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   Chapter 2 No.2

Paul Patoff By F. Marion Crawford Characters: 32924

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


There is probably no nation in the world more attached to religion, both in form and principle, than the Osmanli; and it is probably for this reason that their public ceremonies bear a stamp of vigor and sincerity rarely equaled in Christian countries. No one can witness the rites practiced in the mosque of Agia Sophia without being profoundly impressed with the power of the Mohammedan faith. The famous church of Justinian is indeed in itself magnificent and awe-inspiring; the vast dome is more effective than that of Saint Peter's, in proportion as the masses which support it are smaller and less apparent; the double stories of the nave are less burdened with detail and ornament, and are therefore better calculated to convey an impression of size; the view from the galleries is less obstructed in all directions, and there is something startling in the enormous shields of green inscribed in gold with the names of God, Mohammed, and the earliest khalifs. Everything in the building produces a sensation of smallness in the beholder, almost amounting to stupor. But the Agia Sophia seen by day, in the company of a chattering Greek guide, is one thing; it is quite another when viewed at night from the solitude of the vast galleries, during the religious ceremonies of the last week in the month Ramazán.

Paul and Alexander Patoff were driven through dark streets to a narrow lane, where the carriage stopped before a flight of broad steps which suddenly descended into blackness. The kaváss was at the door, and seemed anxious that they should be quick in their movements. He held a small lantern in his hand, and, carrying it low down, showed them the way. Entering a gloomy doorway, they were aware of a number of Turks, clad mostly in white tunics, with white turbans, and congregated near the heavy leathern curtain which separates this back entrance from the portico. One of these men, a tall fellow with an ugly scowl, came forward, holding a pair of keys in his hand, and after a moment's parley with the kaváss unlocked a heavily ironed door, lighting a taper at the lantern.

As they entered, both the brothers cast a glance at the knot of scowling men, and Alexander felt in his pocket for his pistol. He had forgotten it, and the discovery did not tend to make him feel more safe. Then he smiled to himself, recognizing that it was but a passing feeling of distrust which he experienced, and remembering how many thousands of Franks must have passed through that very door to reach the winding staircase. As for Paul, he had been there the previous year, and was accustomed to the sour looks of Mussulmans when a Frank visitor enters one of their mosques. He also went in, and the kaváss, who was the last of the party, followed, pulling the door on its hinges behind him. During several minutes they mounted the rough stone steps in silence, by the dim light of the lantern and the taper. Then emerging into the gallery through a narrow arch, a strange sound reached them, and Alexander stood still for a moment.

Far down in the vast church an Imam was intoning a passage of the Koran in a voice which hardly seemed human; indeed, such a sound is probably not to be heard anywhere else in the world. The pitch was higher than what is attainable by the highest men's voices elsewhere, and yet the voice possessed the ringing, manly quality of the tenor, and its immense volume never dwindled to the proportions of a soprano. The priest recited and modulated in this extraordinary key, introducing all the ornaments peculiar to the ancient Arabic chant with a facility which an operatic singer might have envied. Then there was a moment's silence, broken again almost immediately by a succession of heavy sounds which can only be described as resembling rhythmical thunder, rising and falling three times at equal intervals; another short but intense silence, and again the voice burst out with the wild clang of a trumpet, echoing and reverberating through the galleries and among the hundred marble pillars of the vast temple.

The two brothers walked forward to the carved stone balustrade of the high gallery, and gazed down from the height upon the scene below. The multitude of worshipers surged like crested waves blown obliquely on a shingly shore. For the apse of the Christian church is not built so that, facing it, the true believer shall look towards Mecca, and the Mussulmans have made their mihrab-their shrine-a little to the right of what was once the altar, in the true direction of the sacred city. The long lines of matting spread on the floor all lie evenly at an angle with the axis of the nave, and when the mosque is full the whole congregation, amounting to thousands of men, are drawn up like regiments of soldiers in even ranks to face the mihrab, but not at right angles with the nave. The effect is startling and strangely inharmonious, like the studied distortions of some Japanese patterns, but yet fascinating from its very contrariety to what the eye expects.

