfully through it, without running over some belated fisherman or some shadowy ca?que, slowly making way against the stream in the dark.

The two brothers sat in the deep cane easy-chairs on the small raised deck at the stern, the weather being too warm to admit of remaining in the cushioned cabin. The sailors cast off the moorings, and the strong little screw began to beat the water. In two minutes the launch was far out in the darkness. The kaváss gave the order to the man at the wheel, an experienced old pilot:-

"To the Vinegar Sellers' Landing."

The engine was put at full speed, and the launch rushed down stream towards Constantinople. Paul and Alexander looked at the retreating shore and at the lights of the embassy, fast growing dim in the distance. Paul wished himself alone in his quiet pavilion, with a cigarette and one of Gogol's novels. His brother, who was ashamed of his violent temper and disgusted with his brother's coldness, wished that he might never come back. Indeed, he was inclined to say so, and to spend the night at a hotel in Pera; but he was ashamed of that too, now that his anger had subsided, and he made up his mind to be morally uncomfortable for at least twenty-four hours. For it is the nature of violent people to be ashamed of themselves, and then to work themselves into new fits of anger in order to escape their shame, a process which may be exactly compared to the drunkard's glass of brandy in the morning, and which generally leads to very much the same result.

But Paul said nothing, and so long as he was silent it was impossible to quarrel with him. Alexander, therefore, stretched out his legs and puffed at his cigarette, wondering whether he should ever see the lady in the yashmak again, trying to imagine what her face could be like, but never doubting that she was beautiful. He had been in love with many faces. It was the first time he had ever fallen in love with a veil. The sweet air of the Bosphorus blew in his face, the distant lights twinkled and flashed past as the steam launch ran swiftly on, and Alexander dozed in his chair, dreaming that the scented breeze had blown aside the folds of the yashmak, and that he was gazing on the most beautiful face in the world. That is one of the characteristics of the true Russian. The Slav is easily roused to frenzied excitement, and he as easily falls back to an indolent and luxurious repose. There is something poetic in his temperament, but the extremes are too violent for all poetry. To be easily sad and easily gay may belong to the temper of the poet, but to be bloodthirsty and luxurious by turns savors of the barbarian.

Alexander was aroused by the lights of Stamboul and by the noise of the large ferry-boats just making up to the wooden piers of Galata bridge, or rushing away into the darkness amidst tremendous splashing of paddles and blowing of steam whistles. A few minutes later the launch ran alongside of the Vinegar Sellers' Landing on the Stamboul shore, and the kaváss came aft to inform the brothers that the carriage was waiting by the water-stairs.

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