There they stand, the ranks of the faithful, as they have stood yearly for centuries in the last week of Ramazán. As the trumpet notes of each recited verse die away among the arches, every man raises his hands above his head, then falls upon his knees, prostrates himself, and rises again, renewing the act of homage three times with the precision of a military evolution. At each prostration, performed exactly and simultaneously by that countless multitude, the air is filled with the tremendous roar of muffled rhythmical thunder, in which no voice is heard, but only the motion of ten thousand human bodies, swaying, bending, and kneeling in unison. Nor is the sound alone impressive. From the vaulted roof, from the galleries, from the dome itself, are hung hundreds of gigantic chandeliers, each having concentric rings of lighted lamps, suspended a few feet above the heads of the worshipers. Seen from the great height of the gallery, these thousands of lights do not dazzle nor hide the multitude below, which seems too great to be hidden, as the heavens are not hid by the stars; but the soft illumination fills every corner and angle of the immense building, and, lest any detail of the architecture and splendid music should escape the light, rows of little lamps are kindled along the cornices of the galleries and roof, filling up the interstices of darkness as a carver burnishes the inner petals of the roses on a huge gilt frame of exquisite design, in which not the smallest beauty of the workmanship can be allowed to pass unnoticed.

This whole flood of glorious illumination descends then to the floor of the nave, and envelops the ranks of white and green clothed men, who rise and fall in long sloping lines, like a field of corn under the slanting breeze. There is something mystic and awe-inspiring in the sight, the sound, the whole condition, of this strange worship. A man looks down upon the serried army of believers, closely packed, but not crowded nor irregular, shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee, not one of them standing a hair's breadth in front of his rank nor behind it, moving all as one body, animated by one principle of harmonious motion, elevated by one unquestioning faith in something divine,-a man looks down upon this scene, and, whatever be his own belief, he cannot but feel an unwonted thrill of admiration, a tremor of awe, a quiver of dread, at the grand solemnity of this unanimous worship of the unseen. And then, as the movement ceases, and the files of white turbans remain motionless, the unearthly voice of the Imam rings out like a battle signal from the lofty balcony of the mastaba,[1] awaking in the fervent spirits of the believers the warlike memories of mighty conquest. For the Osmanli is a warrior, and his nation is a warrior tribe; his belief is too simple for civilization, his courage too blind and devoted for the military operations of our times, his heart too easily roused by the bloodthirsty instincts of the fanatic, and too ready to bear the misfortunes of life with the grave indifference of the fatalist. He lacks the balance of the faculties which is imposed upon civilized man by a conscious distinction of the possible from the impossible; he lacks the capacity for being contented with that state of life in which he is placed. Instead of the quiet courage and self-knowledge of a serviceable strength, he possesses the reckless and all-destroying zeal of the frenzied iconoclast; in place of patience under misfortune, in the hope of better times, he cultivates the insensibility begotten of a belief in hopeless predestination,-instead of strength he has fury, instead of patience, apathy. He is a strange being, beyond our understanding, as he is too often beyond our sympathy. It is only when we see him roused to the highest expression of his religious fervor that we involuntarily feel that thrill of astonishment and awe which in our hearts we know to be genuine admiration.

Alexander Patoff stood by his brother's side, watching the ceremony with intense interest. He hated the Turks and despised their faith, but what he now saw appealed to the Orientalism of his nature. Himself capable of the most distant extremes of feeling, sensitive, passionate, and accustomed to delight in strong impressions, he could not fail to be moved by the profound solemnity of the scene and by the indescribable wildness of the Imam's chant. Paul, too, was silent, and, though far less able to feel such emotions than his elder brother, the sight of such unanimous and heart-felt devotion called up strange trains of thought in his mind, and forced him to speculate upon the qualities and the character which still survived in these hereditary enemies of his nation. It was not possible, he said to himself, that such men could ever be really conquered. They might be driven from the capital of the East by overwhelming force, but they would soon rally in greater numbers on the Asian shore. They might be crushed for a moment, but they could never be kept under, nor really dominated. Their religion might be oppressed and condemned by the oppressor, but it was of the sort to gain new strength at every fresh persecution. To slay such men was to sow dragon's teeth and to reap a harvest of still more furious fanatics, who, in their turn being destroyed, would multiply as the heads of the Hydra beneath the blows of Heracles. The even rise and fall of those long lines of stalwart Mussulmans seemed like the irrepressible tide of an ocean, which if restrained, would soon break every barrier raised to obstruct it. Paul sickened at the thought that these men were bowing themselves upon the pavement from which their forefathers had washed the dust of Christian feet in the blood of twenty thousand Christians, and the sullen longing for vengeance rankled in his heart. At that moment he wished he were a soldier, like his brother; he wished he could feel a soldier's pride in the strong fellowship of the ranks, and a soldier's hope of retaliation. He almost shuddered when he reflected that he and his brother stood alone, two hated Russians, with that mighty, rhythmically surging mass of enemies below. The bravest man might feel his nerves a little shaken in such a place, at such an hour. Paul leaned his chin upon his hand, and gazed intently down into the body of the church. The armed kaváss stood a few paces from him on his left, and Alexander was leaning against a column on his right.

The kaváss was a good Mussulman, and regarded the ceremony not only with interest, but with a devotion akin to that of those who took part in it. He also looked fixedly down, turning his eyes to the mihrab, and listening attentively to the chanting of the Imam, of whose Arabic recitation, however, he could not understand any more than Paul himself. For a long time no one of the three spoke, nor indeed noticed his companions.

"Shall we go to the other side of the gallery?" asked Paul, presently, in a low voice, but without looking round. Alexander did not answer, but the kaváss moved, and uttered a low exclamation of surprise. Paul turned his head to repeat his question, and saw that Alexander was no longer in the place where he had been standing. He was nowhere to be seen.

"He is gone round the gallery alone," said Paul to the kaváss, and leading the way he went to the end of the balcony, and turning in the shadow looked down the long gallery which runs parallel with the nave. Alexander was not in sight, and Paul, supposing him to be hidden behind one of the heavy pillars which divided the balustrade into equal portions, walked rapidly to the end. But his brother was not there.

"Bah!" Paul exclaimed to the kaváss, "he is on the other side." He looked attentively at the opposite balconies, across the brilliantly lighted church, but saw no one. He and the soldier retraced their steps, and explored every corner of the galleries, without success. The kaváss was pale to the lips.

"He is gone down alone," he muttered, hastening to the head of the winding stair in the northwest corner of the dim gallery. He had left his lantern by the door, but it was not there. Alexander must have taken it with him. The Turk with the keys and the taper had long since gone down, in expectation of some other Frank visitors, but as yet none had appeared. Paul breathed hard, for he knew that a stranger could not with safety descend alone, on such a night, to the vestibule of the mosque, filled as it was with turbaned Mussulmans who had not found room in the interior, and who were pursuing their devotions before the great open doors. On the other hand, if Alexander had not entered the vestibule, he must have gone out into the street, where he would not be much safer, for his hat proclaimed him a Frank to every party of strolling Turks he chanced to meet.

Paul lit a wax taper from his case, and, holding others in readiness, began to follow the rugged descent, the kaváss close at his elbow. It seemed interminable. At every deep embrasure Paul paused, searching the recess by the flickering glare of the match, and then, finding nothing, both men went on. At last they reached the bottom, and the heavy door creaked as the kaváss pressed it back.

"You must stay here," he said, in his broken jargon. "Or, better still, you should go outside with me and get into the carriage. I will come back and search."

"No," said Paul. "I will go with you. I am not afraid of them."

"You cannot," answered the kaváss firmly. "I cannot protect you inside the vestibule."

"I tell you I will go!" exclaimed Paul impatiently. "I do not expect you to protect me. I will protect myself." But the kaváss would not yield so easily. He was a powerful man, and stood calmly in the doorway. Paul could not pass him without using violence.

"Effendim," said the man, speaking Turkish, which he knew that Paul understood, "if I let you go in there, and anything happens to you, my life is forfeited."

Paul hesitated. The man was in earnest, and they were losing time which might be precious. It was clear that Alexander might already be in trouble, and that the kaváss was the only person capable of imposing respect upon the crowd.

"Go," said Paul. "I will wait by the carriage."

The kaváss opened the door, and both men went out into the dim entry. Paul turned to the right and the soldier to the left, towards the heavy curtain which closed the entrance of the vestibule. The knot of Turks who had stood there when the Russians had arrived had disappeared, and the place was silent and deserted, while from behind the curtain faint echoes of the priest's high voice were audible, and at intervals the distant thundering roll from the church told that the worshipers were prostrating themselves in the intervals of the chanting. Paul retired up the dark way, but paused at the deserted gate, unwilling to go so far as the carriage, and thus lengthen the time before the kaváss could rejoin him with his brother. He trembled lest Alexander should have given way to some foolhardy impulse to enter the mosque in defiance of the ceremony which was then proceeding, but it did not strike him that anything very serious could have occurred, nor that the kaváss would really have any great difficulty in finding him. Alexander would probably escape with some rough treatment, which might not be altogether unprofitable, prov

ided he sustained no serious injury. It was indeed a rash and foolish thing to go alone and unarmed among a crowd of fanatic Mohammedans at their devotions; but, after all, civilization had progressed in Turkey, and the intruder was no longer liable to be torn in pieces by the mob. He would most likely be forcibly ejected from the vestibule, and left to repent of his folly in peace.

All these reflections passed through Paul's mind, as he stood waiting in the shadow of the gate at the back of the mosque; but the time began to seem unreasonably long, and his doubts presently took the shape of positive fears. Still the echoes came to his ears through the heavy curtain, while from without the distant hum of the city, given up to gayety after the day's long fast, mingled discordantly with the sounds from within. He was aware that his heart was beating faster than usual, and that he was beginning to suffer the excitement of fear. He tried to reason with himself, saying that it was foolish to make so much of so little; but in the arguments of reason against terror, the latter generally gets the advantage and keeps it. Paul had a strong desire to follow the kaváss into the vestibule, and to see for himself whether his brother were there or not. He rarely carried weapons, as Alexander did, but he trusted in his own strength to save him. He drew his watch from his pocket, resolving to wait five minutes longer, and then, if the kaváss did not return, to lift the curtain, come what might. He struck a match, and looked at the dial. It was a quarter past ten o'clock. Then, to occupy his mind, he began to try and count the three hundred seconds, fancying that he could see a pendulum swinging before his eyes in the dark. At twenty minutes past ten he would go in.

But he did not reach the end of his counting. The curtain suddenly moved a little, allowing a ray of bright light to fall out into the darkness, and in the momentary flash Paul saw the gorgeous uniform and accoutrements of the embassy kaváss. He was alone, and Paul's heart sank. He remembered very vividly the dark and scowling faces and the fiery eyes of the turbaned men who had stood before the door an hour earlier, and he began to fear some dreadful catastrophe. The kaváss came quickly forward, and Paul stepped out of the shadow and confronted him.

"Well?"

"He has not been there," answered the soldier, in agitated tones. "I went all through the crowd, and searched everywhere. I asked many persons. They laughed at the idea of a Frank gentleman in a hat appearing amongst them. He must have gone out into the street."

"We searched the gallery thoroughly, did we not?" asked Paul. "Are you sure he could not have been hidden somewhere?"

"Perfectly, Effendim. He is not there."

"Then we must look for him in the streets," said Paul, growing very pale. He turned to ascend the steps from the gate to the road.

"It is not my fault, Effendim," answered the soldier. "Did you not see him leave the gallery?"

"It is nobody's fault but his own," returned Patoff. "I was looking down at the people. He must have slipped away like a cat."

They reached the carriage, and Paul got inside. It was a landau, and the kaváss and the coachman opened the front, so that Patoff might get a better view of the streets. The kaváss mounted the box, and explained to the coachman that they must search Stamboul as far as possible for the lost Effendi. But the coachman turned sharply round on his seat and spoke to Paul.

"The gentleman did not come out," he said emphatically. "I have been watching for you ever since you went in. He is inside the Agia Sophia-somewhere."

Paul was disconcerted. He had not thought of making inquiries of the coachman, supposing that Alexander might easily have slipped past in the darkness. But the man seemed very positive.

"Wait in the carriage, Effendim," said the kaváss, once more descending from his seat. "If he is inside I will find him. I will search the galleries again. He cannot have gone through the vestibule."

Before Paul could answer him the man had plunged once more down the black steps, and the Russian was condemned a second time to a long suspense, during which he was frequently tempted to leave the carriage and explore the church for himself. He felt the cold perspiration on his brow, and his hand trembled as he took out his watch again and again. It was nearly a quarter of an hour before the kaváss returned. The man was now very pale, and seemed as much distressed as Paul himself. He silently shook his head, and, mounting to the box seat, ordered the coachman to drive on.

The city was ablaze with lights. Every mosque was illuminated, and the minarets, decked out with thousands of little lamps, looked like fiery needles piercing the black bosom of the sky. The carriage drove from place to place, passing where a crowd was gathered together, hastening down dark and deserted streets, to emerge again upon some brilliantly lighted square, thronged with men in fez and turban and with women veiled in the eternal yashmak. More than once Paul started in his seat, fancying that he could discover on the borders of the crowd the two ladies, with their attendant, who had been the cause of the scuffle in the Valley of Roses that afternoon. Again, he thought he could distinguish his brother's features among the moving faces, but always the sight of the dark red fez told him that he was wrong. He was driven round Agia Sophia, beneath the splendid festoons of lamps, some hung so as to form huge Arabic letters, some merely bound together in great ropes of light; back towards the water and through the Atmaidam, the ancient Hippodrome, down to the Serai point, then up to the Seraskierat, where the glorious tower shot upwards like the pillar of flame that went before the Israelites of old; on to the mosque of Suleiman, over whose tomb the great dome burned like a fiery mountain, round once more to the Atmaidam, past the tall trees amidst which blazed the six minarets of Sultan Achmet; then, trying a new route, down by the bazaar gates to Sultan Validé and the head of Galata bridge, and at last back again to the Seraskierat, and, leaving the Dove Mosque of Bajazet on the right, once more to the Vinegar Sellers' Landing, in the vain hope that Alexander might have found his way down to the quay where the steam launch was moored.

In vain did the terrified kaváss bid the coachman turn and turn again; in vain did Paul, in agonized excitement, try to pierce the darkness with his eyes, and to distinguish the well-known face in the throngs that crowded the brightly lighted squares. At the end of two hours he began to realize the hopelessness of the search. Suddenly it struck him that Alexander might have found the bridge, and, recognizing it, might have crossed to Pera rather than run the risk of losing himself in Stamboul again.

"Tell the launch to be at Beschik Tasch to-morrow morning at ten o'clock," said Paul. "Take me to Galata bridge. I will cross on foot to Pera. Then go back and wait behind Agia Sophia, in case he comes that way again to look for the carriage. If I find him in Pera, I will send a messenger to tell you. If he does not come, meet me at Missiri's early to-morrow morning."

"Pek eyi-very good," answered the kaváss, who understood the wisdom of the plan. Again the carriage turned, and in five minutes Paul was crossing Galata bridge, alone, on his way to Pera.

He was terribly agitated. Stories of the disappearance of foreigners in the labyrinths of Stamboul rose to his mind, and though he had never known of such a case in his own experience, he did not believe the thing impossible. His brother was the rashest and most foolhardy of men, capable of risking his life for a mere caprice, and perhaps the more inclined to do so on that night because he had had a violent quarrel with Paul that very afternoon, about his own foolish conduct. Of all nights in the year, the last four or five of Ramazán are the most dangerous to unprotected foreigners, and as he walked the spectacle of the scowling Turks thrust itself once more before Paul's mental vision. If Alexander had descended the steps, and had ventured, as well he might, to push past those fellows into the vestibule of the mosque, it must have gone hard with him. The fanatic worshipers of Allah were not in a mood that night to bear with the capricious humors of a haughty Frank; and though Alexander was active, strong, and brave, his strength would avail him little against such odds. He would be overpowered, stunned, and thrown out before he could utter a cry, and he might think himself lucky if he escaped with one or two broken bones. But then, again, if he had suffered such treatment, some one must have heard of it, and Paul remembered the blank face and frightened look of the kaváss when he returned the second time from his search. They had gone carefully round the great building, and must have seen such an object as the body of a man lying in the street. Perhaps Alexander had broken away without injury, and fled out into the streets of Stamboul. If so, he was in no common danger, for, utterly ignorant of the topography of the great city, he might as easily have gone towards the Seven Towers or to Aiwán Serai as to Galata bridge or Topkapussi, the Canon Gate at Serai point. There was still one hope left. He might have reached Pera, and be at that very moment refreshing himself with coffee and cigarettes at Missiri's hotel.

Paul hastened his walk, and, reaching Galata, began at once to ascend the steep street which further on is called the Grande Rue, but which of all "great" streets least deserves the name. He then walked slowly, scrutinizing every face he saw. But indeed there were few people about, for Christian Pera does not fast in Ramazán, and consequently does not spend the night in parading the streets. Nevertheless, Paul began a systematic search, leaving no small café or eating-house unvisited, rousing the sleepy porters of the inns with his inquiries, and finally entering the hotel. It was now past midnight, but he would not give up the quest. He caused all the guides to be collected from their obscure habitations by messengers from the hotel, and representing to them the urgency of the case, and giving them money in advance with the promise of more to come, he dispatched them in all directions. Alexander had been at the hotel very often during the last month, while visiting the sights of the city, and most of these fellows knew him by sight. At all events, it would be easy for them to recognize a well-dressed Frank gentleman in trouble.

Patoff saw the last of them leave the hotel, and stood staring out upon the Grande Rue de Pera, wondering what should be done next. The town residence of the embassy was closed for the summer, and there were only two or three sleepy servants in the place, who could be of no use. He thought of getting a horse and riding rapidly back to Buyukdere, in order to warn the ambassador of his brother's disappearance; but on reflection it seemed that he would do better to stay where he was. The short June night would soon be past, and by daylight he could at once prosecute his search in Stamboul with safety and with far greater probability of finding the lost man. He knew that the kaváss would remain with the carriage all night behind Santa Sophia, and then at dawn he should still find them there. Meanwhile, he took a hamál,-a luggage porter from the hotel,-and, armed with a lantern and a stick, began to beat the different quarters of Pera, judging that in the three or four hours before daylight he could pass through most of the streets.

Hour after hour he trudged along, pale with fatigue and anxiety, his big features hardening with despairing determination as he walked. He searched every street and alley; he interviewed the Bekjees, who stamp along the streets, pounding the pavement with their iron-shod clubs; he tramped out to the Taksim, and down again to Galata tower, plunging into the dark alleys about the Oriental Bank, skirting lower Pera to the Austrian embassy, and climbing up the narrow path between tall houses, till he was once more in the Grande Rue; crossing to the filthy quarters of Kassim Paschá and emerging at the German Lutheran church, crossing, recrossing, stumbling over gutters and up dirty back lanes, silent and determined still, addressing only the sturdy Kurd by his side to ask if there were any streets still unexplored, and entering every new by-path with new hope. At last he found himself once more at Galata bridge, and the light of the lantern began to pale before the grayness of the coming morning. He paid the Kurdish porter a generous fee, and giving his tiny coin to the tall keeper of the bridge, whose white garments looked whiter in the dawn, he walked on until he was half way over the Golden Horn.

Stepping aside on to the wooden pier where the great ferry-boats were moored, he leaned upon the rail and looked out over the water, momentarily exhausted and unable to go further. The tender light tinged the southeastern sky, and the far mist of the horizon seemed already hot with the rising day. On the lapping water of the Horn the light fell like petals of roses tossed in a mantle of some soft dark fabric interwoven with a silvery sheen. Far across the mouth of the Bosphorus the minarets of Scutari came faintly into view, and on the Stamboul side the few lingering lamps which had outlasted the darkness, upon the lofty minarets, paled and lost their yellow color, and then ceased to shine, outdone in their turn by the rosy morning light. A wonderful stillness had fallen on the great city, as one by one the tired parties of friends had gone to rest, to shorten the day of fasting by prolonging their sleep till late in the hot afternoon. The clank of some capstan on one of the ferry-boats struck loud and clear on the still air, as the reluctant sailors and firemen prepared for their first run to the Black Sea, or across to Kadi K?i on the Sea of Marmara. Paul turned and looked towards the mighty dome of Santa Sophia, and his haggard face was almost as pale as the white walls. He lingered still, and suddenly the sun sprang up behind the Serai, and gilded the delicate spires, and caught the gold of the crescents on the mosques, and shone full upon the broad water. Paul followed the light as it touched one glorious building after another, and his hand trembled convulsively on the railing. Somewhere in that great awakening city-his brother was somewhere, alive or dead, amongst those white walls and glittering crescents and towering minarets-somewhere, and he must be found. Paul bent his head, and turning away hurried across the bridge, and plunged once more into Stamboul, alone as he had come.

The streets were deserted, and the early morning air was full of the smell of thousands of extinguished oil lamps, that peculiar and pervading odor which suggests past revelry, sleepless hours, and the vanity of turning night into day. It oppressed Paul's overwrought senses, as he passed the melancholy remains of the illumination before the post-office and the Sultan Validé mosque, and he hurried on towards the more secluded streets leading to Santa Sophia, in which the night's gayety had left no perceptible signs. At last he came to the narrow lane behind the huge pile, feeling that he had at last reached the end of his five hours' tramp.

There stood the carriage, all dusty with the night's driving, looking dilapidated and forlorn; the tired horses drooped their heads in the flaccid and empty canvas nose-bags. The extinguished lamps were black with the smoke from the last flare of their sputtering wicks. The coachman lay inside, snoring,-a mere heap of cloth and brass buttons surmounted by a shapeless fez. On the stone steps leading down to the church sat the kaváss; his head had fallen on the low parapet behind him, and his half-shaved scalp was bare. His face was deadly pale, and his mouth was wide open as he slept, breathing heavily; his left hand rested on the hilt of his scimiter; his right was extended, palm upwards, on the stone step on which he sat, the very picture of exhaustion.

At any other time Paul would have laughed at the scene. But he was very far from mirth now, as he bent down and laid his hand upon the sleeping kaváss's shoulder.

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